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:
   finding hope
Friday, September 25 2020
My continued attempts to puzzle out a .PDF generated by Logi Reports continued today, with me using an arsenal of indirect methods to get a sense of how it was put together. These included installing a PDF importer into Apache Office, which actually allowed me to edit some of the grid-like pattern that an HTML export was rendering as a .png. Other indications suggested that the components of this .png were mostly coming from line decriptions in a .CSS file, so it was infuriating that the exports couldn't have just described the thing they were making into a .png via CSS (as the HTML export also had style information). Hitting the .PDF with so many tools reminded me of the process by which the make-up of atomic nuclei was determined: hitting those nuclei with other particles at greater and greater energies and looking at the results.
As I did these things, I let YouTube play endless clips of Live PD, the show where cameras accompany cops on their rounds. (It's like the older show Cops, though it tried to also be live for some of the segments, a characteristic that doesn't interest me at all. Our friend Jeff — of Jeff and Alana — worked as a cameraman for a similar show that followed paramedics around doing what they do.)

In the early afternoon, Powerful and I rode our bikes north about a quarter mile up Dug Hill Road a few houses to check out an odd Friday yard sale by the closer of the two McMansions at either end of a Y-shaped driveway. One of the people in one of those houses is a state trooper, and someone had signs up supporting the candidacy of Donald Trump back in 2016. I told this to Powerful as we approached, saying there would probably be gun stuff.
Somewhat surprisingly, one of the guys at the yard sale immediately knew who I was, and mentioned that our new neighbors (the people who bought the Schneller patriarch's house — our "downhill neighbors") had visited the yard sale. I didn't recognize anyone there, though I suppose they'd seen me going to the mailbox a few times over the previous eighteen years. As expected, there were some gun supplies and a fair number of fishing poles, as well as a few electric pumps and motors that vaguely interested me. Meanwhile there was nothing Powerful wanted, and I also had the vague sense that an African American was automatically regarded as suspicious by at least the older people present. I wouldn't've bought anything at all had there not been an intriguing four-person collapsible picnic table that folded down to a size I could carry in one hand while biking back home. They said I could have it for $10, so I fished a Hamilton out of my wallet and handed it over. As we were leaving, several Indian women dressed in sarees arrived to look over the sale. They were even more out of place on Hurley Mountain than Powerful.

After returning from the yard sale and showing the origami picnic table to Gretchen, my boss Alex called to have me talk him through how letters are stored in this app we're having the Ukranians build. He seemed agitated at first, but I'm always a calming, humorous person for him to talk to, and today he actually said that talking to me was like talking to a therapist.

This evening Gretchen and I decided to take advantage of one of the few warm evenings remaining to go on a date night, since the pandemic is going to keep us from eating inside a restaurant any time soon. Gretchen had baked cupcakes for our new downhill neighbors, so we stopped by there on our way to Woodstock to drop them off. But our new neighbors weren't there, and the house itself looked like it was undergoing a certain amount of pre-move-in preparation. (Meanwhile Crazy Dave and his dogs are still living in the cabin nearby; perhaps they are on a lease that gives them more time.)
We would be doing dinner in Woodstock, where the most obvious place to dine is the Garden Café. Ever since they started frequently featuring a vegetable quesadilla on their special menu, my enjoyment of that place has increased. They also have the best outdoor dining experience in central Hudson region, which is important while it's foolish to dine indoors. But recently Gretchen heard good things about Sylvia, an upscale restaurant with possible vegan-friendly options across the street from Catskill Mountain Pizza (in a location formerly known as Joyous Lake, where Gretchen reportedly made out with a bartender in the months before I reappeared in her life). But when Gretchen called Sylvia, the waitlist for outdoors was at least two hours long. So we ended up at the Garden as always. (We had the dogs with us, but Sylvia has a dog-friendly patio.)
Over dinner, Gretchen and I talked so much about the Supreme Court that a guy eavesdropping at a nearby table chimed in a few times while his date was off powdering her nose. He was generally in agreement with us about political matters but seemed to think Sandra Day O'Connor had been a great justice. I had to remind him that she cast a legally-dubious vote with majority in the case of Bush vs. Gore in 2000. Gretchen had recently told me that the prospect of Trump being able to appoint Ruth Bader Ginsberg's replacement has left her "without hope." To this I'd tried to reaassure her that Trump had also destroyed America's ability to lead the world, which might be enough of a good thing to compensate for all the terrible things he's done. This evening over dinner, Gretchen seemed to find hope in how terrible the new Supreme Court would be, given that how the decisions they would be making would clash violently with the preferences of increasingly left-tilted populace. That, she thought, could cause a reckoning that would ultimately point the country in a better direction.
As we were trying to leave, Gretchen noticed some people she knew and started chatting with them as I steered Ramona out to the street, hurrying her past a little dog she wanted to attack. Gretchen is the way she is, and I knew her socializing would take awhile, so I took Ramona across the street to sniff around the village green. Eventually, though I got sick of waiting and returned to the front of the Garden Café. When I saw Neville approaching through the shadows, I took that as a good sign. But then Gretchen ran across Kacey, the child-free vegan neighbor from across the street. She was dining with her Senegalese boyfriend, the one who thinks the Hudson Valley in intimidatingly redneck. He had a good sense of humor, chuckling about how he wasn't surprised when Gretchen told him about how the Senegalese diaspora in New Paltz have "quite a community." He asked me if I'm also vegan, and actually was surprised to hear that I was. "Gretchen makes it easy," I elaborated. He said he wasn't vegan "yet," which Gretchen took as another sign of hope.
Back at the house, Gretchen and I watched a Jeopardy! and a Barry, though we paused it when Powerful got in. He'd been as Hasbrouck House with Natalie watching Mulan. It being a fairly recent movie on one of the last warm evenings of the season, Hasbrouck House's outdoor movie venue had been crowded, perhaps a bit too much for a completely safe experience during a respiratory pandemic. The Hasbrouck people have also added plastic flats to the tent to better contain heat from the heat lamps, which makes it a little less like outdoors than would be ideal. Another problem with there being so many people there tonight was that the staff of the grill couldn't keep up with all the orders, and Powerful didn't get his burger until two thirds of the way through the movie.


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