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
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Irving housing

got that wrong

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Like my brownhouse:
   off to Passover 2015
Thursday, April 2 2015

location: rural Hurley Township, Ulster County, New York

At around noon today, Gretchen and I packed up the Prius with provisions, both dogs, and Celeste the Cat, and drove southward towards Silver Spring, Maryland. Our weekend plans were to attend a Passover seder at the childhood home of Gretchen's childhood friend Dina, who would be flying in with her family from still-somewhat-snowy Boston. (There were still substantial piles of snow around our house when we left, as well as at least one patch on the roof in a northwest-facing valley.)
Aside from a tire-inflation stop at the Hurley Stewarts, our only stop on the drive was at the Walt Whitman Service Area on the New Jersey Turnpike. I always have a hankering for crappy road food whenever we're on a road trip, but unfortunately the options at Walt Whitman were dreadful. I settled on an order of not-especially-fresh curly fries and a mug of coffee at the Roy Rogers. The coffee wasn't very good, but it was a huge upgrade from the mug of coffee Gretchen had bought me at the Stewarts, which was undrinkable and tasted as though it had been contaminated (that was a surprise; usually Stewarts coffee is at least mediocre).
I should note that Celeste spent nearly the entire drive in the hidey hole beneath the front passenger seat. She just curled up there and slept. That's very different behavior from Marie, her predecessor "the Baby." Marie liked to sit in our laps or even lie beneath the windshield on the dashboard. She usually also used the litter box a few times along the way, something Celeste didn't need to do.
I always seem to suffer from mild medical conditions whenever we drive down to Silver Spring, and this drive was no exception to the rule. I felt like maybe I was coming down with a head cold. I had what seemed like a nascent sore throat, but instead of affecting the tissue in the throat itself, the soreness was located in the gums around my wisdom teeth. It also seemed as though maybe some glands were swollen and tender in my neck.
Despite traffic congestion in Delaware and on 95 just east of the Capital Beltway, the drive only took five and a half hours. Celeste immediately disappeared into Gretchen's parents' house, where she could plausibly remain hidden for weeks if she so decided. Gretchen and I went with her parents to Mandalay, the excellent Burmese restaurant in Silver Spring. There something about the mix of deep fried and fresh lettuce that makes the cuisine pop. I cranked it up a notch further by also adding some Burmese chili sauce that Gretchen's father ordered as a side. It was incredibly hot and had me sweating enough for Gretchen to comment on it. I was the only one at our table drinking alcohol, in this case the Heavy Seas Loose Cannon IPA, which I've only ever seen at this particular restaurant.
Back at Gretchen's parents' house, the four of Gretchen's brother's family arrived from Pittsburgh. By now we'd tracked down Celeste: she was under a bed in Gretchen's brother's old room, and all the new voices made her too nervous to come out. I suggested to my eight year old niece that she try to coax her out with a bit of ribbon, and she tried multiple times, delighted at the possibility of playing with a kitten. But Celeste was too shy.
After about six hours, Celeste had acclimated to her new environment, behaving with all the whimsy, playfulness, and energy she normally displays at home. Additionally, she was being affectionate in a way that she normally only expresses with Oscar. But he wasn't around.

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