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:
   big cake birthday
Saturday, May 21 2011
Today there would be a party in Willow to celebrate the birthdays of our friend Jenny and her friend Rebecca. Gretchen was in charge of the cake, naturally, and when she heard there were going to be 70 people at the party, she decided she didn't have enough carrots to make the appropriately-sized carrot cake. She had to go into town anyway for a haircut, so she could get more carrots then.
Gretchen wanted me to contribute something artistic to the project, and she'd suggested I make a couple signs to put in the cake. One would say "Happy Birthday Jenny" and the other would say "...and Rebecca." I always take these sort of artistic requests as opportunities to push myself a little, so I decided to make the signs on small wooden cutouts of farm animals (Jenny and Rebecca have dedicated their lives to animal rights and rescuing farm animals). To make the cutouts, I found suitable silhouettes on Google images, sketched them on quarter inch wood stock (I didn't bother to trace), and then cut them out using my scroll saw. It only took about twenty minutes to produce a cow and a pig this way. I then painted them red, waited for them to dry, and did the lettering in white. They looked awesome.
We loaded up the cake and the dogs and drove over to Willow a little after 5:00pm, partly so we could be there amongst the like-minded somewhat before the rapture of all good Christians into Heaven, scheduled for 6pm in our time zone. (Wait, God honors our timezones?) I have to admit that I'd developed a bit of rapturemania. What other opportunities are we given in life to definitively rub people's noses in their erroneous world view?
It was your typical party at Jenny and Doug's, though with more people and more use of the outdoors. Most of the food was grilled (veggie patties, veggie sausages, eggplant, tofu, and tempeh) and there was a shitload of alcohol of all descriptions (including a number of impressive IPAs). As always, there were good conversations with interesting people tempered with amusing (mostly sublimated) personality conflicts.
A seemingly crazy gentleman with a well-developed upper body was in charge of making a bonfire from scrap wood at the back of the property, and for a time he had a fire going the size of a Cadillac Escalade.
There was also a little boy there, perhaps seven years of age, who constantly strummed on a small acoustic guitar. The kid seemed to have a light case of Asperger's syndrome, but if its principle manifestation was to keep him strumming on that guitar, there seemed to be a good likelihood that the kid would get his ten thousand hours by age thirteen and go on to become a virtuoso. For now, though, he plays his guitar to such mundane songs as "the Alphabet Song." Perhaps you know it, it goes as follows: "A, B, C, D, E, F G/H, I, J, K, LMNOP/Q, R, S/T, U, V/W, X/Y and Z/Now I've said my ABCs/Tell me what you think of me." At one point I heard him doing that song for the third time tonight, and it suddenly struck me that it sounded very sad. It was in a minor key! I ran over and congratulated him on his minor key take on this childhood classic, but he rebuffed me, insisting it was actually in a major key. He was the expert; I had to defer to him (though I think he was wrong).
In other musical happenings, at some point I went into the house and found that someone had set up some equipment permitting people to sing karaoke. It involved a laptop with a browser window open to a website (perhaps, I don't know). You type a song name into a search engine. If they have it, you can start it playing, and it does the thing where the lyrics are displayed and change color according to where in them you should be singing while a generic slideshow featuring white people and wheat fields are displayed. I loaded up Gary Neuman's Cars and was amazed as I performed it by how bad my voice sounded when amplified. Part of the problem was me, but part of the problem was balance: my untrained vocals were too loud and the backing music too soft. It was as if the system had been engineered to make me sound like shit.
The Rapture never did come, and by the end of the evening most of us had stopped chuckling about it. That's the thing about failed prophesy: it becomes old news very quickly.

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