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Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


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Like my brownhouse:
   Ramona vanishes in the Adirondacks
Monday, August 6 2018

location: Twenty Ninth Pond, Essex County, New York

Considering that I was at the cabin on Twenty Ninth Pond, I got up surprisingly late, at around 10:00am. As usual when at the lake, I immediately made coffee (using two machines, one for Gretchen's decaf and another producing regular unleaded for me). For breakfast, I went down to the dock with a sesame seed bagel with all sorts of things in it, including a mediocre hummus containing enough cumin to impart a human body odor quality to the whole thing.

Meanwhile, Gretchen was still freaking out about the leeches that could be seen swimming around the dock. She was still blaming their presence on the unusually large and numerous patches of that spindly pond weed. I wondered if I could make the dock more pleasant if I removed as much of that weed from the adjacent waters. I found an implement in the basement that resembled a hoe but, instead of a single blade, it had four pitchfork-like tines. With that, I was able to gather up and remove all of the pond weed within reach. It was easy to hook the plant, but once on the tool, I had to tear it away with my hands. I piled the weed up on a exposed piece of granite on the shoreline nearby. With the weed all gone, there was no longer any place for the leeches to hide, and Gretchen could swim more or less in peace.
On several occasions today, I set out in the kayak to look for the elusive habitat of the Venus flytrap. I found sundews encrusting surfaces all along the edge of the pond (particularly the waterlogged trunks of fallen trees), and though these looked similar to venus flytraps (and might indicate where they would be most likely to be found), I already knew about those.
At one point I got Ramona to join me on a kayak mission up into the northeast lobe of the pond while Gretchen was swimming there. As I neared a massive floating trunk along the eastern shore, Ramona decided to jump off the kayak and onto that trunk. But she slipped and fell into the lake, forcing her to swim some distance before she could land along a rugged piece of coastline. It was so rugged that she soon had to get back into the water just to get around massive blocks of granite. Ultimately, though, she was able to walk most of the way back to the cabin.

I'm not a strong swimmer, so most of my enjoyment of a lake requires watercraft. Today, though, I discovered a boogie board in the basement, and this allowed me to hurl myself off the dock into the water with no concern for my safety. (Normally I try to avoid such cold shocks, but the water wasn't especially cold.) I'm not as concerned about leeches as Gretchen is, but having seen so many, it was hard to put them completely out of my mind.

Late this afternoon, while I was discovering yet another beaver lodge (this one in the middle of the western shoreline of the northeast lobe), Gretchen took the dogs to the better of the two cellphone reception areas (the one at the highest point of the cabin's access road). While there, the dogs saw something exciting and ran into the forest to the southeast (along the ridge above Route 28N). Gretchen thought they were barking in a way that suggested they'd found a bear, though she didn't think much of it. She returned to the cabin without them, confident they'd find their way home. She proceeded to make us a dinner of trumpet-mushroom-shaped pasta in a red sauce with cubes of vegan sausage and cooked kale. I was a little concerned about the dogs and went up to the cellphone spot myself, and though I couldn't find them, I thought maybe I heard a single Neville woof in response to my calls.
During dinner, Neville returned home all by himself. He was uninjured, which was a good indication. But it was strange that he would return before Ramona, who usually runs much faster.
By the end of dinner, I was getting genuinely anxious, and before it got too dark, Gretchen, Neville, and I returned to the cellphone spot to call for Ramona. We could hear sounds off in the distance, though it was hard to say what they were. They could've been coyotes or owls, though there was also the sound of a dog barking, but it was too deep of a bark to be Ramona. Neville was showing a reluctance to go any further, so Gretchen took him back to the cabin, and I went all the way down to Route 28A and looked up and down the road. There was no black dog-sized mass of roadkill, so I took that as a good sign given the circumstances.
Back at the cabin, it was hard to do anything at all with Ramona's lingering absence weighing on our minds. I'd been given a technical quiz by an employer I'd sent a resume to, so when I finished that, I put it on my phone and returned to the cellphone place to send it off and call for Ramona some more. The deerflies had finally gone to bed, so it was a good hour to be in the forest, and so I returned again to Route 28N and walked east nearly to the arrows indicating a bend in the road. But Ramona refused to materialize from the unbroken walls of Adirondack wilderness.
The evening ended in the cabin with a funereal quality. Gretchen took a diphenhydramine and I took an ambien (along with a fair amount of alcohol), both of us knowing it would otherwise be impossible to get to sleep. In anticipation of a technical interview on the 13th, I'd been brushing up on my knowledge of the Lua scripting language, but it all seemed so meaningless now. Eventually I passed out on the futon in the living room. I must've still been on ambien when I tried to go to bed, because I remember being in an illogical dream state as I fumbled my way through the darkness in the cabin.

One thing unrelated to Ramona's disappearance today was learning that venus flytraps are not native to the Adirondacks but instead (as I'd vaguely remembered) to the coastal Carolinas. This means that the venus flytrap at the cabin must be one either obtained from elsewhere or grown from seeds. It made no sense to look for others on the shores of Twenty Ninth Pond.

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