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

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(nobody does!)

Like my brownhouse:
   boyfriend show and tell
Saturday, March 24 2001
At about six am as we woke up with the preliminary inklings of our hangovers, I suddenly realized we had a glass bottle of V8 Juice in the refrigerator, something Gretchen had bought in consideration of a fantasy I'd had about the utopia of a fictitious keg of V8 juice. There are few things as delightful as full bottle of V8 Juice when you feel the way we did this morning. Gulp, gulp, gulp, ecstasy!
Gretchen's dog Sally likes to get up early and go for a run in nearby Prospect Park. She usually stands up at some point, flaps her ears loudly about her head, and lets loose with one of her trademark "hey you guys!" yawns. I, on the other hand, prefer to sleep in. It always feels like 5am in the grey light of Gretchen's apartment, and it never seems like there would be anything to be gained by venturing forth from the cozy comfort of the covers.
Somehow I think we managed to while away a good fraction of the day in bed before Gretchen finally managed to get me to accompany her on a walk with Sally in Prospect Park.
Park Slope, the neighborhoods downhill from Prospect Park in Brooklyn, has its own unique socio-political dynamic. Over history the place has become an unusually dog-friendly area. For sizable segments of the day, dogs are allowed to run and play unleashed in the park, and many people people with dogs move to Park Slope specifically because of the recreation the park provides their canine companions. This in turn leads to greater local political support of an even more dog-friendly park, as well as creating a strong demand for dog-friendly housing, businesses and even charities. Dogs have become the central unifying human interest of the area, providing the place its identity. Dogs also give many Park Slope residence a compulsory outdoor life that in turn leads to many accidental human social incidents, some of which result in the establishment of long term friendships.
My mother had once told me of the enthusiasm my Uncle Bob had for his discovery of the social potential of walking his dog in downtown Chicago. But my Uncle's socializing was limited to learning the names and behaviors of other people's dogs; he rarely learned the names of their owners. Gretchen, on the other hand, knows many of the owner's names as well as their peculiarities. Here's one woman with a phobia from her dog's once having been attacked. She once carried a sharp ski pole but now she just carries a stick. There's a woman with bright pink lipstick and she's "totally crazy." Then of course there's the annoying neighbor with two big dogs who walks slowly and when you see her in the distance you're forced to stop so as not to catch up with her and then endure the social obligation of having to walk with her.

In the evening Gretchen showed me off to her various friends. It all started with her childhood friend Dina, whom Gretchen has known since they were both four. Now Dina is a news correspondent stationed in Isræl, though she occasionally comes back to the land of the free and the home of the brave. Dina is a great photographer, and, armed with Gretchen's camera, she took the following photographs.

Photos taken by Gretchen's friend Dina

Delightful & funny.

Gretchen and Edna.

Here I think I might actually be tearing up to Guided by Voice's "Unspirited."

Always the inquisitive reporter, Dina interrogated me continuously all evening long about recent goings on between me and Gretchen, having me resume where I left off every time I was distracted. This lasted through a bottle of wine and a dinner of vegetable pie.
Later on, Mary Purdy, one of Gretchen's post-Gus Oberlin friends, showed up. At first Mary didn't think she recognized me from among the many Oberlin people she recalled, but then I stood up and she recognized me immediately. I had long hair back in the day but my pigeon-toed posture has always been somewhat distinctive.
Later we went to a local Park Slope bar called Mooney's to meet up with even more of Gretchen's New York friends. For better or worse, this was not exactly a small crowd. Gretchen's friends are all extremely bright and well-educated. She'd met most of them at Oberlin and mostly they are Jewish. One was even a rabbi named David, though he was probably an atheist as well. That's something you just have to love about contemporary Judaism: it has all the benefits of a religion without any of the nauseating God stuff and irrelevant preoccupation with the hereafter. [But it turns out that David the rabbi isn't an atheist, according to Gretchen.]
As hip, liberal and brilliant as Gretchen's friends may be, they don't strike me as particularly decadent. I can't imagine them taking drugs or smoking much marijuana. Indeed, while I'm never happy unless my whiskey glass is at least half full (and it is for only a short time), these people never seem to drain theirs.
While we were hanging out Mary Purdy told a hilarious story about some big shot industry guy she was trying to impress in her career as a comic performer. She was talking to him face to face and noticed that he had a few hairs sprinkled on top of his nose. Thinking these had fallen from his head in the aftermath of a haircut, she offered to brush them off and even reached out and started stroking his nose. To her horror, the hairs didn't budge. The big shot industry guy didn't even wince, though he surely was embarrassed. All he said was a flat, "yes, they grow there." When Mary retold the story a second time to those who hadn't heard it the first time, David the rabbi asked rhetorically, "How do you recover from that?"
After boyfriend show and tell was over, Gretchen said I'd come across well. She'd been sure to escort each friend to the door independently as they'd left so she could gauge their impressions. Evidently they were pretty positive. It was all pretty strange to me, considering that my reputation at Oberlin, and it was a widely-known reputation known by at least some of the people Gretchen re-introduced me to tonight, was that of a dissolute drunken troublemaker with a penchant for stirring up unnecessary trouble and sowing factional dissent. Interestingly, this whole Gretchen reunion thing is going a long way towards revising most of the negative feelings I retain about my college years.

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