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

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Arduino μcontrollers
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Like my brownhouse:
   whole genre wanting
Sunday, March 4 2007

setting: Silver Spring, Montgomery County, Maryland, USA

This morning Gretchen and I visited my first cousin Bumble, one of two daughters of my mother's twin sister. Bumble has been living with her girlfriend Alison for the past 14 years and these days they dwell together in a beautiful Craftsman-style house in nearby Tacoma Park. Six months ago they ventured to Russia and adopted a toddler whom they are raising as their daughter. This story interested Gretchen in several ways: it featured one of my relatives (one not present at my wedding), the relative is an out lesbian, and she and Alison are doing the right thing by adopting one of the world's many unwanted children instead of selfishly manufacturing another one (out of a conviction that their genes are so fucking special). Like many in my family with our special fucking genes, Bumble isn't the extroverted type, but Gretchen more than made of for that with her extrovertism and managed to arrange the visit.
So there we were, hanging out talking about the stuff that freethinking liberals talk about when randomly put together but don't really know each other that well. I hadn't seen Bumble in twenty years, but we hail from similar enough cultures that there wasn't much awkwardness. We talked about adoption, the increasing difficulties experienced by gay couples wanting to adopt (particularly in China). We talked about what we do for a living (Bumble is some sort of analyst), and about how we came to meet our significant others. Bumble's story was particularly entertaining because she'd met her future partner professionally, when Alison had been sent as an handsigning translator for one of Bumble's presentations. What followed was a long series of signals, shibboleths, and uncharacteristic acts of extrovertism to advertise their respective interests. As we talked, V, the adopted toddler, went back and forth between us, offering things, taking things, and occasionally asking questions. Gradually V became bored waiting for the next thing thing on the agenda: Sunday School. Bumble et al are members of a Unitarian Universalist congregation, and Sunday School is a highlight of V's week. [REDACTED]

As we packed the car preparing for the drive back to New York, the weather quickly took a turn for the wintery, steamrolling the springlike conditions over the space of a couple hours. During our one stop along the way, at the James Fenimore Cooper Restarea on the New Jersey Turnpike, the weather was so cold and blustery that I couldn't stand around in a hatless condition while the dogs did their business (about that time Sally discovered the outdoor container where the fast food restaurants dump their grease).
For entertainment, we stuck exclusively to music throughout our ride (sorry Sarah!). We tried a number of classic rock stations and at least one classical station before settling on country. After awhile I found myself thinking, as we drove through another toll booth, "I suppose country is as legitimate as any other genre of music." But then Gretchen, who likes country music a little more than I do, made an observation about the derivativeness of all the stuff we were listening to. It all sounded like early 80s rock songs sung by guys exaggerating their southern accents. Gretchen wondered if perhaps the far-right politics of so many country music fans lies at the root of country music's lack of innovation. She then compared country music to Sunny Day Real Estate (and by this she meant the album The Rising Tide, to which I introduced her) and found the whole genre wanting. Her disappointment extended even to the Dixie Chicks (her new favorite country music group).
I've noticed, by the way, that there are a lot more speed traps on the New York Thruway these days, and I suspect this reflects a new fundraising model secretly being advanced by the new Governor, Elliot Spitzer. Perhaps he'll find a way to fund schools while lowering property taxes by busting all the assholes doing 90 in their Porsches. (As opposed to guys like me doing 83 in our Hondas.)

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