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:
   serious mask wearing at the Gloversville Walmart
Friday, December 24 2021

location: 800 feet west of Woodworth Lake, Fulton County, NY

About two inches of snow had fallen overnight, leading me to wonder if I was trapped at the cabin until Nate came to plow me out. I had what I needed to survive there for a good many days, but I also wanted to be back in Hurely for Christmas, assuming Gretchen wasn't actually infected with coronavirus. Whether or not I could get out was entirely dependent on how, precisely, the Prius performed in snow.
Meanwhile, the woodstove was acting cursed. The mistake was my having loaded some of the damp wood I'd collected yesterday evening, and once that was in there, and killed the buzz of any subsequent wood I tried to load. The only solution to this problem is burning lots of cardboard, but I didn't have enough room in the firebox left for much of that.
At some point I went down to the basement, cranked up my tunes (originally Arch Enemy, but then a "tard-rock" classic rock station) and ripped a two-by-four in half to make supports for a shelf in the closet under the stairs to the basement. This shelf ended up being a piece of scrap plywood cut to size, and the use for this shelf was to hold all the cabin's tool battery rechargers, immitating a successful setup in the laundry room in the house back in Hurley. Another small project was to remove the cheap wire shelving unit in the closet of the smaller first-floor bedroom, with the goal of eventually replacing that with three proper wooden shelves.

But I never got that far. In the early afternoon, I started straightening up my mess, and well before 4:00pm, I loaded the dogs into the Prius and attempted to drive out to civilization. Though I hadn't shoveled the driveway, which is steep and curving where it leaves the cabin, the Prius had no trouble climbing to the driveway's highest height. And from there I knew it was all downhill to Gloversville/Johnstown. Out on Woodworth Lake Road, I saw that Nate had already begun to plow, but only up to the nearby antenna tower. Evidently their contract with him calls for more frequent plowing that whatever our verbal agreement with him amounts to.
At this point I have enough sense of the local geography to think I can navigate without the assistance of GPS. I wanted to do some Christmas shopping at the Gloversville Walmart, and thought I could find my way there by taking State Street into Gloversville. From State, I turned south on Main, drove right through the center of downtown Gloversville, and then ended up, somewhat unexpectedly, on N. Perry Street in Johnstown. Since that is part of my usual route out to the Thruway, I knew where to go from there, which in this case meant driving north on Comrie. It was all a little out of the way, but I'm still learning how all these places fit together.
I was happy to see in the Walmart that nearly everyone was wearing a mask, even if some didn't quite know what the goal of mask wearing is. If the Gloversville-Johnstown Walmart-shopping demographic is wearing masks, it really doesn't leave much room in our society for mask refuseniks. I can't believe that all this mask wearing is the result of the recently-restored mask mandate; surely some of this is the result of people who hadn't been afraid of covid now suddenly taking its omicron variant seriously.
My main goal in the Walmart was to buy a gift for Powerful. He already has everything he could possibly need as a recovering heart transplant patient, but the goal here was ideally to get him something that would make him want to stretch his ambition a little. Initially the safe gift would've been a bluetooth speaker, as you can never have too many of those. But then I saw a much better a gift: a multi-mode/multi-color ring light. This is essential equipment for anyone who wants to make YouTube videos without recording distractingly-terrible videos of his or her face. Not only would such a light be a great gift for Powerful, it would be a great gift for Gretchen as well, who, given all her virtual poetry readings and recordings she makes of herself reading poetry, needs a ring light much more than Powerful does. So I grabbed two of them.
I drank a road beer on the drive out to the Thruway, which gave me a violent need to piss somewhere south of Saugerties. Usually by that point in the drive I just want to drive home, but this time I couldn't wait. So I stopped, for perhaps the first time ever, at the Ulster Rest Area. Much of the grassy area in the back of this rest area has been fenced off for some reason, but there was a strip in the back with some trees, and it was behind one of those where I felt comfortable opening the tiny sphincter at the base of my ureter. Ramona, who had been stinking up the car with farts, eventually took a shit, which is always a good thing for a dog to do at a rest area.
Gretchen doesn't really drink alcohol any more, but she'd just discovered that Baileys makes a vegan cream liquor product called Almande, and said she might like that as a present "for Baby Jesus Day." So after getting off the Thruway in Kingston, I drove to JK Liquors at the Kingston Plaza (in Uptown), where a friendly Christmas Eve employee showed me directly to the Baileys area. I got a bottle of Almande and (for Powerful) a bottle of Presidential Port, thinking it would be good as a semi-gag gift given that it resembles blood and he just required a blood transfusion. (Also, I don't know of any medical reason Powerful can't drink alcohol, though it probably conflicts with at least one of the pharmacopia of medications he takes.) JK was offering free gift wrapping, which I took advantage of. Unfortunately for the young women doing the "free" wrapping, I had zero cash in my wallet so I couldn't put anything in their tip jar. I felt kind of bad about it, but then again, it's 2021 and who (except Boomers) reliably walks around with cash in their wallets?
Back at the house, Powerful was hanging out on the living room couch and Gretchen was in the kitchen making minestrone soup from scratch. Because she was still uncertain of her coronavirus status, she was wearing a mask. That soup turned out to be one of the most delicious soups I've ever eaten.
In addition to the gifts I'd bought for Gretchen and Powerful, I'd also been making gifts in my usual way: painting tiny pictures. I'd painted a largish tiny picture of Gretchen holding Kim's (Ray's brother's) dog Hurricane (aka "Harry") and wasn't completely happy with it, as it left Gretchen looking like she might be mentally challenged. But I didn't want to keep hacking away at the face because I seemed to be making it worse. I then painted a smaller painting of Powerful from a selfie he took while standing in Black Lives Matter Plaza (near the White House in Washington, DC) back in October of 2020. I did the whole painting in about ten minutes and it was pretty much perfect.

The unsatisfying painting of Gretchen.

The original photo it is based on.

The satisfying painting of Powerful.

The original photo it is based on.

On the small chance that Gretchen had coronavirus, she slept out on the couch while I slept in our bed with just the dogs (though I think Ramona tried to sleep with Gretchen for awhile).

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