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

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Like my brownhouse:
   Rosendale gorge
Sunday, February 9 2003


I had a little comedy of errors today with my laboratory. It sits above the unheated garage, and though the there is insulation beneath its floor, I've had some trouble with drafts blowing up between the sheets of particle board that forms the laboratory floor. I've taken to filling holes and gaps in this floor with caulk, but some of the caulk I've been using is so old and expired that it doesn't dry, at least not on a human timescale. I got it from the basement of Gretchen's childhood home, and I probably should have just thrown it out. But no, I used it to plug the floorboard holes and then found myself stepping in it when it didn't dry. It's never fun having scaled-down La Brea Tar Pits on the floor of your laboratory, the place where science is prepared. So today I attempted to cover this caulk with some ancient alkyd paint that came with the house. I knew it wasn't going to be too fresh when I found myself chipping through a half-inch plug of solid scum floating on its surface. Then the paint fumes rendered my laboratory uninhabitable for hours. The eventual solution was to paint over the crumbly dry alkyd paint with fresh new latex ultra-gloss paint, sealing its fumes in for the ages.
While I was waiting for the alkyd paint to dry, Gretchen and I drove out to Rosendale, a small town in the picturesque Rondout gorge upstream (southwest) of Kingston. The main reason for going there was to try out the Rosendale Café - our refrigerator had been depleted like the uranium on the tips of armor-piercing shells intended to save Iraqi children.
The gateway to Rosendale on 213 (coming in from the west) is beneath a spectacularly high iron bridge crossing the gorge. The unexpected begins to happen, architecturally at least. There's a strange house bricked up with bricks of five or six distinctly unrelated, fully-saturated colors. Behind the houses, at least on the north bank of the Rondout, the steep hillside is marked with a continuous series of shallow man-made caves veneered with brick.
Perhaps the key to maintaining a vibrant economy in a small Catskill village is the presence of a vegetarian café. Ellenville, as you'll remember, is distinctly depressed (and somewhat depressing) despite its beautiful views. And its only restaurant options are the sort of multinational franchise one can find in the strip city outside any American city (except perhaps Montpellier, VT). In Ellenville, one's vegetarian options are limited to grilled American Cheese on white. In Rosendale, by contrast, there is the Rosendale Café. Here one can order a tempeh rueben and sit at a table whose cotton tablecloth features a different pattern from the one of the people sitting next to you. This is what Gretchen and I did for lupper today. Most of the other patrons in the café looked, well, they looked like they weren't big supporters of the war on drugs. Though no one can say for sure where such people get their money, their presence (as well as that of those impacted by sanctity of marriage statutes) seems to be essential for economic vibrancy. Perhaps the cause-and-effect relationship between tempeh ruebens and sunny economic conditions is the reverse of what I'm implying. But tolerance, coupled with the desire to seek out the unusual, must play an important role in a town's ability to adapt to changing economic conditions. Surely the arrest of pot smokers and sodomites does little to help a town fallen on hard times, though I'm sure their are some pending federal judicial appointees who would argue with me on this and even have biblical citations to back up what they would say.
Mostly when I put things in my body, they take the form of food or beverages that I eat or drink. That said, few things feel as good in the body as a tempeh rueben. Even as a non-vegetarian I'm inclined to believe that the tempeh rueben is the highest, most delicious expression of the rueben form. With satisfied gastrointestinal systems, we set off on foot to explore Rosendale's Main Street. Here an old bookstore going out of business, there a church converted into a blasphemous art gallery. And all the while, the mysterious man-made caves puncturing the hillside continued several hundred feet in the background.
With their trash on the curb, someone had put out a steel tent framework. It folded up to about the size of a four foot log, but it expanded to be at least 600 cubic feet (six by ten by ten). I decided to take it; at the very least I could use its steel articulations for one of my, you know, projects.

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