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:
Sunday, May 6 2001
Last night it was already clear that I'd been badly sunburned by the leisure Gretchen and I had enjoyed on Venice Beach. Today it was even more apparent. My entire torso had an even pink burn wrapping all the way around from waistline to neck. My face was also mildly burned as was the side of my neck, the front calves of my legs and the tops of my feet. The SPF-30 sunblock seemed as if it had had no effect whatsoever; indeed, the only place I'd applied in on Gretchen (her upper back) was the only place where she was burned. My best protection, it turned out, was from any existing tan I already had. Consequently my lower arms and the back of my neck were perfectly fine. Talking about this with my housemate John, I was amazed when he told me he'd never been sunburned in his entire life. He's a somewhat swarthy Italian American, but he's not really all that dark in the grand scheme of things. What sort of sun must they have in those places were native people are naturally blue-black?

It seemed today was one of hangover and compensation for the excesses of yesterday. In exchange for the warmth of the sun I had a sunburn. In exchange for relaxing on the sand I had sand in my bed and in my ears. In exchange for the free shots of Jameson whiskey I had a mild alcohol hangover. In exchange for the serotonin rush of recreational serotonin unleashing substances, I had a serotonin deficit. In exchange for my engagement to Gretchen, I had Gretchen. One out of five ain't bad.

In the morning Gretchen and I, in contravention of everything West LA, walked to the nearby SavOn to buy a sunburn treating substance. The stuff we bought was called SolarCaine and contains a painkiller which I'd like to think is similar to cocaine. Next we got me a smoked turkey bagel at Bagelworks. Back at the house I moaned with pleasure as I devoured it. I had eaten practically nothing the day before. Normally I don't eat vertebrate meat in front of Gretchen, but today I made an exception during every meal because I needed to fundamentally restore my own vertebrate meat.
One of Gretchen's friends from New York is a tallish [REDACTED] young man who is trying out life here in Los Angeles. His name is Jacob, and he has no real job and no real network of friends, just a movie script he's working on. Gretchen felt guilty last time she was in LA because of how little time she spent with him, so on this visit she intended to make up for it. She decided that perhaps John and Jacob would make good friends, since they have so much in common: they like activities such as basketball, they both have overactive senses of humor, and they both have social networks that could use some improvement. So today Gretchen arranged for John, Chun and me to join her in going to brunch with Jacob at the Swingers in West Hollywood.
It was a beautiful sunny day, so we rode in style, in Chun's Saab convertible. Since most of my burns were actually beneath my clothing, there wasn't really any problem with being exposed to the sun.
Swingers is a hip young place like its other location in Santa Monica. The women are all tall, pierced and leggy and wear retro pleated miniskirts. The guys are all tall, heavy and tattooed, yet unexpectedly calm and unassuming.
For his part Jacob had the visage of a guy who has experienced a somewhat hapless existence. Most of its features seemed to be crowded into a relatively small area. In keeping with expectations, he addressed every aspect of his reality with deadpan comic resignation. He had, we learned, no friends, and the last time he tried to play basketball in a public park, someone stole both his car keys and his basketball. I would say he makes a good comic foil for John, with whom any savvy comic's only possible response is deadpan.
After dinner, possibly inspired by the foil-potential of Jacob (but maybe it was just that he was off his ADD medication), John was in particularly good comic form. A parking ticket guy was across the street writing tickets and John started loudly telling us about how the guy for whom a ticket was then being written had been boasting about how cool he'd been for parking illegally and that he'd also said something about what a loser Chun had been for parking in a wussy legal spot. Then, just like that, John was on all fours picking up an obscure legume pod and proclaiming it a wondrous foodstuff.

For most of the afternoon Gretchen was over in the nearby West LA Veterans' Park working on poetry. When she came back she reported that a UCLA Sociology student had been quizzing her about her views on abortion and not quizzing anyone else in a way that felt like he was trying to pick her up. She was, after all, a cute chick in a sundress scribbling on a pad of paper by herself. Everything seemed to be going well until she told him she was in town to visit her fiancé

Back in 1988 when Gretchen and I used to hang out there was no such thing as the Simpsons. Happily, it turns out she likes the show so of course we watched it tonight. I forgot to mention that the other night we woke up together in the wee hours and spontaneously brainstormed the plot for an entire episode of the Simpsons. It would begin with Ralph Wiggums discovering the 19th Century toy known as "hoop and stick" and culminate with an initially-reluctant Bart's thorough retreat into 19th Century fashion.

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