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:
   rainbow in Woodstock
Monday, September 18 2023

location: rural Hurley Township, Ulster County, NY

I made a little progress late this afternoon on the garage cleanout project, where I organized the chaotic collecton of steel, copper, and PVC pipes of moderate length (longer than three feet and shorter than eight feet). With those out of the way, I could move the rest of the long (more than eight feet) dimensional lumber on the garage floor up onto the new brackets I recently installed to store them. (Amusingly, there are now at least five different bracket systems in the garage for storing objects that are too long to lean against the wall.)
At around 5:00pm, I loaded up the dogs and drove to Woodstock to meet Gretchen for what has become a rare occasion: us eating dinner after one of her work shifts. The last time we did this was in late July. (Part of the reason is the frugality it seems I default to when I am unemployed, which also keeps me from making my usually-frequent eBay purchases. Gretchen, on the other hand, seems no more frugal than she's ever been, which makes sense given that her calculations months ago showed we could pretty much continue our lifestyle as is without my income.)
We ate at the Garden Café, where business was a little on the light side, so we felt okay bringing the dogs into the dining room with us, and they were well-behaved. One of the specials was the red bean soup, so of course I ordered the large size and Gretchen ordered just a cup. But then when she was eating it, she declared it was the best soup she'd ever eaten and she wanted to get some to go. But then it turned out that the kitchen staff had been grazing on it all day and there was none left.
Over dinner, Gretchen caught me up on how she'd spent the weekend after seeing the New York Liberty play the Washington Mystics at a stadium in Brooklyn (that's women's basketball). Our friend Falafel Cathy had sent Gretchen a message telling her of a huge vegan festival called Vegandale that is held on Randalls Island in the East River. Gretchen is something of a professional vegan and well-connected to the New York vegan scene, and yet she had never heard of Vegandale. It turned out that this was because it was an event largely targeting the black vegan community, which I keep hearing is disproportionately large. There was a bounty of vegan food, much of it of the not-especially-healthy comfort food variety. But the main problem with Vegandale was its island location, which greatly restricted traffic flow into and out of the event, and parking was also a nightmare. Gretchen went to Vegandale with Anna and then managed to figure out where Cathy was in the traffic jam, so she left Anna and ran up ahead and got to Cathy just before she was about to enter a patch of fast traffic leaving the island. Gretchen later compared notes with Anna (who was stuck in unmoving traffic for hours) and figured out that they'd both managed to get to their respective homes at about the same time: Gretchen to Hurley and Anna to, well, Brooklyn.
Gretchen and I also discussed what to do about health insurance given that the coverage from my old job is about to lapse and that Obamacare would cost us $400/month for the shittiest plan. She wondered if we should risk going without health insurance until I land my next job. In the past I would've said sure, but we've become the kind of people who have the opposite of freedom if, as Janis Joplin put it, that's just another term for "nothing left to lose."
We also discussed the unexpected news that Gretchen's parents just bought a "country house" an hour to the south of where they live now (the Watergate) along the Maryland side of the lower Potomac. They hadn't told Gretchen they were looking for a house, and now suddenly they have one. It's a huge house, nearly with nearly 4000 square feet of indoor space, and it cost them over $600,0000. But its location is in the opposite direction of any of their family members, so it's unlikely to be a convenient place for any of us to go visit them. Besides, we love their place at the Watergate and have much more convenient country house options of our own. Gretchen says the covid pandemic drove home her parents' feeling that they need to have a retreat, and evidently they had the means to go get themselves one.
I'd ordered the cauliflower tacos as my main dish, but after the soup I only had room for one of them (there are three). And then suddenly there was a spectacular rainbow outside, and nearly everyone in the restaurant (which was mostly staff at that point) went out to have a look. There was also a mystery cat who was seen wandering around like a vagrant and eating bread in the rain (as no cat with better options would do).
After dinner, it was raining again, so Gretchen and I walked down to where I'd parked the Forester (at the end of Old Forge Road), past a pair of deer that didn't seem too concerned about leashed dogs. I dropped Gretchen off at the Bolt, which was parked on Tinker Street, and headed for home.
A cocktail of kratom, [REDACTED], and diphenhydramine was such that I managed to stay up past 11:00pm without feeling the need to go to bed.

A rainbow over the main intersection in the middle of Woodstock this evening, viewed from the west obviously. Click to enlarge.

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