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:
   interim transportational goals
Sunday, November 25 2001

This morning bright and early, Gretchen's parents drove us down to the Pittsburgh airport (40 miles southwest of Pittsburgh) so that we could catch our 11am flight back to New York City. When we arrived, the security line in front of the metal detectors stretched over an eighth of a mile, well into temporary parking. Though today was supposedly the biggest travel day of the year, we had an early flight and things could have been much worse. The fact that there were several of us to take turns waiting in line made the situation considerably less miserable. Gretchen could even fetch me a much-needed cup of coffee. Generally I find that if I set small goals along the way to a distant destination, the wait is far easier to take. So, in the course of waiting in the security line, I kept setting goals associated with the location of signs, tiles, and the ends of motorized walkways.
Once we'd made it through security, we encountered another problem at the US Airways check-in desk. This one had more to do with the cranky, overworked, job-insecure staff than with anything we had done. The woman doing check-in, who seemed to have modeled her makeup sense on Tammy Faye Bakker's, glanced at my paperwork and said I had everything I needed. But then when I looked at it, I realized it was just a receipt and even had text saying it was insufficient for boarding. I went up again and she said the same damn thing. But Gretchen didn't believe her, so we went to another ticket agent and this one gave us what we actually needed, chastising Tammy Faye Bakker in the process. In her own defense, Tammy Faye had the nerve to say that she'd never seen either of us before! What a perfect ending to a perfect Thanksgiving!
It was all bumps and turbulence as our plane passed through a major frontal system on the flight home. We were in an Airbus, the same kind that crashed recently in Queens (due, it is thought, to "wake turbulence"). Normally the pilot tells us what kind of airplane we're flying in, but this time he didn't say a word. But I've been on enough flights to know an Airbus when I see one. Characteristically, they come equipped with a ribbed ceiling and fold-down television screens.
From La Guardia, Gretchen needed to go into Manhattan to visit her friend Mary Purdy. So I tagged along for part of the journey, starting with a wait for a municipal bus in front of the airport. I'd just finished a clamshell container full of oriental noodles and was wondering where I could throw it away, and that was when I discovered yet another aspect of heightened airport security: there are no longer any trashcans on the unsecured side of the metal detectors or, for that matter, outside the airport itself. I was forced to litter, since I didn't feel like carrying the greasy thing around with me anymore. It had already drained sesame oil all over my camera and PDA and I was sick and tired of it.
Everybody in the back of the crowded municipal bus was friendly and chatty. For awhile a couple of guys were discussing the relative merits of their portable MP3-playing technologies. Then Gretchen struck up some other sort of conversation with the guy sitting next to her. We got off at 125th Street in the heart of Harlem, in a place where the streets are mostly named after African Americans and the buildings are mostly one and two stories tall. "Couldn't they think of a white guy to name this street after?" I asked. From there we backtracked on foot to the 3 Subway southbound, since we'd overshot it by several blocks on the bus.
After Gretchen got off, I rode the subway solo back to Park Slope and attempted to kick back and relax, but only a few channels were working on the damn Time Warner digital cable teevee.
In the evening, we were visited by Gretchen's friend Jacob and his friend Evan. You may remember Jacob, since now he lives in Hollywood and Gretchen introduced him to me and my then-housemate John when we lived there. Jacob also used to live in Park Slope, and that's how he knows Evan. Evan is a talk, lanky, wacky guy who has the good fortune to still have a dot com job this late in the dot com collapse. In fact, I'm going to try to get a job at his dot com myself.
Since it was the weekend, Evan wasn't taking his Ritalin. Instead he was chain-drinking Coca Colas and being increasingly wacky as his comfort with us increased. Gretchen had me download 38 Special's "So Caught Up In You" on Morpheus, but when I played it, Jacob and Evan acted like they were going to leave. "How about if I do this?" I asked, cutting off the song. "Hmm, maybe we can stay a little longer," they both agreed.

For linking purposes this article's URL is:

previous | next