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:
   issues at Froggy's
Sunday, June 4 2000
For a long time, Kim and I were content to simply lie on the couch holding each other like infantile monkeys. It felt perfect just to be that way. There was no desire to escalate to sex and it's doubtful I could have mustered an erection anyway. I especially enjoyed being on my back with my legs wrapped high around Kim's hips, my thighs pressed into the indentations of her hourglass figure. I kept telling her that I loved her, and I really meant it too.

In our state, things with symbolic significance had particular resonance. This was particularly true of a strange "Gypsy Staff" that Kim bought a few weeks ago from a rag tag old homeless Portugese man who rather resembled the scruffy characters of The Fisher King. She'd encounted him at a favorite Santa Monica homeless hangout, the parking lot of the Co-op Supermarket. He hadn't been trying to sell his peculiar staff, but when she saw the one he held, Kim thought he could make some money selling them. "Do you want to buy this one?" he'd asked Kim. "Sure, how much?" she'd retorted. "Whatever you think it's worth," he'd said, adding, "it will bring you good luck." On that note, Kim had thought it appropriate to give the man $7.
The Gypsy Staff consists of a hard wooden pole wrapped in stout cloth. It's topped with a metal crown and knots of assorted fabric, rather resembling (in a crude voodoo sort of way) the top of the torch held by the Statue of Liberty. Additionally, there are various other things attached to the staff by string and metal straps. One of these is a one foot long piece of drift wood.
For the first week or more, the staff was an unobtrusive presence on the front porch by the door. But today when Kim and I wandered out onto the balcony in a state of mesmerized wonder, I saw the staff lying dejected in the shrubbery. "You decided to throw out the staff?" I asked.

"It's not thrown out. I put it there to protect us," Kim responded.

"Well, you hid it in the shrubbery. It looks like you're throwing it out," I said.

"I thought it would be happier there. Besides, it has blood on it," said Kim.

"I suppose that's a nice way of saying you decided to throw it away. It has blood on it?"


I went down to the street and gathered up the Gypsy Staff from its place of banishment and brought it back to the balcony, where Kim and I beheld it with a creeped-out sense of the sublime. There it was, a blood drip on the drift wood, on the metal crown, and also on the cloth flames. It looked exactly like the blood comprising the trail leading several blocks past our house down Rochester and Santa Monica. In the movie version of our lives, of course, it would be the same blood. In reality, though, we had no idea what it meant. The staff had appeared in our lives at about same time as the trail of blood, but other than that there was no connection. There was only one conclusion to make. "This stick has powerful mojo," I declared superstitiously (but completely sincerely). "We need to move this out of the shrubbery and up onto the balcony," I added. Kim readily agreed.
We did a little dancing to ravish techno stuff, then tried out Slayer's Undisputed Attitude just to see if it was any good in the state we were in. It didn't do much for me, but Cyclefly, with its quick but danceable rhythm, was absolutely perfect. Vintage The The, on the other hand, was indisputably lame.
As we were coming down, we decided it would be best to head to the beach and hang out in the sunshine. But, as always, we never actually made it to the beach. On a Sunday in the spring, it's awfully difficult to find beachside parking anywhere between Malibu and Marina Del Rey. So we ended up heading inland up Topanga Canyon. Kim had it in her mind that there was some mysterious inland route connecting Santa Monica to the center of Topanga Canyon, but looking at the map it was clear that no such route exists, except as traveled by Mountain Lions and escaped convicts.
Kim knew of an interesting bar called Froggy's in what passes for the commercial center of the canyon. It's a favorite haunt of Anthea's hilariously wacky friend John. And not having any other place to go, that's where we went. We showed up at 4:30 and the place wasn't opened yet, but the staff let us in anyway and served us Sierra Nevadas. We sat in the hot sun beneath a system of hoses and jets which maintained a steady mist of water to cool the hot dry canyon air.
Well before dinner had arrived, Kim and I were having another of our horrible fights. This one started when, in comparing the "layers of discovery" of various creative endeavors, I made the mistake of admitting that my online journal also has layers. I meant this in the sense that most people mean when they talk about complex collections of interlinked hypertext, but to Kim, this meant I wasn't being entirely truthful with her. Suddenly Kim's attitude clicked over and I realized that I was stuck inescapably in another tiresome bog of argument. The situation was made considerably worse by the fact that we were in a public place. I couldn't scream, I could jump up and walk away. I had to endure my punishment with no defense, no emotional release except mumbled pleas that we please change the fucking subject. I repeatedly threatened to get up and go and hitch hike home, but this got me nowhere. Like an agonizing kidney stone, I simply had to wait for it to pass.

Various pictures of Sophie hanging out on the ledge of our balcony. She liked the commanding view, but was also somewhat nervous that she would fall.

Kim and me on our balcony.

Kimmy, looking like the girl next door. (She maintains this pictures makes her look frumpy, but I think it's cute.)

Kim dancing today in front of my painting Original Sin.

Kim and I with Sophie the Miniature Schnauzer.

The "Gypsy Staff."

The lower, undeveloped part of Topanga Canyon.

Kim at Froggy's. This is before, during, and after a horrible fight.

Me at Froggy's.

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