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:
   health care victim in Mt. Marion
Saturday, June 18 2011

I hooked up with Ray and Nancy late this morning and the three of us went yardsaling, starting in Woodstock. Our first goal was Bread Alone, where we wanted to eat bagels with vegan cream cheese (just like in the days when I used to yardsale with Penny and David). But we stopped along the way for a yardsale somewhere off Route 375 in West Hurley just as my bladder neared its bursting point. "Next time we go yardsaling, I'm wearing adult diapers," I declared.
For me, the day's yardsaling started slowly, starting with a handful of wall outlet plates (my supply of which, I realized recently, had been exhausted). We hadn't planned any particular trajectory, so somehow we were tugged northward and eastward toward Saugerties. Somewhere between 375 and Zena Road, I bought a pair of old metal toolboxes ($1 each!), and then at an estate sale I bought five gallon metal gas can and a manual weed wacker. I'd thought the gas can was only a dollar, and paid that for it to some women inside, but then Ray casually mentioned that it had only been a dollar to some guy who was also part of the estate sale, and he was indignant, saying he'd priced the can at $10 (really?). It turned out that something I'd mistaken as a decimal point was actually a fleck of dirt. I compromised with the guy and gave him another $5, though I never would have paid $6 for it had I seen such a price. (The can wasn't exactly brand new.)
I cautioned against going into Saugerties "because the next thing you know, we'll be standing around in some antique shop," so we headed eastward on Glasgo Turnpike towards 9W, stopping in Mt. Marion on the way. I'd never been to the heart of Mt. Marion before, and it was an informative experience. Mt. Marion is a low-income white suburban community of small single-floor single-family houses pressed tightly together on tiny lots. Within a city, it would be home to crack houses and constant police patrols, though isolated by itself (cutoff from the rest of the world by farmland and forests) it might well be a functioning bedroom community. The houses, which look to date from the early 1970s, are one small step up from trailers, though they're generally in good repair and yards tend to be well-kept. On this particular afternoon, there were a great many yard sales happening. We could park once and just walk down the street from one to the next. Perhaps not surprisingly, though, there was little of interest: porcelain figurines, garage ornaments, fishing poles, motorcycle exhaust systems, dubious automotive audio equipment, technicolor children's toys, and boxes of cassette tapes. I would have thought those cassette tapes were worthless, but a skinny teenage white boy (doing the hip-hop things with his trousers and boxer shorts) was willing to pay fifty cents for one of the tapes. As he was walking away with his purchase, the person running the yard sale hollered after him and gave him the whole box of tapes for free. That 20 pound armload, translated into MP3s, would take up a very small part of a microSD card (which itself is no bigger than a mouse's jawbone).
While in Mt. Marion, we took note of the administrator of an especially fruitless yardsale. He was an enormously fat white man with a missing leg. We guessed that he was yet another casualty of America's war on the sick. He probably lost that leg to undiagnosed diabetes, the kind of thing that happens to people who eat terrible food and can't afford insurance. A small investment in preventative treatment might well have saved America the hundreds of thousands of dollars in medicaid for which he will be eligible over the course of his short, miserable life. (In pursuit of what is "fair," Americans often end up doing what is most boneheadedly expensive. Another example is spending too little on education in order to afford to spend too much on prisons.)

Nancy had a craving for burritos, and she invited me and Gretchen over to her place for burritos later. But back at my house, Gretchen was talking about going to see a movie and eating unhealthy fried food at Rolling Rock (the bar at the mall). Nancy keeps a short dietary leash on Ray (at least when he's not down in the City), so she didn't want to go to Rolling Rock. In the end, Ray and Nancy came over here for pasta and homemade pesto (from our own homegrown spinach and basil) out on our east deck.
Before they came over, Gretchen and I made a quick run to a brand new West Hurley liquor store to buy a case of vinho verde, Gretchen's new alcoholic beverage of choice. This particular liquor store (in the same micromall as the Stewarts on Route 28 at Zena Road) seemed a bit more expensive than the liquor stores I usually patronize; a half gallon of cheap vodka can usually be had in New York State for $14, and here it was $18, though it wasn't precisely the same brand as the other stores' cheap vodkas, so the comparison wasn't apples-to-apples. Vinho verde was $10/bottle, but we got a bulk discount of 20% for buying a case. Gretchen also got a bottle of a type of cranberry liquor, which would serve later tonight as a digestif.
At some point during our meal, Ray, who'd been cued by my mention of the many douche-bag males I'd known back when I'd lived in San Diego, regaled us with a reading from a Craigslist posting, which he had found during his hunt for a weekday crashpad in the City. I'll quote the posting in full, since it won't be on Craigslist forever.

Ladies & Gentlemen,

So, my buddy and I are looking to get a place together sometime in August/September, and we figure if we get a 3rd roommate we could get something a little nicer than if we did it with just the two of us. Instead of posting a boring, generic ad, we'd post something real about us so you're not surprised living with us and we're not stuck living with any wierdos. We're pretty open about who we live with; you could be male or female, relatively around our age (we're both 28), so long as you're a chill, fun person. Ideally, we could become friends, though that does not mean we hang out together all the time. Basically, the way we see it, if it's Friday night, we're all sitting around without much to do, we could have a few drinks in the apartment that could possibly turn into a bender.

About your future roommates:

I'm 28 like I said, a lawyer downtown, a chill, fun, friendly outgoing guy. I don't have a girlfriend, though it certainly is possible I could have one by the time we get a place. If I did get one, she would not be living with us, though she'd be coming by whenever the hell I feel like having her. So, as for now, I'm a single guy on the prowl; admittedly, my game isn't the best, though I've been known to get on a lucky streak every once in a while so don't be shocked if I have a few chicks coming by for sleepovers. During the week, I'm fairly tame because of work, though I do tend to go out on the weekends. When I go out, I tend to go out hard, and have no shame spending an entire day laying on the couch recuperating. I love beer, wine, and scotch, so if that's an issue this is not going to work out. I also give out great nicknames - Donnie One Nuts, Pearl Necklace, Billy Bob, Frogurt, etc - so maybe if you're lucky I can give you a nickname of your own.

The other roommate is also 28, a teacher of autistic children and the proud owner of a Kia Soul. Like me he's single, and has the same attributes when it comes to the ladies as I do. He's Canadian, so uses words like "eh" on a regular basis. He parties like I do, though he just told me he likes to do cultural things on the weekend days. He's a Jets fan (I'm a Giants fan), so be prepared to watch football on Sundays. He also loves this band called Phish, though I would not describe him as a hippie. He's fairly clean, so our place would not be a mess at all.

About you:

Male or Female. Around our age. Good and/or interesting job. Financially responsible. Cool. Fun. Relatively clean. Likes to chill. Not looking for a place to just rest your head; like I said before, hopefully we could become friends so nobody ever feels uncomfortable when chilling in the apartment. If you're a smoker, do it outside; that's what I do. If you come home drunk and eat our food, just replace it.

About our future place:

We haven't started looking yet for a place, but it will probably be downtown, probably East Village, though we're open for suggestions if you're a cool person. In terms of price range, considering we don't want to live anywhere terrible, we're thinking for you it could be around $1100-1400, though this could be negotiable if we find somewhere decent for less or if you want to step up and get something better. We already have a bunch of shit for our place - 52" TV, 2 Playstation 3s nice leather couches, a bunch of artwork to hang on the walls, all of the kitchen amenities. All you would need to bring is whatever you need for your bedroom, and if you have anything cool we are more to open to it.

Like we said, we're some cool dudes. If you're looking for some normal, fun, and not weird roommates, you've hit the jackpot. Look forward to hearing from you.

Location: Below Central Park

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PostingID: 2443042011

Later, Ray, Nancy, and Gretchen all went to the mall to see The Green Lantern in 3D. I didn't see until after they'd left the headline in Slate declaring it to possibly be the "worst movie of the year." (I'd remembered the headline as "worst movie of all time.)

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