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:
   crackhead projects
Friday, February 19 2010
I can't keep from watching the A&E series Intervention, though I've been doing it on my computer through YouTube and Hulu, which provides the sort of unrestricted access that an addict really needs (as opposed to the metered doses of a Tivo season pass). Today most of the featured addicts had problems with heroin, methamphetamines, or both. And this brought up an interesting question: how had it been possible for the producers to get so much access to people committing illegal acts? This was reality teevee, not the Wire, and yet there they were, buying and selling drugs, searching for a vein (there's gotta be one here somewhere!) and even stealing checks from the checkbook of a dying father. Are people so hard up for their fifteen minutes of fame that they're willing to provide video exhibits for their next probation hearing? After watching several episodes, I did occasionally see dialog that looked like it had been rehearsed or was being read from cue cards, though that just might be a side effect of casting so many marginal people for a reality show. Some people are such bad actors that their normal behavior comes across as bad acting too.
I realized today what had struck me about Leslie, the pathetic drunk I'd seen on Intervention the day before yesterday. She'd fallen so far and become so essentially non-human that it made me lose a little more of my confidence in humanity itself.

I ended up having an exceptionally productive day, partly (I think) because I enhanced it with performance-improving study drugs. I don't have access to the good stuff, but pseudoephedrine is still available over-the-counter, and when I need to get shit done I like to take three of the little red 30 milligram pills. I should mention that sometimes when I do this I wind up doing crackhead projects that just waste my time. But today while I was under their influence I did some laboratory cleaning (salvaging armature wire and laminated armature metal from large dead electric motors). And then I rewrote the entire search system for David's website (of David and Penny), replacing a nearly-broken non-Fulltext ColdFusion/Microsoft SQL system with a Fulltext PHP/MySQL system. It looks exactly like the old search, but it runs much faster and works much better.

Earlier today I'd made some important refinements to my Javascript-based weekly calendaring system, making it so existing appointments of arbitrary length become "atomic" in the display, meaning that their constituent time units no longer can except new appointments. The whole appointment changes color as a unit when you mouse over it, and clicking anywhere on it takes you to an editor for that appointment. It sounds like an obvious system, but getting that to work required all sorts of crazy status tracking across every day of the week and then a for loop to turn the color changes on and off in every time unit of an existing appointment. Sadly, though, I work on the shifting sands of zero specification and later today I got an infuriating email asking me if perhaps I could make a way for a doctor or a dentist to schedule several patients simultaneously, a massive last-minute change to both the front end and the backend. This is from a guy who expects to show this thing to investors on February 24th.

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