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:
   never send back your food
Saturday, September 21 2002

I saw the mutant robin (the one with white feathers on his back) in the Vale of Cashmere again today. He was in exactly the same place I'd seen him a week or so before. It would be nice to get inside the mind of a bird like that. What does he think sitting on that same branch day after day, with his weird white feathers? Does he think himself odd? Or is he only concerned about the things he sees outside himself? He obviously has a territory to defend, even at this late stage of the summer. If he thinks about the world in evolutionary terms, he surely sees himself at evolution's pinnacle. If he thinks there are gods and goddesses, he probably imagines them being especially powerful, learned robins. We humans, most of whom appear to do little more with their time on Earth than fuck each other up the asshole, surely have no souls whatsoever.

Remember the anti-democratic thoughts I had yesterday? Well those were deepened and widened further by the increasing realization that George W. Bush's beating the drums of war has all been a distraction, a successful distraction, all meant to draw attention away from the sorry state of the economy. This week the DOW dips below 8000 and it's barely even mentioned because everyone is talking about a war against a country that hasn't done anything new or threatening in ten years. Why is the media permitting this no-news war to figure so important in their reporting? It's mostly related to the fact that war is always more interesting than, say, economic problems. CNN knows that the best way to enlarge its fraction of the eyeballs is for us to have a war, but this stake in the matter makes its reporting inherently biased. They don't dwell on economic problems because they'd much rather fan the flames of war. Instead of serving the public interest, the press becomes a propaganda instrument for the lunatic fringe of administration thinking. This is the state of "perpetual war" that Orwell warned us about. From my vantage point, it seems like a sort of deadlock - since there is no obvious way out of it. The press fan the flames of war, the people respond favorably to their government, and the government consolidates power and beat the drums of war. What event can possibly break us out of this feedback-loop-to-dictatorship?

Today Gretchen went with Ray and Nancy to the Ikea in New Jersey and had the normal unpleasant experience one would expect from a Saturday at a major urban discount outlet. They did, however, find plenty of things with which to outfit a home. If one sticks with things like bath mats and shower racks, one can normally cheat the process of self-destruction normally programmed into Ikea products. Since putting a downpayment on the Hurley house, Gretchen has been actively hunting for necessary household furnishings. The other day she bought a bunch of down pillows essentially out of the back of somebody's van. Today she picked up items for the four bathrooms we'll have to outfit.
Later on Mikila and Drew from the East Village came over for a visit, overlapping the presence of Ray and Nancy by a few minutes. The plan had originally been for Mikila and Drew to accompany us to Southpaw, a new music venue on 5th Avenue, but when Gretchen called them she found it was sold out. Another plan we'd made to perhaps fabricate our pizzas at home, also was nixed in favor of sandwiches at Press, yet another hip new restaurant-cum-gentrification on 5th Avenue. While we were waiting around for our food, we got to talking about how best to handle surprises in the food that the waitresses bring. My philosophy is to always just accept it, no matter what it is (so long it isn't patently offensive). Gretchen, my mother, and almost every other woman in my life, on the other hand, can always be counted upon to send it back. They also routinely send back dishes that are otherwise imperfect in some way, either perceived or imagined. Additionally, my mother always seemed to have the worst luck when it came to unclean dishes and silverware. On hearing this, Drew made the comment that he'd worked in an awful lot of kitchens in his day and that he would never be unnecessarily fussy about his food simply because of the near-certainty of staff retaliation. Such retaliation normally takes the form of hawked loogies and other unpleasant nastiness discretely hidden within the food. I hadn't even thought about this factor, at least not consciously. Perhaps subconsciously, however, I recognize the fact that one should never piss off anyone who prepares your food but isn't your mother. (On a somewhat related note, I should quickly mention that back when I was a kid, my mother tended to suffer disproportionately from after-dinner complaints whenever we'd go out to eat.)
It's amazing how quickly participants in a disgusting discussion, particularly a disgusting dinnertime discussion will escalate the grossness with tales that successively out-top the one told just before. There was a story about a Band-Aid being lost into a vat of pie filling, immediately topped by one featuring slices of fingers lost irretrievably in the stew. Finally Drew told us a story about a prep cook with a viciously-infected thumb who came within days of requiring amputation yet continued working in the kitchen right up to the day of his emergency treatment. Reportedly his thumb "looked exactly like a cartoon of an accidentally-hammered thumb."
The sandwiches at Press are standard French-style sandwiches that are actually pressed flat by some special sandwich pressing machine. Something about this process infuses the bread with the flavor from the stuff in the center. My honey-mustard and turkey sandwich was absolutely delicious, although it's possible that the pot I'd just been smoking was a factor in the formulation of this opinion.
Later we went to the decidedly pre-gentrified O'Connors to drink a few Budweisers and listen to such Mikila-selected jukebox tunes as "Hardcore UFOs" and "Wichita Lineman." I forget how it happened, but Drew and Gretchen got into something of an argument about racist factors underlying the outcome of American Idol. Gretchen was saying that the black people couldn't win because too many subconsciously racist teeny boppers in Nebraska were voting for white would-be heartthrobs. Drew was arguing that the white winning contestants actually were better by objective standards of charisma and talent. It turned nasty enough for Mikila to apologize about it later via email.
After dropping Mikila and Drew off at the Q Station, Gretchen and I were walking home along Plaza West and I suddenly announced, "I'd like to start a band called Homey Homeslice and the Slicekateers." Then I asked Gretchen, "Would you like to be a Slicekateer?"

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