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:
   tanning and overclocking
Wednesday, January 5 2011
There was surprising dusting of snow this morning, which totally altered the landscape's appearance until the sun came out and evaporated it all. Winter is a time when precipitation is a solid, visible thing, and in the course of a few hours the landscape can be transformed. I'll bet you can't do that, tropics! But I'm neglecting the effects of volcanoes, asteroids, and nuclear bombs.

I'd accumlated a list of needs over the past couple weeks, and this list had found its way onto paper. Today I drove into town to address them. I took the Honda Civic, which started so poorly I had to use a jumper cable from the Subaru. Lately its heating system has deteriorated, and in cold weather the car doesn't get warm until you've driven it about 20 miles. While I was out today, I noticed that its radiator fluid was low, so I added some, though this didn't seem to help with the heating. I also noticed that the dashboard temperature gauge occasionally would rise up to the top of the scale and then quickly drop. This sort of behavior is unlike I've ever experienced in this car, which is now about 13 years young. (I heard Andrew Cuomo use the "years young" formulation in his inauguration speech as I drove around listening to the radio today, so I thought I'd use it again even though I find it extremely unpleasant.)
My recent tests of various Linux (and other free OS) distributions has depleted my supply of blank CDs, which probably dates back to a 100-stack I bought circa 2004. So today I went to Target to reup on this commodity. It is just a commodity, after all. Memorex is as good as Sony. So when I buy blank CDs, my chief concern is whether or not the CD is colored in a neutral manner that will not distract from whatever I choose to write on it in Sharpie. Failure to consider that one issue has rendered hideous all of the DVDs I've burned for the past several years; they're Phillips-brand which come with a lot of ugly black writing on a silvery background. Far preferable are all-silver blank media, disks of which have brand names and other information represented in text written in a different level of gloss. Worse even than my blank DVD media would be an all-black media where Sharpie wouldn't show up at all. These were the thoughts that passed through my mind as I shopped in Target today. Sony's price-per-disk was actually the lowest of all on their 100-disk spindle, but they'd made a fateful error in the packaging. They'd placed a black circular card at the top of the stack, concealing the appearance of the media below. I couldn't take the chance that the media would be difficult to label, so I went with a 50-disk spindle of Memorex blank media instead, which had visibly acceptable media within. You fucked up, Sony, at least when it comes to savvy customers like me.

Due to a lack of programming in my favorite shows, I've been forced to start DVRing another reality show, this one on The Learning Channel called My Strange Addiction. It's obviously a lot lower-budget than Hoarders or Intervention; you can tell because nobody ever seems comfortable on camera and dialog often across as scripted. My guess is that production teams for My Strange Addiction don't do a commited embed with the people they're filming, whereas the crews for Hoarders and Intervention are so familiar to the people being documented that they behave completely naturally.
On today's episodes of My Strange Addiction (and there were several), the most interesting were the compulsive tanners, young women who spend as much time as possible at tanning salons or out in the sun. Without exception, such women have long straight platinum-colored hair, slightly pudgy bodies, and northern European skin at the limits of how darkly it can tan. Northern European skin was never designed to contain much melanin, and when it turns very dark it usually develops a sickly orange hue. Both of today's "tannorexics" exhibited this skin tone (and the new speaker of the House, John Boehner, also appears to suffer from a self-orangifying tanning addiction). It's hard to understand why someone would want to make herself look the way these young women ended up looking. One even admitted to having "old person hands" as result of the skin damage, though she comforted herself with knowledge of therapies such as botox (as if a sun-destroyed-but-surgically-resurrected body isn't its own form of freak show).
I'd had it in my mind that perhaps suntanning had fallen out of fashion some time back in the 1980s, but I'd been wrong. In our post-modern, subculturally-fractured society, there exist strains wherein suntanning is still popular alongside strains where suntans are best avoided. Part of what's happening in suntan-positive societies is strongly related to racial issues. You might think these orange women are somehow covetous of their darker, more ethnic sisters, but that's not actually the case. For them, the idea is to start white and then push their feeble melanin capacity to the limit. It's a little like CPU overclocking. ("Can you believe I got Windows 7 working on this 486?") And just to clear the air about what race they're coming from, there's the hair: always very straight and as blond as technology can make it, with a ditzy hip-hop-ignorant personality to match.

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