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:
   so filthy with grime
Friday, March 2 2007

setting: Silver Spring, Montgomery County, Maryland, USA

The weather today here beneath the Mason Dixon Line was refreshingly warm and springlike. It was so nice that I didn't even bring a jacket when Gretchen and I went out to lunch in downtown Silver Spring (not that my birthplace is even incorporated). We met her friend Judy and Judy's husband Bert at Langano, an authentically Ethiopian restaurant/bar where all the other diners appeared to be certified Ethiopians. They didn't have any actual Ethiopian beers in stock, so I ordered a Michelob, the first of this species I'd drunk in years. It reminded me of the first beers I tasted back before I even liked beer, and for some reason I found the experience pleasant.
We ordered two communal platters of vegan Ethiopian food, as served in glops on a big piece of injera and eaten without utensils using small torn-off pieces of injera. Towards the end of the meal the platter inevitably begins to resemble a garbage pail and it becomes difficult to soldier on. By now Judy and Gretchen were talking in a cryptic subcultural dialect about poetry and writing and I was sitting there minding my own, having about as much fun as she would have if she found herself sitting through a meal during which I discussed Atmega168 processor architecture with a friend (assuming, of course, I actually had a friend with which such a discussion could take place).
After lunch we walked around the adjacent commercial neighborhood, taking note of the various waves of enterprise. The bedrock appeared to be either car repair shops or stores catering specifically to African and African American customers, though more recent businesses included a hip coffee shop and art galleries. This was all at some distance from recent commercial developments at the center of Silver Spring, and Gretchen was impressed by the absence of nationwide franchises. She was apalled, though, by a brand new Red Lobster that had taken the place of a downtown Peoples Drug. "At least it's still red," I said.
The only evidence of recent winter weather came in the form of lingering piles of snow still present on some curbsides. These were so filthy with street grime that they resembled heaps of coal. It won't take too many days of ever-strengthening March sunshine to melt them away entirely.
This evening we and some family friends (including Gretchen's friend Gilley, who went to Oberlin) all went out for a vegetarian South Indian dinner at Udupi Palace, though unfortunately Gretchen and I found the food lacking in flavor. But the fact that there were so many actual Indians dining there led Gretchen's father to hypothesize that non-Indians are routinely served blander dishes than genuine Indians.

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