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
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Like my brownhouse:
   a moment in Prizzis
Saturday, March 3 2001

Read an alternative account of this day that I wrote some days later.

This afternoon Gretchen and I split a hit of ecstasy that has been knocking around in my wallet like an emergency condom. Then we went on a fairy tale walk though Brentwood, talking the endless talk that we used to talk and laughing at all the absurdities like we used to laugh. A sheep dog was receiving a haircut in a mobile dog grooming van out in front of a fancy house and he looked as ersatz as an oversized stuffed animal at the Tijuana border. A vast green golf course beckoned us much like the one we used to occasionally visit back in Oberlin, but our access was utterly blocked by impregnable fences. Then of course there were the many weird Dr. Seuss plants that will always be strange for East Coasters like us. Having become a poet in the dream time, Gretchen shares my interest in the details of nature.
We ended up sitting in a patch of long grass in a crowded little park on the corner of Wilshire and 25th Street in Santa Monica. Little kids were riding in circles around us on tiny little bicycles enthusiastically shouting little kid challenges at one another. Unlike most childless thirty year old women, Gretchen didn't look at them with any of the usual maternal longing. She grimaced a little and said she "could never live near that." For her, parenting is all about a house full of pets. When she shows people photographs of her family, the only things they see are pictures of dogs and cats. Jokingly she attributes this to her preference as a child for stuffed animals over baby dolls.
From memory, Gretchen recited me a number of poems. It's a wonderfully romantic and refined skill to have, but it also has a practical intellectual purpose. Most of the poems she knows are such complicated verbal structures with so many levels of meaning that they cannot be understood completely in one pass but must instead be held entirely in memory and gradually "digested" there.
We weren't being especially affectionate even though there was no strong reason not to be. Said Gretchen, "I'm sort of uncomfortable with displays of affection in public, probably from when I was doing the lezzie thing. I also feel sort of like I'd be taking advantage of 'het privilege' if we were to do stuff now."
Suddenly one of the little kids wiped out on his bike and skinned his elbow, immediately bursting into shrieks of existential despair, "Oh mommy, mommy, mommy!" he shouted as his mother and his friend's mother rushed towards him and his little friends stood around with looks of embarrassed concern. For this little boy, the vision of his bleeding elbow was absolute tragedy, the worst torment he'd ever endured. But I was thinking, "he doesn't know tragedy, he doesn't know pain."
Despite the ecstasy, Gretchen and I were super hungry. We hadn't eaten in many hours. Eventually we decided to go into the nearby Jack in the Box and get a large order of curly fries, which we devoured in a secluded wing of the dining room as if we were letter jacket wearing high schoolers in love.
By now the blue sky had been obscured by a high thin layer of clouds and a chill wind was blowing. We walked back to my house and snuggled into bed.

Later on Gretchen talked on the phone to the guy David she'd met last night, the one who might be able to get her a hit of ecstasy. He said we should come over tonight to his place for cocktails at around nine. This left a perfect amount of time for Gretch and me to go out for a little romantic dinner. Gretch asked Dave to recommend a restaurant in Hollywood, and he suggested an Italian place called Prizzis.
Gretchen doesn't much like the idea of always being the one to do the driving. So now I find myself actually driving for the first time since July. I dropped our car off in the care of a valet for some other restaurant and then we found our way into Prizzis. The smell in the air was absolutely delicious, and after we ordered the famous breadsticks, we realized these were the source of that smell. Greasy with butter and frosted with parmesan cheese, they were absolutely delicious, much more satisfying in all respects than the Jack in the Box curly fries had been.
Our waitress was a spunky little blond girl with a wholesome honest face. Her way of affirming our menu choices was "you got it!" Unlike my dating behavior under the Bathtubgirl regime, I had to be a little more in charge when dining with Gretchen. I actually had to make my menu choice myself and I also entirely handled the purchase of our bottle of wine.
After all these years Gretchen is still a vegetarian, and a judgmental one at that. She told me that she once made the decision that she could never settle down with a non-vegetarian, although she seemed to be indicating she might make an exception for me. Still, I did my best to get all the joy of meat without being too ruthless with sentient animals; I ordered the shrimp pasta. Non-kosher food doesn't trouble her nearly as much as the murder of vertebrates.
I guess the meal went pretty well because a certain way into it Gretchen looked into my eyes and said she was having a "moment." Then she added that this moment was in fact one of the very highest high points in her life. Whoah, and I think she actually meant it.
We did get in an argument after that after I revealed that I'd once called an evil project manager at a "lesbian Jabba the Hut." Even as she sat there reconsidering her pussy licking ways, she didn't like the idea that I had been using "lesbian" as a perjorative term.
As I was doing the manly thing and settling up the bill Platinum Discover Card stylee, I didn't really think much about it and left the waitress a $23 tip, which was over 30%. After she came over to our table to express her boundless gratitude I knew right away it had been worth it in terms of how many "points" it had given me on the scorecard Gretchen keeps. By the way, she's very explicit about this scorecard, often informing me, "that was a test!" immediately after I "fail." Examples of failure during this visit so far include:

  • Me not saying that I would immediately recognize Gretchen as the cutest girl in the room if, not knowing any of them, I walked into a room containing her, Linda and Bathtubgirl.
  • Me not immediately offering Gretchen a rare succulent grass stem I pulled today from the lawn in the park.

Next we went to visit Annie's friend David to partake in his cocktails. David lives in a big stately building that used to be a hotel back in the early days of the film industry. Now it's a big Melrose Place style community of 45 apartments. All the residents know each other and hang out together, piling their assorted cordless phones like shoes on the coffee table. Most of the residents are semi-successful actors who can afford the $1200/month rent. For his part, David had his place decorated in a lavish safari-style that Gretchen immediately identified as straight out of a Pottery Barn catalog. She was appalled by the genuine zebra hide rug (complete with healed scratches from a survived lion mauling).
There were a couple dogs present: a big puffy white pooch who was almost totally blind and an obsessive little terrier whose only care was retrieving a tennis ball for whomever was gullible enough to toss it. When you'd throw it she'd bark loudly and pursue it, bring it back, drop it on the floor, look at you expectedly, and the cycle would repeat. She never moved on to any other activities during the course of the night.
Later on Annie busted out a guitar and did the campfire sing-along thing, mostly covering U2 anthems. When she did Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here," I whimsically started tossing the phrases "fish bowl" and "lost soul" around over the rhythm. It was one of those things that you either get or you don't get, and one of the actress chicks resonated with it immediately and joined in, "Fish bowl! Lost soul! Fish bowl!"

I still can't get over the fact that I'm actually going to bed with Gretchen P_____ again.

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