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:
   driving a car with a marginal automatic transmission
Tuesday, June 22 2021
Early this afternoon, Gretchen and I drove down to old Hurley so I could finally deal with the Subaru, which had been parked in the public lot since I began my long, unexpected dog walk on Saturday. There was a light rain falling (a continuation of rains that had begun last night) and Gretchen was talking to Dina (in Tel Aviv) on her phone. The plan was to add autmatic transmission fluid to the Subaru and then attempt to drive it to Sharp Transmissions Total Car Care, a transmission repair place on Ulster Avenue. To do this, I'd brought a funnel modified with a tube to increase the length of its neck. Even with that, adding fluid wasn't easy, and I spilled a fair amount in the process. When I wanted to tell Gretchen what we were going to do next, her brain was in Tel Aviv even if her body was in the Chevy Bolt in Old Hurley. I asked if maybe she could be "present," and ended the call with Dina. (The problem with talking to people while they are on the phone is that they really don't process what is said. They also tend to make more mistakes even when doing routine chores from muscle memory.) I noticed the front passenger-side tire was low, so my first destination was to the Stewarts to get some air. The car was definitely driveable, at least for the time being. But not knowing how soon the transmission fluid was leaking out, I didn't want to spend any more time waiting than I had to. So when there was a slot in the traffic on US 209, I jumped out into it even though Gretchen wouldn't be able to follow.
The Subaru accelerated fine and I was soon driving at highway speed on US 209, though I was feeling anxious from the fragile nature of the car I was driving. I could also see smoke billowing behind me as the transmission fluid dripped on the exhaust system and burned away. At one point I swerved to avoid hitting a bird that had abandoned all caution to land on the roadway directly in front of me, but I soon saw why: there was another bird of that same species lying still near the center line. How sad; I was probably watching a bird mourning the loss of his or her mate and not all that concerned at that moment with self preservation.
The Subaru made it all the way to Route 28, but just before the traffic circle, I had the problem where the engine was revving without transferring power to the wheels, indicating that the transmission fluid I'd just added had already drained out. So I pulled over and added some more. I kept expecting Gretchen to show up behind me, but unbeknownst to me she'd driven out to Enterprise Drive to get to the transmission shop from the north. Going that way would've required going up a steep hill, which I didn't think I'd be able to do. The route I was on was nearly flat.
By now I was out of transmission fluid, so when the car started experiencing transmission slipping where I-587 meets Broadway, I just had to make the car drive. With some revving, the Subaru was able to move, though I wouldn't've wanted to try to drive it up hill. By stopping as little as possible on Albany Avenue, I managed to get out to Sharp Transmissions, where Gretchen was waiting for me. Sharp Transmissions seemed like an old-school mom & pop garage, and I felt good leaving the car there. I joking told the guy at the desk that if they wanted to ball the car up like a piece of tin foil, that was fine with me. As we drove away in the Bolt, the Subaru was still smoking from all the fluid that had leaked onto the exhaust system.
After Gretchen returned the old Nissan Leaf plates at the DMV, Gretchen and I went in search of a place to have lunch. Unfortunately, it seems that Outdated is now only open Fridays through Mondays, so that wasn't an option. And the Greek place we'd never dined at didn't suit my mood. So we ended up at Yum Yum, both of us eating dumplings and then Korean tofu tacos made with bibimbap sauce (since they were out of Vegenaise). As we ate, Gretchen told me about a form of veganism wherein the adherent takes something called "the Liberation Pledge," which is to refuse to eat food at a table where animal products are being consumed. If such a person sits at a table with people eating meat or drinking milk, he or she will not drink or eat anything. The idea is to avoid normalizing the consumption of animal products. It seemed a little extreme to me, and I said I doubted I could make the Liberation Pledge. Gretchen said she wasn't sure she could either, although it would solve the discomfort of going to weddings and finding yourself sitting across the table from someone eating the lamb.
Before we left Uptown Kingston, Gretchen and I stood in the drizzle waiting for a guy in a tiny storefront called "the Lunchbox" to make us some wraps and such to go, which we would be having later for dinner.

The day was so cold and dreary that it seemed like ideal summer conditions for taking a bath. Unfortunately, I'd forgotten about my latest issue of Nuts & Bolts, which would've been perfect bathtub reading material.

Originally Gretchen had plans for going to an election returns party in Woodstock. Bennett, the boyfriend of the woman who co-owns the bookstore, was running for Woodstock town board, and Gretchen thought the party would be great fun. But for some reason she watched teevee and then read a book in the living room as if she'd decided not to go. So I climbed in bed as I always do, though it was too late by then to take my usual Tuesday night diphenhydramine. Then suddenly Gretchen remembered the party and even indicated she might still want to go. But it was too late for me, so we stayed home like the middle-aged couple we are. Bennett ended up winning his spot on the board.

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