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:
   fury of a NIMBY crowd
Tuesday, June 6 2023
I've going through some of the things I salvaged from my childhood home. These include a number of tools for clearing trails, the analog tools that did some of things now done by a smartphone, and a number of photos, some of which I remember my father showing me when I was a child (but that never made it into a family album). Some years ago I'd first seen some of these photos (all taken by Nick Brueh) on the website of the Oshkosh Public Museum. But they'd been low-resolution and had watermarks. It was great to have physical copies of photos of my great grandfather and my teenage grandmother that had somehow survived decades in a hoard.
At 5:00pm or so, it had grown so dark outside that it felt more like 8:30pm. I thought maybe a storm was brewing. But the light was ruddy and weird. Later I learned that the thing blotting out the sun was high-altitude smoke from raging wildfires burning to the north and northwest in Quebec and Ontario. I might've caught a whiff of the smell of burning pine, but for the most part the smoke was too high overhead to smell.

This evening the Town Board of Hurley was having a big meeting to announce their draft comprehensive plan, and Gretchen wanted to go to be sure to be a voice for the kind of status-quo (preservation of open space and such) that has typified our last 20 years living here (and made it relatively stress-free, especially compared to high-growth business-friendly places we have lived in the past). When we arrived, there were so many cars in the parking lot that we had to improvise a place to put our Bolt. Inside, barriers were being pushed aside to make room for the overflow crowd. Clearly, others were concerned about the future of Hurley as well.
After the Town Planner Bonnie Franson presented the Town Plan, audience members with raised hands were called upon to give their opinions. It quickly became clear that the NIMBY energy in the room was very strong and the comprehensive plan was never going to call for things like sprawling developments, or, God forbid, multi-family homes. Even tiny houses intended to allow the elderly to age-in-place were deemed a bit too "urban" (for lack of a less-fraught term). There were also objections to things like bike lanes and sidewalks, particularly along Route 375. (I turned to Gretchen and promised her that there would never be sidewalks along 375; the population density there is far too low.)
Perhaps the most telling moment came when Karen Gill, the scion of the Gill real estate empire that had, until recently, run Hurley, gave her thoughts. She railed against the comprehensive plan, saying it reflected the views of only the 100 or so people who'd shown up at an earlier meeting, claiming that it was undemocratic. She didn't really say what her problem with the plan was so I asked Gretchen and she told me that until recently Karen Gill had been on the town's planning board. But somehow she isn't on the board any more. Karen Gill is from an old-money Republican aristocracy whose power has apparently been usurped by woke people like us moving in from New York City. In the past, the Gills controlled the town and could approve their own plans to sell off their corn fields and turn them into subdivisions like the two along Wynkoop Road that pre-date our move to the area. These days, though, such plans would never fly; they'd face the fury of a NIMBY crowd like the one that self-assembled tonight.


Karen Gill (standing on the left) makes her vague points against the draft comprehensive plan. Click for a wider view.

My father's old analog tools (that still work). Click to enlarge.

photos from my father's youth (and before) found in my now-abandoned childhood home

My father's mother's father, William Deschler, in a photo taken circa 1905 (which is the year he died). I base this on the age of his daughter in similarly-posed photos.

My father's mother Katherine with her brother Edward. If this was taken in 1905, she was 15 years old.

My father circa 1940 with various young women and a younger boy. I suspect they're all related, but they must be cousins on his mother's side since he was estranged from his half-siblings and late father's family and was otherwise an only child.

My father (left) with some chums in World War II, probably in France.

My father (left) with a friend in World War II, probably in France. The friend might be the Finnish lad who taught him some Finnish (which my father found very easy to pronounce). If so, this guy died shortly thereafter in a German artillery barrage.

This looks like rough camping during WWII. Maybe it'as in Europe or maybe Ft. Campbell Kentucky.

My father (reminding me of my brother Don) home from the war (probably only temporarily on leave).

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