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:
   pathetic breakfast scenes
Friday, January 1 1999
Ah, the Monday of the year, the 11:55 PM of the millenium. The hangover was crushing, the kind that involves intestinal upset, but that's why God put marijuana in the Garden of Eden.
All the news channels were doing features on Y2K, the Millenium bug. With exactly a year of it left, the end of the Millenium had suddenly become a major news event. I found myself getting into the excitement, even if this "news" was clearly being arbitrarily manufactured.
Kim and I walked north up to Voltaire Street, past a huge institution called the Dog Beach Dogwash. Even on this New Year's Day the place was open and plenty of uncomfortable-looking pooches were in the various stalls getting sudsy rub downs.
The Zen Bakery, a cute little hippie bakery identical in many respects to the old Rising Sun Bakery in Charlottesville, was open, so we went in and ordered up some bagels and coffee. Then we sat out on the plastic chairs in front basking in the bright morning sun, reading yesterday's newspaper. The air was the absolutely perfect temperature, as one can usually expect in this town, even in early January. I looked over to see the Sunday Newspaper with the headline "Milleniamania!" and it sunk in that the year was now 1999. Wow, that sounded like the future to me, but the streets, people and other things all looked pretty much the same as they had yesterday. Where were the air cars, the space suits guarding against pollution, the ray guns?
I happened to notice that the little black birds with bright yellow eyes who were gathered at my feet begging for crumbs were all missing toes. Suddenly their plight struck me as profoundly tragic. These handsome, dignified birds had been reduced to beggars because of crippling injuries, and no one really gave a fuck except me, and even I had plans to forget about it.
Then along came a middle aged couple with an old shaggy sheepdog. When we commented how cute the dog was, the owners launched into a very very sad tale. The dog had attempted to defend their house against a burglary and had been beaten severely about the head and back with a two-by-four by a honourless thief. Now the poor dog has kidney and brain damage. When he stands in one place, he tends to circle to the right, causing his leash to twist around his leg in a series of tight knots that have to be undone every so often.
I had a sad premonition from these things that 1999 wasn't going to be a happy year for the animal world.
In yesterday's newspaper, Linda Tripp's caricature was a sheep dog with a long nose leading Ken Starr to a trashcan in which Bill Clinton and a beret-wearing Monica Lewinski were doing their thing, whatever that might have been. I laughed and laughed far more than was justified. Linda Tripp was such a perfect dog. I wouldn't be surprised if she sniffed my ass as a friendly greeting.
The Brazilian girls orchestrated a hangover party down on the beachside park adjacent to Giacomo's apartment. We sat at a seagull-guano-covered concrete picnic table drinking coffee and eating doughnuts and bagels. I made the mistake of tossing a scrap to a seagull, and for awhile we were surrounded by hungry birds. Several hundred feet away, a group of bums sat at another picnic table discretely drinking something from red plastic cups. I wondered if they'd scored a keg last night and felt happy for them if they did. Morgan Anarchy had many tales of that sort of thing.
For the rest of the day, Kim and I hung out at Brazil Central, the apartment of the three Brazilian girls, smoking pot and watching movies on the VCR. I finally got to see all of the Doors and enjoyed it enormously. A lot of Jim Morrison's antics on and off stage reminded me of Kurt Cobain. I wondered for a moment whether or not the depiction of Morrison was based in any way on Cobain, and then I realized that the movie had been made in 1991-92, before Cobain had become famous. Then it hit me: perhaps this movie contributed substantially to the grunge revolution. Back when it came out, the movie left its audience searching for a new decadent tortured-child shaman-rockstar: a perfect description of Cobain. Beyond that, I found myself wanting to change the way I approach creativity after seeing this movie, so it's fair to say it had a strong impact on me. But, by way of qualification, I was extremely stoned at the time.
Next we saw Pulp Fiction, which I'd seen before but hadn't especially liked for some strange reason. This time, however, I enjoyed it enormously. It's value to culture was all in the clever dialogue. Remember the discussion of allowing other guys to massage your girlfriend's feet? It was hysterical. The thing that really sets this movie apart from most Hollywood movies is its unhesitating exploration of the dark side of human nature without the unnecessary patronizing that comes with moralizing. (By the way, That 70s Show, in its own limited way, is also somewhat revolutionary in this same respect). I also wondered if Pulp Fiction contributed in any way to the heroin epidemic that began in the early to mid 90s. Given the fact that movies dramatize our hopes, dreams and nightmares, I wonder which has more effect on the other: non-movie culture or movies themselves, especially in the VCR age.
Ludmilla, Andrea, Kim and I ate a communal candlelight dinner of Chinese take-away. Meanwhile Juliana, the third Brazilian girl, was off at work as a cashier at the Ocean Beach 99 cent store.

Kim and I were hanging out on the couch in the evening, not doing anything in particular except watching teevee, when there came a ringing at the door. It was our friend Scott from down the street. He wanted to come in and bum a beer from us. But since we didn't have any beer, he had to go next door and bum one off of our next door neighbor Joe instead. At the time Joe was busy entertaining his other next door neighbor, a young blond German girl who just moved into our complex. They all ended up hanging out in our living room. The German girl spoke good English, but I knew she was naïve when she she felt the need to ask us what we were smoking.
Scott pretty much dominated the conversation. He was full of interesting tales from his checkered adolescence and on into his present day employment. He's a materials specialist, having worked in the space industry minimizing weight. Now he designs speaker cabinets professionally. From the sound of things, he gets paid well for what he does.
Somehow the topic of Nazis came up, and Scott had a disturbingly fascinating story to tell about the Holocaust as well. It seems that back in the forties his great grandfather was a forger who made fake papers to help people escape the Third Reich. When he was discovered by the Nazis, he was, of course, tortured and killed. According to Scott, six inch long nails were driven down the length of each finger and the poor man bled to death. Unfortunately, the German girl's reaction to this story was entirely inappropriate and unnecessary; she became terse and defensive and felt the need to point out that she was born long after all that bad stuff happened, as though we might be thinking she had somehow played a personal role in the horror.
As interesting as Scott might have been, his tendency to completely monopolize the conversation, never giving anyone the opportunity to tell their own stories, reflected a rather serious social flaw. He wasn't as bad as, say, Frank, and he had plenty of charisma, almost a political kind. But I could see myself getting very sick of his brand of socializing if he were to come over often.

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