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:
   between her and the Holocaust
Sunday, March 28 1999
Ah, Jenna the German girl. I forgot to mention in yesterday's entry that I'd had to put out a little bit of a brush fire last night. You see, she randomly asked me about my website and the fact that I "wrote about" her "on the internet." Yes, Kim did a little more than just pull up randomly ever after on Kevin's computer; she'd also been talking to Jenna about it behind the scenes. Now Jenna isn't one of the more computer savvy people I know, and for the most part I can rely on her remaining a mere character in the drama of this journal. But I also know that she's vain enough to make Herculean efforts to find herself if she suspects I've written much about her. So my strategy has been twofold: firstly, to get Kim to quit blabbing about this journal, and secondly, to come off as a mere internet dabbler (a little AOL chat room action here, a little porno download there, nothing more).
Evidently Kim also told of her own personal ill treatment on my web pages. Jenna's reaction was supportive in a typical Jenna way. She said that when she first met me she'd thought I was gay (a "gay dork" was how she put it) and that she wasn't the only one who thought so; indeed, there'd been conversations around the neighborhood about our relationship and whether or not it was a sham, a fiction, a parental deception, or worse. Jenna's concrete evidence of my gayness amounts to the rings I wear on the fingers of my right hand. As Kim quickly recognized, Jenna is so sheltered in Schteve culture that she easily mistakes trappings of the underground (no matter how vague) for indications of homosexuality.
This morning Jenna called Kim with her own personal horror story from last evening. She'd been out with Kevin on Sunset Cliffs, kissing him and running her fingers through his hair when she felt a strange unexpected seam on the back of his scalp. No doubt she reacted without a trace subtlety to this discovery. The date disintegrated immediately and Kevin, embarrassed by her reaction, called later and canceled a date planned for today. What was this mysterious seam in Kevin's scalp? Jenna didn't know, but the worst possible thing could imagine it being, she said, was a hair transplant. But, as Kim quickly pointed out, it could also be a metal plate or some other noble badge of courage. His reaction to its discovery, however, doesn't support this conclusion. What Jenna felt was probably the seam of a "Hair Club for Men"-type wig, which (it's my understanding) is sewn along its edges to corn-row-like braids made in existing hair. Kevin, not being the Matt Rogers type, would be the sort of person vain enough to get such a device.
After Kim got off the phone, we discussed this hilariously troubling issue in hushed, concerned tones, occasionally bursting into laughter or expressing sincere sympathy for poor Kevin. In the end we were forced to conclude that, between Jenna and the Holocaust, Germany had no remaining reputation to defend.
Somehow Kim and I got involved with another of our neighbors today, this one named Lisa. She's blond, and has a boyfriend in the navy. When I first saw him I thought he might be sort of punk rock or perhaps a skinhead; he has a shaved head and the expression of someone who's been picked on throughout high school. But no, he's a military guy and both he and Lisa are rather square, to use the archaic term. An indication of this squareness is the fact that Lisa gets along well with Jenna the German girl. Indeed, Lisa has been trying to fix Jenna up with her various unattached male friends, though she has had no better luck than Kim and I have been having.
Lisa works as a nanny for a precocious though emotionally-stunted four year old boy named Steve. Today Kim and I decided to join Lisa, Steve, and Lisa's Philippino girlfriend, Stephanie, on a walk out on the Ocean Beach pier. Kim and I noted that, while Lisa has a great deal of respect for her little charge, she treats him more like an object than a child. She frequently talks in third person about him right in front of him. While she thinks he's brilliant, she also thinks his aging parents haven't been strict enough with him and have allowed his social graces to lapse.
The waves out on the pier were occasionally stunning, though the air wasn't clear enough to see the Mexican islands to the south. A big brown Pelican sat lazily on the roof of the building at the end of the pier. I told little Steve it was a chicken, and he made loud chicken noises at the prehistoric-looking beast. Brown Pelicans often fly around together in small (4-8 member) groups, resembling Pterodactyls as they soar over the waves. Their flight is so full of grace and effortless timing it seems almost choreographed.
Originally, Kim and I had planned to take some psilocybe mushrooms and hang out on the beach. I haven't had such mushrooms since 1987, and was rather looking forward to the experience, but already the day had grown late, so we canceled our plans. Instead we swung by the ever-welcoming house of Scott and Justine a block down Cape May from our place (relative directions designed to imbue this text with a sense of place while simultaneously discouraging would-be stalkers). As usual, Scott and Justine were entertaining multiple guests and multiple kids. They had a seemingly inexhaustible supply of strawberry daiquiris going, and we joined in with enthusiasm.
One somewhat older though vaguely Jessika-esque middle-class English woman was among the visitors. She had already had four kids (all of them unplanned), and two of these, a set of twins, were constantly underfoot, causing repeated competitive disputes with Scott and Justine's frazzled little daughter. This woman was a professional hair dresser and she had psycho-social hair theories that seemed to almost verge upon philosophy. Looking at me, she could immediately tell that I had cut my own hair and that I did it with a sense of how it should look but no method whatsoever. I later asked her if she thought I should get a surf board and she said I'd look ridiculous on one. "You look like the kind of guy who'd have a guitar," she said.
Giacomo, the Italian guy Kim and I met along with the Brazilian girls, happened randomly by. He was in a bad mood as usual these days, aggravated somewhat by the fresh news that he'd been drafted by his country to serve a NATO ground soldier in Yugoslavia. He's also still heartbroken at his rejection by Juliana the Brazilian girl and he blames the other Brazilians. "If they get a job in this town I'm calling the INS on their ass," he promised.
Hanging out in a front yard having fun leaves one open to exposure in Ocean Beach. At one point a frazzled hippie guy asked Giacomo if he would sell him a joint. Giacomo was scandalized that such a question would be asked in front of small children and told the guy to "take a hike." Later, a bum came buy and asked for a beer, and of course we had to tell him no as well. Giving a bum a beer in Ocean Beach is a little like tossing a scrap at a seagull in Ocean Beach; either action ruins the remainder of your experience in that particular setting.

A movie that Kim and I have now seen twice is John Water's Pecker. It might be one of the tamest of Waters' flicks, but it's a good one, and it definitely improves with each viewing. John Water's narrative style is highly conventional, though it is also highly complex, as Kim points out, like The Brady Bunch, with various interesting threads and subplots interwoven together throughout. Inside of this recognizable structure, though, Waters is anything but normal. There's the grandmother with her transparently fraudulent miracle, the little sister who is anything but adorable (while -he he!- showing all the signs of a congenital propensity for abuse and addiction). The acting style carries a sort of stidently bored quality that I've noticed in other Waters movies, and I still can't tell if this is a good thing or a bad thing. Sometimes it brilliantly understates the urgent sense of, uh, humour, and other times it pushes the plot along too quickly without properly preparing my emotions. Standing further back from the movie, it's clear that this is an autobiography, a tale of art-world discovery and fame, the likes of which Waters himself must have experienced. Then finally there's the strange treatment of Baltimore, as if it's some sort of exotic far-away place where conventional rules don't apply (like the Mortville of Waters' Desperate Living). When, for example, high society New Yorkers are forced to go to Baltimore to see Pecker's photographic exhibit, they're amazed and delighted to see a genuine row house!

Tonight was the debut of Matt Groening's Futurama, a serial animated comic drama set in the year 2999. Like many people who don't understand the humour of The Family Circus, I was excited to see it. But since Kim and I don't have cable, I was forced to improvise. I strung up extension cords attached to wires attached to the antenna input on the teevee. It was enough to get a grainy view of the local Fox channel. But I wasn't especially impressed by this first episode of Futurama; I fell asleep somewhere near the end.

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