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
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Irving housing

got that wrong

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Like my brownhouse:
   IOUs wiped out by lottery winnings?
Wednesday, May 3 2023
Gretchen couldn't sleep this morning because it had suddenly occurred to her that we never do anything together. So after I ate my Special K with oat mile, I sat in bed and we talked. Gretchen basically said that we've become like ships passing in the night, with separate bedtimes, separate times of getting out of bed, and completely separate ways to spend our time inside the house. She's in the teevee room or the bedroom, and I'm always in my labortatory. The only thing we do together is watching Jeopardy! while eating dinner on the couch. Gretchen said she missed all the fun conversations we used to have in bed after waking up together, conversations that would make her laugh until it hurt. Maybe, she said, this was normal of couples who have been married 20 years. And maybe we need to put a little more work into our relationship so we spend more time together. Ideas include going on evening strolls and eating out at restaurants more often. Of course, Gretchen would also like for me to go with her more often to see music or theatre. Gretchen realizes now that part of the reason she wants me to go do more things with her is that it would mean spending more time together. This is, of course, the opposite problem from the one that Gretchen usually complains about: that she doesn't get much alone time. Once the cabin becomes available and she's not necessarily going there, she ends up with lots alone time. There's also the sense that the time we do spend in the house together should be of higher quality, not limited to us chit chatting a little as we walk past each other. Gretchen especially wants a return of those long crazy conversations that make her laugh.
We ended up having such a conversation, with an emergent comedic riff about our new vet and his casual advocacy of amputation and euthanasia. In the voice of Lester, I said "If my wrist is going to taste like bitter apple, I don't want it any more; just cut it off!" That had Gretchen laughing enthusiastically.

At noon today, I quickly painted a tiny (and fairly impressionistic) painting of Neville in the forest at the base of the Chamomile Headwaters Trail, based on a photograph I'd taken yesterday. The canvas for this one was yet another old credit card, this one with Gretchen's name embossed on it. According to my personal drinking rules, this painting unlocked the freedom drink alcohol, which is something I always want to be able to do every third Wednesday, when my team has their Agile sprint retrospective.
Amusingly, Joe the Lead Developer had decided that today's retro should be run by ChatGPT. So I asked the large language model to come up with a retro design for four developers and a product owner. Then, during the retro, Joe read from the ChatGPT output, periodically asking me to ask ChatGPT for a random number so he could jump to a random part of the bulleted outline that ChatGPT had come up with. Amusingly, though, ChatGPT is a terrible random number generator; when asked to produce a random number between 1 and 8, it only ever responded with either five or six.
After my workday, I drove out to the big abandoned bluestone mine nearby to get some more stones for the cabin landscaping. None of the pieces I got were particularly nice, but the places I am putting them are increasingly marginal.
This evening while Gretchen was out having dinner with some other friend, I was drinking alone (as I often do on a Wednesday night). Then the phone rang, and I could see on the caller ID that it was Bob Nutt calling from Staunton, Virginia. He's the guy who reached out to me some weeks back about Joy Tarder, warning me that, as my mother's (Hoagie's) power of attorney, she trying to steal all my mother's money. Today he was calling me to tell me that my mother is miserable in whatever facility she happens to be in, something that contradicted what my aunt Barbara (Hoagie's twin sister) had told me back on Friday. But then things got really strange. Bob Nutt started talking about someone named Sara Kesterson, who lives in his house with him and, he later said, was hired by his daughter to take care of Bob (who, it turns out, is 83 years old, only three years younger than Hoagie). I'd just been talking about going through Hoagie's stuff and only being able to find hundreds of IOUs written by a neighbor who had apparently ripped her off. That neighbor, you might've forgotten, was none other than Sara Kesterson! I'd found where she'd ended up. Assuming, as I did, that Sara is a parasite, then Bob Nutt must be her new host. When Sara Kesterson's name came up, I immediately said that she's the one who had written the IOUs. Bob Nutt grunted a few words in Sara's defense, but then it turned out that Sara was actually there in the with him. So he put her on speaker phone. Sara proceeded to insist that she'd paid my mother back all the money she owed her, which is not something my mother (or Don) ever said. She also said she'd won the lottery at some point and that that was how she was able to repay my mother. I had no idea what the truth really was, but it's conceivable that my mother is so disorganized that she didn't destroy or return the IOUs after Sara repaid her. And the only plausible way for Sara to have ever had the hundreds of thousands of dollars to repay Hoagie was by winning the lottery. But why had Hoagie never mentioned Sara winning the lottery and repaying her? That would've been the perfect come back after I revealed that I knew about the trove of IOUs. In any case, I said it doesn't really matter at this point one way or the other, since my mother apparently didn't care about the money.
After that, the conversation continued with Bob Nutt making assertions and Sara adding various points, such as her knowlege that my mother still loves me or that she really had set up a trust for Don, a trust that Bob Nutt was sure that Joy Tarder was looting. In the end, Bob Nutt gave me the number of an attorney he wanted me to call in hopes of getting Joy Tarder removed as my mother's power of attorney.
Not long after that call concluded, my brother Don called, and I told him about the call I'd just had with Bob Nutt. Don made the shrewd observation that this was sounding like a soap opera. He then confirmed that indeed Sara Kesterson had won the lottery about ten years ago (which coincides with the end of the IOUs). But then she'd burned through her money and started writing Hoagie IOUs again. So maybe it's true that Sara Kesterson paid back some of the money, but unless she won the lottery a second time, there's no chance she repaid my mother any money borrowed after her lottery funds ran out. That Don had never told me about Sara Kesterson's luck with the lottery had me wondering what other highly salient facts he's failed to tell me. [Subsequent research showed me that a Sara Kesterson had indeed won $5 million in a lottery sometime between 2008 and 2016.]
I'd been drinking pretty heavily through these phone calls, and I didn't want Gretchen to see me this way. So I went down to the greenhouse to spend the night. I brought a Belgian farmhouse ale with me and drank about half of it before passing out.

Today's tiny painting of Neville.

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