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").

[latest article]
October 2015


decay & ruin
Biosphere II
dead malls
Irving housing

welcome to the collapse
Clusterfuck Nation
Peak Oil

got that wrong

appropriate tech
Arduino μcontrollers
Backwoods Home
Fractal antenna

people I know
Love's Laughing Locksmith

fun social media stuff

(nobody does!)

Like my brownhouse:
   unnecessary hippie shit
Sunday, October 4 2015
The sun finally came out for real today after many days' absence. But it was still cool enough to justify starting a fire in the woodstove, which made things pleasant for a decaf coffee morning. Because we only have one real coffee morning each week, and Gretchen was in the mood for coffee again. I never thought I'd grow up to drink decaf (not even my parents did that), but I confess that I actually enjoy a good cup of decaf.
After I'd drunk all the decaf I was going to drink, I set off down the Stick Trail with my firewood gathering gear. As I arrived at the Chamomile, there was a small seemingly black bird with little white rectangles on its wings. It was flitting among the branches of a Hemlock tree, acting somewhat curious (and surprisingly unafraid) of me. Later, back at the house, I identified it as a male Black-throated Blue Warbler, a species that lives in forests far from their edges (though in this case, this individual, which was probably in the process of migrating south to the tropics, was about 450 feet from the clearing that contains our semi-suburban neighborhood). Its almost-tame behavior indicated that it probably rarely encounters humans in the habitat it prefers. And the humans it does encounter are likely to be benign (that is, bird watchers and mountain men, not children equipped with BB guns).
My firewood haul for today came to 118.5 pounds and was from the same place I've been gathering it for the past several days, though I'm rapidly depleting the most desirable wood there. Back at the woodshed, it went directly into the fourth tranche.

Meanwhile in Woodstock, the 16th annual Woodstock Film Festival has been going on for several days. For the past two days, Gretchen has gone to see movies both alone and with friends. She's concluded that the documentaries are the only films worth seeing; the acted features tend not to be so great. With this in mind, she convinced me (partly with the promise of pizza) to go with her to Tinker Street Cinema late this afternoon to see a film called Homeless, which she understood to be a documentary because it had been filmed in a genuine homeless shelter. But we weren't far into watching the film before it became clear that it was a feature and that the actors were acting. Don't get me wrong, most of the acting was great and the film itself eventually recovered from some stumbles early on and ended up being pretty good. Our hero is a young white man named Gosh who tries to scratch together enough money to get out of a homeless shelter and have a place for his father when he gets out of prison. The stumbles I referred to are mostly related to the inclusion of a character at the homeless shelter who is something of a cinematic cliché: the magical negro. Later during the question & answer session, we would learn that most of the characters in the film were based on real people, though the magical negro character was included as a stand-in for the perpetually homeless. This is what had drained him of his realism and made him unpleasantly magical. The director and producer of Homeless are both very young, so it's possible that things people my age would find cliché have not yet gone stale (this must be a common problem with young artists). Still, you have to give the people behind this film credit; supposedly they'd managed to put the whole thing together for $18,000 (Gretchen insists the director had said $12,000).
After the film and the Q&A, Gretchen and I went to Catskill Mountain Pizza for the promised dinner. We split a large divided into his & her toppings (mine had banana peppers, mushrooms & onions), and I also had a beer (the surprisingly dark but pretty good Southern Tier 2XIBA, not IPA; it's a strong black ale). There was a folk musician playing under amplification in the dimly-lit fancy dining room, so we sat at a well-lit table in the non-fancy dining room. It being Woodstock, there was some unnecessary hippie shit happening in front of that musician. For example, there was a white woman who brought out her kid, lay him down on his back on the floor and then did a little dance in which her hands moved forward and backwards (palms down) over the kid's face.

Back at the house, Gretchen watched the first game of the WNBA finals. Indiana was playing Minnesota, and Gretchen is so equally fond of both teams that she didn't really care who won. All that mattered for her was that all five games of the finals be played. I got the sense, though, that Gretchen was rooting slightly more for Minnesota. The game was a close one, but Indiana won, though they didn't even have home court advantage.
I'd had a recreational dose of pseudoephedrine, and by now I was drinking scotch whiskey and taking rips off my vaporizer (I found some very old nugs in a bag). Listening to Bagel Radio (online of course), I was reminded of the band An Horse, so I went onto YouTube and watched everything of theirs I could find. An Horse is a two-person band from Australia comprised of a man and a woman; he plays drums and she plays guitar. The songs are dissonant and guitar-dominated with often unusual lyrical and melodic structures. The lyrics are emo, sometimes a bit too much so, though the sound is probably best characterized as shoegaze. I especially like the songs "Dressed Sharply" and "Little Lungs," though the only part I really like of the latter is the final third, where the only lyrics are "The little lungs we breathe" repeated over and over. "Camp Out" is also great; that was the first one I watched on my YouTube journey.

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