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:
   MP3 players designed for the elderly
Sunday, August 8 2010

location: five miles south of Staunton, rural Augusta County, Virginia

Mike Jones, a long time friend of the family, came by this morning and spent some time with me, part of the moral support being provided by our limited network of friends. We drank some coffee and walked around back by the old body shop behind the double wide. As always, Mike was snapping photographs the whole time. He'd only recently moved to digital from film, and was thrilled by the fact that he could page through all his photos and show me things. It's been a long time since I was impressed by this feature and, in any case, it's actually more of a bug. With rare exceptions, nobody really wants to look at anyone else's photographs. In that respect photography is a write-only medium like poetry.
Though we know each other through radical ecology, Mike is sort of an old-school mountain libertarian at heart, with an interest in building an arsenal and holding off invaders when the shit goes down. We got to talking and I realized we had very different views about the problem, if one wants to call it that, of immigration.
I didn't go visit my father today, but I did go to town, rendezvousing with my mother (Hoagie) at Staples (because she was considering helping buy the granddaughter of her neighbor an inexpensive laptop for use in school). I'd applied a bunch of JB Weld to the Subarau's fuel filler pipe and was hoping to test if it still leaked. I only ran about thirty cents' worth of gas before I had my answer: no. That made me nervous to leave the car out in the Staples parking lot. I feared some idiot might toss a cigarette under it. People still smoke in Virginia in a way that seems unusual (perhaps even a bit exotic) to someone living in New York State. While at Staples, I bought my father the simplest possible MP3 player. It had five buttons, no display, four gigabytes of storage, and cost $20. Unfortunately, the buttons were of a size that would be difficult for someone with mild Parkenson's disease (which my father has) to manipulate. I don't know if there's much of a market yet for MP3 players designed for the elderly, but it seems like one will eventually develop. The problem with buying stuff at Staples is that accessories are grossly overpriced. The price of the MP3 player was over $60 once I added a pair of computer speakers and a wall charger designed to keep its battery from going dead (in the absence of occasional connections to a computer's USB port).
I needed to do a bunch more web development and my mother had suggested I try the café at Martin's, a yuppie supermarket out on US 250 near the east end of Staunton. That's the place she goes to buy her shrimp and fish. The café had good wifi and I got a lot of work done, partly, perhaps, because so few other people were there to distract me. After I was done, I went shopping, buying vegan essentials necessary for another dinner I had plans to prepare.
Back at the house I made vegan BLTs with sautéed mushrooms. Unfortunately I'd been unable to find any Sriracha at Martin's. As had happened last night, my cooking met with great success. I'd picked a sort of discordant movie to watch on my laptop, Deliverance, which I thought my mother should see (Don didn't have much interest because it didn't have any scenes of goose-stepping Germans or grappling dinosaurs). But then it turned out my mother might have actually seen Deliverance, though I don't know how. I don't remember her going out to see R-rated movies when I was a kid, and it's doubtful she would have rented it.

My brother Don in the doublewide. I don't know how he got that Riverheads shirt. We both went to Riverheads Elementary and High schools.

An abandoned doublewide trailer along Old Greenville Road a mile outside of Staunton. It's been languishing foundationless like this for years.

The Amanita mushroom fairy ring across Old Greenville Road from the abandoned doublewide.

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