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I'm an Electrical Engineer
Nathan VanHooser, May 1995, photo by the Gus

Nathan VanHooser-the childhood friend of the Gus, Nathan, a Cancer with Sagittarius rising, is an idealistic electrical engineer who now does social work in Charlottesville. Nathan traveled the world from Alaska to the Gambia in search of greener pastures, though no grass seemed so sweet as that which grows in Charlottesville. Thus he now lives at 708 Monticello Avenue with his girlfriend, Janine (a Scorpio), whom he met during a two year Peace Corps stint in the Gambia.

The Gus likes to give Nathan and Janine software for their computer and he also enjoys crashing in their guest room when Big Fun becomes too emotionally taxing. Periodically, Nathan VanHooser calls Big Fun to talk to the Gus, though he has been known to have long conversations with Jessika and Shira. Shira has even been heard to say, "I love Nathan VanHooser." Sara seems to derive a simple pleasure just from pronouncing Nathan's name, occasionally saying "Nathan VanHOOOOOser." Nathan and Janine can be reached at the E-mail address of vanjakim@mail.comet.net.

Nation of Aquarius, The-at Big Fun, the many Aquarians sometimes swell with pride for their Sun Sign. Morgan Anarchy, of all people, even spoke of "The Nation of Aquarius" one evening. It would be safe to assume that The Nation of Aquarius consists of all of the erratic, insane, detached geniuses in the world who will one day bring about the punk rock utopia to end all utopias.

natural sign-a sign in an astrological chart that overlaps the house it rules in a place occupied by an astrologic entity such as a heavenly body. Such overlap is uncommon (it occurs in only about 20% of all astrological charts), and even when it does occur, usually there is only an occasional fragment of a sign that lies within the house it rules, and these fragments are only rarely occupied by astrological entities.

In order for someone to have a chance of having a natural sign, he must have Aquarius, Pisces, Aries or Taurus rising. The cusp of Aries and Pisces rising will yield the greatest correspondence between houses and their ruling signs, allowing for many natural signs in someones chart.

The Gus, for example, has Taurus rising and this places his late-Aquarian Sun just inside the 11th house which Aquarius rules. Someone who has their Sun in a house ruled by its sign is said to be a "natural" as in "a natural Leo" (Sun in Leo in the 5th house). Natural signs are rare at Big Fun; the Gus is the only one with a natural Sun sign.

Sara Poiron, with Aquarius rising near Pisces, has Pluto in Libra in the 7th house which gives her a natural Pluto sign with considerable influence in her chart in the area of life dealing with personal relationships and intimacy. One interpretation of this circumstance is that her destiny and her capacity to change the world are bound up in romance. She also has Pallas (an asteroid) in Aries in the first house.

Jessika, with Taurus rising, has three astrologic entities in natural parts of her chart: the asteroid Juno in Leo in the 5th house, the Part of Fortune in Virgo in the 6th house, and Lilith in Pisces in the 12th house (this last natural sign gives Jessika an inordinate capacity to tolerate evil, something Isis of the Gathering has warned her about).

Matthew Hart's friend Allie Vining has Pisces rising near Aries and just about everything in her chart is natural.

Needlework-a punk rock band consisting of Morgan Anarchy (vocals), Ray Snabley (drums), and whoever can be found to play guitar and bass, usually Raphæl and sometimes Zachary. Needlework often plays in Big Fun, where they leave their equipment strewn around in the living room in various states of destruction. The only song by Needlework I can think of offhand is "Riot," which is pretty good when done with conviction. Since Big Fun is such a graveyard for musical equipment, Needlework depends on the initiative of Raphæl to constantly repair his PA and amplifiers.

ne'er-do-well-someone who has no money and smells funny.

Nemo Klausmann Wintersberger-the name of the baby boy conceived by Ana and Raphæl, born on June 16th, 1996. The personality of this baby has yet to be revealed through the fog of his infancy, so I will choose instead to give you young Nemo's astrology.

Nemo is the ultimate Gemini. With Aries rising, he has the Sun, Moon, and Venus in Gemini in the 3rd house, Jupiter in Capricorn in the 10th house, Saturn in Aries in the 1st house, Uranus in Aquarius in the 11th house, and Pluto in Sagittarius in the 8th house. Those are all natural signs. In addition, he has Mercury and Mars in Gemini in the 2nd house, Neptune in Capricorn in the 11th house, and Lilith in Cancer in the 5th house. His ruling planet is Mercury.

Astrologically, it seems likely that Nemo will end up being a witty, inquisitive communicator. In the Internet age that is coming, this will prove to be an enormous asset. His very birth was a publicity stunt; by being born on father's day, his birth was celebrated in the June 17th issue of the Daily Progress. Without any crosses in his chart, he won't be plagued by any serious troubles. But without any trines, he won't be endowed with any effortless aptitudes either. The single scariest thing in Nemo's chart is Pluto in Sagittarius in the 8th house. This implies that Nemo's destiny is to travel, but such travels will eventually be the cause of his death.

Neptune-the 8th planet from the sun, Neptune rules Pisces. Governing intuition, spirit and psychic energy, Neptune has been kept relatively constrained in the sign of Capricorn of late. In the world of Big Fun, almost everyone has Neptune in Sagittarius, the supposed best place for it. The Gus and Farrell have Neptune in Scorpio, and this endows them with psychic powers whenever they smoke santa clause.

nic fit-a withdrawal from nicotine that smokers frequently experience when they run out of cigarettes. People suffering from a nic fit are cranky and are not interested in doing anything except obtaining more cigarettes. This is why black market cigarettes in non-smoking prisons can cost as much as $50 each. You see, in smokers, the brain has grown numerous receptors specifically for nicotine. These receptors have to be satisfied for normal brain function to occur. Non-smokers do not have these receptors and can not imagine what a nic fit is like. Nicotine, by the way, has the structure displayed at right.

Night Train-another one of those Mad-Dog type fake vino concoctions; it costs $2.49 for the standard litre and is 18% alcohol. The main reason the Gus likes Night Train (no one else seems to) is that line "Sipping on the Night Train, first gear, smoking on the angel dust, second gear" from that song "Drive by Shooting" by the band The Child Hating Wife Beaters. When funds are low late in the weekend, Night Train is a good form of alcohol to drink. No one wants to help you drink it, and it's a lot of alcohol for the money. Night Train might be nasty, but at least it doesn't taste like perfume as does Wild Irish Rose.

Nineties-the decade that follows the 80s. The 90s has finally provided a forum for the people disgusted with the "don't worry, be happy" attitude of the 80s. But unlike the idealism that characterized the 60s, people in the 90s are jaded and self-centered. Those who rebel usually do so by withdrawing from the world, not by reaching out to it. In such a climate, it is no surprise that the activists left over from the right-wing Eighties have so much power in the 90s in as much as they are the only ones reaching out. When they reach out, the fascist right does so by selling off the last of wild nature; repealing the hard won environmental, safety, and social reform laws of the preceding decades; and by moralizing against artists, musicians, homosexuals, non-Christians, poor women who cannot afford to add another to the redundant multitudes, and the doctors who would assist them in the planning of their maternities.

Many musicians in the 90s consistently rebel against the 80s by abandoning such traditional pop ingredients as synthesizers, danceable beats, hi-fidelity, major and blues scales, large record labels and celebrity status. However, they are as likely to imitate as any musicians of past decades. For example, all 90s guitarists seem to have slid into the rut of playing the familiar guitar rhythm from Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" (doo doo dachicka doo doo) in every song they play.

Despite the presence of and dependence upon amazing computer and video technology, most people in the 90s yearn for simpler, more authentic times, and they express this in their musical interests. This is why much of the music of the 90s so resembles music from the 60s, but with more distortion.

nitrous-a noun which means "nitrous oxide" or laughing gas. Nitrous oxide has the formula N2O (thus a hilariously sardonic tee shirt which reads "JUST SAY N2O" see "Eighties") and is widely used as an anæsthetic by hospitals and dental offices. Since nitrous oxide is stored under great pressure in blue metal tanks, it cannot be kept indoors at hospitals and gas suppliers; normally it is kept outdoors within fenced-in tank yards, often under electronic surveillance. Why the surveillance? Nitrous oxide is, it turns out, a very popular recreational drug. Someone who can manage to steal a tank can make great quantities of cash selling nitrous hits at rock concerts, particularly Phish concerts (see "tour"). Recreational nitrous is distributed in latex balloons, and can be sold for $5/hit in the context of a music venue parking lot.

Nitrous oxide can be stolen from hospitals, car racing enthusiasts, or compressed-gas suppliers. Car racing nitrous oxide is definitely inferiour in as much as a trace of poisonous and malodourous hydrogen sulfide is always added to it. There is an epic saga told by some in the Big Fun scene of a very well-planned cooperative operation to abscond with high-grade medical nitrous from one of Charlottesville's hospitals. Legend has it that this operation was a great success, though the contents of the stolen tanks were probably enjoyed principally by the thieves themselves.

The effects of nitrous oxide include disorientation, auditory and visual hallucinations, as well as feelings of contentment and hilarity.

No Fear-a plastic decal with this slogan, in large hostile letters, is obligatory for the back window of any muscle car driven by a truly bad ass Wahoo. All the Wahoo babes will know that there's not really much under the hood if this decal is absent.

Nomadic Festival Poster

Nomadic Festival-a traveling motley clan of creative young adults who stop now and then in their travels to perform music and puppet shows, sell art, pierce people, or whatever else it takes to raise money to put gas in the tanks and food in the stomachs. They contacted Big Fun and arranged a festival to occur on June 11th, 1996 (a Tuesday). The Gus made a flyer advertising the event that featured Jessika's face, deformed by computer software, with the addition of horns and tattoos.

Despite a lack of electricity and running water, the festival came off well. Everyone was barred from the house, and Raphæl's generator was deployed for lighting and amplification. A keg's arrival was coordinated and paid for by Morgan, and a big sign which read "BIG FUN [nomadic symbol] fest." was placed on route 20. The crowd that turned out was a veritable who's who of Charlottesville hedonism, with only a few glaring absences (such as Farrell, Jamie Dyer, Theresa Venesian and Nada). Sara and Shira even returned from Philadelphia to attend. One girl showed up after seeing one of the flyers during an Interstate pitstop in Charlottesville.

Needlework performed a set to a lackluster audience, and then there were a number of other performances by odd juxtapositions of musicians and talents or absences thereof. A guy named Mutt set up a table and performed a number of piercings, including Shira's tongue and Jessika's septum. The puppet show featured silhouettes of chickens and monsters created that same day. Such expediencies were necessitated by the fact that a school bus full of festival supplies and circus freaks had broken down somewhere in North Carolina.

The crowning glory of the evening was a performance by Coprolingus, a band touring with the nomads. Coprolingus is an instrumental band built around a couple drum kits and a keyboard player. Despite the fact that several of the drummers had been lost prior to the Big Fun show, Coprolingus gave a sterling performance. They are one of the few bands that can showcase a drum kit successfully as a lead instrument. They also do lots of weird stuff like heave small plastic toys from a crate of such things into the flailing audience.

As things wound down, classical music was played loudly through the stereo in the Big Fun living room. Order broke down to an extent and most of the Big Fun regulars as well as the nomads found themselves hanging out inside Big Fun itself. At this time it was discovered that the much anticipated birth of the Gemini Kittens had occurred.

nonsmoker-someone who does not smoke tobacco or else does so only on rare occasions (such as when intoxicated). Smoking is so common at Big Fun that the list of non-smokers who have been there is a short one: Matthew Hart, Deya, the Gus, Jesse, Nada the Brazilian Girl, Jessika and Jατασyα. The latter two have given up smoking only fairly recently. Interestingly, a study has shown that if someone does not start smoking before he turns nineteen, the chance of him ever becoming a smoker is very low.

nose ring-a piece of metal placed through a perforation in the upper surface of the nose convenient to an underlying nostril channel. Usually the only sort of ring that will fit in this position is a stud (a nail or hook-shaped ring), although some people manage to get a hoop in there. Back in 1988 when the Gus' friend Joy Powley (a Libra from King of Prussia, PA) pierced her nose, it was a radical fashion statement. It was also a major ordeal that took hours, and in the end it became infected and had to be abandoned.

Now, in the late 1990s, everyone has a pierced nose, and it isn't considered any big deal. One summer day when Jατασyα's friend, Sundew, came up to the Gus on the Downtown Mall all excited to show him her new nose ring, he was blasé, having assumed she would have had one all along. Some of the people at Big Fun with nose rings include Sara, Shira and Jessika.

noxious fumes-what one must breathe when riding in the Punch Buggy Green. Apparently the heater in the Punch Buggy sucks in a portion of the exhaust gasses, or whatever else the engine produces, and without proper air circulation, a passenger quickly gets light headed.

One particularly kafkaesque day, the Punch Buggy was employed to go up and down 29 North for the purpose of getting the propane going at Big Fun. At every stop light our eyes watered and we felt as though on Tussin DM or worse. Since that time, the fume situation in the Punch Buggy healed itself to some extent. Who can explain these things?

nug-a single precious bud of santa clause. It is important to note that only sarcastic people would call a bud of schwag a nug.

nutmeg-a spice found in most spice cabinets, when taken in quantities of a teaspoon or greater, it causes psychoactive effects similar to marijuana. In greater does (certainly not greater than the lethal dose of five tablespoons) it is similar to mescaline or the active component of Fly Agaric Mushrooms. Along with the psychoactivity is a racing of the heart and a sick feeling...as though one has been poisoned. It's a drug rarely done twice. If one takes a bath the next day, however, the feeling of hot water on the skin is indescribably wonderful. The main problem with nutmeg is that it can take up to five hours for the effects to begin, unless it is ground extremely fine to begin with.

Odyssey, the-a Virginia Beach band that occasionally appears in Sara Poiron's life after having first been introduced to her by Josh Smith. They play crunchy hesher stuff over lyrics extolling the virtues of marijuana smoking. Here and there they punctuate such sentiments with wailing guitar solos. For New Years Eve, 1996, they planned a big party for Big Fun, and advertised it in flyer form all over the Downtown Mall. They'd neglected to ask any of the Big Fun residents first. The consequences? Sara's vitriol. The party never happened.

oh jeezus-this has to be said with Steve Weiner's characteristically gravelly voice. It is used, as Steve Weiner uses it, as an expression of respect for the sublime, much as a stoned hippie says "wow!"

old news-that which was once interesting and exciting but which is now familiar and predictable. In the world of Big Fun, where boredom is the enemy, there is a constant search for new experiences and new people (see "fresh blood"). The people you know in the Big Fun scene soon become old news unless they suddenly launch something new and interesting, or reveal a whole new side of themselves, a capacity for which some Big Fun people have remarkable aptitude.

old school-pertaining to the days when something that is now familiar was new, radical and quirky. For example, the old school Model T Ford had to have its distributor timing advanced manually as the driver accelerated, in addition to the gear shifting and choke manipulations that the driver had to keep track of, whereas all cars today automatically advance their distributors.

one-legged no-armed child-a single unit of poo.

one time, the-the police. This term is used especially by the hedonists of Waynesboro, one of whom being Matthew Hart.

open up a can of wup ass-this colourful expression, often said by Ray and occasionally by Zachary, is used as a synonym for "get physically violent." Usually the target of such violence is a girl, and the violence is all in good fun.

opposition-two heavenly bodies (the rising horizon is included here under the term "heavenly bodies") that lie close to 180 degrees apart from each other. At Big Fun, the term opposition is also used to indicate two signs that occur across from each other in an astrological chart, such as Aries and Libra; such oppositions always have the same attribute (cardinal, fixed or mutable). An opposition can be found in a person's chart, or it can be found in the charts of two people who have a certain heavenly body (particularly the sun) in opposite signs. Two people in opposition can lead to tension or spawn a reciprocal relationship (such as sadist/masochist).

Orange Jubilee-a new flavour of Mad Dog that mostly resembles pink grapefruit except that it is orange in colour and is 17% alcohol. Despite warnings from Matthew Hart (who had heard bad things about Orange Jubilee from others), the Gus purchased a 750 mL bottle of Orange Jubilee on 4-23-96, saying "I'll try anything once." What he, Matthew Hart and Jessika discovered was that they liked Orange Jubilee a lot; it may even be their favourite Mad Dog flavour yet.

orgy-an event in which three or more people are engaging in sexual activities with each other simultaneously. Generally speaking, at least one unit of two or more people focusing sexual activity on one other person is necessary for a situation of group sex to be considered an orgy. The comparatively common phenomenon of several couples being in one room engaging in sex simultaneously is thus technically not an orgy. Orgies are uncommon everywhere since they are very hard to coordinate. Even when coordinated, an orgy usually breaks down quickly as participants experience second thoughts about their preposterous situation. The only sure way to bring off an orgy is copious amounts of hard liquor. Big Fun is definitely not the place to go if you are looking for an orgy to happen, though orgy-like events have occurred on rare occasions, for example on May 4th in Matthew Hart's room. And no, Matthew Hart was not involved.

Paramount, the-what was once a movie theatre in the center of the Downtown Mall, but which is now boarded up and shut down. On the mezzanine, the city of Charlottesville posts upcoming events and the name of the next band to be playing at Fridays After Five. Street musicians and mall rats frequently hang out in front of the Paramount, where the mezzanine provides some shelter when it rains. The Paramount is one of the more obvious features on the Downtown Mall and thus it is a common meeting place and staging area (see, for example, "dweeb rally").

pass out-to lose consciousness involuntarily and thus to discontinue participation in the evening's activities. Usually passing out results from alcohol, sometimes in concert with santa clause or medication. Ideally one avoids passing out so that cool events do not happen in ones absence.

path, the-another term for "The Labyrinth"- the web of muddy roads in the fields on Fairview Farms.
Twee-dee-twee-twooo-tweee-deedee-twoo twee!
Patrick Reed maniacally saving the world yet again

Patrick Reed-perhaps the biggest dork on the Downtown Mall, Patrick Reed is also one of its biggest consumers of caffeine. There is even a drink named after him at the Mudhouse. Patrick Reed's most interesting trait is the fact that he is given to spreading malicious gossip; at one point he spread the rumour that the Malvern Girls were heroin dealers. Another time he told Farrell that the Gus is a pederast.

Jessika claims that Patrick Reed considers Big Fun a menace to the Charlottesville he loves; he wonders how it can be controlled. An example of what Patrick Reed finds sinister is his feeling that Big Fun has made Zachary into an unrecognizable monster from the lovable musician he used to be.

Patrick Reed can be reached at mallfellows@comet.net.

pea shooter-a 12 foot long metal piece of electrical conduit pilfered by the Gus from the construction site of the Downtown Mall skating rink. This device can launch an appropriate projectile many dozens of feet with a hefty puff of air. The pea shooter was being mostly used for a dance prop on the occasion of Big Fun's first meeting Joe the Cop on the Downtown Mall. Getting the pea shooter back to Big Fun in the Pegger's car was not easy, but somehow this feat was accomplished.

pederast-a man who has sex with boys.

pee-em-essing-a verb that means "to suffer from emotional problems related to hormonal changes resulting from the menstrual cycle." PMS stands for "pre-menstrual syndrome." Every month a woman's ovaries develop follicles from which a single egg bursts forth. For awhile, the ruptured follicle secretes the hormone progesterone as a way of preparing the uterus on the off chance that the egg becomes fertilized. We keep our fingers crossed, and happily the egg is not normally fertilized. If it were fertilized, it would begin to secrete its own progesterone as a means of maintaining its home in the uterus for the next nine months. Meanwhile, regardless of what else is happening, the follicle shrivels up and stops producing progesterone. This causes the uterine lining to break down and be expelled from the body.

Progesterone is known for its ability to combat depression (few pregnant women experience depression and this may be due to progesterone secreted by the babies they are carrying). A sudden decrease in progesterone (with birth or menstruation) often leads to depression. For menstruating women, this is called PMS. For women who have just given birth, it is termed "Post-Partum Depression" or PPD.

Cecilia the Brazilian Girl is the one who started using "pee-em-essing" as a verb. Cecilia is normally bubbling over with happiness and I have difficulty imagining her being depressed. But her infectious joy may simply be a function of her prescription of Prozac.

Pegger, the-a name that somehow Sara Poiron attached to Peggy Farley. You know, that Capricorn Malvern Girl who never comes out of her room.

Us Capricorns sometimes just can't figure out these damn air signs!
Peggy, from a photo taken by Jonathan Hayward 6-4-96

Peggy Farley-this Malvern Girl is probably the most together of all of them, but that isn't really saying much. If this Capricorn wasn't living at Big Fun, it is doubtful that the Air Signs remaining would actually pay any of the bills or dispose of the cat litter.

Despite her practicality, however, Peggy likes to have fun. On tussin DM, she has been known to enter such a bizarre state that she's made claims of living within an enormous mushroom. Peggy has a small nose and small ears, and she's been told that this is a good thing, since those are the only parts of a face that continue to grow as humans grow old. Her dread locks, however, have been criticized by a number of people for making her head look too small and for being evidence of her crunchiness. While not technically crunchy by most standards, by Big Fun standards, Peggy is a Rainbow. Peggy is more in need of the security of a one-on-one relationship than most people in the Big Fun scene; thus she spends much of her time with Zachary Firkly. Out of the blue on June 4th, 1996, Zachary and Peggy were officially married!

Increasingly, Peggy has been fighting her "most wholesome of Big Fun" image by plotting to purchase a pick up truck and to get a diesel truck tattoo.

personal planet-Mercury, Venus and Mars as well as the moon and the sun. These heavenly bodies move relatively quickly through the constellations, and thus people born within days of each other will have variations in their positions. Outer planets such as Jupiter and Saturn move so slowly that people born within a year of each other often find that in their charts these planets all share the same astrological position. As for Uranus, Neptune, Pluto and the asteroids, these heavenly bodies are difficult to see and their use in astrology is a comparatively recent innovation.
That's funny, man.
Phil Garrett, from a photo by Jonathan Hayward, 6-96
Hey, you wouldn't happen to have any smoke, would you?
Phil Ginini, from a photo by Jonathan Hayward, 6-4-96

phat-meeting with approval. Phat is one of those 90s equivalents of the word cool, though it is usually reserved for the description of inanimate objects or concepts, not people or animals. People never like to hear that they are "fat" even if "phat" is a good thing to be.

Phil Garrett-one of Charlottesville's more familiar psychotics, Phil is quick to chat in unique humourous ways about any issue that happens to be at hand. In Jamie Dyer's song "Downtown Trash" about Charlottesville can be found the lines "Phil's on the Mall smoking cigarettes/he used to be a genius, now he just forgets." And that is all I really know about him. Sara and Jessika consider Phil big fun and are always very friendly to him when they run across him.

Phil Ginini-this Cancer lives on the streets of Charlottesville for days at a time, playing folksy music on his guitar or banjo for spare change. He is always in search of any substance with the capacity to alter his mind, and he isn't shy about asking you if you have any. He isn't shy about anything; in fact he may be the single biggest extrovert in Charlottesville. Back in May, 1995, when the Gus knew only the Durkee girls, Phil introduced him to Jατασyα, Sara, Jessika and Brook. Phil attended the infamous house warming party at Big Fun, and did not return again until the wedding reception of Peggy and Zach on June 4th, 1996.

Peirce and Nelly-these two Virgos, a married couple, live in the little house behind the mansion on Fairview Farms. They both work at Jerusalem, maybe just for free food. On nights of Tussin drinking, it is fun to journey through the labyrinth to drop in on Peirce and Nelly, who are always so happy to see Big Fun people. Up until Peirce and Nelly were discovered, it was a widely held view around Big Fun that Virgos were no good at all. Virgos are not so summarily despised now!

Pig and Steak Too, The-a restaurant in downtown Scottsville where the cheapest of eats can be had. Furthermore, while there is none of the classy pretense of the Icecream Parlour, there is a jukebox upon which can be found the song "Blue Velvet." The extra big basket of french fries, which costs $1.75, is so enormous that it is difficult to round up enough people to successfully do it justice. The P&ST used to have the name "The Dew Drop Inn."

Pink Grapefruit-the flavour of Mad Dog that Jessika likes and will even spend money for. It is 13% alcohol.

pirate-to steal a commodity without removing it or otherwise causing its noticeable absence. Things that can be pirated include computer software, audio and videotapes, water, transportation, and electricity. For example, back in Malvern, the community that existed at Angela's depended on pirated electricity to operate basic electric and electronic equipment. Most of the youth of today have no reservations about pirating things such as recorded music and computer software.

Pisces-the 12th sign of the zodiac. The sun passes through this sign in late February through mid March. This sign is a mutable water sign and people born with heavenly bodies, the horizon, or most particularly the sun in it tend to be impressionable, emotional, consultative, interested in feelings, imaginative, and helpful. The sign is typical of therapists, nurses, teachers, mediators, people who pick up hitch hikers, and people who work at natural food stores and vegetarian restaurants. The smarminess of Pisceans can be a bit much for others to take, but we'd all still be breaking rocks on each others' heads if it weren't for them. Famous people who have Pisces for a sun sign include George Washington, James Madison, Kurt Cobain, Mikhail Gorbachev, George Harrison, L. Ron Hubbard, and Johnny Cash. Pisceans known to Big Fun include Jατασyα, Raphæl, Mellow D, Josh Mustin, Nada Smith the Brazilian Girl, Weirdo Dan, and Bn.

Pixels-the computer graphics place where Josh Smith works, though his superiors there treat him like a naughty little kid and criticize his smallest lapse. Still, it is handy to be able to park in one of Pixel's many spaces so convenient at the west end of the Downtown Mall.

Pixies, the-there isn't always much consensus on what music to play at Big Fun, but it seems that everyone likes the Pixies, and so when someone wants to make everyone happy, the Pixies are always a good choice of music.

The chinese thing about the Pixies is that the music alternates between pop and near-chaos within individual songs. This is unlike most "alternative" bands (everything from the Descendants to Nirvana) which feel the need to make a few pop songs to please the record label along with a few noisy songs to show that they can still kick ass; but the distinction between the two is always clear.

Matthew Hart's full name is actually mentioned several times at the beginning of one Pixies song that Matthew plays far too often in the Vomit Comet, the song that goes "La-la-love you, don't mean maybe/I. Love. You."

Plan Nine Records-when it is cold and bleak on the Corner, and you have a paper Higher Grounds cup filled with vino, there is no better place to waste your time than in the heated interior of Plan Nine Records. Some people such as Jessika succumb to the place and make purchases of cheap vinyl albums and old Devo tapes, but the Gus never buys anything there.

The posers who want to be seen in Plan Nine always hope everyone is taking note of the very alternative CDs they are looking at. Others only look at CDs that allow them to also face Higher Grounds through the window, in hopes of seeing their friends should they turn up at that common meeting place. Then there are the narcissists (mostly Aries, Leos and Libras) who only look at CDs that allow them to also face their reflections in the window.

Planet Floor-the floor of the car belonging to one of Theresa Venesian's sisters. One day in March, 1996 while this sister of Theresa was driving Jessika, Morgan, Theresa and the Gus around to a number of parts of Charlottesville for various reasons, her little son, Justin, sat contentedly in Aunt Theresa's lap. But whenever Theresa left the car, young Justin would throw a temper tantrum, kicking and screaming in that manner so familiar to anyone who has not, as the condom advertisements urge, gotten real. So the Gus, despite himself, would engage the kid in a manner of play involving a blue lobster spaceship. The Gus would urge the kid to refuel it and fly it to various planets, including Planet Seat, the Planet Gus, and Planet Jessika. This play had the anticipated effect of ending the tantrums, however, most of Justin's contributions consisted of tossing his lobster spaceship between the legs of the Planet Gus down to the surface of Planet Floor.

Pluto-the ninth planet from the sun. Pluto governs destiny and the capacity to transform; it rules Scorpio. Of late, Pluto has been in Sagittarius. Nearly everyone in the world of Big Fun has Pluto in Libra. The Gus and Farrell have Pluto in Virgo, the best possible place for this planet.

pop music-music that would be appropriate for play over mainstream radio or MTV. Characteristic of such music is slower tempo, louder vocals and drums, quieter guitar(s), and inoffensive lyrics about heterosexual love dilemmas. Just about all genrés of music have some pop in them. Even Slayer has some relatively radio-friendly songs, though I have never heard them over anything but college radio and MTV's Headbangers' Ball. Matthew Hart, Sara Poiron and the Gus admit that they like punk rock that has a touch (or healthy dollop) of a pop flavour (such as Jawbreaker and some Descendents songs), but Ray and Morgan Anarchy are purists. They utterly hate pop.

po-po, the-the police; this term is used mostly by Sara Poiron.

pond, the-legend has it that somewhere in one of the fields near Big Fun there is a pond. Some have even made claims that they have in fact seen this pond. And until I saw it, I was a skeptic. The pond seemed like yet more Big Fun folklore. But sure enough, near route 20 in an arm of woods that cuts off Big Fun's view to the southeast is a pond more than an acre in size. It's no place to swim, however. Its bottom is made of thick organic muds that likely serve as home for millions of leaches.

poo-what Zachary calls feces and the process of defecating. This is a wonderfully apt word, but unfortunately, most adults never use it except when necessary with small children. What makes Zachary's use of the word so appealing is that he uses the term in discussion of the subject with anyone regardless of age. A good example of Zachary's use of the word poo was during a conversation in early March 1996 in which the utopia known as Mexico was being discussed. "But where do you poo?" Zachary asked suddenly. Matthew guessed "just anywhere" but he really wasn't very sure where exactly one does poo in Mexico.

Poop-this is the name that Sara Poiron gives to individuals and organizations she has decided that she hates. Since there is a constant stream of such individuals and organizations, and they can't all be called Poop at once, exactly what Poop is at any one time depends on who is receiving her wrath. At one time "Poop" was Higher Grounds. But, as you may recall, "Farrell is Poop" appeared on posters all over the Downtown Mall back in early January.

poser-someone who has made a conscious decision to join a scene. Such a person first makes a trip to a store where overpriced trappings of the scene he/she wishes to join are sold. Then, properly outfitted, he/she goes to all the concerts and hang-outs where his/her new scene is to be found. Ideally, he/she gets a lover in the new scene, but more often than not he/she is stuck with a loser from the dorky scene he/she used to be part of. If you go to his/her house for a visit, give plenty of warning so he/she can run around hiding the books, records, CDs, posters, magazines, cosmetics and food he/she doesn't want you to see.

In Big Fun, the term poser is also gratuitously used to describe any band or musician who has achieved success in our society, especially if, as in the case of Green Day or the Offspring, they are punk rockers who have had their videos played during prime time on MTV. The only exception to the "successful band=poser band" rule is Nirvana, which is exempt, perhaps justifiably, from all criticism.

One day (3-15-96) the Gus was all drunk on gin and 20 mg of Ritalin (a recipe for extrovertism), and he and Jessika, on a mission to purchase vino, stumbled into Coyote, a trendy boutique on the corner. The Gus proceeded to loudly tell the sales lady (then wearing a "Power Slut" pin) that yesterday he'd been a tie-dye-wearing long-hair-grubbing hippie, but that today he'd gotten a haircut, pierced his ears, and wanted to know what else was necessary to be a punk rocker. Just at that moment, a bunch of kids from a private Christian school in Arkansas, on tour in the east to visit universities such as UVA, walked into the boutique. They were stunned that anyone could be acting in the way the Gus was at the time, and began to gather around him as the power slut found a bathtub plug chain to sell him for $4.50. He proceeded to go into a long and involved Socratic interaction with the kids concerning mostly Christianity and astrology. In a dramatic flourish, the Gus correctly identified a pugnacious crew cut fat kid as a Cancer. News spread around the Corner quickly among the Christian kids, and soon Jessika, the Gus and the Brazilian Girls were talking to the "bad kids" in the group, almost convincing them to skip a basketball game to be real bad kids in the style of Big Fun. But then the prune-faced teacher arrived (as always happens) to take the kids away from the satanic influences of the streets of Charlottesville. But not before addresses were exchanged and the Gus had been handed a bit of religious literature by a concerned Gemini. The moral of this story: even confessed posers can be impressive to a bunch of kids raised in the hopeless boredom and tasteless anachronism of Christian Fundamentalism.

pot-bellied stove-what Bad Cheese called the small iron wood stove in the kitchen of Big Fun. He then made many fruitless attempts to light it. Though he promised the kitchen would soon be in excess of 90° F, the wood was only charred in one little corner. This was not entirely the fault of Bad Cheese. Little did he know he was trying to light the infamous asbestos wood.

pot-nerd-someone who feels he shouldn't smoke santa clause because doing so makes him feel paranoid or otherwise uncomfortable. The Gus, Jessika and Shira all fit in this category, although both of the latter two have had pleasant experiences with santa clause of late.

pre-apocalyptic dread-the day after a night of drunken appeasement of astrologic forces such as Taurus rising and Mars or Saturn in Aries, the sky is typically overcast and the wind is howling. At such times, especially under the influence of santa clause, Sara Poiron is given to predicting a flaming conclusion to the social experiment known as Big Fun. She then performs a Tarot reading and finds the ominous tower card in the outcome position. Perhaps, fears Sara, the Scottsville good ole boy network is, even now, conspiring in a smoke-filled basement to rid the world of the sociopathic heathens of Fairview Farms. "That's what happened in Arkansas" she illustrates, recalling a similar but less sociopathic group of friends whose utopia was burned to the ground by irate locals in the Ozarks.

The term "pre-apocalyptic dread" may have found its way into the Big Fun lexicon from a line in a Jamie Dyer song about Charlottesville.

Private Stock-another name for Haffenreffer, a kind of Malt Liquor.

products-what Sara Poiron calls the cosmetics and hair and skin-care commodities normally found in bathrooms. Over the fireplace in Sara's room is a crowded shelf that is host to dozens of such things.

propane-that which is burned in the gas heaters on the first floor of Big Fun, when available. It was only available for a month in late December '95-early January '96, and when it ran out it was never replaced. The heat put out by the gas heaters was so inconsequential that one had to actually sit on one of the heaters in order to derive any semblance of comfort from it.

pseudoscience-a field of inquiry based on beliefs that the scientific method has not established as valid. Most scholars consider Astrology, Tarot, Mental Telepathy, UFO folklore, Astral Projection, Numerology and Past Lives to be pseudoscience, if not outright religion. The issue of pseudoscience is a somewhat sensitive topic at Big Fun, where Astrology and Tarot are accepted without question. Sara Poiron for a time actually included the word "pseudoscience" on the list of words taboo in her room.

pull tubes-to smoke santa clause through a water pipe (aka a bong) that has a large chamber over the bong water. Such water pipes resemble bassoons in gross appearance. The use of this expression is not common at Big Fun, though everyone is familiar with it.

Two Views of the Punch Buggy Green. Click for bigger versions.

Punch Buggy Green, the-the car of the Gus, a 1970 Volkswagen Beetle covered with oil and acrylic paintings, controversial phrases, bits of broken mirrors, and several dollars worth of pennies. The car had a number of problems: it leaked oil, the gear shift came out of the floor at inopportune moments, fumes could be bad, and there was no back seat for extra passengers to ride in; they were forced to lay on the dirty laundry, documents, musical instruments and electronic junk back there.

By April of 1996, the Punch Buggy Green's engine block had started crumbling, forcing the Gus to make heavy use of hitch hiking as a transportation method.

punk rock-this is both a form of music and a way of life. Punk rock's main philosophies include: society as we know it is both artificial and rotten and should be rejected and if possible replaced with anarchy; anyone can play music as long as they have the right attitude (talent is just a concept imposed by the rotten artificial society); money is not a goal to seek in ones life, and neither is longevity, they are both evidence of buying into a culture that is repulsive and stifling; there are no celebrities, there are no heroes, at least not those given to us by the mainstream culture (we respect people because they appeal to us, not because some authority says they should appeal to us).

Along with the philosophy comes the look of punk rock, which is designed to create a clear distinction between the punk rocker and the artificial rotten society. Jackets are covered with spikes and graffiti. Other clothes may be ripped or even worn inside out, sometimes with incongruous flourishes of parodied formality such as ties. Hair is spiked, dyed, and even spray painted, and cut in ways that even a tolerant mother would hate.

Punk rock grew out of a late 70s sense of despair in England, perhaps a predictable consequence of the realization that the rebellion of the 60s had achieved practically nothing. No longer did it make sense to peacefully change the culture. More desperate measures were necessary, and until such time, the dominant culture was to be rejected as much as possible.

At Big Fun, the ideals of punk rock have been granted such an exalted and untouchably heroic pedestal that it is difficult to view it with due perspective. But to say, as I have, that punk rock has any governing principles or philosophy is to overintellectualize it. For the most part, it turns out, punk rock is just unfocused teenage rebellion in its most recognizable form, as full of imitation and fashion as any other youth style. It is interesting that in the 90s there is practically no idealism in any of the alternative youth movements, including the most radical ones. Idealism has been seen as ineffective (just look at the 60s, man!), and the only solution is to withdraw from society. For example, at Big Fun, news is completely ignored and any new weather system that comes through is a complete surprise. Should the fascists take over completely (and they almost have), no one at Big Fun will be aware of it until the tanks come rumbling down that long dirt driveway.

Punk Rock-going into the Blue Ridge Mountains west of Charlottesville, there is a peaceful valley where the city slickers go for a taste of nature. It is called Sugar Hollow, and in addition to its recreational opportunities, it is also host to the Charlottesville Reservoir. Farther up this hollow, a number of prominent rocks stick up out of the steep forested terrain. One such rock was well occupied with Big Fun personalities during the Gus' first ever daytime Tussin DM experience (he'd come with Matthew Hart and Zachary in the Vomit Comet on the occasion of that car's getting that name). As he approached the rock, Tussing his face off, the Gus decided to name the rock "Punk Rock" after the sort of people (including Ray, Johnny Boom Boom and Jessika) who were standing on it.

punk rock dolls-the youthful punk rockers whose band has played at the Tokyo Rose. The leader of the punk rock dolls wears glasses and sports a tall blond spiked mohawk. The punk rock dolls once called Morgan and Ray "assholes" because they moshed or otherwise caused mayhem at one of their shows. Jessika and Morgan think they look like dolls, thus the name.

The evening of Dragon appreciation day (June 1, 1996), the punk rock dolls were co-existing peacefully beside a large boys in black/Big Fun contingent on the Downtown Mall. But one couldn't help observing a distinct no-man's land some twenty feet wide between the two groups. The differences between the punk rock dolls and the Scottsville punks are mostly related to age and perhaps levels of drug and alcohol use, but there may also be economic class differences; the punk rock dolls being from somewhat wealthier families.

I hate that new guy Stink so much I've picked up a catnip habit.
Pywacket, from a photo taken 4-96 by Teri Flint

Pywacket-the male black cat, a Libra, who lives at Big Fun. Pywacket has traditionally had more in the way of both attitude and cheeks than Senovia, his sister. Thus he's been the favourite gato negro of both Sara Poiron and the Gus while other humans maintain dishonestly that they "like both cats the same" as though Pywacket and Senovia were children who had to have their self esteems boosted.

Sara frequently finds resemblances between the Big Fun cats and its people. She has said that Pywacket resembles Ray. Later, though, she decided that Pywacket more resembles a teenage Mexican.

Increasingly, Pywacket's attitude has become more obnoxious; he drills, not for absentee, but through blankets for sleeping hangover victims, whom, if he should reach, he energetically bites in a pain-inflicting display of affection. During February of 1996, it seemed as though the humans of Big Fun were following Pywacket's example in this regard.

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