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

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Arduino μcontrollers
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   Honda Civic vs. Accord cage match
Wednesday, April 16 2008
When Gretchen headed off to work late on this beautiful sunny morning, she took the hatchback because she thought we'd be loaning the other car to a friend, one who could expense the filling of its gas tank. The only reason she took the hatchback was that it had a tank full of gasoline. A few minutes after she left the phone started ringing and I assumed it was the friend calling to arrange to get the other car. But no, it was Gretchen. Between sobs she said she'd just totaled the car, the hatchback, at the bottom of Dug Hill Road. I immediately drove down.
Someone was putting flares in Hurley Mountain Road and there it was, the hatchback, unmoved since the accident. It was in the middle of the Hurley Mountain Road's southbound lane where Dug Hill Road joins it, though it was angled somewhat southward, the opposite direction from the one Gretchen had attempted to go in. Also stopped at the scene (and still in contact with the hatchback) was the car Gretchen had hit, a 2004 Honda Accord that had been southbound. The hatchback now featured a notched dent roughly a foot deep in the center of its bumper. Both of its airbags had explosively deployed, and there was a large dome-shaped spiderweb fracture protruding outward from the hatchback's windshield on the passenger side. As for the other car, it had taken the impact at its right front wheel, which appeared to be bent inward at some unhelpful angle. The driver's side door of the hatchback was open and there sat Gretchen, sobbing hysterically. Between hyperventilated gasps she was taking full responsibility for the accident to anyone who would listen. She looked to be uninjured, although at first I thought maybe her head had knocked that dent into the windshield. Happily, though, a deputy on the scene said that the windshield damage had been made by the passenger-side airbag.
As for the people who had been in the car that Gretchen had hit, they consisted of an entirely nuclear family. There was a prematurely grey-haired father, a somewhat pregnant 28 year old mother, and a toddler. None appeared to have been injured in the accident, though there's always a risk that a stressed-out pregnant woman will spontaneously abort.
This family had been out driving, we learned, because this was a necessary ritual to get their toddler to fall asleep. My young nephew is given similar such pre-nap drives, which leads me to believe they are common in our society. As gas becomes more expensive, perhaps a market will emerge for car simulators for families wishing to put their kids to bed economically. One wonders how cranky toddlers are put to bed in the slums of Calcutta.
It bears mentioning that in the intersection where Dug Hill Road meets Hurley Mountain Road, the latter is just emerging from a rather tight curve just to the north. In this curve lurks a blind spot where a car can briefly vanish from the perspective of someone arriving at the bottom of Dug Hill Road and looking both ways to see if the way is clear. There is no stop sign at this intersection, though there is a yield sign. I've always made it a habit here to proceed slowly until I can either look into that blind spot or be certain that it hasn't been fed for a few seconds from the visible roadway further to the north. From the very first time I drove through this intersection I've been aware of the danger of hidden cars appearing into it, an awareness that hopefully doesn't just grow out of my intuitive grasp of physics and materials science. [REDACTED]
Various members of the local constabulary showed up and eventually the fire department arrived, though the only action they took was to use bolt cutters to sever the large red cable coming from the hatchback's battery. If there were any medical professionals on the scene, none demanded that anyone be taken to a hospital. The deputy who talked to us was calm, warm and soothing in his demeanor, even offering us a little legal advice about how to deal with the one charge he had to give Gretchen, which was failing to yield right-of-way.
By now traffic on Hurley Mountain Road was backed up in both directions until they disappeared around bends. But then tow trucks arrived. It cost us over $130 to have our poor hatchback towed the uphill mile back to our house.
I was able to shift the hatchback into neutral and roll it from where the tow truck driver had dropped it to the north side of the house, beneath the laboratory deck. I lifted up the hood and looked at the damage. The radiator had taken it the worst and, like the front bumper and license plate, were folded pretty much down the middle. The bumper had split open, revealing its front part to be nothing but plastic wrapped around styrofoam, not unlike a bicycle helmet. It pretty much came off in my hands, though a rectangular tube of metal (also folded) remained behind it. My intention at this point was to strip the hatchback of any parts I could use with the other Honda Civic as well as the Civic that will eventually replace it.
By now Gretchen was over her initial shock, having canceled her Bard class and the loaning of our car at the accident scene. Back at the house she'd called our insurance company. She'd also taken a handful of Advil.
Just to make sure there was nothing wrong with Gretchen, I took her to a non-hospital emergency room on Hurley Avenue. She'd hoped to at least milk some muscle relaxants out of this lemon, but no, she got an Indian doctor with an excellent bedside manner who recommended yoga stretches. Meanwhile I drove into Uptown Kingston to get coffee and a bagel. Later I waited outside the emergency room facility with the dogs in its sun-drenched parking lot. It's hard to find shade at this time of year, before the leaves have come out on the deciduous trees. So I let the dogs wander freely.


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