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:
   first frost of Fall, 2012
Saturday, October 13 2012
Early this morning Gretchen had to go to her literacy volunteer training, and when she went out to the car, she found enough frost on its windshield that it needed to be scraped off. This was the first frost of the season.
At some point today I turned my attention to the part of the south-facing wall of the greenhouse lying between the older downstairs and the new upstairs. This area had never been finished, but before adding the upstairs, the overhang of the roof overhead had been enough to protect it from the elements. Now, though, the roof is about 60 inches higher and slanting rain can reach into the unfinished area behind the south-facing glass of the basement. This glass had been resting against a wooden girder having a T-shaped cross section. Behind (north of) the glass, there'd been a low trench along the top of the horizontal-component of the girder, and behind (north of) that, there had been a void I'd stuffed with styrofoam and then covered with loose boards for protection from the sun. Today I took out those loose boards, cleaned out the accumulated leaves, dead insects, and random screws, and then lay in some accurately-measured strips of particleboard. I then painted the particleboard and all the wood in the horizontal strip between the south-facing glass of the basement and the south-facing windows of the new greenhouse upstairs. The color I chose was black, because ultimately this whole strip (measuring about fourteen inches by twelve feet) will be covered with transparent polycarbonate roofing and will be used to generate solar-heated air. This is the project I was too lazy to describe the other day.
When Gretchen got home this evening, she was tired and tried to get me to enthusiastically nix the idea of going to a house warming party we'd been invited to. But it was nearby in Old Hurley and it just seemed lame not to go. Of course, I wasn't the one who had to make the brownies or wash my hair as prerequisites to our going. But in the end we went.
The house was a smallish brick house on a huge half acre lot along Hillside Avenue (off Zandhoek Road). The person hosting the party was someone Gretchen knew from the Woodstock bookstore [REDACTED]. There were quite a few people at the party, but we didn't know any of the attendees aside from the ubiquitous Jane the Cellist. Unfortunately, despite the fact that the host was a cat and dog rescuer and worked at a small bookstore, there were few vegan in the large spread of snackfoods. There was, however, fried chicken and bits of cheese and meat on wooden skewers. We got a tour of the oddly-shaped house (which has a room that could be used as a guest room if one didn't have to walk through it to get to the one bedroom). The best feature of the house was the breezeway connecting the main house to the garage. It's always good to fill the rectangular space between two buildings with a breezeway, particularly in this climate. We hung out for a time with three cats back in the bedroom, one of whom had stitches on his head where an abscess was recently removed. Speaking of abscesses, Gretchen has developed one in one of her armpits that is causing her some concern because one never knows when a lump is actually a malignant tumor.
We stayed no longer than an hour, and, disappointed by how little we'd found to eat, decided to go to the Hurley Mountain Inn for dinner for the first time in seven or eight years. Don't get me wrong; we hate the Hurley Mountain Inn: the dead deer trophies on the wall, the gross sportsbar energy of the place, the right wing politics of the owner, and the annual Christmas present he gives to his staff of Mexican kitchen workers (a bottle of tequila for them to split amongst themselves). But the Hurley Mountain Inn has at least one thing in its favor: it's conveniently on our route home from pretty much any place that isn't Woodstock. And they also make very good fries. There's no veggie burger on the menu, but Gretchen remembered something about there being one if we asked for it. And sure enough it was. It wasn't anywhere near as good as the veggie burger at Rolling Rock (at the Mall), but, as I say, it was convenient. It's the closest source of veggie burgers that doesn't involve rooting around in our own freezer. Still, that place is depressing. One looks out across the large dining room to see sullen-faced people wearing baseball caps and sweatshirts thoughtlessly proclaiming the names of sports teams. This will sound elitist because it is: it's a demographic we never normally eat among, and there's a reason: it's fucking depressing even without dead deer stuck to the walls overhead. Still, those people need a place to eat too.

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