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:
   tailgater on US 209
Monday, February 10 2020
Overnight a couple inches of wet snow had fallen, and some was still falling when I got up this morning. The snowplow had piled up enough of a snow-hump at the end of the driveway that I thought it best to dig it out before driving through it in the Subaru, particularly since Gretchen would need to get through it later in the Prius. Both of us would be working today, and we'd both be taking our usual workplace dogs.
As I drove into work, conditions were a little sketchy on Dug Hill Road, but they were much improved by the time I got out to US 209. There wasn't much traffic, and what traffic there was drove cautiously. There were a few pockets of slush, but the roadway was more wet than snowy. Still, there was no reason for anyone to be doing what I saw someone doing in front of me. A large SUV was tailgating another car only a dozen feet in front of him, repeatedly hitting his brakes so as not to collide. Why didn't he just pass? And who drives this way? The car being tailgated eventually put on his hazard lights in hopes that the tailgater would get the message and pass, but he didn't, and eventually the tailgatee took an exit (I think it was Sawkill). I'd just passed the cars and would've just kept on driving, but then I saw that the foul-weather tailgater now had plans of tailgating me just as he'd tailgated that other vehicle. I was also now aware that he had those infuriating bluish headlights of the kind that douchebags install in their vehicles. Well, I wasn't going to be tailgated like that other guy, so I just gradually let my car slow down until it came to a complete stop right there in the right lane of US 209 northbound. The tailgater came to a complete stop too, and just sat there for moment. Then, in frustration, he finally drove around me and stopped beside me in the passing lane, perhaps wanting to yell at me. But I'm a non-confrontational guy and had been enjoying the anonymity of the Subaru around me. So I just drove off, quickly leaving him in the distance. A Subaru gives one the confidence to drive this way in bad weather.
That experience got me thinking about road rage and the kind of people who exhibit it. I frequently suffer from mild road rage when people do annoying things (mostly going too slowly or failing to signal). But doing what I'd done there, with all that premeditated weirdness, was highly unusual. That's the sort of stunt that I imagine only someone very confident in their car would engage in, maybe a young guy with a car that gave him a lot of pride and that handled very well in winter weather. I respect my Subaru and am impressed that it is still running strong at over 220,000 miles. But I don't actually have much confidence in its reliability and consider every additional day of life a gift. As for the other guy and the aggro thing he felt the need to do in hazardous driving conditions, I can't really get inside his head. Tailgating is never a wise driving strategy: it introduces risks to both the tailgater and tailgatee and results in accelerated brake wear. The only reason to do it is as a non-verbal display of the sort one might expect from a vehicle-driving ape. Perhaps he was tailgating another car because it was driven by someone who had done him wrong. Or perhaps he thought the driver was sexually attractive, though if he thought that was a good way to get laid, he needs to take remedial courses back at his alma mater, presumably Trump University.
After our big 11:00am walk, Ramona and I drove over to the Red Hook Hannaford to get this week's office lunch provisions and the various two-quart cartons of fluids we consume back in Hurley (two different oat milk and unsweetened soy milk; we didn't need any orange juice). Happily, the black bean salad was back, though to my horror I found that Tres-brand pupusas were completely gone from the healthy part of the frozen-food section. And by gone, I mean there were no shelf labels for them any more, suggesting they would never be back. Perhaps the business relationship between Tres and Hannaford had gone sour. Or maybe there aren't enough Salvadorans in the greater Red Hook area to justify stocking pupusas (though my purchases alone should've been enough to justify the freezer shelf space). I needed something to replace the pupusas, so I went with Daiya-brand southwest-style frozen burritos (even though they have a weird cardboard aftertaste). [The Hannaford website is actually helpful here; it says Tres pupusas are still available in the Kingston Hannafords but are "Currently unavailable" in the Hurley Ridge and Red Hook locations.]
This evening Gretchen returned from work and immediately made a noodle bake using the last box of the bowtie noodles my old Mercy For Animals colleague Cameron had bought for me in December of 2016. The bowties had a "best if used by" date of July, 2019, but that wasn't a problem. The recipe Gretchen used had a bit too much lemon and definitely too little salt.

The state of my left hand's hematomas today. The last of the one on the thumbnail disappeared a few days ago.

Ramona in the slushy snow back behind my office complex today.

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