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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:
   tubing on the 4th of July
Friday, July 4 1997

    he plan was to go tubing down the James River upstream from Scottsville. Complications developed as potential participants found other things to do. Matthew Hart and Leah are fucked up these days on god knows what. Actually, I do know what. They have THE PROBLEM and in their listlessness cannot relate to anyone but themselves. Normally Matthew would jump at the opportunity to go tubing down the James. Not today.

    That didn't satify an increasingly irritated Matthew; he forced Steve to write one of his infamous bad checks.
    Before we set out, Raphæl, Ana and Nemo came by. Raphæl ordered a couple of Chanellos pizzas and this delayed the start of the tubing mission.
      It was the second round of pizza for me this day. When I'd come in from work this morning, I'd found lots of pizza in the fridge. Assuming the beer that I had largely funded had all been drunk last night, I'd taken revenge upon the pizza. It had a little history behind it.
        Last night, it seems that Dr. Steve Louis Weiner came by for his first visit since Jessika's arrival. And he was being his usual obnoxious self. He has no regard for our commodities; he took a bite out of an onion and tossed it on the floor. Then he ordered pizza. And when the pizza boy arrived with the $11 pie, Steve only had $5 in his wallet. Steve's solution was to make the preposterous suggestion that he could "pay the rest 'later'." That didn't satify an increasingly irritated Matthew; he forced Steve to write one of his infamous bad checks. Matthew thinks that this sort of behaviour is reason enough for Dr. Louis to not be welcome at our house in the future.

    Those who went on the tubing adventure were Deya, Jessika, Monster Boy, Leticia the Brazilian Girl and me. On the way south to Scottsville, we drank Natural Ice from bottles and tossed the empties out the window. To break a bottle on the road is the usual modest goal, though when Matthew Hart is riding along, he usually aims to hit signs.

    We bought a case of Natural Ice (in cans) at Skippy's in Scottsville and proceeded on to Deya's place to the southwest.

    Deya's mother did the "catering" of our tubing. She even loaded up a cooler full of finger sandwiches for us! Then she dropped us and our tubes off at the nearby landing on the James.


    he landing was crowded with mostly youthful rednecks. They were concentrated around a number of monster trucks that could be driven in the shallower parts of the river. Several trucks had been parked on an archipelago of flat little islands. Budweisers were being drunk at an alarming rate by mulletized white people.

    God knew what He was doing when He made us barefoot.
    We floated down the river in the same manner that we always do, stopping first upon a smoothe rocky island that we call "the Hippopatamus." Then we continued to the big rocky island where high diving is possible. I don't do any of that diving stuff, of course, but the others all do. The highest dive is about 30 feet above the river. A couple of tattooed "river dorks" were taking turns jumping from this place as we arrived. I call them "river dorks" because they wore flip flops to protect their sensitive little footsies. They also criticized me for drinking out of a glass bottle. One of them explained that the glass, should it break, posed a threat to feet, adding "that's why, on the James, it's aluminum." He went on to advise us to buy shoes.
      Man, I've been going barefoot since I was born. I've been warned about snakes, briars, poison ivy, glass, you name it. But the worst thing that has ever happened to my feet has been athelete's foot, and that comes from wearing shoes. God knew what He was doing when He made us barefoot.

    Then a motorboat came by. It was piloted by the grand pooh-bah of James River Runners (a commercial outfit that organizes and caters expeditions up and down the river) and his Budweiser-drinking sidekick. They asked if we'd seen some lost sun glasses and whether we intended to clean up our Natural Ice cans. It seemed as if he felt the river belonged to him.

    Further down the river, Jessika decided it was time to teach me how to swim. In the course of a pitched battle she managed to dislodge me from my tube. Of course, she received aid and assistance from Deya. A bunch of water went up my nose.

    Deya's mother and cousin are both from Sweden and it's awfully hard to shock a Swede.
    Then I took my pants off. I wasn't really very drunk; I was just reliving an amusing incident of a year ago when we'd gone tubing with a 5 litre box of wine.
      That time I'd emerged nude from the water at Hatton's Ferry, dancing around shouting "I'm naked, I'm naked!" in front of Deya's father and little cousin Ando. Deya's mother and cousin are both from Sweden and it's awfully hard to shock a Swede.
    Deya (with assistance from Leticia and Jessika) snagged my pants and held them hostage until we arrived at Hatton's Ferry, where Deya's mother and father eventually picked us up.

    After we got out of the water, Leticia found a dead black snake in the road, a victim of the pervasive misguided redneck view of nature. She put the big limp serpent around her neck and stroked it's little head and expressed sincere apologies on behalf of our species. It was just more fuel for her misanthropy. Meanwhile Jessika and I bounced and frolicked in a huge pile of inner tubes in front of the James River Runner headquarters.


    ust past sundown, we went into Scottsville and stood among a large crowd lining the VA-20 bridge over the James, watching the fireworks. A few of the these exploded a little too low and the flames rained down on the grassy floodplain and started a number of fires. The fire department came by at their leisure to put them out. The crowd was full of excitement and many had their own cache of illicit explosives, which they fired off in response to particularly exciting launches from the official Scottsville display. Far to the south, the clouds occasionally lit up brightly from either a thunderstorm or Buckingham's fireworks.

    This confirmed my suspicions that superficial patriotism is a mostly American phenomenon.
    I asked Leticia what Brazil's big national holiday is. There is one, she says, but she can't remember what day it falls on. This confirmed my suspicions that superficial patriotism is a mostly American phenomenon. Despite the shaky history of liberty in Brazil, I have a feeling that the notion of an anti- flag- burning amendment would be laughable there.

    I slept during most of the ride back to Charlottesville.


    t Farmer Jack, we got a box of wine and returned to Kappa Mutha Fucka. There, a sausage party was in effect; those present included Matthew's friends Jamie and Shonan, Zachary and perhaps others. Later Shonan's sister Natalie arrived, then Allie Vining, then Peggy. I was finding Zachary very entertaining. He and I discussed the homosexuality of Bob Mould and Morrisey. We had to agree that the love and heartbreak songs are just as meaningful no matter the gender and sexual orientations of the parties involved. Besides, Mould and Morrisey almost always use gender non-specific terms like "you."

    Deya and Monster Boy went off to spend quality time in the latter's new basement quarters. Jessika had been picking on Monster Boy all day, calling him "Monster Fruit" (a term coined by Sara Poiron). And he was in a pretty bad mood.

    Jessika and I had a long conversation on the front porch about a range of issues. Then I passed out on the couch near Leticia, who had been passed out for hours already.

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