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:
   crazy trumps tough guy ensemble
Friday, August 8 1997

    atthew Hart came by Comet just as the shift was coming to an end and had me cash a check for him at Nations Bank, the only bank on the Corner. We had breakfast at Fox's, a little greasy spoon diner over in Belmont. I really don't enjoy eating pancakes in the presence of all the cigarette smoke we encountered there, but the diversity of physical types among the middle age and elderly blue collar customers was a sociological treasure. Some are fat, some have no shoulders, and some have amazingly disproportionate features. You don't find people like that on the Corner, I'll tell you. Matthew says that one of the regulars cannot talk, but he knows what he wants, and the waitress does too.

    I surpressed the urge to buy an Apple just to fondle and sleep with.

    abe, an avid musings/Dreamdweller reader, digitial electronics nut and co-worker, is soon returning to Blacksburg to pursue educational goals. Today was his last day on the job here. He and another co-worker Steven told me about a sale of surplus computer equipment being held by the Charlottesville City School System. Not wanting to miss out, I hurried down to the City Schools warehouse, which is just a little west of the Downtown Mall. The possibly underworked woman at the desk told me the sale didn't begin until noon. So I went home and took my post-work nap.

    When I awoke I convinced Deya to drive me to the warehouse. It was a little past 3pm, and the sale had just ended. But the people at the warehouse were nice and let us in anyway. Deya and I looked around at the stuff, and there wasn't much left: some ancient PS/2s, a beautiful old videotape editing machine for $40, some greyscale VGA monitors, and lots of $5 Apple IIe's. Deya was amazed to learn that in the computer class that I took my senior year of high school, the Apple IIe was the current equipment (it was a little dated even then, but it wasn't too bad). I surpressed the urge to buy an Apple just to fondle and sleep with. Deya said they looked like toys.

    I bought a VGA monitor for $5, but it didn't work when I tested it. It had some sort of problem with the horizontal alignment and vertical displacement that requires me to open it up. Wouldn't you know, in its surrogate wisdom IBM used Allen screws to put the thing together.


    atthew Hart was interested in drinking Southern Comfort, but gradually the plans changed and we ended up getting a half gallon of cheap Bowman's Rum. Zachary and Peggy had shown up by this point and Zach drove us in their station wagon. After the alchohol and mixer (generic cola) were purchased, Zach and Matthew spent a long time buying deep-discount clothes at an outdoorsmen's shoppe called Britches'. I sat outside, bored. I hate shopping for clothes. I get all mine for free or nearly so. In this wasteful country of ours, there's almost never any need to buy non-consumables.

    It's not a trade I want to make, but I can imagine finding some worthwhile reason to stop drinking on a hypothetical future day.
      As I sat on the edge of the vast Barracks Road parking lot, I watched a weary couple and their demanding little infant. I wondered what would happen if I was the author of a baby. Things would change a lot. To have the money to care for such a monster, I'd have to sacrifice alcohol expenditures or else experience incredible guilt. Could I in good conscience be drinking away money if another life depended on me for its very survival? Probably not. At a certain point, I suppose, a lot of people trade in the bottle for a baby. It's not a trade I want to make, but I can imagine finding some worthwhile reason to stop drinking on a hypothetical future day.

      The Barracks Road Shopping Center is a monotonous and unremarkable slice of Americana. What's interesting is that it is the backdrop for so many segways in my admittedly unusual life. It's where I buy the evening's fun. In mentioning it in the musings, I always feel I give it unwarranted grandeur when in truth it's a horrible place populated by insular shoppers. There is no community, there is no soul. There was a time when such places did not exist.

        I blame the automobile.
          I blame the telephone.
            I blame electricity.
              I blame the television.


    rinking the rum and cokes with Matthew back at the place, I chatted rather more with Peggy than I have in a while. She told me some very interesting stuff about her family that for one reason or another I've never heard before.

    For twenty years, Peggy's father was a Catholic monk. And her mother was a nun for a long time. Her mother grew up desperately poor, raised by Peggy's grandmother, who was both blind and deaf. Mother communicated with grandmother by handsigning into her hand just like in the Hellen Keller movie I watched in 3rd grade. Peggy accounts for her mother's generocity as compensation for her childhood. And Peggy's mother has been generous. Neither Peggy nor Zach have real jobs, but they're living pleasant as can be up on Carter's Mountain, reportedly surrounded by painting supplies and with Guiness in the fridge.

    Peggy, Zach and Matthew went off somewhere to play golf (I'm serious) and I went off to the Corner.

    "Without doubt you are the single toughest guy in Charlottesville," I mocked, continuing, "What astrological sign are you?" "Don't give me none of your queer faggot shit!" he shouted.

    n 14th Street, I ran across the young thug named Chaz. Chaz, as you may recall, is the little would-be tough guy who caused cowardly mayhem at Space Party II and who I dealt with (in a not particularly hostile way) as recently as two weeks ago. Today, however, Chaz was not in a pleasant mood. In amongst a hurl of insults and obscenities, he wanted to know why I'd put "lies" about him on the Internet. One such lie, particularly egregious in his estimation, was my saying he'd been afraid of me. He also said he suspected me of being the author of the numerous "CHAZ DEAD @14" stenciled graffiti on the Corner. For these offenses, the diminutive Chaz proceded to inform me that maybe no one else in Charlottesville was man enough to do so, but some day he would surely kick my "queer faggot" ass.
      "Do you not like homosexuals?" I asked him, interview-style.
    He said he didn't mind homosexuals, he just didn't like queer faggot assholes like me. He then referred to the incident on the Downtown Mall two weeks before, saying he'd actually saved me from getting my ass kicked by the scrawny little dark guy with whom I'd had the altercation.
      "Oh yeah, he was kicking my ass real good," I recalled inaccurately with a smirk.
    "Okay," said Chaz, "maybe he's a little woman, but..." and again young Chaz promised that some future day I'd really be made to suffer. Amusingly, he also said he'd sue me.
      "Without doubt you are the single toughest guy in Charlottesville," I mocked, continuing, "What astrological sign are you?"
    "Don't give me none of your queer faggot shit!" he shouted.
      I went on to tell him exactly what I thought of his cowardly beating of people with a chain at Space Party II, something he denied doing.
    He complained that the incident is causing him legal problems.
      Delighted, I jumped in place and squealed "Good!"
    In a final deluge of insults and threats of violence, he turned to go.
      I gave a big friendly grin to the young couple who had been standing silently beside Chaz and who now turned to look at me a final puzzled time as they departed with their goofy little tough-guy friend.

    Pumped up on the excitement, I went into Plan 9, but found nothing worthy of purchase.

      I think young Chaz is afflicted by a condition I've seen time and time again: the little-guy complex. He's so small that he feels an unusual need to act tough. Such people often come across as laughable arrogant little shits who could benefit society best by submitting to dangerous medical experiments. I've also seen this complex in dogs and even roosters. Generally speaking, the greater the amount smaller than average, the worse the attitude problem. This is why I really only like big dogs, except for Nigel, our Pekinese neighbor.

    Later, I was in front of Little Johns, chatting with some not especially exciting punk rock/skater types. One of these is a mostly mild-mannered guy named Mark. Josh Mustin was also there. You may recall that Josh Mustin, assaulted by chemical weapons wielded by an especially intoxicated Deya, was more or less prevented from having an enjoyable time the last time he came to Kappa Mutha Fucka . Anyway, along came red-faced Colin, the born-again-tough-guy I introduced in the landmark May 24th entry. He too was in a foul mood, mostly for things ('lies") I'd said about him in the May 24th entry. He contended that neither he nor the idiot Dean (see the May 24th entry) were actually skinheads, and that I should take back all that I'd said about them. Others showed up, including someone who claimed to be the younger brother of Chaz, though he looked older, was bigger, and wasn't afflicted by a tough guy complex. There were a few others, including an increasingly dumpy if oh-so-stylish punk rock girl who had never said a word to me before. They all took turns insulting me to varying degrees while I sipped my rum and debated (for what it was worth) with them. Even Josh Mustin, true to his wormlike nature, cast a snide remark. It's always good to be on the majority's side in a debate, don't you know. Bill Clinton taught us that.

    Main beefs included:

      But then they advance the preposterous notion that Ben had the beating coming because he'd been "talking shit."
    • my characterizing Dean as an idiot and a skinhead. Everyone claimed to know and like Dean, saying that he is an intelligent person and a bonafide punk rocker (and even, heaven forbid, an artist), though they did admit he'd done bad things to my residence at Space Party II. Apparently Dean is now in Seattle; he'd felt the need to flee in the face of "all the shit," whatever that means. I responded that all I ever saw was idiocy from Dean, that his stupid belligerance towards Monster Boy on May 24th was evidence enough of his impairment. Also, I said I had no reason to treat Dean with respect on the streets or in my musings, since he'd fucked with me before I ever even knew him (at Space Party II).

    • Colin didn't like being lumped together with Dean, even if Dean was as good as everyone said. "That's guilt by association," he said. He further contended that he'd saved me from Dean on May 24th. I responded that I thought Colin was indeed an intelligent boy, but that he'd followed the wrong path. Anyone hanging out with Dean was automatically suspect. Furthermore, his newly acquired pretenses of toughness were simply annoying.

    • "The younger brother of Chaz" stuck up for his older tough guy brother in a remarkably calm and collected way, given the circumstances. He didn't make that much sense though. And in his calmness he still delivered promises of violence from "all the people" who were now angry with me among youth culture on the streets of Charlottesville. This violence, as ever, was to occur on some unspecified date.

    • I still can't believe people are still defending Chaz' brutal beating of Ben Kulo with a smiley (a padlock on a chain) at Space Party II. Unlike Chaz, his friends all concede that he actually did it. But then they advance the preposterous notion that Ben had the beating coming because he'd been "talking shit." I'm sure Ben's shit talking pales in comparison to mine! I believe Gigi Allin said it best, "Eat my fucking diahreah" wanna-be tough-guy street thugs!

      They expressed fear (yes, FEAR) about what I would say about this particular day. They expressed fear (yes, indeed, FEAR) about the number of people who could read it.
    • A number of people in this angry contingent, including a long-haired guy, said that I was "hiding behind my computer" and that, if I wasn't such a coward, I would be able to tell people directly to their faces the things I was putting on the Internet. To this I could say most truthfully that in fact I had told all the accused what I'd thought of them to their faces. "I told Dean exactly what I thought of him and he just about shit his pants!" I boasted. Indeed (though I didn't mention this at the time), the only people I am too cowardly to confront verbally about issues are my friends! The whole idea of anyone composing a journal about life on the streets of Charlottesville came across to them as sinister and evil. There was no way for any of them to see the value of it. None of them told me I was being courageous for putting down my opinions in an open and non-anonymous forum. None of them mentioned qualities in my writing that had impressed them. No, they were singularly focused on bad things I had said about a few individuals. They wanted me to change what I had said. They wanted me to recant. They expressed fear (yes, FEAR) about what I would say about this particular day. They expressed fear (yes, indeed, FEAR) about the number of people who could read it. I suggested that they could create their own web page if they wanted to, though of course I know none of them have the necessary skills, either computationally or linguistically. To this they said that they wouldn't "pay for that shit." No, I said, it's all free if you know what to do.
        Their ignorance about the internet leaves them, in this debate at least, speechless in a fundamental way. The worse they can do to me to criticize me is promise violence and say they don't like me. Oh, the heartbreak. If I take it off the internet, will you be my friend? Tee-hee!
      Unlike them, I'm not the least bit concerned about what they say about me. Obviously, then, my speech is worth considerably more to them than theirs is to me. I feel powerful, and I love it.

    Most of these guys, particularly Colin, but also the younger brother of Chaz and the others, repeatedly used the words "faggot" and "queer" as an insult. I found this sort of intolerance perfectly in keeping with the fascist tendencies I'd originally (and seemingly correctly) diagnosed as skinheadisms. As I had with Chaz, I asked them if they had a problem with gay people. They all immediately insisted that they didn't, but qualified that with "as long as they leave me alone." How about black people? I can't believe they began their responses to that with

    "Some of my best friends..."

    How about goths? That hit a special place in their hateful hearts. They all agreed they hated goths with a passion, but couldn't really think why. At this point they noted that I was wearing all black.

    So as you can see, these guys didn't exactly come across as paragons of acceptance.

    Then, at the very top of my voice, I dared them to call me a nigger. Old people were walking by and looked on in shock. The little creeps all turned white (even Colin) and fled into Little Johns.
    The discussion lasted for so long that tempers quieted and people talked almost rationally. Colin said he'd be heading for college in the fall, the others acknowleged that my having painted so many paintings was a worthy accomplishment for a person of such an advanced age. I took a piss break and came back to continue where we'd left off. But gradually I became irritated with the stagnation. These guys, these would-be opponents, are still just children. They don't know much, they have poor powers of logic. They try to impress each other with how tough they can act in my presence. What had started as a sociologically-interesting circus designed to impress each other with their clique-conformity gradually degraded into a hopeless bore. On the zillionth time of someone (now calm-voiced and casual) insulting me with the word faggot, I rose to my feet and started shouting at them. I accused them of fascistic intolerance and bigotry. I told them they reminded me of the very worst parts of my high school. Then, at the very top of my voice, I dared them to call me a nigger. Old people were walking by and looked on in shock. The little creeps all turned white (even Colin) and fled into Little Johns. It looked like my ass kicking would have to wait another day.
      As Zachary put it later "the crazy guy beats the tough guy every time."

    A guy with a ponytail named Eric came over. He'd been watching the whole thing and enjoying himself. I was all pumped up with excitement and a feeling of glory as he and I discussed the fascist tendencies we'd just observed among the irrational reputation-obsessed street urchins. The goth girl Amy who works in Little Johns (and who occasionally does romantic stuff with Monster Boy) came over and chatted with Eric. I found their geeky flirting irritating, but it gave me a chance to relax after what had just happened.

    Soon thereafter while still on the Corner, I ran across Matthew Hart and then Rory. The former was looking for me and the latter was looking for the former. The plan was to go bowling, and though I'd come up with the original plan to go bowling, now I didn't want to go. I was too distracted.

    Back at Kappa Mutha Fucka I was drunk and bubbling over with enthusiasm. The others were seeming far more sober.

    Perhaps it's important to point out that the thugs with whom I had today's altercation are, for the most part, all from nice middle and upper-middle class homes. They have plenty of time to waste on the streets of Charlottesville because mommy and daddy, no doubt divorced, are engaged in a competition to see who can lavish them with the greatest amount of toys and money. So the spoiled little brats have the latest punk rock clothes and the latest punk rock music. The only thing they lack is parental guidance and love. Threats of violence and acts of crime don't come out of material need; it results from a desire to impress peers with an impression of punk rock legitimacy.

    View an index of links concerning skinheads and skinhead violence in Charlottesville.

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