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:
   live lobsters on ice
Monday, January 4 2010
Knowing that on the morrow the woodstove would be delivered, today I took a few actions to prepare for the physical ordeal that 490 pounds of brand new stove represented. I went into town and bought some especially strong rope (among other things) to help prepare for the stove's arrival. While I was out, I bought some provisions at the ghetto Shop Rite near the Home Depot (it's the grocery store that makes Hannaford seem like Adam's Fairacre Farms). While I was there, I was horrified to see the latest in live lobster display. I've always averted my eyes when passing the doomed lobsters languishing with rubber-banded pinchers in their grim little tanks, but the lobsters I saw today were displayed so disturbingly that I couldn't bear returning to the part of the store where I'd seen them. These lobsters, you see, were not in a tank. They were out in the air on block of ice, waving their arms lethargically. It was actually more disturbing than the infamous Sarah Palin turkey pardoning incident.

Once home, I used my new rope with two pairs of ganged pulleys to lift the old Honda Civic engine and transmission off a red cart out in the garage. This cart is the most-solid wheeled vehicle I have, but that engine had occupied it since the Spring of 2008. You might remember that this is the engine I'd pulled from the Honda Civic hatchback that Gretchen had totalled. The pulleys allowed me to multiply my pulling force by four, allowing me to pull the engine off the cart and then lower it onto the floor of the garage, where it immediately began to spew coolant. But now I had a cart!
I still needed a way to get it into the house with a heavy load. So tonight while listening to my usual favorite podcasts, I built a ramp capable of scaling the 6.5 inches of step that greets people at the front door. As I was working, I found myself wondering darkly if I might ever find myself bringing out the ramp on some future day should I need to quickly render the house handicap-accessible.

At some point I found myself watching the movie A Clockwork Orange, which I might not have seen since it was shown at Kettering Hall back when I was a student in Oberlin. I'd found the movie a little shocking back then because of the casualness of the violence (which often happens while inappropriately-cheerful music plays in the soundtrack). I'd also remembered being disappointed by its ultimate story being not about ruffians in a retro-modern dystopia, but about free will. Tonight when I was watching it, the thing that surprised me was how inaccurately I'd remembered its pacing. For some reason I'd remembered the pre-arrest part of the movie being the vast bulk of it, but in actuality it makes up only the first third. I'd also completed forgotten the delightful symmetry of the portrayals of his pre- and post- treatment world experiences.
Finally, I can also add an observation that comes only from the experiences I've had since I first saw the film: Alex, the film's antihero has clearly served as a model for dissolute young men of the kind I befriended first in Oberlin and then during my Big Fun days. This influence manifests less in the musical interests or in the patterns of speech than it does in the body language. This really hit me when I watched the scene where Alex uses a large featureless modern sculpture of a penis to bludgeon a woman to death. Just before he does this, he executes a mocking little dance, throwing out first one foot and then then other while using the sculpture as a shield. I can't picture many people doing this, but I can definitely picture Morgan Anarchy from Big Fun or either Alex G. or Jaccome J. from Oberlin doing exactly the same thing (though without the murderous conclusion).

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