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:
   ears like shark fins
Saturday, June 29 2013
Our Honda Civic Hybrid has had terrible suspension since the idiots at Mavis Discount Tire replaced its two rear shock absorbers about a year ago. I complained multiple times, and they claimed to fix it multiple times until they finally ran out the clock on the warranty, leaving us with a car that was unpleasant and somewhat dangerous to drive (the curvy-and-battered Taconic Parkway being a particularly unnerving roadway). Unable to get satisfaction from Mavis, eventually we turned to Kel, the pool-repair guy who lives near the bottom of Dug Hill Road who repairs cars as a sideline. (Mind you, I might have been able to do the job myself, but I don't have the tools Kel has.) Kel said he could get us in if I'd get the part, so this morning I drove out to Lynch's Auto Parts (across from Keegan Ales in Upper Midtown Kingston) and got something that would hopefully fit.
I had the dogs with me, and I parked across Wynkoop from the Hurley Mountain Inn and walked them in the corn field to the north of Old Hurley. The Town of Hurley uses the floodplain area near Wynkoop as a temporary place to dump concrete blocks, dirt, random pieces of wood, and sometimes piles of chipped trees. Today, though, all of that stuff had been cleaned up and the whole area bulldozed into a wide muddy bowl that will hopefully fill with fresh silt in the next big flood (I gather soil here for the garden).
The corn was about knee-high, and after we turned around and started heading back, the dogs went way out into the field to run between the rows. They were mostly invisible even with the corn as low as it was, though occasionally their ears would flop upward and cut for a moment through the surface of the corn like the fins of sharks.
Meanwhile, we'd decided on the plump orange-and-white tabby named Kira, so Gretchen brought her home this afternoon. I'd set up a place for her in the laundry room, rehanging the old plexiglass door that I'd used for part of Ramona's temporary containment facility in the first floor office about a year ago. I made a point of sweeping the place up and scrubbing the ten years of grime off of the plexiglass so Kira wouldn't have a bad first impression of her new home. She settled in quickly, not seeming particularly disturbed by the relocation or the presence of dogs. She didn't, as other new cats have done, immediately hide behind the washing machine.

Kira the Cat.

Later I drove the Honda Civic Hybrid down the hill to Kel's place to drop it off. I'd brought a bicycle, which allowed me to ride home. Despite having lived here for nearly eleven years, this was the first time I'd ever ridden a bicycle all the way up the escarpment part of Dug Hill Road. It's a grueling climb, which is why it's so popular with local cyclists. But I managed to do the whole thing without ever getting off my bike. I don't usually push my cardiovascular system so hard, and I was a little worried a rivet might pop somewhere, but I didn't want to wuss out on my first-ever attempt.
Dug Hill Road is a little different when viewed from a bicycle slowly climbing the mountain. One is up higher and further to the right, so one can look down the steep hillside to the east. I saw one large couch and an old refrigerator down there and it occurred to me that it might be a convenient place to salvage random bits of metal in the future.
I hadn't been back more than an hour when Kel called, saying he'd already finished the repair. And the charge was $25. Kel is awesome.
Gretchen had been invited to a "customer appreciation party" at Lagusta's shop down in New Paltz, and originally I hadn't wanted to go, but now that the car was finally fixed, I felt like fucking celebrating. So we headed out for New Paltz, starting in the Subaru. We left it on the side of Hurley Mountain Road and transitioned to the Honda Civic Hybrid, which, for the first time in a year, felt safe to drive. There were no more weird clunks and scrapey noises and left-pulling jitters when going over bumps.
Before going to Lagusta's, we went to the Plaza Diner, our new favorite place to eat in New Paltz. We ordered exactly what we'd ordered last time: a veggie burger with fries and a huge plate of spaghetti with marinara sauce. We also ordered coffee, which was typical diner coffee: watery and a little bitter. The food was exactly as we'd rememebered it last time, though the fries were a lot better. There were a couple giggly, talkative kids seated behind us that surprisingly didn't drive Gretchen too crazy.
The Lagusta party was mostly in the kitchen of her shop, where tray after tray of gorgeous confections had been laid out (there were also two alcoholic punches and big bottles of top-shelf liquor). I'm not much of a sweet tooth and so had no interest in eating any of them, but I had to remark on their beauty. As I said to Gretchen at the time, I felt like a gay man admiring the beauty of gorgeous women. Most of the people at the party were youngish women dressed in somewhat anachronistic dresses, which was in keeping with Lagusta's Midcentury Season-I-Mad-Men æsthetic. Her husband (or boyfriend — it's hard to keep this stuff straight) is a sound engineer and one of his CDs (which he produced for Bright Eyes) had just gone gold. We got to talking and he went on at length about how much he hates the MP3 file format, which, he said, destroys all the subtlety he works so hard to put in there. He's a sound engineer, so he has to have a good ear for this stuff, but (as I said tonight) I can't hear any difference between a good MP3 (160 kbit/s or better) and an uncompressed file.
Later Gretchen had a long conversation with Lagusta (while I mostly just stood there) about keeping track of faces and names. Lagusta detailed all the the ways she avoids the issue of not knowing someone's name, an issue that crops up a lot when one runs a store. Her problem, she said, isn't so much face blindness as not caring enough to remember. I think my problem is worse; I have face-blindness, but I also don't care. So I need to see someone about ten times before I'll remember his or her name.

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