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:
   my personal shopper in Johnstown
Sunday, January 9 2022

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

I think I had too many Stranded Loons last night, because I had a mild hangover for much of the day. The discomfort was mostly in my gut, which is usually a feature of a bad hangover. But I had few other symptoms aside from periodic waves of malaise. As I had yesterday, I started the day with a bath, bringing a cup of coffee into the tub with me along with my work-issued laptop. Gretchen told me she'd loaded the New York Times Spelling Bee at 8:30pm, and I managed to achieve genius all by myself in only a half hour, all of it done in the tub.
All my clothes were kind of nasty (remember, I'd more-or-less pissed my pants Friday while driving to the cabin). So I did a laundry, washing nearly all of my clothes. This left me with nothing to wear until I took the clothes out of the dryer. So I spent that time mostly under a blanket on a couch in the great room, periodically getting up to tweak the wood burning in the woodstove or make use of the bathroom.
Eventually I queued up a podcast about fake wealth gurus and started working again on the upstairs bathroom. This time my focus was on where the pedestal sink will attach to the wall. This is my fourth pedestal sink installation, and the problem with them is that they have two attachment points that need to go into structural wall material, but those points are never spaced for studs that are in sixteen-inch centers. To make a suitable attachment area, I have to cut out a rectangle of drywall and install a plank. I did this today, installing a 3/4 inch thick one by six where there had been half inch drywall. In order to make the plank lie in the plain of the drywall, I had to notch quarter-inch grooves for the three studs it crossed. I ran into issues as I did this, mostly from the many romex cables I'd routed through the wall at exactly the same height above the floor as the plank needed to be. But eventually I had the plank in place and had even slathered on a first layer of drywall compound in an effort to fix the wall (something I hadn't needed to do for the downstais bathroom's pedestal sink, as I'd managed to hide the support plank almost completely behind the basin).
Meanwhile, the weather had completely changed overnight. The bitter cold had been replaced with temperatures around freezing as actual rain fell from the sky. This of course quickly formed a glaze over every surface and rendered the outdoors unsuitable for travel. But temperatures continued to rise, and at some point I decided it would be safe to drive down to Noble Ace Hardware to get more supplies. But in order to make the Forester driveable, I first had to chip away all the ice covering its windows. The ice on the windshield was particularly tough, and I scraped at it for awhile before getting down to the glass. From there I could weaken and remove ice around the hole I'd made little by little until the car was driveable. Even so, before getting out on Route 309, I got out and chipped away at the ice a second time after it had had a chance to melt a little. Once out on the highway, conditions felt fairly safe, though I drove carefully and tried to avoid driving on slush where possible.
At the Noble Ace, the skinny guy who is always a bit too helpful was right there when I walked in the door, and he ended up being my personal shopper. (He wasn't wearing a mask, which was a little unusual, but it didn't bother me much because he usually does.) Him knowing where everything was and having access to everything sped things up significantly, because someone needed to unlock the SharkBite cabinet so I could get yet more PEX supplies: half-inch crimp rings, a T-fitting with both half inch and 3/4 inch connectors, and NPT adapters (for when I install the shower plumbing, which Gretchen had already bought). I also got a hose to connect the toilet tank to the plumbing, all that it needed (aside from toilet paper) to be a functional crapper.
Back at the cabin, I hooked up the toilet, baked myself another mushroom-covered frozen pizza, and then slowly began the process of straightening things out so I could leave the cabin in a tidy state for whomever visits it next. Just before leaving, I tried again to get control of a datalogger attached to the Sol-Ark inverter in the basement. This datalogger transmits its data via WiFi to the Moxee WiFi hotspot, and from there the data goes somewhere on the web, where AJ, one of the chuckleheaded solar installers, has been monitoring it. Obviously, that's useful information, and I wanted to monitor it too. I'd asked AJ about this last week and he'd sent me a QR code to download a phone app. The app had a confusing user interface and was written in broken English, but it was immediately clear that I had to have information printed on the Sol-Ark inverter in order to use it, and at the time I was back in Hurley. So the first thing I did today was take photos of every QR code I could find on the inverter (there were two) as well as its list of specs. Interestingly, the inverter had a model number but no serial number. And I'd already peeled off the sticker reading "Soli Deo Gloria."
But the app I'd installed told me that every number I typed in or scanned from the inverter was wrong. After doing more research, I found a PDF of a Sol-Ark installation guide which said that the WiFi dongle that served as the datalogger initially shipped in a "hotspot" mode, where it would produce an SSID that could be connected to, and configuration would happen from there. But AJ had already done this, and the dongle was no longer in hotspot mode. It produced a web page that I could find with an IP address scan, but there was no configuration possible on that. The instructions suggested I do a "factory reset" if I could find a reset button on the dongle. But there was none, not even on the inside (yes, I disassembled it). Clearly if I wanted access to my own data, AJ was going to have to do something for me.
I started a road beer on the drive from the cabin, but only got about a mile before wondering if I'd completely shut off the gas on the stove. I didn't want a repeat of that time Gretchen and I arrived to find the cabin smelling of propane. So I drove back and satisfied my OCD.
It was snowing heavily by my second drive from the cabin, and I worried I might get caught in a snowstorm somewhere between Bleecker and Hurley. But the temperature was 33 degrees Faherenheit and likely only to get warmer with lower elevation. As it turned out, I needn't have worried; by the time I got to Johnstown the temperature was 35 and the snow had turned entirely into rain.

Back home in Hurley, Neville barked at me from the couch but then, on recognizing me, was delighted I was home, as was Ramona. Gretchen had made a noodle bake and Powerful had been home from the hospital since some time this afternoon. [REDACTED]

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