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:
   all their fears and suspicions my way
Friday, January 21 2022

location: rural Hurley Township, Ulster County, NY

Last night I dreamed I was back in college, having decided to pay for another semester at Oberlin but being just as bad of a student as I'd been back in the late 1980s when I was in my early 20s. I had a paper to write about Camus, but I was procrastinating and hoping to somehow write it quickly in the hour or so before it needed to be handed in. It was a huge relief to wake up and realize that I am not back in college, and that after I dropped out at the end of my junior year, I never went back (though I've had many dreams insisting I've thrown away money on many subsequent semesters). I have a feeling that "Camus" in this dream is related to the name of one of the major software products of the new company I've been assigned to. And an anxiety dream about procrastination and failure might be reflecting anxieties I have about being a success in this new workplace environment.

That agile seminar (or workshop) picked up again at 8:00am this morning, suggesting this new workplace is very different from the old one. In the old workplace, nobody would've ever scheduled anything for 8:00am. Also, in the old workplace, nobody cared when you came to work, when you left, when you got lunch, or what you were working on. If the things expected of you were getting done (eventually), that was all that mattered. But in this new workplace, it's common for people to check in and out on Microsoft Teams when they show up in the morning and when they're going to lunch (something I will not be doing). Depressingly, the banter on Teams is strictly work-related. Today there was a little casual banter, but just from Joe, the lead developer (the guy who likes Arduinos and didn't know how to pronounce "azure"). Everyone else stuck strictly to work matters. Joe, though, managed to get out of the workshop this morning because he was having a crown installed. Later he posted a 3D image his dentist had made of the crown to be printed (this was his non-work-related banter). I tried to encourage such tangents by mentioning that my dentist had never given me a 3D file of any of my crowns, though he had been in a band that released a song in 1967 that had briefly displaced the Beatles (and then I included a link to the YouTube video).
The workshop ended something like forty minutes early, which was nice, and after that I had nothing specific I'd been scheduled to do. I have something to work on, but I still don't have access to some of the servers and I've yet to get a working copy of Azure DevOps Server working on my work-issued laptop.
A little before noon, Gretchen and I drove out to Romeo Chevrolet so she could pick up our Chevy Bolt with its brand new battery pack. While I was out, I got a few plumbing supplies (and reciprocating saw blades) at Lowes and then went out to the brick mansion on Downs Street to investigate an ice pond forming below a drip from the roof. It looked like the roof had some ice damming and perhaps a little rot problem on one of the soffits, but it was nothing that could be dealt with in the current brutally-cold conditions. I broke up and removed what ice I could and headed home to my new remote workplace.
Towards the end of the workday, Dennis, one of the remote employees from the workplace I'm transitioning away from, messaged me to ask if I had any revenue numbers from the old program that my last two years was spent on a doomed effort to replace. I've never had such numbers and there was no reason to have them now, and I said so, though I said they might be on my boss's (Alex's) old laptop, if we could just get access to it. But it turned out that this was just Dennis's way of initiating a conversation to express his anxiety about the future of my old tax department (which I have left but which he remains on). Dennis said he'd reached out several times to his new boss, but has heard nothing, and now he's begun to wonder what is happening to the department. And if the software I was working on is never released or there is no suitable replacement found, there's a good chance that all the tax customers will flee the company, which would throw Dennis and my other old colleagues into unemployment. I'd had a similar, though briefer, exchange with Jason yesterday, and I'm starting to wonder if my old colleagues are now going to direct all their fears and suspicions my way, since the rest of the company (including their new boss) seems to be ignoring them. I feel bad for them, and they're fundamentally wise to be concerned, but all I can do for them is reach out to the people I am in contact with. But I have no political clout, and I have my own fears. As you may recall, it was precisely my advocacy for a rational and reasoned approach to replacing one form of software with another that ultimately got me fired from Mercy For Animals, something I told Dennis this evening to better clarify where I was coming from.
I then gave Dennis a tour of the ill-fated software I'd been working on. He immediately found a bunch of menu items with placeholder pages behind them and seemed to think it was less complete than I'd been saying (which it isn't). The lesson I learned from this was that it's best to not create top-level menu items for features that have not yet been built, since it gives a false impression that more of the program needs to be built than is in fact the case.

Gretchen had spent the afternoon with Sarah the Vegan and had a great time despite the cold (it had forced them into a number of stores they wouldn't've otherwise visited down in the Rondout. Not long after she got home, we packed up the Forester and drove to the cabin north of Gloversville.
It seems like every time we arrive at the cabin for a weekend there, Mother Nature has ratcheted up winter another click. Our driveway had been plowed and that wasn't a problem. But about a foot of snow had fallen, and the roof had dumped some of this onto the entrance deck, which made getting to the front door a bit of a challenge, particularly in Crocs. But then Gretchen shoveled it off enough for Neville and Ramona to get in, and with that we were done with the outdoors, where temperatures were about three degrees Fahrenheit. We got a good fire going and I drank a beer (a Burly Beard Oat Stout) and then a Stranded Loon (whiskey poured into snow).
[REDACTED] sessy

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