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:
   so metal
Wednesday, October 26 2022

location: rural Hurley Township, Ulster County, NY

If anything, today was even warmer than yesterday and the sun actually came out for a time. Every time I left my desk and went outside, the warm breezes couldn't help but improve my mood. Usually I find the Fall to be a bit of a downer, what with the shortening days, dying plants and insects, cooling temperatures, and the sun always in my eyes. But on the increasingly-scarce warm days the remnants of summer seem to rally with heightened exuberance, like stay-till-closing-time drunks at a bar who have yet to get lucky but are holding out hope.

I learned today via a mutual Facebook friend (Jamie Dyer) that Matthew Farrell, an interesting Charlottesville character mentioned in the Big Fun Glossary (and who actually published a version of the glossary as an actual book at his tiny publishing company, Hippocrite Press, had just been shot and killed at his home outside Charlottesville, where he'd recently been building a series of WWI-style trenches and bunkers. Facebook posts about such things tend to be vague, and it took some reading to figure even that much out based amongst all the me-too outpouring of "sorry for your loss." Later Jessika filled me in with more details. Apparently the murderer was Farrell's current (or at least recent) girlfriend, a woman whom Jessika said used to part of the roller derby scene. [I would later get a name for this person, Shawna Murphy.] Farrell and I hadn't communicated in years, but back in the early oughties he used to email me regularly, often on the topic of a mutual friend, school teacher, and emo guitarist who had ended up in prison for an inappropriate relationship with one of his 14 year old students.

In the cadence of the Agile workflow we follow in the remote workplace, this was the Wednesday with all the meetings, particularly the sprint review and the sprint retrospective. The latter is the one that is so much like a remote happy hour that I always drink something alcoholic as I participate. Of course, sprint retrospective follows a much tighter framework than a happy hour, though one way to up the casualness of it is to doodle all over the shared Mural board that Bertrand (our scrum leader) has prepared for us. Mural provides a surprising number of icons including such things as pictures of Hitler and maps of geographic areas. By combining these icons in various ways, it's possible to build up complex (and absurd) images.
Of course, under my self-enforced booze rules these days, in order to be able to drink alcohol at home, I have to have "purchased" the right somehow, usually by creating a work of art. I'd done that earlier, painting a quick and messy painting of Ramona on a credit card. The brush strokes ended up making Ramona look significantly shaggier than she actually is, but I liked the results enough to stop and let the shaggier version of Ramona be the reality of that tiny painting.

Today's tiny painting.

Oscar in the increasingly-cluttered laboratory today before I left for the cabin.
In the background you can see the dogs Neville and Ramona. Click to enlarge.

Meanwhile Gretchen was working at the bookstore despite her lingering non-covid illness, which was gradually destroying her voice. I wanted to leave for the cabin tonight after work, and initially Gretchen said she might cme with me. But by the end of her bookstore shift she was pretty sure she didn't want to. But I still had to stay and wait for her to return before I could leave, because she had the Chevy Bolt, and that was the car I wanted to drive there. Part of the reason for going up so early would be to give the car sufficient time to recharge its batteries, which is a bit of a struggle now that the sun is lower and the days have grown so short.
This time as I was loading up the Bolt prior to departing, I was sure to include a large bean can within easy reach from the driver's seat so I'd have an easier time pissing while driving. If the container is sufficiently big and has a wide enough mouth, I can easily keep urine from spraying and splashing all over me if I just push myself up high in my seat as I do my pissing.
As usual when driving to the cabin with just the dogs, I stopped at the Price Chopper and gave the dogs a bathroom break before going in to buy my staples. Today they included lettuce, mushrooms, guacamole, two different kinds of cheap corn chips (I don't think Price Chopper has any other kind) and sour dough bread. I've decided that from now on if I get white bread from the bakery section, I'll at least get sour dough bread. It tastes better and Gretchen will find it less objectionable. (She's been getting up on a soap box about the evils of refined flour of late.) For a road beer I could drink for the rest of the drive to the cabin (and something a little different than Hazy Little Thing), I selected Wicked Hazy IPA, Sam Adams' new take on hazy IPA (since that's the kind of IPA I prefer). I hadn't been impressed with Sam Adams' original IPA, so I shouldn't've expected much, and indeed it was so terrible I ended up dumping the rest out once I got to the cabin. That's a kind of waste I rarely engage in. I should mention that while I was at the Price Chopper, I ate a nugget of cannabis so as to get the evening's one-person party started.
After getting an Impossible Whopper without mayonnaise and two large orders of fries, I drove through downtown Gloversville and then up the Adirondack escarpment. The weather was so unseasonably warm that I found myself dodging frogs as they gleefully bounded across the road in front of me. Temperatures had fallen into the 40s in the cabin a week or so ago, but happily the recent warm spell had raised inside temperatures into the high 50s, which was warm enough for me to leave it unheated tonight.

I mixed myself a drink containing cheap tequila and then settled in to watch the last episode of this, the first, season of House of the Dragon as the cannabis kicked it. Unusually, I was giving this episode my close, undivided attention, and I found it deliciously enjoyable. I reveled in the nuance of how "the black queen" approached the prospect of war with her childhood friend. I was also deeply moved by the scene of Ser Erryk arriving during the cremation of Rhaenyrs's stillborn infant to deliver his allegiance and what appears to be a legitimate crown, whereupon he and everyone else except Princess Raenys takes the knee. (Raenys gets a pass, another beautiful moment of nuance.)
Then we're treated to a horrifying and amazing sequence where Rhaenyrs sends her two oldest children off on dragons to firm up the commitments of far-flung kingdoms in Westeros. Dragons are formidable creatures in this world, but some are bigger and more formidable than others, and when poor Luke arrives at Storm's End on his dragon, he sees much larger dragon in the dragon parking lot, and it turns out that his old rival, his cousin Aemond, the one whose eye he put out years before, has beat him there on his massive old dragon. And Aemond had already delivered his own, much more generous proposals from the rival king. Finding his arch-rival in a situation of weakness, Aemond demands that Luke put out one of his own eyes to make up for the loss he'd long ago inflicted on Aemond. Luke refuses and a sword fight is nipped in the bud by the host. Luke hurries back to his dragon and finds himself flying home in a downpour (another glorious touch!). Soon, though, Luke and his small dragon find themselves pursued by Aemond on his massive dragon Vhagar. At some point, the impulsivity of the dragons themselves come into play, with the tiny dragon blowing fire in the face of the big one, who then hunts the small one down and crushes both the dragon and its rider like a crow snapping down on a grasshopper. All of this plays our gorgeously on screen, and I found myself thinking, "this is so metal!" I then posted the following to Facebook:

you know how "metal" is a kind of music that just wants to be extreme? and to do that it has to keep on bifuricating into nichier and nichier subgenres? imagine if some kind of metal became so extreme that it now had to be something other than music. that thing that it might then be could be that 10th episode of house of the dragon that i just watched with my eyeballs

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