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Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").



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   yappy terriers on the lake
Monday, August 13 2012

location: southwest corner of Lake Edward, Fulton County, New York

Gretchen took the dogs for another boring walk down the dirt road that leads past the northeast corner of Lake Edward, and not long after she returned there was a bit of an altercation between our dogs and a woman who walks some sort of tiny precious puppy mill terrier past our house. Eleanor and Ramona ran out into the street barking and the woman freaked out and tried to fend them off. It was the wrong reaction; Eleanor tends to feed on the hostility of others (though Ramona just wants to be friendly). So while Eleanor tried to force herself past whatever weapon the woman was waving, Ramona was puzzled to have found a human undesirous of canine loving. Meanwhile that little terrier was yapping up a storm and trying to throw down as much as a dog her size can. I came running out into the midst of this and, after apologizing, managed to order Ramona and Eleanor back to the house, but the woman still wasn't pleased and said something nasty about how the dogs should be on leashes. Gretchen probably could have smoothed everything over (as she had done earlier when Ramona and Eleanor had behaved in a similar way when one of the neighbors had strolled past without a dog), but I'm no good at that sort of thing, so I just shrugged and went back into the house. Unfortunately, this altercation put a damper on the day; we felt we couldn't just let the dogs run around the yard as we'd initially planned.
Mind you, this particularly tiny dog isn't the only one on the lake. We've seen people walk other small dogs past our house. Nobody on the lake appears to have any normal-sized dogs like ours.
The woman who was renting us the house would be coming over to drop off information about local hiking opportunities, and since we'd misrepresented the number of dogs we'd brought, I thought it would be good to take Ramona for a canoe ride. (Back in May, Gretchen had said we'd be bringing two dogs, naturally having assumed that Sally would be dead by now.) So I paddled out to the swampy inlet across the lake, where I found there was an island (43.114381N, 74.366973W) detached from the shore with navigable water all the way around it. I decided to land on the island with Ramona and explore it for science. It wasn't a particularly interesting island, though I did find aluminum cans scattered randomly all along its shore, evidently tossed by passing boaters. I had to take a dump while I was there, and without any rocks to cover my excrement, I was forced to drop it into the lake itself. The alternative was to have Ramona immediately scarf it up and then endure her trying to lick me in the face for the entire canoe paddle home.
The woman who was bringing the information about hikes was the kind who liked to reiterate herself numerous times, a fact I found painfully tedious as I hid out with Ramona in the basement after returning to the house. I could hear her through the wall, and I found myself muttering under my breath, "Okay, alright, I get it, now go!" But Gretchen was far too polite and the conversation kept going on and on, with multiple loops through the delivery of various pieces of information.
Later Gretchen and I decided to try to go for a paddle in the canoe with both Ramona and Eleanor. The latter wasn't interest in getting in the boat at all, but she could have run off and hidden the way she does when we want to clip her nails, and she didn't do that. I was able to pick her up and put her in the canoe, and she didn't immediately jump out. So off we went, this time to that makeshift landing diagonally across the lake (43.11621N, 74.362282W). After landing, we walked up a trail for less than a quarter mile until we got to a clearing that initially looked like a golf course but which proved to be someone's long, narrow yard (43.112748N, 74.362507W). Evidently the boat landing, littered with beer cans though it was, actually belonged to a house. Eleanor was a little more resistant to getting into the boat for the paddle back home, but the alternative was to drive around and pick her up from a stranger's yard, so I managed to make her do it.

Later Gretchen and I went on a kayak paddle all the way to the northeast corner of the lake, where we found a number of gorgeous, isolated cabins. We especially liked the one at the end of the peninsula at the lake's northeastern tip (43.125435N, 74.353747W). On the way there, we'd stalked a loon that was spending an unusual amount of time on the surface (instead of diving). We also noted the presence of two man-made Wood Duck houses on the islands near the center of the lake.
For dinner we made pasta with a kind of fake chicken we'd bought at Trader Joes. We ate it out at the picnic table like we've been doing.

This evening Gretchen and I watched the latest episode of Breaking Bad, which I'd managed to download today despite the flaky WiFi signal. (I'd been committing two varieties of piracy simultaneously in two different layers of a solution stack.) It was the episode where our antiheroes, in desperate need of the methamphetamine precursor methylamine, decide to sneak some off a freight train. But Gretchen hated the episode. As she sees it, Breaking Bad has become way too predictable and all the sympathetic characters have either turned into cartoons (Jesse) or psychopaths (Walt). In tonight's episode, (mild spoiler alert!) there was never any doubt that the train heist was going to get pulled off successfully, because that's how the odds are always stacked in this show that used to be awesome. So the producers instead jacked up the drama by screwing with the timeline and introducing an unforseen glitch in the plans. But it was nevertheless so predictable that during the height of the drama, such as it was, Gretchen announced, "If I were watching this by myself, I'd hit fast-forward." The show has so jumped the shark by this point that Gretchen is calling it quits; I'm going to have to watch the remaining episodes by myself.


Ramona (left) and Eleanor relaxing on the weird redneck furniture in our house today.


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