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:
   could have come from a Cracker Jack box
Sunday, January 26 2003

At night, Edna the cat loves to sleep between my legs on top of the blanket, pinning me down. I avoid rolling over as long as I can while she is there because I do not want to disturb her. This morning I needed to get out of bed to attend to a bladder full of urine. I did this by scrunching forward, like the head of a claw hammer abandoning the removal of a recalcitrant nail.

Today I went with Gretchen and David the Rabbi to the Rondout part of Kingston. I don't much like the Rondout, but the plan was to go to P&D Surplus while we were down there, and that's the one thing about the Rondout I really do like. I had to suffer a little first, most dramatically in a store that sells merchandise for babies. Mind you, Gretchen is icked out by overripe embryos every bit as much as I am, but she wanted to buy gift for some lesbian friends of hers who had, with the help of artificial insemination, just given birth to a ten pound baby boy. There are only two kinds of babies that Gretchen can stand: black babies and babies born to alternative families.
In the end P&D Surplus was closed, as it is every Sunday. In the absence of that adventure, the highlight of today's trip to the Rondout was the brunch we enjoyed at the Alternative Baker. While we were there, the woman running the place asked us if a sequential list of American Presidents she'd written out was correct. After correcting where she'd placed Harding, we asked why she was compiling such a list. She explained that every day she tries to teach herself something new.

I had a housecall computer gig tonight, something of an emergency for the guy whose computer I'd fixed on Friday. He really needed his CD burner to work with his special software or else he'd have to rent someone else's recording studio for a project he's working on. I had to take the truck because Gretchen said she might need the car. Despite warmer temperatures, I still had to jump start my truck. Evidently its battery is completely shot.
The housecall went well, but then I needed my client to give me a jumpstart so I could go back home.
The weather had grown somewhat treacherous during the two hours I'd been working. I came back up 209 at around 30 miles per hour with a few vehicles queuing impatiently behind me. It seemed everybody was a little less skittish about the road than I was. I get the feeling that my truck, despite its big tires and four wheel drive, has unusually bad traction in wet snow.
When I went to make the left turn onto Wynkoop Road, which connects 209 to Hurley, my truck continued sailing along as if I hadn't applied my brakes at all. Hmm, that wasn't good, but no harm done either. I decided it was best to just pull over to the right and let people pass me. But as I did so, I noticed that suddenly there was this SUV to my right who was sitting at a steep angle up on the snow bank. Evidently he'd tried to pass me on the right and I'd squeezed him until he had no other choice. After I'd busted my U-turn and headed into Hurley, I noticed that the SUV that had been on the snowbank had easily extricated himself and was now following me. Then he turned on his flashers. That was the kind of luck I was having - the asshole was a cop! Now I had to deal with him.
I stopped and rolled down my window and the guy walked up. He was in civilian dress and was obviously off-duty, if that. He did eventually get around to showing me his badge, but it could have come from a Cracker Jack box. (Is Cracker Jack, Inc., still an ongoing concern?) The guy basically asked if I was aware of what had happened. I said that I was, but that nobody had actually gotten stuck or hit anyone, so I didn't feel the need to stop and talk to anyone. In conditions such as these, such things happen, and there's no reason to get worked up about it. He told me he "didn't mean to bust my balls," and he didn't seem to have any real point to make, since he agreed that there had been no reason for me to pull over after our incident and he'd been able to see for himself that I'd been a careful driver all the way up from Stone Ridge. He did, however, feel the need to ask if I'd been drinking. I didn't even have to lie when I told him no. As the off-duty police officer dude walked back to his vehicle, I suddenly realized that my truck wasn't going to start. So I had him give me a jumpstart. It was a little uncomfortable for both of us, since it meant we'd have to continue interacting after we'd thought we were through with one another. As this was going on, a female passenger starting to climb out of the passenger side of the SUV. At this, the off duty police officer told her to get back in. It was unexpectedly surreal. Was she a drunk friend? A hooker? A hitchhiker? A reanimated corpse? A lobotomized sex slave?
Back at the house, Gretchen and David the Rabbi were watching the tail end of the Superbowl. Neither Gretchen nor I had had any intention of watching it, but there's just enough of a red-blooded American man in David for him to want to see it.
Later on we found ourselves talking about the ignorance of the average American. I'd learned recently that only seventeen percent of Americans know that none of the September 11th hijackers were Iraqi. But there are far more interesting ramifications for an America where what is true is determined by opinion poll. Did you know that most Americans actually believe the Moon is larger than the Sun? David wouldn't believe me when I told him that, but I wasn't making it up. Despite all the years of scientific progress and technological advancement, in the mind of most Americans science is still mired in the Middle Ages, in a place where paradigms rely on celestial spheres and turtles stacked on the backs of other turtles.

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