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
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   gravestones of Uptown
Saturday, October 9 2010
It was sunny, warmish day, and Gretchen had three different things she wanted to go to with Marissa (and me, if I was so inclined). The first of these was a benefit fashion show in Uptown Kingston for an organization called O+ that was hoping to raise money so Kingston's many artists could afford health care. I decided to go with Gretchen and Marissa to that. Because they would be going directly to something in Woodstock later, we took separate vehicles. We ended up walking around Uptown in a typically touristy manner. The farmers' market had just came to an end and the farmers were collapsing their stands and boxing up the things that hadn't sold, including at least one cardboard box full of late-season squashes.
Eventually we found our way to the graveyard at the Old Dutch Church (41.932648N, 74.01912W), which rewards the time-killing sunny-weather pedestrian with its many ancient gravestones, many of which date to the mid-1700s. Part of the fun of these stones are the highly-stylized angels carved at the top of each, as well as the mispellings and occasional evidence of poor layout (sometimes, when running out of room to complete a word, a stone carver would engrave the last few letters in a tiny superscripted font). The oldest stone we saw in the graveyard dated to the 1740s and was crowned with a stylized skull and crossbones (looking a little like something a ten year old might draw). Its text was entirely in Dutch. That stone was some sort of red sandstone, a rock that hadn't generally faired too well over the centuries (several stones of similar material had been completely effaced). The most legible and well-preserved headstones had been made of granite, though evidently it hadn't been available when the first generations had been buried here, showing up for the first time at the very end of the 1700s. And even the granite had lost its crispness over the past two hundred or more years. (I remember reading somewhere that granite is very slightly water-soluable.)
At some point we were lured across John Street into the little Fred J. Johnston Museum, which mostly features historical artifacts from Kingston. It's the kind of place where a handful of skinny old women hover about and try to be helpful. Today an older gentleman named Edwin Millard Ford had set up a desk and was selling a book he'd just been published entitled Street Whys about the history of Kingston on a comprehensive street-by-street basis. It was a pretty lonely little book signing, but Gretchen did buy a copy.
The O+ fashion show was supposedly happening at Le Canard, a French restaurant we never go to due to its vegan-hostile menu. Apparently, though, there was some mixup and the fashion show had been canceled (but never removed from the O+ website). So we sat for awhile at Le Canard's beautiful dimly-lit bar trying to figure out what to do next. Marissa is addicted to her iPhone, and she took the opportunity to exchange some text messages with various people.
We ended up sitting for awhile drinking non-alcoholic beverages at the new restaurant at the corner of Front and Wall (in the place where a parking garage and a pizza joint used to be). I don't know about the urban planning wisdom of what had happened here; a parking garage had been leveled and replaced with a rip-rapped slope and a parking lot, and with no further need for vehicular access, a large outdoor eating area had been set up. It's a pleasant sunny place, but it sits in something of a wind tunnel, which (on this seasonal day) was just a tad too cool, especially in the shade. And since it was October and the sun was never very high in the sky, you couldn't get any sun without it being in your eyes.
When the waiter tried to interest us in food, it didn't take long for it to come out that we were all vegans (Gretchen knows Marissa through animal rights circles). We were a little curious about the options, but the waiter told us to pretty much give up, that we wouldn't find much. He even made an observation about veganism being super-strict in a way that suggested he didn't think we really knew what veganism was. I was able to order a serving of French fries, and they weren't bad (even though they aspired a bit too much to be gourmet).
We went our separate ways after that: me back home, and Gretchen and Marissa to Woodstock. Back at the house, I found myself spending entirely too much time trying to clean up the mess created by an especially dense member of a product launch team for which I am the web developer and overall logistical glue (and in case you're curious, I am being paid, though not as much as I should be). I've worked with a lot of people through the years, and it's surprisingly rare that I feel like a colleague is mentally challenged, but in this case, Jesus Fucking Christ! Today's mess was that this particular team member, let's call him Yurity, had not bothered to read any of the several emails that had gone around alerting people that a server change would be happening (or, once it did happen, that it had happened). Mind you, I'd had to sent Yurity new FTP information and get him up to speed of SFTP, so I considered him fully-informed that there was a new development environment to communicate with. But for some reason he'd continued to enter data onto the old server. And then, after the old server went offline, he couldn't figure out why he could no longer see the data he'd entered. In response to this mess, I initially (and politely) told the guy that he would have to communicate himself with the internet provider to see if that old server still exists somewhere. He snapped at this and sarcastically replied "Aha, thanks so much for the helpful attitude. Reminds me why I always preferred working with mature professionals." Generally when coworkers have a problem with me, it's that I am "immature."

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