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:
   departure turbulence
Tuesday, March 6 2001
At lunchtime Gretchen came to pick me up from my workplace and we went to Tacos Por Favor for a lunch of burritos. We took our food into the park across the street and ate it while sitting on a playground structure. Periodically the sun would come out from behind a cloud and it would shine down so nicely it felt even better than sex itself. We talked at length about what vegetables we like and what vegetables we don't like. Our chief conflict is beets and avocados. Gretchen loves the former and hates the latter and I'm the exact opposite. It's strange how such a simple topic could seem so interesting to both of us, considering it consisted of nothing more than a long list of items each followed by our reactions positive or negative. But that's the kind of conversation we both enjoy and find ourselves unable to have with other people.
On the drive back to my workplace we got in a big argument about her her plane flight back to New York tonight. She wanted me to somehow come with her to the airport, but since she's driving a rental car and since I don't have a car, it would mean I would have to borrow someone's car - precisely the sort of thing I never do. I never impose myself on my housemate John or ask him if I can borrow his car. I only do things that do not require me to have a car. It's one of the restrictions in my life that cuts me off from options so I can focus on other things. But here she was being pushy and demanding that I come up with a way, all so we'd get an extra two hours together, but really just so I could prove my love. I tried to disuade her gently, but when she didn't pick up on and flow with my reluctance (something I would do in a similar situation) things rapidly escalated into nastiness.
Somehow, though, things improved enough by the time we made it back to work for me to give her a tour of my cubicle.


I got off work early and went home so I could spend more time with Gretchen before her flight. Something was wrong, though. She was packing her stuff and not talking to me at all. I was so tired from all the late-night talking we've been doing that I just stretched out in bed and fell asleep.
When I woke up, Gretchen was sitting on the floor near the head of my bed with a sad look on her face, indicating a handwritten note. So I picked it up and read it.
She had broken down and read my online journal after all, despite an initial reluctance which I'd tried to encourage. Evidently she hadn't liked what she'd seen. Though she could see that I had a gift for telling personal stories, she was dismayed that I'd shared our most private moments with the entire world. She was also resentful about the "flipness" with which I showcased her opinions. I didn't know what to say. This journal is what I do these days; it's as much a part of me as my left arm. If she can't deal with it (and mind you, I'm convinced that it is actually what reunited us), then there is no hope for any sort of shared future.
Gretchen disappeared downstairs and I eventually went down there too. She was sitting in front of a flickering fireplace, the smell of stale cigarette smoke hung in the air and the bottle of Knob Creek Whiskey was out. I was driving her to drink.
I explained that the journal thing is part of who I am now and that it is bigger than anything else in my life, even my personal relationships, that it is my biggest looming personal defect. I told her that if she couldn't deal with it than there was no hope for us at all.
But later when I looked at her notepad and saw an endlessly repeated scrawling of a phrase declaring her despair, my heart just broke.
Time passed. Housemate John came and went. Eventually, upstairs in my room, Gretchen and I talked about this stuff. I agreed to purge offensive passages and try to be more sensitive. She agreed to be more tolerant. We made up. We hugged. We kissed. A tractor trailer fully loaded with American beef crossed the Continental Divide through a tunnel, one constructed during the Great Depression by the PWA. [REDACTED]
Just before Gretchen drove her rental car back to the airport to catch her flight back to New York City, we sat down for a last meal of black beans and corn chips, an old staple made more delectable by heating and delicate spices. I was wondering why the food tasted so fucking good and Gretchen said food always tastes good when you've had sex, "especially when you have had an orgasm."

So now I'm all alone again.

Random bits:

  • Today I jokingly suggested to Gretchen that we both convert to Mormonism and get married in Las Vegas in a calculated effort to gratuitously piss off her parents, still clinging to the hope that she will one day find a nice Jewish boy.
  • I told Gretchen I loved her one night back in 1988 when I was in a drunken blackout (and concealed beneath a massive pile of Harkness pollows). I've had years to consider the issue since, and I was familiar enough with my feelings to tell her "I love you" again on the second day of her visit. For her part, Gretchen held out longer and didn't tell me the same until Sunday night. She has only said these words to two other people. Now, though, she's so thoroughly convinced of it that she's telling the whole world. "Do you realize what a monumental event you're witnessing?" " she'd asked my housemate the other day.
  • Jami directed my attention to a coincidental article in about discovering long lost first loves on the internet, but this story falls far short of the one you've been reading.

References to Gretchen on this website:

10/13/1988: Gretchen hates it when I can have fun without her.

12/08/1988: We laugh at someone's expense.

12/24/1996: First journal mention of dreams about Gretchen.

11/20/1997: Information about Gretchen and my early sex life. (I can't believe I revealed all this stuff!)

01/20/1998: Talking about Gretchen but not by name.

07/02/1999: Looking for Gretchen on the web.

. 01/19/2001: Wistful memories of Gretchen on her 30th birthday.

02/15/2001: Gretchen and I begin corresponding after she sends me a first email on Valentine's Day.

For linking purposes this article's URL is:

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