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:
   a bum selling papers
Sunday, November 21 1999
While Kim was in People's getting Sunday morning food, I was waiting outside on a bench with Sophie. A leather-faced red-haired bum was there selling thin little newspapers to people coming and going from the store. Somehow he struck up a conversation with me, beginning with a question about "the game" which I was naturally unprepared to answer. The newspaper selling was, the bum told me, an alternative to panhandling. I asked him how well he did and he said that in a single hour he once sold 53, but he's also had some days where he only made $3. I asked him where was his prime location for selling papers and he said that it was right here in front of People's Food Co-op. An youngish, evidently socially-conscious man bought a paper while I was standing there; he said he likes alternative newspapers and this was for a good cause.
It's not much of a job, but selling shitty little newspapers is definitely a job, comparable (perhaps) to being an "associate" at Taco Bell or any one of the other million jobs that people take when they have no skills. This got me to thinking about how people get the skills they carry into adulthood. It's really all about choices made in early childhood. When I was four years old I was building "robots" out of Legos™ and "space ships" out of cardboard boxes. The childish fantasies that motivated me then carried on into adolescence, when I finally developed my skills far enough to be able to actually make some of those special effects happen. From there it's been one skill stacked on top of another, putting me in great demand here in that future that I must have sensed was coming. The fact is, I don't even really have to be all that good at what I do; the demand for my skill set is so high that I can get by just on what I can fake.
While I was spending my childhood discovering how to make science fiction into technologic reality, intelligent folks like EJ (of Steph & EJ fame) were off developing their skateboarding skills. And while EJ might well be in the top one percentile of skaters nationwide, since he's not among the top ten skaters, he's forced to work as a bike cabbie or smoke shop cashier for peanuts. He doesn't work in jobs where he can learn his way to a new level so he's pretty much stuck where he is. It's my opinion that the tendency towards career entrenchment is one of the biggest professional pitfalls for both the poor and the poorly educated.

Yesterday and today I've been watching the movie Short Cuts. It's a rather disorganized movie consisting of a bundle of mostly unrelated threads. But the content of those threads was unusually well done, like Randomly Ever After would be if only my life was more interesting and less fortunate. The threads were comprised mostly of the experiences of regular middle class people, with all their insecurities and pretenses, coping with endless bad luck and matter-of-factly-presented creepy circumstances, the sorts of things familiar from David Lynch movies. In the end it all added up to nothing, but it was a long, enjoyable ride.

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