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:
   birthday beatings and hospitalizations
Sunday, February 16 1997

Mediocre thing to say today: we gradually become the people we know best.

See a gallery of video frames shot on this day.
After some work at UVA's Cocke Hall, I went to Comet where Stefan was holding forth as tech support central.

He's a Muslim,
but still,
as a present,
he gave me money
with which to buy myself a Guiness
on this day,
my 29th birthday.

Stefan is also an Aquarius, as is Ken. Comet is like the original bozART and Big Fun in that an inordinate number of us are Aquarians. I drank the beer immediately upon getting back to my house. I also recorded my first 4-track "song." It's a piece of crap, but I'm familiar enough with the machine now to do bigger and better things.

Not long later came my gothic friends, all being driven around by Theresa's younger (recently 18 year old) and not particularly gothic Aquarian sister, Angela. We were passed on the streets by Charlottesville's principle heroin addict, a girl whose birthday is the same as mine. She was in the company of a much older man on her way to the East End of Wertland. She made me sort of nauseated to look at; she does not have pretty legs, see. Partly from that sight and partly from hangover, I feared I was going to puke on the drive down Rugby on the way to Monster Boy's house in deepest Fratville.

Monster Boy was playing Janes Addiction when we got to his place, but soon enough we were smoking pot and watching one of his wacky movies. This one, Desperate Living, featured a strange form of over-the-edge overacting and again, bizzare fetishistic sexuality. For example, the heroines of the movie, a couple of murderesses (a petite lunatic housewife and her enormously fat black maid), are pulled over by a perverted and corrupt cop who prefers wearing and sniffing their panties to making an arrest. We all departed for better things after that particular hilarious scene.

The plan today was to shoot video with the goths in a graveyard using a camera I have had on loan from my parents unbeknownst to them for about a year. Tiffany, who is an aspiring actress now living in Los Angeles, had enthusiastically lobbied for today's video outing. But first we needed some little things like a new camera battery and some blank tapes. For these things, we went to the K-Mart on 29 North. Now I don't know how much you know about either goths or K-Mart, but let me just take this opportunity to say that the two are almost never combined into one scene. Thus you can imagine how weird it was for me to be in the K-Mart with the goths while under the paranoia-inducing effects of marijuana. The girls (Angela, Theresa and Tiffany) and I quickly received the undivided attention of someone who appeared to be the store manager while the boys went to the pet aisle to steal dog collars with which to augment their gothic outfits.

Throughout the whole of this adventure, Angela seemed to be the single source of stability. She must have some strong Capricorn influences in her chart; she reminds me of Peggy except she is more assertive. But the thing I couldn't understand was her insistance to pay for everything that needed buying. The battery alone cost $40 for Christ sake. She absolutely refused to take any money from me. Theresa informs me that Angela recently came into a large lump of money related to her birthday.

Back at Goth Central, 1300 Wertland Street, we sat around smoking pot and living the good life to the fine morbid gothic tunes that the CD player there is always playing. I did a little videotaping.

Angela had gone off somewhere to "ditch" her boyfriend Aaron (that word is the word Theresa used to describe the process). Angela had left a bottle of wine behind, and at a certain point she called to make sure that no one drank it. No one but ME that is. Since it was my birthday and I had a hangover, I was singled out as the single exception to this rule.

Cecelia and Leticia the Brazilian Girls arrived with a new guy named Mike, a next door neighbor in the suburban hell where the Brazilian Girls' parents live. Mike isn't exactly a goth. He might be better described as a working-class hesher dude. Since he was new, and since he was not in goth uniform, he received noticably less consideration than anyone else there, epecially by Theresa. But he did his best to ingratiate himself with us. One of several things he did included driving Monster Boy to work.

While Mike was gone, Theresa was impatient to go and wanted to simply leave without waiting for his return. It was obvious to all of us that she had absolutely no desire to give him even the slightest sliver of her consideration. Cecelia, however, said that SHE was going to stay and wait for him, that it would be terribly inconsiderate to ditch him. I agreed with Cecelia, though my first instinct was to ditch him as well. But if you give people you don't even know such short shrift, what is the chance of developing new social connections? So we waited for his return.

Angela showed up at some point as well. She immediately started drinking vino. Theresa says she's an alcoholic.

Then we all drove out to the goths' favourite graveyard, the one that lies to the east of the city.

one of the hallmarks of goth culture is that there is a constant thread of "life is an act" running through it.
Unlike the case of my videotaping at Big Fun, the goths saw their role in my videotaping tonight to be highly participatory. They felt the need to act. This was my first indication of a revelation I was to make today: one of the hallmarks of goth culture is that there is a constant thread of "life is an act" running through it (it follows also that "death is an act" and thus of equal (or even greater) importance, but I won't get into that just yet). No wonder there is such a concentration of goths in University Theatre departments.

But nothing is ever easy with Theresa calling the shots, as always ends up happening. She has an idea to do something, gets in a fight with boyfriend Persad, has artistic differences with sister Angela, feels the need to flirt with all the boys and most of the girls present (further pissing off Persad), and always needs someone to pack her ANOTHER BOWL. Then, not long into some little performance she has planned, she finds it wanting and wants to cut and start over. Over and over endlessly.

Since she aspires to make movies some day and since she'd bought the camcorder battery, I let Angela do most of the first shooting we did. Here's how our most planned action was taped:

Most of us climbed up into some trees while Theresa and Tiffany hid behind a gravestone and slowly slithered around it. Then we jumped down from the trees and ran around in a supposedly scary way, screaming, the girls especially, in their tinny little ungothic voices.
For a moment it seemed like she wanted to run with the sudden erotic exposure of her garter belts and other fetishistic accoutrements.
There were other scenes, most of them featuring the sensuousness of the thin gothic girls and the cruel angularity of the stones. At the time it seemed trite and juvenile to me. It was a rare feeling of overmaturity for me. But I endured and we continued taping until it became too dark, doing the last little bit inside a monumental mortuary. Tiffany's little gothic miniskirt fell almost completely apart during a little play fight with Leticia the younger, more sadistic Brazilian Girl. For a moment it seemed like she wanted to run with the sudden erotic exposure of her garter belts and other fetishistic accoutrements. Almost by reflex, though, I diverted the camera! I was too embarrassed to be such a voyeur. I have to get over the instinct "not to be caught looking."

We went back to the Corner district and I walked home briefly. I'd told Elizabeth earlier today that I was game to go out to eat sushi (as a birthday thing) but now I was more interested in hanging out with the goths. I figured since it was my birthday I should do what I wanted to do and not what was right. So I canceled the "dinner date" if you will with the housemates. I hung out in Elizabeth's room for awhile discussing art theory while she painted. We don't often talk about art together but this was a very good conversation. Of course, I was still rather stoned.

Then, predictably, but faster than I'd expected, the goths all appeared downstairs. Someone declared that it was time to watch the video we'd shot so far today.

I was actually rather impressed with the video we'd made. The first scenes in Goth Central with the blaring goth music in the background were especially eerie, and, dare I say, cutting edge in a weird way. You see, the music sounded like the tragic mood music one hears in movies. In our culture, when you hear that sort of music while watching a film, you expect any minute for something extremely tragic to take place. But here we were, laughing, smiling, talking and generally enjoying ourselves. It was as though we were fools at the edge of some sort existential abyss.

The scenes of us driving in the car were also worth shooting. To watch scenery race by is interesting even when nothing is happening, it seems. At night, the city going by looked somehow more substantial than it is in reality. I also captured a wonderful scene of Leticia inadvertantly flirting with the camera, something Theresa said was "priceless."

After the video was over, various people stood up to recite bits of drama they had memorized. Tiffany was amazing with her delivery (at least to me at the time; I sat with mouth agape watching her). Theresa also gave an enthusiastic performance but predictably died out halfway through, having forgotten the rest. Even Mike had something to perform, a little annoying folk song.

The best scene took place in a "gay steel mill" which periodically stops to take disco breaks.
Housemate Steve came down wanting to watch the Simpsons. That was a reasonable request given that we were no longer watching the teevee. But the goths seemed to regard this as some sort of affront. The great bulk of them left at this point, heading back to Goth Central. Only Cecelia the Brazilian Girl and her friend Mike stayed with me. I didn't know what to do at this point. I felt like this social crisis was entirely my fault, but everybody was apologizing to ME for fucking up my birthday.

We were joined by some of my housemates, people like Steve, Elizabeth and friend-of-the-house Will. This particular episode of the Simpsons was an especially funny one. It was the one where Homer Simpson confronts his homophobia, featuring brilliant use of camp humour and gay stereotypes to drive home the social commentaries delivered. The best scene took place in a "gay steel mill" which periodically stops to take disco breaks. EVERYBODY DANCE NOW.

Cecelia and Mike left and I discussed with Will and Elizabeth the social turbulence that had just transpired. I said that I WAS NOT HAPPY ABOUT THIS. Goths are funny social creatures. They tend to be extremely exclusive and for some reason my housemates do not fit the bill. Will, who is not exactly Frat-central if you know what I mean, asked, "do they think we're just Wahoos?" Elizabeth described how nasty Theresa had been to her before, giving her an evil glare and making snotty comments. It was all very sad for me. But it was also flattering to have the feeling that there were two different social groups vying to please me on my birthday. I wondered aloud to Elizabeth and Will about why the goths are so accepting of me. "I'm not a goth...the music I listen to is certainly not gothic for example."

"Well, you did dye your hair black, Gus." Elizabeth retorted.

To which I replied, "Yeah but I did it with Zach back at Big Fun. That was different."

Elizabeth pointed out that this attitude among my goth friends is unnecessary. Jessika and Deya, for example, managed to get along fine with my housemates. She didn't include him in the list, but Morgan Anarchy also managed to get along acceptably with my housemates.

I decided before long to head back to Goth Central. They were "what brung me" on this birthday, if you know what I mean.

Violence and Jealousy

I felt like a pawn in some strategic war. But I was also the birthday boy.
For stretches of the evening Theresa could be seen draping herself all over me embarassingly. I don't like what this sort of thing does to Persad. They are always jealous of each other and they are always manipulating jealousy to get what they want. I felt like a pawn in some strategic war. But I was also the birthday boy.

Theresa then began scratching me in a strongly sexually suggestive way; putting her hands in my shirt and tearing cuts in my back. It was more or less attention overload for me. So I pleaded to her to be gentle. She almost tried to be gentle, but that is not a capacity within her, and the claws kept straining to change angle and resume raking.

Meanwhile Tiffany changed into some sexy lingerie and looked at Theresa and me and said she wanted to play too.

I ended up videotaping her seducing the video camera.

Later that non-goth guy Mike tried to interact with Tiffany and she wanted nothing to do with him, claiming that he is a werewolf. Mike has some sort of weird syndrome in which his fingers end in knobs covered with over-sized convex finger nails and this does make him seem other than human. He didn't realize that Tiffany was serious about not wanting to interact with him. So she hauled off and punched him in the face. Later he had her do it a few more times. She started enjoying it. For a moment though I thought there was a possibility that the goths would rise to the occasion and sacrifice Mike.

I videotaped some large group of goths emerging from the bathroom at one point, brought out by Mike's foolish knocking on the door (I was sure they would kill him on videotape). But as Theresa swished by she socked me in the cheek. Her rings left little cuts but the damage was not severe. She followed me around the rest of our time together, apologizing. That was the only violence that went apologized for the whole evening.

It seems Tiffany and Angela were having a big fight because Angela was jealous about the way she perceived that her boyfriend Aaron was looking at Tiffany's lingerie.
Persad was so pissed off at this point that he demanded that everyone leave so he could fight with Theresa in peace. Out in front, Josh Mustin pulled up in a car. Theresa went to talk to him and apparently casually stabbed him in the neck with her keys. Josh flipped out, charged at Theresa and threw her head hard into a wall.

Rendered somewhat giddy by that experience, Theresa entered the house to find Persad "on top of" Tiffany. What was happening? It seems Tiffany and Angela were having a big fight because Angela is jealous about the way she perceived that her boyfriend Aaron was looking at Tiffany's lingerie. Persad was only there trying to break up that fight. Theresa thought he had other motives and smashed a bottle over his head, sending him to the hospital. From his hospital bed he proclaimed he never wanted to see Theresa again.

Then Angela got in a fight with Theresa for no particular reason and Theresa threw her down on the floor several times in a brutal display of aggression. Angela vowed that she never wanted to see Theresa again either.

I missed everything that happened after Josh Mustin tangled with Theresa. As a break from the action, Cecelia, Mike and I had gone to St. Martin's Café on 14th Street near the old Rising Sun Bakery. I was in a drunk but loquacious mood and the barkeep gave me a free beer since it was my birthday. When you have a choice of drinks paid for by the house, it's best to get beer since it can never be served "weak." I tried to order Cecelia a beer, saying she just got off the plane from Brazil and had forgotten her passport. But the barkeep wouldn't serve her without an ID. But I did order Mike a beer, but not before the barkeep determined that Mike wasn't completely wasted. I have no idea why I was served at all. BECAUSE I WAS COMPLETELY WASTED. When we left the bar, I was amazed to find we'd been just on 14th Street all along. I'd never been in St. Martin's before, see.

Mike took Cecelia and me back to his house and we smoked pot and drank wine until we simply trailed off into oblivion. What a night.

For all the problems caused by sexuality this day, no one ACTUALLY GOT LAID.

See a gallery of video frames shot on this day.

For linking purposes this article's URL is:

previous | next