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:
   Tivoli yard sales
Saturday, July 26 2008 Today the village of Tivoli was having its annual village-wide yard sale, when its citizens were encouraged to set out their tables and sell their junk. David and Penny had found out about this, and I'd been invited to come along. This morning David showed up a little before 9AM, but I was in deep REM sleep at the time, and after rising to my feet I stumbled around in a daze feeding the cats and finding my clothes. It took at least a half hour for me to wake up completely, somewhere on the road to Tivoli. Penny hadn't come.
As expected, Tivoli was lousy was yard sales. Somehow I'd expected it to all be in one spot, but the sales were distributed evenly around the village, with a few concentrated big multi-family sales, particularly in the "new development" part of Tivoli (a dense suburbia comprised mostly of smallish houses from the 60s, 70s, and 80s, located just northwest of the center of the village). Things I bought today included a tiny food chopper for Gretchen, a Bernzo-matic oxygen welding kit (for $9), a large external-frame backpack, a huge spool of copper armature wire (a real find!) and The Complete Book of Portable Power Tool Techniques (copyright 1986). David's major find today was a $25 bicycle needing only minor fixes.
We hit lots of sales - perhaps as many as two dozen. At one a bored lad perhaps eleven years old sat in attendance, occasionally tooting on a slide trombone he held. He fell silent as we approached. David asked him if he'd perhaps play us a tune, and he shrugged and said he didn't know. "Aw, c'mon, play us something," David insisted, so the kid played us the familiar riff from "Smoke on the Water." I'd never heard it played on a trombone before.
At some point we ate sandwiches at a little grocery/deli in the center of the village. David is a worrier and, looking at the newspapers in the deli's news rack, he started worrying aloud about the way Republicans had begun to frame Barack Obama as an "uppity nigger." David has written articles for the New York Times and and wanted to perhaps write an article exploring in depth this latest attempt to frame Obama, but he figured he should probably find an African American co-writer for any article having "nigger" in either the title or the subtitle.

Back at the house, I gathered the last useless pieces of the old totaled hatchback, loaded them into its replacement, and took it to the dump. I had so little extra room in the car that I couldn't even bring the dogs. It's always a mistake to go to the Hurley dump on a Saturday if you haven't paid your yearly $10 dumping fee. Saturday is the one day of the week they check to see if you've paid. This was how ten dollars was extracted from my wallet, leaving almost no money to pay for dumping of the plastic interior bits of the car. I ended up throwing most of the plastic in with the scrap metal. I drove down to the metal scrap pile and unloaded the plastic first, throwing it far back into the pile so it wouldn't be there to incriminate me. This wasn't as serious a recycling crime as it may sound; considering that it's full of washing machines and electric fans, there's always plenty of plastic in the scrap metal pile.

Tomorrow Gretchen and I would be hosting a big vegan barbecue as a benefit to raise funds supporting a California ballot initiative to ban the the keeping of farm animals in tiny crates. While Gretchen worried about party details, it was up to me to straighten out the house and tidy up the lawn. Our yard contains so much stonework that a proper tidying always involves twice as much time spent with shears than with a lawn mower. I worked until I had a huge blister on my right middle finger. As always, I'd bitten into it with my eye teeth and drained its fluid within hours of its formation, and I soon experienced the burning pain that inevitably comes when air is first allowed into a blister.

For linking purposes this article's URL is:

previous | next