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:
   Asian jumping worms
Wednesday, June 19 2024
This morning before she headed off for work, Gretchen was weeding or whatever in the garden when she completely lost her shit, shrieking in what sounded like existential despair about something. I've long been accustomed to her overwrought displays of emotion and generally discount them automatically, but it was as if she'd found Charlotte's lifeless body. The thing she was reacting to in this case was a humble earthworm. Our garden is full of such worms, but the presence of this particular species of worm was apparently a tragedy at the level of Donald Trump winning the 2024 presidential election. She showed me the worm, which didn't look unusual to me, and claimed that it was an invasive Asian earthworm that is supposedly destroying soil all over the East Coast. She said that the worm, whom she'd just learned about from a new neighbor on Lorenz Road, has a telltale jumping behavior and that they tend to thrash around when uncovered. She also said they are darker and perhaps shinier than regular earthworms. She went on to say that they destroy the soil and outcompete more beneficial soil inhabitants. To me, this all seemed like a colossal overreaction. As bad as a worm could be, there's really no way for any creature to "destroy" soil nutrients unless they somehow packaged it up and sent it away on a space ship. (Gretchen read something about how their castings have characteristics that render them more likely to be carried away by erosion, but that's not a problem in a raised bed garden.) Furthermore, these worms are native to somewhere and people aren't slashing their wrists about them. Perhaps their presence in our garden isn't ideal, but there's nothing much anyone can do to eliminate worms from soil without inflicting horrendous damage upon it. My thinking was that they're like gypsy moths or emerald ash borers, just one more exotic taking up residence in the pan-global ecosystem along with the english sparrows, norway rats, and humans. I told Gretchen that I doubted the worms are anywhere near as bad as her reaction suggested, and that she should bring a little skepticism to things told to her by some random person she'd just met (in this case, the new neighbor). I also jokingly referred to the worm as "the Mexican jumping worm." My reaction irritated her, because it seemed to be typical of my dismissive behavior towards things she and others say. She later tracked down and sent me an article about the worm, which I admit that I never bothered to read. But knowing about an invasive worm is unlikely to change my behavior much, since (as I said), there's nothing much one can do about worms once they're living in your soil.

Today I continued working on my version of Spelling Bee with something approaching a manic level of focus. I took a recreational 150 mg dose of pseudoephedrine at some point, but the mania was there before it even kicked in. I could tell I had great focus because I couldn't even be bothered to curate the videos YouTube's algorithm had queued up for me, even though finding something better would've been a trivial distraction. My big push today was to build a backend for the game so I could save my gameplay and resume games started on one device using another. Since I come from the world of multiuser web applications, I naturally made my version multiuser. Not only that, but the mechanism for storing game state (a text column containing a JSON object) is infinitely flexible can could be used for storing the state of pretty much any game. By late this afternoon, I had the backend working nicely and could turn my attention to cleaning up the design and adding features like a way to switch between showing a list of found words by the order found and alphabetically (that's something I've wanted on the New York Times' version of the game, but it's one they do not provide).
The day had been very hot and muggy, and I'd spent most of it in the air-conditioned comfort of the laboratory (once you install a mini-split, it's hard not to use the cooling function in weather like this). Fairly late in the day, though, I took the dogs for a walk up the Farm Road, though Neville bailed on me very quickly.

A screengrab from my version of Spelling Bee as it looked today. Click to enlarge.

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