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:
   undewinterized cabin shutdown
Saturday, December 16 2023

location: 940 feet west of Woodworth Lake, Fulton County, NY

I'd hoped the two nuggets of cannabis I'd eaten last night would constrain my drinking, but I never really felt it kick in and I ended up drinking far too much booze. I got up this morning to piss in a large plastic peanut jar (since I cannot use any of the winterized toilets without de-winterizing them) and I felt a wave of nausea pass over me that left me in a cold sweat with my head pounding by the time I returned to bed. I could feel discomfort in my intestines, though it never pesisted in any place for long and seemed to go away every time I farted.
I ended up staying in bed later than usual, even after I'd fed the dogs and given them their pills. Somewhat surprisingly, I felt better after drinking a french press of coffee, though I was comfiest in bed, perhaps due to the fact that temperatures in the cabin had dropped into the upper 40s Fahrenheit overnight. Meanwhile, the weather outside felt almost balmy, and Charlotte kept finding things to do on her own out there.
I'd been pissing (and spitting, since I still hawk up covid loogies) into a large plastic jar. But today when I felt the need to poop, I had to go do it somewhere outside. Charlotte followed out to the lookout rocks a couple hundred feet west of the cabin, and to keep her from immediately eating my feces, I steadied myself against a tree and squirted my turds off the cliff. Since it wasn't obvious how to get down that cliff, all Charlotte could do was sniff around while I used wet leaves and snow to wipe my ass. Somewhat later, I then cleaned up a bunch of nasty vomit that Charlotte had puked into the backseat of the Forester. It wasn't easy to clean up without access to lots of running water, though snow definitely helped.
Eventually I had a good fire going in the woodstove and then went up into the loft to do the main thing I'd come to the cabin to do: fixing the homebrew watchdog for the cellular hotspot. This is a circuit that pings a web address periodically, and if it fails, it reboots the hotspot by bridging two pads on its circuit board using a relay. This circuit is build around an ESP8266-based NodeMCU and had been fairly reliable. But last winter something happened to its firmware causing it to no longer behave correctly, a problem that was fixed by reflashing that firmware (which is C++ software I wrote running in an Arduino framework). I figured something similar had happened, causing it not to work. So I simply reflashed it. In doing this and watching it behave, I realized there were some annoyances about how it worked that I wanted to fix. I decided to simplify the rebootMoxee() function so that it toggled the power button only once, counting on subsequent tests to determine whether the Moxee hotspot was stuck in an infuritatingly useless mode where it only shows a battery icon. In a series of tests, though, the NodeMCU seemed unreliable, so I wondered if I should try swapping it with another one. I also tweaked some of the parameters. In the end, the new NodeMCU was, if anything, less reliable. But it was reliable enough. For monitoring the cabin remotely, I don't really need a particularly reliable internet connection. I just need one that, on the occasions when it craps out, it is able to heal itself. That was the whole reason for the hotspot watchdog, since the Moxee Hotspot is engineered to require human intervention to get working (this was probably a necessity to get it approved for use on the Cricket wireless network, since occasional crapouts make sure that there is less data to transmit than would otherwise be the case).
In the midst of working on that project, I baked a frozen pizza that I'd covered with slices of fresh mushroom. As I hadn't eaten anything at all yet today, I was by then ravenously hungry.
I did a couple little tasks in the basement, mostly draining the heatpump-based hot water heater so I don't have to worry about it should basement temperatures fall below freezing. Similarly, I drained the water out of the two kickspace heaters that heat the basement, since they're unlikely to survive a freezing event full of water. I also investigated the running of the cold water pipe from the well pressure tank to see how easy it would be to make a simple easy-to-winterize setup for visits in the winter that would allow me to maybe use the downstairs toilet and perhaps even the kitchen sink. I'd have to install valves to isolate these things from the rest of the plumbing system so I could quickly get them working and then just as quickly re-winterize them.
After that, though, I had nothing I needed to accomplish at the cabin. So I ran the well pump to get water into a bucket, which I then used to wash the dishes I'd dirtied. I also dumped out the grounds in the french press, something I'd forgotten to do before leaving the cabin last time. I then packed up all the perishable, made the bed, and prepared to leave the cabin.
Had I been with Ramona and Neville, we would've quickly been on the road, me sipping the last of a beer I'd started shortly before leaving. But Charlotte is a fucking weirdo, and when I told her and Neville we had to get in the car and go for a ride, she freaked out (probably remembering all the traumatic times I'd had to force her into a vehicle at the cabin). She trotted off up the slope, and westward into the woods and then along the top of the lookout rocks until she disappeared. I didn't see her again for at least a half hour. Neville, who had cooperatively hopped into the Forester's passenger seat, eventually became bored and cold and came back into the cabin, where I was sipping a beer in hopes of taking the edge off my hangover. Eventually Charlotte made an appearance on the east deck, but when I tried to encourage her to come in, she was suspicious and disappeared again.
The sun was going down and I didn't want to have to drive all the way back to Hurely in the dark. So I hiked down the driveway until I was well within sight of Ibrahim's A-frame, and there was Charlotte trotting up towards me. I said nothing but kind words to her, and she became less suspicious. Eventually I got her to come into the cabin, where I barricaded the dog door. She was too nervous to hang out in the living room with Neville and retreated upstairs to the beanbag in the loft. So I carried Neville up the stairs so he could join her, which would allow me to get near enough to attach a leash to Charlotte's collar. As I did so, she was trembling from anxiety. Knowing she would try to break free if I tired to walk her down the steps, I scooped her up in my arms and carried her, telling Neville we were getting in the car. This worked pretty well and Charlotte only began thrashing as I about to put in her the Forester's backseat. But Neville was just then getting in too, so she quickly accepted that this was how things were going to be. She panted heavily at times on the ride home, but she never vomited.
The drive back to Hurley via the scenic route was fairly uneventful. A state trooper followed me for something like six miles from just south of Fultonville nearly all the way to Charleston, and I felt like he was looking for any opportunity to pull me over, since there were places he could've passed me and did not. I kept my speed to no more than five miles over the speed limit, being careful to slow down to 35 mph as I drove through Glen. I also tried to stay within the lines and I didn't do any fidgeting in the car. There were a couple empty beer cans I might have to explain, but they were empty. Eventually, though, the trooper turned off of 30A and disappeared, and I could continue driving in peace. It was dark by the time I reached Middleburgh at around 5:00pm, and I was back in Hurley a little after 6:00. Normally I would've cracked open a road beer in Cairo, but it was Saturday evening and I figured I stood a good chance of getting pulled over. Indeed, Gretchen had been pulled over for speeding on Thursday night while driving Route 23 westbound out of Catskill. The cop had let her off without a ticket once he decided she wasn't drunk (though Gretchen actually had drunk a glass of wine).
Meanwhile, Gretchen had made a creamy kale stew with noodles, and it tasted a lot better than it looked.

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