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:
   highway squirts
Friday, May 1 2009

setting: rural Hurley Township, Ulster County, New York

Before doing battle with web-based trojans last night, I'd spent hours cleaning the house so it would be a pleasant place for our houseguests this weekend: Ray, Nancy, Nancy's sister Linda, and Adam, as well as one or two black dogs. They were coming upstate to look at some potential real estate options, but we weren't even going to be around. Sally, Eleanor, the Baby, Gretchen, and I would all be driving down to Silver Spring, Maryland today to attend a big 65th birthday party for Gretchen's mother.
We left in the mid-morning and listened mostly to podcasts from the Fresh Air archives, which Gretchen finds makes the miles pass even faster than episodes of This American Life. The great thing about Fresh Air is how relentless it is, with a new episode coming out every work day.
At some point early in the trip when I was driving, the Baby made a meow of discomfort that suggested she was about to puke, and then proceeded to do so all over whatever Gretchen put in front of her to catch it. In the commotion of cleaning up that mess, the Baby made her way to the foot well of the driver's side back seat and proceeded to crap all over the cloth shopping bags there. (I could smell this before any of my other senses had the information.) The only way to clean up this secondary mess was to hurl those shopping bags out the window. Littering is antisocial behavior, but these were unusual circumstances.
Much later in the trip, as we were about to enter the Baltimore tunnel, Gretchen was driving and the Baby was on my lap. This time she made a rather urgent trip to the back seat foot well for what seemed like another craptacular moment. I quickly cleared the remaining cloth bags out of her way and hoped the paper bags would catch whatever payload she seemed destined to eject. This time she made another meow of discomfort and then shot a hot yellow stream of diarrhea out of her asshole. The foul material pooled in the paper bag around her feet and would have been perfectly contained had she not then stepped in it and tracked yellow diarrhea footprints from there back to my lap. I quickly folded up that paper bag and its contents and stuffed it into an unused plastic bag. Luckily we had less than fifty miles to go at that point.
I'm always joking semi-seriously about the E. coli risks of hanging around children, including my own niece and nephew, but for once it was us carrying visible E. coli contamination when we showed up at Gretchen's parents' place. Happily, decontaminating myself and the car didn't actually involve much work. As for the Baby, she seemed to be on the road to recovery. She had one more minor diarrhea incident (this time in her litter box), drank an enormous amount of water, and then went off to take a nap.
Meanwhile Gretchen's brother and his wife and two kids arrived from Pittsburgh. My young nephew (now several months older than five) was playing with a little plastic car propelled by the rocket effects of a balloon. I tried charging the balloon with water, but the payload was much too heavy for the tiny little car to carry.
All of us went out for dinner at the Berwyn Café, the little vegetarian restaurant my parents used to take me to when I was a little kid living in nearby Lanham. (I remember loving the food and tucking into at least one alfalfa sprout sandwich with gusto.) Interestingly, while the adults among us were happily devouring unexpectedly delicious (and inexpensive) vegetarian cuisine, the kids showed no interest in food at all, preferring to play with little trains that attach to each other via magnets (part of the Berwyn Café's toy collection). Their father claimed they are always like this, particularly my nephew. This led me to wonder if perhaps there has traditionally been a survival interest in children appearing to be indifferent to food. In times of famine, I mused, perhaps desperate parents would be inclined to dump their more gluttonous children in the woods.

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