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:
   it renders its driver temporarily car-less
Friday, June 2 2023

location: unit #4, 201 North Madison Street, Staunton, Virginia

Fridays are pretty quiet in the remote workplace, and after the morning standup, I usually don't have anything specific I need to do. I made myself another bagel sandwich featuring guacamole, crunchy lettuce, red onion, and a faux chicken patty. And then I gradually started getting all my stuff together so I could check out of my AirBnB before 11:00am.
I decided to leave a key to a safety deposit key I'd found in the clutter of my childhood home at Creekside for Joy Tarder to pick up. There's supposedly a safety deposit box at the bank formerly known as Planters Bank, and if we're lucky it will have Don's birth certificate in it. Don didn't answer the door when I knocked, so I hid the key somewhere for Joy Tarder to find.
The next phase of my Virginia trip was to take place in Charlottesville, and, since there is no ElectrifyAmerica charger near there, I needed to do a lot of charging at the Staunton Walmart before I drove over the Blue Ridge. Initially the plan was to start charging and then find a place in the Walmart where I could sit with my laptop and maybe get some things done. But Walmart is not set up for hanging out, at least not he Staunton one. It has an indoor restaurant, but it's a Subway that doesn't even serve coffee. For people waiting for their car to charge out in the parking lot, nothing whatsoever has been provided to cater to their presumably expensive tastes and the time they have to kill. So I walked down the hill from the Walmart. It wasn't easy, as I had to cross two roadways feeding the Walmart parking lot and descend a grassy slope that was steep enough to make it treacherous Why provide steps? Nobody the landscape designers thought about would do anything but drive to and from the Walmart. But the thing about charging a car, no matter how expensive, is that it renders its driver temporarily car-less.
Fortunately for me (and other ElectrifyAmerica customers) there is a Dunkin Donut on US 250 just below the Walmart. It's not a terrible place to sit with a laptop and an oat milk latte, though it doesn't seem to have WiFi. While I was there, several youngish parents with little kids came through and bought whatever that demographic likes to buy at a Dunkin Donut. I should mention that I ordered hash browns with my latte, and a couple of them were still cold on the inside, not having spent enough time in the oven.
I would be basing this second Charlottesville trip from Jessika's house on Ridge Street. So I stopped on the way to get some provisions from the Food Lion on 5th Street. It's a fairly ghetto grocery store by Charlottesville standards, but it had cherries and a flavor of kombucha I'd never seen before.
When I arrived at Jessika's house, she was about to leave to take her daughter S to a play date. So, telling Jessika that mostly all I had to do today was respond with appropriate emojis in the company chat, I set up my laptop out on the back deck, and poured myself a glass of wine. I did post a few emojis here and there, but mostly what I did was hack away at a problem related to Azure DevOps build pipelines that proved to be a surprisingly tough challenge. After a few glasses of wine, I realized I was drinking too quickly (which is an easy thing to do when you're working remotely outside on a beautiful day in late spring). To solve that problem, I made myself a french press of coffee, which I'd just begun drinking when Jessika returned. She made us chickpea salad sandwiches (similar to the stuff Gretchen makes; they both have origins in a cookbook by Isa Chandra Moskowitz) and then she had to take her kid to a "graduation" ceremony at Free Union Country School, a small progressively-minded private school. S was "graduating" from 1st grade, though the biggest fuss was to be made about the kids graduating from the school altogether (the 5th graders I believe). Jessika asked if I wanted to come along, but I thought it best to keep working at my troublesome Azure DevOps issue (it would've been awkward for me to attend an evening event with mostly just strangers without having recourse to an adult beverage).
At some point I took Myrtle the Dog (who is still a three-legger) for a walk. For some reason she didn't want to go down to the forest as Jessika said she would. I just did whatever she wanted to do, and what she wanted to do was piss in a yard within view of a larger white dog who barked at us monotonously. Then we went on a bendy road to another place where Myrtle wanted to piss. After that, though, she just wanted to go back home.
Meanwhile Jessika's husband Aaron was isolating himself because he might've been exposed to covid while on a recent trip to one of the Carolinas. He came back to the house (wearing a mask) while I was stretched out on the couch (my ass couldn't take any more of sitting on the bench out on the deck) and we chatted briefly about our respective covid experiences. Then he went off to his studio to spend the night in splendid isolation.
After Jessika and S returned from the graduation, Jessika set up a box of red wine which I eventually partook of (by then I'd completely recovered from my white wine over-indulgence). Jessika then had S show me a series of photos that Aaron had taken of her breakfast (which is almost always oatmeal with fruit). Every morning, Aaron had arranged the fruit to make a different design, which was nearly always a face. And he'd done this hundreds of times, taking a picture nearly every time. One series of print outs doubled the number of "face" images on each sheet, eventually reaching 128 faces on one photo, and this had been created as something of a math show & tell at S's school.
Another thing we discussed was a stranger Jessika encountered down at Moores Creek who asked her to "flash" him. She got a photograph of him and later encountered him near where he lived in her neighborhood. This allowed her to figure out where he lived, what his name was, and that he was a doctor at the UVA Hospital. She then shamed him on social media, which is about all that can be done in a case like this. According to Jessika, he no longer lives in Charlottesville.
Speaking of incidents with predators in Moores Creek, Jessika also detailed the time that several coyotes tried to lure Myrtle away and then, when she wouldn't follow them, they came out of the shadows and actually barked at Myrtle and Jessika. I don't think I've ever heard of coyotes acting so aggressively towards humans.

Remnants of now-dead vines on a large silver maple behind Jessika & Aaron's house. It had been covered by English ivy, which is something of an invasive species. Click for a wider view.

A deer with velvety antlers behind Jessika & Aaron's neighbor's house.

Some of the breakfast faces that have been made. Click to enlarge.

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