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:
   layers in a Staunton street
Sunday, March 15 1998

hile Jessika and Deya were out driving around going to yard sales and antique stores, I took a vacation from my social milieu to visit my parents near Staunton. It was to be another computer-related mission. The day was cooler than usual for this time of year, but fairly warm by recent standards. I drove the Dart even though its inspection (or, in this case, rejection) is again expired. It worked without complaint for the 80 mile round trip.

I came mostly to install memory. I'd ordered a 32 Megabyte DIMM via mail, and it had cost $100. I'd bought it from a Windows PC hardware supplier, since the Mac catalogues advertised the same product for $250. I was a little nervous that the $150 difference in price reflected some sort of incompatibilty. I mean, I know Mac users expect to have their hands held and to find cartoon characters in their user manuals and video tapes shipped with their memory installations, but all that jazz couldn't possibly be enough to account for a 150% markup. Yet, when I installed that $100 DIMM in my mother's Mac, not only did the process only take about five minutes, but it was completely successful! Those of you buying memory from MacWarehouse are just plain stupid.

One of the good things about coming home to the parental abode is the refrigerator, or (in this case) what was on top of it. My mother had cooked up a homemade pizza with whole wheat crust, a great diversity of toppings, and a visible deposit of spices. I ate until it was all gone.


ince my mother co-founded Co-Art, Staunton's only co-operative art gallery, she has been sort of a wheel in the Staunton art scene. This afternoon Co-Art was having an opening for artists from the adjacent Beverly Street Studio, and my mother invited me to come along. What the hell, I was in a good mood, so I went along.

Co-Art is on Staunton's main street, Beverly Street. While pipes underneath Beverly Steet are being replaced, the street is closed, completely dug up and full of yellow machines. I was much less interested in the variety of art in the Co-Art opening than I was in the layers of civilization transected by the deep trench in the street out in front. I climbed over the orange plastic fence and had a look. The bands of gravel, soil and concrete reminded me of the layers of civilization that inspired James Michener's The Source. The Source was a book about the thousands of years of Middle Eastern Civilization that had left its accumulated legacy recorded as layers in a mound several dozen feet high. But Staunton, which was founded around 1750, had left a patina only two and half feet deep. That was where the khaki-coloured soil gave way to a dark band of gravel. Two feet from the surface there was evidence of a railroad track: ancient rotten ties and spikes. Just under the topmost layer of asphalt was a layer of concrete, probably dating to the 50s, when people paved everything, including the then-new interstates, with concrete (only to learn later that it decays rapidly under the pounding of automobile tires). At intervals throughout the cross-section were bands of coal cinders that had been used to harden the mud back in the days of horse-drawn carriages. I found a few pieces of broken glass at all levels, as well as a number of bricks that had been fired in Grafton, West Virginia.

Back in the gallery, the people stood around sipping their non-alcoholic punch and eating their snacks. I think I was about the only person there who was tapping into the vino. I felt very out of place. I might be thirty years old, but it seemed that everyone else there was about twice my age. The only hot chick there looked to be about fourteen years old.

There was another opening scheduled 35 miles to the south in Lexington, Virginia, and my mother would have liked to go to that, but I'd definitely had my fill. I wanted to go back to Charlottesville.


ith stolen cheese, bread and canned goods, some necessary electronic equipment and other things, I drove back to Charlottesville, sipping a plastic cup of blush vino for part of the journey.

I returned to Kappa Mutha Fucka before dark and found no one home, even though Deya's car was there. It turned out that they'd gone with Morgan Anarchy to the railroad tracks, hopped a co-operative freight train, and ridden a short ways. When they finally came home from their adventure, Morgan told me that the engineer had actually slowed the train so they could get on.

Jessika announced she'd gotten a job. She'll be payed $6/hr to help an antique store move from Preston Avenue to the Corner. I felt a little jealous that she's snagged a job before I had. But of course, her situation is more critical than mine. She's not collecting unemployment after all.


n the evening, Angela and Matthew Hart randomly showed up. They were in pretty good spirits, announcing to all of us that they were going to get married (they didn't know quite when) and that we were all invited. The cut over Matthew's eyebrow didn't look too severe, but he still had a serious black eye. He said his skull had fractured in two places and that he had an "orbital fracture" (a break in the bone around the eye). He says his vision is still blurry in that eye, but it will probably return to normal when the swelling goes down. Matthew claims that his attackers on the night of the 7th were not the Charlottesville tough guys (Chaz et al), but instead members of the Richmond punk rock band that had played just before the Councelors.

Natural Born Killers was on one of the movie channels, but I grew tired of smelling eau d'gutterpunk, so I went upstairs and played with one of my computers, a 386 SX. I was trying to turn old obsolete SIMMs into equally-obsolete SIPPs by soldering little pins onto the SIMM card edge connectors.

one year ago

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