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:
   the repose of a wall of muscle
Monday, September 30 2002

I've noticed an interesting change to my abdomen since I started an exercise regime of daily situps. Though the flab is all still there both beneath and on top of the rippling new walls of muscle, it no longer seems to occupy the space it once did. By mid-summer, I'd developed an actual paunch, big enough to easily see through a close-fitting tee shirt. In order to make that paunch disappear, I had to consciously suck it in, like some shirtless beach slob trying to impress the ladies on his way to the Diet PepsiTM machine. Now, though, the preferred state of my newly-developed abdominal muscles is sucked in. I can still have my summertime paunch if I choose, but I have to consciously push it out. Mind you, the effort necessary to do this is almost inconsequential, and in some ways my belly acts as though it is happier as a paunch. But this is not the complete story, because the next time I take note of my belly, I see that it has tightened back up again and the paunch has been erased entirely. It's as if the muscles are now making new contributions to how I hold my body, and the force of their exertions has, as a side effect, the unconscious sucking-in of my belly.
It's easy for me to get a little carried away when I get on a new kick, and this situp exercise regime is no exception. Yesterday I did 200 situps in one session and today I noticed that I'd actually developed a blister on my tailbone.

I finished Kurt Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle today and found that I'd liked it so much that I immediately wanted to start reading another. Luckily, Gretchen has a large collection of Vonnegut, so I launched directly into Slapstick. I'm sure it's all been said before, but I find Vonnegut to have an incredibly creative and perceptive mind, one that seems almost perfectly tuned to resonate with my own. His prose is far more enjoyable than, say, J.D. Salinger. And deservedly, his influence on writing has been profound. I did some Google searches for Vonnegut phrases I found particularly brilliant and I found they've all been extensively recycled. Two examples:

Interestingly, I find that if I end the evening by reading from a novel, then I no longer require a shot of alcohol in order to fall asleep. I think the problem with most of my reading material (magazine articles and web publications) has been that they tend to be too short to be fully satisfying. A novel, though, usually provides far too much of an experience to be handled in a single setting, and thus can serve as a perfect way to mentally wind down from a day. This is obvious of course, something I've known since childhood. But since adulthood, for the most part, I've found novels unhelpful in providing insights to my experience - what I'm actually craving whenever I read. Vonnegut, though, provides a ponder-ready insight every couple of pages.

extraneous mentions of things particularly geeky

I've come across a highly informative website about old Macintosh computers. The article about the most technically-compromised PowerPC Macs sheds light on the processes happening behind the scenes at Apple, a sometimes infuriatingly-marketing-savvy hardware manufacturer.

I also found an amusing collection of screenshots for old OSs. It's the modern geek equivalent to flipping through a collection of ancient maps.

Meanwhile I've been running the late-beta version of Mandrake 9.0 for a few weeks now and I'm finding it a lot more stable and useful than the 8.0 version. Now that 9.0 has been released in its post-beta form, I strongly urge all would-be Linux dabblers to try it out. The most important difference of all is the readability of the text in KDE; the fonts have been vastly upgraded from the jagged collection of cacaglyphs they used to be. Also, Mozilla on Mandrake Linux seems to run as fast on my 550 MHz AMD K6 II as it does in Windows 2000 on my 1.4 GHz Athlon. Since Linux windows managers are handicapped by excessive layers of software abstraction smothering the hardware, I find the best way to run KDE is with all the fancy and unnecessary "visual effects" turned off.

For linking purposes this article's URL is:

previous | next