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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Like my brownhouse:
   the forces on a one-arm toilet paper roll holder
Thursday, February 8 2024
I did a bunch of small chores today, starting with the installation of a toilet paper roll holder in the upstairs bathroom. The new toilet paper roll holder was made entirely with half inch black iron pipe, fittings, and a compatible flange. I'd actually assembled two of them last night so that I could bolt the two flanges together and then use the arms (the parts that go through the roll of toilet paper) as levers to tighten them as tight as possible so that normal forces won't cause the arms to torque (within their threaded NPT connections) out of level. The toilet paper roll holder it was replacing was a sleek stainless steel one Gretchen had selected soon after we first moved into the house (and rendered the upstairs inhabitable). It had a similar one-arm design to the one I'd just built with iron pipe, though the connections were weak and depended on a not-very-dependable set screw. I'd tried many times to make it work, but normal forces acting on that arm were enough to eventually make it go out of level or fall off the wall completely. Unfortunately, the base the old one had been sitting on was attached to the tile wall with drywall anchors, which I tend to avoid for mounting just about everything. So unless I wanted to leave some exposed holes through the tile, I was going to have to reuse that mounting point. Fortunately, though, the flange of the new pipe-based toilet paper holder has mounting screws 2.125 inches apart, which provides substantial mounting leverage (that is, the ability to fight the torque of forces acting on the arm) even when mounted with insipid drywall anchors.
The plan was to install the second iron toilet paper holder in the middle bathroom in the basement, the one that I used to take baths in and that Powerful then used to take care of his bathroom needs. There had been a two-arm toilet paper roll holder in there, but one of the arms had fallen off and gone missing. But I managed to find the arm and reattach it, so I'm left with an extra iron toilet paper roll holder. (Two-armed toilet paper roll holders of a given material are much sturdier than the one-armed kind, so I'm fine keeping things as they were down there.)
Another chore I did was to begin wrapping the outside refrigerant pipes for the new split with a special tape designed to protect the insulation from radiation. I was thinking I would have to rig up some sort of system form covering the pipes, but it's so tidy and organized with just the tape that I can probably leave it this way.

This afternoon Gretchen loaded up the dogs and then drove across the Hudson to pick up her childhood friend Andrea from the Rhinecliff train station. (Andrea still lives in Washington, DC.) Gretchen and Andrea did a number of things over on the east side of the fjord, including getting falafel sandwiches, one of which she brought home for me.
I haven't been as dedicated to stoking the woodstove since the first floor mini-split became operational, but today with Andrea visiting, I kept it running hot, and by this evening it was 75 degrees in the living room. I hung out for a long time with Gretchen and Andrea after they got back from walking the dogs (which included Neville, since he will go for walks if we have guests going on them). Eventually, though, I broke away so I could do more work wrapping the outdoor refrigerant pipes. Part of this was to avoid listening to a detailed description Andrea was giving of a dubious-sounding vaginal rejuvenation procedure. Andrea is a great person, but her insufficient skepticism has been a constant source of setbacks in her life. [REDACTED]

This evening, the three of us watched the first episode of the fourth season of True Detective, which I'd just downloaded using Bittorrent. Gretchen really loved it, but I wasn't really that into it, something I can easily determine by the close attention I am paying to how much of the episode is left for me to watch. This season's episodes are set at a research station in the desolate arctic wilderness of Alaska's north slope. For all the cold, somehow Alaska manages to be "just more of the South," something I said out loud when I heard one of the characters listening to twangy country music on a radio.
After that, we all watched the first episode of Dahmer — Monster, a multi-part true crime story about one Wisconsin's better-known serial killers. I didn't know there would be enough material about Dahmer to make a whole season of golden-age television, but the first episode was great and definitely more entertaining than the episode of True Detective I'd just watched.

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