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:
   no interest in the wet food they're begging for
Monday, June 19 2023

location: rural Hurley Township, Ulster County, NY

This morning during standup, I heard a very loud carolina wren that was clearly inside the house and singing (unlike other birds, they will apparently sing even when stressed out about being trapped in a building). I went downstairs and opened three of the four doors to the outside as the wren flew about. Eventually he or she managed to find his or her way out. The only way he or she could've gotten in was under the auto-shutting screen blocking the front door. Or a cat might've brought him or her in. At least this one time the story seems to have had a happy ending.
Last night I watched the second and began the third episode of this latest (sixth) season of Black Mirror. And then this evening I watched fourth (that is, second-to-last) episode. Overall, I'm finding these episodes weaker than those of past seasons. In the second episode, for example, the setting is apparently in 1969, but with highly advanced robotics and telepresence technology capable, which breaks some of the "believability" that past episodes had (that is, it was set in the near-future when such tech advanced might be possible). And the fourth episode completely jumped the shark, turning into a supernatural horror show with no precedent in any other Black Mirror episode. It was as if a character in Breaking Bad turned out to be a space alien in season five.

Meanwhile, the cats continue to be distressingly annoying. What makes it worse is that they are now impossible to please. They beg for wet food, but now when I give it to them (the same stuff they used to greedily devour) they have no interest in it. Gretchen says they only want it when it is room temperature, which means when it's from a freshly-opened can. And they will not eat it even if it warms up to room temperature after being out for awhile. So why are they begging at all? Oscar does still seem to like oat milk at least, and the highlight of his day seems to be when I let him lap up the leftover milk from my cereal bowl on the mornings when I have cereal with oat milk.
This evening Lester got into a bag of nutritional yeast in one of the cabinets, tearing a hole in it and eating an unknown amount. So the cats like that too. Maybe they're just trying to be better vegans. Lester's little stunt then resulted in an ant infestation that I had to use a hand-held vacuum cleaner to put an end to (so much for being a vegan!). Fortunately, I was able to recover most of the nutritional yeast.

This evening Gretchen went out to dinner with a friend while I took a bath and then went down the Stick Trail to look at the stone wall for the first time in awhile. I saw that the westmost end of it (right at a tree adjacent to the trail) had partially collapsed, perhaps because a bear tried to scramble up it or a coyote was trying to dislodge a chipmunk. So I put in a little effort to rebuild that section, which didn't take very long. I've probably mentioned this before, but an interesting thing about fixes to stone wall collapses is that the result is almost always better than the way things were originally, since the collapsed wall becomes a kit that can be assembled in a better way than the way the wall was originally assembled (which tends to be organically, with big rocks added later over an insufficiently-rubust foundation).
While I was working, Crazy Dave's Australian shepherds suddenly came running at me, barking and threatening as they always do. But they calmed down immediately once they realized I wasn't intimidated. Crazy Dave called for them to come back and then shouted an apology (which I don't think he's done before). I shouted that I didn't mind and that it was no problem at all. So he did another thing he hasn't done in the past. Instead of retreating and taking another trail to avoid me, Crazy Dave continued the way he had originally intended, and we exchange pleasant hellos from a distance. I don't know if I've mentioned this, but a couple months ago Gretchen ran into Crazy Dave in the forest and had a fairly long conversation with him during which he discussed his new landlords (our downhill neighbors) and a theatre class he and his wife host at his cluttered little cottage. The new landlords had initially put pressure on them to find some other place to live, but apparently with the passing of the pandemic, they aren't Upstate as much, and the issue is no longer pressing.

When Gretchen came home, I made myself a can of vegan "chicken" noodle soup with lots of oyster crackers and dehydrated mushrooms to eat while watching Jeopardy!. The mushrooms never fully rehydrate by the time I'm eating the soup, and this evening their toughness caused a cusp of one of my teeth to fail. It was on the inside of of the top left wisdom tooth, a part of my mouth that has given me very little trouble. But it seems that cusp was weakened by a filling and grinding up that mushroom was one job too many. My childhood was punctuated by incidents where one of my mother's teeth would suddenly fail during a meal, something that doesn't seem to happen to me quite as often. But it does happen.

The west end of the stone wall after my repairs today. Click to enlarge.

The forest canopy over the Stick Trail near the Chamomile. It is thinner than usual do to an ongoing severe gypsy moth infestation. Click to enlarge.

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