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:
   sleight of cat
Monday, July 21 2014
First thing this morning, I tasked myself with washing dishes from yesterday's party. There were a few platters and trays (the decorative kind that I normally only see at parties and their aftermath), but most of the dishes were glasses. For the preceding party, we'd given our guests plastic cups, but since then Gretchen bought a large number of glasses, and so it was mostly glasses that I washed this morning. Had there been plastic cups, even the disposable kind, I would have washed those so they too could have been reused. As for forks, spoons, and regular plates, there had been little use of those since the food had mostly been engineered to be eaten without them.
Our friends Susan and David (along with their dogs Olive & Darla, whom they'd left home yesterday) came over late this morning so they could walk with Gretchen and our dogs in the forest. They'd brought over a gorgeous hibiscus flower to thank us for yesterday's party. Our challenge will now be to somehow keep it alive (being eaten by deer being the likeliest future scenario).
I didn't go on the walk, but when Susan and David got back (and Gretchen got ready to go to work), I made a french press of coffee, which we drank out on the east deck while they had me council them on various contractor estimates, particularly a $70k winterization-cum-asbestos removal estimate for the 400 square foot building that Susan will be using as an art studio. That seemed terribly high considering that the asbestos isn't even friable (in other words, it only becomes dangerous if it is cut or drilled). As we talked, the various dogs milled around or stretched out on the deck and rested. Happily, there were no incidents where we had to dive in and pry suddenly-enraged dogs apart, although there was that once brief-yet-terrifying incident where Gretchen brought down Celeste the kitten, handed her to David, whereupon Olive immediately ran over and leaped into the air as if she were going for a chipmunk.
Susan and David departed with the arrival of the guy whose Lightroom-integrated web app I've been building; we've been having weekly or near-weekly meetings of late. There was a brief overlap, enough time for Olive (who looks exactly like the thuggish Pit Bulls that helicopter parents warn their children about) to bark and jump menacingly upon my unfortunate client.

Somehow we lucked out yesterday and there were almost no mosquitoes at our party (or else they were concentrating on a few people and not me or the friends I happened to be talking to). Today, though, the little fuckers were out in force, and at various times today I had itchy swollen bumps on my arms, legs, neck, and face. They later showed up in our teevee room while we were trying to watch Orange is the New Black. We swatted seven or eight of them dead in that one place.

While Gretchen was at work, I permitted Ramona to go into the bedroom to spend time with Celeste the kitten, something she very much wanted to do. Previously, Ramona had seemed a bit overeager, and we'd felt the need to supervise and cut short her encounters with Celeste. Today, though, I felt more comfortable just letting Celeste and Ramona work out the terms of their nascent friendship. They both seemed fascinated with each other, and though their interaction was worryingly aggressive at times (particularly when Ramona pawed at the kitten with her relatively-massive mitts), Celeste was agile enough to avoid injury even while staying close enough to invite it. And, for her part, Ramona clearly scaled down her behavior to accommodate such a tiny partner. And whenever they were both together out in the open in the middle of the floor (away from places for Celeste to hide), Ramona was gentle, limiting her actions to sniffing and licking. But much of their play took place on the set of custom steps I'd built back in June of 2010 so the increasingly-decrepit Sally could still clamber up onto the bed. Ramona would stick her face between the treads (there are no risers) and the kitten would stay just out of reach. Sometimes Ramona would get so excited she would begin to whimper. And then somehow Celeste vanish behind some narrow structure and, through sleight of cat (something that is possible when you are this small and this fast), she would come around the side and smack some undefended part of Ramona's face. There was similar play under the old Polish trunk, which has just enough space beneath it for Celeste to crawl around, or in the voids of the bed (where Celeste could disappear completely, only to appear in a totally different place as if she'd pushed the hyperspace button). Sometimes Celeste even managed to fool Ramona into persistently looking in one place while she observed from a different place across the room.
When Gretchen came home, she was suitably impressed by the progress Celeste had made, particularly visa vis Ramona. She was, however, a little unnerved to see her scratching so much. So we went and got a flea comb, and sure enough, it turned out she had fleas. We haven't had a flea outbreak in years and didn't want Celeste to be the Typhoid Mary of a new one, so I combed her thoroughly, killing every flea I found. Gretchen then applied Frontline (or something similar) to both Celeste and Oscar and we did a thorough sweep and vacuuming of the entire bedroom (as well as parts of the bathroom and also the place in the closet where I'd once found Celeste sleeping). Hopefully we reacted in time; it certainly helps that, as a floating mat of vegetation crossing an ocean between suitable habitats, Celeste is a small one.

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