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:
   purple pie and truffles
Friday, February 2 2024
Late this morning I drove out to the 9W just north of Kingston to run a few errands. I wanted some pipe insulation for half-inch pipe (which I was surprised to find that I didn't have) as well as tape and such so that I can finish up the refrigerant pipes between the house and the outdoor unit of the new mini-split. My main mission, though, was to get Neville's nails clipped at a new place that Sarah the Vegan had recommended, a tiny mom & pop pet salon called Petty Pet Parlor. It's located in someones house, and a huge advantage over Petsmart is my not having to drag Neville (who is notoriously terrible on a leash) across a parking lot and a lane of low-speed parking traffic to the back of a big box store. I just parked behind the house and walked Neville about fifty feet to the front door. Of course, getting Neville out of the car while leaving Charlotte behind (something i'd never attempted before) was not easy, and it took Olympic-level goalie skills to block her. But once I'd handed Neville off to the staff, I went back and got Charlotte so she could be in the waiting room with me. She was nervous and kept rearing up to look over the door (it was the kind that is divided into two parts stacked one on top of the other). She was also trembling from anxiety. While we were waiting, another customer came in and she looked a little surprised to see a trash dog like Charlotte in a dog salon. Unlike numerous fussy purebreds, pit bulls don't require grooming, since their hair is both short and sparse. Of course, Neville actually does require at least some grooming, because he doesn't get enough exercise to wear down his nails and, for whatever reason, he will only allow his nails to be clipped by professionals. I was charged less than $11, so I paid $13 (including tip). It felt good to patronize a non-chain dog groomer.

Back at the house, I took advantage of the fact that I'd finished dealing with the mini-split's refrigerant pipes passing through the laboratory to do some actual straightening up in there. This was the first time I'd done any laboratory tidying in several years. For some reason, once it gets a little cluttered, I allow the clutter to snowball until I reach a moment of crisis, and only then do I do something about it. The crisis in this case was that we'd be having guests over this evening and one of the things on the agenda was to show off my laboratory, which had reached an embarrassing level of chaos. That was actually the motivation for dealing with finalizing the insulation of the laboratory refrigerant pipes last night. As I was tidying up, I noticed that some of the stuff I was putting away was piles of stuff I normally store in the low-ceiling part of the laboratory behind a shelving unit about midway along the west wall-ceiling. I'd dragged all that stuff out of there so I could paint parts of the floor I'd never painted before and then just never put it back. This means that my last round of laboratory cleaning (which typically includes floor painting) had concluded with an event that had jumpstarted the next round of clutter accumulation.

At some point I transitioned to doing a quick cleaning jihad in the living room so it would be presentable for guests. As I was doing this, I got a call from a potentially employer who seemed genuinely excited about me as a potential developer. He was the first person who actually looked at my Github projects. To get the job, I will have to pass a technical exam, but it's the kind I can do on my own at my own speed, which is much better suited to my neural wiring.
The day had actually been full of little morsels of job-hunting progress, most of it trivial. But in this market, anything at all is encouraging.

Our guests came over at 6:30pm. These were A, our new uphill neighbor, a 30-something-year-old actress (she's probably been in movies you've seen) living in the green house that had previously been occupied since the 1950s by the Brinier family, and her new boyfriend Jamie, a photographer who lives in Brooklyn but who was born in Scotland and grew up on the Isle of Guernsey just off the coast of France. The funniest thing I knew about him was that he'd been the only child in his village. He has what I would call a light Scottish accent and does pronounce the "Rs" normally elided by speakers from England. A and Jamie had brought over a bottle of red wine, and we popped it open and started drinking it. This was the first time in awhile I'd seen Gretchen actually drink red wine with anything close to enthusiasm, perhaps because our guests seemed more into drinking it that most of our visitors (who tend to be closer to us in age and further from their prime drinking years). We made for a fun group of people, full of irreverent jokes and bone-dry humor. At some point we went up to the laboratory so Jamie could see it (A had seen it before and told him about it) and he was suitably blown away. It was still a bit cluttered, but not depressingly so.
Later I drove the four of us to La Florentina in the Bolt so we could introduce our new friends to our favorite dish there, red cabbage sformato with tahini sauce, which we generally refer to as "purple pie." Introducing new friends to purple pie is one of the several stations of the cross in introducing them to our world, and it usually makes a good impression. The sformato wasn't quite as good as it can be (it needed a bit more lemon) but A & Jamie loved it all the same. Unfortunately, La Florentina no longer carries minestrone soup, so I had to make do with salad instead. And of course we also had the poofy bread full of scalding hot steam. Unfortunately, La Florentina still lacks a proper liquor license, so we our drinking would have to take a hiatus.
Over dinner, Gretchen found the opportunity to tell the story of how she and I got back together after our twelve year estrangement. And Jamie told us what it was like growing up on Guernsey. He said it involved getting into a lot of fights. He was reminding Gretchen and me a lot of Dina's husband Gilaud, and I can't really picture Gilaud in a fight, but youth has its own rules.
Back at house, Gretchen broke out some chocolate truffles she'd made earlier today. Their insides were a exquisite combination of graham crackers, caramel, and other things, and it was almost unbelieveable that they'd been made by anything less than a supernatural being.

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