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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:
   salty food and whey
Saturday, March 13 2010
It was a rainy day in March, and I never got around to walking the dogs. It's been a warm March thus far, and nearly all the winter snow is gone, even from the piles where I'd shoveled it out of the driveway. Usually the snow lasts into April, though normally we also get much more of it.
Meanwhile Ray, who has been living in the Gunther Room and being trained for work at New World Home Cooking, has been introducing me to his various vegan junkfoods of choice. This morning he went out on a special shopping errand (he's yet to master the art of combining errands) and returned with a number of things, including a jar of Planter's salted dry roasted peanuts. It's not the kind of food that I would ever think to buy, but the peanuts were delicious and now they'll be in my mind when I'm shopping on an empty stomach. We managed to eat half that jar in the space of twenty minutes.
Usually on a rainy day when Gretchen is away I watch a lot of teevee, but for whatever reason the Tivo wasn't capturing any of my shows, so I found myself turning to the web. I couldn't do it at first, but over time I've become more and more comfortable passively watching television on a computer screen, just like teenagers today. I'd started out watching the Intervention back catalog on YouTube, but today most of my watching was on Hulu, where the clips are of entire shows and the stream quality is decidedly better. There's a price for these features, namely, advertising. But the ads are mercifully short and I was even asked at one point what sort of advertising experience I'd prefer (I had to pick between three models of sport utility vehicle, so I chose the one with which I was least familiar).
In the course of watching these Interventions, I was most struck by the case of Coley, a lumberjack seemingly living in Northern California. (Which I watched on Youtube, not Hulu.) Coley is addicted to methamphetamines, which he likes to snort in his cluttered garage. The drug gives him delusions that he can get rich by harvesting burls, the knotty growths on the trunks of trees. The crazed pursuit of burl provides an unexpectedly rich source of texture and poignancy for this story, and I found myself engaged and invested a bit more than usual.
Late this evening I was watching the Colbert Report on conventional teevee when Ray came back from his job working with nubile waitresses. He'd bought a 12 pack of Miller High Life (his beer of choice) and a can of Salt & Vinegar Pringles (that's the other major form of salty vegan junkfood Ray has introduced me to since moving into the Gunther room). I rewound Colbert so Ray could watch a hilarious segment dedicated to a Pringles product recall. Who knew there were so many flavors? And who'd ever heard of "Taco Night" (one of the two flavors in the recall, the other being "Cheeseburger")? Actually, Ray claimed he'd tried "Taco Night" not long ago, though he didn't seem to think it was especially good.
Reading the ingredients of our can of Salt & Vinegar Pringles, we discovered that it isn't technically vegan, as it contains a trace of whey. Whey is a byproduct in the creation of cheese, and the cheese industry is always looking for new ways to inject it into the food supply, since otherwise it's waste. Back when I was a kid, we always had big pots of disgusting semen-colored whey generated by my mother's goat cheese manufacturing, and the only use we could find for it was to pour it into dishes for the chickens to drink (they loved it).

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