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:
   drinking beer to the point of nausea
Saturday, September 28 2002

Gretchen and I spent much of the day eliminating what bit of character and whimsy still remains in this apartment, replacing it with drab conformity and a profitable absence of heart-warming clutter. For me, highlights of this process included the removal of one of the three computers from the living room, the rearrangement of my computer equipment, the consolidation of two massive piles of assorted (though necessary) cables, and the relocation of a large painting of a creepy cat. Meanwhile Gretchen did her best to make the common center room (which serves mostly as Gretchen's computer area and a place for the cats to eat) into something more resembling a dining/living room. The goal here was to make things effortless for house hunters armed with weak imaginations, people who could never imagine what this apartment would look like with the absence of an inside-out cat floating in the depths of a yellow sea.

In the evening Gretchen and I went to a house warming party over in Prospect Heights. It was being hosted by the brother of Debra, Gretchen's poetry friend (Debra is now shacked up with Bill from the Ray and Nancy circle). We didn't really know what to expect at the party, so we thought we'd do the sociable thing and bring a little gift with us, a couple boxes of cookies stolen from Ikea.
But when we got there we discovered it was a full-on catered party, staffed with guys in tuxedos who wouldn't let us put our own food on our plates. To Gretchen's horror, the food consisted almost entirely of various cuts of meat. For me, meat is always something of a gustatory vacation, so I had a burger and then, on the advice of a novel writer Gretchen knew, I tried the ribs. I hadn't had ribs in years, and I'm delighted to report that they're still just as messy as they were back in 2000.
In stark contrast to the fanciness of the catering operation was the backdrop of their operation, the house that so desperately cried out for warming. It was a solid building (with what any realtor will tell you are "solid bones") but it was nonetheless an appallingly dreary place. Floors consisted mostly of various forms of linoleum tile, much of which was badly worn. Something about the walls and the way they'd been painted seemed to impart a claustrophobic cave-like quality to the rooms. It was far more pleasant to hang out in the backyard, which was a long narrow lot reaching to the center of a Brooklyn "long block" (between two avenues). When one sat in the very back of the lot, the brownstones on either side seemed a world away, like skyscrapers viewed from Central Park. One could even see stars in the night sky. It later occurred to me that the very structure of Brooklyn in this neighborhood is acting to ensure large amounts of open space. Because of the street layout and the pattern of property ownership, it would take an enormous effort to systematically destroy these slivers of urban nature, compromised though they already are.
Eventually Lin and Mark showed up, mistakenly bringing a six pack and a bottle of wine. For awhile Mark and I sat in the back of the lot smoking pot with various people who came along. Somehow Mark and I got to talking about cocaine and it turned out that he'd heard the story about the time I'd bought him cocaine for his birthday and then ended up sharing it with some people I'd met just that night. I was embarrassed by this revelation, but I managed to explain to Mark that at the last minute a gift of cocaine hadn't seemed appropriate. As it happens, my intuition had been correct. While Mark might bring new significance to being a Nader Green, he has never had cocaine in his life. Gateway drugs, my ass.
Something about the pot and the beer really fucked me up, to a point where I was clearly (and somewhat deliberately, in the manner of all happy drunks) embarrassing Gretchen. After awhile she wanted to leave with Lin and abandon Mark ("your boyfriend") and me at the party, but then Mark, despite me entreaties, thought he should probably go too. So I stayed behind without them, drinking another beer and chatting with Debra and perhaps others. I remember ducking into Moonies to take a piss and stealing a plum from a bodega on my way back home. I don't remember picking up another set of external computer speakers, but there they were on the kitchen table when I woke up the next morning. I also remember that after I climbed into bed I was suddenly overwhelmed with nausea and had to go to the bathroom to puke. That was the first time I'd puked from drinking in a very long time, and the first time I'd puked from drinking beer since back in my early college days.

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