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:
   daytime hippie party
Sunday, December 19 1999
Today Kim left by herself for Los Angeles, where she'd be spending the next day and a half chumming around with some friends she'd met at the tantric seminar we'd attended a month ago.
In the tranquility of Kim's absence, I was bumming around the house experiencing mostly frustration trying to get my various gadgets to interface with each other. When I went to take Sophie for a walk the neighbor girl Lisa invited me to go with her to a hippie party on the northeast side of Ocean Beach. It was to feature Psydecar, the reggæ/jazz band I'd seen and been unimpressed by back some months ago. I wasn't too keen on going other than to get out of the house; it's not like anything especially interesting ever happens at these hippie parties. But when I learned my co-worker Al would be coming too, I definitely wanted to go.
What with all our bonus money, everyone in my company is busting out with impulse-purchased gadgets. My digital video camera is just just the latest in a long series of my gadget purchases. Meanwhile Al recently bought himself a little Sony digital camera that can actually capture short MPEG movies. The camera has become Al's constant companion and you can never tell when he's using it to take your picture. The camera is so small and discrete that from a short distance his photography looks like nothing more than someone checking appointments on a PDA. The LCD viewfinder helps a lot; not having to put a camera up to your eye and not having to directly face your subject neatly avoids the primitive instinct-triggering confrontation inherent in conventional photography.
(This is just one of many revolutionary creative novelties resulting from cheap & powerful computational devices. For example, last night Kim had an experience that no one had been able to experience prior to about 1990 (and precious few have experienced yet). I was filming her in real time with my camera and displaying the digital signal in a maximized window on my computer such that it resembled a mirror image. But there was an important difference between this image and a real mirror image; because of the latency of the system (which appeared to be a little over a second), Kim was seeing not her reflection, but instead what her reflection had been a little over a second before. There's absolutely no way to simulate this effect with conventional optics or video equipment (except possibly with a homebrewed multi-head VCR). To delay video in this way requires fast computers, high bandwidth data paths and lots of memory, the sorts of things that can only now be found in readily-obtainable devices. As Kim danced in front of my "delayed mirror" she found it compelling.)

The party was at Big Mike's house. He's the big gentle hippie guy who resembles a tree. The trees in his yard were impressive too, especially a particularly huge cactus-like thing. There were a number of well-behaved hippie kids sitting around as well as a few milling dogs, one of which being a rather co-operative whippet sporting a Christmas ribbon stuck to the top of her head. There was plenty of vegan food as well as two kegs of expensive beer, one going by the name "Arrogant Bastard Ale." A resourceful McGyver-on-the-spot fixed one of the taps by replacing a blown pump seal with a rubber band. After I'd had a few beers and several hits from a particularly gnarly bowl, the irritating reggæ-rock-jazz didn't trouble me any more. I even found myself videotaping Psydecar's performance through a couple of songs. I'm a complete amateur as a cameraman, of course, but still I felt as though I was on top of things creatively, letting the focus of my camera amble back and forth and to and fro among the performers to the sound of that crippled Carribean off-beat and/or those Dave Matthewsesque riffs.
I was brimming over with unusual energy and drunken joy as Al, Lisa and I walked back home down Cable Street. Crossing Voltaire, I saw a freshly-erected billboard reading "Jesus is the Reason for the Season." I broke immediately into song:

Jesus is the reason
The reason for the season
Jesus is the reason
You better be believin'

As I was dancing and singing, I came upon a red metal pole leaning improbably against a wall. The pole had what looked to be the stylized effigy of Satan at its end. "How perfect!" I thought as I grabbed it and continued dancing and singing my way home.

The Satan pole, for Jevon.

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