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:
   rain on Olympic
Wednesday, January 10 2001

Around noon I went home so I could buy some provisions: a cheap webcam and some bottles of ink for my printer. There will be more said about the webcam when I actually get around to hooking it up. The weather was going crazy, with dark clouds racing across the sky and savage winds whipping the palms, especially at the foot of the tall buildings near the intersection of Wilshire and Bundy. Lunch hour pedestrians seemed to have a little extra bounce to their step, like little boys confronted with undeniable coolness of a hurricane.
Bathtubgirl was having trouble with her webcast sound, and since she couldn't seem to fix it with any of my suggestions over the phone, I was going to have to go over there. But by nightfall a strong rain was falling and it didn't look like it was going to be relenting any time soon. So I had Bathtubgirl come pick me up.
While waiting on the front porch of my office building, I was in the company of James, the operations guy from the UK team, and Chris Johnson, the former community team developer who quit back in the Fall but is now back as a highly-paid contractor (aka vampire). James was waiting for a taxi and Chris expected to be picked up by his father (his dilapidated punch buggy is ill-suited to such weather). With nothing else to do, we stood there watching the traffic on Olympic negotiating the nearby intersection. It's one of those highly-engineered "smart intersections," the kind featuring wires buried in the asphalt interfaced to computers running complex algorithms to maximize traffic flow via nuanced traffic light timings. But in this weather, nothing could make the traffic flow efficiently. You could tell it was bad because traffic would occasionally build up so much downstream of the traffic light that it would back-fill into the intersection and linger through an entire light cycle, causing all sorts of confusion and beeping horns. Everyone seemed to be in a foul mood and driving aggressively, especially the assholes in their SUVs. I was hoping one of those fuckers would collide with something, but it never happened.
On the ride to Bathtubgirl's place we inched along at something like five miles per hour most of the way, first east down Olympic and then south down Bundy. It was only when we reached Venice that we had clear sailing westward.
Confronted with Bathtubgirl's silent webcast situation, I just assumed there was some sort of hardware problem and started taking audio connectors apart one at a time and testing to see if I could get a signal. But nothing I did to the line could make it show any signs of life. If I wanted to thoroughly rule out hardware trouble, I needed to open up the webcam, but Bathtubgirl has absolutely no tools (specifically, Phillips screwdrivers) in her house. For tools she has traditionally depended entirely on basement denizen Robert. But she's having some sort of squabble with Robert right now; he's been evicted, and though all his stuff is still in the basement, it's been locked away and was inaccessible to us. I tried picking the lock with the few scraps of wire I could find, but (unlike in a James Bond movie) the situation was hopeless. So we made a run to the nearby Radio Shack on Lincoln. I don't much like Radio Shack, but they often come through in a pinch. A grand blister-pack assortment of screwdrivers cost only $4 and a 25 watt soldering iron was only $7.
After much testing, it turned out that all that was wrong was that the Logitech microphone driver had somehow been corrupted. Reinstalling it was all I needed to do. In my frustration I'd been thinking all kinds of things: humidity, clumsy equipment handing and even sabotage. I suppose the lesson here is, "When in doubt, blame Windows 98."
So, after I'd cobbled the webcam back together and put it back in position, Bathtubgirl and I had some wine to celebrate. Miraculously Bathtubgirl didn't come up with a laundry list of things for me to do. She says that her new internet boyfriend Snow wants to have a monogamous relationship with her, and she seems to be doing a pretty good job of holding to it. So, what with my being completely off limits, on the ride home I told Bathtubgirl that if she happened to run across any hot chicks who seemed interested in purely recreational sex, she should send them my way.
Back at my house John and Chun were "hanging out" in the living room. It's amazing how gravity and other forces work: they're practically a married couple already. [REDACTED]

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