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:
   imperfect moon analogy
Saturday, January 23 2016
This morning I moved all the stinky semi-rotten Red Oak from where I'd been trying to dry it around the woodstove out into the garage. It won't dry out there, but it won't stink either. I can go back to drying it once it's less critical for the house not to smell like a sorority bathroom on pizza night.
While Gretchen began work on several handmade pastas for today's big pasta party, I waged a limited cleaning jihad. At this time of year, most of the entropy comes from activities associated with the woodstove. The worst are the bits of rotten sapwood that are sloughed like dandruff from the kinds of pieces that I salvage. I'd had so much moist rotten sapwood that I'd taken to scraping it off with a big chisel, creating big piles of the stuff, some of which Ramona has dragged to other parts of the living room and mouthed (it falls apart immediately, so "chew" would be an inappropriate verb). It adheres easily to socks and has been tracked all over the house. Fortunately, this stuff is easily swept up or vacuumed, and the difference between it being there (thousands of tiny beige-colored dots on mostly dark surfaces) and not is dramatic.
With all that taken care of, I went on yet another firewood salvaging foray, this time specifically intended to get dry wood to be burned during the party. I went about a quarter mile south down the Stick Trail and cut up some assorted pieces from earlier salvages that were all in a pile along the trail. Most of this was very dry Red Oak, including a sun-bleached branch no thicker than my wrist (which I knew would burn hot and fast). Today's load came to 134.3 pounds, though a 17.95 pound piece had to be put in the woodshed because it proved to be full of big black ants, all of them immobilized by the freezing conditions. Yes, despite my specifically seeking out bone-dry wood, one of the pieces I'd collected proved moist enough to support Carpenter Ants.
The party was to start at 4:00pm, though Susan and David came over a little before this to help out. [REDACTED] About twenty minutes after 4:00, people began arriving.
I'd parked the cars on the grass to maximize parking opportunities in our driveway, but the savvy people all parked along Dug Hill Road. For the past week, I'd been tracking a huge blizzard that was coming up from the south and initially seemed destined to cancel our party. But in recent days, predictions had wavered on whether the snow would reach us at all. Evidently we were right on the cusp of where the models predicted the snow would go, and within 24 hours of the party, the certainty of snow in Hurley reached as high as 70% and as low as 25%. In the end, grey clouds piled in, but not a single flake of snow fell from them. Meanwhile, just 90 miles to the south, Central Park was blanketed beneath a near-record 25.1 inches. Indeed, the certaintly of snow predicted for the City made it so that some of the people who had planned to go there (for example, Carrie) were able to come to our party instead. There a number of no-shows (one couple thought the party was to be tomorrow), but we had something like 22 people in total. At its peak, that seemed like too many for Gretchen, but then I pointed out that this was a function of the season. In the summer, you see, our parties break up into separate groups in the house, out on the east deck, out in the front yard, and the people smoking pot down in the greenhouse.
In terms of food, almost every couple arriving brought a pasta dish, including a huge platter of morsely gnocchi made by the only person at the party I didn't know. I'd eaten my fill before the final third of the pasta dishes arrived, but, since the party went on for over five hours, at some point I was ready for another meal. As usual for a pot luck, the quality of the dishes were a bit uneven, though there were some real standouts. Also, as Gretchen pointed out, nobody had made a pasta dish using good old-fashioned red sauce.
On occasion, I was asked to give tours of my laboratory. So on one occasion I took Falafel Cathy and her husband Roy the El Al pilot up to have a look around in the wunderkammer that is my personal space. Cathy is particularly excited by my copper lamps. Later, I gave a tour to the grey-haired stranger with a German accent who had made the gnocchi platter. He's an architect who runs a big poultry rescue operation on his sixty acre farm. Something about the way he reacted to the things I was telling him made me feel as though I was some combination of both stupid and drunk. It was better, then, when I came up the laboratory on a different occasion purely for the purpose of smoking pot. While high on this illegal substance, I was telling my fellow pot-smoker (and her non-smoking boyfriend) about the phases my laboratory goes through. It gradually gets messy and then I clean it. "It's like the phases of the moon," I explained, "and now it's a waxing crescent; when it's really messy it's a full moon." Even as I was saying this, though, I realized the analogy was a deeply imperfect one, since the process of cleaning it is, on the timescale involved, relatively instantaneous, taking it from full moon to new moon with little time for waning anything.
Down in the kitchen, I had a conversation with Sarah the Vegan, Nancy, and others about my idea for a restaurant. It would be called Larry's Lupper and would only be open between the hours of 2:30pm and 4:30pm. Lupper is my favorite meal of the day, and "Larry" sounds like a good alliterative (and humble) pairing.
Periodically I'd throw another stick of wood in the stove, whose entire interior appeared to be glowing. This was how I kept the living room temperature above 80 degrees for the duration of the party. People want to be warm on a cold day, and it's the duty of the host of a party to keep things toasty. And if people felt it was too hot near the stove, they could go into the kitchen, where it was probably ten degrees colder.
The last of the people (Sarah the Vegan) left at around 9:30pm. Normally I would have cleaned up the party's mess, but instead I continued smoking pot and drinking various alcoholic beverages, which was probably a bad idea.

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