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
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Like my brownhouse:
   Donald Trump loses
Saturday, November 7 2020
This morning Gretchen went to meet our friend Jasmin at Poet's Walk. Jasmin would be bringing her dogs, rescue chihuahuas with various genetic problems, and since Ramona is generally bad with unknown dogs, Gretchen left ours back at the house. I later took them on a walk up the Chamomile Headwaters Trail and then, via a shortcut, over to the Stick Trail. It was another beautiful warm sunny day, and I was wearing shorts and a teeshirt, with my sockless feet in my trusty old black Crocs, which date back to the early days of that brand. As I approached the stone wall, I heard womens' voices coming from down the ravine. One of these voices probably belonged to our new downhill neighbor and the other belonged to what I took to be one of her adult female friends. I sat down some distance away and watched them approach the wall, and I could hear them talking about it was nice to have landmarks. At that point I melted away, because I was in no mood to do the friendly neighbor thing.
Back at the house, I had it all to myself, so I decided to take a nice morning bath. I'd had a bit of a hangover, and this seemed to melt it away. It also helped that I'd started drinking kratom tea. I'd decided to forgo all caffeine today as well as, possibly, tomorrow.
Gretchen returned in the late morning, and I made her a french press of decaf while I continued drinking kratom tea and hitting refresh on the news sites. Eventually said the networks had called the race for Biden. I quickly went to and the headline proclaiming the news was in the largest typeface the Times uses. Over at, the top headline was still about how Biden was gaining on Trump. Seconds later, though, a refresh of the page had Biden defeating Trump. Even Trumnp-friendly was running with this headline. For lols, I went to, a sycophantic "news" site seemingly tailor-made for Trump, and they were obstinately not calling the race. Or maybe they were still going with Trump's ludicrous claim of victory from Wednesday morning.
There wasn't any immediate evidence of celebration in our neighborhood, but it was definitely happening on Facebook. Word was that cars were honking in the People's Republic of Rosendale. At one point I got out my megaphone and did a spoken-word version of "Ding Dong the Witch Is Dead" as Gretchen and Powerful were heading off on another dog walk down the Farm Road. [REDACTED]

Gretchen and I had decided to go on a date today, and by this morning Gretchen had thought it might be best to do it as a "lupper" (in the mid-afternoon). That would put it in a warmer part of the day, though this day was so warm it would hardly matter. Somewhat apologetically, she suggested we go to Diamond Mills, the fancy place in Saugerties, where there would be good vegan and outdoor dining options. That sounded fine to me. So we drove there in the Nissan Leaf.
Waiting to get a seat, we stood behind a group of ladies who all looked and talked like they'd just arrived from New Jersey. This was precisely the demographic we expected to see at Diamond Mills. When shown to our table inside a structure somewhat sheltered from the wind, Gretchen noticed a better table just outside this structure, on the terrace overlooking the dam across the Esopus that used to power the mill (it made paper). The hostess said sure, we could have that table instead. The next table over had extroverted (and possibly intoxicated) woman who sounded like she was from Long Island. She immediately brought up Biden's victory as a cause for celebration, having correctly read us as not being Trumpies. We looked around at the others there and it was hard to tell who was celebrating and who was drowning their sorrows. In any case, we were in a magnificent spot above the lower Esopus, which is something of a rocky gorge, a feature that made the dam (and the mill) possible. The chonky colors and sprays of autumnal colors made the landscape look like something Cezanne would've wanted to paint, though the buildings atop the cliffs (where neighborhoods of Saugerties continued) looked more like Pittsburgh, Gretchen thought.
Service was a slow at first, but when it came, we ordered fancy cocktails, a fried tofu appetizer, and two Impossible Burgers. The cocktails were good and came in the kind of glasses one wants to drink them from. We took the opportunity to take photos for our social media feeds, which were running over with heart-shaped reactions of relief to Trump's loss.
The first time our burgers came out, they had cheese on them even though we'd been promised they'd be vegan. The next time they came out, they were both cheeseless and bunless. Wow, were they really failing this bad at what vegan means? The third try produced burgers we could eat. But they'd been charred so badly that Gretchen felt the need to scrape the carbonized layer off hers. Mine seemed very, well, dry and salty. I felt kind of uncomfortable after eating it. They'd come with fries, but they were the kind served at fancy restaurants, which, for some reason, must always be a little limp. As for the fried tofu dish, it was a lot of food and was pretty good, if a bit sweet for us. We decided to save most of it and bring it back for Powerful, who likes that sort of thing.
I drank my cocktail fast enough for Gretchen to bring up my drinking of late, which she seems to think is excessive. I agreed that it might be and that I have trouble stopping once I start. As if to demonstrate this, I ordered a second alcoholic beverage, a Belgian Hoegaarden, since Diamond Mills only had one mediocre IPA: Goose Island. As an explanation for why I like to drink, I offered that it helps me deal with anxiety. As you know, Gretchen and I have rather different psychological set points, with mine being towards anxiety and hers being towards depression.
After our mediocre meal, we went for a stroll through the central business district of Saugerties, marveling as we did at the many beautiful façades and ducking into a few stores. The first of these was a Latino market, where Gretchen got a chance to speak a little Spanish to the cashier, though he quickly switched to English. He said most of his customers had been positive about the Biden victory, which was still playing out on a big teevee on the wall. Given the temperature and lighting, it felt like 8:30pm in July. But it was 4:30pm in November. That's the beauty of eating lupper on a warm day in a cold month.
After getting some stuff at the Mother Earth health food store and cluing some young women in on where they might get vegan food (they asked!), we drove back to Kingston to see if there was any celebration happening on the streets there. But things seemed quiet there.
Back at the house, it felt like 10:00pm but it was only a little after 5:00. We hung out in the living room with a reluctant fire in the woodstove, doing what we would've done on a Saturday morning had Gretchen not had to go to Poet's Walk.
Eventually we watched the Kamala Harris-Joe Biden victory speech on the upstairs television. It was given at some sort of outdoor venue where people could show up in their vehicles as a way to promote coronavirus-pandemic-related social distancing. I kept thinking as I watched that there was no way the attendees could be properly screened. If you can drive a car into a venue, you can get a gun or a bomb in too. Nothing bad happened, though Biden did flinch when the confetti explosives fired. Amusingly, Judy Woodruff never figured out that the technology producing perfect illuminated displays in the sky in front of the fireworks was an array of drones. She said at one point that a drone display would be coming, unaware that we'd been seeing the drone displays from the beginning.

The view up the lower Esopus from Diamond Mills. Click to enlarge.

With our cocktails at Diamond Mills, overlooking the lower Esopus. This is a mirror image. Click to enlarge.

Gretchen at Diamond Mills. Click to enlarge.

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