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:
   Red Onion three times
Saturday, May 30 2015
We had our Saturday morning coffee out on the chaise lounges in the yard again today. Like many days this spring, it was sunny and gorgeous without many annoying insects. Songbirds were singing loudly over the pitter-patter of frass raining down from the inchworms in the oak trees, which provided the birds with what they needed to be gathered in such numbers.
At around noon, Gretchen drove off to work a shift at the bookstore in Woodstock, and she was immediately replaced by my friend Mark, who'd come Upstate for a second weekend in a row, this time to catch a performance by most of the members of Bad Brains (the famous punk/hard core/reggæ band). As he had traditionally done in the past, Mark arrived completely without warning. He'd also brought his big Rottweiler Cheddar and two Magic Hat #9 beers (which characterizes somewhat generously as "okay"). We sat on the chaise lounges in the backyard while Cheddar alternated between chewing bones, vomitting up brightly-colored kibble, and lying in the three or four inches of greenish-yellow water in the kiddie pool. Mark tells me things that nobody else would ever say, like that I really need to clean the kitchen's toaster oven. Today he wanted to replace the water in the pool, but I wanted to wait until the rains came so I wouldn't have to dip into my rain barrel reserves.
Eventually Mark and I convoyed in separate vehicles down to Ray & Nancy's house, where Mark and his wife and kids are staying for the weekend. At the time, Ray was at work and the womenfolk were out somewhere, perhaps shopping or doing things of interest to Mark's ten year old daughter. There wasn't much to do but drink beer and smoke the herb. Ramona got so bored that she decided to wait in the Subaru. I didn't stay down there to long; I drove back home, promising to return in an hour or so so we could go to the Bad Brains thing.
I returned to Ray & Nancy's without the dogs at a little before 6:00pm, and Mark was exactly where I'd left him. Nobody else had returned, though there had been some coming and going at the neighbors' mansion to the south (they're Republicans and their purebred Golden Retriever is always on a chain, sometimes taunted by our offleash dogs). I left the Subaru there and I did the driving in Mark's car, an American brand made in 1999. Our first destination was the Red Onion, where Ray works. We thought it would be fun to go there and bother him. But it was so crowded there that obviously we were just going to get in the way, so we went looking for the venue where most of Bad Brains were supposedly playing. We found a small sign indicating a place called "Sessions" off Route 212 not far from the Red Onion, but there wasn't going much going on there. Maybe they were between things? In any case, we needed beer. We took care of that need at Cumberland Farms, where we got a twelver of Pabst Blue Ribbon, some potato chips, and salsa.
Back at the supposed site of the Bad Brains show, there was no muffled sounds and only about five cars in the driveway. So we drank a beer and wondered what to do. At some point we saw a car coming down a long driveway that forked off the driveway we'd taken and at that point it was clear what to do: the studio must be at the end of that driveway and the place we were presently at was just somebody's house.
At the end of that other driveway, there were scads of parked cars and people milling about with tattoos and black teeshirts. Black teeshirts constituted a sort of uniform. I was wearing a button-up shortsleave black shirt, which was sort of in the same vein, though Mark was a standout in his green wifebeater. The closest parking we could find was near a barn in the back. It was a real barn with real farm animals in it: at least four goats (complete with horns) in one stall and two pigs in another (one was enormous and the other was the size of a dog). None of these creatures were penned in in any way and could have easily escaped via the driveway. Soon after we arrived, we insinuated ourselves among a circle of pot smokers, pot being one of the easiest ways to break the ice with total strangers. I also did the huge porcine pig a favor by removing the remains of a blue grain bag from around its head; evidently it had gotten stuck there while she was rooting. It's hard to know how to interact with an animal that big given the fact that if she got the impulse to kill me she could have easily done it. So I focused mostly on the goats. I grew up with goats and know exactly what they want. These goats were friendly, but if I wanted them to draft them into a militia, I would have to use my human skills to find them food. With this in mind, I walked over to where a tree overhung the fence, and there I reached up, grabbed a leafy branch, and pulled it down to the level of a goat's head. They all came running over enthusiastically and quickly defoliated the branch.
Mark and I grabbed a couple beers and walked over to the main place that people were milling around, talking and smoking pot. Eventually we learned where the studio was and that the only rule was that beer wasn't permitted. Supposedly this event was one where attendees were expected to have tickets, but there was no evidence of anyone actually looking for tickets. So Mark was glad he hadn't bought tickets online (even if the only reason he hadn't was his aversion to "convenience fees").
It felt a little like crashing a wedding to be there. For example, there was a table beneath a tent with big trays of food available for us to eat. And at some point the savory food was replaced with massive amounts of fluffy white cake. For whatever reason, I had no interest in eating any of it. I think I assumed that it was all non-vegan, though the rice and beans looked like it might have been okay.
Eventually we made our way into the studio, which was crowded with adoring Bad Brains fans. The band played a reggæ song, and because I was in the front row I felt the need to bop my head to the rhythm even though reggæ doesn't appeal to me and it seemed absurd for a man my age to be dancing. A woman to my left noted my discomfort and told me to relax. But nothing really made me feel okay until the band transitioned into a rip-roaring hard core punk song. And that was it, at least for that segment.
Back outside, Mark and I insinuated ourselves into another circle of pot smokers, and we all got to talking about where we were from. Somehow the subject turned to 9Eleven and being in Brooklyn on that day (I don't remember if Mark was, but I was). Amusingly, one of the others in our pot-smoking circle all said that they were in third grade when 9Eleven happened.
After leaving the Bad Brains show, we returned to the Red Onion, but it was still too crowded, so instead we went to Catskill Mountain Pizza for a beer. By now, though, I was drunk and in the mood for watching live music, and though the live music at the pizza place (Old Time String Band?) was pretty lame, I decided to stand there in front of band and nod my head to their folksy mountain music.
Eventually, Mark and I returned to the Red Onion and found it uncrowded enough for us to take seats at the bar. We ordered more IPAs and some sort of ravioli appetizer that probably wasn't vegan. My memory of it all is pretty vague.
Still, I was able to tell Mark how do drive me home. Gretchen, who was there when I arrived, was curious where I had been and worried that I'd been driving in the state I was in. But no, my Subaru was still at Ray & Nancy's house.

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