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:
   Glenford Dike
Friday, May 3 2024
This morning the four of us had coffee and muffins (but no Spelling Bee) in front of the fire in the living room. When they were still down in their basement guestroom, Gretchen had told our guests Kelly and Brian from Scotland that our neighbor A would be coming over and they were welcome to come out and say hello of they wanted or could remain in the basement and miss her, whichever one they wanted. Initially Kelly had been acting like they should not meet A because they hadn't showered, etc. But then Brian had asked Gretchen what A's last name was, and when she said, Brian said he was definitely coming out bccause A was definitely a "famous" actress. So out they'd come, looking a little more put-together than guests usually look after spending the night in our basement. As Gretchen was out in the yard greeting A, her little dog Henry, her kid, and her kid's little friend, Kelly asked me what the handshaking protocol would be and I said to just see what the vibe was.
A and our guests ended up having a lot to talk about, since Kelly is a professional theatre critic, Brian had a long career as a reviewer of comedy, and A is an actor currently playing a demanding role in a Broadway show, though of course she also has an impressive IMDB profile. At some point it was suggested that I take the two kids upstairs and show them the laboratory, where A's kid was particularly interested in showing her little friend my collection of hair balls made from cat fur.

Much later than expected, the four of us (but not the dogs) all went to Woodstock for lunch. I'd been avoiding eating anything since the late morning, so I was hungry, which wasn't a good state to be in when Gretchen decided we should all stop by the Golden Notebook, the bookstore she works at, before lunch. Eventually we made it to the Garden Café to have what would properly be called not lunch but "lupper." (I was sure to define this term for our guests.) The Garden had their rarely-offered mushroom tacos on the menu, so I ordered those, along with the side of black beans (even though Gretchen predicted they'd be bland and boring). But Gretchen was wrong about that; the black beans tasted like their amazing (though infrequently-offered) black bean soup, though of course it was thicker. I have a feeling I will be getting that every time I go there from on, since they are a part of their permanent menu. Gretchen is such a VIP at the Garden that of course we got the best possible service. We ended up having a big meal that included alcohol (for Brian and me), desserts, and coffee.
On the drive home, we stopped at the Hurley Ridge Hannaford to get provisions we'd need for the cabin the weekend. This included a variety of chips. When Kelly saw the modest selection available, she was amazed, saying that there was nothing like that in Edinburgh. To this, I joked that that was part of why we'd fought our revolution. After getting some stuff there, Brian bought three bottles of wine at the wine store nearby.
A little closer to home, we stopped at a trailhead along the north shore of the Ashokan Reservoir and hiked along the Glenford Dike (which keeps water from pouring into West Hurley). Along the way, I noticed that woven wire fence had been crudely erected with zip-tied woven wire panels to keep humans (and perhaps other large mammals) from accessing the steep slope of the West-Hurley-facing side of the dike (which was covered with various plants in places where it wasn't covered with a layer of largish rocks). All along the topmost wire of the woven wire panels were tiny just-hatched gypsy moth caterpillars that had apparently hatched out of eggmasses in the vegetation and then climbed up the wires hoping they were climbing into trees. But because they were on a horizontal wire (with no higher place to go) and not a plant, they were stuck and would probably die of starvation there.
As we walked, Kelly and Brian were telling us about the boyfriends of Kelly's two daughters (the oldest of whom was not fathered by Brian). Their daughter Nancy, we learned, is now dating a very nice electrician named Josh who is, however, not especially bright (or, perhaps, educated) and so is intimidated by the big words they all use when talking amongst themselves.
Later, on the walk back, we mostly talked about the kooky Americans who, for whatever reason, think that voting for Donald Trump is a good idea. Kelly and Brian couldn't understand them at all, and we confessed we couln't really either, but that there were plenty such people. When Brian mentioned something he'd read about the existence of people who had voted for both Obama and Trump, I mentioned something I'd read about the existence of "chaos" voters: people who just want the world to burn. The racists among them probably thought voting for a black president would be a great LOL and perhaps just the thing to tip America over into anarchy. When that didn't work, Trump seemed like the obvious best choice for doing that when the alternative was Hillary Clinton.

Back at the house, Brian popped open one of the bottles of wine and we all went upstairs to watch Office Space, which our guests had never seen. We assured Kelly and Brian that they would love it, which they did from the very opening scene. But watching it this evening, we realized that much of its humor was front-loaded into the first half and that it's not nearly as funny in its final quarter or so.
The topic of Office Space had come up yesterday when I'd mentioned that 1997 had been a mini one-year golden age for cinema, mentioning Fargo, Boogie Nights, Romy & Michele's High School Reunion, and Office Space as having all come out that year (it turns out I was wrong about a few of those). This had led to a discussion about Post-It Notes, which Romy and/or Michele had claimed to invent in the movie about their high school reunion. To this, Brian had said that Post-Its had a very bad association for him because they resemble labels sticking out of clothes, something that disturb him so much that he feels the need to tuck them back in even if he doesn't really know the person he's doing the tucking upon. I don't know if he'd gotten into trouble for such tucking or what, but we'd assured him that there were no Post-It Notes visible in either Romy & Michele's High School Reunion or Office Space. Brian said that might well be the case, but he'd rememmbered seeing a poster for Office Space that had featured a person covered with Post-It Notes, and that had been, for him, enough to make him never want to see the movie.

A view of Ashokan Reservoir from the Glenford Dike. Click to enlarge.

Gretchen (facing my way) talking to Kelly while Brian walks behind along the Ashokan Reservoir. Click to enlarge.

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