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:
   anonymous mode
Tuesday, February 12 2002
Everybody knows about how the Indians sold Manhattan to the Dutch for $24. But nobody seems to know about the origins of the other big city in New York City, Brooklyn. I'm trying to research when it was founded, and I'm having a difficult time. Certainly the Brooklyn Historical Society is no help. Instead of an annoying splash page, they should open with a blurb about Brooklyn's early years. Oh here we go, a short history of Brooklyn, courtesy of the lovely and ever-accessible Gretchen.

Gretchen hasn't been alone by herself in this apartment for weeks (if not months), so today I agreed to go find something to do so she could have some time by herself. Unfortunately, my departure was significantly delayed by an arm wrestling contest with the brutish beast known as Windows 2000 Server Management. If there's a bigger collection of inept wizards, confusing menus, and incomplete choices, I'd like to know what it is. Microsoft would do well to implement some redundant interface elements in their server software, allowing users to do things several different ways from several completely different places in the management hierarchy.

I got on the IRT subway at Grand Army Plaza and, having no particular destination in mind, and rode it all the way up to 96th Street in Manhattan, reading a webpage printout along the way. Using the subway as an amusement ride may strike readers as peculiar or even demented, but for me it was as fun as any other city outing I'm likely to experience. To find myself moving and anonymous in a constantly-recycling crowd of strangers was a refreshing change from the semi-predictability of life in front of a 19 inch computer monitor.
At 96th Street, I went across the platform and hopped on the downtown subway, riding all the way down to 14th Street. From there, I set out towards the East Village on foot. I didn't have any plan in mind, but (still being in "anonymous in New York" mode) I certainly didn't expect to run into anyone I knew. For this reason, when I randomly ran across Jami there on the street, it didn't really click. She had to say my name before I snapped out of anonymous mode.
Jami had just had a miserable day and had been out drinking with a friend. She was headed home but was willing to show me a dive bar nearby. Finding it overcrowded, we decided to go to her place instead. I hadn't had any dinner, so while she was at the yogurt place next door, I bought a pint of mediocre Chinese food. I also picked up a six pack of Molsen Ice at a nearby store. I get the feeling that maple-leaf-adorned Molsen Ice is not an especially well-regarded beer in New York, but it's what I was craving.
Jami lives on the 6th floor of an apartment building on 4th Avenue. I hadn't even known she still lived in the East Village; from my vantage point, it seems as if she moves every couple of months. This is, I suppose, how she maintains such a remarkably spotless refrigerator.
The latest apartment is small and insufficiently heated, though it does sport a fireplace. Jami had thought to buy a Duraflame® log, so we got it burning. We also briefly stepped out onto the balcony, which hovers frighteningly high over the avenue. The balcony is shared with another apartment, and on its part of the rail there hung a large American flag. "Hmm," I asked rhetorically, "What do you suppose would happen if an unpatriotic wind were to kick up and...?" (Later tonight as I was telling Gretchen this story, I joked that "Some day, all this gratuitous patriotic crap is going to be unfashionable again, it's just a matter of time. Those who reject it now will be regarded, in retrospect, as having been trendsetters. 'Dude man, you took your flag down back in January 2002, you were so on top of that wave!'")
(Thanks be to Allah for the little things: the Empire State Building and one of the tall buildings near Union Square are no longer lit up in red, white, and blue. They are illuminated red and yellow instead, evidently in honor of Valentine's Day - or more precisely - Hallmark.) Editorial note: I later learned that these colors were in celebration of the Chinese New Year.
After making me promise not to tell anyone what I was about to see, Jami showed me the flash-intensive website she's been producing for her employer. It pertained to episodes from the new season of a wildly-popular television show that I watch, but the content was so out-of-context, nothing was spoiled for me. Later, we watched some wacky Time Warner digital cable teevee channels I didn't even know existed, including a cable access porn talk show done in the style of Dr. Susan Block. Unlike Neil Young, it's not easy for a porn star to age gracefully, especially hosting a cable access teevee talk show.

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