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
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Irving housing

got that wrong

appropriate tech
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Like my brownhouse:
   the basics of comedy
Friday, March 1 2024
Since being laid off from my last job way back in July, I've stayed in contact with my old colleague at that company, Joe the Lead Developer (that's how I've referred to him). He was the leader of the team and a genuinely great guy. We also shared some interests (robotics, tinkering on our houses, and growing and consuming cannabis). But he was at least fifteen years younger than me, had a couple kids, and loved to eat roast beef sandwiches, so we weren't exactly identical (though I never once mentioned that I am a vegan, which is hilarious if you know anything about vegans). We communicate via Google Chat (if that's what it's called), mostly to give little updates, the kind that would otherwise happen via Facebook if we were Facebook friends (which we aren't). Joe mostly communicates about his cannabis growing, though he also told me an interesting story about successfully ordering magic mushrooms from Canadian company. (I get the feeling there aren't many people in his life he can talk to about such things.)
This morning Joe said he'd just been laid off. This was shocking news, as Joe was one of the most talented, competent, and conscientious employees at the company. It was termed a "restructuring" and he received a severance (though it wasn't much bigger than mine, and he'd worked for the company for eight years compared to my nearly-five). He said Dr. Dan had been the one who laid him off, which must have uncomfortable. (At least when I was laid off, it was by an administrator in a distant office I barely ever communicated with.) Adding to the insult, Dr. Dan reported told Joe that part of the reason he was being let go was his performance, something nobody told me when I was laid off even though, by any metric, I'd been a pretty lazy and uninspired employee. I commiserated with Joe for a few exchanges, focusing particularly on how private equity destroys everything it touches. He concluded by saying he was going to grab himself "a roast beef sammy." I replied that he should be nice to himself today and that his former employer is a bunch of shitheads.

It was a beautiful sunny day, helping to drive away some of the seasonal chill we'd returned from balmy Mexico City into. At some point my brother Don called from Virginia, and we mostly talked about human sacrifice in the New World, which, no surprise, is also an interest of his. He was particularly knowledgeable about human sacrifice among the Inca of South America, a subject I hadn't quite reached in the Wikipedia rabbit-hole I'd fallen down.
Towards the end of the call, Don mentioned that Joy Tarder has hired someone to train him how to clean a house. To you or me, it might seem obvious how to clean a house, but Don has never made anything clean in his life. (Occasionally he scrubs out some clothes in a sink and dabs water around his genitals as needed to keep the fungus at bay, but that's pretty much the extent of it.) Nobody ever forced him to clean anything when he was growing up, so the requisite neural pathways simply do not exist. Given that the neurons for those pathways now are dedicated to the details of Neanderthal hip morphology, it's possible he will never learn to clean anything. I asked him about why Joy was doing this, and he hinted that it might have something to do with eventually selling the property. I asked if he really thought he would be cleaning things, and his response was that Joy Tarder might compel him to clean as a condition for receiving his little weekly allowance (the funds for which come from his Supplemental Security Income check). The subject of money then caused Don to launch into a fanciful monologue about his ideas for earning money. The first was that he could "get good" at running and then get paid to endorse some brand of running shoes. The second was that he could become a comedian. The first was so absurd (and oft-mentioned) that I didn't want to dwell on it, but the second idea was a new one. I asked Don what his comedic material might be. He suggested that perhaps he could tell jokes about Alexei Navalny, the Russian dissident who recently died in a Siberian work camp (aka gulag). That didn't sound like an especially funny subject matter to me. I then explained the concept of "too soon" and the equation comedy = tragedy + time. Don wasn't familiar with either of them, which suggested that, as with the marketing of running shoes, his expertise with comedy is in the far left side of the Dunning-Kruger curve.

This evening Gretchen used the air fryer to cook up some of that romanesco I'd bought yesterday. It tasted a lot like cauliflower while looking a lot like math.

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