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:
   glue stuck to the sides of my fingers
Sunday, November 6 2022

location: 800 feet west of Woodworth Lake, Fulton County, NY

I awoke at around 1:30am (EST!) this morning with what felt like a cigarette burn below my right armpit. I went to check it in the mirror and sure enough there was a dark red wound with tick in the middle of it, still hanging on and not visibly swollen. Since there are few or no ticks in the Adirondacks, this one had probably attached itself back in Hurley. I managed to get it off and into the drain, though the injury will probably take awhile to heal. I don't know what it is about some tick bites that cause such disproportionate injury to the place where they bite (even though the actual process of biting isn't even felt).
Another unexpected injury had happened to my right thumb, which felt sprained and hurt every time I moved it. The only thing I could think of that I might've done to it was to accidentally get it caught in the waistband or a pocket of my shorts yesterday when I went to toss a shovel full of sandy soil. I remember doing that and it being painful. But then it had immediately recovered, as small injuries do. But I know from experience that thumbs have their own timelines when it comes to healing.
I discovered some ambien in the downstairs medicine cabinet, so I took one and then poked around on Facebook for awhile on the couch, waiting for it to kick in. As always happens when I go out to the couch, eventually Ramona came out and joined me.

This morning I drank some coffee, ate some leftover noodles, and immediately went back to the basement insulation project. This morning my first task was to insulate some of the slab that is exposed to outside air at the bottom of the outdoor stairs below the Bilco doors. Insulating buildings requires an attention to detail, and this detail had recently occurred to me. If that little four foot by two foot patch of slab is allowed to languish in frigid winter air, it will pull heat out of the adjacent parts of the slab within the basement walls. My solution was to cover it with a piece of 3/4 inch styrofoam and then cover that with a pair of old rubber kitchen mats. Since styrofoam and foam rubber have an R-value of about 5 per inch, this likely insulated that part of the slab with an R-value of 6 or 7. Another detail I took care of was to inject some spray foam in the gap between the concrete walls and the sides of the wooden stairs rising up to the Bilco doors. This would help to trap a pocket of air under those stairs and keep that whole prism-shaped space isolated from winter air.
While I was filling in cracks around the styrofoam installed yesterday, the damn spray foam can was leaking foam from the base of the tube, getting it all over my right hand. So I ended up spending a fair amount of time afterwards scraping it off with a knife, since it dries almost instantaneously in small quantities. I hate having bits of glue stuck to the sides of my fingers abraiding other fingers as I do things with my hands.
Then I spent yet more time further improving the erosion prevention measures I'd obsessed about yesterday.

The time had changed to Eastern Standard Time overnight, meaning it would get dark at around 5:00pm. I wanted to be back in Hurley by then. So I cleaned up the cabin and left before 3:00pm so I'd have time to charge at the Electrify American charging station in the Walmart parking lot in Albany. (There had only been enough sun this weekend to put about 30 miles of range in the Bolt's battery, only getting it to 112 miles, which was insufficient to comfortably make it back to Hurley.)
After plugging in at that charging station, I took the dogs for their usual off-leash walk around the parking lot. Then I put them in the car and walked over to Home Depot (more than a quarter mile away) to buy more foam panel adhesive and a couple supplies to help me illuminate the trench along the cabin's east foundation wall (which, being under the decks, is shrouded by gloom even on a sunny day).

Back in Hurley, it was very warm and so freakishly humid that the house stunk of mildew even in places that had never been damp (such as the teevee room). Gretchen suggested maybe going out for Chinese food, and that sounded fun to me. I decided to take a shower and cut off my facial hair (which I'd been letting grow for more than two weeks). It was about 3/8 inch long and starting to really irritate me. It made me wonder how people can live happily with beards. Gretchen hadn't been a fan either. So I took a nice hot shower and, with some effort, managed to shave my face completely using Gretchen's moderately-dull razor, the one she uses on her legs and armpits (at least in the warm weather).
Gretchen's idea was to dine at Asia, a restaurant we hadn't much liked when we'd tried it once before over three years ago (on Nancy's recommendation, which one should never follow). But we always give restaurants second chances, though usually after they've had some years to figure things out on their own. When we arrived tonight, there were only a few tables occupied by diners, and all the staff were were light-blue surgical masks. (Oh right, the pandemic is still ongoing!) We sat near table of two men and a person of indeterminate gender who spoke so quietly among themselves that Gretchen remarked on it. I ordered a shitake & avocado sushi roll and the spicy Korean vegetables with soft tofu. The first was excellent and the second was good enough that I'd order it again (and it really was spicy). Gretchen ordered a more conventional Chinese dish that came with a lot of vegetables she doesn't like (sweet peppers, zuchini, and undercooked mushrooms), so she kept giving them to me. I also ordered a drink called a saketini, which was supposedly made of sake and gin, but it tasted to me like it contained sake and water. I wouldn't order that again. Overall, though, the experience was good enough that we probably won't wait three years before coming back. Somewhere along the way, perhaps on the drive, Gretchen asked how work was going these days, and I said it was back to being horrible, what with the nasty ArcGIS task that was dumped on me. She was angry on my behalf, but I assured her it wouldn't be a big deal. Other topics we discussed included how the various celebrities treat Gretchen when they see her in the bookstore. I specifically mean the celebrities who actually know her as a bookseller there, people like Neil Gaiman and Uma Thurman. Some are mildly full of themselves and vaguely narcissistic, but others are down to earth and seemingly genuine, relieved not to have to be a celebrity all the time. (Gretchen insists that she treats these people as she would treat anyone else.) I should mention that I delight in referring to Neil Gaiman as "Neil deGrasse Gaiman."

A small Christmas-tree-like red spruce near the northwest corner of the cabin grounds. It looks like something someone might've planted, but it's a wild tree and a common native evergreen of the Adirondacks, particularly in the higher, colder parts to the north. Click to enlarge.

Late in the season, lambsquarters loses its leaves, leaving bright purple stems. Maybe this only happens in the Adirondacks. Click to enlarge.

The two sheets of styrofoam installed under the porch along the cabin's east basement wall. We're looking south.

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