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:
   Powerful's own apartment
Sunday, September 18 2022

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

As expected, I awoke in the middle of the night with a pounding heart and cartoonish pulsing hallucinations. These overnight cannabis experiences have a strongly sexual component, though, as with everything cannabis related, it wants to be pondered. In these situations, I've been thinking a lot about how lust completely trumps embarrassment, and does so well before things get hot and heavy. I remember the first time I locked eye contact with someone for what should've been an uncomfortably long time, it was on something of a date in the very earliest part of my sex life. We were at Oberlin attending a classical music concert and our eyes locked. But it was not embarrassing or even uncomfortable. Things happened slowly in that relationship, and we didn't make out for another month or so. But together we went through a series of situations where one of us should've been embarrassed but just wasn't, such as the time she sat across the Harkness lounge in a miniskirt smiling at me with wide open legs for what seemed like a half hour. Or the time we were cuddling (no kissing quite yet!) and I had an enormous erection in my trousers that I made no effort to conceal.

All that lying awake staring up at the ceiling with waves of stonedness washing over me meant that I didn't get enough sleep, and so this morning when I got out of bed, I felt like I was wearing a weight belt. It was a hangover of a sort, but the main effect was full-body weakness. Nevertheless, Gretchen and I Queen Bee'd again playing Spelling Bee, and then I went outside to do more work on my stone projects, focusing mostly on the narrow branch of the front entrance path that now goes past the north end of the cabin to become the beginning of the lake trail.
It had been disappointingly cloudy yesterday and Gretchen had been unable to swim. But today initially it seemed like it might be sunny, so Gretchen walked down to the lake with high hopes. But then clouds rolled in and, without the sun, it just seemed too damn cold for swimming.
I soon transitioned to working on the 240 volt romex cable burying project, which has languished for a month or more as I worked on the various bluestone projects. I'd left the cable coming out of the ground near the base of a tree close to the east end of our huge thousand-gallon propane tank, but I didn't want it still exposed there when the propane tank is swapped out next week (necessary as part of our switch to a new propane provider). The problem now was that the cable was entering the woods, where there would be lots of tree roots in the way. Initially I thought I'd just cut through them. But undisturbed roots serve a valuable purpose when shallowly burying things like pipes and roots, and in the past I've actually threaded such things under intact roots (both on the various greenhouse projects and the woodshed wiring project). Here, though, I had over 200 feet of romex to run, and feeding all of that under each root in the way would mean a lot of pulling, even if I was willing to cut through (that is, ignore) the smaller roots. Another issue was how best to organize all the wire after it was pulled through so that it wouldn't immediately tangle into a massive knot. While listening to the local oldies station, I managed to advance the cable around ten feet, getting it past the vicinity of the propane tank. I then labled a piece of lumber with a "buried cable" message so the propane people wouldn't think to dig where I'd run it.
All that work had me feeling hungry, and we still had those chicken of the woods mushrooms I'd cooked up on Thursday and then decided I didn't much like. But when I wrapped little pinches of it up in an uncooked soft corn taco, it was perfectly good, and I was sad I didn't have more.
Still feeling sweaty and gross from all that cable pulling, I walked down to the lake with hopes of maybe going swimming. Gretchen was still down there, and she said she'd been swimming, but that the water had definitely become colder. I put my feet into the water and decided it was too cold for me to do any swimming. So instead I fetched one of the kayaks and went paddling around in the outlet bay. While I was out on the water, I landed at the point along the shoreline where our parcel borders Joel's parcel, and looked unsuccessfully for some sort of survey stake. (Evidently the boundary over there was never surveyed.) While there, I found a large hemlock tree that had apparently grown up in the open and was, I noted, very easy to climb. Some day I could put some sort of solar-powered surveillance bot up in its crown. Another interesting thing I found was the remains of some sort of wooden structure that once might've bridged the rocky islands in the mouth of the outlet bay to the lake's north shore.

Back at the cabin, the clouds continued piling in and eventually it began to rain and even thunder. This was our first weekend since spring where there hadn't been enough sun to charge our Chevy Bolt enough to get back to Hurley, but it wouldn't be a problem. We could just run the generator and charge it at 30 amps, since any gas we didn't use would be lost to us forever. To make even more extravagant use of our remaining gas, Gretchen ran another load of laundry and took a shower, while I took a bath. (The heat-pump-based hot water tank was using gas indirectly in the form of electricity from the generator).

We started our drive back homeward from the cabin began about 7:00pm. But instead of driving straight back to Hurley, we stopped in Albany on the way to visit Powerful, taking a weird and unnecessarily complicated route parallel to the Thruway just because Google suggested it. Powerful is now living in his own apartment near Washington Park, a place temporarily subsidized by the Bard Prison Initiative. Powerful showed us his place on the second floor of a nice old brownstone. It looked to be a good place, with a bedroom, a living room, a small kitchen area, and a bathroom, though it was a little weird that one had to walk through the bathroom to get to the bedroom. Powerful had somehow managed to get a good amount of nice antique furniture, though his bed was a tiny one of the size one gets in a college dorm, though there was a nice semi-alcove for it.
Gretchen wanted us to all have dinner together, but, it being after 8:00pm, there weren't a whole lot of options. She drove us to Mamoun's Falafel, but they only had takeout because they're apparently still in pandemic mode. After briefly considering the Curry Leaf (a sketchy-looking Indian restaurant) and finding almost nothing open on the usually-bustling Lark Street, we ended up at Herbie's Burgers. It was kind of gross in there, but they made their own vegan burger patties using a falafel-like mix (they have non-vegan options as well) with a custom sauce, pickles, tomatoes, and other lovely things. The burgers aren't big but they're very good. The fries are thin-cut and the portions a little too generous given my apparently weak appetite. For some reason we all ordered vegan milk shakes (this might've been the first milk shake I'd ever ordered). Gretchen loved the milkshakes (she tried all three of the different flavors we'd bought), but I thought the banana one I'd ordered was cloying and unappetizing. Over dinner, Powerful told us all about his new employer, a non-profit working on various social issues related to criminal justice reform, urban food deserts, and the like. From the sound of things, Powerful is now the boss of several people without being full briefed on what exactly he does, though I suppose lots of jobs begin this way. Since Powerful has yet to get a paycheck, Gretchen paid for our dinner (which was surprisingly cheap).
Back at the house in Hurley, some varmints had apparently been feasting on cat or dog food we'd stored in the wide-open garage, and the dogs went nuts about it, as if the varmints might be hiding under some of crap we need to get rid of. I was soon in a foul mood after stepping in cat puke while trying to help Gretchen make the bed (whose sheets were among the things Gretchen had washed at the cabin). Often on Sunday nights I just want to be by myself, and this feeling was aggravated by a need to poop. Eventually I took care of that and went down to the greenhouse to sleep. It's so great to have that option, one I rarely used until I convalesced with covid down there back in May.

The bluestone at the west end of the path to the cabin's front door, showing the lengthening stub of the "lake path." Click to enlarge.

The stone patio as it looks after the work I did yesterday. You can see some of the wildflowers Gretchen planted back in the spring near the well head. Click to enlarge.

Anti-erosion measures beside the stone steps down to the part of the lake path that goes through the woods. Click to enlarge.

For linking purposes this article's URL is:

previous | next