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:
   navigating by memory to the cabin on Woodworth Lake
Friday, September 17 2021

location: rural Hurley Township, Ulster County, NY

Gretchen called me today from the New Jersey with two issues to discuss. The first was that the tenants in Brewster have found a possible third tenant, but she's unvaccinated. To that I said "no way." Not getting vaccinated at this stage of the covid pandemic is a good proxy for crazy, and crazy people are unreliable tenants. "Tell him [the tenant wanting to this unvaccinated tenant to move in] that we don't want the liability of having an unvaccinated tenant in our property." The other issue was Powerful. Evidently his heart is in much worse shape than anyone thought and an earlier idea about surgically ablading scar tissue had to be abandoned because the scar tissue is so widespread. At this point, the only solution to Powerful's heart problems is a heart transplant. But he can't be put on the waitlist for that until a certain number of months has passed since he last smoked. Yes, he's been smoking on and off since getting out of prison. And he's also been gaining weight. I don't know how much more than 300 pounds he now weighs, but he's morbidly obese, which is a lot of work for his damaged heart to do even when he's at rest. In the meantime, he probably can't be going up and down stairs. So when he eventually gets released from the hospital, he'll be living for a time in our living room. I don't know what he'll do when he needs to take a shower, since all the bathing facilities require the use of stairs.
Today in the remote workplace, I worked pretty hard working out the final details of my comprehensive Contact migration script, which is written in whatever the SQL-based scripting language is used by Microsoft SQL Server (if it's like most Microsoft products, it's un-Google-able, like DotNet, Explorer, Outlook, Teams, and Word). Near the end of the day, I old my boss Alex about it, but it wasn't long before he was yelling (yes yelling) at me because the script hadn't migrated some case that he'd never specified when he told me to do the work. He then referred to some place in our Teams chat where he'd supposedly told me to liberalize one of the criteria, but any conversation can be full of ambiguity, and I'd never gotten the message. Alex is understandably freaked out by how little progress we've made since we fired the Ukrainians. But in this case, there was no need to yell. It took only ten minutes for me to change the script and make it do exactly the thing Alex wants (in my revised understanding of it).
By now, Gretchen had returned home from New Jersey, and the Bolt didn't have much juice in it. Our plan for the weekend was for Gretchen to stay in Hurley to deal with whatever Powerful needed while I would be going up to the cabin to work in the dock. So as it charged, I loaded everything I would need this weekend into the Bolt. This included such bulky and heavy items as my electric scooter and an 80 pound sack of concrete mix. I also brought nine ONE+ Ryobi batteries and one each of all the compatible tools for that system in the house. Finally I loaded up the dogs and drove north up the Thruway.
Because the Bolt had yet to charge enough to make it all the way to the cabin, I had to stop at the Electrify America charging area at the Albany Walmart (the big one with the escalator). This time my phone communicated effectively with near-field communication and the charging began without a problem. I then got out the electric scooter and scooted over to the Home Depot, which was nearby, but far enough away for to justify having brought the scooter. While I was in the Home Depot, I locked it against a parked wagon full of flowers for sale. I only needed a few things in Home Depot, but nothing was working to help me find them. I know the layout of the Kingston Home Depot, and often the layouts of stores in a franchise are duplicated (which solves a lot of issues for managers, employees, and customers). But this Home Depot was different. I couldn't find its masonry section at all; perhaps it didn't have one. And I ended up having to ask for help to find tarps (I needed one to protect tools and concrete mix at the dock). In the past I've used either the Lowes or Home Depot website to find the aisle and bay of where things are sold, but Home Depot website was providing no such information, and it was a major headache just telling it to use the Albany store instead of one it had selected in New Jersey for some reason.
Back at my car, some guy in the parking lot with a nice-looking car and a Latino accent expressed interest in my scooter, wondering where I'd bought it. I said I'd bought it online and it had cost $200, but that was "years ago" (it was actually considerably less than two years ago). I then went on to say that everything I drive is electric powered, including my car. He asked how much the Bolt had cost and I said "$17 thousand, but it's four years old and I got it used."
After walking the dogs in the barren Walmart parking lot, I went into the Walmart to find more possible food provisions for the weekend. That particular Walmart is kind of grim and caters to a working-class mostly-minority population, so they don't seem to have vegan cheese (which I really wanted for the two everything [as in the bagel] french breads I'd bought. Ultimately, the only exciting vegan condiment I could find for my bread was Grey Poupon mustard. I also got a bag of tostadas and a container of black bean & corn salsa. When I'm at the cabin, my needs are a lot more basic than they are when Gretchen comes with me.
One and a half road beers later, it was dark, and I was at the cabin. I'd navigated completely from memory (that is, not using GPS) for the first time ever, and had only had to backtrack once (after mistakingly taking a turn onto Phelps Street instead of going straight onto West Bush Road from Route 122).
A lot had been done in the last week at the cabin, including the installation of the generator (though its propane line had yet to be attached, so there would be no electricity). The construction crew had also completely sheetrocked (and preliminarily mudded) the upstairs bathroom and bedroom, which means my electrical wiring must've passed inspection. I ate some cannabis and some everything french bread and went directly to bed, since there's not much one can do after dark at the cabin except fuck around with your phone.

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