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:
   aborted at New Paltz
Monday, May 25 2015
Before returning to the City, Mark came over to pick up a thumb drive containing a pirated copy of Adobe Lightroom and all of the episodes of Silicon Valley. (I'd forced him to watch an episode the other night and he'd liked it.) Though it wasn't yet 11:00AM, he also brought me a Yuengling beer, which I drank even though it just felt wrong at that time of day. Also in attendance was Cheddar the Rottweiler, though he'd been forced to wear a muzzle.
Gretchen's plan for today was for us to drive into Brooklyn, partake of the several vegan opportunities, and then go see a Trampled By Turtles show at a hipster bowling alley. So at around 3:00pm I took a shower, she put on her purple dress, we said goodbye to the dogs, and hit the road. But we weren't even ten miles south of Kingston on the Thruway before we ran into traffic congestion. Gretchen checked her phone and saw it was red all the way down into the City. I don't know what she was thinking trying to drive into New York City on a Memorial Day afternoon. (Traffic inbound to the City tends to be highest at the ends of weekends, especially three-day ones.) Not wanting to spend the rest of the day slowly crawling southward, we decided to abort Gretchen's plans for the day, and I took the next exit, which happened to be the New Paltz one. Whenever we're in New Paltz, we like to get spaghetti & marinara at the Plaza Diner, so that was what we did next. There were a couple of older guys seated near us. They didn't talk much, but when they did, it was really loud and sounded like a parody of background conversation in a movie. Also: our waitress claimed to be a vegetarian. That place would be difficult for a real vegetarian.
On the drive northward on Route 32, I was behind a motorcyle that nerver went more than 48 miles per hour. The driver looked small, automatically firing homonculus associations in my brain. When I got to a straight patch of dotted line, I tried to pass him, but the fucker sped up beside me, refusing to let me overtake him. Despite the ephermal nature of the hardware beneath him, he was taking advantage of its superior ability to accelerate so as to put me in my place. I'm not a road ragey kind of guy, but it's awfully easy to have homicidal thoughts when you're behind a slow-moving motorcycle driven by a guy who just showed himself to be an asshole.
I drove us through Rosendale to High Falls, where Gretchen was surprised to find the High Falls Food Coop open, so we bought some veggies, onion power, and two enormous slabs of tempeh (the only relatively-inexpensive thing we bought).
From there, I drove us south down Lucas Avenue a couple miles to the new home of the farm animal sanctuary that is presently in Willow. It's at the site of the old Epworth Methodist camp. It comes with lots of sleeping quarters, communal bathrooms, banquet areas, and, below a low bluff, a beautiful curved section of Rondout Creek. Already the farm animal sanctuary people have built several new barns and thousands of feet of fences. Using the network of roads already there, we gave ourselves a little tour of the place and then checked out some barracks in an adjacent forested section. There were dusty beds and a grimy bathroom, but the electricity worked and the toilets flushed. That area is probably haunted by dozens of ghost virginities.
We stopped one more time on the way home, this time at Davenports (at the intersection of US 209 and Cottekill Road). There we bought two different kinds of basil plants, a hanging pot full of purple flowers for the front of the house, and some cherries. Gretchen wanted to know if the cherry pie was vegan, but nobody working there could answer her question.
While the dogs couldn't've participated in our original plans, there was no reason we couldn't do something fun with them this evening. Gretchen had floated the idea of maybe going for a walk somewhere special, so I suggested we hike down the Chamomile, cross Dug Hill Road near the bus turnaround, and then hike northwestward up the gorge cut by Englishman's Creek.
There's a solid roadway running along the northeast side of the gorge. Someone once told me that this used to be a public roadway, but its since been abandoned, its width gradually narrowing due to soil and rock slumping off into the gorge or onto it from the steep terrain above. Still, someone (probably our mountain-bike-loving neighbor Tommy) keeps it clear of fallen logs, so it's an easy hike. I'd expected we'd hike up it for a distance and then turn around and hike back down, assuming the gorge was too deep to cross even some distance up it. But this proved not to be the case. About a half mile up the gorge from the vicinity of the bus turnaround, it was apparent that the gorge to our west was no longer as deep and the slopes to it were no longer as steep. I'd brought Gretchen's cellphone to help us should we get lost, and it seemed to indicate that we were now beyond the steepest part of the gorge (this was the first time I'd ever used a smartphone for navigation on foot in a forest). So we turned west and soon had dropped down to the level of Englishman's Creek (which was flowing solidly despite the ongoing drought). We'd actually come upon the creek just before something of a waterfall. Below it was a deep pool that looked like it might have summertime cooling-off possibilities, particularly in wetter conditions.
Continuing west, we soon reached the edge of a massive treeless clearing ripped into forest to make a site for an ugly white McMansion that had been kerplunked at the end of Portz Road (this had all happened more than ten years ago, but nothing about it has gotten any less ugly). We were also sort of in the backyard of Tommy, the mountain bike enthusiast, and he'd built himself at least one fancy loop trail that actually included a graded surface. After crossing Dug Hill Road at Portz Road, we soon found another of Tommy's trails, and used it to into a part of the forest we're familiar with behind our uphill neighbors' house. The entire loop looked something like this:

(No, I can't explain why Google Maps refuses to show scales of miles on custom maps, thereby making them almost useless. If it helps, the stretch of the walk running from southeast to northwest is about a half mile long.)

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