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

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Arduino μcontrollers
Backwoods Home
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Like my brownhouse:
   unhackable latch
Tuesday, July 16 2019
After work today, I went directly to the Downs Street house to try to hack the washing machine in the 3rd floor unit. I thought maybe I could fix or bypass the electric lid latching mechanism based on some videos I'd seen on YouTube. Once I was up in the apartment, though, the difficulties quickly gnawed at my enthusiasm. The washing machine and the dryer are in hot little low-headroom hobbit hallway located under the sloping Victorian roof back behind the bathroom, and they're arranged such that the dryer keeps the washing machine blocked in place, where it can only be moved about four inches in any direction. This arrangement (and the low ceiling) also prevents it from being rotated or tilted more than about ten degrees. For full access to the washing machine, I would've had to first remove the dryer from the hobbit hall. To do what I needed to do, I had to remove about six screws from the back of the machine, which would allow me to remove the entire top of the machine. Lacking the right tools, I used diagonal cutters where I might otherwise have used tiny wrenches to rotate out the little hex-headed sheet metal screws. There was enough room to do this in place, but just barely. With much sweating and fumbling, I got the top off and exposed the latching mechanism. It consisted of a powerful little solenoid (which was working fine) and some sort of cog designed to lift and lower a leaf switch with a plastic plunger that secured a lock. In tinkering with this stuff, though, it was eventually clear that there was nothing I could jumper that would make the washing machine work. When stuck in "locked" mode, the machine refused to do anything, suggesting there was a sequence of things that had to reliably happen. Knowing I'd been defeated and we would need to be buying a replacement washing machine came as a great relief. On some level, this was the option I was most comfortable with. A hacked washing machine with an always-unlocked lid would present certain liability issues. I don't know how exactly a new washing machine will find its way into the place occupied by the broken one, but that wasn't a problem I had to tackle tonight. Hopefully that can be part of a "free delivery."
Drenched in sweat, I drove the Subaru back home, where Gretchen had just prepared a big pot of soul food stew. It contained collard greens, red beans, and hominy, and Sarah the Vegan and Nancy would be joining us for dinner. When they were arriving, I showed off the speakerbot, filling it with so many simultaneous screaming women, blubbering men, and crying babies that Gretchen was worried what the neighbors would think.
A light rain began falling as we dined out on the east deck, but the umbrella (designed more for sun than rain) protected us for nearly the whole meal. Eventually, though, the drizzle became a downpour.
We spent a fair amount of time talking about the positives and negatives of freelance work versus having a real job with benefits. I get the feeling someone like me or Nancy who is non-confrontational and has the habit of underselling himself or herself probably do best with a real job, where the money comes in no matter what is done (within reason, that is).

Gretchen told me that Neville and Ramona had a vicious fight today. She said it was probably food-related, since it happened near Ramona's food bowl. Neville tends to be food-aggressive, whereas Ramona is fairly tolerant of Neville attempting to share her food. But perhaps he went a little too far and Ramona had to assert a boundary. This was the first fight I ever know of them having an actual fight. Generally, they love each other, and are often seen snuggling together in all sorts of absurdly cute ways. They used to also play a lot, at least during their first year together (2016), though that has died away almost completely.

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