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:
   possibly imaginary Rottweiler
Sunday, July 24 2011

I spent the first half of the day trying to get the new door jam to stand squarely within the parallelogram of the rough opening into the main basement guest room. Because that opening was so badly skewed, I actually had to bust out a chisel and an electric planer to cut into the rough structure about a quarter inch in one corner.
The main reason I was working so frantically was that we'd be having a house guest this weekend (Sarah the Korean — who is not even Asian), and I wanted to make sure she'd have a door on her room. Sure, she could have stayed in the Gunther Room (which is clean and devoid of wallpaper now), but it seems Gretchen wanted her to be able to stay in the bigger room with its own bathroom.
Gretchen and I were removing the last bits of old structure (a discarded door jam and door) just as Sarah arrived.
Soon thereafter we all drove out with the dogs to the Secret Spot on the Esopus to cool down in the creek. When we arrived at the Esopus, there were a couple young rednecks driving around on four wheelers (or, as they're called in Redneckistan, "fouah whoahllers") on the bluff across the creek, and we thought maybe they'd make our swim a bit less pleasant than otherwise. But they soon disappeared and we were in the water.
I'd brought a razor blade and some Dr. Bronner's soap so I could shave for the first time in weeks. As I was doing that, Eleanor, who had swum across the creek, began parking at some people who had come to the edge of the bluff. There's a large terrace atop that bluff, the remnants of an earlier floodplain, and it is usually planted with corn. Also in the field are a number of old vehicles, some in an advanced state of decrepitude. During some summers, migrant workers have been known to live in an old trailer or school bus here. This year for the first time, the entire rim of the bluff has been posted with "No Trespassing" and "Beware of Dog" signs, so I wondered if perhaps there had been a change in ownership or, alternatively, if there was now a secret marijuana patch somewhere on the terrace. This was all in my mind as Eleanor approached the strangers on the terrace. They didn't seem particularly belligerent, although they did shout a warning at us that they had a big Rottweiler and were worried he'd eat "this little one" (Eleanor) "for lunch."
I called Eleanor back, and now I had a new thing to worry about every time one of our dogs crossed the creek and started climbing the bluff. Gretchen and Sarah kept on chatting about ye olde timey times, so it fell to me to babysit the dogs and ensure that they weren't eaten for lunch by a Rottweiler. At one point I found myself scrambling up the escarpment through a thick Poison Ivy patch after Sally (who proved remarkably elusive for a sixteen year old dog). I got to the top and looked around. The terrace was the same as it's always been: a large field of corn, some rusting vehicles, and a smaller patch of what looked like a vegetable garden. There were no Rottweilers. I began to think that perhaps the luncheoning Rottweiler had been invented (right down to the "Beware of Dogs" signs) to provide the benefits of dog security without the obligations of dog food, a dog house, and rabies vaccinations.
Still, I wasn't taking any chances. I scooped up Sally in my arms, and with her jaws near my ear, I could hear her crunching on something that sounded like chicken bones. Great! Now that she'd tasted redneck barbecue detritus, there would be no keeping her off this goddamn terrace. I made Sally swim back to the other side of the Esopus, but for the rest of our time there, she kept running back and forth along the shoreline looking for the best place to attempt another swim. She actually did cross again at some point, but I caught her and turned her around before she could make it up the bank.
Meanwhile Eleanor had crossed the creek, wandered off, and now wasn't responding to our calls. This, by the way, is not exactly what you want to be thinking about while you are soaking away the heat at the Secret Spot. Gretchen decided to climb up to the terrace and call for her. Eleanor had been somewhere out in that field, and after much calling she came back.
At some point during all this, people showed up again on the bluff and this time a woman who seemed to be in charge had a conversation with Gretchen. She was actually fairly nice, expressing concern that perhaps the Rottweiler (which she spoke of as a real dog, complete with testicles) would attack Eleanor. But then, on hearing that Eleanor was female, thought maybe he'd act chivalrous around her and refrain from actually tearing her limb from limb.

This evening Gretchen and Sarah went to Saugerties for dinner and a movie. Eventually I settled down in front of the Roku and watched a movie too: Party Monster, a retelling of the real-life rise and fall of a group of Club Kids in lower Manhattan in the early 1990s. The Club kids love to party, take drugs, and dress flamboyantly, and it's all fun and games until they kill one of their own (using both a hammer and force-feedings of Drano), load his remains into a cardboard box, and throw it into the river. Despite its all star cast, Party Monster is not a very good movie and the only reason I watched it was because of an indirect personal connection to one of the real-life people whose life it claims to dramatize.
When Gretchen and Sarah came home, they had an amusing story to tell. It seems they were accosted on the streets of Saugerties by a couple young men (in their early 20s) who asked them if they knew how to how to mix a martini. The young men went on to invite Gretchen and Sarah (twice their age!) back to their place, which they politely declined. Later, though, Gretchen decided the whole thing might have just been a ruse; perhaps the young men were under age and just needed someone to buy booze for them.

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