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:
   last piece of San Diego
Friday, August 18 2000
Today I noticed that the last piece of San Diego has sloughed from my body. It was a tiny fleck of metallic green toenail polish, something I'd applied on that last day of hanging out with the girls of the courtyard community before departing for Los Angeles for the last time. I'd checked for it only a few days ago and it had still been there.

My whole branch of product development is so thoroughly "between things" right now that it can be hard to find enough stuff to do to fill out an eight hour day, even for a busy guy like me juggling multiple extra-curricular projects simultaneously. So today I got around to doing something I've been planning for over a year: making some generalized Javascript color-handling routines that can manipulate colors in the vast spectrum spanning between the notes of the highly-restrictive color-safe scale. With the ability to manipulate colors by tiny increments, a whole new realm of possibility opens up. Using mathematical functions, I can graphically generate images in three dimensions (X, Y and Color) and present them on a web page, with all the actual work being done by the client computer and virtually nothing traveling across the network.
If you want to see the things my newer color functions can do, you should check out this all-Javascript non-color-safe color picker that I made (it requires a fast computer).
It seems like I've done this sort of thing before (see, for example, this example from the old musings), but I never really had the science of hex colors figured out the way I do now that I have a library of functions to act upon them. There is, for example, this pretty wrapping paper effect. But be forewarned, it's computationally demanding and might crash your browser. The code itself comes to less than 1 K and loads in an instant, but then it sits there calculating the vast HTML table necessary to display the matrix of colors, and that can take several minutes.

The evening came. Here I was, a week after my last lonely Friday night, and lots of things had changed. Now I had a housemate, though the only evidence of this was his stuff in his room. I rather hoped he would show up so I'd have a living human being to talk to about something non-work/non-former-girlfriend related. But he never materialized. This was a cause for some concern; I feared maybe he was bailing on the whole idea and would sneak in tomorrow sometime and grab his stuff and vanish forever, leaving me to twist in the wind. He hadn't even paid me yet, but I was being cool about it (yeah, yeah, don't bother to tell me I'm stupid).
Without anything much to do and no internet connection, I went on a walk through the neighborhoods to the east of Bundy, mostly looking again for free furniture type stuff. But I was looking for something else as well, some sort of connection to the community I had been forced to ignore under Kim's totalitarian regime. Not that West LA really has a community by any stretch of the imagination. For all its pockets of ethnic funkiness and cheap furniture stores, West LA is nothing more than an eclectic mix of cultures that behave like noble gases with respect to one another. No one knows their neighbors and the patrons at the restaurants are usually ethnically homogeneous. Further damaging the community is the dominating presence of UCLA students, particularly in the neighborhoods immediately to my east. College kids are notorious for their lack of concern for the places they reside while attending college. They're also notorious for their inclination to socialize only with people within their own narrowly-defined social caste. But college kids are also extremely wasteful with their material possessions, particularly when they are moving out (summer quarter is drawing to a close!). I was hoping to capitalize on this particular weakness.
I quickly found a loveseat that seemed really nice, but all I could carry of it were its pillows. Some guy in an apartment above me observed me haplessly grabbing the pillows and he started chuckling audibly, a laugh of condescension. He couldn't possibly know that, far from being a desperate street person down on my luck, I'm actually a landlord.
West LA is nothing like Oberlin when it comes to trash picking. Around here you have to act fast with the getting of the goods, before the professionals arrive with their clattering can-filled shopping carts. The density of bums plying the alleyways is such that no dumpster goes unexamined for longer than three hours.

What with the collective bureaucratic idiocy at Earthlink holding the DSLness of my phone line hostage, tonight I was forced to sign up for a "700 hours free" AOL account just to stay in touch with my universe. I use the entire AOL application as a glorified dialer just to provide me an IP address so I can use my normal internet applications. But of course the AOL application has a rather more grandiose view of its contribution to my computational experience. Most infuriating of all was when I went to log off, hoping to immediately release my phone line for conventional telephone use. But no, AOL kept control of the line and began a time-consuming process of downloading supposed "upgrades" to its idiotic suite of applications, things I never use. The only way to stop this process was to control-alt-delete the fucker. There should be a law against releasing software that doesn't quit the moment you order it to. Imagine a television set that keeps playing for ten minutes after you hit the off switch. How popular would that feature be?

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