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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   Point Lobos
Saturday, September 6 2008

setting: Big Sur Campground, Big Sur, California

This morning Gretchen and I rendezvoused with the Monterey wedding party, starting with her parents. We'd arranged to meet at Point Lobos, a rocky stretch of beach and seaweed-filled harbors where one can occasionally see seals. We'd been out of radio contact all morning, as cellphone service is essentially nonexistent in Big Sur. But when Gretchen's father finally managed to get Gretchen's phone to ring, we were only about fifty feet apart, waiting in a short crawl of cars entering Point Lobos.
We carpooled from the entrance to the parking area on Whalers Cove. The place was so thick with SCUBA divers, we barely found a parking spot. While Gretchen and I were walking around on the trails leading to the high lookout spots, the others in the wedding party made radio contact, and eventually our groups found each other and merged, becoming a large, flowing, indecisive superorganism. Eventually we flowed to the farthest point of land, a place where we could look down and see diaphenous jellyfish nearly a foot in diameter. There was also a single Harbor Seal who sunned himself for awhile and then swam leisurely through the thickets of seaweed. We also encountered a semi-tame Mule Deer (the first I'd ever seen) along the trail somewhere.

We convoyed with Gretchen's parents from Point Lobos to our hotel, looking for a good Mexican restaurant the whole way. We couldn't find any, so we drove into a spotless shopping center in Carmel (it looked like the Hollywood set of a Scandinavian village, but with massive parking lots and palm trees). Part of the village was made to look like a farm, complete with a barn and a vintage windmill (but no manure pile, alas). This section called "the Barnyard," and an older gentleman in a Mercedes had told us that it included a Mexican restaurant. Not expecting a useful Mexican food recommendation from that demographic, we nevertheless tracked the place down. It was called Hola and featured a cheerful, light-bathed interior and friendly staff. It was a surprisingly authentic experience, though (particularly from Gretchen's mother's description of the bathroom) it was far too tidy and elegant. But it worked where it counted: the fish tacos were excellent. It's 2008 and it's still impossible to get fish tacos in the Hudson Valley.
The wedding party was staying at a glorified Motel called The Deer Haven Inn in Pacific Grove. We checked in and took our room and I immediately took a bath, something I often do when the room comes with a bathtub.
Later, as dusk started to descend, the wedding party assembled just east of the baseball diamond in nearby George Washington Park and had a picnic. At first I felt very out of my element, surrounded as I was by all these people I didn't know very well (meanwhile Gretchen was lost in an endless conversation). Eventually, though, I drank some wine and had a few conversations with people. But it wasn't easy. In the multi-dimensional spectrum of conversational compatibility, I experience a region of discomfort, incompatibility, and boredom when I'm speaking with people who are both highly agreeable (a common trait in California) and hyperconventional. I find myself wanting to drop little shocking tidbits into the conversation to keep it interesting.
Things became a little more interesting when the bats came out and flitted about over the baseball field. I threw bits of wood into the air to attract them so Gretchen's father could take a photograph, and eventually he was successful. Interestingly, most of the people witnessing this spectacle had never before seen (or known they were seeing) bats.

North of Big Sur: a crazy naval installation on a rocky hill almost cut off from the mainland.

Gretchen can't get a signal north of Big Sur. That naval installation might have been sending out weird jamming signals because she had three bars.

Gretchen and her parents at Point Lobos, taken from a trail high above.

Mule deer at Point Lobos.

Mule deer at Point Lobos.

A subset of the wedding party superorganism at Point Lobos.

Jellyfish and seaweed at Point Lobos.

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