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:
   reward for creation
Saturday, January 17 2015
My new drinking rules dictated that after ten days of alcohol abstinence I would be rewarded with a new way to earn days on which I can drink alcohol: by completing a specific creative endeavor, that is, one that produces a tangible product. What constitutes a tangible product is vague at this point, but the rule is designed so that it will serve as an incentive to be creative, so insignificant or shoddy products do not count, and neither will efforts that I am undertaking in a professional capacity (web development for which I am being paid). Last night was the tenth day, so as of today, I was under the new regime. And I'd already begun a creative project: a small acrylic painting of Celeste the Kitten based on the first photo I'd taken of her back in July. The painting will be one of three gifts that I will be giving to Gretchen on the occasion of her 44th birthday.
I decided to make a full day of the drinking that I knew would be coming. So I took 120 milligrams of pseudoephedrine in the early afternoon while Gretchen was in town buying things for her cooking class, including gluten and a coffee grinder intended only for grinding spices. (Gretchen had taken Eleanor with her but had been unable to find Ramona, was down in the greenhouse hanging out by herself the way she likes to do on sunny winter days).
I'd finished my painting by 4:20 pm and was ready to start my drinking by 5:00pm. Nothing tastes as good as a cold beer after ten days of alcohol abstinence, and I went with the best beer I had on hand, a bottle of Ithaca Flower Power IPA. One of my favorite things to do while drinking a beer is to watch the latest episode of Gold Rush, the reality show for people who can suspend economic disbelief when not presented with a ledger. Later, Gretchen and I watched an episode of Shark Tank, and by then I'd moved on to straight vodka from that bottle we'd bought at Hudson Valley Distillers.
Eventually I took a bath and smoked some pot in the tub, and by now the mix of drugs in my system was making me fall asleep briefly every now and then. But I had a number of good pot-induced ideas, most of which revolved around the cat-and-mouse game played by people who try to secure data (and technologies) and those who want to break in. It will obviously always be impossible to secure a system where the data and code can be read, and this reality undermines all forms of copy protection on a computer platform (see, for example, the story of DeCSS). And even in cases where there is a black box concealing data adn/or code, there are subtle ways to tease such systems into giving up their secrets. They can be hit with data designed to expose the underlying code by the time it takes for it to be processed or the arrangement of warming on the chip doing the processing. The system can also be investigated for tell-tale radio frequency noise being generated from hidden circuits.
Back at my computer, I listened to a random assortment of my MP3s and stumbled across a few MP3s by a speed metal band named Voivod. Initially it sounded like novelty music from a dork rock band, but under the influence of pot I started finding things I liked in it, particularly the use of stereo separation in a song called "Nothingface."
Later this evening, well, technically in the wee hours of the next day, I told Gretchen all about my new drinking rules, something I'd been concealing from her completely up until then. I went on to explain that I have a lot of arbitrary rules that govern my behavior and keep me from gradually becoming the sort of person that I don't want to be. One such rule: I cannot urinate in any of the household toilets unless I am sitting on them. This is to keep me from gradually abandoning my laboratory urinal system. That system, by the way, has been frozen solid for many days now and I've been forced to piss either outside or in bottles.

Today's painting of Celeste the Kitten.

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