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:
   I thought it was Thursday
Friday, February 12 1999
There was frost on the grass in Ocean Beach this morning. Since there was also frost in early December, this means that the frosty season in San Diego is at least three months long, at least this year. La Niña, an unusually cool pocket of water in the equatorial Pacific, is certainly to blame.

In the afternoon at work, a bunch of us in the engineering and marketing departments went on an expedition up to the Qualcom office park in the scrubby, office-building-covered hills to the north. Qualcom, one of the largest technology firms in the area, has recently gone on a downsizing spree, laying off hundreds of engineers. My company is eager to scoop up these engineers, as long as they're "true all-star athletes in their fields," as my boss, the Director of Web Development, puts it. My boss, you see, is full of irritating sports metaphors of this sort. All his life he aspired to be an all-star athlete, but now, at 27, he sees his prospects growing dim.
The plan was to put flyers on automobiles, as many as possible. We'd have to be discrete, since this operation fell decidedly in the category of "guerilla marketing." As a long-time guerilla marketer myself, it was refreshingly in keeping with my attitude. I liked the fact that we were being encouraged to do something that wasn't entirely legitimate. That it was serving the interests of the company, perhaps even in a way that was competing with my own personal interests, didn't concern me especially.
Qualcom is a vast establishment, with a campus rambling on in numerous directions, some parts detached from others by over a mile. Its buildings are huge glass monstrosities, looking a bit like 1960's Disneyland's idea of how the future would look. The parking lots were equally vast.
We fanned out and delivered our flyers to the defenseless cars. A few responded with alarms, and a windshield wiper came off in the hands of one of the marketers, but in general the blitz left a decisive impact. The marketing people showed all the signs of being extremely competent in their craft. They swarmed like bees, worked fast, and ignored distraction. They were zealous and driven, like missionaries. One would have thought there was far more to our cult than simply the making of money.
Most of us (such as me) targeted the windshield wipers while the more experienced marketeers used the harder-to-ignore driver's-side-door-crack posting technique.
Before long a rent-a-cop appeared in little patrol vehicle, his piss-yellow light a'flashing. His first target was Dave the developer guy. "You can't do that!" said the rent-a-cop. "What?" Dave said, feining ignorance. "Take those off!" the rent-a-cop demanded. So Dave took two flyers off two of the cars and fled. But as a group, we lingered in the parking lot a rather long time thereafter. The rent-a-cop was an irritant, like a mosquito, but none of us took him very seriously.
The marketing people had to head back to the office prematurely, leaving just us engineers to do the final series of guerilla marketing attacks. In the final parking lot, many acres in size, the Director of Web Development himself was ordered to stop flyering cars.
We were rewarded for our zeal by an all-expense-paid trip to Jamba Juice, the big smoothie franchise.

I had difficulty focusing on the work I've been expected to do and chose instead to work on the projects I prefer, most of these having more of an eye towards the long term instead of the expedient short term (which, sadly, is the clear managerial focus of my company). For example, I've been making my copy-over robot more intelligent in the way it deals with the inevitable occurrence of temporarily-bad production web servers. In the past the robot would skip over these and they'd gradually get out of sync. When next these servers appeared in production, users would see antiquated pages from, say, a week ago. But now the robot keeps a meticulous record of the files that aren't getting copied to specific production servers so that these files can be copied over whenever the servers come back online. I'm trying to make this record-keeping as intelligent as possible, avoiding unnecessary copy-overs and making the synchronization process as transparent as possible.
Another project I've started is the creation of a series of routines designed to do mathematical operations on HTML hexadecimal colour values. My emerging library of routines can do such things as lighten and darken colours, increase the saturation of specific colours, perform colour addition and subtraction, and swap values between the red, green and blue components. I hope to use these functions to dynamically create colour sets for future projects.
After a day of such engrossing work, I asked Sherms the graphics designer dude what day it was and was surprised and even a little alarmed to find out it was already Friday. Where had the week gone? I'd thought it was Thursday for some reason.

In the evening, Kim and I divided up and ate a very small amount of gel-sheet LSD she'd been given by a male friend with an interest in her body. This was only the second time I'd ever taken LSD (the time before had been in March of 1996 at Big Fun). Unfortunately, there was so little LSD that I didn't really notice any effects. But for an instant when I was outside, the sidewalk looked like sandstone wall. And at night as I was falling asleep I could conjure up some weak little swirling decorative patterns. But that was pretty much it.

Kim and I mostly sat around on the couch talking and listening to Wings Greatest Hits (her choice). For me it was a trip down memory lane. You have to realize that every one of those songs was the background wallpaper for some stage of my childhood. Surprisingly, the years have been kind to these songs. They sound so honest, pure, simple, and innocent, like warm summer afternoons, even while some (like "Silly Love Songs") anticipated a whole genre of music (Disco). Each was like a little room in my past, and it was wonderful to go in there and be there again. Furthermore, I was able for the first time to notice Paul McCartney's incredible compositional skills. Though the songs were each built on simple premises, they always branched out of their innate simplicity in some interesting (and what must have once been unexpected) way. Not only did these songs take me back to little rooms in my childhood, but McCartney himself could lead me through several entirely different rooms in each individual song. Suddenly you'd turn the corner in a song like "Band on the Run," and find yourself in an entirely different emotional space. It was like a much more advanced and subtle version of what Led Zeppelin was attempting to do in "Stairway to Heaven." Interestingly, most of the songs on this album sound like they wouldn't have been out of place on the Beatle's Revolver.

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