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:
   cardboard fire
Thursday, October 31 2002

setting: rural Hurley, New York

Today Katie's boyfriend Louis came over to begin work on the attic master bedroom suite. The role I played today was that of his assistant. I'm reasonably handy with the framing of walls, having done it with my father when raising a large farm outbuilding and by myself when building the Shaque. Nonetheless, I'm unfamiliar with all the power tools Louis uses. I'd never wielded either a chop saw or a pneumatic nail gun before. Though I was rather taken with the chop saw, I found the pneumatic gun heavy, unwieldy, and difficult to control. Still, it made all sorts of combinations of two by fours suddenly nailable. No longer did I find myself avoid toe nailing at all costs. Using the nail gun, Louis could build structures in place that I normally would have wanted to build flat and then tilt up.
After we'd built the entire wall between the bathroom and the bedroom we'd used up all the lumber I'd bought back on Sunday. On the way back from Lowes with another load of two by fours and two by sixes, we stopped for lunch at the Hurley Mountain Inn. A old folk couple beside us at the bar were drinking stiff booze with their lunch, but we only had beers with ours. For some reason (perhaps neurologically related to his continued interest in classic rock) Louis only drinks Heineken, but at the Hurley Mountain Inn they do not carry this particular beer. So Louis drank a Becks instead. He pointed to one of the waitstaff, a woman dressed (for Halloween) in a bunny outfit, and told me that she wasn't doing it right. The waitress's outfit consisted of conventional neck-to-ankles denim with a pair of ears and a puffy tail added as accessories. Louis was certain that a bunny outfit was supposed to be considerably more revealing.
By the end of the work day, we'd framed out a second wall parallel to the first that reached only part way to the bedroom's cathedral ceiling. This would be the front wall of the bedroom's closet. Through this wall and the next led a short hallway to the bathroom. Above the closet and hallway was a substantial level area that could be used as a loft, though a loft is hardly necessary in this huge place.
This second burst of construction used a huge amount of lumber, mostly to accommodate the places where drywall will need to be attached. There was so much wood concentrated in such a small volume that I joked it would make for the safest place in the house should a tornado come along.
Meanwhile down in the kitchen Gretchen was enjoying the full benefits of her palatial new kitchen, now featuring a gas stove. She cooked a dinner of fake chicken and vegetable pie for Louis, Katie and me. Just before it was ready, we took delivery of a new dining room table. It was a huge but simple table made of seemingly ancient wood featuring many subtle dents and hollows. Gretchen had bought it today while over at an antique store across the Hudson in Rhinebeck. The store's proprietor, Crazy Dennis, drove is to our place after the close of business. I thought Crazy Dennis was a suitably wacky middle aged businessman, but I knew a little too much about the nature of reality for him to fool me with his supposed history of the dinner table he was delivering. He was claiming it was made from pieces of a 19th Century barn near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and that the planks were made of Douglas Fir. Hold on a moment, Crazy Dennis, Douglas Fir is a western tree, and there were no Pennsylvania barns made of that particular wood in the 19th Century. For my usual reasons, I didn't bring this contradiction up until after Crazy Dennis had gone.
After dinner, we sat around the woodstove eating icecream and enjoying one of my "cardboard fires." From one of the many stray boxes, I take rectangles of cardboard, roll them into little log-shaped tubes, and throw them in the fire, where they burn with great intensity for a couple minutes and then die down, ready for the next "log" of cardboard.
Given the remoteness of our new house, we were visited by neither trickers nor treaters on this Halloween night.

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