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:
   Meanwhile Kevin
Saturday, December 26 1998
This morning Kim's mother called and I could hear Kim telling her all the presents my folks had sent for Christmas. It was a sickening joke, an imperative born of the vast gulf of difference between the world views of our respective parents. Of course my parents had sent neither Kim nor me any presents whatsoever. Though this has been my first-ever Christmas spent away from home, the idea of my parents actually mailing me presents is laughable at my age. But Kim felt the need to insulate her mother from this barbaric truth with a series of white lies. Had Kim told her mother the truth, of course, her reaction would have been one of [insert materialists' equivalent for the concept of existential] shock: "I can't believe you've taken up with someone whose family is so ghastly and rude!" Kim's mother had sent me a chessboard, and I'd been made to ooh and ahh into the telephone all yesterday morning.
As usual for a Saturday morning, Kim and I had another in our ongoing series of fights: me wanting time to retreat from the world to work on my stuff, Kim wanting me to do something with her or else help her work around the infuriating fact that it's impossible to paste raw text into a Claris Works document. She called me "Mr. Selfish," and I called her "Miss Helpless."
After the fight, though, we actually made some real headway in discussing why we approach the world so differently. I explained how I had to save money for everything I ever had as a kid. When a toy was broken, it was gone. Creativity was the only human asset my parents ever placed any value upon. They sneered at materialists (such as Kim's mother), not from jealousy (the usual root of criticism), but from deep-seated concern about the toll obnoxious materialism takes upon the planet. I said that I always have a sense of the limited nature of money and that I obsessively weigh the joy I'll get out of money expenditures against the cost. Kim likes to travel and she's always got an idea to fly off to some other big city and throw down on a costly exotic adventure. But I get all the vacation I need from being alone inside my head, on the cheap. And when I actually do travel, it's in a gloriously adventuresome but thoroughly unbecoming way that Kim would never tolerate. I figure we're too new in San Diego and our savings are too small to justify living like high-society bicoastals. Kim agrees that she needs to learn more about managing her money, but..., but...
And she adds that though I might think I'm justifying my existence in the world with my writing, it's not so simple as that. She points out how hurtful it is to a lot of people, including herself. But it's what I do and it's creative; I see no reason to justify it one way or the other.

circa 12:30pm PST

Of course, now we're fighting again because she looked over my shoulder and saw something she wanted me to explain to her immediately. That's way beyond the pale. I'd sooner live with a family of rats in a sewer pipe than deal with that kind of creative obstacle. You know, I've never really lived alone. I wonder how good that would be for me? No dogs to walk, no meals to plan, no emotions to feed, no adventures except those I picked for myself without argument, debate or justification, taken with all the flexibility of a Huck Finn or the crew of the Enterprise (not that I watch(ed) Star Trek tee-hee!).

much later

In the evening, Kim was off at work (she'd had to get a ride from Joe the sweet neighbor boy) and Kevin the DBA called me up to ask what I was doing tonight. "Nothing," is what I said, of course, so, almost as an obligation, I stitched together a plan for tonight. I suggested we go out to Pacific Shores down on Newport at around 10pm, and he was agreeable, adding that I should call up Al and invite him as well.
I got some good work done on a much-overdue pre-paid commissioned painting, which is supposed to be inspired by my experience in Ann Arbor. I was upset about what I was doing to the image as I was actually working on it, but some time after I was done for the night, I looked at it from afar and was pleasantly surprised. That's how painting is for me. The process is difficult and often discouraging, but no matter what, the results justify the pain.
Al came over shortly after I invited him. We sat around drinking the Rolling Rocks left over from Christmas Eve and he played my red and white electric guitar. I'm embarrassed by how much better practiced he is than me.
After Kevin arrived, after we all reached the proper level of intoxication, we three walked down to Pacific Shores (or "Pac Shores," as it's known) and entered its glowing submarine ambiance. The scene at the bar was to my liking, as I expected it to be, but then it slowly sank in that my friends would never be comfortable in this place. Pacific Shores is, you see, pervaded with a sense of weirdo intellectualism. This manifests in the unabashedly retro hits on the jukebox and the leather jackets, piercings and dyed hair of the customers and staff. Meanwhile Kevin was dressed in a smart blazer and white turtleneck fluorescing like a grow lamp in the black light. As he glanced about the room looking for the conventially attractive, revealingly-attired women who couldn't possibly be there, I came to the realization that he'd be far more comfortable in a sports bar. Al, being the writer type, fit in somewhat better, but I wouldn't say Pacific Shores was exactly his scene either. We drank a beer each, Kevin complained about the lack of women, and then we moved on to another, somewhat more conventional bar closer to the ocean on Newport. But the women still weren't biting. In San Diego, single women are a relatively scarce commodity and they're wary of sharks.
We ended up at the G-Lounge on Voltaire. I didn't know where we were going until we finally got inside and I realized I'd been there once before, on an off night when the dance floor was taken over by a swing dancing class. It wasn't that way tonight. The D.J. was pumping the Reggæesque rap, and the dance floor, though sparsely populated, had real potential. A couple of young fat black guys were out there trying to impress some hot chicks as the wallflower density approached critical. I was rather drunk by this point, so I didn't care, and I danced by myself amongst them. Shortly thereafter the floor experienced a massive invasion of Polynesian girls. I saw Al macking on one after another. Meanwhile Kevin stood by himself looking uncomfortably conservative and bored. When I found myself becoming bored, I snuck out and walked home alone.
I came back to my place to find Kim entertaining two new friends she'd met tonight at Pacific Shores. I'd told her I'd be going there, and she'd gone by herself after she got off work, but I'd been long gone by the time she arrived. She'd never found the note on the coffee table which said I'd be going to the G. Lounge.
Kim's new friends were Giacomo, an extroverted blond guy orginally from Rome, Italy, and Milla, an attractive, stylish girl from Rio de Janero, Brazil. Kim, being attractive and extroverted, hadn't been lonely at the bar for long.
Milla couldn't speak much English, though she reminded me of the old Brazilian Girls in lots of ways, from mannerisms and body language to the details of her accent. She said she'd come to the United States just to learn English. From this and her nice clothes, I got the sense that she came from a wealthy Brazilian family. She complained that she has had great deal of difficulty forming friendships with other women in this country. Naively, she wondered aloud why the only people who want to be her friends are men. We all chuckled when she said that.
About this time, Kevin and Al showed up. When Al learned that Milla didn't have a boyfriend, he lit up immediately, to an almost embarrassing degree. He and Milla were in the kitchen for an extended period after that, her gleaning what English language experience she could, he macking up a storm. The sexual frustration Kevin and Al had been exuding all night struck me as comic at first, but by the time we'd made it to the G-Lounge, I'd grown weary of it. But now, the possibility that Al might actually be making some progress on the girl front - especially in my house - gave me some satisfaction.
Meanwhile, Kevin had given up on all his sexual desires and moved on to considering other biological demands. He wondered if there were any pizza places open at 3:00am. I couldn't think of any, and neither could anyone else. But that's when Kim, always making an impressive show as hostess and mistress of ceremonies, cooked up a plate of nachos.
Giacomo was a cool enough guy, but I noticed a few disturbing traits about him. There was an aggressiveness to his rhetoric which indicated a history of getting what he wants in life. He was also an unabashed name-dropper, having known the members of Sublime and hung out with all the cool kids of Los Angeles. He busted not-so-subtly and completely unnecessarily upon Kevin for his readily-apparent lack of a much-sought Saturday night lover.
Being too drunk to drive, Kevin crashed out on our couch.
Unlike all the others, I got lucky tonight. But I was riding on a wave of old luck, and I had no reason to be proud.

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