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:
   an indulgence as trivial as icecream
Sunday, June 25 2023

location: 800 feet west of Woodworth Lake, Fulton County, NY

Overnight the clouds cleared, leaving me a beautiful Sunday at the cabin. After drinking my morning coffee, I returned to the code generation project, which was eating up a lot of my cabin time this weekend. Then Gretchen sent me a direct message on Facebook from back in Hurley saying she was feeling "so sad." I asked if she was taking her meds, and she said she was. So that left me wondering what was going on. I suggested she watch episodes of Star Trek, a semi-utopian universe where mostly-benevolent people solve problems with professionalism, logic,ethics, and intelligence. She would end up watching old episodes of the Orville instead, which is like Star Trek but has a much better sense of humor.
When I'd had some little victory with my code generation task, I grabbed a beer and a new River Run inner tube that I'd recently purchased (and inflated a couple days ago) and walked down to the dock. I tried to get the dogs to come, but they never made it down there. The lake was gorgeous today, with puffy clouds in a blue sky and no evidence of active humans. Nobody was shooting a gun, operating a chainsaw, mowing a lawn, fishing, or operating a woodchipper. It was just me with the whole lake to myself. I climbed on the tube with my Guinness and floated about near the dock, periodically paddling back to it with my hands when the wind or currents carried me away (the breeze was coming from the southeast again).
Back at the cabin, I made a major push at digging sand out from the trench along the east foundation wall, under the decks. In so doing, I was able to dig all the way down to the footing. Then, before the walls of the trench could collapse, I installed a sheet of styrofoam. I cut it into two parts to make it easier to maneuver in the constricted space available. One piece was 60 inches tall and the part that remained was 31 inches tall. To fill any gaps around it and in the seam between the pieces, I used spray foam. This quickly got all over my hands, particularly my left hand. I tried to remove it with lighter fluid, but I was already too late at that point. Next I tried to shave some off with a knife, and in so doing I managed to cut a little too deep and nicked off a matchhead-sized piece of skin near on the inside of my left index finger. It started to bleed (though not very quickly) so then I had that to deal with.
Throughout the day I'd been doing a laundry, mostly to make the bed sheets clean in the big first floor bedroom. Christine (my first-cousin-once-removed) and her new boyfriend would be driving from Buffalo to NYC this weekend and would be staying there for a night (though they'd be missing us; since we would be doing our own traveling) and I wanted to make the cabin nice for them.
The dogs and I started our drive back to Hurley at about 5:00pm, though I stopped to get an oat milk latte and a six pack of beer at the Dunkin Donuts near the Amsterdam Thruway interchange. As I stood there waiting to place my order while an older gentleman did his transaction in Spanish, I was picking bits of spray foam from my fingers. Things are always grosser than I'd prefer them to be at a Dunkin; for example, the bilingual woman took my order was nonchalantly rubbing her face and the outside of her nose as she talked to me, and she was the one who later handed me my drink. And as I was drinking it, I was noticing parts of the container smelled like the scent of a cheap human hygiene products.
Later, as I drove eastward from Amsterdam on I-90, the clouds were so crazy-looking that I wanted to take a picture with my phone (which was within reach). The clouds were poofy in places like snowmen and, far behind those, they smeared out into other odd shapes ending uncertainly near the top of the troposphere. But as often happens, the few times I actually need my phone for something, it decides to follow its own agenda. At first it was acting like it had just installed a bunch of updates and needed to make adjustments. But then the screen went almost invisibly dim, and it wasn't clear why. I wonder how many people have accidents when a phone is behaving this way and they're trying to drive. Eventually it told me its battery was down to 2%, which I really wished it had told me earlier so I wouldn't fuck around trying to make it do something it physically lacked the capability of doing. So you'll never know what those clouds looked like.

Back home in Hurley, Gretchen was out on the east deck, and, as I continued picking spray foam off my fingers, she told me how her weekend had gone. She regretted having gone to that PETA event, which had been advertised as an intimate birthday party for one of its celebrity executives. What it turned out to be, though, was a hard-sell animal-rights-themed fundraiser, complete with harrowing videos of desperate animals being tortured and killed. Gretchen doesn't need to see that stuff, but she felt trapped, and not looking at the screen didn't work as well as she'd hoped. After that trauma, she then hung out in Poughkeepsie with a woman who had oat milk icecream in her refrigerator but insisted on eating the dairy kind. Having just seen what Gretchen had seen, she wondered how anyone could demand dairy anything, especially for an indulgence as trivial as icecream. This had been the source of the sadness Gretchen had told me about this morning.
Gretchen had brought me a treat from some place called Pearl's that she'd visited in Albany on the drive down yesterday. It was a half of a vegan "reuben" bagel, filled with a thick mass of vegan corn beef. It was delicious.

The sky north of the dock today. Click to enlarge.

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