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:
   South Wall Street
Sunday, November 2 2008
The day was cool and sunny: perfect for greenhouse work, but because we'd be attending a brunch at our new friend Paulo's house, I only managed to install six concrete blocks before Gretchen hollered down from the east deck to give me my twenty minute warning.
Paolo and his wife live, as it happens, in something of a hole in the map. Broadway is the main axis connecting Kingston's Uptown with its second urban center at the mouth of Rondout Creek, but there are a number of other connections as well, particularly Wilbur Avenue. Parallel to Wilbur is "South Wall Street," an extension (according to its name) of an important Uptown Street, though it lies on the other side of one of the most complicated and seemingly-treacherous intersections in existence, where no less than six different streets come together at a single point. South Wall Street traverses unusually rugged topography connecting the Esopus-level plateau of Kingston's Uptown with the sea-level Rondout, and as it does so the urban landscape quickly dissolves away, first to suburbia and then to open countryside. Paolo and his wife live in a small old house pressed hard against a steep hillside. They don't appear to have any immediate neighbors, aside from a Civil-War-era graveyard and trees that occasionally fall on their roof.
To find Paolo's house, we'd convoyed behind Deborah, who had met us in Uptown. On arrival, we found a few people gathered around a picnic table and a few more down the hill at an elaborate fire pit Paolo had dug out and lined with stones. There were many other examples of weekend stone mason projects, indicating that for Paolo, stone masonry is a hobby as well as a day job. Most of the others at today's party seemed to be part of the Kingston art scene and ranged in age from late 20s to early 50s. A good fraction of them were gay, though it seemed Gretchen was the only vegan in attendance. Gretchen always has a miserable time when a social event devotes itself excessively to the devouring of meat, but she did eventually find some new friends to talk to.
Paolo's house is one of several older houses in the area that had probably been built by recently-freed slaves back in the early 1800s after emancipation came to New York (even New York was a slave state once). Many former slaves settled in the undesirable rough terrain south of Kingston, building houses with whatever could be found. (Paolo's wife mentioned finding lots of "junk" in the walls during some recent renovations.)
Sitting at the bottom of a steep-walled ravine, the sun sets early at Paolo's house, and soon everyone was either in the house (whose kitchen also serves as a living room) or out by the fire. Aside from the subject of do-it-yourself metal casting, I don't really remember what I was talking about, but it was refreshing to be socializing with a group of people who were complete strangers. As infrequent as such situations are, I forget sometimes that I have the ability to be funny and even charismatic on occasion.


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