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:
   rejected at the Tibetan Center
Tuesday, July 3 2018
It was another hot, sticky day, and I was still hacking up chunks of phlegm. After successfully (and single-handedly) installing the east "stud wall" on the screened-in porch, I made a run out to Home Depot for just a few supplies: hurricane ties, quarter-inch by six-inch self-drilling lag bolts (perfect for when 3.5 inch deck screws aren't enough), and a can of spray foam (for the inevitable mosquito-sized cracks). All the shady spots at Home Depot (in the contractor loading area) were taken, so I parked in a sunny spot and brought the the dogs Ramona and Neville into the Home Depot with me on leashes. The last time I'd had the dogs in the Home Depot (nearly 13 years ago), they'd been Sally and Eleanor, they'd been off-leash, the manager yelled at me, and I yelled back at him. That manager still works there, though he doesn't seem to recognize me. This time, the dogs were actually pretty good at walking with me and not lingering too long on smells (of course, there's not much dog urine inside a Home Depot). And as I waited in line, I could just drop the leashes, confident that they'd chill on the cool concrete floor. The cashier had some dog treats for the dogs, though he also told me of all the official Home Depot rules. Employees are never to touch any customer dogs or offer them treats (I was the one who actually had to transfer the treats to my dogs), and there may've been some other rules as well.
I should mention that a stretch of US 209 between Old Hurley and Route 28 has just been shut down for repairs (probably a bridge replacement similar to the one underway on 209 just south of Enterprise). By shut down, I mean (unlike that other bridge repair) closed in both directions, with Hurley Mountain Road serving as a detour. This isn't a huge problem for Gretchen and me; we can use Hurley Avenue for some of our needs and sometimes I bypass that part of US 209 anyway to visit the Tibetan Center thrift store. Today to get out to Home Depot I'd taken Hurley Avenue to Washington and then Sawkill to the part of 209 that isn't completely shut down. For some stretch of that distance, Sawkill runs parallel to the New York Thruway, which, on this particular day, was moving very slowly northbound. Eventually I saw why. There was a car pulled over (perhaps it was damaged) and some people standing in the strip between the northbound and southbound traffic. They were looking across a guard rail in anguish at a dead deer lying in the southbound lanes. North of that, traffic was backed up south-bound as well. I don't know if that deer was part of the tragedy leading to this congestion or if it was somehow just a symptom. Seeing things like this gives one hope about the essential goodnes of human beings, but it also exposes a serious human flaw: we get all broken-up about individual animals while thoughtlessly living lives that contribute to the systematic torture of billions of animals.
Back at the house, Gretchen had made a Thai pesto pasta for Eva, who was coming over for lunch but was (as she often is) late. During the meal, I decided to enforce a new rule I have about never letting anyone serve me if it's easy enough for me to serve myself. Serving others just to be polite is a protocol that needs to be erased from our society. Gretchen thought I was just being a dick, but I explained why in detail. Nobody knows better than the person receiving the food precisely what they want. There might be vegetables they are trying to avoid, or they might not particularly like the food in question, but in the name of being polite, they're getting their plate filled with quantities and qualities they do not want. Then there's the issue of contamination. I related the tale of the time the father of a former friend named David (of Penny and David) helpfully cut a bagel in half for me, drenching it in his own personal cologne in the process. Eva was horrified, as people always are. (I'd recently told that tale to my young niece and nephew down in Mexico, and they'd squealed in disgust.)
Later Sandor showed up, carrying a very expensive-looking video card that was gathering dust after an upgrade. It was far fancier than anything in my rig, so I said I'd take it. Gretchen had convinced Sandor to use his new pickup truck help us drag away all the 16 year old furniture nobody wants that had been sitting for weeks at the end of our driveway.
Though some of the bed had been sacrificed to make room for a backseat, that truck was enormous. We had no trouble getting two couches, two chairs, and an ottoman into the back of that thing (though that was with the tailgate down). Superficially, the furniture seemed unaffected by having been rained on, but when we tilted them in some directions, tea-colored water would drain out. The plan was to take it all to the Tibetan Center and give it as a donation.
We all convoyed to the Tibetan Center, and there was Rob, the guy I like, doing whatever it is he does there. I thought Gretchen should do all the talking, since she is the people person (Eva, Sandor, and I are all kind of "on the spectrum" by comparison). Rob took a quick look at the furniture, saw some minor cat damage, and rejected the whole lot. Gretchen never takes a no at face value, and tried to argue with Rob, pointing to similar damage on couches that had actually sold. But there was no changing Rob's mind. And even if he had agreed at this point, he might well have changed his mind once we started unloading the furniture and yet more funky-smelling water poured out of them. I should mention that Gretchen had brought a number of other items she was wanting to dispose of, including a perfectly-good pressure cooker, and she'd simply secreted them among the riot of other things sprawling in front.
So Sandor drove me and the furniture over to the Hurley transfer station. The entire furniture set came to only 200 pounds, but in addition to the per-pound charges, there was a per-piece charge; getting rid of all that stuff ended up costing $32.
Meanwhile, Gretchen, Eva, and the dogs had all gone to Onteora Lake, an outdoor public space I haven't visited in years. Eva and Sandor didn't know anything about it. We all rendezvoused at the water's edge, which meant we had to somewhat-crowd two people who were already there. As for the water, it was as warm as a lukewarm bathtub. There was a colder layer about four feet down that, once in, I kept stirring up towards me. Eva got in the water and briefly swam, but Sandor is even less into water than I am, doing nothing more than sitting on a rock and submerging only his feet (with reef shoes). Still, they liked the place and siad they would definitely be coming back.
Yet again, Neville was doing that gradual wander-off thing he does, though he never got very far. Gretchen retrieved him from someone else's picnic table and I went back to the parking lot to get him later. At some point Ramona snapped at a perfectly nice dog that Neville had befriended; she doesn't much like strange females.

This evening Gretchen and I watched the first two episodes of an HBO series called Barry. It's a sort of a comedy (and not even an especially dark one) about a hit man in Los Angeles who decides he wants to become an actor. So far it seems to have a lot working in its favor, much of it summed-up in the blank, slightly put-upon default facial expression of the main protagonist, played by Bill Hader.

It was difficult to figure out where to sleep tonight. The upstairs bedroom was too hot (though we'd finally changed out all the sheets and blankets I'd been sweating into), and the basement master guestroom was too stinky (cats had gotten in there and resumed pissing into the carpets, and the mold from all the condesation had become oppressive). Ultimately I slept upstairs. The fresh clean summer-weather sheets and full-blast ceiling fan (coupled with 50 milligrams of diphenhydramine) made it all possible. This was the first time Gretchen and I had slept together in about a week.

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