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:
   mobbed with the mathematically illiterate
Wednesday, January 13 2016
It was a bitter cold day, and the ninth one since our return from the Galapagos. It was also the day that we exhausted the last of the indoor wood I'd stockpiled before we'd left for that trip. My estimate was that there was 750 pounds of wood returning when we returned, meaning that over the last nine days we have burned an average of 83.3 pounds per day.1 That's a frightful burn rate, but the numbers do not lie.
Because I want to continue my just-in-time wood gathering as long as I can, late this morning I set out down the Stick Trail with my wood salvaging equipment. Because Eleanor was decided to follow me and looked miserably cold, I didn't go far, stopping about 300 feet south of the Chamomile crossing and cutting up a long-fallen Chestnut Oak just a little ways above (west of) the trail. The wood had been drenched in recent rains and then snowed on, so it wasn't as dry as I prefer it to be. When I weighed it, it came to 112.55 pounds, though only 108.8 of that could stay inside. A little 3.75 pound piece contained live ants that eventually came out of their torpor as I dried the wood on top of the stove.
Gretchen was starving for some alone time, so I spent the afternoon running errands and hanging out at Outdated. I needed some supplies like silicone caulk and shims, so I went to Lowes and then, on an impulse, bought a number of LED bulbs because they were so physically small and yet supposedly blazed with the light of 60-watt incandescents.
Outdated was mobbed with people when I arrived at around 1:00pm. I nevertheless found a place to set up with my laptop near the door after ordering a vegan tempeh reuben. Freakishly, their internet seemed to be faster than it's ever been, suggesting few of those people were actually using it. I suppose a lot of their devices are actually using their cellular plans. Most people there use Apple equipment, whereas I was using my clunky (but fast) HP 2740p, which is even clunkier due to an extra battery adding 5/16 inch to its overall thickness. I don't need it to be sexy and it cost me less than $150.
At Hannaford, I forgot to get an important commodity in support of my lifestyle: a box of Red Rose black tea. It looks like I'll have to subsist on coffee and green tea for awhile longer.
As I often do on these days when I'm giving Gretchen some alone time, I ended my errands with a drive west out on Route 28 to the Tibetan Center to see what new trinkets had turned up there. Delightfully, there was an old CB radio in the mix (I didn't buy it) as well as a $3 calculator that could solve hyperbolic trigonometric functions (I didn't buy that either, disappointing my inner 13 year old). My purchases were mostly practical: a bunch of old drawer pulls (I have a plan for those that also includes large rare-earth magnets), some angle iron (for the sink installation project) and an irresistible plastic survival kit that included a concave mirror, a compass, and four lenses that could be folded out to form a shitty pair of binoculars.

On the way home from the north, I stopped at the Stewarts at Zena Road for greasy corn chips and a can of Stewarts-brand energy drink (when Gretchen later asked "why?" I explained that it was like putting the terminals of a nine volt battery against my tongue). The Stewarts was mobbed with the mathematically illiterate desperately wanting to buy Powerball tickets to have a shot at winning the prize, now at a record 1.5 billion dollars. As I read it explained on Slate, the chance of winning was about equal to the chance of guessing a specific second to take place some time during the Obama administration. Or guessing a specific blade of grass someone has singled out on a football field. America's average mathematical literacy (however that is measured) would have increased several percentage points had all of its convenience stores exploded at that instant, but the chance of that happening, while greater than the chance of any specific person winning the Powerball, was vanishingly low.

I hurried home from there because Clarence had a follow-up appointment at the Hurley vet (and my Stewarts purchases had taken longer than expected due to all the mathtards in line in front of me). Back at the house, Gretchen had lost track of Clarence and, when we found him, he was insistent that he wasn't going to the vet. We had to chase him through the house and corner him near the woodstove. From where he lay on the backseat among the dogs, he let out a couple of his "I fucking hate this" yowls during the ride.
While we waited for our exam in the vet office lobby, Gretchen chatted with a local celebrity psychic (why wouldn't Woodstock have one of those?) about David Bowie, though this mostly took the form of a remembrance of a trivial incident involving Bowie in the Woodstock bookstore where Gretchen works (she never met him, though she has met his supermodel wife). As for Clarence, he checked out okay, though the tissues around his right eye are still a little inflamed.

1Earlier versions of this entry had the estimate as 800 pounds burned, but I've revised that down to 750 after forgetting I'd moved 29.45 pounds that that measured weight out in the garage (it had been too moist for me to include on the indoor woodpile for Tamsyn to burn). With the old estimate of 800 pounds of wood burned over nine days, the pounds of wood burned per day would have been 88.9.

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