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:
   Bearsville Theatre BRAWL
Friday, August 27 2010
Out houseguests left early this morning. A superorganism that large cannot move quickly, so so banging around, footsteps, squalling, and crashing of fallen dishware (there was at least one such casualty) seemed to go on for hours as the rental SUV was gradually loaded, preparatory tasks were undertaken, and shit was gotten into gear. But then our house was still and empty in a way that we too often take for granted.

After completing my normal use of it for the day, I decided to change out the shit bucket (Fecal Collector II) of the brownhouse, which had been collecting human excrement since February 27th (exactly six months). The replacement bucket was the first bucket I'd used (Fecal Collector I). It's now empty of feces and has additional improvement over Fecal Collector II: a screened sillcock at the bottom so I can drain off accumulated fluids. Other than that it was otherwise identical to Fecal Collector II, including an electronic temperature sensor probe (which I have never actually used). Fecal Collector I was slightly damaged back in February when I'd removed it from the brownhouse shit hatch; somehow its internal PVC air supply manifold was torqued enough to bust out through the side about six inches from the bottom. I've patched that tear using fibreglass mesh and molten HDPE, though the patch isn't leakproof. This means I will have to be diligent about draining accumulated liquids (or else they will escape into the brownhouse basement, which wouldn't be a catastrophe).
The old shit bucket was about two thirds full of excrement, which had pooled to form a more-or-less flat-surface festooned with toilet paper. That suggests about twenty five gallons of shit, which (if it weighed the same as an equal volume of water) would be 200 pounds. The container seemed a little lighter than that; I was able to wrestle it out of the brownhouse shit hatch and onto a handtruck without much difficulty (and without damaging it). I set aside near the greenhouse. Perhaps surprisingly given what it contained, the bucket didn't overpower the environment with its stench. The shit bucket back in February had smelled decidedly worse, suggesting that perhaps summer decomposition had neutralized more of the accumulated mass.
I hadn't been inside the brownhouse basement for several months and it was interesting to see the ecology that had developed around a huge mass of humanure. The most obvious members of the is community was spiders: black ones without hour glasses, big brown ones without webs, and everything in between. For them, the numerous flies drawn to the pile are like a constant influx of bumbling cheeseburgers.

This evening Gretchen and I went to the Bearsville Theatre to attend SuperBRAWL, the ultimate showdown in Hudson Valley women's arm wrestling. We'd been to several BRAWLs in the past, and I was beginning to wonder if maybe it was losing its novelty. The first BRAWL I'd attended in Rosendale had been kind of mind-blowing. But at this point I know all the personalities and can predict how the evening will go. I discussed this with Gretchen on the drive over and she agreed: they need to somehow keep it fresh.
We met our friend Deborah in the parking lot and later our friends Chris and Kirsty arrived. At this point we were sitting on some semi-comfy chairs near the bar drinking overpriced beers (whose price had been inflated to $6 for this famously hard-drinking event). Everyone around us seemed to be having fun. The ladies were all all dolled up in fetishistic outfits in keeping with the vibe of whatever wrestler they were there to support and they were dancing to the driving music coming from the theatre itself. But there we all were, not exactly in the mood for this thing. Chris suggested shots of tequila, and though they never materialized, a second overpriced Hurricane Kitty seemed to do the trick.
The actual event quickly did the rest in terms of getting us psyched for the spectacle. Part of the success of tonight's BRAWL was the charisma of Julie, the MC. She'd MC'd that first mind-blowing BRAWL we'd seen in Rosendale, and her stage presence could probably make a co-op board meeting exciting. Beyond that, though somehow BRAWL had been kept fresh. While the wrestling personalities were all pretty much the same and wearing the same old costumes, their support crews had put more work into theatrics. For example, when the Pilgrim took the stage, her crew showed up in a massive two dimensional cardboard ship complete with window holes. And then the pilgrim proceeded to "burn" the "least sickly" of her crew at the stake for witchcraft. This involved a split-second outfit change for the unlucky witch, whose pilgrim attire split away to reveal a black dress with devilish red fringes. She was then dragged to a pole upon which frozen flames had been pre-attached (it would have been better had they used vertical windsock flames, but the budget for this stuff is never very high).
The Pilgrim is always a grimly unpleasant, unsympathetic character, constantly coughing and occasionally licking other contestants in hopes of spreading the "disease" her character is said to have developed during her long trans-Atlantic voyage. But the funniest character on stage tonight wasn't a contestant but "Judge Mental," a "celebrity judge." (In Hudson Valley BRAWL, it doesn't take much to qualify as a celebrity.) Judge Mental wore a judge's robe and a wig obviously made from a mop. He also carried a gavel. But that was where the judgey stuff ended and the mental stuff began. He spent the entire evening on stage with a live mike, periodically making zany observations and uttering crazy non-sequiturs in a warbly high-pitch voice reminiscent of the one my genuinely crazy brother uses when discussing dinosaurs or Adolf Hitler. Everything said with that voice is automatically funny (at least when it's not saying the same thing over and over about something that doesn't interest me). So Gretchen, Deborah, and I kept cracking up. I wanted to take him home.
There was a lot of media presence at this particular event, though all of it seemed to be of the blogger/twitterer variety. There was one guy in front of me holding two different handheld devices having cameras and small LCD screens. While he photographed with one, he would be one-thumb twittering on the other. I wonder if Pulitzer Prizes can come out of such seat-of-the-pants journalism.

Scene at the bar at the Bearsville Theatre.

BRAWL contestants on stage.

Stage banter with Julie the MC.

The second cardboard boat of the evening. This crew had also brought a dead fish as a prop, which didn't exactly endear them to the vegans in attendance.

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