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
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Like my brownhouse:
   420 Party '97
Sunday, April 20 1997

Picture this: snowflakes the size of houses falling from extremely gentle skies and landing with the calm of colliding clouds.

I thought by driving my Dodge Dart around town my hangover might abate in a pleasant way. So I drove down to the Downtown Mall in the most roundabout manner possible and then parked on 2nd Street near Gallery Neo. On the way I'd picked up some food provisions. I took chips and salsa and sat in the outdoor dining area of Millers, which is closed on Sundays. Raphæl came over and we chatted a bit. He had trace of avocado stuck inextricably to his fingernail cuticles, a hazard of doing food prep for the Downtown Mall's Higher Grounds outlet.

I'll hold onto the extra 20 cents until I can find a cause more worthy than annoying television commercials.
Then, returning to my car, I came across Matthew Hart and his on-again-off-again-lesbian-girlfriend-turned-wife Leah. I hadn't seen him since at least early February. He was just then chatting with Jatasya and plotting having Leah buy him a CD at Spencer's (the coffee and CD place around the corner on Market Street). I went to get a "Kick" softdrink out of the 25 cent RC machine in front of Woolworths and found that the machine had been utterly emptied of all its wares, presumably by the Fridays After Five crowd. I was damned if I was going to spend 45 cents to support Pepsico. I'll hold onto the extra 20 cents until I can find a cause more worthy than annoying television commercials.

"Kick," by the way, is the official punk rock soft drink of the Downtown Mall. It only costs 25 cents and comes with a warning label saying "You don't even want to know what this beverage contains." When a can of Kick is empty, it can be refilled with vino and the Mall experience takes a decidedly mellow turn. In fact, I'd even bought a litre of vino just for this sort of thing, but the unexpected appearance of Matthew Hart changed everything.

Matthew and Leah are now living in Waynesboro at Matthew's father's house. They say they only rarely venture into Charlottesville these days. Today they'd discussed intentions of visiting me for the first time since their return.

We sat on the bench in front of Spencers and Matthew and Leah caught me up on all the craziness that had happened on their recent extensive road tour of North America. You've seen the email I received from him from Portland. Well, he had many more tales to tell, and he expanded considerably upon the ones he'd told me in the email. Matthew Hart is an accomplished story teller. He had me on the edge of Spencer's bench with this one:

It seems that like many times before, Matthew Hart had drunk to excess. This time, however, he went into blackout and drove around like a lunatic in his sturdy but sorely tested Vomit Comet. The next day he had two flat tires from all the curbs he'd hit. "Damned if I'm going to spend money on new tires!" he thought. That night, while Vanna the Increasingly Gothic Punk Rock Girl was resting in the car, he snuck off with his tools to another Ford Escort, jacked it up, stole a wheel, and left it sitting on blocks. He returned to his car and proceded to put the hot wheel on his machine. As he did so a cop pulled up behind him and flashed the lights. Vanna the Increasing Gothic Punk Rock Girl snapped wide awake and started squealing "We're going to jail, we're going to jail!" in utter defeat. Matthew ordered her to "shut the fuck up and let me do all the talking!"

The cop was the friendly stupid kind, and offered to hold a light while Matthew toiled with his task. And wouldn't you know, Matthew had stolen the wrong size of wheel. It had a 14 inch (not 13 inch) rim. But Matthew kept his cool. He threw the wheel in the back of his car, got the "dougnut" (an inferiour wheel used only for emergencies) and put that on instead. He gave the cop the "cool wave" meaning all was well and "thank you in the manner of the good old boys."

And the cop drove off. Matthew was shaking like a leaf. Vanna had gone white. "We can't keep doing shit like this!" she cried.

Matthew has been paying attention to my musings and thus I had almost no stories to tell him.

Matthew no longer has a workable fake ID, so he has to depend on older friends to secure alcohol. Since it was a mellow sunny Sunday and he'd stumbled across me, the plan soon became one of "let's go get some Mickeys." He thought it was a Mickeys Big Mouth kind of day.

The Pantops Food Lion, however, does not carry Mickeys Big Mouths or any other kind of Mickeys for that matter. After weighing all the meagre options we settled on a twelve of Natural Ice in bottles.

historic Big Fun

Where should we drink the beers? There were lots of options, but on such a day outdoors was definitely the best. For nostalgia and for want of relics we headed south down VA route 20 to now-historic Big Fun. As we had on our trip to Philadelphia, we drank our beers and chucked the empties out the window for the roadside cleanup volunteers to fetch.

Big Fun was beautiful on this crisp spring day. The sense of history pervaded everything within and without. Outside, little bits of old archeological debris can still be found mixed in with the grass. Inside, there's still some food in the kitchen cabinets and unwashed (now very moldy) dishes in the dishwasher, the one that never worked.

Speaking of moldy, mold infects everything white within the house. All the little masonry repairs necessitated by water damage and drunken craziness is now spotted with patches of mold. Especially near the front door where More Than Anarchy took a piss during the infamous Tussin non-Fest (see the November Musings).

Matthew was feeling so nostalgic about the place he whimsically suggested that Leah, he and I rent the place for the summer. Without having to heat, it wouldn't be such a horrible place to live.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention that one of these guys sported a mullet.
Any trip down to the Scottsville/Big Fun area would be incomplete, nay, would be a tragedy, if it didn't include a stop at the Pig and Steak Too. We ordered the $1.75 plate of french fries and a couple lemonades. The $1.75 plate of french fries is what rednecks order when they take their big family of inbreeds to Sunday dinner "on the town." It's a hell of a lot of french fries. We were REAL HUNGRY when we started eating, and we did manage to eat them all. I felt as though I needed to empty out my grease-trap. Meanwhile some greasy guys sat at the bar drinking their drinks. I would be remiss if I didn't mention that one of these guys sported a mullet. Nearby, an extended family of parents, their teenagers, and their teenagers' fat faced little kids, all squawked and complained their way through dinner.

I feel that if I were to disappear they'd start kissing.
Leah and Matthew Hart had one of their little fights out on the street on the way to and from another unsuccessful Mickeys search. When Matthew and Leah fight, it is completely unlike Theresa and Persad. It always seems that Matthew and Leah are punching and insulting each other for my benefit. I feel that if I were to disappear they'd start kissing. This time, though, the fight was apparently more serious and continued around a corner away from me as I went to get my Dart. But things settled down rapidly. Unlike when Theresa and Persad fight, there was no sense of lingering damage, no sense that the end of the world had finally dawned.

We had one Natural Ice each for the ride back to town. The beer struggled for comfort among the logjam of french fries.

Matthew and Leah headed back to Waynesboro. Originally, they'd wanted to come with me to find Monster Boy. But their little fight had drained them of social energy.

Bn was at my house when I arrived. We chatted a little, but I felt pretty drained by the day and (particularly) by the synergistic effects of Natural Ice and french fries, so I took a nap.

The nap was interrupted by the appearance of Monster Boy and Cecelia and Leticia the Brazilian Girls. I pleaded for "just one more hour of sleep." And, like clockwork, an hour passed (to me it was but a moment) and Cecelia was back with word that Monster Boy and Leticia were waiting in the car. So I hustled myself together and climbed into the back of Monster Boy's white K-car. X was playing on the stereo. I agree with whichever Brazilian Girl said they sounded a little like Jefferson Airplane. With their jangly (and occasionally surfy) guitars and female/male vocal harmonies they kind of do. But they build from that basic sound considerably. My opinion is that punk rock is a good effect pedal for classic rock.

We set off for the northern reaches of Charlottesville to get her home an hour late for the draconian curfew her parents have imposed. Being a year older (18), Cecelia can do whatever the hell she wants. Tonight she wanted to go to the Horrid Crash Pad because there was word that Josh Mustin was organizing a party at a hotel room somewhere.

We bought 3 litres of Cribari Chablis at the Barracks Road Kroger and returned to the Dynashack.

While he was in Philadelphia, Monster Boy bought a Super-8 camera and matching projector for $5 each. The video age had destroyed their value. He showed them to me; they're tidy little portable gadgets with fake wood paneling. As I think of this, I imagine what a Pentium computer would look like with fake wood paneling. What a ludicrous notion!

The Super-8 projector was exactly what I've been looking for. You see, on my last trip to Staunton, I'd picked up an old Super 8 stop-action animated movie I'd made for a 2nd Grade English class. It's called "The Magic Hat" and is based on a story I wrote in early 1976. The movie went on to win second prize in state-wide competition. I've been dying to see it in as much as the last time I did was back in Seabrook Maryland's Magnolia Elementary School during the Ford administration. Unfortunately though we didn't get to see the movie because first we need to get a little 25 cent widget that attaches to the Super 8 spool.

further measures taken to improve the Horrid Crash Pad

With glasses of vino, we set off for the Horrid Crash Pad expecting the worst: another relentlessly dull sausage party.

But, miracle of miracles, there were, mixed in with the usual Little Yayson, The Native American Odyssey guy, Joshes Mustin and Smith, two girls whom I have never seen before. Of course, since I almost never see girls in the Horrid Crash Pad, they almost had to be new recruits. The girls weren't exactly beautiful, but they considerably tempered the sausage vibes in the room. Even Monster Boy was impressed.

Monster Boy and I couldn't believe our eyes; first the trash gets cleaned up and now there are female decorations!
We drank our vino while the others drank Budweisers. Little meaningless conversations were had. Then two more girls showed up; these were UVA first years and they were even kind of cute. Monster Boy and I couldn't believe our eyes; first the trash gets cleaned up and now there are female decorations! Measures had most certainly been undertaken!

Later, two more somewhat overweight girls were led in by a great mass of a man. The sausage party was but a memory.

I want a dog to like me for my wit and social skills, not for my value as a possible semen receptacle.
In some respects the sausage party wasn't even a memory. Hapless Mike showed up and he apologized for something I couldn't even recall from the sausage party. It seems that his dog Denver, a male, had apparently taken a homosexual/transpecial interest in me while I lay passed out on the stained and spattered Horrid Crash Pad carpet, and had proceeded to nibble and hump me. It's not the first time this sort of thing has happened at the Horrid Crash Pad; Torrin's brother was permanently banned for a much lesser infraction perpetrated upon Cecelia the Brazilian Girl one time when she lay passed out on a Horrid Crash Pad couch. However, since in my case the offender was a dog, and it was pretty much laughed off by all concerned. Still, I regarded Denver differently after this news. Every attention he paid to me this evening seemed like sexual objectification. Later in the evening when I walked by him, he reached up with a paw and smacked my ass as if to say, "Hey, remember me?" I wheeled around Sara Poiron-style and shoved him away. For once I can understand what girls have to go through. I want a dog to like me for my wit and social skills, not for my value as a possible semen receptacle. For me, the incident with Denver is über embarrassing because (according to Hapless Mike) Denver's sexual interests, even with humans, are almost always focused on girls. It would appear that the dog sees something rather effeminate in my essential nature.

420 party 1997

Throughout the world and especially in these United States, April 20th has special significance to those who enjoy smoking marijuana. This is because "420" is the police code used to describe the observation that a suspect (who is "innocent until proven guilty in a court of law") has been witnessed smoking pot. For the same reason, in the mid-afternoon a little past four, most marijuana smokers reach for their baggies or else wish they could.

But when a pot smoker has a whole day that is 420 and yet never gets a single opportunity to smoke any pot, he will surely go to bed feeling like a friendless outcast. It's like Valentine's Day with no Valentines, Christmas with no presents, Thanksgiving with no turkey, or the Fourth of July with no fireworks.

The pot situation tonight was looking remarkably unpromising considering the fact that the Horrid Crash Pad usually is the setting for substantial amounts of pot consumption. Monster Boy, Cecelia and I kept shouting "It's four twenty!" as if we could conjour up marijuana with slogans alone. We watched pot trade hands at one point, but then the parties involved vanished. What to do?

Somehow I just knew that Hapless Mike was going to save the day. He said he might be able to get some "shake." Shake is made up of the leaves, seeds and stems left behind after the buds (the best part of the marijuana plant) have been removed. Monster Boy did the driving, and I stayed back at the Crash Pad with Cecelia.

Cecelia isn't a very sexual person. Occasionally she gets very drunk and does "stuff" with boys (Jesse, Morgan Anarchy, Jasio and Josh Mustin come to mind). But most of the time she does her best to manufacture an asexual facade that consists of her reverence for the dead ("I have a boyfriend who is a dead body") or from her identity as an alien (is she from Brazil, or is she from outer space?). Recently, though, I've noticed that she can become rather affectionate when only a little drunk, and even when sober. She and I have even been having "alien sex." This entails us placing out palms together and then acting as though alien DNA is being transferred. Tonight we were carrying on so much with this theme that one person present mentioned that we were being overly couple-like. That someone would make such an observation seemed to shock Cecelia.

When the boys came back with the marijuana shake, they carried an impressive half pound of it. I suggested that the ornate brass Horrid Crash Pad hookah be deployed for the smoking of the evil weed. Soon the Native American Odyssey guy was busy preparing the hookah for the festivities while Hapless Mike winnowed out the seeds. For those children in the audience just taking up pot smoking: seeds are the worst part of the pot. Don't smoke them. They are nutritious, however. I recommend that you either eat them or plant them.

the chalice

A cloud the size of Nebraska filled my lungs.
The hookah was impossible to use. It required sump-pump strength lungs and a flame thrower for a lighter. I said, "fuck this shit," and pulled the chalice-shaped bowl off the top and applied it directly to my mouth and inhaled. A cloud the size of Nebraska filled my lungs. "Now we're talking!" I exclaimed, filling the room with my exhale.

The chalice was passed around repeatedly, and the air grew grey with the thick smoke. It took a lot of smoking, but soon we were all pretty much stoned. All of us except the pert little UVA girls. They were scandalized. Nothing like this ever happens at their dorms.

When Tad appeared, I jumped up on a chair and did an air guitar solo in celebration, just like last night when Steve Weiner got a ride home. To my ego's gratification, everyone laughed like fools. My air guitar solos are fast becoming a trademark Gus thing to do, just like the non-sequitur saying of "doo dee doo."

In summation, I must admit that I had a wonderful time tonight at the Horrid Crash Pad, and so too did Monster Boy. The most dreadful of all Charlottesville's hangouts had somehow pulled off a successful party. The level of regard held for the place by myself and others was boosted greatly. But I'm not going to stop calling it the Horrid Crash Pad anytime soon.

Monster Boy and Cecelia wanted to go walk on the railroad tracks, but I just wanted to pass out. I took them back to my place and we played some music on my temperamental CD player. I tried to interest them in Jawbox, but no, Monster Boy dictated that we had to listen to Marilyn Manson. I have to say though that M.M. sounded very good to my shake-pot-altered consciousness. We all ended up passing out together in my bed. It's a little small for three people, especially when two of those people are wearing their boots and metal spikes.

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