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:
   tornado damage tour
Thursday, August 11 2022
I'm a pretty good (if lazy and often unmotivated) software developer, though I'm often in jobs that are a bit of a stretch for the skills I happen to have. Somehow, nearly four years ago, I lucked into a job in a Microsoft shop with mostly non-Microsoft skills, having worked chiefly on a Linux web stack for the previous decade. As it happened, my tasks in that job largely kept me from having to do much C# development in VisualStudio, so I didn't pick up many VisualStudio skills. And then, seven months ago, my job was transferred to a company in the corporate archipelago based near Boston. There was no interview process; I was simply reassigned. The assumption was that I would immediately be useful with the skills I had. As it turned out, this was true, but only because I had the skill of being a fast learner, and I was assigned to work on technology that nobody in this company was familiar with (including me). In the process of working on that stuff, I had to use VisualStudio, and my skills in it improved. I grew to appreciate some of the things I used to find distracting and annoying, such as the various context bubbles that would popup. But I mostly just used it as a text editor, since that's really all I need to do software development. For debugging, I just write to console (or, in some cases, a database or a text file), and that's always worked great. So I never learned the ins and outs of, for example, setting breakpoints. This came up once in the past when I was doing a screen share with my recent boss (who left at the beginning of July), and I showed my ignorance of breakpoints then. But it was no big deal (even if it felt at the time as if I was being revealed as an impostor).
This all happened again today when I was having trouble figuring out why a certain feature kept throwing a System.NullReference exception. This time I shared my screen with Joe, the lead developer. This time I'd actually been experimenting with breakpoints beforehand and had a better sense of how they worked. But not enough to know that the breakpoint line is the first one not run by the code when it is broken (I thought the break happened after the line). When I revealed this ignorance, Joe asked if I hadn't used VisualStudio very much, and I admitted I hadn't, and felt a little like an impostor again. But in the end it didn't seem to be any big deal. And I actually felt proud of myself for how I handled the situation [REDACTED].

This evening after work, I went on a walk with my camera through the woods, starting at the bottom of the Chamomile Headwaters Trail and then cutting over to the Stick Trail, following (as best I could) the line of damage from one or more tornados that passed through back in mid July (causing enormous damage as they crossed Dug Hill Road near its intersection with Hurley Mountain Road). There were a series of trees that had been snapped off about 20 feet above the ground. Some of these had pre-existing internal damage, but others looked sound.

This evening Gretchen was planning to do some cooking and baking in preparation for the first-ever visit of my cousin Deidre. But after spending a day socializing with her new friend Lynne, Gretchen wanted to climb into bed and didn't have any motivation to get up. "Am I turning into my mother?" she asked (her mother has chronic pain and fatigue issues that she blames on fibromyalgia). But when she took her temperature, it was 100.2 Fahrenheit, which qualifies as definite (if low) fever. (To test the equipment, I took my temperature immediately afterwards with the same device, which takes a reading by placing a sensor in the ear canal, and it was 98.4.) That level of fever seemed to me to be all the explanation need for Gretchen's lethargy. Now the question was, what was wrong with her? Covid is still sloshing back and forth through the population, so that was the first suspect. So Gretchen took a rapid test, and the results were negative. But those tests are notorious for false negatives, so I elected to sleep in the greenhouse tonight.
Meanwhile, Gretchen eventually recovered her motivation and was able to make pesto, muffins, and perhaps other things.

A sunflower with a bumble bee in the garden.

It's been too dry for mushrooms but here in the Farm Road I found some puffballs.

A white pine broken off by a tornado.

A tree broken off by a tornado.

The stone wall I built several years ago near the Stick Trail. Click to enlarge.

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