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
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Irving housing

got that wrong

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Like my brownhouse:
   when to use 160 proof
Saturday, August 23 2014
I know A, the guy whose Lightroom/webapp I am building through his wife C, who is a poet that Gretchen knows (and was the connection that led to various forms of Bard employment back before that all blew up). Today C would be doing a book signing and reading at the bookstore in Woodstock and Gretchen would be presiding. I'd told A would be there, so at around 1:35pm I drove over to Woodstock separately with the dogs. Woodstock was mobbed with people, and it was difficult to find parking, particularly the kind with shade. But I eventually found a spot at the library.
Not knowing how my attention span would hold out, I'd been sipping on a beverage consisting of a non-alcoholic punch that Deborah had brought to the dinner party the other day, though spiked with 160 proof Devil's Springs vodka. I'd overspiked and undermixed it in my travel mug, and the first eight or twenty sips were all at least 80 proof, giving me a nice attentive buzz. That stuff is like ritalin to me; indeed, a very similar beverage was what had made a performance of Twelfth Night watchable. It turned out that C's book was a large-format book full of huge illustrations done by artist collaborator. I wouldn't exactly say that the poetry or illustrations moved me, but I could see that it represented a lot of work.
There were only a few of us there at the reading, all of whom I knew save for one. But it turned out that the one person I didn't know would also be reading from her book of poetry. Her book was also somewhat graphical, but the graphics were all typographic arrangements, not color illustrations. I wouldn't say I absorbed anything she read, but it wasn't as unbearable as other poetry I've suffered through. Afterwards, down in the bookstore, Gretchen asked, "You've been drinking?" I'd been busted, but at least I had an excuse, "I didn't know how bad this was gonna be." It turned out she could smell that 160 proof vodka on my breath. I really need to reserve that 160 proof stuff just for times when I need to smuggle concentrated alcohol onto an airplane or when I'll be drinking in complete isolation.
After the reading, five us (Gretchen, A, C, the other poet, and I) tried to go to the Garden Café for smoothies, but there was no place for us to sit acceptable to the aspergery waiter, so we went to the Little Apple instead, where they have coconut "frozen yoghurt" (though I had an ice coffee). We sat outside and talked about the school systems in Brooklyn and Woodstock, and also Gretchen's new job trying to coordinate a reading program in a local jail. A suggested I teach a course on programming, and this reminded me that I had shown a few Bard Prison Initiative inmates basic Javascript. A talked about teaching himself Pascal, and then of course I told the amusing tale of how I'd saved my lunch money for my first computer (a VIC-20) which I'd had program blind for a couple weeks as I saved up enough additional lunch money for a television to use as a monitor.
After I left the others, I went to one of the two hardware stores in Woodstock to try to find a brass fitting that would supply a sharp 90 degree bend to the icemaker hoses I am currently using to connect up two of the burners in our gas kitchen range. The stove's internal geometry is such that it's almost impossible to prevent those hoses from kinking, which makes the burners underperform. But I couldn't find any suitable brass fittings. I wound up driving to the Lowes on 9W and, with an actual icemaker hose in my hands, I tried different fittings. I soon determined that the kind I needed was 1/4 inch compression fitting, but I needed it to be male on one end and female on the other. It turns out that there are no compression fittings like that; I would have to make one using a male-to-male 90 degree bend with an adapter consisting of two compression nuts and a short length of copper tube. An older Lowes employee who seemed to know a lot about this stuff was somewhat helpful, though he was very dubious (as I knew he would be) when I explained that I needed these parts for gas in a stove. He probably could smell the booze on my breath too, but that's not unusual on a Saturday afternoon at Lowes.

Back at the house, I cracked open a Sierra Nevada Torpedo (which I always pronounce "tohr-pəd-tho") and watched an episode of Bering Sea Gold, delighted that the long season of Friday evening gold-related Discovery reality shows had started.
Later I went to fix the stove and discovered more problems: one of the aluminum frames holding a burner's gas jets had broken in three places, meaning I had to unscrew it from the stove and somehow weld it back together. But the screws holding it to the stove were frozen in place and needed to be drilled out. And then, of course, I didn't have the argon gas necessary to weld aluminum, so I had to use JB Weld (a kind of epoxy) instead. Luckily, none of what I was fixing would be subjected to high temperatures.

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