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:
   much like the Truman Show
Thursday, July 16 1998

fter we'd gotten out of bed and showered away the sweat and semen from our bodies, I found myself installing Netscape on Aunt Bettie's computer. Netscape's mail software has a nice shallow learning curve and it's well-coordinated with the browser, so I thought it would make Bettie's computer experience more manageable. Kim and I gave her a few lessons, and already I noticed evidence that she had learned something from our previous lesson.

But Kim and I had to get going. We wanted to leave the house before Bettie's husband was awake.


im and I ended up doing breakfast at nearby Gest Omelettes. Things have been going good for us the last two days, but periodically I notice Kim demonstrating feelings of insecurity about what I'm going to do when I get back to Virginia. I've told her that my Charlottesville friends are not going to be pleased with developments in Michigan. Thoughts I've been entertaining of perhaps moving to San Diego with Kim when she goes off to Massage Graduate School (I'm not kidding) will no doubt be viewed with derision by the likes of Jessika and Deya. But it's my life and I've assured Kim that I will do what I think is best.

Kim and I have actually been telling each other we love one another, and it really does feel that way, at least for now. But I can't help thinking that there will be problems in the future, that we'll find ourselves incompatible eventually. Then there's always these musings. What kind of betrayal will she view this to be when it is inevitably discovered? If I really cared about her, would I be using her like this? It's all very complicated.

Then I say something like "I'll send you email," and she takes it like I'm treating her without enough reverence, as if she deserves me to say I'll send her letters or call her. Tears of insecurity well up in her eyes and I want to find some way to reassure her. She already thinks these last few days, this dream come true, is too impossibly good to be for real. She seems to be cringing all the time waiting for a shoe to drop.

I've gradually been revealing more and more of my daring anti-establishment side to Kim. For example, today I told her I plan to hitch hike back to Virginia. In the world Kim lives in, such a means of transportation is unthinkable. She doesn't take trains or buses; she flies. That's how things are done in her family. She didn't see my point when I said I liked the experience of hitch hiking. She tried to offer me money for a bus ticket and I insisted it wasn't about money. It's this failure for us to find a meeting of our minds on certain key continua of human values that heightens my fear that we're not made for each other.


o avoid possible altercations involving Paul, Kim dropped me off at a laundry mat near her apartment in Ann Arbor. That's where we did our kissing and hugging goodbye. I told her I'd be leaving for Virginia today, so it looked like we'd be apart for awhile. It moved me, I mean, it really moved me to see tears running out of her eyes as I turned to walk away.


  rode my stolen bike into Downtown Ann Arbor and soon myself walking through the maddening throng of Art Fair people. I didn't care about the art in the least, I just wanted to get through. As I crossed Division Street, I came across Dawn, the Division Street Girl. She said Lisa (her spunkiest, littlest housemate) was off baking cookies to sell to artfair people.


o here I am now in the Angell Hall computer lab. I've been out once to get a slice of pizza at an Art Fair stand, but mostly I've been busy catching up on these musings. This past week has been an incredibly story, and I'm very pleased to have captured it in this way. But don't think I'm not aware of the pitfalls. Heightening my awareness, I got a very interesting email today, and here it is (quoted without permission or acknowledgement):

Your recent entries are nothing short of fascinating. I think the shiftin perspective has done wonders for your writing. Although you areoften compared to Kerouac, I think you bring to mind Nicholson Baker(author of "Vox" and "The Fermata") in your use of description anddetail. I think the new setting and new people have energized you withadditional opportunities to describe and interpret. Although I havelong been a fan of your musings, your ability to use your descriptivetalents was no longer fully realized in Charlottesville (how many waysare there to describe Jessika's appearance?) Without the ability tooffer novel settings and characters, your musings lived or died on yourdaily activities. Fortunately for us, those activities were (more oftenthan not) interesting enough to make reading worthwhile.

However, your arrival in Ann Arbor has added dimension to the musings.Not only is the "plot" entertaining and engrossing (how will it end?will Gus ever sleep indoors again? what happens when someone sees themanager at the Blimpie sub shop and says: "hey you must be Paul, theradical jealous ex-boyfriend"?), but the new environment has providedyou with the opportunity to riff on class structure in America, theperpetual incompatibility of art and government (the HeidelbergProject), and the never-ending pursuit of status for status's sake(Kim's mom), among other topics.

I am really curious, though, about your maintenance of an objectiveperspective during the recent events. By all indications, you areexperiencing the most subjective and basic of life's experiences (therelationship), but at the same time you are clearly standing apart fromit all and realizing that it's great fodder for the musings. Or perhaps"realizing" is too passive -- to what degree are your actions designedto further the musings?

I haven't seen "The Truman Show," but from what I understand the conceptinvolves a man who lives life unaware that everyone around the world iswatching his every move on a TV (teevee) show. I've heard The TrumanShow compared to webcams, but I think Kim is the real Truman right now.It's intriguing that to her she thinks she's starting a relationshipwith a guy from out of town who, to her knowledge, has seen a fewfriends in town. I'm not sure if she has, but if she thought about it,she might think that at most you've mentioned the relationship to two orthree people. What would she think if she knew that hundreds(thousands, Gus?) of people were well aware that she was once acrack-smoking schoolteacher in San Francisco, who now works as a massagetherapist/ex-waitress (at Cafe Zola), lives across the Huron River fromdowntown Ann Arbor (street number 911), has a jealous ex-boyfriend namedPaul who manages Blimpie subs, has a mom with a fetish for white walls,and has a wild cousin who supplies prescription pills to casual visitorscourtesy of her doctor husband? There's great tension created by thedisparity in knowledge, and the uncertainty about how she will respondto the (inevitable?) equalization in knowledge.

I hope this wasn't too esoteric -- the dynamics of your currentsituation are so unique I felt compelled to write. Anyway, thanks fortaking the time and effort to do justice to these recent events. Itrust you're enjoying yourself here in Michigan and I wish you continuedadventure: "May you live in interesting times"

Scott Anderson said similar things in a much briefer email. Thanks for the kind analysis of my sociopathy, guys.

I'm kind of nervous of the prospect of Kim or her relatives surfing to my musings from my art site, so I've shut down my top level homepage for now. I hope this doesn't inconvenience anyone too much.


  just went to find my backpack where it was hidden in the bushes, but I was horrified to find it was gone. Not that it had anything of value, but it did have survival gear and some changes of clean clothes. Since there was no evidence of the bag anywhere, I entertained the hope that the bag may have been turned in to the proper authorities. I called University of Michigan Security and the very helpful woman on the phone tracked down a possible bag that contains clothes. I won't know until morning, though. Since it looks like I'll be spending tonight in town, I guess it'll be another night under cardboard. Lucky for me, the conditions are muggy and still here in Ann Arbor tonight.


  went down to the ever-crowded Fleetwood and had a basket of french fries. Matt Rogers says fries are one of many things to be found in the "tan food group," right there with fried chicken, egg rolls, and most fast food forms of fish. Before I met Kim, I'd mostly been eating tan foods during my stay in Ann Arbor, though I think my doing so has contributed to a decline in my health. My gums are sore like I'm getting scurvy. Of course, I haven't been brushing my teeth very regularly either.

As I was leaving the Fleetwood, one of the cute bleach-blond punk rock girls sitting at a table out front hollered at me, "You! Where do I know you from?" I was puzzled, titillated and intrigued. There were lots of ways she could have seen my face, not the least of which being the internet. She stared me down for a good while, wanting something more from me than shrugs. Ordinarily I would have bitten her bait and joined her world, and she might well have gone on to show me the wondrously funky underbelly of Ann Arbor, much as Jessika did with me in Charlottesville back in 1995. But my life has been so hectic of late I decided to skip that possible future. I climbed on my bike and pedaled away.

During nights between Art Fair days, the concessions and tents are bundled up into faceless monoliths, the gawdy tourists go home, and the streets are taken over by skateboarders and roller bladers. A security detail guards the tents at night, and last night the security people had tried to stop the skateboarders (whose run-away boards kept slamming destructively into the tents). But tonight I saw that security had given up and the kids with boards were skating with brash impunity.

I bought a forty of King Cobra malt liquor and went off to build myself a nest for the night. After wandering the streets looking for a suitable place, I eventually settled beneath a large clump of bushes on the grounds of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. Drinking my forty, I reflected fondly on all the excitement that surrounds me just now.

I sure hope my backpack turns up in the lost and found. The only shirt I have otherwise is this black Dick Tracy tee shirt given to me by Kim. By the way, when she learned my email address (, Kim thought the shirt was especially appropriate. But if she only knew how appropriate...


he night quickly became windy and cool, too cool for sleeping outside in a teeshirt with no blanket. So I went for a little walk around the fraternity looking for something with which to cover myself. That's when I noticed the open door.

I crept cautiously in and discovered I had access to the entire basement of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. I could have made myself dinner in fact; the industrial-quality kitchen was all ready to go. But all I did was walk back to a dimly-lit meeting room (it looked like the place where a secret society might hold its creepy homoerotic rituals), find a couch, and go to sleep. I slept well.

See a couple pictures of Kim taken today.

one year ago

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