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:
   I could retire now
Friday, January 13 2023
Gretchen had trouble getting to sleep last night even after solving a crossword puzzle and menu planning for our dinner tonight. So she crunched the numbers on our income and arrived at a startling discovery: we earn well over $100,000 per year more than we spend. This means, among many other things, that I could quit my job and our lifestyle would be completely unaffected. In the meantime, though, perhaps we can make up for lost time with respect to planning for our retirement. I don't want to be the kind of person who insists on always flying business class, but perhaps a cocaine habit is in order.
We're already doing some things that I don't feel entirely comfortable being the sort of person who does them. For example, we now hire a team of Latinas to clean our house every other month. They'd kind of dropped off the face of the Earth around the holidays, likely because that's a busy time for cleaning ladies. But the other day they contacted Gretchen to ask if they should come by and she said yes. We're the sort of people who are comfortable living in an amount of squalor that we find embarrassing even for hired cleaning ladies to see. So yesterday evening I'd put some work into cleaning up all the woody debris in the living room near the woodstove and Gretchen gave the kitchen a basic cleaning as well.
It was a little hard to focus on work in the remote workplace for two different reasons. The first was that it was Friday, and I often have trouble committing to work on Fridays. But I'd also just had that conversation with Gretchen about the fact that our lifestyle (including having a cabin in the Adirondacks) could continue as its current level even if I didn't have a six figure salary working as a remote software developer. Our entire lifestyle can almost be paid for just from the rent we collect on our three rental houses. I'd taken a recreational dose of pseudoephedrine first thing this morning in hopes that I would overcome my usual Friday procrastinatory spiral, but I wasn't counting on such good budgeting news.
While the cleaning ladies did their thing (which took over two hours), I kept the dogs and Oscar the Cat with me in the laboratory with the doors shut.
A little before the end of the workday, as Gretchen was working in the kitchen preparing Thai and Indian food for tonight's dinner party (Jeff and Alana would be coming over), I took the chainsaw west across the Farm Road and found a largish skeletonized chestnut oak had recently been toppled by the wind. I cut up about six pieces of it and brought home three. Though the pulpy surfaces of these pieces were soaked from last night's rain showers, I could tell the pieces were inherently dry just because of how little they weighed.

At 7:00 Jeff & Alana arrived, and Gretchen played a joke with a carrot the size of my lower arm she'd bought somewhere today. "As you know we're vegans," she announced, "and here's what we'll be eating," she added, pointing to a platter on the dining room table. There lay the carrot, completely unprocessed. What we actually ate was an elaborate meal starting with a quasi-Thai dish of lettuce leaves on a platter, each topped with savory mounds of some sort of chickpea filling. These we ate with our hands, they were great. Then Gretchen brought out a pot of dahl made from dried black lentils (as well as a few kidney beans) in the Instant Pot. We had that with rice. The kicker, though, were the dosas that Gretchen made right then and there on the stove top. There were filled with some chickpea-based Indian-style filling. It was all so good and so not the sort of thing that one can normally expected at a dinner party that we were all wowed.
Later we all went upstairs and watched Romy and Michele's High School Reunion, one of our favorite comedies (which Jeff & Alana had never seen). It had been so long since I'd seen it that I forgot that a sizeable chunk of what happens takes place in a dream sequence. Because of the big new elliptical, we have to re-arrange the furniture when additional people are watching teevee with us, and this was why I watched it all from a dog bed with Ramona snuggled up with me and Oscar purring happily on my chest. After the movie was over, we spent some time discussing it, and when we agreed that, despite being from 1997, was still grounded in all the jock/nerd/cheerleader archetypes 1980s movies (even though our ditzy heroines don't actually fall into any of the the cliché 1980s high school group). We then talked about 1980s movies such as Sixteen Candles and other John Hughes classics. All of us except Jeff remember accepting those films at face value, mostly uncritically, perhaps because in the 1980s it was hard to conceive of an film being produced that could subvert the themes and stereotypes that 1980s films adhered to.
Next we all hung out in the living room. The others ate icecream while I sipped booze from a coffee cup. We talked about a number of things, including what (if anything) Oberlin College contributed to pop music. All I could think of was Liz Phair. Late in her career she's made music that sounds like pop. But it's not actually popular.
Somehow Jeff and Alana stayed until 1:00am, which is awfully late for four people in their fifties.

Gretchen holds the huge carrot next to Alana while Jeff takes a photo. Click to enlarge.

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