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:
   torn by demands
Saturday, March 6 1999
As I lay in bed staring at the ceiling and out the window at the doves perched upon the wire, framed against the grey San Diego morning sky, it occurred to me how very much work I need to do. There's the work at work itself, which is never done and never will be. I've come to expect that sort of work to accumulate relentlessly, and its doing so no longer causes stress the way it used to. I was thinking instead about all the work and demands that have accumulated outside the workplace: a languishing commission painting here, a couple websites there (one being a familial obligation, the other an obligation to my girlfriend's boss). Then there's the obligation to Kim herself. She considers the weekends "our time," and as such, they're not really "my time." I can't, as I was able as a single man to do, simply use the weekends to finish my work backlog. Instead, I'm expected to go with Kim on various social, store, museum and movie excursions. It's rare that I have much input on the nature of these excursions, and often I have little desire to go (despite how much I might actually end up enjoying myself).
So this morning, as I lay there beside Kim staring blankly into space, I knew she would eventually ask me what I was thinking. I looked forward to this with absolute dread; it seemed to symbolize everything that was going wrong with my life. At the minimum, I felt, I should have the privacy of my thoughts. Whenever I sensed she was about to roll over and look at me, I'd close my eyes. She never asks me what I'm thinking unless my eyes are open.
Inevitably though, it happened. Kim asked me what I was thinking. I came back with some sort of unsatisfactory response, which led to a defense of my privacy, and tension escalated from there. I was trapped. If I wanted time to work on my accumulated workload, I had to assert myself. But if I asserted myself, we'd have a fight, and, as inextricable as our fights always are, it would devour as much time as I was saving by not fulfilling her original plans for me.
It did little good to point out all the various things I had on my personal agenda. She wanted to know why I couldn't devote "just a few hours" to whatever it was she wanted from me: a little warmth and romance followed by breakfast. I said that I couldn't really enjoy my weekends at all any more until my demands are met.
Our fight followed its usual course and eventually Kim agreed to my need for time and she went off to hang out with friends. I turned my attention to my workload and successfully finished one of my several projects.
But our morning fight experienced a renaissance at 3pm when Kim demanded an hour of my time before she set off for work. It was depressing; I knew I had no choice. Either I'd give her that time or I'd have to deal with her repeatedly coming into my study area to pout and complain. Her demands for affection and attention are much greater than my own.
If it wasn't so painful to experience, this aspect of our relationship would be extremely interesting to me. One of the fascinating effects of our affection-requirement-disparity is her belief that I am "controlling her" with "psychological abuse." She sees my inattention to her need for affection as a means by which I gain the upper hand. It makes her crave my attention even more than she otherwise would and perhaps even convinces her that she loves me even more than she actually does.
Another issue that was injecting considerable tension into my day was a last-minute calling of an "Engineering Meeting" to take place at work today, a Saturday. Yessir, it was something right out of Office Space. And like the hero of that movie, I chose not to go. But, unlike the protagonist of Office Space, it was a painful decision for me. I didn't like the feeling that I was injecting tension into my professional relationship with my colleagues.
The mere fact that I'd been asked to go to work on a Saturday was so embarrassing that I never even told Kim; she had no idea that this was weighing on mind along with everything else. I just didn't want to have to deal with her telling me I should ask for a raise again or her thinking (as she did during "crunch time" back in late January) that I was off pursuing some sort of office romance.
I found myself rehearsing excuses all day long and even wondering if I maybe should go to work after all. But you know, when I start caving in and going to work on Saturdays, it soon becomes less of a show of industry and more of a minimum expectation for those keeping track of such things.

In the end, I didn't want to deal with people at all. There were many advantages to being single and working the night shift at an ISP, even back when I only made $6/hr.

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