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:
   full of floating sheets ice
Tuesday, January 14 2003

I crossed the Hudson today on a mission to pick up fancy glass doorknobs from the Rhinebeck William's Hardware store. (Rhinebeck remains my least-favorite town in the mid-Hudson region.) For some reason I'd remembered the store as being south of Rhinebeck, and I drove all the way down to Hyde Park before realizing the error in my memory. While I was across the river, I put up some flyers advertising my computer repair business, which is the same business as it was in Brooklyn, but with "Park Slope" replaced by "Catskill" in the name. The Catskills themselves look especially stark and uninviting at this time of year, particularly when viewed from beyond the Hudson. The snow on their slopes dramatizes all the various rock outcrops and they look as if nothing could possibly live there.
The Hudson, by the way, was full of floating sheets ice. Temperatures are down around twenty degrees and it is plenty cold, but the Hudson is supposed to be somewhat saline at this latitude, and I would expect ice to have more difficulty forming.
While I was at Williams, I bought some big black work boots, my first new boots since the pair I bought in Asheville, NC in 1996. Like those, this pair cost about forty dollars. They were the only boots in the store that matched my sense of taste, though I did have to compromise a little on size. I normally wear a 12, but these were 13s. This was the first time I'd ever been forced to buy a shoe larger than the one I normally wear.
Also at Williams, I bought yet more moulding trim, this being to cover some hydronic pipes in the master bedroom. Williams have a system in which customers pay for lumber and then drive around back to pick it up, but I totally spaced out on doing the second phase of the operation, and I was nearly at the Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge before I realized I'd forgotten it. Sally was with me and I let her run around free in the lumber warehouse while a homeslice cut the moulding to the appropriate size. She never wears her collar these days and people always mistake her for a stray until I say that she is with me.

I've been thinking about what I might do if my idea of doing computer repair housecalls doesn't pan out here in the economically depressed Catskills. My advertising methods haven't exactly been scaring up clients, and at some point I'm going to need some income - not much - but something to keep oil in the tank so the pipes don't freeze. Tonight I was thinking that if I took a job at Walmart it would give my writing a much-needed shot in the arm. Think of the stories! I realize it's terribly condescending to be a reader of The New Yorker and take a job at Walmart, but then again, I've never really had a shit job in my life. An added bonus of working at Walmart would be that I could quit unannounced any time I wanted to.

Tonight I watched a movie called Death of a Cheerleader (which is based on a true story) and got to see Mary Purdy's friend Tor! Spell!ng get stabbed to death for the crime of being a mean popular girl. Gretchen was the one who tracked it down on the satellite feed, but then she decided she couldn't take it any more. But I stayed on; it was the perfect movie to watch while installing overpriced glass doorknobs. It's amazing how well I can still relate to the socio-emotional hell of high school all these years since it was proven to be a irrelevant. Back when I was serving that sentence, I never allowed myself to be a part of it, thereby avoiding most of its inherent trauma in a state of frustrated nihilism. Nonetheless, there's a little of those silly girls in each of us.

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