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").


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Like my brownhouse:
   Euro-ruin æsthetic
Friday, July 20 2007
Let's see: our house uses five different forms of energy: wood, oil, electric, solar, and liquified petroleum gas (LPG). By far the fewest BTUs are supplied by the LPG gas component, as this is only used operating the gas-powered kitchen range. Gretchen does more baking and cooking than is done in most households, but we still only burn about $45 worth of LPG every year. So you can imagine Gretchen's dismay when our LPG provider, Paraco, sent a bill that included a brand new $70 annual rental fee for our twenty gallon LPG cannister. There was also an explanation saying that "due to increased prices" and the tiny size of our LPG account, this new surcharge was necessary. There was only one way to avoid paying the new cannister rental fee: to install new gas-using appliances to increase our gas consumption. Now mind you, Gretchen had never signed any contract with Paraco. Her gas supplier had originally been Colonial Oil and Gas, but her account had been sold through various company takeovers, ultimately ending up at Paraco. And, like all modern corporations these days, they are continually looking for new ways to shake low-hanging money out of their accounts. But Gretchen wasn't going to play their game. She immediately called up KOSCO to find out what their LPG deliveries would cost, and learned that they wouldn't be charging any cannister rental fee. So the plan is to switch our provider to KOSCO and tell Paraco to shove their ugly LPG cannister (still bearing a spray-painted red "Colonial Gas" stencil) up their ass.

It was a cool and windy day, with a savage north wind so strong it blew over the peas growing in the window boxes out on the east deck. I made little splints of tape and small sticks to repair the pea stalks where they'd bent over and crimped. I don't really remember what happens to a plant after its stem develops a crimp, but it seemed that a splint might be a good idea.

This evening Gretchen and I met our High Fall friends J & B in Rosendale to watch the new remake of Hairspray. I know this is not something I should be eager to admit in public, but I hadn't actually been able to sit through the John Waters original. This new version, though, was a complete delight. I knew I'd love it during after that first chord change that spirited Tracy Turnblad to the top of a dump truck on her tuneful stroll to school. Musicals are a non-obvious way for telling a story, but I'm willing to accept the breaking into song if doing so matches the flow of the story. In this version of Hairspray, it always seemed to work. Also, every one of the important characters was infused with such charisma that I couldn't help but be supportive their part in the telling of the story. I actually tried not to like the movie (as dared to by a review Gretchen mentioned before it started), but this proved impossible.
There was also a historical hook that I hadn't expected: depicted there in the Baltimore of 1962 was a local television station that a regular person could walk to and interact with, a place where fame was an entirely local thing manufactured entirely locally. If such a world ever existed (and it might have before my time), I miss it profoundly. Now, even with newspapers, media decisions come down from national corporate headquarters. These days if a station decided to have a "negro day" every week, there would be five hundred stations exactly like it and the policy would be impossible to change, no matter what Martin Luther King Jr. tactics were employed to defeat it.

After the movie we had some late refreshments in the new patio area behind the Rosendale Café. They've torn down one of the outbuildings in the back and set up a semi-formal eating area on the cracked concrete slab of its foundation, which they've decorated with string lights and flower pots to give it a surprisingly-effective Euro-ruin æsthetic, one which far-outclasses the bohemian vibe being cultivated indoors.

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