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:
   sunset over the Ashokan
Thursday, May 25 2023
At noon today, I went to Uptown again mostly just to get sunflower seeds, since the ones I'd bought at Home Depot and planted weeks ago had all failed to germinate. I'm having a terrible time getting plants to grow from seeds this year; all the cannabis seeds I started failed as well, perhaps a consequence of how multi-generationally imbred they are. This time I bought packets of "mammoth" sunflowers from two different brands just to increase my chances of seeing the national flower or Ukraine (and the state flower of Kansas) some time this summer.
While I was in Herzogs, I also bought a beautiful Fiskars-branded machete with a straight blade on one side and saw teeth on the other. (My experience at the cabin is teaching me the value of a good machete, though a good hatchet is important as well.) I also bought two different kinds of gardening gloves and a tray of six broccoli plants (since we need to get the garden going at some point, they didn't have any kale or lettuce, and I don't think it's time to plant tomatoes or peppers yet).
While I was in the area, I also stopped at Walgreens to get a 96 count box of generic pseudoephedrine. It being the lunch hour, I was surprised to be the only one in line at the prescription counter. Another woman showed up soon behind me; she was an old lady wearing a mask. Particularly in the supermarket, I still see plenty of people wearing masks well over three years into the covid pandemic, though at this point I only wear one when I'm landlording in the apartment of the tenant we have who is battling cancer.

After work today, Gretchen and I drove out to Bearsville to dine at the Bear Cantina, our favorite high-end 1980s-style Mexican restaurant. (Technically, it may be the only high-end 1980s-style Mexican restaurant.) What makes it high end is the great vegan options (I got the vegan enchiladas made with Impossible "hamburger") and Gretchen got the Impossible tacos. She didn't tell them not to give her guacamole so I would have extra, which is the new way we do things there. But in scraping off all the guacamole, I ended up taking so much of her vegan crema that she asked for a side of it. It was a little chilly for this time of year, but we sat outside along the creek, not far from a seemingly crazy woman who was dining alone. We mostly talked about what I planned to do on an upcoming trip to my childhood home. But "planning" isn't something I really do. I'd had Gretchen get me rooms at an AirBnB, and I'd reached out to a couple friends to see what they were doing, and that was it. The idea of meeting a lawyer to talk about my mother's situation, which Gretchen thinks I should do, really doesn't appeal to me at all. I told Gretchen that I've given up on inheriting anything at all from my mother. Our whole relationship, I reminded Gretchen, was mostly about her denying me things and me having to be resourceful to deal with the negelect. And our biggest fight ever was about me supposedly "taking" something of trivial value from her.
Near the end of the meal, I mentioned that the habañero hot sauce at the Bear Cantina is probably the best such sauce I've ever had. Gretchen thought we should offer to buy a bottle for $10, so as we were leaving, we went to the bar and talked to the man who actually makes it. He said we could just have the partial bottle our waitress had put on our table, and then he proceeded to tell us in great detail how he makes it. It involved a lot of cooking things down and simmering. The hot sauce contains things like serrano pepper, celery, carrots, and mango, along with habañero peppers.
On the drive back home, Gretchen wanted to show me something. So she stopped at small parking space along the west side of Basin Road (41.990325N, 74.088804W) and we climbed over a gate blocking access to the Ashokan Reservoir (this was technically trespassing, since only people with the proper permits are allowed to do anything in and around the reservoir, a key part of New York City's water supply). From there, walked through a patch of forest and then along the top of a large earthen dike built to limit the northeastward expanse of the reservoir. This dike evidently leaks, though, because there is a chain of wetlands on the other side of it. At this particular moment in time, the reservoir is at an unusually high level, flooding areas containing large trees (which can be seen as an archipelago of sand-ringed islands in the Google satellite view). We walked most of the way to the trailhead of a new rail-trail running along the north shore of the reservoir, passing a single grazing Canada goose and an enormous amount of goose shit along the way. The views along here were beautiful and, because I'd never been there before, completely new to me.
We returned to our car and continued driving homeward along the top of the big curving dike under dike road, which is the place from which we normally see the reservoir. This evening we happened to be there during the four or so minutes when the sun was setting. Three or four cars ahead of us has simply come to a stop on in the middle of the road, since there is no shoulder to get off onto. So we stopped as well and even got out of our car. Another car behind us did the same. But then some asshole cop showed up behind that car and started flashing his lights and even goosed his siren to produce a bark of audible authority. (Is this what he comes by to do every sunset?) So we got back in our car and the line of cars slowly started to roll forward. The sunset was mostly over by then anyway.

Looking west from dike along the northeast end of Ashokan Reservoir on the path Gretchen showed me this evening. Click to enlarge.

Looking southwest. Note all the flooded trees. You can see the dike that Dike Road runs atop in the distance just right of the middle of the horizon. Click to enlarge.

Sunset behind the Catskills from Dike Road. Click to enlarge.

Cars stopped in the lane to watch the sunset from Dike Road. Click to enlarge.

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