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

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Like my brownhouse:
   stung at the secret spot
Saturday, July 31 2004
Two anniversaries happen every year on this day. Eight years ago I began keeping an online journal. Four years ago I broke up with Bathtubgirl, of (whom I called Kim).

This morning Gretchen and I met up with a couple of friends at the south end of Hurley Mountain, where it crosses the Esopus Creek on a high metal bridge. We followed them to a nearby "secret place" on the Esopus. It was a secluded place where the creek is too deep for a swimmer to touch bottom. This particular spot is upstream from most of the intensive agriculture of the Esopus Valley, but it's downstream from the Ashokan Reservoir. Owing to all the sunlight that the reservoir absorbs, the water is fairly warm. This particular spot is owned by a woman who loves animals and dislikes children. She allows a select group of people to swim at this spot on the condition that they keep it tidy and don't bring kids. On hearing the owner's name, Gretchen realized that she knew the woman; she's a volunteer at the Catskill Animal Sanctuary.
We had coffee and fruit on the shoreline while the dogs ran around excitedly. Eventually I grew bored of the conversation, which was mostly about a daughter's difficulties with selling her horse, and I picked me way across the shallower rapids to the other side of the Esopus. Then, avoiding Poison Ivy and ankle twists, I found a place in bank that allowed me to climb up to the terrace above. There was a large cornfield here and, not far away, what looked like an abandoned pickup truck. Foolishly I decided to see if I could get into it. I was well aware of the fact that stinging insects quickly set up residences inside abandoned vehicles, but I hadn't even opened to door before a damn bumblebee flew out, quickly landed on the dorsal surface of my right thumb, and stung the hell out of me. At first I wasn't even sure I'd been stung, but then the deep burning pain started building up from nothing. It was amazing that such a small injury could hurt so badly. I've been stung by bumblebees before and it's always an awful experience. In fact, on two occasions I suffered allergic reactions so severe that I had to be taken to the emergency room. (For many years afterward I carried a kit containing an injection of adrenaline.) Thankfully, given the imperfect nature of my insurance coverage, I didn't have much of a reaction today. I sucked on the injury as much as I could and then, following a recommendation from the woman who'd led us to this place, I chewed up some plantain and made a poultice to apply to the site of the sting. My hand swelled somewhat but that was all.
Later, once I was home, I also noticed that a long-dormant wart at my wrist had sprouted a nascent new head of human cauliflower. I love cauliflower, but only when it is a plant belonging to the mustard family, preferably alongside cubed potatoes in a spicy Indian sauce. So I unceremoniously snipped it off with a pair of scissors. It landed on the carpet and was probably carried off by a delighted ant. As usual, the site of the wart bled profusely for nearly an hour afterwards. The messy infrastructures that warts build to supply themselves with nutrients are as shoddy and unscalable as's original backend architecture.
The history of this wart is as follows: it first appeared as my only wart in 1992. I snipped it off a few times and it went grudgingly into dormancy until 2001, when I suffered something of a minor wart outbreak on both of my hands, mostly in old scars. I attacked it and its minions in a series of pitched battles lasting from April until July 2001, and it had been dormant from then until now. It appears to be the only wart on my body at this time.

In the afternoon I drove to the Catskill Animal Sanctuary to attend their shindig. There'd been a threat of rain, but by now heat seemed to be the worst problem. The problem with these shindigs is that there is never any place to sit down. I didn't stay long.
Mary Purdy had come up from Manhattan for the weekend, partly to attend the CAS shindig and partly to hang out at our house. Gretchen was so hot and bothered when she came home from the shindig that she immediately wanted to return to the secret spot to go for a swim. She'd talked to the secret spot's owner and now we are officially permitted to go there. When we arrived there was a woman, presumably one of the others who is permitted to go there, swimming by herself. This kept Gretchen from skinny dipping, at least initially. [REDACTED]
Later Mary and I prepared dinner, a sort of makeshift pasta and fried greens dish. And then, among other things, Mary showed us pictures from Tori Spell!ng's wedding, which Mary had attended a couple weeks ago as a friend of the groom (Mary's erstwhile boyfriend). I'll bet you didn't know that over Tori's desk in her office is a wall of framed magazine covers featuring her face.

Eleanor and her nasty mystery gash. Also note the tattered crab toy.

Moonrise over Hurley.

Gretchen and Mary Purdy talking on the couch. Click to enlarge.

Looking into the house from the east deck at night. Click to enlarge.

Lulu waiting for an appearance of the resident Deer Mouse in front of the kitchen oven. Click to enlarge.

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