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:
   good day at the Tibetan Center thrift store
Wednesday, March 23 2022
My colleagues in this new remote workplace regularly exhibit behaviors that initially had me feeling that things would be a bit uptight in a way that the Red Hook office never was. Into Teams (the seemingly-deiberately un-Googleable Microsoft app) they all type "morning" beginning at about 8:00am every morning, and then there are all the Agile-culture scrums and planning meetings. There's also a lunchtime culture that seems to be that we all get an hour off between the hours of noon and 1:00pm. I had some retail needs today, so, in keeping with this culture, I went off to do them at little after noon.
My first stop was the Uptown Hannaford, where I returned some cans for deposit money (the machine failed to read about 20% of my Hazy Little Thing cans, which was a little high). Then I did some shopping, getting three boxes of store-brand hundred-count boxes of bags of black tea, a head of cauliflower, a similar amount of broccoli, two pints of vegan Ben & Jerrys, a half gallon of Mr & Mrs. T Bold and Spicy Bloody Mary Mix, and a twelver of Hazy Little Thing. I noticed that mask use in the Hannaford is down to about 25%, but I'm still wearing mine. (Coronavirus infection rates are creeping back up again in Ulster County, and wearing a mask is easy.)
I then went to Herzogs, mostly to get 3/4 inch copper T-fittings, since the ones I'd bought yesterday at Lowes turned out to be the crimp kind that include rubber gaskets, a technology I don't use and don't (at least yet) believe in. While there, I also got a four pack of rechargeable nickel metal hydride AAA batteries, which have been impossible to find at the big box stores. I've kind of soured on such batteries, since they don't seem to last very long. I've stopped trying to use them in flashlights, for example. But they're still useful in wireless landline handsets, which our house has lots of.
Yesterday I'd tried to go to the Tibetan Center thrift store a little after 5:00pm and found it closed. So I went there again today after doing my shopping in Uptown. I'm often disappointed by the Tibetan Center thrift store, but not today. I found it full of unexpected treasures. Things started off great when I found a Linksys WRT-54G WIFI router priced at $2 (true, it was a reduced-RAM/reduced-storage version 5.0, but it still takes DD-WRT firmware). Soon thereafter, I discovered another treasure: a tackle box full of electronic odds and ends (mostly banana plugs, banana jacks, alligator clips, clip-on wires, a box of vintage resistors, two solderless breadboards, and a 741 op-amp). And then I found some kind of harp with cyrillic writing on it priced at just $8. Leaning nearby was a chimney scraping system featuring four four-foot fibreglass poles and a wire brush. I gathered all of these things up in my arms. Then, in the back, I found a little Lego fork lift featuring pneumatic tubes and what I would later learn was a little air pump. It also featured a rack & pinions steering system. That only added a dollar to my expenses when I rang it all up (the total was $45.90).
To get around, I was in Powerful's Prius, and on the way back home I was listening to the Woodstock radio station WDST, which was lucky for me, because they played an amazing song. It was "Medicine" by a band called Momma. It had a core riff that limped along like nothing I'd never heard before. It was both absurdly primitive and gloriously innovative. I later searched for the band on YouTube and found that "Medicine" isn't their only amazing song, another one I love is "Apollo." This band is so great that they might just change my life. It's life-affirming to make such a discovery so soon after experiencing minute-by-minute fear of apocalypse.

This evening I was a little delayed from my usual Wednesday pattern of preparing dinner by last-minute Taxinator bugs. But then I made spaghetti, cooking both broccoli and cauliflower with the noodles and making a stir-fry of mushrooms, onions, and tempeh to chonkify the red sauce.
Gretchen and I have been watching The Dropout, a dramatization of the Elizabeth Holmes scandal. Tonight we watched the second episode, and I found it a little better than the first. I'm finding Amanda Seyfried, the actress playing Elizabeth Holmes, a little unconvincing; she's too pixielike. She sort of does the fake deep voice thing, but not quite, and not quite fake enough. Also, Gretchen had been finding the Holmes character sympathetic until she fired her long-suffering personal assistant, which I hadn't been. But then again, I know too much about Elizabeth Holmes to ever feel anything about her but contempt.

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