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").


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Like my brownhouse:
   Jewish Christmas, 2023
Monday, December 25 2023
I'd been up late last night, so our normal Christmas morning ritual was a little delayed. We handled it as if it was another weekend morning, with coffee, Spelling Bee, and a nice hot fire in the woodstove. On top of that, though, we also exchanged stockings containing gifts. Gretchen actually buys me new socks for this ritual, though I put my gifts for Gretchen in a pair of her fuzzy slippers. Neville's raid last evening had damaged the two of the socks, but only on the part near the top that isn't critical for functionality. He'd also slobbered on them and gotten dissolved candy cane on them and a few other gifts. Aside from the light damage to the socks, all he'd done was eat a Kind bar, most of a bag of tamari-flavored almonds, some of a candy cane, and he'd left teeth marks on a couple small canvases (though they are still usable). The gifts were the usual mix of nuts, candy, small canvases, and a few trinkets and toys. There was a tick extractor, several sets of stickers, and collection of colored cubes held together by an elastic string that could be manipulated into various shapes. This might've been the first Christmas ever in which Gretchen didn't buy me a small bottle of a liquor.
For Gretchen, I'd wrapped my two most recent paintings (of our dogs both with and without her) in aluminum foil and added a bottle of Sandeman port and a pair of not-too-cheap corded earbuds to replace a nice pair she'd lost on the plane to Portugal. She was happy with both paintings, even the one depicting her. (I'd been careful to avoid making it look like she might be a person cursed with developmentally disabilities.)

After an afternoon spent mostly in the laboratory, I decided to take a bath, as I hadn't bathed since Monday (I think). We were all out of solar heated water after Gretchen took a shower, so I had to throttle back the water to a thin little stream in order for our 14 KW just-in-time hot water heater to raise the water to a comfortable bath temperature from whatever the well water temperature is (likely in the upper 40s Fahrenheit).

We started our Jewish part of our Christmas early, as the movie we'd be seeing would be starting at 6:30pm. We put away everything Charlotte might be tempted to destroyed, barricaded the laboratory, and then left the dogs behind and went to dinner. We arrived at Kingston Wok at around 5:00pm, and it was already so crowded that there was barely a table available. There was also a traffic jam out in front of Uber Eats, DoorDash, and Grubhub drivers picking up food. (I know from watching YouTube videos on consumer debt that a lot of it is being caused by people too lazy to drive to a restaurant prepared by others.) We sat in the back, both on one side of a table so we could see towards the middle of the restaurant. As I have at Kingston Wok in the past, I ordered a saketini (a martini featuring sake) and a shitake mushroom-avocado sushi roll. Gretchen ordered the other stuff, a various vegetable dishes with rice or noodles and something with moo shu pancakes. Also as has been the case before, the Chinese food was kind of meh but the sushi was great. (Gretchen, however, seems to like Kingston Wok's Chinese food more than I do.)
At the otherwise-nearly-abandoned Hudson Valley Mall, we went to the multiplex, where we didn't have to do anything because Gretchen had already bought our tickets. But now the theatre is selling alcoholic beverages, which is almost as much of a cultural change from the way theatres used to be to rival the legalization of marijuana. It seemed almost like we were in Europe to see that I could take wine into the theatre with me. I bought a small bottle of red wine (the kind you get on a plane) for $9 and then we went to the theatre. There was nobody anywhere to make sure that we weren't sneaking in, but since seats are now assigned in the theatre, Gretchen had paid so we wouldn't be evicted by people coming to take their rightful place. As I pointed out to Gretchen, she's done the whole spectrum from theft of services to perfect honesty with respect to this theatre (owned by various entities) over the years. A decade or more ago, she used to routinely sneak into it to watch movies for free, sometimes several movies in an afternoon. Then, as movie theatres suffered from declining customers and then covid, Gretchen felt bad and decided she needed to pay her way to help keep them afloat. But she would still pay for cheap seats and then sit in the fancy ones that have heaters and completely recline. Now, though, in order to better fund the theatre and avoid the awkward moments (such as what happened twice to a couple attempting to sit in fancy chairs they hadn't paid for) Gretchen now pays full price for the fancy seats.
The movie we'd come to see was Poor Things, a gothic tale set in a magically luminous Art Noveau 19th Century where it's possible to sew together pieces of different creatures to make whimsical chimeras. The story focuses on Bella Baxter, a woman revived after suicide by a maverick Frankenstein-style doctor (himself a patchwork of experiments undertaken by his father) who transplanted the brain of the baby in her womb into her head, producing what appears to be a functioning adult after a period of training. (Whether or not she is an adult given the age of her brain never comes up despite all the sex she is soon having, which is probably the way things would've been in the 19th Century.) The plot was pretty thin, but it was beautiful movie to watch.
I'd eaten a fairly large lump of cannabis prior to the movie, but it didn't kick in until the drive back home two and a half hours later.
Later I decided I wasn't tired any more, so I got up and went into the laboratory to drink booze and watch YouTube videos until something like 1:00am.

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