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:
   multicourse birthday feast
Friday, May 25 2012
I had a vexing final adjustment to make to the plumbness of the southeast post supporting the greenhouse roof, so this morning after I fed the critters and gave the dogs their respective medications, I was down there backing out screws with an impact screwdriver and banging away with a sledge hammer. It was 8:00am and I assumed that, unlike Gretchen, her parents would be up by then. But then I hard Gretchen hissing at me from not far away, "Gus! My parents are trying to sleep!" Happily, I managed to devise a quieter way to solve the problem I was trying to fix. Sledge hammers are a fast and noisy way to move big objects around without much preparation, while jacks work slowly and quietly and require a fair amount of preparation.
After a sort of brunch, the four of us (along with Sally) drove to the Rondout so Paul could give us a tour of his church. Gretchen and I have done the tour a number of times now, but (since it's a work in progress), it's always different. While there is a little ongoing work on the outside of the church to fix the stones capping the buttresses, most of the work now is in the basement. The ceiling disaster there has somehow been fixed and now a new floor is being installed. The space is big and it's a lot of floor, and to do it affordably, Paul is using the short pieces of flawed oak tongue-and-groove cut from longer boards. These tend to be full of large hollow knots, all of which can eventually be filled-in, painted, sanded, and sealed to produce a floor that looks like it has been there for a hundred years. Paul told us more about the history of church, which had been built and owned by the United Methodist Church. The church had gone into decline after a homeless shelter was started in its basement in recent times (I'm guessing this was a consequence of the Reagan Revolution, when the term "homeless" became mainstream). Church congregants had been repelled by all the homeless people attracted to the area and had tried to move to a new location. At some point the Methodists decided the only solution was to sell the church. They entrusted it to a lawyer, who had the unenviable task of evicting the homeless shelter. Once the 150 year old building was vacant, Paul bought it. He is its second owner.
Paul went back to work and the four of us went Uptown to try out the new Yum Yum, a franchise of a noodle restaurant started in Woodstock. We've had mixed luck with the Woodstock Yum Yum, but our lunch there today was a winner. Interestingly, Yum Yum uses lots of modern technology to take and process orders. Waitresses take orders on iPhones and process credit cards with them too, and instead of a bulky cash register, the cashier counter has a single monolithic iPad mounted in a stand. Oddly, though, all the lighting consisted of incandescent bulbs.

Tonight we celebrated Gretchen's mother's birthday. As a present, Gretchen had had her mother select whatever she wanted from the whole of vegan cuisine. The result was a very elaborate multi-course meal drawn largely from a cookbook called The Conscious Cook by Tal Ronnen. There was hand-made ravioli, specially prepared tomatoes with fake mozarella cheese, and slabs of pressed & marinaded tofu over beds of noodles. We all agreed that all of it was incredibly delicious, and Gretchen at one point announced that she would have Tal Ronnen's babies, which is big of her considering the only personal use she would normally have for pregancy would be to be able to get an abortion that she could proudly embrace.

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