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:
   sour is expensive
Friday, November 13 2015
Gretchen had scheduled an oil change at the Meineke on Albany Avenue for 1:00pm today, and she wondered if I wanted to tag along, either to spend the carless time on foot farting around in the neighborhood or in the Subaru, which I would drive separately convoy-style to the appointment. I decided to do the latter. After getting out of the car, I noticed that the rear passenger-side tire on the Subaru was low. I would have preferred to just top it off at the Stewart's, but Gretchen told Joe (the guy we know who runs the place), and he had me drive around to the back and have his guys check it out. Precisely as I feared, it became a big production, though at least it allowed me to introduce the idea (via Gretchen) that the Subaru get a state inspection. It hadn't been street-legal since September. Joe said he'd see if he could work it in, and we ended up leaving both cars there. And instead of having to fart around on foot, Joe loaned us a beater car from out in front, a Ford Escort Sport that Gretchen found "hilarious" (due to its jarringly-simple dashboard, cracked steering wheel, and the mystery wire hanging from the ceiling). It was parked-in by multiple vehicles, but Joe told us to just drive over the curb and exit via the driveway of the cleaning business next door.
Our first destination was Beer World (my idea). I thought we could get a few free tastes in before having lunch at the Chipotle next door. We weren't in Beer World long before a large youngish man asked us if there was anything he could help us with. Gretchen explained that she was looking for something sour, and that I was "an IPA snob." At this, the employee took us to the taps on the wall to give us samples and gauge our preferences. Gretchen liked the first sour suggestion, but then she also liked the second one, which (to me) tasted like battery acid. There was a good IPA for me, followed by one that seemed to be mostly just bitter (not the kind I prefer). So then the store employee, in the role of personal shopper (something I pointed out) took us over to the north wall of Beer World to give suggestions about sour beers. There's cheap American macrobrew, there's microbrew, and then there is the north wall of Beer World, where prices for a 750 mL bottle of beer can be as high as $70. Gretchen was shocked and amazed. In the end, she settled on two bottles in the $14 range, though even that seemed expensive. (It's rare for me to spend more than $10 for even a large bottle of microbrew.)
Next door, we had ourselves a fast casual lunch at Chipotle. I had a burrito with sofritas and gaucamole. I'd determined earlier that the key to a good vegan Chipotle burrito is guacamole, even though guacamole is more than $2 extra. Meanwhile, Gretchen had a salad, which she found somewhat unsatisfying. Most unsatisfying of all is the choice of post-assembly hot sauce, which appears to be in the complete corporate control of Tabasco (they're like a hot sauce Nabisco). Fortunately, asking for the hottest hot sauce while your burrito is being manufactured results in a burrito of adequate heat.
We crossed the street and looked for replacement welcome mats at Marshall's and Home Goods, but all we found were garish holiday designs. Then it off to Mother Fucking Storehouse for produce, since their options and level of freshness far surpasses a conventional grocery store. They even had black raddishes and Romanesco broccoli, which looks like an unedited 3D printout of a computer-generated fractal design.
Returning to Meineke, the Prius was ready to go, so Gretchen headed home. My Subaru was still up on the jacks, which is always a bad sign and means that anything could still be found. I saw them taking a careful look at the rusted metal around the brakes and I was worried they would tut-tut about it, but they're all Subaru experts, and evidently that is a common problem of a purely cosmetic nature. The only real problem was that the registration had been expired since March. Perhaps I'd never stuck it to the windshield. I couldn't find it in the glove compartment, so I just had to shrug and assume someone had fucked up, probably our mail person.
Driving around with my newly almost-street-legal Subaru, I headed out to Home Depot mostly to get more rosin-core electronic solder, which, despite all my work of late, I've been going through very slowly. A roll of the silver stuff cost over $15, and when I went through the self-serve checkout line, I didn't notice that it didn't register. The employee staffing that area was a woman who always manages to rub me the wrong way. She kept sniping at me as I did my self-checkout, and occasionally I'd say sarcastic things in reply. But when the $15 solder didn't register and I added it to my pile anyway, she came hurtling over and made sure it got rescanned. I said nothing to her when she wished me a good night on my way out the door. Judging from her webbed neck, I think that woman has an extra arm on one of her smaller chromosomes.
Back at the house, the news was flooded with a breaking story from Paris. Car bombs were going off and 100 people were held hostage at an "Eagles of Death Metal" show. Sara Poiron was chatting with me live and sending me links to live feeds, as always seems to happen when news is breaking.
But then, during Jeopardy, I heard the sound of an endless stream low-flying helicopters that eventually wound down, but not before knocking out the power. It would stay out the rest of the night. I went out briefly into the storm to be buffeted by strong winds and hit by little balls of ice.
Power outages quickly send us back to decidedly primitive media. Gretchen and I fired up some lanterns and read books (the kind made of paper and cardboard) until we became sleepy. I was reading The Master Algorithm, and, at around page 90, I became so weary that I had trouble keeping my eyes open. I went to bed at around 9:00pm, four hours before normal.
I should mention that this evening I found the registration tag for the Subaru crumpled up in the back of the glove compartment. I don't know how that happened, but it was certainly my fault. I probably got the tag months early and didn't want to put it on immediately, so I put it in the glove compartment.

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