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:
   turns out the varmints are rats
Thursday, August 31 2023

location: rural Hurley Township, Ulster County, NY

I fretted all day about a second technical interview for that Node.JS job at a big corporate consultancy. My fretting led me to try to get up to speed on issues that I didn't feel like I knew enough about. I also tracked down some files with good examples in them that I could use as cheat sheets. The interview happened at 3:00pm, while Gretchen was off at the Hurley vet getting their opinion about the seemingly-incurable "hot spot" on Lester's left wrist. I'll cut to the chase and spoil it for you: the interview didn't go well. I was asked to modify (live, while the interviewer watched) a hollowed-out Node.JS project to add some endpoints for looking up data from a JSON feed. I was able to do that, and even managed to improve my code as I worked by making the search it was doing completely generic. But the collaborative site the interviewer had me using wasn't allowing me to login, which I was able to work around, though every time I clicked off of it (to do quick Google searches or look at one of my cheat sheet files), it showed that I had done this, which started making me anxious. Then, when the interviewer (who had a fairly strong south-Asian accent) asked me to add features like authentication, I started to choke, since I don't keep that sort of thing in my head. I explained this to the interviewer, which is something I shouldn't be embarrassed about, but I was nevertheless. He asked how I begin a project, and I explained (truthfully) that I find an online example using the latest techniques and modify it to suit the purpose. He then proceeded to quiz me about my Javascript knowledge, asking me some of the questions I'd been asked in the last interview. I was feeling so defeated that I ansered, but without any enthusiasm. Despite the fact that my interviewer wasn't showing video of himself, I had allowed my video to run, and when flipping between screens, I caught sight of myself manically rolling a ball of Oscar's fur between my palms as form of stress relief.
At the end of the interview, I went downstairs and told Gretchen that I didn't think the interview had gone very well. She said that was fine, that that particular job had served its purpose by giving me some hope when no other job had been doing so, though now other recruiters are finally showing interest. This was true. I decided to retreat from my job hunt for the long Labor Day weekend and lick my wounds until I felt better. "Let's go to the cabin!" I exclaimed, and she said okay. I then fetched a beer from the refrigerator, which I drank as I drove Gretchen and the dogs northward up the Thruway.
I had to stop twice on the two hour drive to piss, neither at a convenient spot. One was on the shoulder of the Thruway somewhere around milepost 157 or so, and the other was on a wide gravel swath on the side of State Route 67. Normally I can get by on just one piss on the drive to the cabin (and none at all on the drive back), but I'd been stress-drinking tea all afternoon.
There was a little daylight left by the time we reached the cabin, so I went out in front and did some prep work for what would be the fifth sheet of styrofoam to be installed on the cabin's south foundation wall. Meanwhile Gretchen was making that pizza crust I'd made lastnight into a delicious pizza, half of it a "meatlover's" (for me) covered nearly completely with slices of vegan sausage. It was delicious, but our pizza experience was quickly rendered less pleasant than it otherwise would've been by our tenant at the Brewster Street rental sending Gretchen a message saying she'd just seen a rat in the kitchen. Evidently, then, it is rats who are the creatures excavating the tunnels up through the house's basement slab. I had Gretchen message the tenants back to say that they should make the tiny cat door (in the door to the basement) so that it operates in only one direction (that is, towards the basement) so that any rats trying to escape the house get into the basement but cannot return. It's possible the rats have other ways to access the non-basement part of the house, but I can't think of any. I'd had plans of perhaps letting Gretchen leave me at the cabin all week long when she returned to Hurley on Monday, but clearly now I was going to have to return and make sealing up the rat tunnels in the basement a high priority.


Herbie the treefrog, in our mailbox. I happened to bring a camera today when I checked the mail.

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