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:
   music we like
Friday, December 19 1997

ately I've been listening a lot to WNRN, Charlottesville's year-old "non-commercial" "modern rock" station. The daytime rotation is pretty short, so I'm familiar with the music now considered "hip." It's a slightly different mix than you'll hear on other rock stations, but there is some overlap. It's mostly white college rock and there's no Spice Girls or Hanson, so maybe I'm missing out on some important societal trends.

WNRN plays a certain amount of local music too, which gives my listening a refreshingly regional flavour. A favourite for me right now is a local musician named Clara Quilty. I really like "That's Why I Mutilate You," from her album Sugarlick.

As for less regional music, I find myself enjoying "Red," that new Turbocharger song. It's retro-Neil Young stadium-grunge, and it's all been done before, but I like the guy's voice and I especially like the line, "As a rampage[?] from your wrinkled dress, pictures of the people you've impressed" That line is wonderfully bleak and autumnal in the special way so loved by me.

There's some terrible modern "rock" music out there too; the Bare Naked Ladies doing "Lying in Bed" live, with the sing-along crowd doing all the vocalist's infuriating word stretches. My view of humanity dims further every time I hear that crowd going nuts over such appalling music.

In the morning, I used a rotary grinder to modify a PC slot cover to accommodate a full-sized 50-pin SCSI connector. To complete my work, I needed to drill some screw holes, but I only had one drill bit.

It was a warm sunny day, so I rode my bike up treacherous 29 North to the K-Mart to get some drill bits. While I was there, I was, as expected, assaulted with the usual unpleasant sites, sounds and smells familiar to anyone who has ever waded into a K-Mart. As you might expect, seasonal Christmas music blared from the Muzak system, no doubt with subliminal messages urging me to max out my credit cards. One little tune I'd never heard before sang about the joy of children on Christmas morning. I found it strangely touching. It had more soul and menace than anything you'd normally hear from a Muzak speaker, which isn't saying much, but still, I was impressed. I suddenly had the feeling that either Christmas music is starting to more resemble the music I like, or else the music I like is starting to more resemble Christmas music. Needless to say, I'm hoping the former, not the latter.

This experience reminds me of a little experience I had yesterday, when I was back in the Shaque hanging out with my folks. Some sort of modern rock song had come on the radio. It wasn't anything too great, just some typical 90s pop-grunge thing (perhaps with an uncomfortably evident Hootie and the Blowfish/Oasis influence). Anyway, my Dad, who is a complete pop culture illiterate, asked what it was. I indicated that it was just some rock and roll and that I didn't know. He was surprised. I think he kind of liked it. You see, his idea of what constitutes "rock and roll" is still frozen in that late 50s sound, and he knows he does not like that. I was amused, and suggested that maybe my Dad finally likes popular music, adding "perhaps you were born many years too early."

The woman in front of me in the cashier line was buying a small pile of CDs. They must have been intended as gifts, since in addition to such nauseating crap as Luther VanDross, she was getting Metallica's Kill 'Em All and Ride the Lightning. At least somebody in her family has an appreciation for honest to goodness ass-kicking head banging, although the woman looked like the sort who is probably a bit concerned by the tunes her kid is listening to.

Back at Kappa Mutha Fucka, I managed to attach the big SCSI connector to the back of my computer. It wasn't easy; in the process I was faced with all kinds of unpredicted shape mismatches. Just finding the necessary attachment bolts was an ordeal in its own right; in the end I looted exactly the bolts I needed from an old MFM hard drive's head stepper motor. But when I was done, I had an easy way to attach my portable hard drive to my PC in the same way I can attach it to a Macintosh. Now all I need is a way to read Macintosh SCSI volumes on my PC.


oices from downstairs told me someone was home. It was Matthew Hart with Morgan Anarchy and Jatasya. Jatasya, as I've said, is now a dishwasher at the C&O. Wow, it was a party, so I quit being a reclusive internet geek and changed hats to assume my role as dissolute socialite, complete with beer in hand.

We sat out on the front porch in the warm late-afternoon while Jatasya and Morgan smoked their cigarettes. I remember 2.5 years ago when Jatasya quit cigarettes, but I guess the stress of actually having a job has her smoking again.

Matthew was full of amusing stories about Dave Simpson, the owner of the C&O:

It seems Dave keeps a toothbrush hidden in a C&O bathroom for his own personal use. Well, he walked into the bathroom the other day and found his toothbrush out on the sink and wet. Who had used it? He asked around and soon found out that the only lesbian waitress on the waitstaff was the culprit. Dave was shocked. He took Matthew aside and asked what he would do if someone had used his toothbrush in this fashion. But Matthew didn't think it was a big deal. He'd prefer to maintain the sanctity of his toothbrush, but if someone should use it, he wouldn't be too upset. "But [in reference to the waitress' lesbian ways] you don't know where that mouth has been," Dave stressed. "Well," Matthew retorted, "you don't know where my mouth has been either..." This story really had me laughing. None of the particulars were especially funny, but Dave's role as a personality in the story I found incredibly humourous. He obviously didn't care particularly about the toothbrush, he was just using the incident as "material" to promote levity in the workplace he maintains.

In a similar vein, there was the story of the goth dishwasher who worked all of two hours before unexpectedly dissappearing. He called back and told Dave that he'd neglected to mention that he was clinically depressed. Apparently his new job had worsened his condition, and he'd been forced to leave. Over the phone, Dave Simpson was understanding, advising the goth to get some rest and get well. When he got off the phone, he turned to Matthew and Curious Digit Adam, saying, "Needless to say, he's fired," and then, a wry smile developing, he added, "and, if either of you gets depressed, you're fired too!"

Matthew ordered a pizza from the Hot Tomatoes after all the other places claimed not to be delivering. Hot Tomatoes is premium pizza, and it's worth the extra expenditure. Unfortunately, there were lots of us there to eat it, and the pizza vanished without much impacting my stomach. So I ordered another. With the addition of canned jalapeño peppers, that was good eating.

Matthew Hart, Jatasya, Morgan Anarchy and Deya in Kappa Mutha Fucka's living room tonight.
From left: Matthew Hart, Jatasya, Morgan Anarchy and Deya in Kappa Mutha Fucka's living room tonight. Note that Matthew is in a wheelchair, something he picked up cheap somewhere. The paintings on the wall include Felis diabolica, Maternity, Hormone Prisoners, and Wrong Room. The yellowish-gray rectangle behind Deya's head is the plastic we used to close up one of two windows smashed by Matthew. Like many of my recent panoramic images, this is actually two video frames spliced together. Isn't Photoshop wonderful?

Alcohol runs were numerous. At my urging, most of what we drank was vino instead of beer. I think we drink entirely too much beer in our house, and it's been having some negative reprecussions. Matthew weighs 175 pounds now, and I can see it on him.

When Matthew and I were alone for awhile, we discussed the housing situation. Suddenly he's saying he isn't going to live with Deya and me, because, he claimed, Deya is opposed. I hadn't heard this yet.

But when I talked with Deya, she said that all she'd told Matthew was that she wanted him to treat this place more like a house and less like a place to drink. It was a reasonable request. Saying such a thing is hardly hard ball, you know.


Jatasya plays my African talking drum in my room while (unseen) Matthew wails on my electric guitar. I'd been playing my guitar semi-quietly by myself, and then these two would-be musicians showed up to help me. That's how music is made in my little world. Calling what we made "music" might be a bit of a stretch, but it served a valuable social purpose.

We all became drunker and drunker. Sarah Kleiner, the little seventeen year old daughter of junk artist A. Faith, somehow came up in conversation. Matthew Hart asked semi-jokingly if I thought Sarah and he would make a good couple. "You kind of remind me of Scully and Mulder" I said. "I'll kick your ass!" he shouted. But then he decided to give Sarah a call and invite her over. When she finally showed up, however, she spent most of her time hanging out with Deya.

While Sarah was here, we discussed the housing situation. It turns out that Matthew would like to remain living with us, however, he can't make any promises about his behaviour. As he puts it, "Every now and then, maybe twice a month, I'll be loud and wake people up." But he didn't want his drinking called into question at all. Adopting a faux-Philadelphia accent, he said "Because that's what I do-wah." I hate it when he uses that accent; he does that whenever he wants to emphasize how powerless he is to change his fucked up behaviour. It's the Johnny Boom Boom voice, and Johnny Boom Boom, Matthew's hero, is exactly the same kind of unreformable pathetic. It makes me want to punch him in his bratty little face.

But some things were soothing and nice. After Matthew had gone to bed (he'd just learned he would have to be up at 6am tomorrow to do C&O stuff), I was lounging around listening to Beck on the stereo and telling Deya about how much I liked the song "Jackass." Every time the song was over I'd hit the back button so I could hear it again. (It's ever so much better than "Where It's At.")

Angela was hanging out with us, letting Matthew sleep. She'd found a chunk of the front grill of her Cadillac smashed in and, reaching in further, had extracted a small dead screech owl she'd evidently hit. It was a beautiful little creature, and we all examined it and theorized about how best to preserve it. Jatasya was having one of her typical visceral reactions to both its death and its naturalness.

Before I went to bed, Deya and I were discussing our respective sex lives. It sounds like its been about as emotionally unrewarding for her as it has been for me.

one year ago

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