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:
   Shira the dog
Thursday, December 11 1997

ctually, I do know the origin of the gansta-rap term "homie." Some people wrote me with helpful definitions. See, what I did when I mused that "homie" might be from the Latin root "homo" was draw attention to one of the apparent flaws of linguistic archæology. You see, it's a field that is all based on the products of linguistic evolution, without any reference to linguistic fossils. Why don't linguists study fossils? Because words don't have any hard parts to leave behind, and usually written language is of little help. I could easily see a linguistic archæologist hypothesizing that "homie" and "hombre" were different branches on the same tree. I could see the same archæologist looking for the non-existent common ancestor of the Yiddish "oy" and the skinhead "oi."


hen I came in from work this morning, I found Jessika just awaking on one of the couches, her friend Balled Andy sleeping on the other. She'd convinced Andy to drive her down for the weekend in his reliable bluish Volvo. Seeing her energized me, and I decided to stay up and hang out with her instead of doing the usual, going directly to bed. Besides, last night was my last night of my employment at Comet. More about that in a little bit.

I was hungry, and Jessika wanted adventure in that morning in Charlottesville kind of way. Oh, just to stand beside Charlottesville and the reason. The reason to be anything other than what I am.

Balled Andy was up, so he joined us on our foot-powered breakfast expedition. He's an extremely quiet fellow. He almost never has anything to add to a conversation, and will only respond if one speaks directly to him. He's pleasant and ethereal in that Zachary sort of way. During his stay this weekend he was to say things like "Charlottesville makes me feel like my head is falling apart."

There's a German restaurant on nearby Fontaine Avenue called "the Schnitzel House." For some reason, I had it in my mind that it was a good breakfast place. But one of the owners, bent over shubbery out front, informed us that it was a dinner-only establishment. What reputation do the Germans have for dinner cuisine?

At the Seven Day Junior, then, I bought a container of meaty pasta salad. Jessika, partly in an effort to taunt me and Andy (both of us have an aversion to eggs), bought a single boiled egg for twenty nine cents. She named it "Mr. Egg" and went on to draw a sad little face on it before breaking it open and eating it before my averted eyes.

By that time, we'd moved to the Old Dominion Chicken place and had ordered a heaping box containing a mix of fries and onion rings.

Back at Kappa Mutha Fucka, I took a nap and slept until some time like three in the afternoon. Jessika woke me up at that point with her little lighted gun, powered by a noisy trigger-driven dynamo.

Morgan Anarchy, another big Jessika fan, had come by, and I had him and Andy pose with Jessika and (to an extent) myself for video frames to upload on to the web, one of which you see here. The girl with the lavender hair is Jessika, the guy with the beard is Balled Andy and the guy with the studded leather jacket is Morgan Anarchy.


uddenly Matthew Hart and Angela appeared, being pulled a long by a chain attached to an adolescent purebred husky dog, a beautiful black and white lupine beast which, as Kelly was soon to note, looked like Gene Simmons of Kiss, complete with face paint and tongue. The dog had been discovered gaunt and lonely in the orchards near Peggy and Zach's place up on Carter's Mountain. Now Matthew was expressing the firm desire to adopt the dog and keep her "forever." He'd already seen fit to name her Shira in honour of the late former Big Funster.

Matthew was pretty drunk, and with that came the side of him I like least, the fakeness, the social arrogance, and even an element of bullying. He wanted everyone to be absolutely clear on the fact that "Shira" was the absolutely best dog in the world, that she was to be accorded utmost respect and deference. For example, when (as inevitably happened) there was an altercation between Nicholas the Cat and Shira the Dog, it was quite naturally judged by Matthew to have been brought on entirely by Nicholas. When we attempted to defend the cat or when we had doubts about Shira's being the best dog in the world, we were shouted down or even challenged to fight.

Much of Matthew's kindness toward the dog seemed more calculated as a show for us than as benevolent acts in and of themselves. For example, we were told that the dog had been fed gourmet chicken and steak, and in front of us she was fed hot dogs and other human foodstuffs.

The lavish foolishness of feeding the dog human food, in concert with other things, led me to theorize that Matthew was doing his best to project a human personality onto the dog, and not just any personality, but that of the girl after whom she'd been named. He claimed the dog was definitely a Gemini, which was the late human Shira's sign.

Tonight was the first time he'd talked to me in a while, and tensions were high at first, at least from my side. His drunken palaver had me wanting to just punch him in the face. But later I just wanted to get the hell away from him. I disappeared into my room to check my email, and was eventually joined by Jessika, Deya and Balled Andy, and I told them what I thought of all this Shira the dog crap, ending with the sentiment that I couldn't bring myself to call the dog "Shira" either. They all agreed with me that Matthew was being drunkenly impossible, and added that it was unlikely he'd be able to care for the dog in the long run, especially one that was going to require so much outdoors exercise.

Later, after a beer run, Matthew returned from the JPA Fastmart with none other than Kelly, the girl with whom I had an early-October fling. It was her night off, and she was free to party, if you know what I mean.

Meanwhile, Jessika, Deya, Balled Andy, Morgan Anarchy and I prepared ourselves a new drink which contained Dextromethorphan, or so we firmly believed. We made it from bags of transluscent green foot-ball shaped Dextromethorphan sucrets. We'd boiled them in water until they'd dissolved and then we'd drunk the top part, leaving behind the undissolved fluorescent-green sludge that had fallen to the bottom, containing, we believed, the disgusting non-active ingredients. It wasn't easy to drink all that mint-eucalyptus flavoured water; it was like brushing our teeth, esophagi and stomachs until the whole shooting gallery was minty fresh and ready to kiss Cindy Crawford.

As we suffered over our beverages, Matthew kept up his nauseating pro-dog enthusiasm. Where was this coming from? Matthew had never before shown any real interest in any breastless animal in his entire life.


e needed a place to go experience the Dextromethorphan we'd thought we'd drunk, so, after much debate, we decided to go up Carter's Mountain to visit Peggy and Zach and maybe check out the nearby abandoned houses. Jessika had originally wanted to go all the way down to Buckingham County to have a look at the famous pink pantheistic "Lotus Temple" of the Swami Satchinananda, but Kelly and Matthew were strongly opposed.

Kelly did come with us, but we lost Morgan on the drive out. You see, we came across Ray on Observatory Avenue, and Morgan decided to go hang out with him instead. "Decided" might be too strong of a word; Morgan was so drunk on whiskey by this point that it's doubtful his brain was really capable of decision as you or I would usually use the term.

At Peggy and Zach's, we sat around in their unusually messy living room drinking beer, talking, petting the cats and watching a 286-based PS/2 haltingly sputter out a Windows 3.1 screen saver. The apartment is now home to a large number of cats, including Seigmin (Theresa and Persad's old black cat, a daughter of Big Funster Senovia) and her two extremely fluffy adolescent kittens. Matthew was there only for a moment with his new dog and then he apologized and left; as drunk as he was he could see that the dog was going to be causing too many cat problems.

Those of us who had drunk the Dextromethorphan concoction gradually became aware that it was having absolutely no effect. We'd evidently drunk the wrong part. Thankfully we'd thought to save the undissolved sludge at the bottom of our horrible mint-eucalyptus beverages.

Kelly quickly became the conversational focus as she discussed various things related to her mid-level management job at Shenanigans, the upscale toy store at Barrack's Road. Kelly's in the "toy industry" and, like most industries, there's much to be known. Her specialty is, for whatever reason, the "Hello Kitty" series. They're repuslive little stylized two-dimensional pastel cats invented by the Japanese in a bid to give the Americans more of that nauseating stuff they know they want. "What, you were too cool for Hello Kitty?" she asked a puzzled Jessika. There were other things to discuss, the Beanie Baby series, for example. And child rearing. "I hope you don't mind if I ask, but do you use a pump?" she randomly asked a breast-feeding Peggy. Then, she turned to Jessika and wanted to whisper a question in her ear. Was she trying to find who was bedding whom? Did Jessika have a spare tampon? No... none of that, instead, "Is that your real hair or..." "No, it's a wig," Jessika answered pleasantly. As many times as she has to respond to that question in any given day, she never expresses any irritation until later discussions of these questions and the people who ask them.

Everyone left the room and went out for a smoke except for Kelly and me. I suddenly realized how drunk she was as she demanded a kiss. How do you say no to these things? Me: "No, I don't want to." Her: "Why?" Me: "I don't know, it's a slippery slope." She tried to convince me that it wouldn't mean anything. Suddenly I was reminded of Gretchen back in 1988. Gretchen had argued that if I wanted to kiss her and denied myself, then the betrayal of my then girlfriend had already been committed and I was being hypocritical to boot. Such logic worked back then, it didn't work tonight.

In a nearby abandoned house, Kelly beheld aghast a skeleton wall of naked studs. It flipped a switch in her head and brought up terrible memories of heartbreak and loss. Two years ago, she'd commenced to build a house with her last real boyfriend. It was to be the house in which she would live out her soon-to-begin married life. But when the house was only partly built, her boyfriend broke up with her, and the house, its embodiment of her labours, its place in her future, was yanked rudely away. In her delusions, she imagined that this house here on Carter's Mountain had been abandoned unfinished, insisting, "this wall has never seen dry wall." In the darkness, there was no way to tell, but clearly she was wrong. "Of course people lived here!" I said in irritation. But Kelly had old demons to exorcise, asking, "Who will help me tear down this house?" Jessika was intrigued; suddenly she was reminded of a Malvernian friend named Katia, an Aquarius, who used to organize people at parties into little groups according to astrological sign and occasionally returned precious stones to nature where they "rightfully belonged." But no one would help Kelly tear anything down.

On the way back to Peggy and Zach's house, we came across a strange structure: an "ORCHARD" held down by stones upon a low wide metal cyllinder. We removed the sign and discovered sacks of saw dust. Hoping to find hidden treasure or evidence for a homicide case, we removed as much of the sawdust as we could. They sat stacked in a deep column going well into the earth. We're still wondering what that was all about.


hen we returned to Kappa Mutha Fucka, I harassed the skinhead named "Wingnut" by telephone when I heard he was making a guest appearance at the studios of WNRN, the local non-profit alterna-rock station.

Then Shonan arrived; he's on Winter Break from William and Mary University and knew where to come for an evening of fun. Then Ray showed up. He said that Morgan Anarchy was passed out back in his bed. I drank some vino and sat listening to Ray talk, something he likes to do as an endless performance with as little feedback as possible. Ray was a little unnerved by Kelly's presence. When she was out taking a cigarette break, he told me that she has a record of obsessively stalking people. Once when he was in an elevator with her alone, he claims that she hit the emergency stop botton and began kissing him.

At a certain point I was so drunkenly bored that I slid off to my room and went to sleep. I later learned from Jessika that Shonan and Kelly were observed lying on the floor, head to head, feet far far apart, kissing. They went home together.

What a crazy night. Yesterday I had no social life at all but today I saw my living room remade into party central.

one year ago

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