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:
   not purposeless slacking
Tuesday, January 23 2001
At at the conclusion of yet another lunch of salsa, beans and corn chips, I found myself riding back to work from my house. My neighborhood, it's a quiet, cluttered grid of condominiums, tall palm trees and vaguely confused motorists. Nobody seems to know who should stop at the intersection of Rochester and Amherst and every Thursday several people get tickets on their windshields because they've forgotten about street sweeping of the non-Compton variety. Anyway, I don't know what it was about the day, but suddenly it dawned on me, "this is my neighborhood; this is where I live!" I'd never really had that thought before, obvious though it may be. Perhaps this thought had something to do with the unusually large number of pedestrians out and about. They weren't especially friendly, mind you, but they were out and about. And people, not condominium complexes, is what it takes to make a neighborhood.

AOL Instant Messenger is the messaging system of choice at my workplace. Because of the ease with which it penetrates firewalls and other obstacles, it's quickly becoming the standard at workplaces throughout the networked world. Most people who would normally communicate with me via telephone or email throughout the day now find it easier to send me an instant message instead, and this includes people such as my housemate John, my former boss Linda and other colleagues current and former. John is now a certified AOL Instant Messenger addict, frequently handling four AIM sessions concurrently. Most of the people with whom he communicates are cousins and other assorted relatives from his large nationally-distributed (but still close-knit) Italian family.
At work, the AIM conversations do not always restrict themselves to matters work-related, of course. For example, today I had a long and utterly nonsensical scatological conversation with Frank the UK Site's Producer. It started off innocently enough when I mentioned something I'd read about Brazilian street kids, how some of them, without either family tradition or education, think the world began only a few years before they were born and is only "about 20 miles across." Frank shot back that he didn't have any direct evidence of the age of the world, but based on his airplane flights to and from the UK, he knew it was far more than 20 miles across. I responded that perhaps the plane had done some clever flying and had merely circled the globe many times and only given the appearance of having flown five thousand miles. To this Frank was willing to concede that world may only be 47 miles across, but (I'm assuming because of all the varied mountains, ice sheets and vast tracts of ocean), it had to be at least several thousand miles in length. "Hmm, a large turd-shaped planetoid," I observed. To this Frank suggested that my bowel movements must be rather different from his own. This launched me onto an absurd tangent the essence of which was that my turds are all very long and must be spooled out of my body with the help of a special contraption. "You should see the pottery I make!" I added. When Frank responded that he didn't want to know about my pottery, I took it as my cue to drag this nonsense to its ultimate conclusion. "It's really quite sanitary when it's been sealed up in epoxy," I observed. "But there was this one time when a friend was eating soup out of one of my bowls and a weakness developed in the bottom. His spoon plunged through the epoxy with a 'gish' sound. How's that for a 'Bowl Movement?' Har! Har! Har!"

In the evening I decided to be less of a recluse and, instead of hanging out in my room, I came downstairs and watched some television with John. It's easy to start feeling alienated from people when you don't hang out with them for a few days, so this was important social business, not purposeless slacking. The rewards for my social effort, the first in several days, were many: Not only did John made me tea and asparagus, later (after Fernando arrived), he whipped up a pot of extremely peppery pasta, using a plastic colander he purchased about a week ago. The pasta was far too spicy for Fernando, but I ate it without complaint.

For some reason the mysterious latency issues that had been plaguing my computer-mediated musical efforts entirely vanished today. It was as if some fairy had visited and sprinkled synchronitic dust on my CPU, motherboard and hard drive. That's the thing about computers these days. They are far too complicated for anyone, even a geeky tech person like me, to ever really conclusively know what is ailing them. Often they simply heal themselves. Too bad I can't just reboot myself every time I'm sick, bored, or depressed!

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