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:
   fruit juice, firewood, and pharmaceuticals
Friday, March 16 2007
At some point today, while thrashing slowly in bed to make myself feel better, I called out to Gretchen, "Ok, I'm ready to be well now!" This illness seemed to be going longer than I remember my other sicknesses going.
At some point today I took stock of my symptoms: the aches along my femurs and in my knees, the clamp around my head, the rattles in my lungs that kept causing me to hack up loogies (which were now the more merciful color yellow instead of pink). But most of all I was fascinated with my sore throat. It was the one pain in my body that was acute. It felt as if I had ground up glass lodged there in the soft tissues around my tonsils and epiglottis, making swallowing a mostly-unthinkable activity. Strangely, though, my throat felt perfectly comfortable when I wasn't swallowing. And it didn't hurt much when I swallowed food or even large amounts of fluid. It only hurt - but it did so excruciatingly - when I swallowed little or nothing. By now I'd resumed reading Suvival of the Sickest, a book that (among other things) discusses the strategies that illnesses use to ensure their spread. For example, the rabies virus does something to the mammalian brain to make its owner more aggravated and likely to bite while simultaneously debilitating the muscles in charge of swallowing, leading to foamy mouths full of rabies-virus-rich saliva for when the unaccountably angry mammal eventually finds someone to bite. The fact that I was experiencing terrible pain only from swallowing smallish quantities of fluid suggested to me that my influenza virus had a strategy of getting me to spit out my coughed-up phlegm instead of swallowing it. In many societies, people in my condition would simply spit their phlegm on the floor, amongst toddlers and their toys. Such behavior would definitely help with the spread of the disease.

Since Gretchen and I were still sick and unable to do much to take care of ourselves or our environment, our house had come to resemble a college study room the night before finals. Open containers of various fluids filled available surfaces, and carpets were covered by snotrag minefields, random instances of sweaty clothes, or dog kibble. (Some of this chaos was leftover from the two months of dogsitting elderly poodles.) But now a omnious winter storm was approaching and we wondered if we'd have enough cut & split firewood to make it through the next few days. So Gretchen got on the phone and called in the cavalry. One friend delivered several bottles of fruit juice and car load of split-up oak from the house she's been borrowing. Later another friend came to deliver even more drinks, as well as some expired prescription pharmaceuticals to help us through our fever-delirium-dream-filled nights.
By the time our second friend came with supplies, there was at least a foot of freshly-fallen (and heavily drifted) snow in the driveway. I'd rallied a little and was able to sit in a chair by the woodstove in the living room, reading more from Survival of the Sickest. By now I'd gotten to the part about Epigenics, which describes how traits not affecting the genome can be passed for several generations through the process of DNA methylation, a sort of temporary edit of the expression of genes. Some of these edits take place while our mothers are in the wombs of our grandmothers, since the eggs that will one day be us are fully-formed gametes while our mothers are still embryoes themselves.
Before I went to bed I took a valium that had supposedly expired in 2004. People are always raving about this class of drugs, but I never find them particularly satisfying. I did feel a sort of calm wash over me as I lay in bed reading and did eventually fall asleep. But again I found myself having horrible delerium nightmares, this time filled with images of genes experiencing methylation and yet not really doing what they ought to.

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