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:
   without a vegan vision
Friday, August 14 2015
To get my daily load of firewood this morning, I returned to that bountiful place a third of a mile away on the Gullies Trail and started cutting up a third, somewhat smaller fallen skeletal oak. I was able to assemble a load that later weighed in at 127 pounds. After that was squared away, Gretchen and I had decaf out on the east deck.
This afternoon after I awoke from a nap in the greenhouse upstairs, I'd forgotten about the appointment Gretchen had made at the Hurley vet. Eleanor had developed a chick-pea-sized tumor on her right hind foot that had caused Gretchen (but not me) concern. The vet had rescheduled the appointment to help accommodate a mass cruelty case involving goats and the Catskill Animal Sanctuary (which Gretchen worked with prior to October, 2007), and when we arrived, we were (unusually) the only people in the waiting room. But that soon changed; an Australian woman showed up whose Chocolate Lab was too big and immobile for her to get from her car. As for Eleanor's tumor, when the vet looked at it, he said it didn't have any of the normal signs of being cancerous and suggested that we just monitor it. Since he tends to err on the side of biopsies and other tests, we took this to be a good sign. While examining Eleanor, the vet also muzzled her and clipped her nails, a process that went a little more smoothly because while he was doing that, he had me distract her by massaging ear-cleaning fluid in her ear canals, a trick he'd picked up somewhere along the way. The vet had also recently added his daughter to the veterinary staff, though she joked about wanting to be a hobo.
Eleanor is by nature an anxious dog, something that has intensified with age. She particularly hates going to the vet. But she seemed to sense the instant that the vet had finished with her and we would soon be going home. She became noticeably happy and excited; the trembling and downcast eyes had been replaced with tail wagging, panting, and eye contact all around.

This evening, Gretchen and I drove to Uptown Kingston and met up with friends at the Stockade Tavern. Initially it was Julianna & Lee, but then Susan & David showed up, followed by Cathy & Roy (the falafel people), and then, completely randomly, two gentlemen from Susan & David's old building on the Upper West Side. Everybody at our table but me was Jewish, and everybody was at least vegetarian except for those two guys. It was loud in the Stockade, and I couldn't really converse with anyone except Lee. We talked about old analog synthesizers, their modern emulators, Mellotrons, and a musical invention by Leonardo da Vinci that Lee described as being like a Mellotron (though it turned out to be more like a keyboard-controlled cello).
Later, all of us except Cathy & Roy went to Diego's Taqueria (nearby in Uptown). It was a Friday night, and the place seemed to be a gathering spot for tattooed Millennials. Unfortunately, there was a two-piece folk band performing there tonight, and this meant that yet again we had to shout in order to successfully communicate. This time most of my conversation was with David. We talked about his plans to build a woodshed, though it doesn't take much for our conversations to drift to human population overshoot.
As for the food, well, for someone who would gladly eat tacos every day, it was a big disappointment. The really exciting menu options such as the fake pescado taco made with cauliflower or the sriracha cauliflower taco weren't possible for a vegan because they'd been made with eggs, something that I would have gladly eaten had I not known. (Gretchen and I are often "don't ask/don't tell" vegans.) So I had to settle for two Three Sisters tacos without the cheese. But evidently the vision for the Three Sisters requires cheese; without that cheese, it's a sad little taco whose inside contains a little corn and maybe a dozen individual beans and perhaps, given the name, some squash. You'd think the chef, upon learning that the taco is to be made vegan, could sprinkle a few more beans or perhaps add something else exciting, but that's never how restaurants work. Without a vegan vision, non-vegan foods are made vegan via subtraction, and the result is disappointing. I wouldn't have cared too much, but my two pathetic tacos and one beer came to $20, though the table's tab had been split equally, and the vegetarians were definitely subsidizing whatever chicken dishes were eaten by the two guys from Susan & David's building.

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