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:
   bourbon in the mean apartment
Wednesday, January 8 1997 In the morning, I made two CD purchases: REM's Document and Porno for Pyros' first album. The REM is from 1987 and probably marks the end of their truly good phase. I have fond memories of this album in the Summer of 1989 when it was still relatively new, fearing it might represent a sell-out, then hearing it all, and guessing not. I especially like the sarcastic "This One Goes Out to the One I Love" and then of course, with hats tipped to it prior to the Jehu End of the World Party, "It's the End of the World As We Know It (and I Feel Fine)." For the record, I have Life's Rich Pagent on vinyl, a purchase I made in 1988.

As for the Porno for Pyros, it is one of those CDs that I have grown to like simply because it is all I can ever find worth listening to in the CD collections of my hippie friends. I like the sociopathic straight-up attitude of those damn Pyros. They speak to thoughts that are actually in my head. Or that guy Perry Farrell does, anyway. Porno for Pyros is coming to Trax later this month, you know.

Both these CDs were used and cheap, and I don't expect to see them in the used CD rack much in the future, unlike the far cheesier late REM stuff which crowd those same racks beside countless copies of Hootie and the Blowfish CDs mistakenly purchased in such vast numbers by punk rockers and grandmothers alike.

Today I was supposed to do a presentation on the Internet at the Charlottesville-Albemarle [County] Tech School (CATECH), the technical training school for high-school age students in this region, where Nathan VanHooser, my childhood friend, is now an instructor. My car was warmed up and I was heading down the road at around 11am. It was still a little early, so I stopped at a Radio Shack on 29 North to get cord with which to attach my CD player to my stereo (my improvised system has been monoaural and unreliable). I went into nearby used book store that features lots of trashy novels on its shelves. I really wanted to find something to buy there just so I wouldn't come across as a shop lifter (in my long black the Gap trench coat), but there was nothing worth even glancing upon.

With still more time to kill, I checked out the white bread wonderland known as Fashion Square Mall. This place is a real shopping mall, utterly devoid of the soul and character emblematic of the Downtown Mall. The prices in the chain CD store I visited were outrageous, hovering in the 16 dollar range. The Radio Shack was easily shopliftified, so I guess I cannot complain.

At CATECH I soon found Nathan (called "Mister Van" by his students) and we set about trying to install the Comet software on a Windows 95 machine so we could modem back to Comet and get up and about and perky eyed on the Internet like some kind of ruling Mesonynx. But quickly we were beset with troubles. I won't bore you with the details. Suffice it to say I was sent back to the Fashion Square Mall and into Radio Shack to buy a 9 to 20-something serial cable adapter. Even then the modem would not be acknowledged by the computer. When another computer (complete with modem) was rolled in, the multi-line phone cord could not be made to give the modem a dial tone. A wise-ass kid in Mr. Van's class tried to help me out here and there. He fancied himself a youthful expert on computers in general and the Internet in particular, and at times adopted the most patronizing attitude. I refused to play his game and acted as though maybe he did know a lot more than me. When Nathan wasn't around, I casually mentioned that Mr. Van and I went to High School together. "What was Mr. Van like in high school?" the kid asked. I said Mr. Van was perhaps the coolest guy in my high school. Truth be known, he may well have been. Being a dork (as me and my friends all were) didn't necessarily preclude coolness. In a school that size we all had many shoes to fill. You didn't have "the weirdo," "the hippie," "the dork," "the punk rocker," and "the bad boy" as all the teensploitation movies would have you believe. For example, I feel like I single-handedly fulfilled most of the alternative youth roles while also being a science whiz, a weirdo, and an unapproachably anti-social possibly-faggot-loner. All without having ever even heard of the Velvet Underground, grown my hair, or pierced a facial feature.

But I digress. Back to the CATECH Internet lesson. It would have to wait for a better day. Being flexible and eager to please, I adapted my lesson into a crash course on HTML. HTML is one of the few things that really can be given justice in a crash course. If you know two things you know 80% of what you need to know. If you know ten things, you know 99% of what you need to know. Not to overdo this ego thing, but I probably know many dozens of things, plus a few things no one else knows or has even considered, so I qualify as an HTML guru by this point. The lesson I gave was scattered and unfocused of course, but by some miracle the mostly bored and mutually distracted students never launched a spit ball fight. They paid reasonably good attention and some even asked intelligent questions. I tried to keep things interesting by alluding to controversial content and punk rock on the Web and by mentioning all the money to be made in the writing of web pages. To illustrate my points, I'd made three quick and dirty web pages to demonstrate colors, graphics, tables and hypertext. My presentation was greatly aided by a projector that allowed the students to watch it all on an overhead screen.

After that little experience, I continued down Park Street to the Downtown Mall. I quickly ran across Morgan Anarchy, Cecelia the Brazilian Girl and Vanna the Increasingly Gothic Punk Rock Girl. They went off to get food stamps at Social Services while I checked e-mail in the Mudhouse and ate a slice of pizza in Sylvia's. (It has been my experience that it is always good to eat your food a long way away from your hungry punk rock friends or risk eating nothig at all.)

Then, upon reuniting with the punk rockers, the plan was to convert as much of the foodstamps into cash as possible by purchasing small candies with food stamp dollars so real cash money could be obtained. The lines in the Downtown IGA were long however, and I was embarassed to be going to such lengths to play the role of punk rock survivor, so I went back to my car. The punk rockers ended up eating cheese and crackers and counting change back at my house. They'd done well spare changing (pan-handling) today and had raised almost twenty dollars. With all their combined cashe they spoke of possible cocain purchases. As you might imagine, I was viewing all of this with increasing degrees of "why am I associating with these sorry losers." When they went to the Corner to break more food stamps, I didn't go with them.

But later Ceceilia caught me crossing 14th Street and I was forced, for the sake of propriety, to rejoin the punk rock militia. At some point, I broke free and went to Comet to check my e-mail. But not before having to refuse to buy food stamps from Morgan. I don't want fucking useless pain-in-the-ass foodstamps.

A nap at my house was interrupted by Morgan, Cecelia the Brazilian Girl and Vanna the Increasingly Gothic Punk Rock Girl. They wanted me to go get them a half gallon of bourbon. As cold as the night was, this idea made more sense to me than any advanced so far.

Morgan had raised lots of coins, and these he gave me as his contribution to the alcohol cause. I was not pleased to deal with metal money, but that's all he had and Bourbon was the goal.

a wind-row of ashed-in former alcohol vessels, half eaten bowls of cheap food, and numerous spills of every colour and creed
We ended up drinking the stuff in the mean horrid Wertland Apartments crash pad, which reeks of a funk issuing forth from a wind-row of ashed-in former alcohol vessels, half eaten bowls of cheap food, and numerous spills of every colour and creed.

Josh Mustin and skater-boy-Mark (he has no hair by choice) soon arrived and helped partake of the evening's refreshment. These last two boys are not at all appreciated by Cecelia. She whispered to me that they are sexist pigs. Then she argued with them both about music. She had no desire to hear Bad Religion, which they wanted to play. No, she wanted to hear, of all things, the Stray Cats (that relatively cheese-ball early 80s band that tried to sound like they were from the retro-fifties at a time when Reaganism had convinced the complacent majority that the nuclear bomb-insecure shopping-mall-in-time known as the fifties were actually super-cool). Eventually she passed out, and later so did I. When I next awoke I found that somehow I had fallen sort of ontop of her on the couch. I staggered home and found a laid-back teevee party happening in my house. I communed with the partiers briefly and went off to bed.

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