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:
   Penny gets quilled
Wednesday, May 16 2012
For the past five to seven years (depending on what you're counting) Gretchen has worked for an innovative program that brings a liberal arts education to prisoners in various New York State prisons. The program is associated with a nearby liberal arts college (you can probably guess which one it is; its name only contains four letters) and was so compelling that Gretchen chose to teach in the prison even after being offered to teach at the college itself. In recent years the prison program has experienced rapid growth, as well as wave after wave of hassles and unncessary bureaucratic headaches caused by the inherently-authoritarian administrations at the various prisons. I've watched Gretchen suffer from the needless drudgery and aggravation these waves have caused. Though she loves her prisoner-students in recent months there were parts of her job that she had come to hate. She needed a break. Lucky for her, as one of her conditions for being the site coordinator for the program's largest "campus," she'd stipulated that she would need to have summers off. Being a poet and a writer, she wanted summers available for such things as writers' retreats.
But then the other day the woman who intercedes between Gretchen and the program's founder (and director) called and told Gretchen that she would now have to be working summers. Gretchen responded by saying she would quit sooner than work summers. It seemed like a good bluff, and one she was empowered to make given my relatively large income these days. A few days passed and then today this woman called to say that alrighty then, if you won't work summers, you cannot be site coordinator. It was a shocking development. Gretchen felt betrayed by the founder/director, who couldn't muster the nerve to tell her himself. She'd put so much into the program and now they were firing her for something so small? On a more practical level, there was also this: where are we going to get our health insurance? As a salaried employee, Gretchen had been supplying us both with health insurance since 2008. With my paycheck alone, we can both live comfortably and afford insurance on the open market, but nobody really wants to get insurance that way; it will cost us $1000/month, and won't be anywhere near as good as the insurance we had been on. Perhaps we'll freeball it for a few months. Obamacare, when the fuck are you going to kick in?

In the early evening Deborah called to say that she'd been walking the dogs in the forest and one of them (Michæl's dog Penny) got quilled by a porcupine. She'd never experienced anything like this and wondered what to do. She'd tried calling Eileen, our awesome visiting vet, but hadn't been able to reach her. So Gretchen told Deborah to bring the dogs over here.
Penny had a couple dozen quills, most of which were on her lips, though there were a fair number in the roof of her mouth as well. I was quickly able to get five or six out, first by hand and then using needle-nosed pliers. And at first Penny was cooperative, but the pain involved in getting those quills out is excruciating, and it wasn't long before Penny was shying away from my pliers. I tryed numbing her mouth with Ambesol and then Deborah and I tried holding her down, but she was just too squirmy. Also, at 67 pounds, she's bigger and stronger than the other dogs with which we're familiar.
Eventually we got through to Eileen, who said she'd be right over. While waiting for her, we ate a delicious polenta-bean-and-brussel-sprouts dinner cooked by Gretchen out on the east deck.
Eileen had the right chemical tools for the job, which made it all very easy. Using a quick-acting hypnotic, Penny went as unconscious as a corpse, and it was a simple matter to open her mouth and remove all of the quills. Having such a large beast so unresponsive to stimuli reminded me of those scenes from Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom where large game animals were tranquilized to receive ear tags (or whatever it was that was done to African critters in the early 1970s). After the quills were out, Eileen gave Penny a fast-acting wake-up shot, and within five minutes she was standing (though still groggy). In total, we removed just over 20 quills from Penny's mouth and lips.

Penny zonked out on drugs, getting quills removed by Eileen. It's bright in Penny's mouth because a flashlight is shining on that area.

For linking purposes this article's URL is:

previous | next