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
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Like my brownhouse:
   Whidbey Island vegan hunt
Thursday, July 5 2012

location: Americas Best Value Inn, SeaTac, Washington State

Mary's wedding tomorrow would be on Whidbey Island in Puget Sound, and to get there, Gretchen had arranged for us to be picked up by two friends of the bride: Tony and Charlie. Charlie was once Mary's boyfriend, though he also has another distinction: he was once married to Tori Spelling. Both Tony and Charlie work in the film industry and are funny, entertaining guys. Both are also divorced.
Whidbey Island is a large island that occupies much of Puget Sound. It is joined to the mainland on its north by a bridge, but 50 miles to the south, the only access is via ferry. We took that ferry late this morning and were aboard long enough to go looking for food and coffee at its on-board concession. But just as soon as those transactions were done, an announcement came via the PA system telling us that we were landing. I love ferry rides and was disappointed that this one was so brief.
The wedding was taking place at some sort of woo-wooey meditative retreat called the Whidbey Institute. Today, in defiance of all Puget Sound stereotypes, it was a sun-drenched flower-speckled wonderland set amongst tastefully-rustic wooden buildings. When we arrived, there was a low-key buffet luncheon on offer, as well as several coolers full of drinks such as beer (the best of which was the Red Hook ESB; don't bother with their IPA). I ended up having several conversations with people about how Gretchen and I met and how dissolute my life was back in those days. I also received a large number of energetic photons from the star at the center of our particular stellar system.
Gretchen had RSVPed for the wedding early enough to secure for us the only queen-sized bed at the entire Institute (all other beds were either single or whatever the smaller kind of non-single is called). The rooms themselves were small and devoid of yoga-unfriendly things such as teevee (there was WiFi, but for some reason it was only usable on my iPad). All four rooms on our floor had to share a pair of bathrooms, which seemed kind of ghetto given that Gretchen and I were paying $150/night. But there was a full kitchen, two meditation lofts, a living room downstairs, and the verdant grounds were certainly an improvement over anything in SeaTac.
Lacking a car, Gretchen and I managed to hook up with a couple named Ezra and Brooksley, who were driving a reliably-battered family car with Montana plates. We wanted to go into town, wherever that happened to be, to find a vegan-friendly restaurant (Gretchen and I did; the others didn't really care).
The town turned out to be Langley, several miles to the northeast. With a gorgeous view of Puget Sound and a number of the snowy cascade peaks, I didn't mind so much that most of what we did there consisted of strolling around looking into the windows of closed shops. Langley has the look and feel of a sleepy fishing village occupied by people who wouldn't look out of place on a golf course. The restaurants catering to this demographic tend to be incompatible with veganism on an almost molecular level, and unfortunately all the other restaurants were closed (for the day after the Fourth of July perhaps). In the end, we managed to find a Thai restaurant (actually, it was more of an Asian fusion restaurant) out in middle of nowhere some five or six miles down the road to the southwest. It was called Basil Café and some (but not all) of the food turned out to be good. By now our contingent had grown to seven people, a couple of whom work as screen writers (because that was the kind of wedding we were at). One of them talked at length about the "life rights" he'd bought to the story of a diminutive lady bounty hunter. (I'd say more, but I don't have those life rights.)
Back at the Institute, Gretchen and I found our way to an inevitable bonfire that, unlike all other such bonfires, did not have a readily-apparent source of alcohol. Gretchen and I had split a bottle of white wine at dinner, but even so it was hard for me to muster much (or any) excitement for s'mores at the age of forty four.

Gretchen befriends a big kitty cat at the maintenance shed/shipping container at Americas Best Value Inn in SeaTac.

Gretchen looks cute when she's pissed off. Here she's mad because I might put this picture on the internet without her first approving it. (In the parking lot at Americas Best Value Inn in SeaTac.)

At the Whidbey Institute.

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