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:
   behind the tentacles of a mop
Wednesday, November 25 2015
My sleep last night was punctuated by a sharp pain in the right side of my throat every time I reflexively swallowed (which, according to a page on the internet, I did about 500 times during those seven hours). Happily, I had few other symptoms from what was turning out to be a very mild head cold. Those other symptoms included increased mucus production in the back of my throat and occasional light coughing.
In the late morning, our friends Q & N and their puppy Coach Eric Taylor came over for a dog walk. They were soon joined by Ray and Nancy and their now-mature dog Jack (who once looked a lot like Coach). I didn't end up going on the dog walk, using my cold as the excuse for not going. Ray also begged out of the walk, and he and I chatted with Gretchen's father as we nibbled on the many snack options available. It was so warm in the dining room from all the firewood I've been burning to keep Gretchen's mother happy (she can't stand air temperature less than about 72 degrees) that he had to move out of the sun, which was streaming in the windows from the south. Unlike Gretchen's mother, Ray runs hot and prefers temperatures in the low 60s. He told us how at the restaurant where he works, he's always turning the thermostat down, while the waitresses (who, being women, tend to be less covered) complain about it being too cold. I made a french press of coffee and drank my first caffeine since Saturday.
All the coming and going and toing and froing with the dogs meant that people kept standing in the doorway with it wide open or, in at least one case, just leaving the door wide open while they went off to do something somewhere else. It was an unseasonably cold day, and I work hard to gather the firewood that was making the indoors so toasty, and this disregard for the value of the heat offended me to an extend I could barely conceal. As always, I sought psychic comfort in finding a technical solution. Last year, I'd bought a spring-loaded door closer to gently remind people of the door's preferred state (as well as combat situations where an unlatched door could be blown open by the wind). All I had to do was find the main closing cylinder and reinstall it, and then maybe there'd be a whole lot less polite lingering in the open doorway. But where was that damn thing? I checked all the places I logically would have put it back when I removed it after the onset of warm weather, and it was nowhere to be found. Jacked up on an absurd amount caffeine consumed after a multi-day caffeine abstinence, it was as if I had snorted a fat line of cocaine and undertaken a doomed crackhead project. I spent over an hour hunting for that damn cylinder, poking around through some places multiple times and finding things I didn't remember having bought (such as a very nice set of wood chisels). When I did finally find that cylinder, it was exactly where I would have put it. I'd missed it multiple times because it was hidden behind the tentacles of a mop hanging on the wall.
Meanwhile, Gretchen and her parents were puttering around in the kitchen making several dishes for tomorrow's big vegan feast. Evidently one of the dishes called for curry powder, because it smelled like an Indian restaurant down there, in the best possible way.
Late in the afternoon, I went on a short foray down the Stick Trail, stopping shy of Chamomile to cut up some scraps of skeletonized Chestnut Oak in an area otherwise depleted of salvageable wood. Somehow I managed to assemble the largest backpack load that I've ever weighed, in this case 150.7 pounds. Unfortunately, the wood wasn't bone-dry, a fact I quickly discovered when I split it up before carrying it all into the house. Evidently contact with the ground (and possibly with pools of water during rainy periods) had counteracted all the great natural seasoning that had happened before I'd cut it down earlier in the season.
This evening, the four of us drove to Woodstock and had dinner at the Garden Café. The Garden had just reopened tonight after having been closed three days, the time necessary to open up and finish a couple openings into an adjacent space they were expanding into. The new space has a bathroom, meaning that us customers will no longer have to go outside to another storefront to use a bathroom there. I hadn't actually been inside the Garden since it changed owners this summer, and the place really does look a lot better than it used to. Gone is the visual clutter and mishmash of tables, all replaced with a white & silver color scheme and small, tasteful accents. It's perhaps a bit too sterile now, but it's a better environment for dining and justifies the increased prices of some dishes. I ordered the miso vegetable soup, adding a bunch of Sontava habañero sauce (which I'd brought with me; the Garden's house hot sauce wouldn't have been up to the job). It was great. I also followed Gretchen's lead and ordered the mushroom panini sandwich with a side of tempeh, which I then added to the sandwich. At this point, the main irritation with eating at the Garden is that Gretchen is always being pulled away by random people she knows, which often delays the ordering process when I am cranky from hunger. This just doesn't happen at a place like Catskill Mountain Pizza.

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