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
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Like my brownhouse:
   Country Inn in Krumville
Saturday, November 12 2005
As I was lying in bed this morning I caught a whiff of gasoline which couldn't have come from anywhere but my body. Perhaps it was gasoline vapors giving a double meaning to the term "passing gas." My armpits also smelled vaguely of gasoline. It's a pretty bad chemical to be emitting from ones orifices, but I'd rather be emitting it than retaining it. I'm most concerned about the amount that ended up in my liver.
This morning as Ray and I were sitting around the woodstove and Gretchen was tapping away in the first floor office, we heard the dogs going crazy outside. So Gretchen and I went to look, fearing another hapless bicycle person was being marauded. But no, a man in a minivan was in our driveway. His passengers included a number of young white boys. Whether they were Jehovas Witnesses of Young Men for Karl Rove, they were so obviously not our people. But Gretchen, proactively resisting her tendency to judge a book by its cover, went out to talk to the guy anyway. For her part, though, our dog Sally wasn't just jumping to conclusions, she was also jumping at the minivan's window and snarling ferociously. She can smell dislike and the absence of goodwill, and nothing pisses her off more. The man handed Gretchen a plastic bag and said something about a Boy Scout food for tots program (or something like that), but Gretchen didn't know what the hell he was talking about. But before the guy would explain he became nasty and said "If there are scratches on my car, that's a lawsuit!" "But you're on my property," Gretchen replied. At this the guy slammed his van into reverse and leapt out to look at the damage. "You got yourself a lawsuit!" the man said.
Meanwhile Ray and I had been standing in the doorway and Ray had been suggesting that we make out as an affront to the sanctimoniously heterosexual Boy Scouts. But hearing this trash about lawsuits, I was incensed. Who was this joker, coming to my house on a pleasant Saturday and threatening lawsuits? I charged out into the driveway in my sock feet, put my Viao down on the hood of the Honda Civic, and then did this crazy monkey walk towards the minivan. With each step I hopped onto a foot while simultaneously reaching the fingertips of the hand on that same side as close as I could to my armpit. It was a hybrid between various gangsta poses, tough guy struts, and a classic gorilla charge, all conducted with my usual goofy whimsy. (I would find myself imitating the monkey walk many times throughout the day in the retelling of the story.) And as I walked this way, I was shouting, "Wanna get fucked up? Huh? Huh? Wanna get fucked up? Huh? Huh?" It was in some sort of character, one I had no intention of leaving.
I suspect that at some point in the recent past the man driving the minivan had given his son instructions on how best to deal with schoolyard bullies, and those had probably included the notion of just walking up to a bully and "socking him in the kisser" or "punching his lights out." So now, in an effort to show his kids how the master does it, he just stood there as I approached in that crazy gait just described. But when I was about twenty feet away he realized I was completely insane and probably capable of anything, so he jumped into his minivan and sped away down Dug Hill. It would have been interesting to hear the conversation he then had with his clutch of future straight men of America.

As part of our ongoing energy conservation jihad, we'd decided to buy a brand new Toyota Prius, the most famous car using hybrid drivetrain technology. We'd been in a four month Prius waitlist before heading off to the Middle East, but one of the guys ahead of us on that list decided to buy a house instead of a car, so the Prius ordered for him had become available for us. Today we expected that a large check would be coming in the mail (from the guy who handles Gretchen's investments) and this would allow us to pay for the car in, as they say, one easy payment. But 2pm was approaching, and that's the hour that our bank closes on Saturdays. Gretchen's inability to exert any control over the situation launched her onto a particularly unbearable warpath of frustration. She just wanted to have the car, and it bothered her that she'd been having to string along the people at Prestige Toyota (the local dealership), who had been nothing but nice and accomodating. At my suggestion, we actually drove down to the bottom of Dug Hill Road to wait for the mail delivery guy, who was clearly running late, but he was nowhere in sight. Gretchen said she though she knew his route came from the south on Hurley Mountain Road, so we drove down that way and even did the Canary Hill Road loop but it was hopeless; 2pm had come and gone. We did eventually get the check later in the afternoon, but it was useless until Monday.

Mr. Tillson is pursuing a graduate school education at Mass Art, but he was in town for the weekend, and later this afternoon he and his wife came over and I got a chance to give him a full tour of the solar project. It's so vast and complicated, particularly the pipes, valves, and wires in the basement, that it's only when I'm trying to explain it to someone that I realize what a technical achievement it really is.

Tonight, the Tillsons, Gretchen, Ray, and I all rendezvoused at Davenport's on Route 209 with our new friends Dave and Penny, and we carpool/convoyed with them to one of their favorite local bars, a place called the Country Inn in Krumville (the first syllable of which I like to pronounce as if it's Borat's word for scrotal sack). Krumville is way out there in a remote part of the town of Olive, no place Gretchen or I have ever had any occasion to go. (The remoteness of its location was exaggerated somewhat by Dave's driving, which might best be characterized as excruciatingly slow.) As for the Country Inn, supposedly it used to be a tacky little backwoods bar and grill in the style of the Hurley Mountain Inn until it was taken over by a would-be force of gentrification who stocked it with a wall of 350 distinct beers and gave its menu prices something of a steroid injection. It's a good place for casual drinking, featuring a pool table, a regular crowd of guys who look as if they lumberjack for a living, and a couple of hip, attractive waitresses. When we first arrived I was in the middle of one of my anxiety attacks, perhaps a consequence (psychological or otherwise) of that gasoline swallowing incident yesterday. I can usually manage appearances fairly well right through such an attack even if I'm feeling woozy and my heart is racing. A couple beers later, though, I was perfectly fine.
It was a little gratifying not to be, for once, the biggest drinker at the table. That award goes to Penny, who would have had a fifth had her husband not strongly discouraged her.
Gretchen and I might be going back to the Country Inn again sometime. I'm sure it takes no time at all to get there at the speeds we drive.

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