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:
   evening with a maniac
Friday, April 3 1998

he theme in all my recent paintings is obviously Springtime, the refleshing of life upon whatever bones are left over after Winter. The trees are monumental and slow to respond, but the plant life underneath them relish those first warm days and take advantage of the sunlight the trees are slow to steal from them.

I was up at 9am this morning, which is earlier than usual, and I felt that artist sense in my body. I know it when it's there, and it's been an infrequent guest for the last two years. I was drinking weak coffee and so overwhelmed with the painting I was doing that I lost all track of time. I sat in a chair admiring it for an extended period until something would stick out that was clearly wrong, then I'd fix it. The process would repeat itself several times. Now I can't imagine any way to improve it. Perhaps it's done?


n the evening I equipped myself with a plastic cup of vodkatea and rode my bicycle to the Downtown Mall. It was the first Friday of the month, thus I could count on art openings and such. What with my estrangement from my housemates, I figured I'd have to rely exclusively on my own resources socially. But art opening nights are good for my sense of independence; I have my own personal social structure (neglected though it be) in the Charlottesville art world (unchampioned though it be).

I drank a cup of coffee at the Mudhouse and thumbed through the Washington Post. Nothing of import seemed to be happening in the greater world; all the stories were downhill sleigh rides that had started on earlier days.

I ended up at the Downtown Artspace, which was experiencing a low-level turnout for a series of collages that were comprised mainly of Camels cigarette packs, classic rock album covers and pictures of Kurt Cobain. They were kind of fun to look at and read (causing my eyes to linger longer than conventional art, certainly), but it was nothing I could imagine anyone buying. Perhaps I'm an artistic fuddy-duddy and my very standards of "what is art" were being rudely challenged and I'll be the first against the wall when the revolution comes...

At Gallery Neo, there was a strong middle-age turnout for a big name local oil painter's show. Tiny slap-dash landscapes soaked in still-fragrant varnish were available for no less than $500. Whatever, I found my way to the food and vino table quickly enough. Champagne materialized later in the evening, that was a classy touch.

People I know materialized, too. Phil the Rogue folk musician and Tad came stumbling in, socializing, hoisting glasses and hobnobbing with the best of the patrons. Phil says his music career is actually doing pretty well these days and that he's "working" a lot as well. Like most musicians I talk to, Phil expressed interest in a web page. Tad was the same as ever, chatting incessantly and never really listening (or caring that I wasn't listening, for that matter). I talked for awhile with this girl named Stacy about my web page, how much unexpected power (and danger) it has given me. Man, was I being an arrogant asshole, but she seemed to think I was cool. I talked a lot to many people about my idea of auctioning art on my musings pages.

Jessika and Deya appeared at Gallery Neo after awhile. I asked Deya if she was mad at me, and she said no, so we chatted amiably off and on. For her part Jessika wasn't being as cold as she has been the last few days. Perhaps she was drunk. I certainly was. We both were talking to my childhood friend Nathan VanHooser, referring to each other in third person with only good things to say. Towards the end of the Neo opening, I walked right up to Jessika and, despite our not being on speaking terms, asked her to come talk to Fred Oesch about being a photographic model. I felt a little like a pimp as I introduced them to one another in the back room. It was an unexpectedly weird scene back there, in ways I probably shouldn't go into. It's nice to know the real artists of Charlottesville are unreserved in their Bohemian nature.

I returned to the Artspace to float my online art auction idea with Jen Fariello. She was enthusiastic, but she was also (as usual) distracted, and in the midst of this I slipped off to the Mudhouse for more coffee.


hat manic Chinese-American girl, Michelle, the one who Matthew and Angela once joined in a threesome, came upon me in the Mudhouse and asked me to join her. I assumed she was sitting with friends, but she was all by herself out in front. We drank coffee and discussed things. Well, I can't say I said very much, but she talked nonstop about lots of things. She said she'd thought I was gay when she first met me, but that now she understood what about me was different about me: I'm an artist. She went on to say that she is permanently banned from her former favourite hangout, the Espresso Corner on all kinds of unfair charges, including theft and stalking. Hmmm... She invited me to come with her to Millers, I assumed to hang out with friends. Jen Fariello passed us at one point and motioned for me to follow, and I would have, but my plans, you see, had already been made for me.

On the way to Millers, Michelle and I came across Jessika and Deya departing the mall to do whatever. I found myself feeling somewhat uneasy to be doing something other than what my housemates were doing. I suddenly missed the days when we did everything together. At least then there was never any doubt about whether or not I was doing the right thing.

It turned out that Michelle had never even been to Millers before, she just knew someone in the band that was playing tonight. Since Michelle is only 20, I had to order the booze, one gin and tonic, which we shared. But she paid. We sat outside because the band was loud and somewhat annoying.

Michelle is a complete unmitigated freak. Everywhere she goes, she takes items out of her bags and pockets and arranges them about her. It's cool when Jatasya does this sort of thing, but it just makes Michelle look like a maniac.

We returned to the Mudhouse for more coffee, but Michelle had a large set of plans for the evening still in store. She wanted to get vino, she want to go to Michæl's Bistro, and she wanted, despite the time of night, to go look at a house where, she insisted, I must be her housemate when my lease expires. She talked a mile a minute about these things, constantly figgeting, constantly changing her actions. One moment she'd be handing me a poem to read and the next she'd be scrutinizing a piece of driftwood from her purse. I was calm and reserved and just sat there while she went on and on. Periodically she'd pay me compliments, always sure to qualify such things by saying she was a strict lesbian and she wasn't coming on to me. She'd refer to her mania at times, saying she was hypoglycaemic and required constant food intake or else she'd be "too hyper."

We went to the Pantops Food Lion some minutes before midnight to get a three litre bottle of Carlo Rossi, some olive oil and a carton of cigarettes. It turned out at the last minute that she had no money and I had to pay for all thirty dollars of it. When it also turned out that Michelle only had eight dollars in her car, she promised to cook me meals until the end of the time to make up for it.

We ended up at her place, an apartment adjacent to Angela's old apartment near the Corner's 14th Street. Michelle loaded a camera and started taking random photographs of things in the apartment, throwing herself onto the floor in strange postures for each shot. I just sat there, amazed, occasionally wondering what Jessika and Deya were up to.

When nothing could be accomplished at Michæl's Bistro due to Michelle's youth, we went to my place. Michelle had brought her flute along and she played it for me for a fairly long time. She also played the Wizard of Oz Wicked Witch theme for the benefit of Wilbur the Cockatiel. Every now and then she would stop and talk about awesomeness of the house we were going to rent. She talked of the menagerie of animals we would have, including an African Gray Parrot and (for my benefit) chickens in the back yard. Deya came home in the midst of all this.

I gradually grew tired and went to bed. Despite all her claims to being a lesbian, Michelle followed me. And she slept with me too. But sleeping wasn't something at which she excelled. She got up several times and even drove home at one point, but she returned.

one year ago

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