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:
   rock bottom for Powerful
Monday, February 13 2023

high up a hill just northwest of the center of Santa Teresa, Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica

Gretchen slept terribly last night due to gastrointestinal problems she blamed on the "richness" of the vegan lasagna she'd eaten at Drift. She was sure that the lasagna was the problem, because every time she thought about it, it made her deeply uncomfortable in her viscera and she has long been convinced that when this happens then there is a causal relationship between the food and the discomfort. (I, on the other hand, think this is an oversimplification and it could easily happen that one could blame food for something caused by, say, tainted water using this heuristic.)
After tossing and moaning for hours (something I mostly missed somehow) at 5:00am Gretchen took an ambien, which was why when I saw her this morning she seemed to be moving around like a zombie. For example, she wandered into the bathroom while I was taking my second dump of the day and didn't really seem embarrassed about it. She then proceeded to sleep for much of the day, skipping both her classes at the language school. Meanwhile I was fighting my way through an understanding of a new (to me) application written in an older flavor of ASP.NET.
Early this afternoon I fried up a mushroom-soy burger we'd bought yesterday at Green World, combining it with sauteed onions and mushrooms and then lettuce and a fairly good simulation of Grey Poupon mustard. It made for such a rich sandwich that I didn't end up eating dinner. Neither did Gretchen; her stomach was in such bad shape that all she consumed today was water, organge juice, and Popcorners (a popcorn-based chip that is very low in any form of oil).

Late this afternoon as the sun was about to set, Gretchen got an alert from Chase concerning our Chase Slate credit card because of a suspicious charge made with it. Someone had paid $62 for a night at the Days Inn in Albany. Gretchen remembered that nearly three years ago, she'd added Powerful to this card in an effort to begin developing good credit for him after the end of his 25-year incarceration. I have heard too many horror stories of adding irresponsible people to credit cards to have been really comfortable with this, but Gretchen thought it important, and back then Powerful really seemed to be putting in an effort to rejoin society as an upstanding citizen. Sure, later he would blow nearly all of the money he'd raised for graduate school (mostly via on speculative cryptocurrency investments and things that most people would quickly identify as scams. And there was also that period in early 2021 when he was blowing all his meager resources on prostitutes (and the hotel rooms to fuck them in). But he's always been scrupulously honest when dealing with us; him using a credit card Gretchen had long ago told him to stop using seemed out of character.
Gretchen nevertheless sent Powerful a message asking if he'd used the card, and he quickly admitted that he had in a short response that didn't contain any apology or much of an explanation, other than to say that he was out somehow without any of his usual credit cards but that he happened to have that one, and so had been forced to use it.
As I immediately explained to Gretchen, this seemed to me to be a transparent lie. That card shouldn't even be in his wallet, and it didn't make sense that it would be in his wallet and his other credit cards, the ones he is completely responsible for, would not be. It also didn't make any sense that he would be getting a hotel room in the same city he lives in unless he'd gone back to his incredibly wasteful habit of spending money on prostitutes. As an unemployed person on government assistance, where would the money for prostitutes be coming from? The most logical explanation is that he'd maxed out his personal credit cards and, in desperation, turned to the one he knew was nowhere close to maxed-out, perhaps hoping we wouldn't notice (the fact that he hadn't given Gretchen any notice about his use of the card suggests he thought he might get away with it). This is not something anyone who cares about the future would do, but, as I said to Gretchen, he's likely an addict when it comes to prostitutes, and desperate addicts go to extremes when it comes to prioritizing the present over even the immediate future. This is why you can never trust a junkie. The pleasure circuits in their brain are impossible for them to overcome even with the best of intentions.
Gretchen quickly composed a scatter-shot email to Powerful but then decided to wait before sending it, so we went out to the nearer of the day beds and watched the sunset. I stressed to her that it was clear that Powerful was lying and that he'd gone back to whoring and blowing what little money he has on immediate pleasures and (possibly) desperate plays that enrich only scammers. I told her that her reply should accuse him of the things it was clear he was doing. But she said she didn't want to accuse him of anything that she wasn't 100% sure he'd done just because if she was wrong (and she reminded me that I've been wrong when accusing her of things) that it would severely weaken her message. She said I was free to accuse him of the things I thought he'd done, and that, because of how much he respects me, that might do some good. Now, though, I was having second thoughts.
In any case, though, Powerful had given us valuable new information about what he is capable of, and it hadn't even cost us much (Gretchen would be telling Chase that the hotel charge was fraudulent). We now know he is not to be trusted. "We can never let him stay in our house again," I said. Gretchen agreed, though in her version we can never let him stay in our house "when we're not there."
In the end, Gretchen sent Powerful a short message saying that owed us a much better explanation than the one he'd given.

Later as I prepared for bed, I watched a fascinating YouTube video about how the economics of the Metaverse (the immersive virtual reality experience that Facebook is attempting to pivot to in a desperate attempt to stay relevant) is economically baffling. I hadn't been paying much (or any) attention to the Metaverse since it was announced because it doesn't much interest me. But what is interesting about it is how much money Facebook is shoveling at it. According to that video, they're spending ten to fifteen billion dollars each year trying to develop the Metaverse, and what they're getting for their money is deeply disappointing. The reason given for this in the video is that few software developers are interested in the Metaverse, which forces Facebook to offer extreme amounts of money (the "100th percentile of pay") to attract talent. But, since the talent is just there for the money, they're not actually the best talent, and their productivity is terrible. There are also the issues with the technology, the development of which is devouring huge piles of money. Mark Zuckerberg wants to Metaverse VR device to be a self-contained set of goggles. But with today's technology, the only way to do this is to compromise severely on the quality of the graphics, since there's no room inside a headset for massive GPUs and the heatsinks necessary to keep them cool. So the Metaverse ends up being an embarrassing cartoon, like something from the early 2000s, and few people are excited by it.

A container ship today far out on the ocean.

The casita from the north today, featuring the two day beds and the pool between them. Click to enlarge.

The casita from the south today, viewed up the steep landscaping. Click to enlarge.

Sunset today.

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