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:
   Nobel Prize in Ick
Sunday, March 20 2005
What is it about religious conservatives that icks me out so? Why do I feel as if they're slyly sliding one of their clammy fingers up my asshole whenever I hear them talking? Tom DeLay's performance during the debacle with Terry Schiavo should win this former bug exterminator and hot tub socialite a Nobel Prize in Ick. The religious nuts who run this country have turned a brain dead woman into a sock puppet for their cause. Her feeble brain stem has her twitching and blinking on network television, and, her brain having gone on to its reward fifteen years ago, she doesn't have the means to defend herself from this humiliation. It's a national embarrassment. Would Tom Delay want his twitching corpse used in such a fashion?
The greatest irony in this story concerns, of all things, souls. If you're with the Christian fanatics that we all have souls and that these souls manifest something of our personalities, then you'd also have to conclude that either Terry Schiavo's soul left her body fifteen years ago or else that it's trapped by the grip that her still-breathing mortal body has on it. In either case, why must her body be maintained? It is, in essence, a human devoid of a soul, the very thing Christians are supposed to transcend (if not despise).

For lunch (though I'm sure the others in our party would have termed it "brunch") the four of us went out west to the little village of Phoenicia and, as usual, found our way to Sweet Sue's. This is the point in the story where I'd normally grouse about the unpleasant qualities of breakfast scenes, how the eggy grease seems to hang in the air and permeate your every pore such that if you didn't need a shower before you sat down to eat, you surely needed one by the time you got up to leave. As breakfasting locations go, however, Sweet Sue's is relatively pleasant, particularly if you can get a seat at a booth and not everyone around you insists on getting big disgusting slabs of glistening yellow avian placenta.
For my part, I ordered a portobello mushroom burger, a kind of "burger" that contains no meat at all. Looking around me, it seemed I was the only person ordering from the lunch menu. I don't know why people get so excited about breakfast food, but the fact is that they do.

Gretchen dropped our houseguests off at the bus station so they could return to Queens and I struggled with a new computer issue that has plagued my main machine ever since I hooked it up to an old-fashioned Channel Master teevee antenna. I have a two-monitor system, and to get the teevee tuner card working, I had to set up my computer such that it launched windows in the opposite monitor from the one it had been using by default. But for some reason this change made it so Adobe Photoshop 7.0 could no longer open certain essential modal windows. There was no documentation anywhere about this bug, and the only way around it seemed to be some sort of "upgrade."
But I'm opposed to "upgrading" Photoshop any further. With the exception of this bug and the shitty HTML from its web gallery export function, I consider it a perfect program and upgrades to a perfect program are certain to be filled out with unnecessary bloat.
So I was prepared to make the jump to the open source image manipulation program, the Gimp. I installed the latest version, two point something, and gave it a spin. Honestly, the controversial interface didn't bother me all that much. It had the necessary tools and I could figure out how to do the things that needed doing. What I hated, the dealbreaker in this potential switch, was its non-standard file browser. Instead of being presented with a typical Windows-style file browser, I was given a dinky little Gnomesque modal dialogue with a place to type a filename and a single dropdown for picking the folder. This was far too simple for my needs, and I almost missed the tiny little "Browse for other folders" option. It was in the larger, more complete window launched by this option that I experienced the dealbreaker. In the Gimp's universe, you see, Windows shortcuts were not pointers to other files but were instead files themselves with .lnk extensions. When I clicked on one of my handy desktop shortcuts, the Gimp thought I wanted to do something to that "file," something I might want to do in, say, a hex editor, but would never think of doing inside a graphics program. My desktop shortcuts are essential in the method I use to navigate the complex terrain of my computer's file system, and any program that doesn't let me use them for hypertravel is expecting too much work of me. Long ago, with the release of Macintosh OS 7 (circa January 1992) I stopped drilling down through folders and I'm not going back. (By the way, once I'd used a Mac I never used Windows 3.X unless I absolutely had to; it was much easier to get things done in DOS. It was Windows 95 that finally made PCs as usable as Macs.)

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