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:
   down at that Wawlmark
Sunday, June 23 2019
Recently I took delivery of a 20 watt solar panel that will eventually be powering a Raspberry Pi off in the forest. I also have a cheap Chinese controller for the solar panel, though that controller is only intended for use with 12 volt lead-acid batteries. That's not really a problem, since weight is not much of a factor in the intended application. I could use a car battery, though all the ones I have were removed from service for failing to start a car. So I thought I'd get a small lead-acid battery, perhaps the kind used in a lawn mower. So this afternoon, I drove with Ramona out to the Home Depot. Doing some research online, I discovered that Walmart sold the same battery I was looking at for about $6 less ($24 instead of $30). So I left the Home Depot with just two surge suppressors (with integrated USB chargers) and two cans of spray paint (intended for camouflage, the main reason I ever buy spray paint).
It was a fairly hot, sunny day near the solstice, so when I drove to the Walmart, I needed a shady place to park so Ramona wouldn't be roasted. Surprisingly, there actually was such a place down near the Crazy Bowlz Asian-Mexican fusion restaurant.
Gretchen and I had long been vehemently anti-Walmart, and for this reason I don't think I'd actually ever bought anything in the Kingston Walmart. I'd gone into it maybe once, looking for something that I didn't end up buying (I think). Recently, though, Gretchen actually had reason to venture into the Walmart and was pleasantly surprised to find they carried a lot of otherwise hard-to-find vegan essentials in their grocery aisles. It took me awhile to find the lead acid batteries, but eventually I did. The batteries I'd come for were sold out, so I opted for the next grade up (it would have more amp-hours). I think this was actually the same battery being sold for the same price as the one I'd seen at Home Depot, so the whole detour to Walmart was probably unnecessary. As I walked down the long aisles of the store through the ghastly blue-white light (which makes the store look dirtier than it probably is), I hummed my Walmart ditty. It dates to the early days of my marriage to Gretchen and goes like this (preferably sung with a hillbilly accent):

Didn't I see you down at that Wawlmark? Didn't I see you down at that Wawlmark? Didn't I, Didn't I, Didn't I, See you down at that Wawlmark? I b'lieve I saw you down at that Wawlmark!

It's a stupid song that doesn't say all that much, but it neatly sums up the anxiety a do-gooder liberal might have about the chance of being encountered by a friend while taking advantage of those can't-be-beat bargains down at the local Walmart. ("Walmark" was how my father insisted on pronouncing it, though that was just him being impish. He had an upper Midwestern accent.)

Because we'd had people over for our dinner party last night, Gretchen and I had date night tonight after she got off work at the bookstore. I drove to Woodstock in the Subaru with Ramona, and stopped briefly at the Tibetan Center thrift store on the way (for some reason it was closed even though it was not yet 6:00pm). Much of the stuff at the Tibetan Center thrift store is actually outside, and this includes things like waterlogged stereos that anyone could take if they really wanted them.
After I parked in Woodstock in the illegal (though mostly unpoliced) spot near the bookstore, I let Ramona out onto the sidewalk. Seconds later, there was Neville, who'd come out of the open door of the bookstore. According to Gretchen, he never does that normally, so he must've somehow sensed Ramona's presence, either from the sound of the Subaru's rattling exhaust system, Ramona's jangling collar, or perhaps Ramona's smell. At the time, Gretchen (who was looking especially vivacious in a checkered blue dress) was just wrapping up with the store's last customers of the day.
Normally we have date night at places other than the Garden Café (partly to avoid all the people Gretchen knows), but I hadn't been there in awhile, and it was convenient for Gretchen. We took a table in the southwest corner of the outdoor garden and the dogs flopped down on the ground. While Neville was in the mulch behind Gretchen, quickly formed saliva-and-mulch "mulchlactites" at the corners of his mouth, for some reason Ramona decided to settle into a spot nearer another table than to ours. Unusually for dining at the Garden Café, Gretchen ordered three dishes for us to share. The most exciting of these was the cauliflower tacos, which were surprisingly spicy for a dish aimed at a mainstream American audience. There was also dish comprised of slabs of tofu (with mushroom gravy) on a mountain of mashed potatoes. And another dish was a Thai noodle with peanut sauce thing.
On the drive home, there were deer in the roadway in two different places on Dug Hill Road.

This was the best picture I got from inside the pileated woodpecker nest yesterday, taken with a small Canon Powershot camera. The parents stopped cleaning it a couple days before the chick Beatrice fledged.

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