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:
   warranty-free potential bomb
Wednesday, December 16 2015
Late this morning, I returned to the place 1600 feet from the house near the Gullies Trail (though reached via the Stick Trail) and salvaged more downed Chestnut Oak. I noted the presence of a standing American Chestnut that had died in recent years. It was about six inches thick at the bottom and reached all the way up to the canopy, suggesting unusual vigor in the face of Chestnut Blight, the disease that had almost certainly killed it. I'll have to cut the tree down and get a sample of its wood so I can better identify American Chestnut when I'm salvaging mystery wood found on the forest floor. Today's salvage came to 114.5 pounds. The indoor wood rack now has about as much wood as it can possibly hold. It reached up beyond the prongs on either end to form a dome in the middle 54 inches above the floor. The amount of wood in the rack right now comes to about 27 cubic feet, or a little over a fifth of a cord.

This afternoon I drove the Prius out to the Meineke on Albany Avenue to bring it to an appointment Gretchen had arranged. It would need an inspection some time in December, and, unusually, we had reasons to be doing it early this year. I left the car and set off northeastward on foot, hoping something to do to wile away the hour the inspection would take. Eventually I made it to the Salvation Army, the most depressing thrift store in the greater Kingston area. Work has been done to make it less so since the last time I visited (for example, it doesn't smell quite as bad), but it still has the same depressing shit nobody wants to buy. My focus is usually in the electronics department, and the Salvation Army stocks a lot of monitors and televisions utilizing CRT technology, which has the effect of making them worth less than zero dollars. The one intriguing item for sale was an old pressure cooker from the 1950s or 1960s. The literature that came with it was delightfully dated, referring to the "science" of the technology and the hours it would save "the busy housewife." Nowhere did it use the term "pressure cooker"; evidently that connoted danger even back then. But it had two knocks against it: it was made of aluminum (which freaks people like Gretchen out due to rumors of a connection to Alzheimer's Disease) and a $27 price tag. Would someone really pay that much for a warranty-free potential bomb from the midcentury?
On the walk back to the Meineke, I ducked into a gas station/smoke shop and bought a terrible cup of gas station coffee (Green Mountain was the brand, but of course they have no control over freshness) and a small bag of barbecue-flavored corn chips. A freight train containing many dozens of black tankers went by as I was looking for a place to eat my lunch, and it compelled me towards the track. I sat on a concrete retaining wall above some dead lottery tickers and ate all those chips while reading an article on using Gretchen's smartphone. It was overcast but warm enough to be sit outside in a light jacket. I've yet to wear a winter coat this season.
After I got my car back, I went around to various stores buying gifts for Gretchen. I'd already been to the wine store on Albany Avenue to buy a bottle of Port and an obscure bottle of hard cider. With the car, I drove to Bed, Bath, and Beyond to get a cooking thermometer, since the cheap Chinese one Gretchen had been using (cost: $5) had died. This time I spent $20 on the most expensive digital thermometer in the store (made by a company called Taylor), though later when Gretchen went to enable its battery, the tiny wires to the probe snapped off. Lesson learned: these days, everything is cheap and Chinese, even the expensive stuff. (It would prove easier to fix the thermometer than to take it back, so that was what I would do.) Bed, Bath, and Beyond is designed to encourage impulse purchases, and this was how I came to buy an inflatable neck pillow designed to make flying in an airplane more bearable. I did not, however, buy any robots, though I couldn't help but look at the ones on display, which ranged from Roombas to plastic remote-controlled dinosaurs. While I was in the are, I went to Beer World to get Gretchen a bottle of Lambic.
Back at the house, Gretchen and I lit the menorah for the one and only time this Hanukkah on this its final night. I gave Grechen her gifts and she gave me a desk chair whose seat in an inflatable rubber ball, something I'd requested in hopes of having better spinal hygiene. Gretchen was so delighted by the neck pillow that she wound up wearing it like an Elizabethan collar for much of the rest of the evening. Whenever she took it off, she said it felt like her neck was a thin, sickly reed that could barely do its job of holding up her head.

tiny novel by my troll Suzy this evening (in response to a racy photo of Brigitte Bardot):


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