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:
   misgendered cat
Friday, April 22 2022

location: rural Hurley Township, Ulster County, NY

I showed my boss (the CTO) all the great stuff I'd built yesterday, and in response he asked me to build out a whole other editor. He really wanted to have a vague facsimile of it in time for a 11:00am meeting. So I said I'd see what I could do. In the available timeframe, I was able to build what the boss wanted. Because of a weird login bug, my boss couldn't demo the changes, so I was a guest at the meeting. It was with a group of older company executives, the kind of people who recommend business-idea podcasts to one another. My demo went great, making me feel confident in slacking a bit for the rest of the day. Even in this mode, though, I eventually fixed the weird login bug, which had been troubling me for weeks (and forced me to create a separate containerized development environment).
Last night Gretchen had imprisoned Celeste the Cat in the upstairs bathroom with a litter box containing a shallow layer of corn. The goal was to catch some of her urine. But the stress of imprisonment pissed her off so much that urinating was deprioritized. So then Gretchen kept her imprisoned in the master bedroom suite, with access to only the upstairs bathroom and bedroom. At some point overnight, Celeste finally pissed, and in so doing earned her freedom.
This afternoon, Gretchen took Celeste and Ramona to the vet. She wanted to get to the bottom of Celeste's weightloss and behavior from Ramona that suggests increasing joint pain. When Gretchen returned from the vet, she had two mind-blowing things to report. The most mind-blowing of these was that Celeste is actually a male cat, something we and several veterinarians never realized. That took awhile to sink in, mangling and mixing pronouns as we did so. (I had always thought Celeste's head was unusually large, which is a male cat thing.) The other mind-blowing thing was that the veterinarian suggested CBD oil (a cannabis product!) to treat Ramona's complaints.

Gretchen had been driving around in the Bolt without any regard for the fact that we would be driving up to the cabin this evening. While she was immersed in an unending phonecall with Dina, I plugged the car in a little before 4:30pm.

We left for the cabin a little after 5:00pm, and, because the car wasn't sufficiently charged, stopped at the Walmart in Albany to charge at the Electrify America station. Electricity is often free there, and it was today, perhaps because it was Earth Day. While waiting for the electrons to flow into our battery, we went into the Walmart to do a little grocery shopping. One of the things we wanted was a packet of some Indian food to eat with the injera Gretchen had thawed out to eat with the leftovers we'd brought from Washington. But the ethnic aisle in the Albany Walmart is shockingly limited, at least compared with, say, a Hannaford in Ulster County. There were no pre-packaged Indian meals at all, just a few sauces. What makes this even more depressing is the fact that the Albany demographic features a much higher percentage of Indians and Pakistanis than the demographic back in the Hudson Valley. One of the Walmart employees asked if I needed any help, and when I said I was looking for pre-packaged Indian food like "chana masala," he asked "marsala?" I then pointed out how strange it was that this Walmart has so little Indian food given all the Indians I see shopping there. He agreed that there were a lot of Indian shoppers, but had no explanation, offering just "I work here." This suggests to me that either local management is blind the to the needs of its customer demographics or Walmart itself is unwilling to meet their needs.
To burn yet more time, we walked down to TJ Maxx just to get a can opener that doesn't suck. Of course, we knew going in there that we'd be getting other things. Somehow we ended up spending nearly $90 buying the can opener and a few other things, such as a yoga mat and a set of pet steps carved out of a block of foam rubber (this was to help Ramona get up onto furniture in the cabin).
One last thing we tried to do was get fancy coffee-and-oatmilk drinks at the Dunkin inside the Walmart, but it was too late to get coffee drinks at that hour, so we left empty handed.
As we climbed the Adirondack escarpment towards the cabin, we saw more and more snow piled on the side of the road. Initially we'd assumed this was old snow leftover from the winter. But as we climbed in elevation, the snow seemed to be covering a greater and greater fraction of available surfaces and looked alarmingly fresh. Clearly this was from a recent snow, as none of this had been there when we'd come up two weeks ago. Fortunately Woodworth Lake Road and our driveway had been plowed, so we could drive to the cabin without problems even in the Bolt. But the land was covered with a dense slushy layer of snow measuring one to two inches deep. There was also a pile of snow on the deck in front of our door that I had to shovel out of the way.
But there's always something truly distressing evident whenever we go to the cabin, and this time was no different. For some reason, the goddamn generator was running when we arrived; who could say how long that had been on for? And there was nothing useful it could've been doing by being on, as the boiler has been off and what little in the cabin had been left on could easily be powered by the solar panels and battery.
I quickly figured out why the generator was on. I'd left the thermostat control at a setting to turn the generator on whenever the temperature fell to about 45 degrees, a condition that had probably existed for most of the last two weeks. And, since the boiler had been off, running the generator hadn't raised the temperature in the cabin enough to flip the thermostat and turn off the generator. So it had just kept running and running. What a terrible waste of propane! When I checked the gauge on the propane tank, I saw that the 150 gallons that had been in it was now down to nearly zero. But that's actually less of a problem than you might think. We're nearly out of the heating season and can do what little heating we need to with the woodstove. And we don't need to power the generator given all the available sunlight. So all we need propane for is the run the stove, heat water (whenever that gets fixed; it's still broken) and run the clothes dryer. Given how horrible Ferrellgas has been, we're in the process of changing propane companies, and we need the tank to be empty when the switch happens. So it's actually kind of good that nearly all of that propane burned away, even if it is a horrible cringe-inducing waste.
The presence of snow on the ground meant I could enjoy a Stranded Loon, the drink I invented at the cabin. It's a cup full of snow into which whiskey is poured. This is particularly convenient when the refrigerator has been off and there is no ice to put in the whiskey.

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