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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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   advantages to old houses
Friday, January 20 2012
This evening over in Willow (near Woodstock) there would be a party hosted by our friends Jenny and Doug, who run a farm animal sanctuary there and recently fixed up an adjacent house and converted it into a bed and breakfast. Our friend Debra, who worked for a time for Jenny, would also be going, so we made a plan to first do dinner at the Little Bear in Bearsville (currently our favorite Chinese restaurant in the region). Meanwhile Ray and Nancy had wanted to Gretchen out for her birthday to the Indian restaurant, and when they learned of our plans in Bearsville, decided to meet us there as well.
So there we were, the five of us, all crammed around a small table near some small children who were allowed to race back and forth in the space near their table at the end of the lower dining room. We ordered all our favorite foods, including large family-style bowls of both the hot and sour and chewy rice cake soups.
It's a small town, though, and at one point our dentist showed up his wife and adult child. He's a guy with whom I've been having an unrewarding speculative relationship, so Gretchen and I tried to hide our faces and act like we didn't see them. "What, who is it?" Deborah demanded, so I shusshed her with, "Dbr, b qt! Hz rght thr bhnd y!" But then when inevitably we made eye contact, we acted all friendly like this tension hadn't actually exist in our relationship. Meanwhile, though, Gretchen has changed her dentist to a guy in Woodstock who advertises his liberal policy for dispensing laughing gas.

Nancy (but not Ray) decided to join us for the party out at the farm animal sanctuary, and the four of us carpooled together.
The party was held in the new bed and breakfast, in a recently-purchased house adjacent to the sanctuary itself. The front two rooms were crowded when we arrived, effectively masking the fact that somehow none of us had remembered to bring anything to the party. [REDACTED]
The bed and breakfast was beautiful. Doug had started out with a dreary sagging house full of wall-to-wall shag carpets and acoustic tile, and stripped it down, built it back, and lavishly redecorated. Though the house was old and had been built on the cheap, there are certain advantages to even cheaply-built houses if they happen to be old enough. The crappy materials of contemporary construction (drywall, particleboard, and linoleum) didn't exist eighty years ago, so houses had to be built with wood, which always looks great no matter how it ages or is abused. Once the carpet and ceiling tile had been removed, Doug found that the ceilings and floors were made clapboards which, when lightly sanded, proved beautiful. Sure, there aren't many right angles in the building, but that just adds to the charm.

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