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Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


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Like my brownhouse:
   condo association meeting
Thursday, October 5 2000
It's been kind of hard to get into working on this UK site thing, even though I have everything I need to proceed. Today I learned that no, I wasn't supposed to use the new architecture that so excited me yesterday, that I was instead supposed to hack it out using ASP the boring old way I do everything else (the way I did, say This isn't to say I don't have a fairly elegant coding style after two years of doing this. Interestingly, my ASP web pages end up as single VBScript strings that sort of "grow" out of set of page building functions. These functions wrap display content in the layers of presentation code they need, culminating usually with a call to "bodywrap," which slaps <HTML></HTML> and other assorted page errata around the content.

Something about all the populist revolt happening in Yugoslavia puts a certain extra bumpity-bump in my pulse. It makes me want to go punk rock on somebody's ass.
But I'm also sort of, well, embarrassed. Here I am with not a care in the world, living happily in a condo in Los Angeles. I'm so disgusted with the options presented by the American political system that it hardly seems worth my while to vote. (I'm a statistical pragmatist. I believe that voting is about as likely to affect an election as buying a lottery ticket is likely to make me rich. Consequently, politicians do not pander to the mathematically-aware likes of me - or intelligent people in general, for that matter.)
But there they are in Yugoslavia, so pissed about their vote being ignored that they're willing to tip over police cars, charge through white clouds of tear gas and set fire to the parliament building. Those folks, they have balls. Me, I'm a selfish, lazy American. Chances are, so are you.
Back in 1989 when Eastern Europe began its anti-totalitarian revolt, I was sleeping in a basement room of Harkness, no longer a student, with no coherent plan for what to do with my adulthood. I was homeless, jobless, reclusive and paranoid. There was little I wanted to do but write in my (offline) journal and stay abreast of the ongoing European revolutions. I used to go to the library every day to read the exciting news. What was Egon Krenz doing today? How many times around the parliament had Ceausescu's body been dragged? Back then when I felt a vicarious quickening of my pulse, I didn't have to feel embarrassed. I was as punk rock then as I was ever going to be. And I thought Metallica was cool.

In the evening I watched the oh so civil Vice Presidential debate, you know, the one where everyone was a winner. It was hard to imagine just by looking at him that the pleasant gentleman seated before us, Dick Cheney (yes, Cyberpatrol, you're going to have to filter this page), has politics not too dissimilar from Pat Buchanan's. As for Lieberman, well, he impressed me with his restraint when it came to invocations of God. He did so only three times, and these could have even been construed as purely rhetorical. (From what I know of most Jews, even those of the fairly conservative variety, God is more of a rhetorical construct than He is an actual anthropomorphic deity.)

In the evening, the four members of my condo association got together in the end condo and met about condo association stuff. It was first condo meeting in years. According to Lou Ann (the superficially schoolmarmish treasurer) the owners of my condo and the condo next door (now owned by an albino gay dude named Steve) were historically either insane or apathetic and couldn't be motivated to attend such meetings. Would that I could be so lucky.
So we discussed ho-hum issues like cleaning gutters (cheap) and perhaps painting the condo building for the first time since it was built in 1979 (expensive). Steve (who has only lived next door for a month) had talked to me before the meeting with the plan of perhaps weaseling out of any responsibilities until we've lived in our condos awhile longer. But in the meeting he quickly assumed secretarial duties, taking detailed notes and actually driving the meeting along, to the delight of the long-suffering Lou Ann. She's been the main person responsible for condo business since she moved in back in the early 80s. As for Hadi, the Arab dude who lives on the end, he doesn't say much and seems good-natured and responsible, but (for the most part) happily apathetic.
After meeting her, I have to admit that Lou Ann seems much more fun than I had originally imagined her to be. She only looks schoolmarmish; I suspect she has a wild side. She's fairly old and not sexy at all, but the thought that she might have this wild side makes me think of her in a more sexualized way than I feel comfortable admitting. (I like the fact that she occasionally plays loud Fleetwood Mac on the weekend.)
The only agreement that came out of the meeting was the decision to raise the monthly condo fee from $170 to $195 to pay for the new expense of periodic termite fumigation. We spent a frightfully long time discussing whether our "board" should include three or four people. I, for one, could care less about the bylaws.

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