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").



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   Thanksgiving 2020
Thursday, November 26 2020
It being Thanksgiving, Gretchen and I treated the day like a Saturday, complete with a fire and the group solving of the New York Times Spelling Bee, one of whose panagrams today was "nonroyalty." Gretchen drank a french press of decaf, though I decided to forgo all caffeine today. At some point I looked up from my computer and saw a coyote walking from behind the woodshed and then down the mountain goat trail towards the Stick Trail. I told Gretchen and she got to see him as well as he proceeded across the Stick Trail and then down the escarpment into the Chamomile gorge. He was about the size of Neville and had an interesting coat that was almost brindle and was perfect camouflage against the fallen leaves. This was only the third time I'd seen a live coyote since moving to the area over eighteen years ago. I'd never seen one from within the house before; the only others I'd seen had been one crossing Wynkoop Road and one on the Canary Hill Overlook Trail more than a mile southeast of the house.

The day started late, and Gretchen and Powerful spent most of what remained preparing food in the kitchen. I went outside to do occasional firewood processing. The weather was unseasonably warm (with temperatures in the 50s), and it would've been a good day to get the outdoor WiFi router on the greenhouse ("Cricket") functionining again. But then I saw that the plastic bucket design to shelter it from the rain had a hole and a crack in it, probably after being rendered brittle by the sun and being hit by a falling stick. I'd painted it in hopes of protecting it from ultraviolet light, but the plastic looked like the bad radiation had destroyed it anyway. As I was working, the new downhill neighbor Neil shouted hello. He was jogging by on Dug Hill Road and wanted to tell me that he'd gotten himself a battery-powered chainsaw and it was "so much fun."
Thanksgiving began at 4:00pm, with us sitting down at the dining room table as usual, but with a laptop "sitting" at the west end. This allowed us to share Thanksgiving with the family in both Fayetteville, Arkansas and the Watergate in Washington, DC. The coronavirus pandemic is completely out of control, and yet many people had decided to have a traditional Thanksgiving. The only good that could come of that would be the handing out of Darwin Awards, and people in our family were determined not to even get nominated for those. (The sharply partisan differences in response to coronavirus between liberals and conservatives has me wondering if the ongoing sorting will continue even further, with perhaps some supermarkets and bowling alleys catering to science-denying authoritarians while others cater to those trying to stay healthy and avoid spreading the disease.)
I'd thought the idea of eating while in a video conference would be a terrible idea, but it actually worked fairly well. The sound on the laptop we were using wasn't very loud, but nothing all that interesting was being said. At some point my brother-in-law joined his kids in the performance of some music, since that would've been what he would've done had we all been together. But the instruments came through terribly and the whole thing was kind of a diaster that we nevertheless applauded as though it had been awesome. Later in the chat, though, our niece gave us a video tour of their Arkansas home, which is something of a McMansion (it even has a pot-filling spigot over the stove). This led Gretchen to do a video tour of parts of our house, including the new bathtub and the disaster that the laboratory has become.
As for the food, it was mostly brown comfort food. We had faux turkey cutlets, home-fry potatoes, a not-very-good (though enormous) nut roast, shredded brussel sprouts, and two different trays of mac & cheese (one done Black-style by Powerful; it contained a lot of vegan egg replacer, and I made mistake of eating some).
Sarah the Vegan showed up at our house just as we were winding down the family Zoom chat. She would've probably been at our house for the whole thing, but then at the last minute Gretchen and I thought we might have to go to Staunton, so Sarah made other plans. By this point, we'd moved on to dessert, which I actually had some room for. Gretchen had made a weird pumpkin-spice icream that I found unexpectedly amazing. But there were also two pies: pumpkin and cherry.
At 7:30pm, we had a second Zoom call, this time with the Brooklyn people whose Thanksgivings we'd gone to in past years. I set up the technology and made a brief appearance, but then hung out with Sarah and Powerful in the living room. By this point I'd taken diphenhydramine and was drinking scotch, and even I could tell I was fucked up. [Powerful would mention how fucked-up I would seem "after going upstairs and getting whatever you got in the laboratory" the next morning.]


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