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:
   Stranded Loon
Saturday, January 8 2022

location: 800 feet west of Woodworth Lake, Fulton County, NY

I was feeling a little frayed this morning, probably more from the cannabis I'd eaten last night than from several beers and gin I'd drunk. I climbed in the bathtub with my work-issued laptop and took a fairly brief bath, mostly to start the day in a warm, clean condition.
I made myself some coffee, played the New York Times Spelling Bee for awhile while exchanging direct messages on Facebook with Gretchen as she did the same. At some point I switched to kratom tea, which (as it always seems to do after drinking coffee at the cabin) soon had me feeling mildly euphoric.
We were supposed to be having a large sofa delivered at the cabin today from West Elm, a second attempt after a failure in just before New Years due to too much snow on Woodworth Lake Road. There was still a fair amount of snow on the road, though it was thin and icy, not the kind of material that could easily be plowed out of the way. The delivery was supposed to happen sometime between 11:00am and 2:00pm, and as 2:00pm approached, I messaged Gretchen to ask if she had heard anything from the delivery guys (who would be calling her cellphone number). Eventually she said that the delivery guys were on Woodworth Lake Road and that they were telling her they would give up on this attempt as well, though she was telling them they should try. She suggested I drive out and talk to them. So I got in the Forester and drove out to meet them. I found them just inside the Woodworth Lake gate, just stopped in the road with their engine running. The truck was big, about as big as a truck with only four wheels can get (though it might've had two pairs of wheels in the back). The driver was Hispanic, and I had trouble understanding him over the sound of his engine, but he told me that his truck doesn't get good traction in snow and he was worried that if he went down the hill just inside the gate, he wouldn't be able to make it back up. I tried to convince him that the road wasn't too bad, and I thought maybe we would attempt it, so I backed up all the way to the cabin's driveway (about 4000 feet away) and then waited to see if he came. But he never did; apparently he gave up and headed back to the warehouse. Because of their insistance on only using that one size of truck with poor snow performance, they probably experience a lot of failed deliveries, each of which likely cost on the order of $100.
With the car warmed up and my not having to wait for the delivery, I could now drive down to the Noble Ace Hardware store in Johnstown for more provisions, this time mostly PEX plumbing supplies necessary to install the upstairs toilet. Every time I think I have everything I need, it turns out I'm missing something. In this case, I was mostly missing 3/4 inch PEX crimp rings. But I also wanted a louvered outdoor dryer hood (to keep cold air from getting into the house via the dryer vent) and little bolts for installing some cute brass animal-shaped closet door handles Gretchen had bought on Etsy. While I was down in Johnstown, I visited the Burger King on the south end of Gloversville to get an Impossible Burger with fries and then managed to navigate back to the cabin through Gloversville's confusing street layout without any navigational assistance.
Back at the cabin, I ate my fries first (since they're best eaten hot) and then my burger. And then I turned my attention to hooking up some of the upstairs bathroom plumbing. John Jr. (the Stoner Plumber) had run PEX up to a hole in the bathroom wall behind where the tub will be installed, and from there he had run PEX to the vicinity of where the sink and toilet will be installed. But I would have to do all the connections of all these pipes. I don't have experience with running or crimping PEX; all the plumbing I have ever done (with a few exceptions using SharkBite fittings) has involved soldering copper pipe with brass and copper fittings. But I had a crimping tool and several lengths of PEX pipe to cut into little pieces for making ad hoc manifolds and other familiar plumbing structures. The crimping itself required a lot of arm strength, and I did much of it in the assembly of a cold water unit separate from the plumbing which I then crimped onto the stubs of PEX in the wall. When I turned on the pressure, I was delighted to see that there were no leaks.
Next I stuck a wax ring on the bottom of the loose toilet and bolted it onto the closet flange. I've only done this procedure four or five times, and it's always a bit nerve-racking for some reason. But eventually I got the tank installed and the toilet to stop rocking, and when I dumped a bucket of water into the tank and flushed, it seemed to function without any leaks. Unfortunately, I didn't have a hose to connect the tank to the plumbing system. There's always one more thing you need.
After that, I switched into full-on relaxation mode. I wanted whiskey but had no ice, so I went outside into the brutal cold with a cup and scooped some clean snow off the top of the propane tank (where there was unlikely to be any piss or dog shit) and then drenched it in whiskey. The resulting slush was exactly what I wanted, and I dubbed this new cocktail a "Stranded Loon," named after the ill-fated loons who wait a bit too long before flying off to the ocean where they over-winter.

The cold water assembly I built today shortly before crimping it to the stubs of PEX pipe in the bathroom wall.

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