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:
   film festival party, 2009
Friday, October 2 2009
It was cloudy and cool this morning, but that didn't keep me from continuing work on the outhouse project. I cut the 3/8 inch plywood for the north and east exterior walls, which I then pre-painted brown and moved into the garage to dry, as it seemed rain was threatening.
Then Gretchen and I met up at the Woodstock Town Hall with Chris and Kirsty, our photogenic vegan Buddhist friends from Zena Road. The Town Hall was one of the many venues for the yearly Woodstock Film Festival, and we'd come to see a movie called Harmony and Me. Mind you, Woodstock Town hall isn't the best venue for watching movies; something about the stapled-up black curtains and cheap plastic chairs suggests a movie venue in a small Guatemalan village. But we watched the movie and enjoyed it. Gretchen thought it was totally awesome and wouldn't shut up about how great it was. But I'd struggled with the low production value of the film's audio, which certainly wasn't helped by the venue's makeshift sound system and acoustics.
Harmony and Me tracked the depressive post-breakup adventures of a nebbishy musically-inclined hipster. There were numerous lingering musical scenes and some surprisingly good songs. As for the writing, I'd probably be raving about it as much as Gretchen were it not for the delays caused by my brain having to tease the words out of the dense undergrowth of muddy, echoing audio. My favorite line came when our hero was invited to participate in a high five and he responded by saying that he had "a pretty strict rule about that."
After the movie, there was a little Q&A with the writers and stars of the movie (as well as the slickly-produced short that had been shown before it). This is one of the great benefits of seeing a movie at the Festival, though its chief virtue is the thrilling cognitive shock of seeing people in the flesh whom you'd just seen on screen.

Back at the house, I installed the non-standard stud walls for the north and east sides of the outhouse and then attached the thin plywood exterior walls. This wasn't perhaps the best material for an exterior wall, but my experience with wall materials over the years had taught me that plywood used as an exterior wall all holds up for many years, just so long as there is some sort of roof overhang to protect it somewhat from being rained on.
Meanwhile the house had become so cold that I felt I should do something about it; it was 55 degrees in the kitchen, which is not a condition I find tolerable even in mid-winter. So I went to start a fire using three pieces of wood, but it smouldered and went out shortly thereafter because I didn't stick around to babysit it. Eventually, though, a warm front came through and temperatures rebounded dramatically. By midnight it was comfortable to stand around outside wearing just a long-sleeved shirt (at least when it wasn't raining).

This evening at around 11:00pm, Gretchen and I went to an exclusive party for staff and participants in the Woodstock Film Festival. We were neither, of course, but we had the connections to get us on the guest list (which was only about twenty names long). The party was held at Skytop, a steakhouse/motel complex near the intersection of US 209 and State Route 28. It's a nice big venue with great ambience, and only three or four miles from home. So it's a little surprising I'd never been there in the seven years I've lived in Hurley. (It probably has something to do with the fact that it calls itself a steakhouse.) Up until today, my experiences with Skytop had been from a quarter mile away, usually heading south on US 209. I'll look over at the bluff where Skytop sits and take note of which of the letters spelling its name aren't working. (At some point they gave up and began illuminating the letters with a floodlight.)
There was mediocre band playing too loudly, rendering the cozier, dimly-lit part of the venue somewhat unpleasant. But eventually they took a break and we could hang out near the stage. The wine was free (a cross-promotion with Barefoot Vineyards), so we stood around drinking it and people-watching. Maybe Gretchen would spot someone famous (this is not a skill I have; I can't even recognize the faces of friends if they do something to their hair, and I rarely watch the forms of media that famous people appear in). In the end there was a mildly famous guy there — a character actor who has appeared in a few Apatow films — and Gretchen eventually got to chat with him, discovering that he has financial problems and occasional difficulty finding work just like everyone else.
Eventually we found our friends, Jenny and Doug from Willow. They were with their filmmaking friend and some very drunk woman who had sat down with them. The very drunk woman was, like Doug, a film editor, though she hadn't worked on projects of the same profile, and she was acting a bit star-struck. At some point she challenged me to an arm wrestle, and when her one arm failed to move mine, she used both. I know I'm unusually strong, but I was still surprised that she couldn't move my arm even when using every possible advantage.
At some point Jenny asked me if I could possibly take one of the dozens of roosters her farm animal sanctuary had just rescued from some dismal poultry operation. Then she asked if I'd go get our table some french fries. "You're really good at delegating," I observed. Some minutes later, she had a revelation of her own. She'd just figured out, she said, what it was about me. "You look like Willem Dafoe," she said. "I get that all the time," I replied.
Before we left, Gretchen and I ran across a woman whom we both used to work for back when I did computer repair housecalls and Gretchen did clutter busting. This woman was once married to an important regional politician and has a daughter whom we'd both remembered as surly, entitled, and extremely unpleasant. In the years since, though, this daughter has gone to and graduated from college, gotten an adult job, and generally grown up. I talked with her at some length, reveling the whole time in her maturity and social grace, all of which had developed since I'd last seen her. She was still a bit dopey, a trait that maturity can't really erase.

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