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

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(nobody does!)

Like my brownhouse:
   tiny vegan portions in Germantown
Saturday, December 14 2019
This morning after Saturday morning coffee, I took the metal detectors out to the places I'd salvaged firewood recently (all of them fairly close to the Stick Trail) to look for my lost wedding ring. I scanned all the places on the ground where it was likely a ring could've fallen when I removed my gloves. And, while there was a persistent booping of the detector from that place where booping had happened before, I could find no human artifacts anywhere (not even there). I suppose I could start digging to look for things, but if that fallen ring is anywhere, it's on the surface. The weather was unseasonably balmy, with temperatures in the upper 40s and occasionally-dense fog.
Later I did some firewood salvaging near the house but west of the Farm Road, where I found some reasonably dry red oak and chestnut oak. I brought a backpack load of this back, but I'd prepared a fair amount in a pile that I would probably bring home some other way (such as with a handtruck).

This evening Gretchen and I met up with four other people in Germantown, near the upstate home of our friend Mariann. We were meeting Mariann, her colleague (and ex-wife) Jasmin, and another couple (Maya and Dietrich) whom I'd never met before, all of them vegans and part of the animal-rights scene. Strangely, the place we were meeting them was an upscale restaurant called Gaskins that isn't particularly vegan-friendly. They have things like grassfed beef and steelhead trout on the menu, and if you're vegan and don't like squash, well, you're not going to like the menu. Still, Jasmin supposedly loves the place, and it was where she wanted to go. She actually wanted to get there a little before the pre-arranged time of 6:30pm for some reason, encouraging any of us who wanted to go there early to do so as well. But we ended up being the only ones there early.
As we waited at the bar for our booth to become available, I chatted with Maya about the snowy night Thurston Moore had performed at the Colony Café some weeks ago. Maya had done publicity for Moore's tour and had been there that night, though she hadn't remembered seeing me. Like me, she'd tried to get vegan food from the Colony's seemingly vegan-hostile kitchen. The "veggie burger" turned out to be flavorlessly-prepared slices of vegetables on a bun. But at least there were fries.
But back to Gaskins, where we all were eventually seated. Jasmin insisted that it was possible to get good vegan food at Gaskins, though none of it was on the actual menu. In the end, most of us made alterations to the one vegan dish on the menu (the wood-roasted squash) to make it more compatible with our preferences. Some of us (including me) had the squash replaced with mushrooms, while Gretchen had her squash replaced with beets. There were also a couple salads and orders of bread that we shared for the long time that it took for our entrées to be prepared.
When they were delivered, the amount of food on each plate was pathetically small, as if the cook had made it all in one big pot and not realized until too late that he hadn't made enough. I don't think I've ever seen six people sit down at a restaurant and eat their full entrée, leaving scarcely a lentil bean behind, but that was what happened tonight.
Last time I'd had dinner with Mariann, she hadn't drunk any alcohol since the late 1980s (she's seventy years old). Tonight, though, she was definitely drinking, and had been doing so for a year. Recent news, particularly the state of global warming in the Arctic and the British re-election of the Tories (and re-ratification of Brexit by proxy and vindication of all Putin's ongoing destabilization-by-Facebook) has her feeling despondent about the state of the world. She wonders what is going to happen when the food supply system breaks down and eight million hungry New Yorkers come staggering northward looking for food like zombies in search of brains. It might be a good idea to stockpile food, she thinks, but then you also would have to stockpile guns. She thinks the Hudson Valley is too close to New York should society go into collapse, so she's been thinking about perhaps moving to Ithaca, where clean water and farmland are plentiful. Obviously, Mariann resumed her drinking before these two depressing stories entered the news cycle. But the news has been terrible ever since Russia managed to tilt an American election in a way that would put Putin's proxy in the Oval Office.
After dinner, Gretchen and I walked from the restaurant to Mariann's house (which was nearby) to say hello (and, in all likelihood, goodbye) to Rose, Mariann's old pit-mix rescue dog. Rose is fifteen or sixteen years old and nearly deaf and seems to have developed habits suggesting she expects to die soon (such as not wanting to sleep near Mariann). But when we arrived, Rose was delighted to see us. She managed to have a spring in her arthritic steps, and she pulled a long-ignored cow bone out of storage and proceeded to chew on it with the machinery still available in her mouth. I think I've only met Rose once before, but Rose knows Gretchen fairly well, as Gretchen once dogsat her at the house.


Fog at the stone wall this morning while I was out trying to find my wedding ring. Click to enlarge.

The bathrooms at Gaskins are tidy and gender non-specific.

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