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:
   weedeater jihad
Monday, July 20 2009
Early in the day (for me), an electric weedeater arrived via UPS. It represented my compromise between a bulky lawnmower (either gas or electric) and exclusively human-powered lawncare devices. Ideally I'd just use the latter, but my time in my present circumstance is too valuable for that, particularly if I'm going to maintain a lawn reasonable enough for Gretchen, the dogs, the cats, and robins (all of whom appreciate a certain amount of fairly short grass in the warm season). Once I'd assembled the weedeater, I systematically wacked down all the weeds and grass of the yard, a fairly big job if done the way I'd traditionally done it. In the past, for example, I'd clip the grass growing from the cracks of the bluestone walkway using a conventional pair of scissors, a job that would take over a half hour and would usually result in a couple angry blisters. Today I just blasted the cracks with the whirring plastic whacker. It took me awhile to figure out how best to position the whacker and how to pay out more whacking cord, but once I had the technique down, I could quickly get the results I wanted. Still, though the mowed part of our yard is not large (it's about a tenth of an acre), it took more than an hour to whack it down with a weedeater (by contrast, I can mow most of the yard with a gasoline mower in only about twenty minutes).
At some point in the middle of my mowing, I took a break to deliver a bunch of recyleables, paper mostly, to the Hurley dump. We used to dispose of paper exclusively by burning it, but Gretchen thinks it will be better for the environment if we only burn our paper and cardboard in the heating season (which makes sense).
In the evening the UPS guy came by a second time to drop off another parcel he'd found in his truck, a parcel containing a used scythe I'd bought from a military surplus place in Pennsylvania. Most of it its price had been shipping, but it was still by far the cheapest scythe I'd been able to find online (with the order, I'd also bought galoshes and a vintage gas mask).

Our friends Jenny and Doug would be coming over for a lavish multi-course meal Gretchen had prepared. We'd wanted to eat outside, but mosquitoes are so bad now that we decided to move the outdoor dining table to the east deck, which is high above the terrain and far enough from the forest that mosquitoes are much rarer there than on the south deck.
Soon after Jenny and Doug arrived (with three of their dogs), we all went for a walk over a half mile down the Stick Trail and then back. Blah, blah, blah, I don't remember the conversation, but I do remember the many lethal white Amanita mushrooms I found along the way. I walked barefoot, which was nothing special to me but seemed to impress Jenny, whose prosthetic foot was proving immune to the continuous mosquito onslaught.
There were mosquitoes out on the east deck, though it wasn't as bad as it would have been during even a light mosquito season on the south deck. The food was, as always, impressive, and of course this led our guests to remind me how very lucky I am.
Later, after dinner, we retreated from the mosquitoes into the living room, where Gretchen served some sort of banana pudding atop a base of cookie crumbles. Jenny fell asleep soon thereafter, but Doug remained wide awake and told us about a handicap he has that I feel I share: a seemingly-pathological inability to distinguish faces. This handicap is worse for him than it is for me, since he's often in social situations where he meets people he's met before and they extend their hands assuming familiarity. For me it's not so bad; Gretchen is unusually good at distinguishing faces and often fills in for my social deficits when we're together in public. She's so talented in this department that I've allowed my few social skills to atrophy, freeing up valuable neurons for other uses (or, perhaps, to be killed by recreational biochemistry).

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