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:
   speedy palimpsest
Monday, February 22 2016
This morning on my firewood foray, I used my big battery-powered chainsaw to cut the big Chestut Oak into small enough pieces to slide the whole thing down the bluff to the very edge of the Chamomile (and also somewhat downstream toward the Stick Trail). Near its roots, the tree was a couple inches wider than my 18 inch chainsaw bar (which only sticks out 16.75 inches beyond the saw), but I was able to get through without difficulty. But those big cuts depleted my battery, and after cutting down a much smaller, drier skeletonized Chestnut Oak, the saw was only good for one additional small cut. I had to cobble together today's load from assorted pieces cut on earlier forays. It came to 106.9 pounds.

We've been concerned for the last few days by grossly swollen glands in Eleanor's neck, so today we took her to the Hurley vet. Usually we try to arrange our appointments there so we get the main vet who works there, but that proved impossible this time. So we saw a new vet, a 30-something woman with a pleasant (if subtle) absurdist quality. As always, we'd also brought Ramona for (as they put it there) "moral support." While Ramona is up for anything, even getting poked and prodded at the vet, Eleanor hates the place. But she was a good sport today as the assistant took her rectal temperature and had her get up on the feedlot scale. The vet looked in Eleanor's mouth and was amazed by how messed up it was in there, including the craggy remains of a canine that snapped off without her ever alerting us to the pain that must've caused. Dental disease was the vet's first working hypothesis for what was causing the swollen glands, which she confirmed to actually be lymph nodes. Mouth problems would also account for the poor quality of Eleanor's breath. I don't usually notice it, but holding her for the rectal thermometer while she panted nervously in my face helped flesh out the term "squid breath" (which Susan uses to describe the atmosphere in Darla's much younger mouth).
Periodically Ramona would try to insinuate herself into the proceedings, and it turned out that she had breath problems of her own. "Your breath smells like poo," the vet matter-of-factly advised her, and then asked, "Have you been eating poo?". Ramona didn't answer, but she wasn't insulted in the least.
Using a tiny needle, the vet extracted some juices from inside the swollen lymph nodes and applied them to a slide. She said she'd look them over and give a crude opinion of what she saw, but she'd also be sending the slides off to some professionals so they could give their opinion. The price for this adventure was about $270.

One of the presents I'd received for my birthday was live drawing classes at the Shirt Factory in Kingston. The gift was from Ray and Nancy, and they'd be going too. In anticipation, I'd taken a recreational cocktail of simulants which I'd recently obtained: 10 mg of ordinary Adderall and 50 mg of something called Vyvanse. Adderall is an ordinary mix of amphetamines, but Vyvanse is D-amphetamine bound to the amino acid lysine such that it can only do its work after being metabolized by the human body (in other words, it cannot be snorted, and grinding it up doesn't accelerate its utilization). I was feeling the effects of this cocktail when I arrived at Ray and Nancy's house. Amusingly, Nancy immediately handed me a beer (an All Day IPA, which is pretty good for a session IPA) for me to drink on the ride to the drawing class. Due to an ongoing recall of passenger airbags in their model of Subaru, Nancy and I had to sit in the back while Ray drove.
About twelve of us set up in a small studio on the fourth floor of the Shirt Factory for today's drawing class. The other participants skewed younger: in their twenties or perhaps thirties. Our model looked to be in his late 30s or early 40s and had a good physique. Everyone else had brought pads of paper and drawing tools, but I'd brought my acrylic paints. I guess I was expecting a single long pose, but that wasn't how it was done. Instead, we were going to be offered a lot of one minute poses, then five minute poses, then ten minute poses, and finally one or two half hour poses. While the others all had big pads of paper, I'd only brought a single 10.5 by 9.5 inch piece of wood as a canvas. I quickly decided to work small in four different quadrants.
As I'd finish roughing out one sketch, a new pose would begin, and I plop it in right next to the one I'd done. When I ran out of room, I looked for the crappiest figure and painted over it. When I'd get bored, I'd rework something or paint in the background. My painting was, as I said at the time, a palimpsest. The amphetamines had me engaged and feeling on top of things (and not even insulted when one of the people running the event gushed over other drawings while saying nothing about mine). I suspect, though, that, like a crackhead, the drugs were causing me to be focused and occasionally even obsessed in various small but unhelpful ways. Also, the constant work, without ever giving my painting a chance to dry, caused the colors to become muddy and the forms to look overworked. It wasn't my best work, but it had an energetic painterly quality that is usually lacking in my paintings. Also, I liked the overall composition, with its patches of negative space divided up by crude humanoid figures. Here is the result:

After two hours, the class ended and Ray, Nancy and I chatted some with the two organizers. I suggested they make an animation based on everyone's drawing of a particular pose. Such an animation would appear to rotate as it flipped from the perspective of each participant, shivering and jumping from the variety of techniques and technical skill.

Ray suggested getting a beer, and I assumed he meant going to a bar, but actually he'd meant having a beer back at his house. But now that I'd put the idea in his head, going to a bar seemed like a good idea to him and Nancy. The problem, though, was that there aren't many places that are open on a Monday night in Uptown Kingston. We went to the Stockade Tavern and it was closed. Snapper Magee's was open, but that place scares Nancy. So we ended up at Frogmore, which happened to be having a very sad open mic night in the back room (there was a banjo player with no audience, eventually to be joined by a guitarist). We sat the bar, and the affable bartender kept 'em coming. I ended up drinking three different IPAs. I happened to mention Katy Perry in a conversation with Ray and the woman next to him (a 20-something Millennial with metallic reddish-purple hair) couldn't help herself and blurted, "I love Katy Perry!"
Back at Ray & Nancy's house, I hung out for another All Day IPA and then a small glass of bourbon. But I still had it together enough on the drive home to gather several largish pieces of White Ash the power company had recently cut up (seemingly pre-emptively in the face of the ongoing Emerald Ash Borer infestation).

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