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:
   that Blue Oyster Cult song
Wednesday, March 30 2005
Being the second day in a row of warmish springlike weather, it was easy to be optimistic and think that the season was on its way. Pedestrians were everywhere, in places one doesn't normally see them, such as Hurley Avenue in Kingston. That's where Gretchen saw a black Labrador get hit by a car this morning on her way to her Wednesday volunteer slot at the SPCA. (But don't worry, despite the blood he got all over Gretchen, the dog is reportedly doing well at the Hurley vet.)
What with the fabulous weather, I spent more time than I would have liked waiting to be attended to in the dreary state police barracks near Hurley. I was there to report the loss of my cell phone so I can get a replacement. As in the past, I vainly sought relief from my boredom by scanning the room for things to read. An unusual amount of the wall space and display case was taken up by memorials to T. Michael Kelly and Kenneth A. Poorman, state troopers who were killed in the line of duty (it didn't say this anywhere, but I later learned they'd died in an accident on Route 28, as opposed to, say, in a shootout with a hostile transporter of methamphetamine).

While I was doing these things, Gretchen was, as I already mentioned, at the Ulster County SPCA doing her volunteer gig, which she does in the cat room. She'd developed a fancy for an older black cat named Babe who is very friendly but mostly overlooked by those who might adopt her. She's also kind of funny looking; a missing set of incisors makes it difficult for her to keep her tongue within her mouth and she walks around with it sticking out a quarter inch or so. Babe's story is that she was simply dumped on the shelter grounds and was captured by the staff in one of those humane box traps.
Since Babe is not proving adoptable, Gretchen decided to "foster" her. So when I came home today from my errand with the state police, there was Babe hiding in the cardboard kindling pile in the corner of the living room. She seemed to adapt quickly to the dogs and the other cats, but then she vanished and didn't rematerialize until the middle of the night, when I heard her meowing in the echoey upstairs bathroom.

But long before that happened, Gretchen and I went to a smallish dinner party in Willow hosted by the folks who run the other local farm animal sanctuary. As usual for these parties, there was a diversity of alcohol and surprisingly good vegan food. Gretchen had brought a loaf she'd baked of what might have been the most delicious bread ever made. It was unusually buttery, an effect pulled off using olive oil, a vegan-acceptable ingedient.
Later we all sat around in the living room and watched a delightful video montage comprised of dozens of short clips of Lars U1rich picking his nose set to the tune of Metallica's "Leper Messiah." This is one of the advantages of knowing one of the film editors for the movie Some Kind of Monster. One theory is that Lars has snorted so much cocaine that the inside of his nose has become a fascinating playground.
Inevitably at some point in the evening, Jen, the lady of the house, launched into her second favorite topic (after animal rights and veganism): her artificial leg. Their nebbishy houseguest wanted to see what the leg looked like without its "cosmesis" (the stuff there only for cosmetic effect). So Jen sent her husband to fetch her "summer leg," which is the naked graphite fiber skeleton without all that fussy rubbery fake skin that can't heal after encounters with thorns and barbed wire. The leg was passed around and ended up near me, serving as a suitable guitar-like object when Jenny later cranked "Don't Fear the Reaper" on the house stereo.
I'd actually been thinking about Blue Oyster Cult earlier today.1
I'm sure I'm not the only person who's had the experience of hearing "Don't Fear the Reaper" and thinking, "Damn, a band that could make a song like that could probably do just about anything." With that song on their resume, I would have gladly hired them to, say, remove a tumor from my pituitary gland. So, early in my music-buying phase, I actually went out and bought a Blue Oyster Cult compilation on vinyl. Again, I'm sure I'm not the only person who ever bought one of their albums after having only heard one of their songs, and like everyone else, my reaction was as follows: What a dreadful band! Throughout the entire body of their work, Blue Oyster Cult seems utterly incapable of writing a catchy lyric or composing an evocative guitar lick. It's against this dreck that "Don't Fear the Reaper" stands out in such stark relief. What's the story on this song? What muse touched them when they wrote it? I wish I had the whole story, and again, I'm sure I'm not the only one.

1I'm leaving out the umlauts in their name because nobody seems to agree on where they're supposed to go.

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