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
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Like my brownhouse:
   mall adventure, 2004
Thursday, December 30 2004
Today Gretchen and I made one of our pilgrimages to Albany, something we do at least once each year for Indian food and shopping opportunities. Gretchen feels that there's an imperceptible something about Banana Republic clothing that makes it look good on me, and the nearest Banana Republic is at the Crossgates Mall in Albany. (By contrast, one of our Tillson friends says that between Old Navy, the Gap, and Banana Republic, the best clothes for her come from Old Navy. It's sort of a Coke vs. Pepsi thing, except all the stores are owned by the same company. At least that company, whatever it is called, reportedly gives heavily to the Democratic Party. Target and Home Depot, on the other hand, strongly favor the Party of Perpetual War.)
The first thing we did once we'd made it to Albany was park near Lark Street and set out for an Indian restaurant. We picked the first place we found, which featured a $6 lunch buffet and an endless loop of greatest hits Bollywood dance sequences on the flatscreen.
Next we hit the New York Stated Museum to see the exhibits. I wasn't too enthusiastic, figuring they'd all be the same as last time, and to some extent this was true. But there were two temporary exhibits of photographs to be seen. The first featured photos and some examples of women's arts in North West and West Africa. The other was a gallery of enormous headshots of elderly African Americans. They were so huge that you could see to the bottom of every pore. Beside each of these were little informational captions complete with birth years, occupations, and quotes.

Then it was off to the mall, a madhouse of after-Christmas bargain hunters. My chief need was trousers, which I tend to wear for days on end in the course of a full week of hauling bluestone and digging trenches. I tried on a pair of black jeans in Old Navy and Gretchen thought they looked "doorkus" whatever that means. But as usual, the clothes just seemed to fit in Banana Republic. We spent something like $160 there. While Gretchen was trying on things in a dressing room, she could hear a young woman talking on her cell phone. The overheard half of the conversation went something like this:

"Hello? Can you hear me now? Great. Yeah. I'm at Banana. Ohmigod! I just found the cutest sweater! Okay. Talk to you later. Bye!"

We also bought eight glasses suitable for drinking wine in Pottery Barn. We've had serious wine glass attrition since installing ceramic tile and granite countertops in the kitchen, which isn't surprising considering the thinness of the glass used in our first generation of "stemware," which Gretchen bought at Ikea.

Driving to and from Albany, we listened mainly to a CD complilation I'd made of Sunny Day Real Estate, which Gretchen discovered from a CD I'd accidentally left in the car stereo. She particularly likes "Rain Song" from the timely album The Rising Tide. By late this summer I'd mostly stopped listening to Sunny Day Real Estate but was reminded of them in late October after I met up my childhood friend Nathan in Manhattan. At the time we'd had a conversation in which he'd observed that it's best to stear clear of movies recommended by certain friends (while investigating the movies that they hate). Similarly, he'd added, "Whenever you make a music recommendation, I should avoid it like the plague." Then he cited Sunny Day Real Estate as an example. He didn't say why he didn't like it, but I can think of some possible reasons. It's just not suitable for all audiences; the singer's voice has incredible range but it's the kind that some people absolutely hate. And the lyrics and arrangements can by rather bombastic at times, but with that emo-intellectual anthemic quality I find impossible to resist.

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