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

welcome to the collapse
Clusterfuck Nation
Peak Oil

got that wrong

appropriate tech
Arduino μcontrollers
Backwoods Home
Fractal antenna

fun social media stuff

(nobody does!)

Like my brownhouse:
   pillow and a way to suck water
Tuesday, March 22 2022
That phoebe I'd heard on the 18th disappeared shortly after making a big to-do outside the laboratory and I hadn't heard a phœbe since. But another one appeared today. Phœbes destined for places to the north have to pass through areas to the south to get there, and that's probably what the one I'd heard on the 18th had been doing. As with Hodor from Game of Thrones or Kenny from South Park, phœbes have one all-purpose word that they use for everything, so it makes sense they would be saying it while migrating too.

I had a fairly lax day in the remote workplace. I'd thought I was sort of "done" with the AppStream login system I've been building. But today it kept crapping out in a way that suggested maybe Amazon itself (the hosting system for its containerized backend) was having problems. Was Russia finally bringing the internet to its knees? (Side note: the fear of Russia using their computer skills to retaliate against the West for sanctions and military aid to Ukraine is looking more and more like fears about Y2K.) It turned out, though, that all my problems was because Amazon's Fargate system was trying to do a health check on the "/." URL. Earlier in the process, when I'd known less about AspNet, I'd used Javascript on that page to redirect to "/Login". But after understanding AspNet more, I'd replaced that code with a backend redirect, which was now causing the health check to fail. Reverting back to my "janky" Javascript redirect fixed the whole problem.
I had more difficulty with my attempts to make the Taxinator multi-instance-friendly. The problem was that its Node.js backend only wanted to serve from port 3000, and no configuration or coding changes seemed to change this. By the time the diphenhydramine was turning out the lights in my brain as I lay in bed tonight, I'd realized I'd exhausted all my options for Google queries and now needed to write a question in StackOverflow.

This evening I drove out to Lowes to get two long two-by-fours for fixing the fence behind the brick mansion on Downs Street. While there, I also wanted to get more plumbing bits and tools to fix and maintain the cabin's plumbing and keep on hand for the process of winterizing and de-winterizing. Generally that system is drainable if you know where to drain, but it can't (as I discovered) be relied on to self-siphon to a low tap near the well pressure tank. Additional draining must be done at the kickspace heaters (which had I anticipated) and at the cold water supply to the boiler's water heating system (which I hadn't). One further issue is the apparent built-in one-way valves built into the tops of the circulator pumps, which keeps hydronic fluid (which is now just water) from draining from taps located in pipes entering those pumps from the bottom. This caused ice-induced gasket failure at the connection between one of the pumps and the pipe carrying water up from it. This was fixable by unbolting and redoing the connection, but I might've just been lucky. In the future I want to be able to drain the pipes immediately above the pumps. To to that, I will need to add taps somewhere above the pumps, but these will only drain down to their level. To actually winterize the system using such taps, I will have to be able to introduce some sort of hose to suck the water out of the section of pipe between the proposed tap and the circulator pump. First, though, I need the taps. For this, I bought two 3/4 copper tees and two 3/4 inch ball valves. The ball valves will allow me to introduce some sort of suction hose. Of course, if Little John the Stoner Plumber had been less of a chucklehead and arranged the circulator pumps so that they pump horizontally, it would be a simple matter to drain the pipes leading away from them without resorting to some sort of suction device.
After I left Lowes, I drove across Frank Sottile Blvd., to the husk of the old Hudson Valley Mall. There aren't many functioning stores in it these days, but there's still a Target, which most people enter from its own doors instead of those leading into the mall. I have one of the huge beanbags from the Red Hook office in my laboratory functioning as a couch, but when I lie in it trying to watch a video playing on my computer, I need something like a pillow to prop up my head. There weren't any great pillows for this purpose, and all of them looked they they won't conceal dirt very well. But I bought a long one in hopes of doubling it up as needed. Somehow that alone was $30. In addition to that, I bought an Oxo "flavor injector," a syringe used to inject juices into meat. My plan is to use it instead to suck water out of the pipes in the cabin's heating system, solving the problem articulated in the preceding paragraph. The advantage of the flavor injector over a conventional turkey baster is that it accepts screw-on needles, which will make trying different kinds of suction hoses easier.

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