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 dinner option in Park Slope
Thursday, September 19 2002

The angsty emo-rock I've been listening to lately is by a band called And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of The Dead, yet another band I would never have heard of without the assistance of KaZaALite. I think what I find most appealing is the sound of the guitars, distorted until they sound like an orchestra full of strings, plucking out simple repetitive melodic textures that stand as curtains of quivering sound as beautiful as the Aurora Borealis. I've always been a sucker for that sound, and though there now exist tools that can make sounds with any nuance anyone can imagine, I've never yet heard a musical note played with a sound that I like better.

Today I read an article linked by Slashdot about Mark Ishikawa, a guy whose ISP works mainly as a private investigation company enforcing the DMCA. The technological terms were cast around haphazardly throughout the article, confusing such forms of infringement as uploads to web servers with peer to peer activity. The disturbing thing to contemplate, and I've been aware of it all along, is how easy it is for someone using KaZaA and a network monitoring program to get a list of IP addresses of people sharing certain files. Using that information and the time of the sharing, a subpoena could be presented to the internet provider in possession of that IP address, and then (assuming the internet provider complied with the subpoena), the internet provider's DHCP (dynamic allocation of IP address) logs to make matches with real people - whoever has that internet access account. Under the DMCA, copyright holders are permitted to file such subpoenas, although what precisely qualifies as subpoena-worthy infringement has yet to be established (and sine ISP are resisting).
According to the article, Ishikawa has a bunch of movie infringement cases in the pipeline and we'll see the first wave of arrests made in October. Chances are, a good fraction of these arrests will be of clueless parents whose teenage kids happened to have been rabid file sharing enthusiasts. Obviously, not every file sharer can be arrested; even in our prison-industrial complex, there aren't anywhere near enough cells for all the Ishikawa-fingered felons. So we can expect to see only the most "flagrant" file traders brought to trial. How flagrant must they have been? We'll find out. It will be interesting to see the public reaction to such arrests. Will they be timed to coincide with, say, an invasion of Iraq so as to be ignored by the press? The whole thing creeps me out, partly because I have naturally been doing a little movie file sharing of my own, more to see if it's even possible than to actually watch idiotic movies at grainy resolutions.

The other day Gretchen discovered a new Italian restaurant to patronize here in Park Slope. It's called Lento's and it's directly across from the Park Slope Food Coop on Union just below 7th Avenue. Tonight we met Ray and Nancy there for dinner.
Unlike most restaurants preferred by Gretchen, Lento's isn't famous for its tempeh or its service. Instead, the main thing in its favor is its lack of pretense. It hearkens back to an older Park Slope, before the baby carriages and gentrification came along and made two bedroom co-ops worth $400,000. Just inside the door, the first thing you notice is a huge ugly heating unit (a sort of massive, rectangular R2-D2) with a duct-tape-and-fibreglass exhaust pipe running through a hand-sawed hole above the door. There's booths to the right and a bar to the left, and directly above the latter is a festive glowing (and possibly vintage) Budweiser sign. The menus are laminated plastic and covered with a thin layer of intractable grease. You can order carafes of wine only by type, not by brand. We ordered the Merlot. Or was it the Chianti? Actually, the place seemed a lot less tacky than Gretchen had led me to believe, but this might have been entirely due to the fact that the bartender tonight looked exactly like a flapper from the 1920s, imparting a certain elegance to the place. The food was blandly reassuring in the tradition of American comfort food. Despite my initial hunger and consequent socially-crippling glucose levels, I didn't eat much of the bread they brought to our table, because to eat it felt like I was lining my stomach with toilet paper.
My chief insight during the meal was that the restaurants of Park Slope are like the channels of Time Warner Cable. There are a lot of them, but there's nothing appealing to eat.

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