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").


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   electronics stores in Costa Rica
Thursday, February 9 2023

high up a hill just northwest of the center of Santa Teresa, Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica

I brought some powdered kratom with me to Costa Rica and drank my first cup of "tea" made by mixing it with hot water yesterday. Typically when I'm done drinking kratom tea for the day, I put it aside so I can continue drinking it the next day (often mixing in some fresh new kratom powder with the sludge from the day before). In the temperate climate of the Hudson Valley, one can expect the sludge not to have deteriorated much over night. But if one lets it sit over a weekend, particularly in the summer, the sludge will go "off," developing a characteristic flavor and a film on its surface. Here in the topics, I suspected this process would be accelerated. So last night I put a coffee mug of kratom tea in the freezer. Since I assumed the coffee mug's interior was cylindrical, I thought any expansion of freezing material would successfully push upwards and not crack it. but I was wrong; this morning I found the mug had split into two pieces with a crack as wide as three eighths of an inch across. I figured I could repair the cup to the point where it might not even be noticeably damaged if only I could find some superglue. April provided a pretty comprehensive (if extremely chaotic) junk drawer in our casita, though the only glue I found in it was epoxy, which I don't think is ideal for repairing broken ceramics whose pieces fit together perfectly.
Meanwhile in the remote workplace, Joe the Lead Developer seemed to be back to his normal demeanor, which wasn't surprising given that we all have bad days and good days but always revert back to whatever our mean happens to be even if our fortunes change dramatically. By the end of the workday he was chatting about making his own custom levels of Quake and I was telling him about the variants of the Flying Toaster screen saver that I would make using my own frames and audio clips. Some of these, I said, were not safe for work. But one of them was called "Flood in Redneckistan" and featured hillbillies on top of a trailer with their dogs and ATVs yelling "Hayulp, We're up here on this truller!" Joe responded, "I have to say, I admire and appreciate the depths of the person you are." It's always good to have a blooming bromance in the remote workplace.

Gretchen had ended her language school day at a restaurant with her teachers and fellow students and was surprised and delighted that everyone seemed to be eating vegetarian food at the worst; she'd been dreading having to share a meal with them, assuming there would be chunks of deceased animal on the table in front of her. When she returned to the casita, I decided to go out on my own to procure some supplies that might come in handy. I wanted some superglue to repair the coffee mug I'd broken, I wanted some actual booze (so far I'd only been drinking the beers provided by April and a small amount of gin I'd smuggled onto the airplane), and I wanted an HDMI cable so I could use the teevee in our bedroom as a monitor (my travel monitor is proving unreliable during the heat of the day, and its tiny size is also an issue). I'd done some research and determined that there is an electronics store on the far end of Santa Teresa, though I wasn't clear exactly what "electronics store" meant in Costa Rican culture. So I put on some sunscreen, packed Gretchen's wallet (which included a credit card with no foreign transaction fees) in her little backpack and set off down the hill. I cracked open a can of Imperial so I'd have something to drink on the way, and I'd finished it by the time I'd reached Calle Cóbano, the main drag.
It was still relatively early in the day, only a little after 4:00pm, and there wasn't too much activity on the main drag. But as I headed southeastward, the bustling gradually built up. Eventually I encountered a place where vehicles were backed up for hundreds of feet because a pickup truck had broken down in the street (its front driver's side wheel had snapped off, probably having encountered one pothole too many in a country rich with them).
Somewhere along the way, I encountered an electronics store that wasn't the one I'd set out for. I didn't notice at the time, but it belonged to the same chain of stores as the one I was seeking (Gollo). Inside, they were selling things like laptop computers and refrigerators. But when I asked in Spanglish whether they had HDMI cables, the guy said no and suggested I try a nearby super[market]. But I was on a mission, so I continued walking. I ducked into one super along the way just because it was the SuperMega and I assumed it would be bigger than all the other supers. But it actually had less stuff in it. When I got to an eastward-heading road called Carmen, I walked up it a short distance to the Gollo and went inside. But it was no bigger than the earlier Gollo I'd been in and looked to have the same collection of appliances and skinny little windows laptop computers. As at the other Gollo, they didn't have HDMI cables, though this time the guy suggested I try the hardware store next door. But by then it was closed.
So now began my long walk back through Santa Teresa. Along the way somewhere I found an unusually large super that had whole wings selling things other than food. At first I couldn't find the electronic section, but I did find some good looking corn chips and even orange juice and peanut butter that didn't have added sugar (I never want sugar added to anything). While I was looking for bottom-shelf liquor, I strayed into the back and some woman who spoke no English popped out and asked if she could help me. I had to spell out HDMI in Spanish (which I'm sure I did wrong) but she got the message, and actually found me a three meter cable, which had been locked well away in a cabinet. I never did find any bottom-shelf liquor, but that I'd been able to find an HDMI cable in such a remote part of the world was huge. I'll never forget driving all over the eastern Adirondacks trying to find a USB-A-to-USB-B cable and eventually giving up (you can be sure I now have several such cables in the Adirondack cabin!).
Further along, I ducked into another super, this time specifically to buy booze. But the booze selection in these supers isn't all that great. They don't stock a lot of cheap local booze, evidently because the BitCoin bros only buy the stuff they used to drink back at the frathouse. And the locally-produced booze is only 70 proof. I eventually settled on one of the cheapest litres of dark Costa Rican rum and even it cost about $18 (a little over 10,000 colónes). I also bought a single bottle of Imperial beer for what I knew would be the arduous walk up from the main drag to the casita.
Somehow I kept forgetting about superglue. But then suddenly I remembered, and from then on, I went into ever super I came upon (including the SuperRonny/Rony from last night) looking to see if they had superglue. They had various glues and even (in the small amount of shelf available) liquid gasket repair, but evidently superglue isn't the go-to glue in Costa Rica that it is in the United States.
I managed to pop open my beer on the hardware of a gate just above Osa, and that made the steep climb to the casita not really all that bad. As always, I immediately jumped into the pool on arriving, washing the dust out of my clothes and off my skin. (Santa Teresa is nothing if not dusty.)
Later I enjoyed a couple glasses of rum on the rocks. Meanwhile Gretchen was having a long discussion with a woman who wanted her to write a forward for a book.

We haven't seen a single monkey (or coatimundi) at the casita yet, though we have seen two species of squirrels. This is a variagated squirrel in a banana tree.

Hawks (black hawks?) doing some elaborate ærial display.

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