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:
   Ten Crows
Wednesday, November 24 1999
I didn't think I'd make it home at reasonable time tonight but suddenly, like happening upon the "key snarl" of a hopelessly tangled kite string, all my work was finished. Not only that, but one of the DBAs told me that one of my complex database designs was "very good." Suddenly my stress headache evaporated and I was euphoric. So I uncanceled a dinner date with Kim and we headed up the coast to do happy hour at Galoka, the new vegetarian Indian restaurant in Bird Rock (southern La Jolla).
We didn't end up dining; we hung out at the bar as the only customers in the room. At first things were kind of lame in an elegant sort of way. We were nibbling on nuts as our faces were illuminated by the flickering light of a three-wick lavender calendar. But somehow we got to talking with the bartender. He looked and sounded like a New York Italian, though he said he was actually a Cherokee Indian by the name of Ten Crows, born on a reservation in North Carolina. Upon reaching adulthood he'd moved to New York City to take over his Dad's business, being a body guard for "the Italians." Now here was a guy with some stories to tell!
Ten Crows didn't go to a lot detail, just that he'd seen it all. He'd been shot, stabbed, ice-picked, the works. The the living had been good: $70,000/year just for standing around waiting for things to happen.
After 24 years on the stressful but elegant edge, he'd finally decided to retire, moving to Los Angeles were he spent some time "fixing" problems for people. One of these involved a restaurant plagues with some serious money leaks. He came in and was placed in the role as acting dictator of the restaurant, calling all the shots and keeping careful track of the money. At a party one night he found himself telling none other than Molly Ringwald to take a hike.
Ten Crows was full of helpful advice and illustrative anecdotes. Most of these were about coming out on top in confrontations with irrational people, be they muggers or drunken bar patrons. "Never tell them what to do or insult them; always give them a choice," he advised. Examples of his advise include "You go away peacefully or I tear you a new asshole" (said to a mugger in Palm Beach) and "1. You go home for the evening. 2. You go back in and apologize. or 3. I throw you out of here" (said to a drunk patron at this same bar under the previous management).
You could tell just by talking to Ten Crows why he did well among the Italians. He liked to drink, carouse and consort with the ladies, but always in a elegant, chivalrous manner. His idea of a fun date was to meet a random woman and invite her to accompany him to a movie. Nothing more was necessary, but if more happened, it was icing on the cake. Whenever Ten Crows found himself putting a rowdy bar patron in his place, he was sure to conclude the interaction by buying the guy a drink.
When Ten Crows found out I was an artist, he told m, next time I painted a picture, to paint him, but not his portrait, but "think of me and paint colours." I think it was the Native American in him coming out.
The staff of Galoka are always super friendly and generous every time we come by. Today they gave us something complimentary & delicious, as they had the time time before. This evening the restaurant was being run by the two owners, a brother-sister young-adult duo who look to be of genuinely subcontinental Indian descent. This month the sister's art is hanging on the walls, and she told us the stories behind a few of her works. They were mostly charcoal drawings, but considerably better than the sort one sees being hauled around by introductory art students. Indeed, the sister has actually done work as an art instructor. Kim naturally brought up the subject of my art, which got me a tentative show for the month in February.
I said to Kim as we were leaving that now is a good time to befriend this restaurant. It's obviously a great place with great atmosphere, but it's still pretty much undiscovered. If, at this stage, we demonstrate that we're dedicated customers, they'll always remember us, no matter how popular the place becomes. This logic may not be applicable to the high school social scene, but it is out to the real world.
As we were leaving, Ten Crows only wanted $20 with no tip, though we'd drunk a total of seven dark beers. So I discretely left a $5 bill under the peanut tray.
On the drive home, Kim and I were having another of our typical little spats (I think I was complaining about her following too closely) when she pulled over suddenly and ordered me out of the car. "At last!" I thought, "I get to go do something on my own!" But she was only fooling. We were in front of a mediocre Mission Beach burrito shop and, since we hadn't actually had any dinner, Kim wanted food. My ordering two chicken burritos wasn't enough for Kim, and for a time she harped at me from the car to change the order, something I refused to do. So she finally got up and went into the mediocre burrito shop and changed the order herself.
We'd picked up a copy of Austin Powers: the Spy Who Shagged Me at the Pacific Beach Blockbuster, but we weren't really on the right drugs to watch it, so we fell asleep an hour or so into it.

For linking purposes this article's URL is:

previous | next