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:
   the Staunton Mall on a weekday is a sideshow
Thursday, March 13 1997

Surreal thing to say today: the stately rock left to crumble at the top of the mountain envies the humble rock swallowed by the sands in the valley.

I think I'll be referring to Infoseek a lot in the future.
During the night I discovered that Infoseek now updates their index instantly with new URL submissions. That was the coolest feature of the Infoseek-Ultra they tested and then abandoned this Fall. The fact that web pages can be available for searches instantly brings a new interactivity to the Web. If a late breaking story is happening, I can post a web page about it and it can be found if only I submit the site to Infoseek. In the recent past, the most up-to-date index was Altavista. But Altavista's lag time of 24 hours now suddenly makes it seem antiquated. I think I'll be referring to Infoseek a lot in the future. I would encourage all my readers with web pages to post their sites to Infoseek and to use Infoseek more often than perhaps they have. You see, it had gradually developed the reputation for being a novice's search engine; this is confirmed by the ridiculous rambling questions asked of it that are recorded in the Atlas logs whenever I receive hits from Infoseek searches.

Now it is easy to test Infoseek's relevance rules, since there is instant feedback! It's less easy than one would think, though, since Infoseek appears to use a randomizer feature to scramble the top most relevant sites, at least in the period immediately following submission.

Ideally, we'd link to each other and live as compatible web ezines, enriching the content of this generally shallow and juvenile medium.
I discovered all this while doing some web promotion assignments. One of my official tasks during my shift had been to promote the Blue Penny Quarterly in the various search engines. This task was complicated by the fact that there is an old site for the BPQ at Virginia Tech. BPQ's founder, Doug Lawson, left Comet after an acrimonious dispute this summer, but not before selling his ezine to Comet! Thus he has no claim to the ezine or its archives any more. Yet, he has maintained archives of the site at its old Virginia Tech address outside the reach of people here, and he has used META tagging techniques and the complicity of Yahoo to intercept many Blue Penny Quarterly searches to his new literary ezine, the Blue Moon Review. My task over the night was, using my search engine expertise, to undo some of the damage done. But I went further; now some searches for "Blue Moon Review" mysteriously go off to the Blue Penny Quarterly. Fancy that! More than one can play this game. I don't know why we can't "just get along." Ideally, we'd link to each other and live as compatible web ezines, enriching the content of this generally shallow and juvenile medium. Certainly I have nothing against Doug Lawson or his ezine (except that it uses frames). In fact I encourage my readers to check it out.

Had I paid to get into a freak show, it's doubtful I would have been quite as disturbed.
I drove back to my childhood home south of Staunton today, as I often do on Thursdays. On the way I stopped in at the Staunton Mall, which is just outside the city limits on US 11 South (Greenville Avenue). The Mall has been a place I have frequented since I was a child. I used to ride my bike the five miles that stood between home and commerce just so I could spend $4 of saved-up lunch money on some integrated circuits at the Radio Shack. That was back when it was an open-air plaza and still had a Woolworths complete with an integrated greasy spoon diner. Now it's an enclosed mall, with stores that cry out "I'm trendy, honest, despite the fact that I'm stuck in this crappy Redneckistan Mall." The people there in the middle of a workday are anything but trendy, however. You see, while the young are off working for the weekend, the retirees cash their social security checks and head down to the mall and hang out, much like teenagers in a Wendys parking lot. My guess is that they entertain notions of possible romance and other typically human feelings. It's an alien vision though, to see so many puffy bluish-white-haired old ladies, each locked in osteoporosic C-formation, huffing down the mall on their ways to the food court or passing the time silently staring from benches, surrounded by the glitz and glam of "the flowers of capitalism" trying (at this time futilely) to attract the honeybees of young upper middle class suburban consumers. There are some older men in this environment, but not so many.

There are also a few younger housewives and a number of people who are obviously collecting pensions for disability. One housewife pushed her daughter around in a wheelchair. That was a particularly horrifying sight to behold, for the daughter had wide glassy eyes and an open drooling mouth set deeply in a bloated face; she looked to be in a coma. And I saw another woman who was not particularly old nor particularly fat, but she had such an enormous butt that she seemed to be having great difficulty walking. There were others that struck me as odd looking too, mostly for the sheer blankness of their facial expressions. Had I paid to get into a freak show, it's doubtful I would have been quite as disturbed.

I bought a new soldering iron and some audio jacks in the Radio Shack. The cashier obnoxiously stood close by with his hands on his hips watching me as I figured out what I wanted. I was wearing my black trench coat, and no doubt he considered me a shoplifting risk (which of course I was).

At my house, I found that my mother (Hoagie) had gone to New York City to visit the art galleries there. How very! I napped in the Shaque bunk and slept rather well despite the hammering coming from across the road. You see, the redneck neighbors are having a wrap-around porch installed on their new modular home (it replaces the trailer that was destroyed by the floods of Hurricane Fran).

I had an interesting dream while I slept that Cecelia the Brazilian Girl was teaching me to speak and understand French, and I was learning it rapidly. This no doubt had something to do with the fact that I started studying C++ (a computer programming language) just before going to bed.

...a sort of salary paid by the government for his job as Staunton's principle psychotic.
In the evening I picked up some pizza, but my brother Don wasn't even there to help me and my my father eat it, since today is Don's "big day" - the day he gets a part of his Supplemental Security Income (SSI) check, a sort of salary paid by the government for his job as Staunton's principle psychotic. Don typically walks into town on such days and blows as much of his money as he can on fast food such as cheeseburgers. Sometimes he also buys books about famous evil dictators. Stalin, Hitler and Mao are big favourites. He also has been known to purchase optical equipment and plastic models of war equipment and human skeletons.

My Dad gave me a surprisingly large (500+ dollar) check today. It was a dividend from my old health insurance provider, Blue Cross Blue Shield. Unfortunately, since my parents paid that insurance for many years, they consider it their money and thus I will have to do free typing for my Dad for months to come! But at least I have the money up front.

I drank a Wheat Hook on the long drive back to Charlottesville and went to bed at about 9pm.

I woke up as cranky as ever and thus couldn't muster much sociability when Monster Boy arrived with a surprise guest, Zachary, as I was putting on my boots.

Tonight I'm working on putting together a web page of images from the weekend.

For linking purposes this article's URL is:

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