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:
   Mavis goes to the catnip field in the sky
Wednesday, May 12 2004
A little over a year ago Gretchen and I began fostering Mavis, an old crotchety cat seized from a would-be "animal rescuer" named Jody. Jody was charged with animal abuse for (among other things) confining Mavis to a closet. Unfortunately, Jody went on to win her court case after being tried by a jury of backwoods hicks from Rochester Township. But being homeless and carless, Jody never managed to retrieve Mavis. She did call several times trying to schedule a visit, but that last time she caught Gretchen in a bad mood and was quickly dispatched.
Mavis was old and unhealthy and no one expected her to last more than a few months. But once she moved into our house she started putting on weight and building muscle mass. By late summer she'd reached a sort of physiological peak, but then gradually she began to decline. In recent months she'd been losing weight, vomitting frequently, and (something she'd never not done) complaining. She'd taken to waking us up at 5:00am every morning for want of food, but then only eating a tiny amount and waking us up again at 6:00am. Over time she became such a pathetic remnant of a cat that we decided to have her put to sleep. Then we'd have second thoughts and a couple more weeks would pass.
Today Gretchen took her to the local animal shelter and a tech did the deed. Gretchen had never had an animal put to sleep before. She said that the tech injected Mavis with something to knock her out, and then injected the euthanasia medication directly into her heart. When that failed to stop its beating, he did it again. And then a third time. Meanwhile Gretchen was petting Mavis and cleaning gobs of wax out of her ears, not that it mattered anymore. It was sad, more sad than either of us expected. Unfortunately I was on the phone talking with a potential employer when Gretchen took Mavis away, so I never really had a chance to say goodbye. But I'm also sort of happy that the last time I saw Mavis I wasn't entirely sure she would be put to sleep. It's never pleasant interacting with an animal when you're certain of its fate.
With Mavis gone, everything suddenly became a lot more simple in our household. We cleaned up the laundry room, which had mostly been reserved for use by Mavis as a private place for eating her wetfood. While Gretchen mopped the floors, I scrubbed flecks of dried wet food from the walls. Unlike our other cats, Mavis had a tendency of pausing to shake her head violently when she ate, flicking tiny particles of her wetfood everywhere. These particles had dried into a substance as hard as concrete.
I took the flap off the plexiglass barricade to the laundry room and now both cats can come and go as they choose. The barricade now only keeps out the dogs. It's a feature we'll be exploiting to prevent the dogs from eating cat shit, which makes them much less pleasant to be around.
There's definitely something missing without Mavis around the house. True, she didn't really add anything except the familiarity of her personhood, crotchety and needy though it was, but it will be missed. We won't be missing those extended ordeals of early-morning harassment, with Mavis walking back and forth across our faces, stepping painfully on our hair, sneezing on us, and repeatedly restating the only word she seemed to know, "Ngwrahahaha!"

I was on the phone for about an hour and a half this evening as a client told me what changes needed to be made to her website. I was holding a phone to my head with one hand and typing with the other, a feat that quickly became torture. It wasn't getting-my-head-sawed-off-with-a-knife-by-Al-Qaeda torture or even being-on-the-bottom-of-a-naked-human-pyramid-at-Abu-Ghraib torture, but it was enough to make me consider getting a set of headphones for my telephone.

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