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:
   End Times Christians and pre-Columbian Aztecs
Friday, March 8 2024

location: rural Hurley Township, Ulster County, NY

It was looking like the average temperature even at the cabin would be higher than freezing for the predictable future, which meant I was probably okay to de-winterize the cabin. I wanted to go there and do that this weekend, and somehow Gretchen came up with Saturday as the day I should go. Perhaps that was because Anna was still visiting today. But I'd done all the requisite socializing, and it was looking like the weather tomorrow and the next day would be bad. So why not leave today? I asked Gretchen what she thought, because if there was a good reason for me not to leave today, I was perfectly happy to stay. But Gretchen thought it was fine for me to leave today. So I went out in the parking area and carefully extracted the Forester, which was stuck between Anna's car, the Bolt, and various stone walls. (I wanted to take a four-wheel drive because of how bad the weather was predicted to get. Also, I wasn't sure whether or not there was any snow on the ground I might have to drive over.)
After Gretchen and Anna got back from a walk up the Farm Road with both dogs, I had Gretchen help me get the dogs into the car and set off on the scenic route (the one through Middleburgh). As I often do, I stopped at the Hannaford in Cairo to get provisions such as sourdough bread, fruit juice, and a good strong double IPA for use as a road beer. While in Cairo, I forgot to gas up, so from East Durham onward, I was on the lookout for a gas station. There is none in East Durham, but there's a Stewart's-like gas station called Milk Run just west of the village, and that was where I stopped. An old man in a Buick arrived to gas up while I was there and struck up a conversation about the lottery and how big it is right now. There was no time to turn it into a teachable moment about the many taxes our society collects on the mathematically ignorant.
I'd wanted to listen to MP3s, but there was no easy way to do that with the Subaru's sound system (which, though it's from the model year 2015, lacks any USB ports). I'd brought an old automotive MP3 player that broadcasts on an FM radio frequency, but I couldn't figure out how to make it work. So instead I listened to a Christian radio station, which was playing something called the Endtime Show. As you might imagine, it's a show that picks through Revelation and other books of the Bible to present a vision of imminent and perfectly-predicted apocalypse. Such predictions have been going on for the better part of two thousand years, and yet the people making them on this program are extemely sure now, and they have the verses to prove it. They take callers, some of whom have reached slightly different conclusions based on the same scriptures (and the things said about them on YouTube), and of course it's always the hosts that have the truth; they're not open to persuasion. It all conforms to the top-down authoritarian model of where knowledge comes from. It's all complete nonsense and doesn't have much in the way of a consistent logical framework, so it's difficult for me to put myself in these people's worldview in hopes of understanding it. It was much easier for me to imagine that these people were ancient Aztecs or pre-Azecs discussing how human sacrifice will make it likely that the rains will come. In terms of remoteness from a useful source of and framework for wisdom, both Endtime Christians and pre-Columbian Aztecs are about the same. Indeed, both of their religions make no sense at all if the blood sacrifice of humans doesn't achieve anything useful. Of course, when you have a show called the Endtime Show, the cranks who call it are going to be pretty far out there on the crank spectrum. One woman, for example, casually used the term "towel-head," which is such an ignorant epithet that I know it mostly as a joke that Gretchen tosses around as a stand-in for people we've never actually met. And of course, neither of the hosts felt a need to say anything to push the caller even vaguely in the direction of respectability.

I'd forgotten part of the route and thought I had to turn left on Comrie instead of crossing it. So I ended up driving most of the way back to Fonda before I figured out my mistake.
Only as I climbed the Adirondack escarpment did I see the first bedraggled remnants of snow, mostly discolored piles on the north sides of houses and at the edges of plowed parking areas. On Woodworth Lake Road, I saw a little in the ditch from when it had been plowed, but it wasn't looking like I was going to have any trouble getting to the cabin. Parts of Woodworth Lake Road were terribly ripped up in places, forcing me to drive slowly even in the Forester. There was no snow whatsoever on our driveway or near the cabin, though there were a few patches under evergreens in the nearby woods.

Once at the cabin, I immediately began the process of making it a habitable space. I started a fire in the woodstove, parked the Forester near the generator so I could jumpstart it. I then began trickle-charging the cabin's big lithium battery, as it had been in shutdown mode for months.
Meanwhile Neville had come into the cabin (where temperatures were in the low 40s) and I'd covered him with a blanket. But Charlotte had disappeared. I called for her and even walked out to the end of the driveway calling for her, but she'd vanished. I began to worry if she was somehow disoriented and didn't remember the terrain after a three-months absence. If she was lost, that was going to be a problem, because the only collar she was wearing was the one to kill fleas and ticks; I'd taken off her other collar when giving her her most recent bath and had neglected to put it back on. That's the collar with one of our phone numbers on it.
But later after it got dark, I saw Charlotte come towards the cabin from somewhere down the driveway. But she kept going, disappearing around the west end of the cabin. I called for her multiple times, but she ignored me.
So later I managed to convince Neville to join me on a walk nearly out to the end of the driveway. I figured she might hear his snorting and tinkling tags and join us, since she has a strong desire to do whatever it is Neville happens to be doing. But Charlotte never materialized. I seemed best to just not worry about her and hope she eventually came into the cabin.
When she finally did, she was extremely tentative. She stuck her muzzle in and sniffed around, and then stuck in her head. Finally she came in, but then she was concerned because Neville wasn't immediately visible. He'd gone up to the beanbag in the loft, and eventually she figured this out and went up to join him.
Meanwhile I'd eaten a fairly large nugget of cannabis I'd been storing in the cabin basement. It ended up being a powerful dose that kicked in while I was taking a bath. Under its effects, I could feel the difference between the way hot water felt on most of my body and the way it felt in densely innervated regions such as my fingers.
Charlotte did eventually join Neville and me in the bedroom downstairs, which is better than she did last time we were at the cabin (back in early December). But eventually she left and spent the rest of the night in the loft beanbag.

I should mention that the lowest temperature recorded for the cabin basement was 37.49 Fahrenheit on February 19th, which is a good five degrees over freezing. This suggests my foundation insulation project was a success.

For linking purposes this article's URL is:

previous | next