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:
   pot protocol fail
Thursday, October 24 2013
There was a very light frost on the car windshield this morning, which I believe was the first frost of the autumn. There was also an extremely thin skin of ice over the small puddle of water standing in the wheel barrow. This all suggested that the frost had been a very light one. Additional evidence of this was the fact that the pepper bushes and a couple of African plants hanging in baskets outside the front door appeared to have made it through the night without damage. Obviously, though, colder nights will soon be upon us, so I brought in both of the African plants in the baskets (one a Spider Plant and the other a Black-eyed Susan vine). I also cut down the pepper bushes and brought them inside, though I've yet to actually start picking the peppers (a labor-intensive task). Ultimately those peppers will be dried, ground up, and sprinkled on food, although I still have plenty of that from last year's crop.

The greenhouse basement has two-part floor. In the eastern half, the floor consists of a deck made of treated two by sixes. In the western half, the floor is the shale bedrock. I'd excavated the bedrock under the eastern deck down to an brutally hard layer of bluestone some four feet down (six and a half to seven feet beneath the original grade of the land). Geologically, the thing that had separated the two halves was a fault in the rock running nearly through the center of the greenhouse from south to north. The rock on the western (uphill) side of that fault appeared to have been displaced upward by some unknown amount such that the layers between the two halves weren't continuous. Today while I was down in the greenhouse checking in on the asphalt I'd applied yesterday, it occurred to me that there was no good reason not to excavate the rock from the western half of the greenhouse as well. Since some of the eastern-half deck structure depends on that rock for support, obviously I'd have to make new structural arrangements. But I didn't see any harm in removing the surface rock, particularly in places where it came up easily. So I worked at that for awhile, eventually going and getting myself a sledge hammer once all the easy shale had been pried loose with the cold chisel (which is a permanent part of the greenhouse downstairs' toolkit). As I worked, I paid careful attention to all the rock I exposed. None of this rock had ever been examined by any sort of eye (or, for that matter, had been exposed to light in over 350 million years), and if any of it contained fossils, I wanted to see them. Occasionally this rock contains brachiopods and sinusoidal tracks (worms?), though even brachiopods are rare in the rock beneath the greenhouse. I didn't see any obvious fossils at all today, though I did see numerous dark brown blobs in the otherwise blue-grey rock. I assumed these were concentrations of iron oxide, though I didn't know what they signified.
Over the course of several inches, the rock became less like shale and more like bluestone. It became harder and developed a more obviously sandlike grain. But there was still plenty of shale, some of which seemed to have disintegrated into thin layers of clay between the layers of solid rock.

This evening Gretchen and I went to Uptown Kingston to see Kurt Vile, a youngish rock musician whose music I had heard on one of my streaming internet radio stations. Gretchen had heard about the show from some friends who have a weekend place in Palenville (we'd gone to a party there some months ago), and so the plan was to meet the friends at Gabriel's in Uptown, have dinner, and then go to the show. But when we got to Gabriel's, the kitchen had just closed, so I had a complimentary coffee until our friends arrived. We ended up eating at Yum Yum instead. I found my noodle bowl surprisingly flavor-free; there's only so much sriracha can do.
With the addition of two photogenic Buddhist vegans from greater Woodstock, our entourage swelled to six in the line to get into BSP, Kurt Vile's venue for tonight.
The opening act (whose name was never mentioned and which I cannot track down) produced a dreary downtuned muddy wall of sound, the kind that vibrated one's bones in a vaguely meddlesome way. I couldn't make out the lyrics (which were all sung by the drummer), and I wasn't really enjoying what I was hearing, so I slipped out onto the street, went off to a nearby parking lot, and smoked some pot I'd brought with me. It was a special kind of pot and I wasn't too sure it would be any good. But damn, it was good. I waded back into BSP and stood in front of that warmup band and the music seemed absolutely incredible. The key, it seemed, was to downtune my brain so I could zone in on the low-frequency brilliance embedded in it.
I'd mostly lost the others by this point, but I eventually ran across Gretchen in the bathroom line. She wasn't much enjoying the music, but we had a good time gesticulating at each other, a form of communication that was far more effective in that environment than talking, particularly between two people who know each other incredibly well. But as well as Gretchen knows me, she didn't immediately grok the Dadaist intent behind my leaving a freshly-harvested hot pepper on the bathroom sink, though she immediately recognized the pepper as mine. Later when she tried to give it back to me, I told her it had been intended as "an experiment," so she cut in front of the bathroom line to ceremoniously put it back.
I hung out for awhile at the BSP bar with Chris (the male half of the photogenic Buddhist vegan couple), talking mostly about how our respective wives are about cats. While Kirsty (Chris' wife) is a cat person and freaks out when visiting kids pester the cats, Gretchen is more of a dog person and doesn't really understand that cats prefer to be the initiators of all their interactions. So, while she doesn't much like children, when they visit she encourages them to interact with any cats foolish enough to stick around. And while most of our cats have come to accept or at least tolerate Gretchen, Julius (aka Stripey) actively dislikes her. At the other extreme, Clarence and Marie (aka "the Baby") are willing to put up with kids in low doses.
Kurt Vile didn't start playing until something like 10:30, which meant that a lot of people had been subjected to many songs played by that downtuned opening act, though few had taken the drugs necessary to properly appreciate them. I went out onto the floor briefly during Kurt Vile's set and, using my expert cannabis-enabled taxonomic talents, quickly pigeonholed his music as "the full implication of the blues." Mr. Vile seemed to be playing the notes of a blues scale, but the chords he chose produced unfamiliar dissonances.
At some point I came across Gretchen, and we went outside so she could find a place to sit down. "I think I'm past the part of my life where I can stand in front of a band," she explained. She proceeded to rail against Kurt Vile for starting so late, which had meant that our photogenic Buddhist vegan friends had had to leave only one or two songs into his set. While we were discussing these things, one of the BSP employees came out to the front to jocularly rib the people applying arm bands and guarding the door. "Who let the homeless guy in? The guy with the two crutches? It's great to be him, but you guys need to pay attention up here!"
I told Gretchen that I'd smoked my special pot, but she would have figured it out even if I'd said nothing. She wanted to know if I'd brought enough to share with the others (not her), but of course I hadn't. I'm terrible with pot protocol, partly because I'm never the one who brings it. I just smoke it if it happens to be around. But, I offered optimistically, maybe there was still some in my pipe. So when we got back together with the couple from Palenville, Gretchen volunteered the contents of my pipe. We walked over to Columbia Beauty Supply, which is across the street from a small self-described "peace park," and there the male half of that couple tried to smoke from my pipe. But of course all that happened was he got a bunch of ash in his mouth; my homemade brass pipe (made of fittings filched from the Home Depot) has no screen. It was such a pot protocol fail and I felt like a dumbass. So you can be damn sure when I next see that guy again (if it ever happens) that I'll be better prepared in the 4:20 sense.

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