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:
   Clarence disappears
Wednesday, June 5 2019
The grass was refreshingly dry when I took Ramona on her morning walk back behind the building complex where I work. I happened to look down and see a four leaf clover, which I immediately plucked. I showed it to my colleague Marc when I got back into the office, and his amazement was surprising given that he might be the oldest guy working on our team. He was also a little alarmed that I'd picked it, perhaps fearing this might have Darwinian consequences and leave us in a world with fewer four-leaf clovers. "They're actually not that rare," I said. I usually find four-leaf clovers in nearly every place I look for them.

Today when I got a woodpecker on the new cheap-telescope-equipped Raspberry-Pi surveillance camera, the magnification was a bit much and the colors muted unless the sun was blasting things with light.

I have a fairly good approach when tasked with adding a feature (no matter how complex) to a codebase whose source I have access to (this includes websites). I find the most similar-seeming feature in the user interface and then duplicate it, changing what needs changing from front to back to produce the new feature. It's a straightforward approach which gives me real things to do even when looking at something that is undocumented, incomprehensible, and possibly even in an unfamiliar programming language. Oddly, though, I always have amnesia about this approach after moving on to some other phase in the development process, and the next time I'm faced with a daunting directory full of unfamiliar code, I find myself staring at it wondering what to do or procrastinating by dicking around with the development environment. Today, for example, I did some research to see what new text editors became available since I last checked. EmEditor looked pretty cool, though I'd have to get a pirate version since it's not open source (and I do not pay for software even though, ironically, I write software for a living). Another thing I did that blew more hours than I'd like to admit was solve a CORS problem between the backend and frontend of this new codebase I am looking at. (I eventually solved it by replicating the response headers on the production server, which included a few I'd not seen mentioned on Once I had that nailed down, I could rediscover the aforementioned approach to adding features to an unknown codebase.
When Ramona and I got home from work today, I expected Clarence to hungrily greet me at the door. Since whatever condition caused him to shed half his weight during the summer and fall of 2018, he's had a ravenous appetite, though only for wet food. We'd recently switched from fish to beef-based wetfood, hoping it might better satisfy him. But his appetite has remained the same, and his constant begging for food hasn't changed. That and his stinky shits (which are sometimes diarrheal and often miss the litter box) has made living with him much more of a chore than is normal for life with a cat. But this afternoon, he didn't greet me at the door. And he didn't show up for the rest of the day. He'd vanished. Later when Gretchen got home, I asked if she'd seen him at all today and she said she can't remember feeding him any wet food. As ravenous as he's been, it would be very strange for him not to beg for food for an entire day. It seems he'd vanished. The last confirmed sighting had been this morning after I'd fed all the cats (including Clarence). As I was leaving for work, he was in my way in the driveway and, as I approached him in the Subaru, I saw him disappear into that forsythia bush that Diane the Cat was using as a fort. I checked under that bush for his dead body (since, had he been alive, he would've been begging for wet food), but he wasn't there. At sixteen years old, he was the last of the critters we adopted soon after moving to Hurley (in fact, he had been the first of the Hurley-only cats, briefly overlapping with Edna, one of Gretchen's Brooklyn cats).
What could've happened to Clarence? He'd dropped to eight pounds from a weight of seventeen (back when he was in his prime), but he'd still been active, routinely going outside (though not wandering the neighborhood to hunt chipmunks and baby rabbits as he once did). Maybe he'd been picked off by a predator, though that's not the sort of thing that has ever happened near the house in daylight. But the other day Oscar the Cat showed up with a bleeding wound on his throat, so it's possible we're now living in unusual times. This is not to say we're happy to see Clarence go, but if he is gone, it was definitely his time, and disappearing one last time into the forest is kind of his style. And there is definitely something to be said for no longer being constantly harassed for wet food. Gretchen had been considering euthanasia for months, but it's a hard thing to justify when he seems apparently healthy and happy despite weight loss and a ravenous appetite. The latest theory for what was wrong with Clarence was lymphoma, since all other explanations for his symptoms had been eliminated. In any case, his decision to figuratively ride off on an iceflow saves us from a painful decision.

so long, Clarence the Cat

October 19, 2003, with Eleanor

October 19, 2003 in the laboratory

October 19, 2003 in the laboratory with me

October 26, 2003, with our British friends Lisa and Frank

November 25, 2003, with Eleanor

January 25, 2004 with Sally (left) and Eleanor

December 9, 2004, painting featuring Clarence and Julius (aka "Stripey")

March 11, 2005, with Sally the Dog

February 20, 2006, with Sylvia the Cat in the foreground

May 6, 2006, with Eleanor. Clarence frequently had hunting injuries on his head. This was a bad one.

June 16, 2007 with Eleanor

January 2008 with me

January 1, 2008

May 7, 2008 with Julius (aka "Stripey") and the remains of the Honda Civic that Gretchen wrecked at the bottom of Dug Hill Road.

September 29, 2008

February 9, 2009 with Eleanor

February 9, 2009 with Eleanor

May 14, 2010 with Eleanor

December 20, 2010 with Sally's legs

December 26, 2010 with Marie the Cat (aka "the Baby")

February 17, 2010 with Eleanor

October 21, 2011, with Gretchen in the first floor office.

August 2, 2011, in the teevee room with our friend Robert

March 14, 2012 with Ramona

February 10, 2013 with Ramona in the greenhouse upstairs

March 11, 2013, a painting also featuring me and Sally the Dog

June 2, 2013, enjoying the green muppet carpet

September 26, 2013 with Ramona the Dog and Sylvia the Cat

October 2, 2013 in a juniper tree near the bottom of the Chamomile Headwaters Trail

October 2, 2013 in a juniper tree near the bottom of the Chamomile Headwaters Trail

February 20, 2014 with Marie the Cat (aka "the Baby")

May 12, 2014 with Ramona

May 14, 2014 with Ramona and Gretchen in the king-sized bed

July 17, 2014 with Eleanor in the laboratory

August 14, 2014 with Eleanor in the teevee room

November 15, 2014

March 3, 2015 with Celeste the Cat in the teevee room near the big top map

May 19, 2015 with Eleanor in the laboratory

August 1, 2015 with Ramona in the yard

September 29 2015 with Ramona in the laboratory

December 18, 2015, a painting

May 3, 2016, with Neville the Dog in the king-sized bed

August 29, 2016, with Ramona

September 23, 2016, with Neville

October 15, 2016, with Ramona, Neville, and Gretchen

December 3, 2016, with Neville

May 26, 2017

June 7, 2017, with Neville, Gretchen, and Celeste

November 6, 2017, with Neville, Ramona, and Janet the Cat

December 24, 2017, a painting

March 13, 2018

May 7, 2018 with Ramona and Diane the Kitten

November 11, 2018

November 11, 2018 with Charles the Cat

November 24, 2018

May 24, 2019

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