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:
   cleaning satisfaction
Saturday, July 7 2001
Just about any sort of work can be satisfying if one has a strong work ethic. I don't know why or how I came to have a work ethic, but I definitely have a solid one. This surprises me because at one time I thought I was lazy. I used to hate childhood chores; the prospect of cleaning my room, raking hay or gathering firewood was always anticipated with dread. When I was doing these dreary tasks, I couldn't, you know, do the many things I'd rather be doing, like building dams in the stream, pretending a pegboard was a system for retrieving information about any subject imaginable, or thinking up things to do with an electric motor.
Today my tasks fell into two categories. The first was to get the Punch Buggy Rust running in a way that would give me confidence about driving it to New York. The second was preparing my condo for an "open house" happening tomorrow. The first of these was plagued by all sorts of communications failures at the Santa Monica Pep Boys. Earlier this week I'd determined that I needed a new set of spark plug wires, but the wires that arrived on Thursday were clearly not the right kind; I guess homeslice mixed up one of the numbers when he was looking things up in his parts database. So this morning I found myself calling Pep Boy repeatedly trying to ascertain whether or not my Punch Buggy wires had arrived from another store. I kept talking to different people who had no idea what other people had told me and I had to keep saying the same information over and over again. Then they'd tell me to call back in an hour, at which time I'd definitely have my wires. And so at noon I finally picked them up.
I think the wires are what finally made the thing quit misfiring. I took it on a drive east down Wilshire and west down Santa Monica and it was more smooth and powerful than it had ever been. The old spark plug wires had been kind of leaky and I could see sparks shooting out of the sides. I'd even been jolted by one such spark when I'd removed a wire from the distributor cap and a lightning bolt got me right through the insulation.
That was satisfying in its own way, but so too was the process of cleaning up my house. Every discrete mission into the alley to drop off stuff, every scrubbed-away spot, it all brought me satisfaction no less wonderful than the sort I get from the successful completion of a useful VBScript function. Cleaning, being bent over scrubbing and inhaling noxious chemicals, it's not my idea of a career path, but I can see how someone would get satisfaction from it.
To add a touch of class to my mostly-clean condo, I walked up to Ralphs and bought a bottle of Jameson whiskey and a bouquet of sunflowers. For the record, it should be noted that these were the first flowers I ever bought.
At 11:35 I'm picking up Gretchen from LAX. Perhaps we'll go to a party after that.

The Punch Buggy Rust ran exceptionally well down on the way south to the airport. Truth be known, I'd been monkeying around with a lot more than just the spark plugs and spark plug wires. I'd replaced the points and rotor with some spares I'd found in the trunk and had even adjusted the timing, first advancing the timing until the engine began pinging and then backing it off a smidge, using absolutely no testing equipment whatsoever. Perhaps the best thing about this timing work was that I was able to tune my engine to run on the least expensive gasoline, which I'd inadvertently purchased at my last visit to the gas station.
After two passes by the TWA arrival area, I had Gretchen in my car and we were motoring effortlessly northward up Sepulveda. We took a little detour to Venice on the way to Wsst LA to each grab a beer at Chris' the Camera guy's summer party. Bathtubgirl and Snow were there, as were hundreds of other people, most of them fucked up in one way or another. Parties are a rather different experience when you're not the drunkest person there. Gretchen and I spent most of our brief time there talking to one of my coworkers, Alex the System Administrator, telling him about my imminent relocation to New York City.
When Gretchen saw them, she was touched that I'd bought flowers, until she figured out I'd really just bought them for my condo, or perhaps, indirectly, for Jesika (my realtor). I did my best to defend myself, pleading, "But I thought about you when I got them; that's why I also bought your favorite whiskey!"
So now Gretchen and I together and will remain so into the foreseeable future. Now all we have to do is pack this house up, but a big pink bow on the door and leave Los Angeles forever.

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