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:
   Durock is not for those suffering from trypophobia
Friday, November 3 2023

location: rural Hurley Township, Ulster County, NY

On the drive to the cabin this morning, Gretchen wanted to take the Thruway. She said that she finds the anonymous nature of the landscape along it more soothing, since there are fewer visions of dirty alpacas, sad beef cows, and other hillbilly animal rights atrocities of the sort one sees near, say, Broome or the hamlet of Livingstonville. Of course, the Thruway has its own horrors. Somewhere a little east of the Pattersonville Rest Area, we saw a huge red cone of blood and tiny flecks of flesh stuck to the roadway as if a truck had plowed into a herd of twenty deer. Meanwhile, we were listening to the Terry Gross interview of David Byrne. I'm not a Talking Heads fan, but I recognize Byrne as an interesting person.
On the drive to the cabin on Woodworth Lake Road, Gretchen had me let her and Charlotte out so they could walk the last two thirds of a mile or so. As usual, Charlotte had vomited on the drive, but she'd done so onto a cloth grocery bag on the floor, which made the mess easier to clean up.
The weather was sunny and not too cool, so after putting away the things we'd brought, Gretchen and Charlotte went down to the dock. Meanwhile, I got a small brush and tried to attack all the little white dots of primer still showing through the brown paint Gretchen had applied to the Durock cladding of the cabin's south foundation wall. I hadn't really noticed until painting it, but Durock is full of tiny regularly-spaced holes that form lines. These holes (which will make anyone suffering from trypophobia lose their shit) were proving nearly impossible to fill with the thick brown surface paint, and my tiny brush technique wasn't working at all. At the rate I was making progress, completing the paint job was going to take the rest of my life.
When Gretchen and Charlotte returned from the lake, Gretchen joined me with another small brush. Soon, though, I was using a different technique, which I called "swamping." I'd take a big brush with lots of paint and slather it back and forth across the tiny white dots in multiple directions. This seemed to work much better. It wasn't perfect, and nothing could be done to eliminate every tiny white dot. But it was good enough for us to be satisfied with the results.
On most of the north foundation wall, the cladding was Wonderboard instead of Durock, and that does not have the tiny holes, so painting that went much more quickly. By the time the sun was going down, we'd had all of the foundation wall that we wanted to paint painted in its final color (this was everything except the east wall, which is under the decks and Gretchen didn't think we should worry about it).
At some point in all of this, Gretchen realized she couldn't find her phone, which she'd just been using a few minutes before. Had she set it down on some surface? Had Charlotte grabbed it and taken it into the woods? She tried calling it with my phone, but neither phone has cell access near the ground (they only get it up on the second floor). So then I tried sending it Facbook direct messages, which travel via WiFi and can reach any device in or near the cabin. I could hear a faint ping sound from Gretchen's phone somewhere near the cabin's southwest corner, but it wasn't clear whether the phone was maybe in the car. We searched the area thoroughly and found nothing. And then the phone stopped making noises for subsequent messages. Clearly we needed the phone to make a constant sound if we were going to find it. Then it occurred to me: I could use Facebook's voicecall feature, something I never normally use (and usually decline even when Gretchen tries to call me that way). It would make a constant ringing sound, and would do so over a WiFi network. This worked great, but the phone still proved elusive. Eventually, though, we found it under the leaves I'd piled around the foundation of the cabin near its southwest corner. Evidently it had fallen out of Gretchen's pocket and then immediately slipped beneath the surface of the leaves.

Meanwhile, I'd started a fire in the woodstove and got the first floor heating zone working for the first time this season. It took about six hours to raise the indoor temperature of the cabin from 44 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
For dinner, Gretchen made us a big pot of minestrone soup with at least three kinds of beans and bowtie noodles. It was everything we wanted it to be, though of course it would probably taste even better tomorrow.
In addition to her usual cabin activities, today Gretchen spent several hours working on that weird artificial intelligence job she'd recently been hired to do by a distant relative. It involved critiquing AI-generated poetry (all of which was terrible) as well as critiquing the critiques the AI had written of its own poetry. The interface for doing this was a simple spreadsheet hosted in Google Docs, and it allowed her to see the critiques written by other human poets of the same miserable poetry. Gretchen was taking her job very seriously and writing much more detailed critiques than any of her human colleagues. I should mention that the AI being critiqued is a famous one that you are probably familiar with.

Shadows cast by the low sun late this afternoon, viewing the cabin from the southwest. Click to enlarge.

The north side of the cabin with its now-brown foundation wall. Click to enlarge.

Peck Lake, viewed through the now-leafless trees west of the lookout rock (a couple hundred feet west of the cabin). That distant west shore is three and a half miles away.

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