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:
   adventures down abandoned rights of way
Friday, March 26 2004
Today was a beautiful sunny day, with temperatures in the 60s. Warm weather at this time of year is a precious thing, because the biting flies aren't yet out and walking in the woods is unqualified pleasure.
Gretchen thought I should be out walking more to encourage the recuperation of my injured leg, so she and I went to a new hiking discovery she'd made yesterday, the "Rail Trail." It's an old railroad right-of-way that has been converted into a linear park running from Hurley down to Stone Ridge, more or less parallel to (and east of) US 209.
We didn't get far down the trail before encountering a man walking a beautiful brindle mastiff mongrel and an indistractable beagle-on-the-hunt. As our dogs befriended one another, we humans got to talking, since this guy was as outgoing and instantly-familiar as Gretchen. It's amazing how quickly friends can be made when the common interest is walking non-purebred dogs in nature. His name is Sasha, and he will be joining us when we attend a piano concert on Sunday.
At first the rail trail passes through a swampy region not too different from the bayou country we'd seen south of New Orleans. Further southward, it gradually rises up through a dense forest of hemlocks along the side of a hill comprised of thick beds of hard rock. This rock forms a series of low cliffs that stop up the natural flow of water draining from a plateau to the east. We ventured up a cascading creeklet onto this plateau and saw that it was divided by a complex network of narrow wetlands. Gretchen found a small green frog lounging in the frigid meltwater, our first amphibian sighting of the year.

On a visit to, my attention was directed to an intriguing low-budget photojournal of the depopulated Chernobyl area, as presented by a daring motorcycle enthusiast named Elena, who writes in badly fractured English. When she's not working on her website, she's darting through the irradiated dead zone on empty (but strangely well-preserved) highways, paying close attention to her dosimeter and snapping pictures of the interesting things one can expect to find in a vast region that was rapidly abandoned.
Chernobyl might have been a disaster for humans, but it seems to have been a blessing for the natural world, which is taking full advantage of the world's largest human-free block of fertile temperate real estate. Radiation, you see, is most dangerous for creatures that live long lives.
I was most struck by the pictures of the abandoned cities. They give an unsettling picture of the stages all our creations will pass through once we're wiped out.

As you know, I'm paying close attention to the Richard Clarke story as it evolves and metastasizes. Today I read that Dennis Hastert and henchmen have cooked up a new way to smear Clarke, by insinuating that he lied under oath in classified testimony that he made a year ago. These Republicans claim to be clamoring to have that testimony declassified so their suspicion can be confirmed. But my guess is that this testimony will never actually gets declassified, because it actually doesn't contradict recent testimony at all. By claiming there's perjury in that classified testimony and ineffectually clamoring to have it declassified, the smearmeisters cast doubt about Clarke's veracity even when there is no basis for this doubt in reality. It's in keeping with a long line of Republican dirty tricks stretching back to Nixon.

For linking purposes this article's URL is:

previous | next