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:
   church holodeck
Saturday, September 27 2014
Gretchen now works on Sundays, so we've moved our Sunday coffee rituals to Saturdays. It was a beautiful Indian Summer morning, so we drank it out on the east deck while the dogs paced around and Celeste the Kitten scampered about, occasionally risking another eleven foot fall. She'd had a gimpy leg for a few days there, but now it appears to be completely healed. I remarked that in fixing her leg on her own, Celeste had just paid for one of two Stevie Wonder tickets Gretchen recently purchased (for $270 each).

Sarah the Vegan came over around noon and she and Gretchen walked the dogs in the forest. After that, we all ate wraps containing Beyond Meat "chicken," lettuce, and dip leftover from last night's dinner party out on the east deck. As always, the conversation lingered for a long time on the subject of Sarah's lack of a love life. There's been an amusing story circulating about a friend of Ray's named Christo whom Ray tried to fix up with Sarah awhile back. The date had gone badly, with Christo doing nothing but talking about himself and tooting his own horn. More recently, Deborah went on a date with Christo after being matched with him on some dating website. She'd found him so insufferable that she didn't even have sex with him. Afterwards, she actually sent him an email detailing exactly why she didn't want to go on another date with him. The other day she happened to be seated in the Garden Café's tiny dining room and noticed that Christo was just one table away. She tried to act like he wasn't there, but evidently he couldn't do that. He just got up and left, leaving his drink. His food came, but he wasn't there to eat it or pay for it. The waitress asked if Deborah wanted it, and she apologized for having scared him away, and went on to tell about her backstory with Christo. "What an asshole," the waitress agreed.
While Gretchen and Sarah continued their conversation, I turned my attention to the rail dolly I want to build to help me raise buckets of rubble out of the greenhouse excavation. The dolly will run along a two-by-six and have a block and tackle system allowing me to raise buckets at great mechanical advantage. I'd bought some thick plates of steel for the top part of the dolly, where limited headroom prevents me from using wood as a structural material I needed a plate measuring about eight by ten inches, but the one I had was only about five by ten inches, so I had to weld two additions to it to span the proper width. The steel was so thick that I dialed by 220 volt wirefeed welder up to maximum and then used its stick welder modification and my largest welding sticks. The resulting welds did not go all the way through the 3/8 thick material, but I welded both sides and they seemed really solid nevertheless. I then had to grind the welds down flat so they'd form a suitable surface for attaching a pair of casters. Those casters will eventually roll along the top of the two by six rail.
My work on that project was interrupted by a late-afternoon visit to Chrch, the new art space in a tiny church in Cottekill being managed by our friend Michæl. There was an opening today for an installation assembled by fabric artist Pat Olεszko. The place was full of huge dolls, complicated costumes (including a bridal dress with supports for holding numerous additional life-sized "bridesmaids"), visual wordplay, and, among many other things, a huge collection of elaborate hats made from paper. Outside the church was a display of low-relief (but whimsically framed) figures made of foam, hot glue, and fabric, all of them protruding or dangling from beneath the frames in various ways. I don't think I've seen sewn materials put to such exuberant creative use. We'd just missed a big wedding procession using the hats and costumes on display in the church.
Michæl was still excited about the repair I'd made to his key the other night at our dinner party. Not only did he keep showing it (and a photo of it on his iPhone) to people, he kept vocally elaborating an artistic manifesto that it had somehow inspired. Michæl is tired of traditional art and art as traditionally displayed in galleries. He's happy to be done with KMOCA; where he finds the continued paradigm of paintings displayed on walls tiresome and uninspiring. The idea for Chrch is for it to be completely taken over by one artist and display their multimedia vision, a vision where there isn't an unnecessary and arbitrary separation of the work into individual pieces. "You want Chrch to be the Holodeck!" I exclaimed. Michæl agreed vehemently. "Exactly! I want it to be the Holodeck!"
Later I chatted with one of the seed library guys about the Simpsons (one of the the frabric portraits looked like an older, paunch Bart). The most revolutionary thing about the Simpsons, we both agreed, is the lack of a laugh track. Everything with a laugh track now sounds so hopelessly dated that we immediately suspect that the humor will not be the sort we find funny.
I also talked to the artist Pat, who was every bit as wacky as her art. She said she was dissatisfied with the composition of her portrait of several one legged musket-wielding "foot soldiers" (one of whom had been shot and was leaking a long banner of red fabric). She thought the placement of the red banner in the center of the portrait ruined the whole thing. "I'm gonna have to burn this one," she sighed. According to Michæl, she really does burn a lot of her work.
After the opening wound down, there was an after party in the back yard of the private house attached to the main church. Gretchen didn't want to stay long, because it featured a barbecue involving the grilling of genuine animal parts (I live in such a vegan bubble that this almost seemed anachronistic). But we stayed long enough to chat with a former seed libary intern who now runs an MIT program that designs games that hope to teach children how to program computers.
We returned to the house just as a power outage began. I checked the Central Hudson website and learned that the outage was affecting 600 households, mostly in Marbletown but also in Hurley and Olive. Clearly the problem wasn't simply the toppling of a tree. Since there weren't many other problems on the local grid, I expected it to be fixed in about two hours. During the time it was out, Gretchen cooked us a simple pasta meal involve pici with red sauce and a side of cooked spinach with garlic. It was still light enough outside for us to eat it out on the east deck. Afterwards, though, we needed to fire up the flashlights. We'd just set up a nice little battery-illuminated reading spot for ourselves on the living room couch when the power came back on.
With the power now available, I could turn my attention back to my rail dolly project. In short order, I'd attached two ten inch pieces of 2X10 lumber to each side of the dolly, and to each of those I attached two casters to roll along the side of the rail. The side casters would fix a problem I'd had with a simpler dolly (which I'd called a "cursor") that would get stuck against the rail the moment it was carrying an appreciable load.
This was the first day since we got back from the Adirondacks that I didn't do any jackhammering or rubble removal from the greenhouse basement excavation.

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