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").


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Like my brownhouse:
   Chipotle, gin, vodka, Ambien, and makeshift earplugs
Thursday, November 21 2013

location: room 515, Piero Condo complex, just west of Downtown Los Angeles, California

Today was the day for us to fly back to the Hudson Valley, so this morning my Droid X2 alarm went off (as I'd feared, it had only vibrated, though that alone was enough to wake me from the illogical weird universe of my dreams). We packed in a few minutes and found our way out of the building. After opening the gate in the parking garage, I had to go upstairs to the room to leave the garage door remote there.
Gretchen had one last vegan destination for us to check off in Los Angeles: Localita & the Badasserie, a tiny restaurant in the Italian clothing district downtown. It was hard to find, and it didn't occur to the guy running the place to actually look at the rye bread when Gretchen asked if it contained caraway seeds. But he made us both two huge reuben sandwiches using a fake meat that looked like finely-cut corned beef. While all this was going on, a Hispanic guy with a mop thoroughly cleaned the floor and sidewalk out in front while listening to a country music station on the radio.
There was only a little congestion on the drive out to the airport, and we made it through security and to our gate with nearly an hour and a half to kill. Though I would be trying to sleep soon, it seemed prudent to get a cup of coffee at the convenient Starbucks concession so as to forestall any caffeine withdrawal problems during the flight.
The flight back to Philadelphia was overbooked, and Gretchen and I had been seated separately. So Gretchen offered to trade her window seat for the middle seat next to me, but then I gave her the window seat and I moved to the middle, next to a guy who was missing some important structural bones in his face. All would have been well, but there was a baby/toddler sitting directly behind us, and not only was he a screamer, but he also delighted in kicking the seat. And the singsong voice his mother used when cooing to him was nearly as bad as he was. "Had I known he was there I would have never traded my seat," Gretchen declared in disgust. (As for me, dealing with Gretchen's irritation at this was almost as bad as what was actually irritating her.) Meanwhile some crazy flight attendant logistics were playing out because of an enormous 500 pound man who had to be seated somewhere. People had to be shuffled around so as to accommodate his enormous (presumably plane-unbalancing) mass. For awhile Gretchen held out the hope that this reshuffling would allow her to move to some other seat, but alas she ended up having to stay where she was. There were no spare earplugs on the plane, but a flight attendant found her some tissue paper which, following my instructions, she moistened and stuffed in her ear. (I found it a little strange that she didn't seem to have any experience fashioning makeshift earplugs.)
Once we were in the air and free drinks had been distributed, I ate my Ambien, mixed vodka into my bloody mary mix, and hoped for the best. Eventually I zonked out, and I must have because the flight didn't seem to take long. But most of my memories of the flight were of being frustrated by my inability to fall asleep. At some point I even had Gretchen give me a second Ambien, which I took. I also drank all the vodka we had on hand (aside from the small amount that Gretchen had). Unfortunately, though, this wasn't quite as much as it might have been because a bunch of the high-proof stuff had leaked out of one of the bottles (some of it soaking that laptop keyboard I've been trying to dry for this entire trip).
In Philadelphia, we killed some time at cheerful high-design bar near our gate called Re:vive. It had WiFi and booze but no IPAs. I drank a beer and then ordered a gin & tonic, causing Gretchen a little dismay with my apparently heightened level of alcohol consumption. "Are you going to be good to drive when we land in Newburgh?" she asked. That was a long time in the future so I had no concern.
While I was drinking my gin & tonic, Gretchen went off and ordered us burritos at a Chipotle. It was the first time either of us had patronized this growing national Mexican food restaurant chain.
The flight from Phildelphia was not crowded, meaning Gretchen was not stuck with the annoying young plump woman who wanted to talk to her when all she wanted to do was read. Our Chipotle burritos were huge and tasted absolutely divine; Gretchen had seen to it that mine was made extra spicy.

After I'd driven us home, I went around the house turning down the thermostats and then I started a fire. Alarmingly, one or more of our housesitters had opened windows and just left them that way. That's how one deals with surplus heat in the City, but in the country where people have to pay individually for their heat, it's more common to, you know, turn the thermostat down. For some reason a couple blankets had completely vanished from the bed and they weren't in any of the obvious places.

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