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:
   rainy day car inspection
Wednesday, October 16 2002

setting: rural Hurley, New York

A cold hard rain fell all day long, the most substantial prolonged rain I'd seen in years. Since my truck was still refusing to start due to the security breach it had detected yesterday, today we were forced to rely on Gretchen's I-probably-have-a-dead-body-in-the-trunk-red Honda.
At around 3pm, I took the Honda to be inspected at Tim's Garage in downtown Kingston (at the corner of Liberty and Broadway). When I arrived, the matriarch who runs the place (an older woman with long dark-dyed hair and an immortal cigarette in her hand) was on the phone having a big obscene argument with what I took to be a romantic partner. Her voice and attitude rather reminded me of one of Marge Simpson's sisters. The conversation went on despite my presence for a few minutes and then she took my keys and had some guy out in the garage inspect the car. I'm familiar with Virginia inspections and didn't know what to expect in New York. It seemed like the same basic routine, though only the front end was jacked up. I got the feeling this garage was one of those quirky mom and pop operations where they only flunk the most egregious cases of rolling deathtrap. While this was going on, I occasionally interacted with a young and frisky Labrador mix dog tied to one of the legs of the Tim's Garage desk. There was also a young boy there and an older man who seemed to be yet another romantic partner of the matriarch, one with whom she had obviously not just had a big obscene phone altercation.
As she did the final paperwork, the matriarch and I chatted a little about stuff. She told me I had a nice Honda and I told her I'd just moved up from Brooklyn. She said she'd moved up from Brooklyn too, back in 1972.
Meanwhile, Gretchen had been making almost no progress against the wallpaper that formed a expanse of charming folksiness beneath the chair molding in the stairway. She'd tried two different chemicals and they hadn't worked, so now she was trying what a woman behind her in line at Lowes had recommended: vinegar. But even that wasn't working.
So later in the day, Gretchen rented a contraption for steaming wallpaper off the walls. It featured a big red tank and a hose and a flat panel with steam holes. It took the better part of an hour just to heat up. But again, it was virtually useless against this particular wallpaper. Only tiny pieces of single layers would come loose. By the end of the day, Gretchen had a new slogan for a bumpersticker: "Those who wallpaper are morally bankrupt." She was also entertaining the idea of cutting our losses and simply painting over the wallpaper, even though it was stipled with tiny holes from a wallpaper perforator, one of the tools of the wallpaper removal trade, unrewarding though it seems to be.
I was more successful with the continued wall demolition in the basement, though even there I experienced unforeseen difficulties. For example, the two by four running along the bottom of the stud wall had actually been glued to the sub-basement slab, and prying it loose required enormous force.

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