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:
   replaced by far more melodious singing
Friday, June 14 2019
It was a nice, rainless Friday, so at lunchtime I walked into the center of Red Hook on more than one errand. My credit union has a branch in Red Hook, so I could go there and get cash with just an ID. I used to have a debit card, but it vanished more than a year ago and I haven't done anything to replace it. Then I went to the little hardware store to see if they sold small containers of flat black paint. Apparently that isn't a thing unless you're in a store that caters to the weirdoes who build plastic models of automobiles or war equipment (such a store actually exists in Old Hurley). So I bought a can of flat black spray paint. Unusually, I asked for a bag for my new spray paint purchase because I thought walking around with a can of spray paint in my hand would make me look suspicious. And for the past few years I've actually preferred blending into the scenery as a nondescript middle-aged man, the kind who does cause others to cross the street as I approach.
My last stop was at the Golden Wok, where I ordered the only thing I ever order there: the mixed vegetables in garlic sauce. This time I was careful to order the white rice, knowing that the default rice is as vegan as Tyons new blended meat product. The default was to give me the food to go, which made sense I suppose. There was no fork or chopsticks provided, but when I sat under that maple tree where I do my center-village solo picnics, there was a convenient stick on the ground for me to break in half. They worked as well as a manufactured pair of chopsticks, suggesting to me that in China it was traditionally easier to scrounge eating implements from the environment than to pack them in one's travel kit.

Makeshift chopsticks in the shade of a norway maple at 41.995090N, 73.876553W

On the walk back to the office, I had a feeling on my inside right thigh just above my knee that suggested my pants were wet in that spot. But my pants were not wet, and I hadn't been bleeding. This was some sort of nerve issue, perhaps related to whatever has caused a four-inch-wide patch of skin above that same knee to be numb for the past year and a half. The feeling that nerve damage might be spreading is not the makings for a good afternoon, and it sent me to Google to research the symptoms. [Fortunately, this symptom disappeared after going to bed tonight.]
Late in the workday Gretchen and I were both watching the woodpecker nest video feed (she from her computer at home, me from my workstation in Red Hook), and the male was on the feed. He always has a few small blotches in his red crown, though this afternoon he looking unusually ratty and he was panting. Had he been battling some nest predator, or was he just having a bad day? [Days later, I would see I'd inadvertently recorded video of the male enthusiastically chipping away at something on the wall inside the nest.] As we chatted about this in Facebook direct messages, the replies quickly devolved (as they usually do) into animated GIFs. A search for "old woodpecker" returned a disturbing image of an male pileated woodpecker trying to drive an enormous green snake from the nest. It was such a horrifying image (particularly given how close to this family of woodpeckers have become) that I was still feeling disturbed on the drive home from work.

Some video of what Gretchen and I had seen of the bedraggled-looking male. Somehow I'd missed the part where he'd been doing renovations.

I stopped in at the Tibetan Center thrift store (as has become my Friday habit) and managed to find two things to buy: a carpenter's plane (it was rusty but salvageable) and a 7.5 volt one amp wall wart. That voltage is a common one used in remote-controlled vehicles, though wall warts with that value are not common, so of course I had to have it. Rob was working, so the price was right: $2.
Back at the the house, the cats were lying around being somewhat conspiratorial in the lawn, filling me with dread about what wildlife they had killed. Soon thereafter, I rescued a chipmunk from Diane. But then I found something that was actually a bit heartbreaking: a dead wren in the grass. It looked like an adult house wren, but I was so horrified and disgusted that I chucked it into the bushes before examining it carefully. There is, as you'll recall, a nest of house wrens in the open end of a ventilation pipe coming horizontally out of the upstairs bathroom just beneath the peak in the gable. The wrens had been bitching at the cats almost constantly during daylight hours, and I wondered if one had perhaps gotten too close to one of the cats, which had crushed it like an insect (though I don't remember seeing any obvious injuries on the dead wren). Or perhaps the dead wren was one of the babies, which had fluttered to the ground and immediately been killed. It all seemed like such a waste; nobody had even bothered to try to eat it. Later in the afternoon, though, it seemed clear that life at the wren nest was continuing as before. The babies were still being fed, and at least one parent was still in evidence. But all the bitching at the cats had ended, replaced by far more melodious singing.
I made myself a sandwich for what turned out to be dinner, and as I ate it, the crown from my punk rock tooth was pulled off by the gummy bread, revealing the ugly black spike protruding from my gum that held that crown to my head. I didn't panic; such things happen. The last time the crown had been installed in my mouth had been a little less than three years ago, a fix had been considered provisional. I thoroughly cleaned around the spike and then scrubbed the crown until I could no longer smell the smell of the anærobic bacteria that had been living under it. Then I put a small drop of superglue inside the crown and stuck it back on its spike. I was back to normal, for the time being at least.

Gretchen recently got some CBD oil to help her get to sleep. CBD is a possibly-legal marijuana extract that lacks THC but has other chemicals, some of which may or may not help with relaxation. I can't say for sure if it had any effect on me at all, though I did feel strangely comforted as I lay in bed. This might've just been the joy of rediscovering the Judas Priest song from 1974 entitled "Run of the Mill" and then discovering, for the first time, their 2005 song "Lochness." Both songs are unusually long and have the ambitious structure of progressive rock, and both provide most of what I'm looking for a music. To my ear, "Run of the Mill" sounds like it could be an unusually good Pink Floyd song sung by a more ambitious singer. And the slow, meditative brooding of "Lochness" is perfect for winding down at the end of the day. I've read that Judas Priest is generally embarrassed by Rocka Rolla, their first album, which is where "Run of the Mill" is found. But at some point in the early 1990s I had a tape with Rocka Rolla on one side and Sad Wings of Destiny on the other, and I pretty much wore it out by listening to it over and over. (I think Josh Furr made that tape for me.)

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