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:
   my poor left hand
Saturday, December 7 2019
A firewood salvaging foray had me cutting up fallen white ash from the base of the steep escarpment just west of the Stick Trail a couple hundred feet south of the stone wall. I would end up bringing home two backpack loads of this stuff. It was a bit damper than I hoped, with lots of moisture concentrated just beneath the bark. So it would require lots of bark stripping and drying out on top of the woodstove, a messy and somewhat dangerous process.
During the strapping down of one of the backpack loads, as I was trying to hook one of the bungee cords, the hook at the other end slipped off and came hurtling towards me. Luckily it didn't hit my in the face, though it still hit me, thwapping my left forefinger's knuckle with so much kinetic force that I was catapulted into a momentary agony. Fortunately, nothing was actually broken, not even the skin. The joint still worked as it had, though within an hour, a grape-sized knot had swollen over the joint. Over the course of the day, the swelling gradually subsided, leaving a residual ache, particularly when the joint was moved more than 20% from the center of its range of motion. At this point, my left hand has three simultaneous injuries from three similar freak accidents. The thumb was thwacked by a tree of heaven sapling on September 21st, leaving an Africa-shaped hematoma under the thumbnail. On November 16th, the middle finger was lightly crushed when it was caught in the sliding door to the shop, resulting in another hematoma under its nail. And now I have a semi-disabled knuckle at the base of the finger in-between.

This evening Gretchen and I went to some sort of appreciation dinner for the prison-behind-bars program that Gretchen now works with, which is affiliated with SUNY Ulster, the local community college. It was held at Coppola's La Fantasia, a sprawling family-style Italian restaurant down in Highland (across the Hudson from Poughkeepsie). I was seated between Gretchen and the wife or girlfriend of a prison official sympathetic to the program, and I was actually doing a good job of spontaneously talking to strangers, particularly once I learned I was sitting across from two people who work in the tech field.
As for food, I was served some sort of eggplant parmesan where the parmesan either wasn't there or had been expertly hidden (I wasn't confident the restaurant knew how to accommodate my veganism and I'm never a ball buster about such things). The eggplant dish was pretty good, if a little monotonous (it would've been better had it come with something like pasta). Since the dinner had been billed as having an "open bar," I started my drinking with a manhattan and moved on to a glass of pinot noir (after that, there were no further offers to get me anything to drink except coffee, which I was in the mood for by then). As for Gretchen, since she doesn't eat egpplant, the kitchen threw together some sort of pasta dish that was pretty greasy (but good). At some point we learned that this restaurant was the source of the hyperlocal marinara sauce that Gretchen most prefers.
Towards the end of the meal, Gretchen and I moved down to the end of the table, where we helped one of the youthful administrators brainstorm ideas for a course she is planning on the subject of leadership. I had a surprisingly good time, overall. It was interesting to see the people behind the program to know that, like anything of its size, it has lots of talented, dedicated people obsessing about it and constantly working to improve it. It's easy when one only knows about a program through one person to assume its a bailing-wire-and-bubblegum contraption always on the edge of failure.
At some point, I looked down at the ring finger on my left hand and noticed my wedding ring was gone. It had probably fallen off today while lashing pieces of firewood to my backpack in the woods, a job that usually requires multiple taking-off and putting-on of gloves (at least when it's cold enough to wear gloves, as it is now). Hopefully the ring was still in my left glove or, short of that, in some obvious place where I'd been salvaging wood.

Another cozy Saturday morning. From left: Neville, Ramona, and Charles the Cat.

Still life with prison educators in Coppola's tonight. Gretchen's on the far right; I forget most of the names I should know.

A beautiful photo Gretchen took from our bedroom window earlier this week (looking out towards the east).

That photo reminded me of the paintings of Charles Burchfield.

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