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:
   bulky stuff from Amsterdam
Friday, August 25 2023

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

The rain had ended at some point in the night, though more seemed likely to come, so I had to sieze the moment this morning. After drinking my coffee and eating my toast, I managed to get the couch off the roof of the Forester and then, using a hand truck, I got it to the basement's Bilco doors. It slid down the steps a little more enthusiastically than I would've preferred, but then it was a simple matter to get it back near the water heater with the wonderful cold dry wind it produces, which would hopefully make up for the imperfect rain protection the couch had been exposed to.
Then I told the dogs they had to stay as I was leaving to go on today's big errand: a drive back to Amsterdam to get bulky supplies for the foundation insulation project. I first went to the Amsterdam Home Depot with the intention first of looking for Wonderboard (which would be harder to load inside the car once a bunch of styrofoam was stacked on the roof). But Home Depot didn't seem to have Wonderboard any more; a search of their website turned up nothing, and I was not going to get a product like Hardiebacker, which I have had bad experiences with in freezing conditions, where it loves to delaminate. So I drove over to Lowes, where a small young female employee with very shiny hair was being chatted up by a pair of middle-aged contractor guys. She immediate switched to helping me, and managed to track down the Wonderboard. It was actually Durock, not Wonderboard, but it's made the same way, using fibreglass mesh and concrete. Another Lowes employee helped me get seventeen sheets (that's how many I needed) onto my flat-bed cart. Getting them into the back of the Forester wasn't as difficult as expected once I developed the right rhythm.
Unfortunately Lowes doesn't sell that Pink Panther-branded Foamular foam I've been using (they sell a different product that costs $10/more per sheet), so I had to return to Home Depot to get that. I wanted a bag containing six sheets, since I figured that would have the least likelihood of falling apart on the drive back to the cabin. So I asked an employee if he could get someone with a fork lift to get one of those bags of six from off the top shelf. He reluctantly agreed after first arguing that the bag wouldn't provide much additional stability. But then when the fork lift took forever to come, I decided, fuck it, I'll just transport six loose sheets. Since I could now get any number, I decided to get seven sheets, since that was closer to the number I needed total (eight; I figure I can put the last one together from leftover scraps). As I was checking out, the young cashier woman offered me a $50 discount if I applied for a Home Depot credit card. That actually seemed worth doing, though I fumbled a bit through the necessary data entry. At the end, it asked me my salary and I said $120,000 (which, at this time, is not technically true). The cashier was so surprised that she actually repeated the figure out loud, something she is probably not supposed to do. To her, I probably looked (and perhaps smelled) like a homeless man. But people who look like the way I did are not necessarily poor. It's largely the people who look rich who are the ones having to juggle maxed-out credit cards.
On the drive home, I had the seven sheets of styrofoam serving as the "meat" of a sandwich whose "bread" consisted of a four by eight foot sheet of OSB at the bottom, a smaller sheet of OSB at the top front, and a four-foot-long piece of two by four at the back (that piece actually had a mitred groover perfect for a hold-down strap. This setup easily survived the drive home.
On the drive in on Woodworth Lake Road, I stopped a few times to gather rocks (some nearly at the limit of what I can lift) for another stone-based project at the cabin: hiding the corrugated drain pipe at the bottom of the stone steps where the trail to the dock begins.
Rain initially kept me from unloading any of this stuff, though later I was able to get the rocks out of the back and the styrofoam off the roof and over to a staging place behind (north of) the cabin.

During a break in the rain, I walked down to the dock with a glass of wine and went for a little kayak paddle in the northwest quadrant of the lake. Neither of the dogs came with me, though I tried to encourage them to come. (Neville's use of right front paw is almost completely normal at this point.
Towards the end of the workday, the woman from a company I'd applied for a job at (who I'd thought, for a time, was ghosting me) scheduled an interview for me on Monday. That marked the closest thing to progress I've experienced so far in this job hunt and was ground for celebration. I chewed up and swallowed a mid-sized lump of cannabis, ate some leftover pasta salad (from that dinner party in Accord on Wednesday) and continued the drinking that had begun with a road beer on the drive back from Amsterdam.
When the cannabis kicked in, I was listening to some old MP3s from the Editors, an alternative rock band that sounds a little like Joy Division. There's that same cold robotic quality, something I eventually wearied of. I wanted that sound, but a more organic version of it. So I downloaded the discography of the National and found that better suited my mood.
Ramona hasn't climbed the steps up to the second floor of the cabin in weeks, since I think it's hard on her joints. This evening, though, she did, and then she fumbled her way up onto the bed in the upstairs bedroom using a set of squishy steps we'd bought at a TJ Max a couple years ago. Neville decided to be up there too, and it was awfully cute. But I was worried one of them was going to piss on the comforter, since, judging from the way it smells, somebody (probably Neville) has been doing that. But when it seemed all they were going to lie there, I left them alone for a few minutes. And then suddenly Ramona was out of there and down the stairs, followed quickly by Neville. When I went back into the room and checked the bed, damn if there wasn't a warm wet spot of piss on the comforter. But since both dogs had just been in there, there was no way to know who had done it. It was almost as if one of them had taken advantage of plausible deniability to do something he or she really wanted to do. So I couldn't get mad either one. I immediately spot-washed the comforter and the ornate Indian blanket that had been on top of it and hung them on the loft railing to dry.

The creepy fire department antenna rising over the western horizon viewed from Woodworth Lake. Click to enlarge.

A bottle gentian on the lakeshore. The flowers never open, making it so they can only be pollinated by insects (like bumblebees) strong enough to wrench the petals apart. Click to enlarge.

The southwest corner of the cabin with the sheets of foam I'd installed on the foundation wall. Click to enlarge.

The styrofoam on the Forester's roof. This photo was taken through a screened window. Click to enlarge.

Neville being cute on the upstairs bean bag in the cabin. Click to enlarge.

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