The Physical Manifestation in Spacetime of the HHHH

The HHHH actually is a house. We didn't just choose the name arbitrarily, you know. (Well, ok, so we did. Or rather, Wim did and then we all agreed on it. but the Happy Hopeless Hacker House really is a house. [Actually, I like to think of us as, like, The House of Usher, you know. -Wim]) It's a funky old house. [No disco ball, though. -W] my best guess is that it was built circa 1945 or 1950 or so, but hey, I'm no architect.

The house has, well, some idiosyncracies. [It reflects its inhabitants. -W] [I rather think it's more logically tenable that we reflect it -jason] [Err... actually, it reflects us... all those mirrors ya' know. -Jared] It doesn't have the greatest power system in the world. We can't run the dryer and the iron at the same time without flipping breakers. On the other hand, we can run all the machines on our net and a boom box and a couple of other peripherals all off of one poor wall socket that's got powerstrips plugged into it and we never trip that breaker. Good thing, that.

Once upon a time, we measured the whole house and whipped up some floorplans that used to live on these web pages. But then it occurred to us that having a map of the whole house with just exactly what each room contained was not such a secure idea, so we took the maps down.

The whole place (except for the laundry room) used to have hardwood floors. Upstairs still does. The downstairs now has blue carpet covering the wood floor. Who made that decision, I have no idea. It was that way when we moved in.


[Upstairs layout]


[Downstairs layout]


The Kitchen

In the kitchen, we have no counterspace at all. Well, some, but not even remotely nearly enough. Same for cupboards. It really bites. But at least "we're cookin' with gas!" [this is a feature of dubious value -- B] [hey, i like gas stoves --j] Honestly, though, this kitchen is the least functional kitchen i have yet to encounter. it's basically a rectangle with the fridge and stove in the southeast corner, a door in the northeast corner, the counter and sink along the west wall, and another entryway in the southwest corner. The north wall doesn't have anything useful like cabinets or counters on it, but does house the one electric socket in the kitchen. If you think about it, you'll realize that traffic flows diagonally through the kitchen, which wastes a hell of a lot of space. Of course, short of massive feats of amateur structural engineering, (moving doors, gas pipes, etc.) there isn't a lot we can do about it. Except for the gas stove, I hate this kitchen.

This is what our kitchen floor looks like. It might be a little dirtier by now. Picture this block as one among many in a sort of parquet scheme.

The Living Room

The living room has a mirror in it. A very big mirror. The house is actually full of mirrors. I guess it's because we nerdy types (or else the Stiffies, or more likely, whoever built the place) love to watch ourselves watch TV (on feety's way cool TV!) and stuff. Who knows.

The living room also has a "dining" table, which is actually a horizontal surface intended to keep things from dropping all the way to the floor when they're flung in its general direction. It also supports a terminal, which connects to chad via one of Wim's famous custom cable dealies. I don't think the cable itself is custom, just the connections at the ends of it. I'm impressed that it works.

Next to the table is a left-behind particle board and faux wood paneling desk on which sits Inle, Konrad's BSD machine, some piles of computer books, and a lot of random electronic parts (chips, LEDs, transistors, a power supply, etc) that Wim sometimes does cool things with [Recently, he reverse biased an LED to turn it into a light sensor for a mobile robot we haven't finished building. It actually worked. Wim constantly amazes us --j]

Oh yeah, and there are some couches, which manage to coordinate with each other rather well despite the fact that one is a hand-me-down from feety's parents and the other is a hand-me-down from asparagi's parents. Feety's parents have better hand-me-downs.

New additions to the living room include:

The Bathroom

This bathroom is much better [and cleaner, probably due to Wim: when I was a mere visitor to the HHHH rather than a resident, I would see Wim cleaning the bathroom practically every time I saw him. It was more than a little strange, given how frequently I visited.-B] than the one downstairs. It has a bathtub. Other than that, it's just a bathroom.

For reading material while one sits on the john, we have An Introduction to Differential Geometry, which I think belongs to Konrad. Don't quote me on that. [Actually, that would be Wim's. -ks]

Wim's room

Uh, Wim lives there. With a chair. No one else wanted the chair, which originally belonged to some previous resident I can't quite place, so Wim took it. For as long as Wim has been living here, I have been hearing him say things about replacing the chair and/or getting a desk, but this has not yet happened. [although just yesterday, he got a new bed and some other furniture from his dad, who is apparently moving. --j]

Konrad's room

Konrad, the exalted one, has a telephone in his room. [None of the rest of us do, because none of the rest of us have bothered to run the wire for one. --j] He has a futon couch and a futon bed. I don't know what else he has in there, probably a bunch of Latin texts and all his blue clothes.


The downstairs is half-underground. It's one of those sort of indecisive "do I want a basement or not?" kind of houses. The downstairs houses the following rooms:

Feety's room

Feety's room has a wall we built (which we need to finish, actually. Right now it's just a frame. [Actually, Jared --- er, that's the same person as feety --- got around to putting the sheetrock up in early November '94. -wim] [and we got around to giving it a coat of paint the sunday after thanksgiving. -jason]) that separates it from his adoring public and which will give him some sort of privacy. See, that room wasn't originally supposed to be a bedroom; we think it was more intended as a downstairs livingroom type thing.

Cloister & Asparagi's room

Across from Feety's room is our room. We have a [badly designed -- B] walk-in closet; we're cool. There really isn't a lot I can say about our room. It has all our junk in it. We sleep there. That's about it.

Laundry room

Through the wall from Cloister and Asparagi's room is the laundry room. It's a mess. It has one washer, one dryer that's plugged in, one that's not (because it has one of those funky killer-voltage plugs on it that we haven't hooked up yet), assorted boxes of junk, an old dead Z29 terminal or two, and an ironing board.

The Bathroom

Continuing our tour to the left of the laundry room, we encounter the bathroom, which is really small and sucky. see, there's all this wasted space on the west side of it which would look like a sort of odd "r" shaped closet to you if you were looking at the floorplan, but it's not a closet that's very useful so they ought have just made a bigger bathroom. I mean really. And the bathroom has no window either, which makes it sort of gloomy

Little Savery

The aforementioned closet opens onto what we lovingly call "Little Savery." (after "Savery Hall" on the University of Washington campus. Savery used to house a homey little terminal room populated with ergonomically-incorrect z19 and z29 terminals and friendly computer nerds. We all spent a lot of time there over the years. [Of course, these days it's full of ugly IBM PCs --- yes, actual PCs; I don't know where they dug them up, probably Troy --- and it has absolutely no atmosphere. -W] [and no friendly computer nerds anymore. -jason]) Little Savery is where all our computers and our vast library of computing books are. There's a table I built all along the north and west walls on which sit 2/3 of our awesome computing resources. The little zig zag bit in the lower-left corner (again, which you could see if you were looking at the floorplan) is the bottom of the stairs where you actually go down to the downstairs from the upstairs.

Odd Space in the Middle

Then there's an odd space sort of in the middle of the downstairs that isn't part of any room: the left part of it is where the water heater and gas furnace are, and the right part of it is, as near as I can tell, a concrete block that holds up the fireplace upstairs (and probably part of the house).