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:
   unexpected three mile walk
Saturday, June 19 2021
At this point, both Gretchen and I play the New York Times Spelling Bee on most days, but Saturday mornings are still special, because we play it together, and in the warm weather we usually play it out on the east deck, surrounded by flowers and the encroaching forest. In today's game, the panagram was "machining," which I found about 20 minutes before Gretchen did. Our Saturday morning ritual was a bit accelerated by the fact that at 11:00 am someone would be coming over to look at the Nissan Leaf. Gretchen had been forced to lower the price to $9,999 because few people seemed interested at two higher prices.
The first people to come out to see our Leaf was a young white couple from just across the Hudson driving a late-model SUV. They had a cute little white male puppy (perhaps a Jack Russel mix) with them, and surprising Ramona was nice to the little dog. When they went to take the Leaf on a test drive, we kept the little dog "hostage" with us so his hair wouldn't get in the car and undo all our thorough cleaning. I introduced him to Celeste (who seemed a little disturbed but didn't flee her spot in the corner of the deck) and then hoped to introduce him to other cats, but I couldn't find any. When the couple returned, the guy asked about when the air filter had last been changed, indicating that the car smelled funny, which seemed like an opening bid in his attempt to negotiate a better price. After the couple had a long conversation in the driveway, the guy wanted a $500 cheaper price so he could "clean" the car. But Gretchen said no, the price was firm. And so that was it; they left. Gretchen said she thought the guy felt the need to negotiate a better deal to affirm his manhood. He hadn't really looked like that kind of man to me, but perhaps that kind of man is lurking in even the most woke-looking metrosexual.
Gretchen had by now put on a dress and was headed off to meet up with Sarah and Nancy to spend the day up in Catskill, leaving me in my sweat pants to deal with the second couple who would be coming by to look at the Nissan Leaf. They arrived about a half hour later. They were an older white couple, maybe in their 60s, lived in Kingston, and had moved up from Brooklyn in 2005. They were driving a ratty old Volvo and seemed down-to-earth and reasonable. Also, Gretchen told them that our price on the Leaf was firm. They took it for a test drive and surprised me when they came back and said they wanted it. They asked if paying by check was okay, and I said sure, though I immediately started second-guessing myself. What if the checks were no good? But I filled out the paperwork and the makeshift bill of sale, and the couple drove off with the car, saying they'd be bringing the plates back later.
By now I was freaking out about having accepted personal checks as payment, and wanted to get the checks into the bank as quickly as possible. So I decided to load the dogs up into the Subaru and drive to the bank, confirming in the process whether or not the JB Weld had fixed the fluid leak. (Disturbingly, I found Celeste the Cat still under the Subaru even after I'd started it up. I had to shoo her away with an aluminum rod from an old Yagi antenna.)
As I drove down Dug Hill Road, the car felt a little sloppy, like maybe one of the tires was under-inflated. But that wasn't the problem. When I got to the bottom of Dug Hill Road, the car had great trouble accelerating, as if it had a slipping clutch. Since the transmission is automatic, this suggested that perhaps that fluid I'd been seeing leaking out wasn't coolant but was instead automatic transmission fluid. Now there apparently was no longer enough in the car to engage its clutch. I managed to get the car to the Hurley Mountain Inn parking lot in Old Hurley, where I opened the hood in hopes of finding a place to add transmission fluid. But I couldn't even find a dipstick for that fluid. Clearly I would need to do more research. In the meantime, I had the dogs with me and it had become an oppressively hot day, so I immediately decided I would have to walk home. Gretchen was gone, so I couldn't call her. But I hadn't even brought my phone. I might've instead walked to Ray and Nancy's place (which was much closer), but I knew Nancy wasn't home and Ray probably at work. While I was unloading the dogs from the car, a peaved-looking white guy stuck his head out of the back of Hurley Mountain Inn and asked if he could help me in that way that suggested he didn't want to be helpful at all. I explained that I was having engine trouble, to which he told me that this was private property and I couldn't be leaving my car here. I then asked, already knowing the answer, where I could leave my car. He told me there was a public parking area at the Town Hall across the street. He then reiterated that this was private property as if I was some sort of retard. "Yeah, yeah, I get it." I managed to get the car across the street, where I parked it right next to the Chevy Bolt. (Gretchen had carpooled with Sarah from there.)
The walk back home was about 2.8 miles in length, and that was after taking advantage of a large shortcut through the corn fields so I wouldn't have to walk on Wynkoop or Hurley Mountain Road. Those fields are now owned by Farm Hub, and anyone seen walking in them these days is told that trespassing is not permitted, but I was willing to take that risk. Initially the dogs seemed to want to dig holes in the forest along the Esopus, but eventually I convinced them that they had to follow me, though they walked a couple hundred feet behind me. The sun was relentless out in that field, though I knew there would be water eventually. As I neared the shelter under the trees, I saw a truck parked in the gravel Farm Hub access road and a woman inspecting some crops nearby. I fully expected her to yell at me, but she ignored me instead. Neville, though, who was so exhausted he actually lay down in the field at one point, did not ignore her, and I had to yell at him to forget about her and keep following me. By then I'd made it to where the access road crossed a culvert before connecting to Hurley Mountain Road. Through that culvert, the small (though perennial) Englishman's Creek flowed, and just beneath the culvert flood waters had hollowed out a substantial pool. Both Ramona and Neville hungrily jumped into the water, and Neville swam around the pool like hippopotamus, his legs too short to reach the bottom.
I'd been thinking I'd walk from there along Hurley Mountain Road. But there's no shoulder and cars are moving fast, so instead I walked in the field parallel to Hurley Mountain Road and Englishman's Creek. Machines had come through to cut down patches of the shoulder-high weeds, but the result consisted of a lot of dried thistle, which was unpleasant to walk on (I was wearing flip flops, since I hadn't expected to be walking three miles). Sometimes I'd take a break from the dried thistle path to walk through the raw unprocessed weeds, but that was even more brutal. Eventually, though, the dogs and I made it to the edge of a residential yard just south of where Dug Hill Road reached Hurley Mountain Road, and this provided pleasant mowed grass to walk on and another crossing of Englishman's Creek, where the dogs again jumped into the water with delight.
From there, I leashed up the dogs so I could walk them along Dug Hill Road. I would've gone into the forest at the bottom of Dug Hill Road right away had I known that nobody was shooting at the bus turnaround (someone had been shooting there earlier). The forest on the low end of Dug Hill Road is downrange from where people shoot, and I don't want to be worrying about random bullets zipping by. When I was still more than a mile from home, the woman half of the couple that had just bought the Nissan Leaf came driving east on Dug Hill Road, having just dropped off the plates. She told me what she'd done and didn't seem to think it odd that I was walking the dogs more than a mile from my house.
The bus turn around is about three quarters of a mile up Dug Hill Road, and when I got there, nobody was parked there. So I unleashed the dogs and then proceeded through the forest up the Chamomile. Some asshole shooter had taken a shit almost in the Chamomile (directly upstream from Englishman's Creek), a lump of deliciousness Ramona quickly grabbed in her mouth. But when I told her no, she dropped the horrible thing and stuck with the plan. There was at least one more place for the dogs to drink water on the way up the ravine, but of course I would have to wait until I got home. By the end there, trudging up the ravine through the forest, I was feeling weak and defeated.
Gretchen had been trying to call repeatedly to find out if I'd sold the Leaf, so I called her back. But I somehow managed to dial 911 while trying to dial the area code of her cell phone number (917). I told the 911 operator that the call was a mistake, but he nevertheless took down my information. When I talked to Gretchen, she seemed fine about my having accepted regular checks in payment for the car, so maybe the sale hadn't been a complete fail even if the Subaru ended up undrivable. I took a lukewarm shower and was out on the east deck looking to hang the teeshirt I'd been wearing out to dry when I heard a voice at the door. Damn if it wasn't a state trooper. I was naked, so I had to use that shirt as a towel to conceal my privates as I went to find a pair of pants. It turns out that when you call 911, even in error, they send out the police, perhaps to make sure that an abuser isn't covering up for a bad situation. Amazingly, it had been less than ten minutes since I'd accidentally made that call. In any case, the situation didn't appear to be dire, and even Neville proved to be relatively friendly after doing a lot of barking. So the trooper went on his way after spending a good five minutes filling out paperwork in the driveway.
After Gretchen returned home, I used the Bolt to drive down to Hurley to further investigate the Subaru. The new hose I'd installed hadn't popped off, so it was a mystery where all the additional leaking was coming from. Perhaps if I put some transmission fluid in (you have to add it through the dipstick hole!) it would be driveable again. But that would be for another day. While I was down there, I went to Stewarts to get some limes and a lemon that Gretchen needed for a recipe.
That long walk in the heat without any water must've seriously dehydrated me, because I went to piss at some point this afternoon and my urine had the color and consistency of fresh motor oil.

My walk today, from the center of Old Hurley.

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