Monthly Archives: December 2023

greywater all-stars

I think a lot about water.

Our sewer system stopped working properly. A few weeks ago we had a major rainstorm, and something about the 50-year-old system gave in. (We suspect it’s because a neighborhood of houses were built on top of it.) Long story short, we can bring in as much water as we want, but we have to be very careful about how much we emit. Ahem.

So I’ve been carrying a lot of water lately. K worked out a manual system for greywater recycling – one of the benefits of having a big property with trees and zones and such – and it keeps us going while the sewer gets repaired. But even a short shower is a lot of water to schlep. A lot. Every extra minute is something I’m going to feel later.

I often think of a Lunar visit like a camping trip, and I imagine others do too. You do without, you make do with limited supplies, you put up with the extra time it takes to clean anything, to cook anything, to carry water. You rely more on disposable things, bags of trash and waste. But what happens after a week of that, when you need to live there permanently? How do we get from camping trip to sustainable, without shifting to use even more water? And where does all that water go?

K and I actually talked about greywater systems when we first bought this house. It seems so logical: rather than lumping all this water in with the sewage, give it a (relatively) quick rehabilitation and use it to keep all those trees happy. But like the geothermal heat pump (so logical), the solar panels (still logical), the battery backup, the drip irrigation system… the actual project to build the thing gets mired in planning, financing, hiring capable people, and interfacing with 50-year-old systems. (OK, the drip irrigation wasn’t that complicated. Still enough work to last the entire summer.) I get so excited about the idea and the design, but the execution just makes me tired.

So for now I carry water. And think about it. A lot.



Time to fix the blog

Hello again, friends.

This site is the default page on my phone, so if you were tired of looking at a headline about Twitter when you visited here, rest assured I was feeling it every single day. I actually have had a post (title only) sitting in drafts for over a year, titled “a requiem for twitter”. I won’t be writing about that today, because we’re all tired of that place.

Instead, let’s get an early start on getting a new start. It’s the day after Solstice, which is either midwinter or the start of the new year (depending on how you do calendars). Time to dust off this site and get writing again.

Do I have a topic? Nah. You get a ramble today. I have a dozen different things on my mind, and perhaps the trouble comes from waiting for them to be fully-formed. The last thing I wrote here was before all this *waves hands*, and it’s weird that all those thoughts I had since about covid, working from home, working from work again during the apocalypse… all went unremarked here.

Am I writing because of Substack? Perhaps. Catching up on Mastodon today I discovered that they’re the new Main Character, for saying out loud the quiet parts about taking white supremacy money because they’re colorblind. The hypocrisy is transparent, in a way that’s becoming too common. We’re A because we’re committed to B. We’re B because we’re committed to not being A. If we say it in GPT-approved prose it sounds good enough, right?

So am I writing because of GPT? Maybe. I’m a technology fan and I want talking computers more than folks might realize, but something about the milk-toast marketing garbage that comes out of text generators bugs me right down to the nervous system. Seriously, my spine aches and my head hurts when you include those paragraphs that GenAI spat out, like blurry JPEG artifacts in a family photo or autotune in an aria. I don’t want it. It makes me want to write something from the heart, idiosyncratic and dumb and ultimately meaningful. (Doesn’t help that my style is already too stiff. Seriously, this is an unedited first draft. Imagine thinking thoughts like this in your head. It’s like an NPR podcast in here.)

So why am I writing? To reach out to you, dear reader. This’ll pass through a thousand mechanical apparatuses to reach you, but I hope it finds you. Well. Any time it does, and especially if you can find a way to reach back, on Slack or Mastodon or Discord or a postcard or just saying hi on the street or in the hallway, then I think it’s worth the time. Time to start again.

Happy Solstice, everyone.