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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February 2018


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   Pepto Bismol miracle
Saturday, February 17 2018

location: Norton Avenue, West Hollywood, California

I woke with one of the worst hangovers of my life. How many gin & tonics had I had last night? Whatever that number had been, at the time I felt I could've drunk more. I'd been unstoppable!
My only goal today was to get myself from West Hollywood back to Hurley, NY via a number of different transportation modes. The first of these came a little after 8:00am in the form of an Uber Pool, driven by Sergei, a no-nonsense Russian (Russians always seem no-nonsense, particularly when they're driving an Uber). Nobody else joined me on my ride to LAX, which happened at breakneck speed. Usually I feel safe riding in an Uber, but not so much with Sergei. He looked like the kind of guy who knew how to reupholster a car seat with human skin, but his taste in music gravitated towards embarrassingly inspid pop.
I'm starting to know airports like some kind of guy who travels frequently for business. Here I was again in LAX's Terminal 5, and I knew the sad state of my vegan food options. It turned out that there was a vegan rice bowl (for $10) at the otherwise vegan-hostile Farmers Market To Go. And, since they offered packets of Cholula hot sauce, it didn't have to be the bland experience it otherwise would've been. Sadly, I forgot to grab some salt, which it also lacked. My guts were squirrly and I wasn't especially hungry, but I hadn't eaten anything but booze last night and knew I would get hungry on the plane if I didn't put something in my stomach.
Another important purchase in Terminal 4 was Pepto-Bismol, as my hangover had a strong component of nausea that made me concerned about how well my digestive system would perform on an airplane. It was the perfect medication for that problem, and for the rest of the day, I crunched down on another pink wintergreen-flavored tablet the moment I experienced any discomfort. My hangover was so mentally debillitating that I couldn't do anything but sit and stare into the distance. I didn't feel like interacting with my phone at all. [REDACTED]

On the flight to Philadelphia, I had an aisle seat next to a couple who looked to be in their 60s. They never had any need to get up during the five hour flight, and neither did I. I was drinking a beverage consisting of lemonade cut with a little gin, which would normally help with a hangover. But I drank it very slowly and unenthusiastically. I much preferred the bloody mary mix when the drink cart came through.
I continued mostly just sitting and staring at nothing in particular, and even nodded off briefly at least once. But at some point I got my laptop out and began to watch another Black-Mirrory movie, one entitled Ex Machina, about a young man who is flown to a reclusive compound to give a Turing test to a sexy female android, one who has been left incompletely finished so that it is clear she isn't actually human. Something about the combination of low volume of audio in my copy of the movie and my headphones made it difficult for me to hear a lot of the dialog, though I managed to follow along. Unfortunately, the movie was a bit heavy-handed with exposition. For example, our hero (the guy sent to test the android) is made to define "Turing test," so the audience will know what this means. But anybody with his level of skills talking (in this case, the genius behind a Google-style firm) would never need to do so. Still, the special effects showing the partially-human android (and her clever means of increasing her apparent humanity) made for some good airplane watching.
As always in the Philadelphia airport, I got a Chipotle burrito, which I quickly wolfed down in at the gate as my little plane to Newburgh was prepared for boarding. There was a wet snow falling, but according to all the data I was seeing, my flight was not going to be delayed. But the thing about airplane flights is that they're not delayed until they are. The de-icing procedure required before takeoff took a whole extra hour. I'd never witnessed a de-icing and was struck by how inefficient it appeared to be. Some guy in a cherry picker pointed a powerful water gun at the plane and blasted it with what appeared to be a solution of hot soapy water. This wasn't particularly effective at dislodging the inch or so of snow from the wings, but they just kept on blasting until it reluctantly washed away.
At Newburgh, I had to clear the snow off the window of my Subaru before driving it out of the parking lot. I had no tools for this and was forced to use my sleave. There was a fair amount of snow on the roads, so I drove slowly until I got to I-84. Even then, though, traffic speeds sometimes fell to as low as 45 miles per hour, and I was loathe to pass people in front of me, which would mean driving in the passing lane, which was less clear of snow. At some point I cracked open a Sierra Nevada Torpedo, since that too is part of my airplane travel ritual. [REDACTED]

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