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:
   Twenty Dollar Crisis
Friday, December 20 1996 At a little past 8am I struggled through the incredible bitter cold to the Rising Sun Bakery for coffee and day old pumpkin muffins. I sat next to an old black Labrador Retriever who wished very much to help me eat my muffins. Normally dogs aren't permitted in the Bakery, but in weather like this or when Terry, the owner, is gone, rules such as that are broken.

Then it was on to Cocke Hall for some of this computer work stuff. I started a new section of my web site wherein I will keep documents about my impressions of people, places and things. This will be much like the Big Fun Glossary, except it will be dynamic and growing, and divided into many single-subject documents. As I think of things I will add them. By contrast, the text of the Glossary is as inviolate and frozen as the Koran. The first entry in my "Spins" section is about the town of Blacksburg in Western Virginia. Expect there to be much biographical stuff and even philosophy in "Spins" as it develops.

My every action breathes of deliberation
On every hour the balance is kept
Then the whiteness is unleashed
Emptying the blackness
making us grey
under every

I was to have tonight off because of the shift I took for Bn yesterday. I should have known better, but I decided to go spend this rare Friday night with Jessika. It wasn't as though I had a lot of options. Most of the college kids I know (housemates, mostly) are gone, and I haven't gotten beyond the "hi, what's up?" phase with a lot of suitable potential cohorts with whom sharing a Friday night might be a better than miserable experience. So I drank some vodka and orange juice and tooled over to the Downtown Mall. On the way I had the embarrassing experience of my Dart stalling at a traffic light. My guess is that the extremely cold weather (did it even get as high as 20 degrees Farenheit today?) coupled with the Dart's need for a tune-up made a subtle over-cooling problem manifest as a too-cold engine even after it should have in theory reached the point of being fully warm.

In the Mudhouse, I drank some coffee and skimmed through a few of those witty little "Underground Press" books edited by Matthew S. Farrell. Patrick Reed came up and was voluntarily friendly. I was amazed, since he and I have had some animosity ever since a number of occurrences, culminating with my writing of his Glossary definition. But today he pointed out an amusing and oddly disturbing "dancing baby" animation that had been downloaded onto the Mudhouse computer. I tried to e-mail the animation to myself with no luck.

At Jessika's house, there was insufficient heat for comfort and everyone, even Nemo, was complaining. The little ceramic space heaters that had been deployed to make up for the extreme cold had to be put on separate house circuits or else they tended to trip a circuit breaker.

Jessika and Ana were busy making rings out of sculpy while listening to Nick Cave, a man for whom they both seem to have developed a pathological obsession. Periodically, Jessika would try lobbying for me to drive us out to UVA to do some web surfing, but I was unclear as to whether this was going to include Ana and Nemo, and I really didn't feel like being responsible for a mother and infant team on my Friday night off. I've been careful to avoid getting anyone pregnant for just this sort of reason. It was good that I didn't just whisk us all off to go somewhere warm, because it provided an opportunity for the fates to test to what extent there remains within Jessika a desire to spend time with me on my rare visits to her house. More on this in a bit.

We watched a ten-year-old videotape featuring me and some high school classmates competing in a regionally-televised quiz show on public TV called Pop Quiz. You may be amused to learn that my school's team finished second after all was said and done, finally being annihilated by Wilson Memorial High School after first vanquishing the formidable St. Anne's Bellfield. In 1986 my school's team included Nathan VanHooser and other folks familiar to me from those days: Kirk Swortzel, the class dweeb; David Hanger, the conformist mischief-maker; and Tim Truxel, child prodigy. Jessika was most struck by the fact that I looked no different then than I do now.

We were watching an entertaining Christmas movie and shivering in our coats when a guy whom Jessika refers to as "Monster Boy" called. About this Monster Boy: Jessika mostly avoids bringing up his name in front of me, but conversations have been forced to include references to him in order to account for large blocks of her time. It is clear that she has developed some sort of fascination with him. I know, for example, that she left a boar's head on the porch of his house as a kind of stalking thing and she's not one to stalk people casually (ironically Monster Boy's house is a Jewish theme dormitory on the campus of UVA). I've never met Monster Boy, but from what I've gathered he's endowed with suitably attractive emotional and psychological problems. I really can't blame Jessika for finding someone to replace me; after all I've expressed every intention of doing the very same thing myself. For the most part this new reality hadn't affected me. It would have been grossly hypocritical of me to be upset.

But tonight Monster Boy wanted Jessika to come hang out with him. I'll cut to the chase: the mere fact that she was already hanging out with me proved in the end to be less important than her desire to hang out with him. So he came and she left with him. I never saw him; she met him at the door. The bone that I was tossed was, "I'll see you tomorrow at 4" as though she ever really knows what time it is or that I can really have that much fun on the day that precedes a work night.

Naturally, I considered her behaviour to be a very cruel, insulting and humiliating "diss." I can think of few or no cases where I have been so thoroughly rejected.

I drove home pondering the new social landscape. Was this all a big game of hers? Or am I really not as important to her as this new boy in her life? All the evidence, except for the element of cruelty, suggested the latter of the two interpretations. It was a pretty damn depressing thought. Still, intellectually, I knew I had this coming. I'd deliberately created a vacuum in her life and every fool knows there are hundreds of suitably weird guys in Charlottesville abhorring that vacuum. But the jealousy I was feeling wasn't to be placated by intellectual ruminations. It was a basic, primal feeling of hurt that couldn't feel or account for any of the hurt that I'd caused.

Still, through all of our relationship, I always gave Jessika my undivided attention whenever she was around. I've never abandoned her for some other person at a moment's notice. Indeed, I've abandoned others for her.

The rejection was made all the more poignant because of something else she said
The rejection was made all the more poignant because of something else she said, that she could visit me tomorrow because, "I'm going to be on the Corner tomorrow." That of course meant she'd be sleeping on the Corner, at the Jewish Theme house, an intimacy I haven't been extended in some time.

The fact is that while I've been off on a vision quest within my soul for these past weeks, she's been out making friends. This leaves me in a state of weakness.

I found myself fascinated by the things that this weakness kept me from feeling. Following tonight's events, I didn't feel sad. I didn't have an urge to cry. What I felt was a weird form of weak anger that to my conscious mind didn't make any sense. Unlike in the past when I deliberated about what to do with Jessika, today I never felt the dull ache in my shoulders and chest that seems to be associated to some extent with a feeling that I have some control over events. Now all I felt was a sort of dull and not unpleasant pressure in my gut. I was just a castaway floating on seas whipped by forces over which I had no control. It seemed best to get the hell out of this ocean.

So I swigged down a couple screwdrivers at my house, and, saying "This is a $20 crisis," I removed all but a crisp twenty dollar bill from my wallet and headed for the Corner with a feeling that whatever I was destined for was bound to be more pleasant than stewing in my unjustified feeling of worthlessness.

As I went by Theresa's place on Wertland, I saw that the lights were on, and, thinking "ah, there are still people in this world with more troubles than me" I knocked on the window. I'd noted that her car, the White Monte Carlo, has a cracked grill and hood and a flat front right tire.

There was a little scurrying as Theresa came to the door. Some girl, it turns out, had been taken by surprise in a state of undress. Theresa was fully clothed, however. And as usual she was instantly very hospitable. Soon enough I had partaken of relaxing substance and was feeling rather good. I even smoked a clove cigarette (in record time). I told Theresa all about the new Jessika situation and Monster Boy. She was fascinated, wanting to know all about the him. She was also a little surprised, claiming that it seemed for all the world that not only were Jessika and I made for each other, but that we were destined to marry as well. She then told me her problems, but it was nothing she hadn't told me before (see the entry for December 4th). Meanwhile, the girl who had fled in a state of undress had now emerged from Theresa's bedroom, outfitted in Theresa's femme gothic stuff, which in its minimalness could have almost been mistaken for bondage gear. I won't reveal the girl's name, since what I have to say about her is dreadful. Suffice it to say she is an Aquarian with short dyed-red hair and a heroin problem. Heroin addictions are rare in Charlottesville because of a scarcity of supply, but this girl apparently had enough to keep herself in a fairly constant state of torpor. She was skinny and had bad skin and terrible wounds on her toothpick-like arms, especially on the backs of her hands. But for some reason none of this in and of itself was a suitable turn-off for Theresa. The girl ever-so-weakly tried to put on makeup in a mirror set up on the coffee table, but she nodded off as she sat, an ugly look of stupidity having siezed her face. It was appalling.

Somewhere in all of this, a bunch of guys, including a local skinhead, appeared wanting to sell a killing iron. And later came the arrival of Persad, just off work from his new job at the C & O. He was not in a social mood, however; he dragged Theresa into the bedroom and slammed the door. After awhile the Aquarian Heroin Addict appeared from the room, in a daze. I decided at this point that leaving was a good idea.

It seems I'd done a fairly good job of preparing myself psychologically for this inevitable night.
Normally when I am stoned, as I was by this point, I reflect anxiously on my treatment of Jessika, finding my behaviour towards her shabby and inappropriate. I didn't feel that way tonight. I felt that she was out to hurt me. It was an uncomfortable feeling, but not devastating. It seems I'd done a fairly good job of preparing myself psychologically for this inevitable night.

I went to Orbit, the billiard parlour on the Corner. For some reason I expected to have a good time there. But the scene, though crowded and smoky, contained almost no one that I knew, excepting an employee or two. I was such a useless presence there that I felt awkward. But I needed to socialize, to extend my interactions outside the metaphorical muddy patch. I did run across Deirdre, a youthful college girl who once was in bozART. She was reassuringly friendly and even said she'd come visit me some time. But other than that, the Orbit was a waste of time. I should have gone to Tokyo Rose with my $20 crisis, which, by the way, ended up only costing me $4.

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