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:
   westerward across San Vincente
Wednesday, January 24 2018

bed near the window, Room 405, Ramada Inn, West Hollywood, California

The Organization, in addition to finding me a room, had assigned me a roommate, but he'd never shown up, so I had the hotel to myself when I awoke this morning. I took a nice hot shower, made myself a cut of coffee from the room's coffee machine (it wasn't all that good), and noodled around on my laptop for a time. Eventually I went down to lobby in hopes there would be better coffee and maybe toast in a minefield of eggy slime. But evidently the Ramada is so marginal that it doesn't even offer a continental fucking breakfast. So I set off westward on Santa Monica, looking for a retail establishment to fill in for the Ramada's deficiencies. I quickly passed a Starbucks, since that's never my first choice. There was a Trader Joe's beyond that, but it wasn't even 8:00am yet and that wouldn't open until 9:00. Further on, there were bars and gyms, but no Starbucks competitors. So I circled back and got myself a cup of coffee and considered (but did not buy) a bag of salt & vinegar potato chips, one of the few vegan foods available. I ran across two of my co-workers while I was there, and that was how the day began.


The Hugo's menu is huge and covered with thick plastic, like one you might find at a TGIFriday's. But unlike TGIFriday's, the food is clearly marked as to what is available for someone who is trying to maintain a diet containing a minimum of cruelty. After a brief deliberation, I settled on the "Syrian Bowl," mostly because it contained things I like and was so random and specific, suggesting there might be someone with real expertise on Syrian cuisine in the kitchen (most of the other stuff was things like pasta and sandwiches). I was concerned it might be a little too healthy, like last night's spicy mushroom dish at My Vegan Gold. It was indeed healthy, but it was also delicious. The green beans in red sauce and the dense mound of cooked spinach were exactly what I wanted to be eating. Nobody at our table drank anything but water, though the conversation was great. My contribution was the story of that time, back when I was junior at Oberlin College, that my Mycology professor took the class to a patch of mushrooms in the forest that later proved to be Laughing Jims. "You'll want to collect a lot of these!" he'd told us. I'd taken a bunch of them back to Harkness co-op, cooked them to kill any insects, and then forgot about them in the refrigerator. Some days later I learned that a woman in the co-op had found the mushrooms, added some cheese and sauce, and ate the whole batch, only to find herself having an out-of-body experience in Mudd Library.
The evening ended early for everyone, and I found myself kind of bored and looking for something to do. Some folks from last night had invited me over for poker, but that was two hours ago and they weren't responding to my text messages. So I decided to go get myself a flask of booze for one of my favorite things to do on vacation: sitting in a hotel lobby sipping on gin & juice and cruising my favorite internet haunts on my laptop.
There was a liquor store only a block east of the Ramada, but I decided to look for another one. So I walked west on Santa Monica. My path soon took me out of the somewhat shabby environs of the Ramada across San Vicente and into a more vibrant neighborhood, with one bar after another opening onto the sidewalk. Most of these were evidently gay bars, and one of them even had a nearly-naked man dancing near a live DJ. All this on a Wednesday night. Further on, the buildings turned faceless, like the outside of a shopping mall, and there was no life on the streets at all. I turned around and headed back, passing the gay bars again. One squirrelly-looking tweaker caught my eye and lunged me at me, though I dodged him like Keanu Reeves in bullet time dealing with a bullet that was probably going to miss anyway. That sort of thing almost never happens to me.
I went back to the liquor store near the hotel and bought myself a $7 flask of cheap gin and a bottle of pink lemonade (the damn liquor store didn't have anything better for a mixer). I then hung out in the hotel lobby sipping on my drink and plinking away at my computer, focused mostly on my employer's Slack channels.

For linking purposes this article's URL is:

previous | next