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:
   post-pandemic socializing in Palenville
Saturday, May 1 2021 [REDACTED]

It was too cold to have our Saturday morning routine out on the deck, but the sun was bright and made the living room fairly comfortable. The panagram in the New York Times Spelling Bee was "payment" (with "y" in the middle), something none of us saw until Powerful appeared and saw it right away.
I made the mistake of drinking a beer in the early afternoon while on the phone with Paul, the guy who used to own the big church on the Rondout (and now lives in the Berkshires). He'd recently discovered the value of modularized code (in this case, using functions) and it was a huge revelation. I was tinkering with a steel mesh shelving unit with one hand as I held the handset with the other, and the damn thing (which hasn't really been moved in over eighteen years) nearly collapsed on me. After the call, I modified the plastic corner pieces that hold the shelving unit together so that they would never work themselves loose again. And I also finished that beer, which made me so sleepy that I was forced to take a nap. I did so on the living room couch because I didn't want Gretchen smelling my beer breath (she was napping in the bed upstairs). Eventually Neville joined me for intensive snuggling, and I even nodded off for a time.
I needed that sleep for the evening's activity. Gretchen, Powerful, and I would be driving up to Palenville to visit Erica and Justin and their new baby, which they had on the sly during the pandemic. It would be our first socializing at somebody's house since completing our coronavirus vaccinations (Erica and Justin are also fully vaccinated and the plan was for all of us to socialize just like we used to do before the pandemic). On the way there, we stopped at the big traffic circle QuickChek to get some beer and so Powerful and I could get cups of coffee so we'd be less drag-ass during the evening's socializing. Independently, we both got paper cups of QuickChek's "Extreme Caffeine" option.
There were a couple random inbred-looking rednecks in a four wheeler coming out of Justin & Erica's driveway, another indication that greater Palenville is little less civilized than our part of Hurley Mountain, which is the sort of thing that makes Powerful prefer more urban settings (even if it's only Woodstock). We weren't at Justin & Erica's for more than a couple minutes before Gretchen was holding the new baby, whose name is Az and is eight months old. Gretchen decided that Az was cute, with his curly blond hair and blue eyes. Next Powerful held Az in his big hands; Powerful likes little kids more than either Gretchen or me, but then I also briefly held Az. Gretchen asked if I'd ever held a baby before, and I said no, though I probably have, but it would've been at least 20 years ago.
Eventually Az started fussing because it was time for him to eat and go to bed. Meanwhile Justin was putting the finishing touches on some kale & potato enchiladas.
Justin and Erica had a kit of hot sauces as seen in the YouTube series Hot Ones, and these ranged from mild to extremely hot. Knowing me to be a fancier of hot hot sauces, they were curious how I would like them. I started with the Tears of the Sun sauce, which poured faster than expected, so there was a lot of it on the asparagus I used as a vehicle. I was handling it pretty well, but then I started to hiccup, and I had to drink water to stop. The hottest was The Last Dab, though I was a bit too conservative with it, treating it like Dave's Insanity Sauce, and I didn't really challenge myself like I should've.
Meanwhile this had brought up the subject of John, my old housemate in Los Angeles, starting with his tale of the extremely hot hot wings in a University of Pittsburgh dorm that went uneaten until some students from India happened by. Inevitably there was also the tale of the time the FBI came to our door, and what it was like to be a mild celebrity of the early web.
Later Justin told of us the work he did doing studies examining whether or not people's view of the plasticity of intelligence affects their ability to learn. (It turns out it does!) Other subjects included the patience required to do wildlife photography (which Justin does) and Powerful's plans to study public health at SUNY Albany starting this summer.

Me with baby Az this evening.

Powerful with baby Az this evening.

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