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:
   overwhelmed by entropy
Sunday, July 29 2018
I might've been a little hungover today from last night's drinking, though if so, it was a strange, emotionally-drained hangover. I didn't feel like I was capable of much or that by doing things I could have any appreciable impact on even my little part of the world. I felt overwhelmed by entropy.
Despit all this, this afternoon I put in a lot of work attempting to tame some of the chaos. My plan was to clean out Gretchen's basement library so that she could start using it and her new screened-in porch. I started by removing all the odd pieces of wood leftover from the hundreds of cuts I'd had to make. There were so many of these pieces that it seemed prudent just to move them out into the basement hall so I could carry them up the stairs without having to open and close any doors. I made similar staging areas just outside the front door of the house and outside the garage, which will require some reorganization just to contain all the usable scrap wood. I also wanted to remove all the tools I was no longer using. I still had a need for the mitre saw, but only to cut to size the wood strips I still needed to install on the outside of the screens. Since those wood strips take up a lot of room, it seemed best to interrupt my cleaning to install most of those strips. Once they were out of the way, I could put away the mitre saw (which had been downstairs for well over a year) and also clean up all the sawdust, since there would be no sawing left to do on the porch project.
Over the course of several hours, I managed to install all the screen strips except for the pieces needed for the edges of the above-screen-door transom and the long, flat triangles under the roof at its north and south ends. Since those are so high above the floor and less subject to wear and tear (and staple-rusting rain), I could put off trimming them indefinitely (or at least until I have a ladder set up for some other purpose). When I was done, I'd burned through most of my strips; I had two or three left, but that wasn't even enough to trim one of the long, flat triangles.
I then continued with the cleanup, which mostly consisted of moving tools and building supplies back to the established places where they belong.

At 7:00pm, Gretchen and Neville returned home from the bookstore and it was time for the next thing: one of the seed library guys was turning 46 and was celebrating his birthday at Boitsons in Uptown Kingston, and we'd been invited to attend.
We were the last to arrive at the long table where the celebrants sat in Boitson's large outdoor space in the back. Most of the others at the table were local entrepreneurs with an idealistic streak. In terms of people I knew, there were the seed library guys, Michæl (of Carrie and Michæl) and a woman who has started several vegan businesses (mostly in New Paltz). Soon after sitting down, I was introduced to Bob, apparently the guy who started Farm Hub (the sustainable farming project that bought up most of the nearby fields in the Esopus Valley). He almost immediately began apologizing for having closed down the farm stand, even though all I'd done was praise him for having brought an end to the cropdusting. According to Bob, the reason he'd discontinued the farm stand was that the student-farmers participating in Farm Hub are more interested in growing bulk crops than in the small operation required to provide products to a farm stand. Apparently that farm stand was entirely provisioned from a 25 acre parcel dedicated to growing a wide range of crops in small subfields. Another interesting fact about the Esopus Valley: its topsoil is 30 to 60 feet deep. That accounts for why its still good cropland after hundreds of years of intensive farming (which, according to Henry Hudson, predates European contact).
Though Boitsons is a restaurant Gretchen and I have been willing to try once every five years or so (on the chance it's improved since our last meal there), neither of us would ever frequent the place. Traditionally it hasn't been very vegan (or even vegetarian) friendly. Supposedly, though, change is in the air and on Sunday nights Boitsons now how a variety of vegan specials. Gretchen had heard about those specials, and they were all things she finds either disgusting (eggplant) or underwhelming (quinoa and polenta). So she had had the seed library guys order us Impossible Burgers, the sensational all-veggie burger disturbingly similar to actual hamburger that can only be ordered in certain select restaurants (such as that White Castle in Queens and Northern Spy in High Falls). The burgers came with vegan cheese and a huge pile of french fries that looked fancier than they tasted (that's a good thing; I hate the way fancy french fries taste). As for the burgers; they weren't as good as other Impossible Burgers I'd had; Gretchen thinks the patties had been made too thick.
Much of the conversation happened after we'd paid the bill. This meant we sat there with no drinks, which is an unpleasant way for me to spend time in a restaurant. But at least the gossip was good. I'd already briefly discussed the tale of my firing from The Organization. When the woman from New Paltz heard I'd actually been fired, she declared, "how fun!" She really meant that, as if being fired is more interesting than other forms of job loss. Late in the meal, the woman from New Paltz gave us the low down on what had become of her 20-year relationship, and the crazy woman now involved with her former better-half. Last time she (the woman from New Paltz) had seen the crazy girlfriend, she (the woman from New Paltz) had punched her in the face, almost resulting in a trip to jail. Things have settled down in recent days and now the woman from New Paltz is dating the Mayor of New Paltz.
I looked up from the conversation every now and then to see what was being projected on the big screen to my right. It was old black & white movie, though I couldn't recognize anyone in it. At one point I looked up and saw a huge gila monster walking past cars, a barn, and other things so relatively small that the lizard was bigger than any dinosaur that had ever lived. It turned out that the movie was The Giant Gila Monster, a bad B movie from 1959 whose copyright has apparently expired. When they happened, the special effects in which humans interacted with the photographically-enlarged monster were, not unexpectedly, pretty bad.

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