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:
   encounters with the natural
Friday, July 16 2004

Today was full of strange and disturbing encounters with the natural world. This morning I saw Sally digging one of her usual chipmunk mines along the Stick Trail while a small (possibly immature) deer mouse stood about three feet away, watching with what seemed like a mixture of fascination and horror. Sally didn't even notice. Later Sally dashed across Dug Hill Road while I was checking the mail and immediately started prospecting for a chipmunk among the rocks of the bank above the roadway. Amazingly, this time she actually caught it. She killed it so quickly that there was nothing I could have done to save it. I knew everything was over when I heard the crunch of its little skull in her jaws. Once it was dead she immediately lost her interest. I went to scoop its little corpse out of the road so it wouldn't be pulverized by passing cars. I'll never forget how warm its limp body felt in my hand.
Meanwhile Eleanor had snuck off to somebody's household garbage pile and rolled in fish entrails. We're pretty lax about bathing the dogs up here in the Catskills, where we regard the shit they roll in as somehow inherently "clean," but in this case I had give her an immediate shower. [REDACTED]
Later this afternoon I heard Eleanor barking behind the house, just below the lip of the Chamomile River ravine. I ran to see what the fuss was about and there it was, a full grown Black Bear about 500 feet away. Once I arrived on the scene, Eleanor decided to give chase, but in a stealthy, premeditated way. I kept quiet to see what would happen (after all, she's likely to encounter bears when I'm not around). I could see her quietly circle around the bear from the far side and, maintaining a certain distance, resumed barking. Interestingly, the bear didn't seem particularly scared of her and only grudgingly sauntered away. As always, his movements reminded me of the computer-generated beasts in Living With Dinosaurs. I realized that when I'd seen bears fleeing in the past, they weren't really frightened of the dogs, they were frightened of me. This bear hadn't seen me and had evidently thought he was alone in the forest with an annoying 35 pound dog.

If I thought I was going to get any programming done today, I was mistaken. First I had a housecall in High Falls. Then Mr. Eagles Nest (not to be confused with Larry, the guy who bought the idiosyncratic house lower down on Eagle's Nest) called me and asked if I wanted to come over and help him with some vehicular wiring and a website. Earlier in the week I'd promised to come over sometime, so I said okay. This is how it is with me these days. I'm constantly pulled in all directions and my life is a series of interruptions interrupted by other interruptions. The fragments of my life that remain are useful only for procrastination. I wish I could somehow descend to the bottom of an ICBM silo for several days of uninterrupted focus.

This evening Mr. and Ms. Meatlocker came over to play cards. Gretchen has been down in Silver Spring for the past few days, so it was just us three hanging out. Surprisingly, both of the Meatlocker People (what a dreadful pseudonym!) were in the mood to drink, though that's not saying much. We mostly played Crazy Eight. I always enjoy card games when I'm actually playing them, but for some reason I look forward to them with dread and loathing.

I've been reading lately because it's updated frequently and I'm a political junky in constant need of a fix. There was a link there today to a hilarious animated video of a parody of the song "This Land is My Land" featuring George W. Bush and John F. Kerry, as well as a large number of other political figures familiar from recent headlines. It even features Howard Dean breaking from his role as a background dancer and launching into his trademark scream. As wacky as this parody is, it doesn't actually seem to contain a partisan message. If anything, it's too kind to Bush, leaving the viewer with the impression (for example) that he gets around his Texas "ranch" on a horse instead of in a golf cart. I normally like my political comedy to be more obviously left-leaning than this, but it's so hilarious that I've taken to watching it the way other people take cigarette breaks.

I tried to use KaZaA Lite to download the hip hop song "Why?" by Jadakiss because I'd read that it's a top-20 hit that matter-of-factly asks "why" Bush knocked down the towers of the World Trade Center. But all the copies on the KaZaA network were full of defects. I've noticed that KaZaA has become virtually useless in the past month or so; not only can I not download Fahrenheit 9/11, but I can't even get non-copyrighted material such as the Howard Dean Scream (or any of the goofy things made with it). I read somewhere recently that when it comes to file sharing it's all about eDonkey these days.
As for whether or not Bush actually did knock down those towers, I will say this: the asshole definitely had a motive, a better one than, say, OJ Simpson had. Where would his presidency have been without the collapse of those buildings? If there is a political relationship as mutually-beneficial as the one George W. Bush and Osama bin Laden, I'd like to know what it is. And what could save Bush's presidency now short of the collapse of the Sears Tower, the leveling of the Grand Ole Opry, and the freezing over of Hell?

Julius demands constant attention and there's no better place to get it than in front of a keyboard.

Sally on the laboratory floor.


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