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:
   sunset across the Hudson
Tuesday, July 14 2020
Nancy came over with Jack the Dog so they could walk with Gretchen, Ramona, and Neville. We'd hatched a plan to have Ramona and Neville spend the evening at Ray & Nancy's place tonight so we wouldn't have to worry about them breaking out while Powerful, Gretchen, and I went to a socially-distanced dinner party. So Nancy decided to just leave Jack with us all day with the plan being for us to drop all three dogs at her place this evening on our way out of Hurley.
You get used to the energy of your own dogs, with any new dog creating a weird imbalance. It wasn't just that, with Jack around, all the cats felt the need to hide (with Celeste spending the entire day beneath a bush in front of the house). It was also that Jack seemed constantly bored. He'd stand around panting loudly and wondering what to do in distracting way that neither Ramona nor Neville would ever do. Eventually, though, he lay down on the laboratory floor and might've even dozed off for a time.
The socially-distanced dinner party was at my boss Alex's house in Tivoli. After dropping off the dogs at Ray & Nancy's, I drove us to Tivoli in the Nissan Leaf. Alex and his wife Celia live in a big slightly run-down Victorian house just a little ways from where Broadway ends to make way for both the Amtrak line and the Hudson River (in a place where people once could catch a ferry to Saugerties). After we arrived, Alex directed us around back to where he and Celia had set up some chairs and a bowl of hummus. We quickly met their new dog Winnie, a rescue from somewhere in the South. Winnie was a thin-legged terrier with long enough whiskers around her mouth to give her the appearance of a bearded lady. Alex had said a lot of disparaging remarks about Winnie since adopting her, so my expectations weren't high, but she really turned out to be a sweet dog. She's was a bit shy at first, responding nervously to sudden movements. But then she warmed up and later encouraged us to throw an old soccer ball for her, which she repeatedly retrieced. She also tried to play with a cat belonging to one Alex & Celia's two daughters (both of whom have moved back home during the pandemic). But the cat just wanted to go back into the house.
Among other conversations we had tonight was a discussion of the recent Mid-Hudson housing bubble, which is rapidly inflating the value of houses as pandemic refugees from New York prove willing to pay exorbitant prices for even crappy properies. This has Alex and Celia thinking they should sell their big old Victorian before the market crashes. Their plan would then to buy something more modest in a cheaper place like Athens (in Greene County across the Hudson River from the City of Hudson).
Alex does all the cooking in the household, though he's at a bit of a loss when it comes to preparing vegan food. He'd nevertheless managed to put together a competent meal of wild rice, bokchoi, and tofu. It needed some salt, there wasn't quite enough of it, and it took him a surprisingly long time to prepare, but otherwise it was a success. As for the salad, it contained dried cherries and cucumbers, so Gretchen only ate the bare minimum of it.
A little after sundown, we all went around to the font porch to watch specatcular back-lit clouds over the Catskills. They towered over the Saugerties ferry house, which sits at the end of a long spit from the Hudson's western shore. At some point, though, a very annoying street lamp turned on and spoiled the entire view. I talked about how it would probably be broken if we lived in their house.
At least two trains came through while we were there. I often hear the trains when talking to Alex on the phone (the main way we communicate during our workdays). That and the annoying street light are only two of the downsides of living where Alex and Celia live. Another is the large mansion next door, which is a multi-unit AirBnB, the site of such constant partying that Gretchen referred to it as a "frat house." There was no partying happening tonight, although the sound of the processing of the recycling generated during an earlier party was nearly as annoying.
Later one of the daughters came home from wherever she'd been, and Gretchen made sure she had one of the s'more cupcakes we'd brought.

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