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").


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Like my brownhouse:
   sweaty dancing to cover tunes at the Mole's Eye
Friday, March 5 2004

setting: rural Hurley, New York

I stayed up late last night working on my newest business card, which prominently includes this logo. It's supposed to be a punful allusion to the name of my company, Catski11 Computer Services.

I drove to Vermont today to visit my old housemate John and his girlfriend Julie. It was a rainy day, the first precipitation of this form this year. I was driving the Honda Civic, so I averaged over 80 miles per hour, but it still took me three hours to make it to John's place, a small college campus in southeastern Vermont. When I arrived he was doing exactly what I thought he'd be doing, talking on the phone. He was working in the same building but a different office, having quit his old job in disgust and somehow been immediately rehired in a slightly different department. Things happen too quickly in John's life for me to keep track. He's still living in a dorm suite in a nearby dormitory hall, but his roommate Fernando has moved back to Los Angeles. He's gone through several cars since I last saw him. The one he's driving these days is a navy blue Subaru Impreza which, unlike most Subarus, looks like a car for guys who like cars (as opposed to a car for chicks who like chicks). It features a prominent air scoop on the hood, making the car look less like a terrestrial vehicle and more like something that at any moment could jet off into the cosmos.
John drove us down into Brattleboro where we met up with his girlfriend Julie at her apartment on Elliot Street (purportedly the most crime-ridden street in the city). We ate a little pizza, popped some recreational Adderall, and then set off on foot for a Friday night in the downtown area.
We stopped first at McNeil's, the closest brewpub on Elliot. McNeil's must have just brewed a batch of beer because the place stunk of mash, and not in a good way. We sat at a table and drank pint after pint from among a selection of oddly-named microbrews. Most of what we were drinking was called "Ringworm." It was strong, both in flavor and alcohol content.
We were joined by a couple friends of John and Julie. They seemed like fun people - less provincial yet more aware of their local origins than most Brattleboro folks. I was unusually talkative (having self-medicated for an undiagnosed attention deficit problem) and enhusiastically helped John tell the reliably-entertaining story of the time the FBI came to our Los Angeles home.
Later I made a series of attempts to land a tethered loop onto a steel hook, a simple game unique to McNeil's. [REDACTED]
Next we went to the Mole's Eye, Brattleboro's political epicenter for those born between 1984 and 1960. As usual for a weekend night, a band was playing nothing but rock and roll covers, and the dance floor was packed with white people dancing completely unselfconsciously. Surveying the Mole's Eye crowd, one quickly realizes that Brattleboro is a working class town full of people who like to blow their paychecks on a Friday night. It's a different dynamic than one sees in college or whitecollar towns. No wonder John and Fernando stood out as unusually urbane the first time Julie saw them in this crowd.
I was in a fine mood and I quickly joined Julie and friends as they danced in front of the band. Meanwhile John was ordering tray after tray of vodka shots for all his friends. It was a crazy night, and the ratio of people I met to people I met and remembered was extremely high.
The most intriguing of the people I met was Julie's new housemate, a blond Christian fundamentalist from Texas. It's been a long time since I socialized with a Christian fundamentalist, so I talked to her for awhile in hopes of being there when she turned her head completely around.
An enormously fat man had a huge crush on this blond fundamentalist housemate and kept buying her disgusting fruity beverages chock full of distilled spirits. It seemed he was chipping away at the one vice the fundamentalist would allow herself: booze. Perhaps, the fat man seemed to think, this would be the way into her fundamentalist knickers. If so, of course, he would be the first.
The fat man left no penny unspent in his elaborate plan to snare the blond fundamentalist. Tonight he spent a considerable effort networking with everyone in the Mole's Eye who fell remotely within the blond fundamentalist's social network, working on John hardest of all.
At some point Julie dragged me into the women's bathroom to show me a trick in which she grabbed onto an overhead pipe, walked up the wall, walked across the ceiling, and then down the other side. The bathroom was full of women at the time, but only one of them seemed to care that I was there, and Julie convinced her to go into a stall and shut the hell up. After I saw Julie do it, I repeated her stunt. Julie had apparently been the only one who had ever done this trick up until today. It wasn't difficult, though the last time I'd done anything like it was maybe 25 years ago.
I started dancing with this one girl whose first words were "I have a boyfriend." So I said, "Yeah, well I have a wife." And then she ran off, I guess to get approval from her boyfriend for this dance she was about to have, because then she returned looking much less uptight. It was like I'd checked her out of the library. Why do some people have to make monogamy so fucking stuffy? Later another woman accused me of grabbing her ass, which I most certainly had not done. [The next day I learned from Julie and her housemate that there were a number of notorious crypto-ass-grabbers circulating in the crowd.]
Like most events in Vermont, tonight at the Mole's Eye was nearly a whites-only affair. There was, however, one black man present with a strange flamboyance about him. He was wearing a straw hat that I later learned was a sorry attempt at crossdressing. He tried to get me to take my shirt off and dance on the bar, but all I did was grab his hat and put it on my head. He must have thought this a very dashing gesture because he then gave me an enthusiastic and extremely scratchy kiss on the cheek. I later learned that this guy had once surprised Fernando by sticking a tongue in his mouth.

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