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:
   mud stuck
Friday, December 30 2011
Gretchen returned from the city and, later this afternoon as the winter sun dwindled away to nothing behind thin clouds, we drove out to the north end of the Shawangunk Ridge to attend the 50th birthday party for our friend Brian (of Tara and Brian) at the off-grid house he and his wife built for themselves over the past couple years. We (along with our dogs) were among the first to arrive. The house looks lovely, with all of its wooden surfaces lightly washed with a thin transparent coat of white, giving the interior the hue of light honey.
Eventually a fair number of people showed up, to the point where the kitchen was hard to get through. Gretchen and I were seated for awhile next to a woman with her one-month-old baby. While the baby sucked on her pinky, her father told us what it's like to be a freelance set designer down in the City. At some point Brian, who'd been making pizza at a fancy outdoor brick oven out in the back, made us a special vegan pizza that ended up being about the oiliest thing I've eaten in a long time.
Within the last year or so Brian added a small $700 windmill. It wasn't turning tonight, and I asked Brian how useful it's been. I got the impression it wasn't really working all that well; it turns out that good strong winds often happen when the sun is also shining (even in the winter time), and on such occasions, there's too much electricity to actually use.
When we took our dogs out for a piss break, we sat on a rough wooden bench in front of a small bonfire and we could see the value of having such a setup at our own place, though it's a dreadfully inefficient use of firewood.
Back inside, Brian and his various musician friends (they're in a band) began playing their festively-sad Bulgarian-inflected music. There was a sousaphone, an accordion, a drum, and a trombone. Eleanor, who spent the evening unsuccessfully looking for a soft place to lie down, didn't seem to mind the music. For her part, of course, Sally remains almost completely deaf, which also worked to her advantage when a hippie woman savagely yelled at her for sniffing around in the compost bin.
When Gretchen and I eventually tried to leave the party, there was no place to turn around and Gretchen found herself having to back down a long, potholed road, hemmed in on both sides by parked cars. While avoiding the cars on one side, she managed to get both wheels on the other side stuck in a ditch, and we found ourselves stuck so badly that there was nothing the two of us could do to extricate ourselves. We tried putting pieces of firewood from a nearby cabin under the one spinning tire, but it did no good. So we went back to the party and eventually (everything happens slowly in the off-the-grid musician/farmer world) raised a sizable posse of strong, slightly-inebriated revelers. Unfortunately, though, there was no consensus on what action to take to get the car unstuck, and the pushes seemed half-hearted at best. Finally, though, a rope was found and tied to a four-wheel-drive vehicle, which had little difficulty pulling us onto dry land.

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