Your leaking thatched hut during the restoration of a pre-Enlightenment state.


Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


decay & ruin
Biosphere II
dead malls
Irving housing

got that wrong

appropriate tech
Arduino μcontrollers
Backwoods Home
Fractal antenna

fun social media stuff

(nobody does!)

Like my brownhouse:
   Black Bear reality check
Saturday, April 11 2015
The weather wasn't especially warm today, but at least it was sunny enough for Ramona to get the initiative to hang out for a time down in the greenhouse. It was warm enough to work outside, so I began work on building a stone retaining wall connecting the northwest corner of the main garden patch with the southeast corner of the southmost tomato patch. Once this wall is completed, there will be a continuous lightning-bolt-shaped stone wall from near the house's front door all the way to the basketball goal near the northwest corner of the driveway. That's about 90 feet of stone wall, most of it about two feet in height and retaining a terrace behind it. For this relatively-short new segment, I first dug a foundation trench all the way down to bedrock and then filled it to grade with randomly-shaped pieces of bluestone from the talus slope between our yard and the Farm Road. I actually only reached bedrock in the west half of the trench. Further east, the rock ended in a ledge and dropped away into a mix of random stones and clay. My digging uncovered a PVC drainage pipe I'd installed years ago to drain wet spots in the yard uphill to the south. I left it in place and will be stacking the rocks around it in a way that conceals and protects it.
I didn't feel like I was digging very hard, though the project managed to break the handles of both of the household digging shovels (first the short one, then the long one). I badly mistreat my shovels, routinely leaving them out in the rain for years at a time. Evidently the handles had rotted to the point where they were no longer structurally sound. Though I had to use a shovel to dig a proper ditch, I mostly avoid it for gardening and use a tilling fork instead; I hate it when I slice through earthworms, something I did several times today.
By this evening, I was somewhat drunk and a little bit stoned, so I plopped down in front of the television to watch Dual Survival. On live teevee at the time was a boxing match between Andy Lee and Peter Quillin. Under the influence of marijuana, I will watch some things (such as sports contests) that would quickly bore me when completely sober. So I sat there and watched several rounds, coming back after the ads when Dual Survival had me either bored or distressed at harming of wild animals. It was more boxing than I'd watched since I was a little kid in the early 1970s, before my family's black & white television died. (I also remember episodes of the Six Million Dollar Man and watching Nixon take that final helicopter ride from Washington, but after the television died, it wasn't replaced until I bought one in 1983 for use as a computer monitor.) I don't actually have strong feelings about boxing; it's not much fun to watch, and to the extent that it is bad for brains and exploitative of underprivileged humans, so are a lot of other things in our society. But tonight, when I was engaged enough to keep watching it, I could feel the muscles in my arms twitch empathetically. Only because of his race (he's black), I was rooting for Peter Quillin. I won't deny it, I have what could best be described as liberal guilt, especially after all the high-profile videos of unarmed black guys being gunned down by white police officers.
Later, I was watching Dual Survival, where the "situation" was the Allegheny Mountains of Pennsylvania. Usually the locale is exotic enough that when the narrator and one or more of the survivalists hype the danger of the local fauna, I assume that such dangers are, to some extent at least, real. But in this show, when Joseph Teti (the current military-style survivalist) started going on about the danger of Black Bears, I couldn't keep myself from laughing. Teti even passed up a perfectly good cave for use as a shelter on the off chance that it might be home to a bear. As you know, I have a great deal of experience with bears, and even when they're attacked by dogs, all they ever want to do is get away. The fact that Dual Survival worked so hard to stoke the audience's fear of bears cast doubt on all the other times they've told me about the dangerousness of a "situation." I suppose Dual Survival was counting on the couch-potato nature of the vast majority of their audience, confident that their tendency to hype danger would never be discovered. (I should mention, by the way, that when I was a kid, my father told me of his experiences with Grizzly Bears in the West, and I am given to understand that they really are dangerous.)

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