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:
   boys off the leash
Friday, February 5 1999
I climbed on my bike this morning and started riding to work and then, damn it all, I realized my back tire was flat. Good thing I had a backup bike, Kim's tiny red Trek mountain bike. Unfortunately, it was much harder to ride than my much cheaper Huffy 12 speed. Riding it brought home a basic fact about our consumer culture: the importance of "fad professionalism" in marketing. This bike had huge full knobby tires, the kind one uses for only the most challenging of off-road mountain terrain. But riding it on conventional streets was like pedalling a pickup truck. It took a great deal of energy just to maintain a cruising speed. Suddenly it was clear to me that the mountain bike craze of the late 80s-early 90s had been propelled to a great extent by Yuppies who had no intention of actually riding the bikes they were purchasing. They wanted the bikes as status symbols, with all the necessary gear for extreme sports. They didn't want to show off to their friends a bike with pansy-ass street tires. Consequently, it's difficult in this country to obtain bikes with anything but equipment specialized for extreme conditions. You can get it, but you have to be sure to ask for it. Knowing as little as she does about bikes, Kim had little choice when she bought hers. And now here I was, suffering. To make matters worse, a light rain was falling. And then one of the pedals fell off.
I snuck out of work before the weekly ritual of "energy" because I thought maybe Kim would need my help tonight. We're moving to the bigger two bedroom apartment directly next door to the south and I thought we'd get started tonight. But no, I was wrong. So Kim and I had sex instead. She'd been complaining about the recent drought of nookie. I didn't have much energy, but as long as I didn't have to stand up I was okay.
As we were getting our clothes back on, suddenly we were descended upon by our neighbor Joe and that guy Scott from down the street, the one with a wife and two kids who is forever telling stories, never giving anyone a chance to get a word in edgewise. They wanted us to join them on a walk down to Newport to hit the bars.
While we were smoking the pot (or "boasting" as it's called in Northern California, a term Joe found very entertaining), we were joined by Jenna the blond German Girl who lives in the apartment on the other side of Joe. Kim and I find Jenna continually entertaining because of her incredible naïvité and extremely low threshold of shockability. When she came into our apartment and smelled the pot, she started waving her hand in an ineffectual effort to purify the air. But despite what she might have been thinking, she stuck with us. I think she sees us as incredibly exciting and dangerous. Of course she has no idea what truly exciting and dangerous people are like.
Down on Newport, we all went into the blacklit retro-sophistication of Pacific Shores and, after a time, took possession of a much-coveted booth. Al from work had called, and I told him to meet us there, which he did. Kevin the DBA showed up a little while later. We were there for awhile, mostly drinking vodka drinks and engaging in small talk. The grass is always greener elsewhere when the girls won't talk to you, so we reached a gradual consensus to head over to Tony's, another bar on Newport.
While we were milling around in front of Pacific Shores, I found a Tums in my pocket, an artifact of that night of stomach trouble in San Francisco. It occurred to me that a Tums is not really very different from a piece of chalk, so I started using the tablet to draw the outline of a supposed murdered baby on the sidewalk. There wasn't much media to work with, so I had to work small. The others were excited by the possibilities and also wanted to draw things on the sidewalk. The Tums ran out long before our artistic pretensions did.
Scott got to talking with one of the intellectual bums near the Bank of America. The bum had a graph paper notebook full of word squares he'd made using various algorithms and pseudoscience. He said that his word squares were designed to tease additional meaning out of names and words, and he offered to do our names for various amounts of money depending on how many letters were involved. So Scott had the bum do a word square for the word "FELCH," a term that means to fuck someone up the ass, ejaculate, and then lick the semen out of the asshole. While this was going on, someone randomly walked up to Kim, Jenna the German Girl and Joe and casually asked them if they wanted to buy some pot. Jenna was scandalized and a little excited. "That's like something from out of a movie!" she exclaimed. Another amusing thing she said came during a discussion of tongue piercings. With a very serious tone she said, "I hate to be a party pooper, but the metal comes off those rings and gets on the teeth and encourages tooth decay!"
Kevin and Al headed off to a party in Pacific Beach after first giving us directions on how to get there. There was considerable excitement for matchmaker Kim when Jenna announced that she'd found Kevin attractive. Jenna said she thought he looked like Robert Downey Jr.
The bar known as Tony's has greater pretensions of being a classy joint than Pacific Shores, which is to say that Pacific Shores actually is a classy joint and Tony's is a sleazy hangout that wishes it had some class. One way it expresses this wish is by asking gentlemen with gangsta headgear to remove it before entering. Thus Scott was forced to remove his watchcap.
There was no place to sit in Tony's, so Kim befriended a couple of jockish Schteves1 and sat down with them. Eventually Scott and Jenna joined them. One of the guys told Kim she was "hot" so Scott turned around and called me over, introducing me as Kim's fiancé. Scott then asked the Schteve if he thought Jenna was hot, and the Schteve paused and didn't say anything for 5 or 10 awkward seconds. At this point Scott launched into a long series of tales designed both to shock and amuse. He told of a Valentines Day slumber party he had back when he was in third grade. He and a male friend invited over a bunch of little girls to sleep over at his house. They had a cake which they decorated with Valentines hearts, but their secret was that they sucked on each heart and covered it with slobber before affixing it to the cake, hoping with childish faith to cast an irresistable kissing desire into each piece of candy. Evidently the trick worked; the party ended up being his earliest big makeout session.
Back at our apartment, we prepared to head out to the party in Pacific Beach. It was one of those trendy parties thrown by Theo, one of the more wild and crazy of my co-workers. For a brief time we were all in Joe's apartment smoking pot with his old girlfriend Jeannette and the phone rang. Said Jenna the naïve German girl, "What, a call at this hour?" It was about 11:30 PM PST.
Six of us headed to the party in Pacific Beach: Scott, Kim, Jenna, Joe, Jeannette and myself. It was a typical Theo party: sharply-dressed white 20 somethings mingling around with stiff drinks, mostly hoping to get laid. Theo was playing master of ceremonies for several games of Twister, and whenever the gender balance was skewed towards male, a chant would go up with the number of girls needed, something like "Two more chicks! Two more chicks!"
Scott was very drunk by this point, and seeming to make the most of the fact that he was out on the town without his wife, whom he dearly loves. Scott said she had to stay home with a sick child tonight. By "seeming to make the most," I mean that Scott was being overly friendly with Jenna the naïve German girl. She was rather liquoured up by this point, and getting more so, swigging directly from a classy rectangular bottle of almond liqueur. She was showing the classic signs of drunkenness, staggering as she walked and slurring her speach. Perhaps Scott saw her as an easy score. Kim and Joe overheard him telling her, "If I wasn't married I'd fuck your brains out." Oh, the scandal! For her part, Jenna was both titillated and infuriated by the attention. She led Scott along for a time and then berrated him for being unfaithful to his wife and kids.
I was minding my own business mostly, but when I was briefly separated from Kim, a different attractive girl engaged me in conversation. It began with her making a comment about a mint upon which she was sucking. So I decided to be weird and tell her about the outlines of dead babies I'd been drawing on the Newport Street sidewalk with a tablet of Tums. For many girls, this sort of conversation would be disturbing enough to send them fleeing, but unexpectedly this girl was intrigued. She lingered to discuss the matter further. It was one of those wonderful flirtateous moments that parties are made for, though I wasn't really flirting. I was in friend-making mode. As I examined this girl's face, I realized she either had been the victim of a terrible accident or else had some kind of birth defect. She had a wide scar leading from the right corner of her mouth across her cheek and disappearing beneath her hair around back. The scar had been cleverly disguised with flesh-coloured makeup, but it was still apparent to any but the most casual examination. I felt sorry for the girl, and I wanted to make her feel more attractive. There was no doubt in my mind that this sort of scar would lead to self-image problems.

1Schteve - a guy who lacks style and tact, a loser. For a girl to say a guy is a Schteve is for her to say she wouldn't consider sleeping with him. This term was coined by one of Kim's friends after experiences with an actual guy named Steve.

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