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:
   enabling a Lotto addiction
Monday, October 21 2002

setting: rural Hurley, New York

Today Mustafa again brought his buddy Asan to help with the painting, and they mostly spent the day swinging paint brushes at the end of long poles in the cause of painting the high so-called "cathedral ceilings" over the living room.
Meanwhile I was discovering two new bits of spackling wisdom through the process of trial and error. I'd just bought a real oscillating power sander and a wide spackle knife. It was these two elements that proved to be the secret to smooth walls clear of cellulite.
When I announced to the painters that I was going to town and asked if they needed anything, Asan dug around in his pockets and produced several winning New York State Lottery tickets with a combined value of forty one dollars. He wanted me to get him 21 dollars in cash and 20 dollars worth of more tickets. The game he likes is Amazing Eight, and so that's what I got him when I went shopping. I also decided to pick up some liquor while I was at it, so the place where I did my business was a liquor store out on 9W, bright and early just after it opened. I've felt like an imposter many times in my life: as a corporate team player, as a database expert, as a faithful companion, and as a homeowning, law abiding citizen. But today was the first time I ever felt like I was an imposter as the sort who goes to a liquor store to buy a gallon of cheap spirits and 20 lottery tickets.
Later in the day I was going to Lowes for a second time and I made the mistake of telling my painters before leaving. Damn if Asan didn't give me fifteen more dollars to blow on Amazing Eight. I would have been embarrassed to go back to that liquor store for more lottery tickets, so this time I bought the tickets at the Stewart's gas station in Hurley. But that wasn't really such a good idea either; I'm new in town and no one knows who I am yet, but at some point the people at the Hurley Stewarts will come to know me fairly well. Years from now I don't want the cashier telling me that the first time she ever saw me, I was buying fifteen lottery tickets and a bag of corn chips. As if to prove my point, the moment I asked for fifteen tickets, the cashier asked again if I really wanted fifteen, partly because I might have said five and partly because even she knew better than to blow fifteen dollars on a probability ignorance tax. This put me on the defensive, and I found myself reflexively stammering, "They're for a guy who's working for me."
For dinner I enjoyed a meal comprised of corn chips and gin and tonics. It was a perfect way to spend an evening by myself out in the remote wilds of the Catskills.
Sometime before bed I decided to cut off a wart that has been living on my upper right arm for the past two or three years. I stood in front of the only mirror in the house (in the Roman Bathroom) so I could see what I was doing, and then I snipped it off with a pair of scissors. Being mutant parasitic tissue supplied with blood from my body but lacking any nerves, the procedure was entirely painless. The ejected wart flew through the air and hit the mirror with an audible click. I looked around on the vanity until I found it. It was tough little pellet, resembling a plug of wood used to cover small nailheads on furniture. I placed it between my teeth to chew on it and found it as hard as a piece of cartilage. The chaotic blood supply the wart had fashioned for itself wasn't visible in the wart at all; its disk of severance was a uniform matrix of tiny cells resembling the eye of a dragonfly. Meanwhile on my upper arm (on the other side of the severance disk), blood intended for the nourishment of my now-absent wart was flowing copiously. There'd been a change of assignment; now that blood could do something more useful such as carrying oxygen to my brain.

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