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:
   if I abandon my friends...
Friday, March 28 1997

A mysterious question: If I was of wax and you were the sun would you embrace me in rage or in fun?

From then on the logs on Atlas (the web server I dominate here at Comet) recorded almost nothing but hits to my Heaven's Gate mirror site.
Strange things resulted from my having created a mirror site of the Heaven's Gate cult web site. You need to know first of all that it seems I created my mirror site before anyone else except the Washington Post, and then I submitted it directly to Infoseek, which, as I have said before, is the only search engine that updates its index within minutes. Shortly thereafter, though, many others created mirror sites and submitted them to Infoseek, and its "instant update" feature began to whimper and die under the relentless submissions coming in from throughout the Web. Then I noticed that my submission hadn't worked; the crazy cult members had used lots of easily detectable "word spamming" techniques to make their page come in at the top of search engine results for terms such as "Jesus," "UFO," and "Alien." Most of the popular search engines are too sophisticated to be fooled by such things. For example Altavista gives no additional relevance points to words that are simply repeated and Infoseek won't even accept submissions that appear to use "word spamming." So I had to edit the Heaven's Gate home page so that the spamming would pass Infoseek muster but still be highly relevant. I managed to submit this later version to Infoseek just before its "add a URL instantly feature" bit the dust. From then on the logs on Atlas (the web server I dominate here at Comet) recorded almost nothing but hits to my Heaven's Gate mirror site. I was very pleased with myself for the work I'd done.

Of course, I shamelessly exploited the death of those 39 dead cult members by putting links to my musings, yesterday's entry, and to my homepage at the top of my mirrored Heaven's Gate homepage. This resulted in a huge influx of hits to my musings. I also got several emails from people who were thankful that I'd created the mirror. By keeping on top of the Heaven's Gate cult's "ascention," I managed to become an important part of how the tale played itself out on the Web. This was after all perhaps the singlest biggest storm to hit the web to date, driven as it was by much ghoulish fascination in the cult's web site.

The biggest beneficiary of all the web-related searching for source material related to the cult was no doubt Infoseek, since it is the only search engine that updates its index instantly with new web page submissions. Anyone searching for "Heaven's Gate" on Lycos or even Altavista last night was inundanted with lots of pages completely unrelated to the cult. Only Infoseek managed to stay on top of the story with relevant information as it broke. I have a feeling Infoseek's popularity will increase because of their performance even though, in the end, it's "instant update" feature crashed under the stress.

On a somewhat related issue, I have noticed that the Big Fun Glossary's hit rate has lagged in March. I think the reason for this is the fact that Webcrawler (a search engine that has lain almost dormant since the Summer, refusing new submissions and not excercising its robot) has suddenly come out of its coma and started drinking Ensure®. It re-catalogued most of the pages remaining at my old site on the main web server, Gilgamesh. Since those pages are basically just "you are at the old site and you should instead go to ___" pages, they have no content, and thus will almost never crop up as returns for Webcrawler searches. I'd been benefitting from Webcrawler incompetence since November, managing to rope in 10000 hits a month, since all the ghost Big Fun pages on Gilgamesh pointed to the Glossary homepage on Atlas. By the way: any of you folks out there still using Webcrawler should probably just stick to reading children's books and watching Barney and Friends.

I was so happy to actually get one and then successfully cash it at the Ivy Road branch of Central Fidelity that I launched into a spending spree of sorts.
I slept well once I fell asleep. This took awhile though, since I could hear Elizabeth and others screaming in the halls and running around with percussive thumpy steps. I think they saw rats in the kitchen or something; another reason not to rent a house from Wade Apartments.

Upon awaking I fixed a broken link -not in my web site- in my bicycle's chain and rode off to Comet to get a paycheck, one of two owed to me. I was so happy to actually get one and then successfully cash it at the Ivy Road branch of Central Fidelity that I launched into a spending spree of sorts: a litre of vodka and two 7 Layer Burritos at the Barracks Road shopping center, then three used CDs at the Plan 9 on the Corner. They were: Slayer's Seasons in the Abyss and Bob Mould's Bob Mould, each for $5, and Marilyn Manson's Smells Like Children for $7. I guess some of you want me to give you the scoop on these CDs, so here I go:

I don't really like continous unfaltering speed metal. It just annoys me after awhile.
I recall when Slayer came out with Seasons in the Abyss in 1990. I was over at my redneck friend's (Josh Furr's) apartment in downtown Staunton, and he had a freshly minted copy. I'd been a mild fan of Reign in Blood, and didn't really expect to ever go beyond a shock-value-attraction for Slayer. But Seasons in the Abyss is so technically excellent and viciously dark that it quickly became one of my favourite albums of all time (alongside things like Nirvana's Incesticide and Slayer's other work of indisputable genious, South of Heaven). I have Seasons in the Abyss on tape, mind you, and I normally have a policy of not buying CDs which I already have in other media. But since all my tapes inevitably break, and since finding any Slayer available used is a great rarity, I thought $5 was within my price range. For those of you who haven't heard Seasons, let me just say that it has parts that are as fast and atonal as anything else you're likely to hear. But mixed in with that are slower, darker, creepier passages, along with things that conform more to the standards of Western Music as it is taught in college conservatories. It is the dark, creepy, atonal, and slower stuff that I particularly like on this album. You see, I don't really like continous unfaltering speed metal. It just annoys me after awhile.

But for $5, I was willing to experiment. I'm glad I did.
The Bob Mould, which came out in 1996, is incredibly good. I hadn't really expected it to be so good. Most musicians cheese out in their later years. And these are definitely Mould's later years. Some of his solo stuff from the early 90s was getting pretty damn cheesy. But for $5, I was willing to experiment. I'm glad I did. One thing that is interesting about Bob Mould is that, like me (but independently) he's discovered Guided by Voices and thinks, like me, that they are amazing. And it comes as a pleasant though not entirely unexpected surprise to discover the Guided by Voices influence throughout this album, especially on tracks 1 ("Anymore Time Between") and 7 ("Hair Stew"). "Hair Stew" goes even farther though, introducing Sonic Youth-esque studio experimentation. What is it about the album that sounds so GBV? Perhaps it's the warmth of the guitar sound, along with the bare-boned mantra-like guitar chord strumming. Whatever the style is, Mould does it real justice, while adding his own talents, the beauty of his voice, the emotional power of his guitar leads, and the poetry of his lyrics. He plays absolutely every sound on the album and even designed the CD cover art.

I'm just a poser of course. I'd never heard of them until they were famous and I mostly bought this CD so my goth friends would find more to listen to in my CD collection.
Now Marilyn Manson, be it a person, or a band, is not a musical institution with which I am terribly familiar. Marilyn Manson has risen to fame through shameless manipulation of their image, their personas, and the media. They proclaim to be anti-Christian (this has drawn heavy condemnation from humourless fundamentalist Christian organizations), they shave their eyebrows and they appear on stage in hybrid costumes that borrow elements from goth, bondage and transvestite subcultures. Their music is a mix of Industrial-style studio effects, 80's pop, a relatively large amount of guitar, and Marilyn's vocals, which go from brooding to abandoned screaming, often through distortion effects. The lyrics (in songs that aren't simply covers) seem designed specifically to create discomfort in the listener. They address issues that range from the valuelessness and non-sacredness of little children, drug abuse, twisted sexual acts, and human freaks of nature. All the band members have androgynous composite names composed of a famous female popstar or model's first name and a famous serial or mass murderer's last name. Their names are emblematic of what the band is: a combination of the showmanship of Michæl Jackson and Madonna, the shock value of a sideshow, the moodiness of Nine Inch Nails, the pomposity of Pink Floyd, and the attitude of Ministry. All of it has been done before of course, but this particular mix is tailor-made for the disaffected 90s. I'm just a poser of course. I'd never heard of them until they were famous and I mostly bought this CD so my goth friends would find more to listen to in my CD collection. But I like some of the songs okay. Unfortunately, most of the songs I like are their covers of songs by others. One thing that makes me not like many of Marilyn Manson's songs is a blues influence that I can clearly detect in some of the instrumentation.

How I tire of them telling me "Charlottesville is boring" all the time.
In the late afternoon I fixed myself a beverage consisting of vodka, water, Japan Green Tea and honey and went down to the Corner. There I quickly found a goth contingent consisting of Cecelia the Brazilian Girl, Karen the German Girl, her friend 16 year old Annie the Taurus (visiting from Florida) and Wonderboy Neek (who now lives in Jessika's old room on East Market Street). They were all bored, annoyingly so. But I hung out with them, eventually going with them to the Horrid Crash Pad to hang out with Josh Smith, where we were joined by Leticia the Brazilian Girl. They had plans of having Hapless Mike drive them to Richmond, which is OH SO MUCH MORE INTERESTING THAN BORING OLD CHARLOTTESVILLE (How I tire of them telling me "Charlottesville is boring" all the time.). While they waited endlessly for the arrival of Hapless Mike, I continued to drink vodka. But I knew I was getting drunk very quickly, so I moderated my consumption just a bit. Somehow I managed to avoid getting completely wasted.

I have decided to call her the "
Vaguely
Annoying
Girl
In
Nineties
Attire."
After some wandering around the Corner, I returned to the Horrid Crash Pad just as Hapless Mike was whisking them all off for an oh-so-exciting evening Richmond. I had another opportunity to join them. But I figured an hour in the car with them all might be more than I could take. Furthermore, I had my doubts we were going to be able to get into anyplace cool with a 16 year old in our midst. Even the big bad city has its limits. So I declined. Also in their contingent at this point was the Vaguely Annoying Girl (see the March 2 entry). I learned that she is Austin's sister. She'd just shaved her head and was very pleased with herself. She was wearing an emo-esque sheer purple shirt, the sort that is so popular in the 90s and which, like most things 90s, harkens back in a retro way to some indefinite stylistic past. Because of that shirt I have decided to call her the "Vaguely Annoying Girl In Nineties Attire."

I hear a lot about her inner-bitch from its victims, but I almost never have to deal with its wrath myself.
I found myself in front of Higher Grounds for the third or fourth time today, not being so very cool, sitting by myself with my vodka concoction. I'd come with Elizabeth, Penley and Liz West, who were on their way to the art department. I could see them over on the side of 14th Street chatting pleasantly with Jenfariello, the Owner/Operator of the Downtown Artspace with whom I once had a romantic affair. I knew she was coming my way after the conversation with my housemates concluded, so, to see what would happen, I turned to face the wall and act like I had no idea she was coming. Well, at about the time I knew she must have walked by me, I turned to see her urgently weaving through a throng of pedestrians in an obvious effort to get by me unnoticed. At first I was offended, but then I had to chuckle to myself. After all, this is exactly how psycho-Glenn Redinger (not to be confused with Monster Boy Glenn; see my September 1996 Musings) now deals with Jessika, a girl of whom he was once very fond. The strange thing, however, is that I thought Jenfariello and I were on good terms with each other. She's always nice to me to my face. I guess this is her inner-bitch mainfesting itself. I hear a lot about her inner-bitch from its victims, but I almost never have to deal with its wrath myself.

I had a slice of barbecue pizza and climbed the parking garage to have another look at the comet Hale-Bopp before it set over Fratville, and then I went home. I'd systematically NOT done everything my friends had done, so I was left alone to do nothing at all. It would have been pathetic to go to Cocke to do computer work, so instead I just went to bed. That's more pathetic, I know, but I'm the Gus, doo dee doo.

A note to you idiots who put embedded MIDI files and other annoying things on your web pages: I will no longer link to your pages. If I run across one of your pages and find it attempting to load your cheesy little canned music into my machine, I will instantly hit the BACK button while muttering a spongiform encephalopathy mantra at your email hotlink. Do you REALLY THINK anyone wants to hear bad versions of music only you like?


For linking purposes this article's URL is:
http://asecular.com/blog.php?970328

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