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:
   yet lucidly poised
Friday, January 5 2001

She of endless impossible demands, Bathtubgirl, called repeatedly in the afternoon, complaining of continued router trouble. In the second call she demanded to have me explain in detail how she could transform her machine back to the way it used to be, using a proxy process running on her main Windows machine. Here's a sample of how that conversation went:

me: - It's really complicated. I don't think it's worth your time or my time trying to explain.

BTG: - Come on! Just tell me!

me: - Alright then. First you need to install WinPoet. I don't know where the install is, it's in a folder on one of the disks.

BTG: - And how do you see what's on a disk?

me: - Look, I don't have time to explain Windows 98 to you.

BTG: - Okay, so install WinPoet. Then, what were those numbers?

me: - IP Addresses? Well, was one of them.

BTG: - Could you speak up?

At this point I just unplugged my phone. I didn't have time for any more torture in the middle of my workday.

Of course, despite my occasionally melodramatic attempts at denial, I am and will always be the technical factotum for BTG Productions. Indeed, tonight I had an emergency Bathtubgirl bailout scheduled for immediately after work. Her router was still acting up, and all the king's horses and all the king's men (and even the now-departed internet boyfriend Snow) couldn't manage to get it working again.
When I showed up Bathtubgirl seemed to be in an unusually unpleasant mood. There was this deeply-tanned, heavily-tattooed dude with wicked facial scars sitting in front of the computer tweaking some HTML source. Bathtubgirl introduced him as a "programming genius" and indeed it turns out he knows the server-side scripting language PHP. That's pretty cool I suppose, but I don't think he was anything to warrant the "look who I found Gus, your skills really aren't so hard to find" glint Bathtubgirl had in her eye. His efforts with the router had accomplished nothing, so he'd turned his attention to enlarging the embedded RealPlayer on Bathtubgirl's webcast page, which was actually a pretty good idea.
Bathtubgirl had little patience for my desire to investigate the network in hopes that I could perhaps get the router working reliably. She just wanted me to rip the godforsaken thing out and go back to the bad old days of using two ethernet cards and Proxy+. But I went about things my own way and tried throttling the DSL speed back to 256KBPS. This seemed to work (I don't know why it hadn't worked when I had Bathtubgirl do it over the phone), so we commenced a broadcast to see if the network would stay up for at least 45 minutes. To be sure the streams were working, I suspended a pot from the curtain rod over the tub and set it swinging like a pendulum.
An hour later I was sipping on a Becks (Eva, the Basque Spanish Art Director chick, is something of a Germanophile, having spent much time in Berlin) and the stream was still streaming so we called it a success. This was a triumph for Eva because it meant that she could continue using all internet protocols (particularly mail) from her basement Macintosh. Under the regime of Proxy+, the only stuff she can do is web stuff.
In other Bathtubgirl news, owing to expensive rent, noise complaints from neighbors and pre-solvency personnel trouble, Bathtubgirl is looking to relocate her operation to a warehouse either Downtown or in Hollywood.
After Bathtubgirl dropped me and my bicycle off at my house, I spent the evening hanging out with John and the two women in his life. First we dined with sister Maria, eating a dinner salad and then being plagued by the perennial question, "what are we going to do tonight?" Maria gets bored extremely easily and there's no easy solution since she doesn't really drink or take drugs. At first we thought maybe we'd go see the movie Traffic but it just never worked out.
Eventually Chun came over and immediately joined John and me in our drinking. Without a plan for the evening or anything to dispell the boredom, Maria went home and the three of us remaining started doing rounds of sky blue 10mg Adderall pills.
It's pretty hard to have a bad time when you're loosened up on alcohol yet lucidly poised from Adderall. During just about any pause in the endless conversation, Chun would rhetorically ask, "Did I ever mention how much you guys rock?" The topics discussed were the standard shopworn mysteries explored by young adults everywhere. Why do guys have so much trouble staying in love? Why do I only get hit on by people in relationships? Why do I like shy people but always end up with extroverted control freaks? How come I've never gotten anyone/been gotten pregnant? Aren't we lucky we've not yet spawned children? Doesn't it suck to be desexualized? The next day these questions sound like excerpts from a particularly tiresome episode the The Real World, but at the time they seemed sufficiently profound.
As the night wore on, John and Chun were getting cuddlier and cuddlier on the red velvet couch, making me feel sort of left out, though that wasn't their intent, and I was too happy to be upset. Perhaps Chun would have preferred it if I left the two alone, but John was clearly interested in more complex socializing; he kept giving me Adderall and as amped as I was, there was no way I could just say goodnight and retire to my room. I did what I could to be pleasant and worthwhile to both, reassuring Chun when she implicitly expressed doubts that we perceive her as anything more sexual and womanly than simply a "buddy."
The soundtrack for the evening was the same as the soundtrack for New Year's morning, Badly Drawn Boy's The Hour of Bewilderbeast. Suspending for a moment all implied sexual connotations, for us as a three-person social unit, this CD is officially "our album." I'd heard a few isolated songs on KCRW and never thought much about them, but then a week or so ago Chun brought over a pirate CD of the entire thing and I was blown away, eventually declaring The Hour of Bewilderbeast "a perfect album." It's just not something you listen to in a song-by-song Napsterized way, you have to experience the transitions from one song to the next in the specific order in which they're laid out. Listening to this CD is all about following the careful orchestration of emotional energies as they are built and released.
John, who, for his part, was now a Philadelphia Philaharmonic of boundless chemically-induced energy, had expressed interest in perhaps "going somewhere." But when all was said and done he and Chun ended up alone together in his room and I was left all by myself downstairs tooting on a harmonica in time to some stray electronica playing on KCRW, the Santa Monica public radio station (no, I'm not a member). So I decided to apply my energy in the great outdoors, riding my bike through some nearby Brentwood neighborhoods, not really knowing what I was doing or where I was going. The night was warm and damp and it had even rained a little. But there were no signs of human life at all. I was so full of vitality and potential, I felt like the last human being left on Earth after the ravages of a particularly virulent strain of plague.

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