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:
   off to Cazenovia
Friday, September 6 2002

setting: Park Slope, Brooklyn, New York

Today was the day Gretchen and I set out for Upstate New York to attend the wedding of our friends Ray and Nancy. The wedding was taking place in the small town of Cazenovia, Nancy's hometown near Syracuse. To get there, we carpooled with Lin and Mark in Lin's Buick Skylark. I brought by MP3 player along and we used it to make up for the overall absence of quality rural radio stations along our route (what would we be doing had the Clear Channelification of local radio not coincided with the file sharing revolution?). After awhile Gretchen complained because the MP3 player had played too many consecutive Guided by Voices songs, which she found "depressing" in such concentrations.
A running joke throughout the entire road trip was that Mark and I should stop somewhere and get ourselves some forties of malt liquor as an aid for passing the time. We actually did go in search of of forties at one place where we stopped for gas, but unfortunately we were in northeast Pennsylvania at the time (somewhere along I-81) and evidently in that particular state one cannot buy beer at a convenience store. Unable to get any beer, we had to make do with pot.
Meanwhile Lin and Gretchen passed the time by playing a guessing game called Boticelli.
The place where we'd be staying was called the Brewster Inn, located on the shoreline of the shallow but natural Lake Cazenovia.
The Brewster Inn was centered around a rambling brown gingerbread mansion. For Gretchen and me, our room was in a satellite building known as the Carriage House, though Lin and Mark got one of the fancy rooms equipped with a Jacuzzi and a La Brea Tar Bed.
We'd rolled into town just in time for the rehearsal dinner, which was actually taking place at Quack's Diner in the town of Madison, some 13 miles to the east.
One doesn't usually think of diners when one thinks of rehearsal dinners, but one can definitely save money on a wedding if fancy non-diner restaurants are avoided. Mind you, the food at Quack's Diner wasn't anything special, even though this was a wedding. It tended to be absolutely flavorless as if the intention was for it to slide into our stomachs without our noticing. I had the chicken and biscuits, though I'm sure the other food was similarly bland. The service provided by several undeveloped teenage waitresses was more mechanical than prompt. Nonetheless a good, semi-campy time was had by all. I took three of the festive pink and blue duck-mascott-bedecked Quack's Diner balloons as we were leaving.
After returning briefly to the Brewster Inn, Gretchen, Lin, Mark, and I set out on foot for the nearby Brae Loch Inn, a Scottish pub/Bed & Breakfast near downtown Cazenovia. We smoked a little pot along the way and that gave a certain surreal quality to the scene we encountered at the bar.
Condescending though this sounds, it's impossible to wad into a small Upstate town and not have a nagging feeling of being an urban outsider in a land full of simple people doing simple things (and being simply delighted with the simpletons they elected). There's no place where this feeling can be more intense than in a dark, rambling, smoky, low-ceilinged, somewhat-kitschy Scottish bar where only the waitresses seem to be wearing kilts. The locals (there was no mistaking them) all clung close to the bar, whereas Ray and Nancy's party (including many more people than had been invited to the rehearsal dinner, many of whom I didn't know) were in a distant swath of dining room back behind the two or three guys performing live music. The live music seemed to consist exclusively of classic rock covers from the 60s and 70s.
Gretchen disappeared for awhile once we first arrived because she had found a dog to befriend, an oldish white terrier named Misty. We later witnessed Misty matter-of-factly pissing on the dining room carpet. Perhaps such behavior contributed to the oppressively musty elegance of the place, which (even given the egregiously faux details) rather reminded me of that pub in London where I ate those dreadful fish and chips.
The main thing I did while socializing at the Brae Loch Inn was tell a few strangers in Ray and Nancy's party the whole Gretchen and Gus story, starting 13 years ago back in Oberlin and then picking up with a chance Google search in February, 2001. For the most part, though, socializing felt just a little too much like work tonight, and drinking didn't improve the situation either.
When Gretchen and I went to walk back to the Brewster Inn, for some reason we headed out the wrong way, passing through downtown Cazenovia without concern about not having come this way before. It was only when we started heading out of town into the great empty expanses of central New York that we realized the error of our trajectory.

Somewhere along the drive to Cazenovia.
(Click to enlarge.)

Somewhere along the drive to Cazenovia, south-central New York.
The terrain and land use here looks a lot like central eastern Ohio.
(Click to enlarge.)

Somewhere along the drive to Cazenovia, south-central New York.

For linking purposes this article's URL is:

previous | next