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

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(nobody does!)

Like my brownhouse:
   breaking with my moral traditions
Wednesday, October 18 2000
For the most part, the things my parents told me as a child made perfect sense. To this day, my folks are liberal minded, radically pro-environment, anti-corporate, pro-civil rights, anti-homophobic, anti-car, staunchly free-speech atheists. And everything they have ever told me, no matter how absurd it has ultimately proved to be, has had a lasting effect. But here are some examples of cases where I finally broke with their morality:

1. Thou shalt not steal. This wasn't put in so many words, but from the beginning my parents had strong anti-theft beliefs, even when the victim was a large multi-national corporation. Interestingly, I disagreed from the very beginning and knew that I had to conceal my thefts to live peacefully with my anti-theft parents. I clearly remember my habit, as a four-year-old, of stealing candy bars from the grocery store that we used to go to in the suburbs near Lanham, Maryland. I did this many times and always got away with it. But one day my mother (who is far more observant than my father) found candy wrappers in my room. After the traumatic lecture that followed I didn't resume shoplifting until I was a teenager with an interest in the small things sold at Radio Shack. But when I finally got to college, my notion of personal property experienced a serious, decisive crisis. That's all I'm willing to say. Actually, I agree with my parents on this moral item. I'm just too selfish and greedy to abide by it. Happily though, between the responsibility of home ownership, the lucrative finds of the alley, and my large paychecks, the days of my thieving have ground almost completely to a halt.

2. It's not worth your time to experiment with electricity. This odd notion came from my Dad. I remember the conversation vividly and bitterly. I was about eight years old and we were driving in the old Volkswagen bug, approaching the Cooperative Farm Bureau on the east side of Staunton, Virginia. I suggested to my Dad that I could make a flashlight with some wire, a battery, and a light bulb. He disagreed vehemently, saying it was impossible or nearly impossible and wasn't worth my while to even try. The simple effort necessary to prove him wrong devalued a lot of his other statements and was an essential prerequisite for my eventual adolescent journey towards existential independence.

3. Drugs are bad for you. This made a lot of sense to me all the way up until I met more liberalized thinkers in Oberlin, College. Most of my parent's concerns about drugs centered around the fear of lasting damage to the brain. Fear of chemical-induced brain damage must have been instilled at a very early age, because to this day I have a phobia of chemical fumes, something I that I haven't noticed in other people. A girl named Sarah Pillow lit me my first joint when I was 18 years old. I didn't know how to inhale it effectively and it did nothing to me. But I wanted her to accept me as a free thinker, so I went through the motions. I wasn't attracted to her at all, but I found out later she had a crush on me.

4. Oral sex is nasty. Sex was never a big subject in my household when I was growing up, and I didn't realize at the time how sexually-repressed and old-fashioned my parents actually were. During my entire childhood, I believe the subject of oral sex only came up on one occasion, and I clearly remember how it was met by all manner of revulsion and twisted expressions by both my mother and father. I've never had much actual interest in oral sex anyway and it wasn't "internally taboo" (like, say, my fetishes), but I distinctly remember thinking of it as a gross perversion. Then, at the age of 21, I finally realized it was a normal thing for sexually-active people to do, and from then on it was just another feature of my "first dates." (I still don't get any special thrill from a girl sucking on my dick. I've heard that it's supposed to be appealing because it's subconsciously degrading to the party giving the head and therefore an ego boost for the recipient. While I agree that ego relationships and differentials are important elements in good sex, the implantation of the appeal of this particular type was evidently skipped over during my Freudian development.)

Another day, another couple hundred dollars. Today I realized the new CTO spends nearly all his time walking around and talking with human resources people. There seems to be some sort of crisis sweeping the company. Everybody in the technology group is either looking around nervously or actually in the process of leaving, like a wave of grasshoppers and wolf spiders fleeing a flooding field. I'm not really affected, except that I find myself spending too much time counseling colleagues with job hunting advice (via AOL Instant Messenger) when I really should be programming.

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