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:
   the recycling bin behind Trader Joe's
Friday, September 6 2013

location: Tall Pines Cabin, rural Hope Township, Hamilton County, New York

Tall Pines is a fairly large cabin and cleaning it up this morning prior to our departure was not a trivial task. Complicating matters were all the pine needles we'd tracked in over the last six days. We actually could have stayed another night, but we decided to leave a day early so we could sleep in, have breakfast, walk the dogs one last time in the redneck RV park, pack our things, and clean up at our leisure.
As we were getting ready to drive off, I found the key had been left in the ignition and the Subaru's battery was dead. That's never a good thing, particularly so far from home without a spare car to provide a jump. Tall Pines does, however, sit atop a low hill that the driveway descends from. It's not much, but I thought it might be enough to allow us to jump start the car (something that was possible due to its standard — non automatic — transmission). With great exertion, we managed to place the car at the edge of this hill and give it a shove off the edge. With the car in third gear, I let out the clutch. But it wasn't even close. Now we had a dead car at the bottom of the only hill available.
Gretchen immediately walked over to the next camp up the river, which was only a couple hundred feet away. There was a woman there and she even had a car, though for some reason she called her husband, who was on his way back from somewhere nearby and he met us in his huge pickup near our car. He was a nice guy and soon our car was alive again. I was careful not to stall as I pulled out into Route 30 southbound.
Our next stop was Trader Joe's, where we did the usual two-shopping-cart shop that we do when we're loading up on provisions intended to be used over the ensuing weeks at home. Unfortunately, Trader Joe's was low on some of their best items, including jars of giant white beans (there were only two in the store and we got them) and corn & wheat soft tortillas (there was only one bag and we got it). As we were checking out, they assigned us a bagger, which meant that we had three baggers (since Gretchen and I were bagging) and thus the cashier was the bottleneck. Gretchen suggested I go and get the car (we'd parked it some distance away in a shady area in the back, 42.71363N, 73.81252W, because of the dogs). She also suggested I get rid of our trash and recycling in the various dumpsters and bins back there. It's a little tricky to pull off a covert trash dump when employees are coming and going and having their cigarette breaks. But the great thing about America is that employees are underpaid and don't give a shit about their employers, and usually they're not going to care if they see you flinging bags into their dumpsters (or even walking off with stolen goods). Still, I played it safe and only did my dumping when there were no witnesses. Unfortunately, though, for some reason when she had packed up the recycling, Gretchen had set it down on top of a back of non-recycling, and I picked up the whole thing and heaved it into the recycling can behind a beauty salon (42.714066N, 73.812439W). I saw the frozen burritos and such and was a little perplexed but I didn't realize the mistake until I'd had a few seconds to think about it. When I was fishing the errantly-tossed good stuff out of that recycling bin, one of the nice Trader Joe's employees (the one who had checked to see if there were more corn-and-wheat tortillas but found none), walked past and probably was perplexed to see me dumpster diving a beauty salon's rubbish. (That recycling bin didn't smell very good.)
As we were driving away down Wolf Road, I mentioned to Gretchen that maybe she could have told me that the recycling was on top of perfectly good non-recycling. She immediately turned hostile and said no, that this was all on me. It rather reminded me of that time I accidentally tossed crumpled toilet paper I found on the bathroom counter into some cat diarrhea only to find those wads of toilet paper contained medication. (Gretchen insisted it was entirely my fault that time as well.)
Back at the house, Onesha helped us unload the car and I got the first look at the Honda Civic Hybrid since she accidentally killed a suicidal deer with it. The damage seemed to be entirely cosmetic, although I might attempt to bang out some of the dents in the hood. Pricing replacement hoods on the web, it seems they're not actually too expensive (typically running $200, half of which is shipping), but Gretchen thought that if the color didn't match she'd just be happier driving with the existing one, dents and all.
This evening, Gretchen, Onesha, and I all went out to La Florentina, Kingston's secret gem of an Italian restaurant (hidden as it is in a strip of ugly businesses out on Albany Avenue). As always, we got the Sformato Di Sotai with tahini sauce (though, because there were three of us, we got two). Onesha took one bite of it and was so impressed by its flavor that she rhetorically asked, "What?" Evidently that is an expression being used by youngish adults these days.
Dinner conversation included some welcomed character development of Onesha's father, a brilliant physicist who made it from an orphanage in Calcutta to the United States via a Fulbright Scholarship. Onesha described her father as being extremely socially awkward, behaving robotically in conventional social situations and making clear cost/benefit calculations regarding the value of providing financial assistance to his daughter and others carrying certain increasingly-diluted fractions of his genetic makeup. Also, he never pronounces the "y" sound in English words that have an implied "y" following a "c." So "cumin" is pronounced "koomin" and "ridiculous" is pronounced "ridikoolis."

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