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:
   if cheerfulness can be improved so easily
Thursday, March 2 2017
The weather was back to being seasonably cold when I got up early today (before 8:00am) and headed into town in the Subaru. My first stop was that house we'd recent bought on Brewster Street, where I needed to recover some soldering equipment. I then drove over to the brick mansion rental unit on Downs Street with the view to install a motion-sensor light on the stairway down from 1R. The woman who lives in 1R recently broke her leg and claims it was because the existing battery-powered motion sensor light on that stairway doesn't illuminate all the way to the bottom step. My plan today was to install a 120 volt motion sensor light permanently attached to the electrical system. Initially it seemed I could use an electrical box conveniently above the stairs. It seemed to have 120 volts present in it, and all I had to do was wire the lamp up to it. Not knowing what circuit breaker controlled the power in this box, I worked on it live. That's a dangerous thing to do, but it's possible if one works carefully and is careful never to touch exposed wires, particularly those with black insulation (which is the color code for "hot"). Of course, white wires can also carry dangerous potentials if they are returning power from a connected device, have been mis-used, or if they are part of a switch circuit. Everything was going great until I began to tighten the motion sensor light against the box. Suddenly there was a loud pop and, well, I guess a circuit breaker somewhere had tripped. It seems the lamp's hot wire had been pinched in the gap as I'd tightened down the lamp, ultimately producing a short. But when I tried to figure out what circuit breaker had tripped, none seemed to be off. What the fuck was going on? In tracing the wires back from the box I'd been working on, I started to recall the weird complexity of its wiring. For whatever reason, the wires in that box are really just the two wires going to a switch half-way up the stairs to the second floor. Those wires follow a long and needlessly indirect route, much like the laryngeal nerve in a giraffe's neck, going through two junction boxes along the way (one of which I'd been working in). It turned out that I would only have 120 volts to power a light from that box when the stairway light in the stairs to the second floor was off. Otherwise, both the "hot" and "neutral" in that box would be the same potential. Also: I think the circuit breaker that had been tripped by the accidental short had actually been the 100 amp main breaker in the circuit breaker box supplying Apartment 2. I wasn't supposed to be hooking up basement lights to circuits from that box anyway. In the end, I wasn't able to get the motion sensor light installed. But I did gather valuable information that I would need to do so.
I went well out of my way on the drive home so I could stop at the Tibetan Center thrift store. An unexpected treasure I found there was a Magellan GPS 315 hikers' GPS device from the late 1990s. It required only two double-A batteries to work, so of course I got it. I also got a couple 14 ounce cans of paint (both of them shades of green) for super cheap. I figured I could use them to redo and refresh the green shapes on the floor of the laboratory. The little I'd done to repaint white shapes the other day had done much to increase the cheerfulness of the space. And if cheerfulness can be improved so easily, why not do more of it?


I managed to repaint several of the greenish shapes on the floor of the laboratory throughout the day and well into the evening. The old color of the shapes had been a sage green (the color used on the north and south wall in the teevee room). Now the color was more saturated and bluer, somewhere between sea green and jade.
As for the Magellan GPS, all I could get it to do was display random noise on its monochrome LCD display. Not everything one buys at the Tibetan Center works. I could take it back for a refund, but I'd already cut it open with a hacksaw to look at its innards and to look for obvious problems (there were none that I could see).

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