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:
   $486 at Trader Joe's
Tuesday, January 15 2013

location: Golden Arrow Resort, Lake Placid, Essex County, New York

The Good Bite Kitchen was open this morning, and that was our first destination after checking out of the Golden Arrow. It's a tiny restaurant with a narrow built-in table along one windowed wall. One has to sit on little uncomfortable fold-out stools, an arrangement that suggests the place is more designed for takeout than sitdown. We both ordered soups followed by an Asian noodle dish that we split. Everything needed lots of salt and hot sauce, but it was good once so doctored, to an extent at least. There was still no neutralizing the cinnamon that seemed to have been added to my bowl of chili.
Temperatures were back to a seasonable briskness, though the sun was bright and made for a spectactular drive back down to I-87 (we followed a State Trooper for the last ten miles or so, which was slow going because he was in turn following someone who was doing his best not to speed, and there were few places for passing).
I-87 was lightly-traveled until somewhere around Saratoga Springs, though it never became congested. At some point we started listening to top-10 radio, since travel is the only time we update ourselves on current pop music trends. The word "shawty" is showing up with increased frequency in hip-hop music. For those who don't know, it means "girlfriend" or perhaps, occasionally, "woman." It derives from the English word "shorty" and is a reference to our species' moderate level of sexual dimorphism.
At some point before we reached Albany, we got an email from our house sitter telling us that she'd already gone and bought replacement glass for our woodstove (she'd gotten it from Green Heat in Stone Ridge, the place where we'd bought our stove). It wasn't installed yet, but that seemed to be a trivial detail. I'd been pricing the glass and it had looked like it was going to be expensive: $200 or $300. To learn that I wasn't going to have to order and wait for that glass came as a huge relief.
When we reached Albany, we made a detour to the new Trader Joe's, which has now been in operation for about six months (we'd last gone there back in August during our Southern Adirondack vacation). As long-time readers will know, both Gretchen and I have a special fondness for Trader Joe's, which sells, among other things, organic and vegan groceries at affordable prices. Unfortunately, there is no Trader Joe's in the Mid-Hudson region, so we are forced to take advantage of it when we visit other places (such as Silver Spring, Maryland; suburban New Jersey; Danbury, Connecticut; and Manhattan).
We managed to fill two shopping carts to overflowing with all our favorite Trader Joe's things, incluing jars of giant beans, jars of marinaded mushrooms, jars of cherries, jars of cherry juice, bottles of Garden Patch (much better than V8 Juice), rice tortillas, organic dry cereal, and a great variety of bagged organic vegetables. You can see the tail end of our receipt here, which also shows that we spent almost $486.

The staff are always super nice at Trader Joe's and even seem excited when we ring up such big orders. I don't know what a grocery franchise does to attract such quality staff (at least in comparison to what one finds at a ShopRite or a Hannaford), but though it would seem to defy corporate intuition, I have a feeling that it works as a long play.

Back at the house, I installed the new ceramic woodstove glass while Gretchen put away our enormous haul of groceries. Our house sitter had somehow managed to crack the old glass in a way that had produced at least three separate fragments, meaning that the stove couldn't be safely operated. Consequently, the house had been heated exclusively by burning oil for the past two or three days. The house sitter had cranked up one zone to 90 and left the others where they'd been (around 50). She'd been at a doctor's appointment when we arrived, but she returned briefly to say goodbye and apologize once again about the woodstove. But all was forgiven; she'd done about as well as a house sitter could do after the initial fuckup. I'll be sure to include a new paragraph about forcing the woodstove door shut on future versions of the woodstove operating instructions.

This evening I watched my two gold mining shows from last Friday. I'm gradually coming around to being a fan of Dakota Fred, the old guy who snagged the Porcupine Creek claim from the Hoffman Crew (the initial bumbling heroes of the show) back in the beginning of Season Two. While the Hoffman guys work based on faith and gut feelings, Dakota Fred is more pragmatic (though he still relies of homespun theory and intuition, usually with more success). What I like most about him are his improvised fixes when machines inevitably break. In the episode I watched tonight, he replaced an important mechanical linkage in a busted earth mover by welding together bits of scrap metal. It was awe-inspiring.

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