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:
   in Mexico as it wins
Sunday, June 17 2018

location: Room 2342, The Reef Coco Beach, Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Gretchen and I went to the buffet restaurant this morning mostly for coffee, though of course we also tried to graze (with restraint) on the few things available there for us to eat. The reason for the restraint was that the plan was for us all to go out to The Pitted Date, the completely vegan restaurant only a block from the entrance to our resort.
We'd heard that the kids et al were down in the resort's massive big-screen television theatre watching an ongoing World Cup game between Mexico and Germany and that the score was one to zero for Mexico. Since it's a rare thing to be in Mexico during such an important sporting event, Gretchen and I thought we should check it out.
The television room was full of people, some in the official green shirts of the Mexican team. There was a lot of intense focus punctuated by cheers. We found our way to our family (near the front) and I was delighted to see the resort had put out snacks, some of which (such as chips and guacamole) were much better vegan food options than anything provided at the buffet restaurant.
This was the most attention I had ever paid to a soccer game. I know little about the rules, though they seem pretty simple. From what I could see, Germany was absolutely dominating the game, maintaining possession of the ball for most of the time. But Guillermo Ochoa, Mexico's tall curly-haired goalie (assisted by others on his team) played an outstanding defense. As you probably have gathered, I am not much of a sports fan, but I know the pacing of all the common team games. Watching soccer, I was struck by how continuous the play is. There is almost no down time and certainly no breaks in the action long enough to run a commercial. The entertainment is relentless, if you're into that sort of thing, and I could see why a soccer fan would be put off by the constant waiting and setting up in football, baseball, and even basketball.
There were no further scores in the game as Mexico ran out the clock. Since they were up by one at the end, this meant they were victorious. Against Germany. The room exploded in excitement. There was singing and dancing, and we took part because, hey, we were in Mexico and we had no reason to support the Germans (even if one of the members of its team was named Müller). There were actually a couple Germans (or German supporters) behind us who weren't pleased with the outcome, but whatever, Germany still has a long way to go before it has paid off its karmic debt. Later I read that celebration in Mexico City were so exuberant that it might've triggered a minor earthquake.

The family reconvened at the Pitted Date for brunch to celebrate father's day, though more for Gretchen's father than for her brother-in-law (who is also a father). I was on the end of the table with my sister-in-law and we talked at some length about her textile business (which is more of a charity than anything else). Her story included aspects of the non-profit world now familiar to me, such as a director of development and the propriety of copying clearly effective strategies. I'd ordered a sandwich that I liked less than expected; there was a weird flavor in there that didn't seem to go. I thought maybe this came from sundried tomatoes, but that was not one of the ingredients.

At dinner tonight, I brought up the Dysfunctional Family Circus on my phone and showed it to my Family-Circus-loving niece if only to broaden her horizons. It's presented as the original one-frame circular drawing with the caption removed. Beside it are dozens of alternatives come up with by people with much better senses of humor. At first my niece was intrigued, and I saw her flipping through them and reading the alternative captions. But she wasn't doing much (if any) laughing. "They're all so dirty!" she said at one point, in disgust. She then showed me one particular caption and asked if it was what she thought it was. The picture was of Dolly holding a glass jar with a tiny little lump in it. The caption my niece had read was, "We wanted to see what PJ would look like Jewish. It didn't seem to hurt much." "Yes," I told her, "it is." She eventually lost interest and handed my phone back to me. I suppose it makes sense that a pre-teen wouldn't find raunchy or dark humor all that funny. In the mind of a kid that age, sex is ridiculous, but it's also not especially interesting. As for humor suggesting cracks in the family structure, perhaps that's impossible to comprehend in the context of a stable family and not much experience with familial friction. Seeing her ambivalent reaction made me feel a little bad; perhaps I shouldn't've shown my niece that website. (I know her mother works hard to shelter her from lots of stuff, most of it of the scary kind.) But if it had traumatized her, the effect seemed minor. Surely she's in a much better place than the kids at the border being separated from their parents and made to sleep under space blankets in cages.

Gretchen and I had rather more success exposing the kids to adult-level humor back in our room. I fired up my laptop and showed them (and their mother) some Key & Peele classics, such as both "Substitute Teacher" ones, a could "Anger Translator" ones, and even a "Meegan." These were funny on many levels, so they managed to get some good chuckles even out of my niece (despite the apparent reality that Family Circus lies at the center of her comedic comfort zone). Neither of the kids had especially liked "Prepared for Terries," perhaps because the mix of made-up words and parody of airplane terrorism fears was a bit complicated given their range of experience.
A wave of post-firing depression brought our YouTube journey to an end; I kicked out my niece, nephew, and sister-in-law so I could lie in bed and think.

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