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:
   biological laziness & scientific ignorance
Tuesday, January 13 1998

nother fucked-up dream: two beautiful furry kittens played on a forested hillside in early springtime, and me and some anonymous friend thought they were the cutest kittens we'd ever seen. But then a vicious black cat made a bee-line for the most vulnerable of the two and had to be pried off. But it was a bit too late. The black cat had already "scalped" the kitten, removing all the skin and ears from its victim. The kitten was still alive, but just barely. It felt like a fat lump of meat in my hand.

The vicious black cat looked much like the roadkill I saw on Fontaine Avenue yesterday on my walk to the Amoco. It was brutal, its hair was matted by rain and its sharp fangs were bared. But the cat in the dream didn't have his intestines hanging out.


he behaviour of Matthew Hart and Angela regarding Shira the Dog's copious shit production is rapidly becoming reprehensible. It seems they routinely ignore poo piles and piss puddles, going off to live their lives and leaving me to live with the excrement. I was incensed this afternoon when I discovered Angela leaving with Fatima and sister Theresa, a pile of cold poo and a fresher puddle of pee relaxing into the floor boards. I cleaned it up, just because I don't like to live in the presence of such foul substance. But I chalked it up for that inevitable argument I'm going to have to have: the dog has to go, she isn't happy here. Peggy has said she'll adopt her, which would be much better. It would be hard for a dog to get in much trouble in the endless acres of orchards atop Carter's Mountain.


  spent most of today dealing with computer audio, everything from gut-level drivers to installations of RealAudio. For the multimedia project upon which I am working, I needed to be able to freely translate between .wav and .ra (RealAudio) files. But my computer has always had trouble with audio. Perhaps it's the All in Wonder card, perhaps it's the SIIG sound card, perhaps it's their interaction, perhaps it's unusual levels of sunspot activity, or El Niño. RealAudio has never really functioned on my machine; the Windows 95 version always gives me "out of memory" errors (and I have 64 Megs, guys). So today I installed the 16 bit Windows 3.1 version. Amazingly enough, that functioned perfectly.

I also needed a utility to translate .wav files to .ra files. On the Mac, there is a freeware utility that does that. Not so in the Windows world. So today I bought my first software online. For 50 dollars, I got the crappiest piece of shit, bug-laden monstrosity called SoundMix. Every function on it crashes the program except the part that translates to RealAudio, and even that part has its problems. For example, the progress bar only works for the first half of the progress. After that you sort of have to extrapolate. And I paid $50. There's a new version of the utility out there somewhere, but I can't get into the special part of the website where it can be downloaded, even though I'm supposedly entitled. The consequence of all this: even more bitterness and cynicism on my part.

But... I did managed to convert files to RealAudio today. If you have the time, listen to:

I was struck by the quality of the RealAudio versions I was able to create. The freeware Mac converter was free, sure enough, but its output had sounded much like choppy bad shortwave broadcasts.


  was watching public teevee again this evening, and tonight's show concerned the different views from either side of the main fault line running through psychology: nature versus nurture. I had the somewhat predictable feeling that both camps were reaching out and grasping aspects of the same reality. This is different from the feeling I get when I hear members of various religions discuss their conflicting dogmas; they're too completely arbitrary and fantastic.

It's been a while since I had an opportunity to watch informative teevee. For most of past two years, I've had to share a teevee with others, and those others, for the most part, have always seemed to revel in their scientific ignorance. I can't imagine, for example, Matthew Hart sitting through a discussion of Nature vs. Nurture or the Uncertainty Principle. He'd be bellyaching the whole time to see "the big game" or the Food Network. Of course, his obstinate refusal to learn about the world contributes continually to his bad decisions. Unfortunately, he's the rule, not the exception. Lucky for Matthew, he happens to be very intelligent.

    [On a related note, I heard on Morning Edition that a group of Arkansas teenagers broke into a Neon factory and stole several dozen pounds of elemental Mercury, that heavy liquid metal stuff used in thermometers. The teens divided it up, played with it, dipped objects in it, smeared it on their skins and even smoked it. Several of them are now hospitalized in serious condition, and they (along with their families) have all been evacuated from their contaminated homes. If I'd been in that group, I would have been able to defuse the scientific ignorance of my friends. But that misses a serious point; all children in America should have been taught in elementary school that Mercury is extremely dangerous. The fact that none in this group knew is a serious indictment of American science education. I have no doubt, by the way, that these teenagers knew all about Noah's Ark, Adam and Eve, and other nonsense the religious right would like to be teaching as science in public school.]

one year ago

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