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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Irving housing

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Like my brownhouse:
   useless on Ohayo Mountain
Monday, March 21 2005
Ever since Thursday, I've noticed that my brain isn't firing on all its cylinders. It has become difficult for me to maintain focus on any idea long enough to do anything useful with it. Sometimes thoughts even seem to "hurt," strange as that might seem. Indeed, my head hurts from time to time even when I'm not thinking, though not in any acute sort of way. It starts as a pressure in my left sinus and spreads out under my left cheekbone and sometimes into my right forehead. Sometimes I also feel mild vertigo or other vague issues with my balance.
I've also been making an unusual number of little mistakes. Sometimes I look at a clearly misspelled word and I cannot see the problem. And today I was at somebody's house and inserted a DIMM memory board in backwards, ruining it in the process. On occasion I'll be talking to someone and not have the proper words queued up for speaking. I feel handicapped, even stupid, and this makes me feel insecure and self-conscious, providing further momentum for a self-reenforcing negative cycle.
I tend to by something of a hypochondriac, so it's easy for me to fret about the possibility that these are the symptoms of a brain tumor. Nobody wants a brain tumor; it's the worst kind of tumor there is!
By the way, if you're a hypochondriac and worried you might have a brain tumor, I suggest you avoid doing any sort of brain-tumor-related Google research. "The head" is the most suggestible organ in your body and just imagining symptoms is enough to experience them.
For now my preferred explanation for my head problems is the fact that I've gone nearly cold turkey on alcohol consumption. Mind you, I've tried giving up alcohol occasionally in the past, but never quite so completely and never for quite so long. The most thoroughly I ever did it in the past was in February, 2004, when I managed to maintain very low alcohol consumption for about two weeks. But my experience during that period was contaminated by the fact that I also cut way back on my caffeine consumption, and I tended to blame any physical symptoms on the absence of caffeine. This time, though, I've completely stopped drinking alcohol except in situations where all the other people around me are also drinking. This has meant that I have only drunk wine, beer, and sake on three respective days since "quitting" back on March 10th.
It's a huge reduction from my alcohol consumption during the preceding month (February 8th-March 9th). That period was something of a bender, as I was probably averaging four or five largish "drinks" per day during that month. That's a lot, but I have no way of knowing how it compares to the drinking of other heavy drinkers; web research always takes you to pages that set the "safe level" bar far below the drinking level of most of the real drinkers I have known. I have to believe that readjusting one's chemistry to one that lacks alcohol isn't an easy and stress-free process, though I wouldn't have expected it to take so long and be accompanied by so many subtle (though still disturbing) symptoms.
I should also mention that my drinking level was unusually low during the Ecuador trip. On the boat in the Galapagos I drank a single beer every day. Then I became sick and stopped drinking entirely for a few days and I didn't resume my hard drinking ways until I was on the plane flying back to New York. But I'd missed my heavy drinking, and in the month following my return I more than made up for lost time.

Today as I was crossing picturesque Ohayo Mountain on the road named after it, I came upon a large chest of drawers in somebody's driveway. Attached to the chest was a little handwritten paper sign indicating that it was "free." I figured that with such a beautiful view of the Ashokan Reservoir stretched out below, anyone living at this place must have money to burn. Surely anything they'd consider trash I'd consider treasure. So I pulled over and had a look.
In detail, though, it had to be the most unusuable chest of drawers I'd ever examined. All its parts appeared to be made of masonite. Every panel was at least somewhat warped and water damaged. This wasn't the sort of dusty prize found in a garage on Design Remix (a home improvement show on HGTV). Instead, its highest use at this point would have to be as kindling. This brings up a useful point - why do they never find anything that's "completely useless for anything" on Design Remix? There should be an episode where at the end everything that is found and not used is beaten into splinters and set on fire by marshmallow toasting, Mad Dog swilling gutterpunks.

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