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:
   at the Avalon Lounge in Catskill
Thursday, April 25 2024
This morning I tried to get the "ESP_EEPROM" to work on my local remote, as it would give me a way to cache the results of look-ups in a non-volatile location (in this case, not in actual EEProm, but in "simulated EEProm" in the ESP8266's flash storage). But I couldn't get it to work even after trying multiple things that posters on StackOverflow had recommended. It was looking like I would need another place to store such data. Atmega328s actually do have EEProm, and I've been using Atmega328s as slave devices to add output pins to ESP8266s. So why not add EEProm-saving code to my Atmega328 I2C slave's code? Doing so would require changing the API, since the existing one was the simplest one possible for adding pins. But I came up with a new API and implemented what I thought I would need, though I've yet to actually test it.

My hair has gotten unpleasantly long again, and I've been meaning to cut it. My normal way to cut my hair is for me to strip down naked outside and cut what I can and then immediately take a shower, since I've always had strong aversion to the feeling of tiny hair twigs trapped between my clothing and skin. But for the past week or so it's been too cold to be outside naked. This afternoon, though, my hair was bothering me enough that I didn't care that the air was a bit too brisk for nudity. At least it was sunny. So I took off all my clothes and snipped away at my hair with the blue-handled laboratory scissors while standing in front of the Subaru Forester (for a bit of privacy from vehicles on the road and the neighbor across the street). The scissors were hard too use due to their dullness, but eventually I got the job done. It looked okay in the front but was, as usual, probably a disaster in the back.

This evening the plan was for Gretchen and me to carpool up to Catskill with Ray, Nancy, and Sarah the Vegan to see a performance of a musician named Stephen Bluhm, whom I was told had performed at some David Bowie tribute we had attended a year and a half ago. So Gretchen and I drove down to the Hurley Town Hall, where Ray and Nancy were waiting for us. We got in their car and then Ray drove to the Kingston traffic circle (the one with a park & ride) and picked up Sarah. And then he drove us up to Catskill.
As we passed the south-bound rest area at around milepost 96, I noted the gut-remodel underway to the main building and wondered allowed if it would have a Chick Fil-A, since (despite their vow to always be closed on Sunday out of respect for The Lord) are appearing at more and more New York rest areas. Ray thought perhaps it would have a Shake Shack instead. I've never been in a Shake Shack and wondered what sort of food they have in addition to shakes. Ray said they also had burgers and fries and they might even have a vegan burger (it turns out in most places they don't).
South of Catskill, we saw lots of construction work underway, including the dismantling of a Thruway-crossing bridge for Route 47.
Our destination in Catskill was the Avalon Lounge, which is attached to a cozy (and surprisingly affordable) Korean restaurant (reminding me of how the Tokyo Rose sushi restaurant in Charlottesville had a gritty punk rock venue in its basement). The protocol in the restaurant part of Avalon is fast casual, so we placed our order for food and drinks with the bartender downstairs and then went upstairs to find a table carrying a little number and waited for the food to come out. Near our table was a pool table where the guys playing would take breaks between their shots to take chopsticks full of food from the metal bowls it had been served in. Everything we ordered was sort of the same: a bunch of rice, fried cubes of tofu, some spinach, some kimchi, and maybe some glass noodles. The portion sizes are enormous and the food is mostly very good, though the dumplings were a bit disappointing. With the low prices, huge portions, and music- positive environment, the Avalon attracts a younger crowd, though there were also a few people our age, particularly a little after we'd ordered when the bar became very busy (and I went down there to get more soy sauce after spilling it by accidentally dropping one of those mediocre dumplings into it). I should mention that Nancy paid for everything for Gretchen and me, including our meal and the Stephen Bluhm tickets. This was, she said, part of what she felt she owed me for my work installing the minisplit.
At some point we could eat no more of our food, so the leftovers were boxed up and put in the car (which would smell like "Korean farts" for the rest of the evening. Then we went into the venue, where we all got red wristbands (I now had four wristbands on my left wrist for events dating back to the Winter Hoot). The opening act tonight was Alex P. Wernquest, who a good voice and some nice slightly-folky songs. But we only were there for two songs of his set and then it was time for Stephen Bluhm. I'd forgotten what he looked like, but he's a tall lanky white guy who tonight was wearing a black suit and tie. He had small chamber orchestra with him consisting of violinist, cellist, and two playing instruments that one blows into. I immediately recognized Bluhm's song about the Wissahickon. It's not a very good song and has some appalling choices of lyrics, and Bluhm's singing is something that might best be described as an extra-pitchy Morrissey. All of his songs had the same affliction: they weren't very good, and they seemed to showcase deficiencies in Bluhm's talent. One thing he did a lot of was have an instrument sing the same melody he was singing while he was singing it, and this didn't exactly conceal the pitch problems. I looked at Gretchen a few times to she what she thought, as I was sure she wasn't liking it, but we were seated a bit too far apart to debrief in real time. As for Ray, Nancy, and Sarah, they actually seemed to like the music, as did the substantial crowd of others in the theatre (where finding a seat hadn't been easy). What did they like about the music? That it was so odd? That it was a dumpster fire? I could see someone like Ray liking it precisely because it was bad, but I think Nancy liked it because Bluhm was such a weirdo. He kept reacting to crowd laughter by asking, "What's so funny?" Either he was super-sincere, or he was in on the joke.
Later in the show, the on-stage musicians stopped playing and Bluhm performed over a pre-mixed arrangement (like he had at the David Bowie thing we'd seen him at). He characterized this kind of music as "synth-pop," but it was really just more of the same. At some point Bluhm took off his jacket and started dancing with his bent arms up in front of his face. The crowd went nuts, but to me it was mostly just embarrassing. Still, I wasn't as miserable as I've been watching other bad performances. I was compelled to watch just to try to understand. This is the same reason I will happily listen to Christian radio for hours.
When Bluhm finally finished and we were filing out, I suddenly remembered that I'd left the electric heat on in the cabin basement. This was bad because it was now night and doing so would quickly deplete the cabin's battery. Fortunately, though, I was able to turn it off from my phone (even though the control interface wasn't designed with phones in mind, since I fucking hate doing things on a phone).
Gretchen and I weren't able to debrief about Stephen Bluhm until Ray had dropped us off at the car. We'd both found the music horrible and couldn't figure out what our friends (or the other people at the show) had liked about it.

Inside the Avalon Lounge performance space. I was particularly enamored of the disco-ball cat. Click to enlarge.

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