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:
   first serious job interview
Wednesday, April 8 1998

gain I awoke at 8am. After a completely unsuccessful Internet rendezvous ( was down), I continued to the Charlottesville Public Library near the Downtown Mall. Deya's mother Marianne (the head librarian at the Scottsville branch) had told me about a job opening available for an "Internet Expert" in the Charlottesville-Albemarle library system, and I'd filled out the necessary forms to apply. Well, today was the day of my interview, my first serious job interview ever. It was scheduled for 11am, and I showed up on time completely prepared. I was dressed sharply in my olive-drab polyester sports coat, grey dress slacks, a wrinkly grey button-up dress shirt and an ugly black and gold tie. I'd chewed all my long finger nails off, I'd removed the largest of my several silver rings (fashioned from a sterling silver fork), I'd shined my boots with black acrylic paint, I'd taken a shower, and I'd even worn deodourant.

I was interviewed by two people, a guy named Michæl and a woman named Stella (who said she'd gone to librarian school with Deya's mother Marianne). The interview lasted over an hour and was sort of a harrowing experience. There were so many questions that didn't seem to pertain especially well to my experience, and most of these were related to my teaching skills and techniques. I know lots about computers, but the education I've done has mostly been confined to two guest lectures I gave at Charlottesville-Albemarle Technical High School for classes taught by my childhood friend, Nathan VanHooser.

Then there were lots of questions that had obvious answers, stuff like "how do you feel about enforcing policies that you don't agree with?" Of course I answered "I would enforce such policies, since it would be my job to do so."

The only question that I feel like I answered wrong was a question about HTML, that is, "Do you see yourself making a career out of HTML?" I consider HTML a useful tool and all of that, but I find the notion of making a career out of it to be, frankly, depressing. So I said no. But then it occurred to me that the question had really been intended as a question about whether I wanted to make a career out of the sort of stuff I'd be doing as "Internet Expert" at their library, in which case I should have answered with an emphatic "yes!"

When the interview finally ground to a halt, I felt weakened. My interviewers didn't seem especially enthusiastic about me, though they were, of course, plenty courteous.


  rode my bicycle home and sat on the couch feeling shitty in the interview's aftermath. I don't like acting fake and I don't like pleading for something. But that's what interviews make a person do. It's a little like prostitution, but if there's no job that results from having been put through the ordeal (and this seemed likely for some reason), it's a bit more like rape.

I took a nap, and that seemed to improve my spirits considerably.


n the early evening, Jessika and I were hanging out together when this tall unassuming guy with a pony tail showed up. His name is Warren, and I often see him at social functions throughout Charlottesville. He's the drummer for Raphæl's band, and he came to the Aquarius Party. Jessika has been talking about him lately, mostly (in the way she typically first starts talking about someone) concerning the disagreeable things she's seen in his astrological chart. In the days of Big Fun (January, 1996), I once overheard Jessika's voice through the heat vent going on and on to Sara Poiron about my horrible Venus in Capricorn.

Matthew Hart dropped by briefly, looking for his old fishing poles. It's fishing season again, and he's eager to cast some lines and maybe cook a few fish. But he evidently didn't recall that at the end of fishing season last fall, he'd left all his poles lying strewn and broken throughout the front yard with monofilament line tangling everything. Deya had thrown out all his poles long ago.

The frat boys and their girls have been using our driveway as a shortcut from JPA to the nearby Beta Theta Pi Fraternity (a place I've been jokingly saying "invented date rape.") Jessika thought maybe it would be a good time to revive the "pea shooter," a long piece of metal electrical conduit used to fire small missiles with a puff of breath. We didn't have any conduit, but we did have a piece of copper pipe. I shot a magic marker through it a few times, but then Jessika suggested I make a more lethal weapon to use against psychotic intruders, the sort who constitute more of a real threat than harmless frat boys. So I modified a throwing dart so it could be shot through the pipe. This entailed trimming its fins and adding some layers of tape to make it fit more snugly in the barrel. Using this improved dart, I was easily able to drive its pointy tip over a quarter inch into the garage door from fifty feet away. Warren could shoot it about as well, but for some reason Jessika could barely get the dart to fall out of the end of the pipe. She decided to make dark green human silouettes out of pizza boxes for us to use for target practice, but I overshot the target on my fourth attempt and the dart was lost in the bushes.

After she came home from work, Deya and I watched the Simpsons while Jessika and Warren sat in the backyard talking and eating onion grass. Weird but true.

Jamie Dyer dropped in randomly. He suggested I apply for a job at ValueAmerica, an online locally-based mail order company that is experiencing explosive growth and is in desperate need of web people.


ur last visitor for the evening was Peggy (with the ever-larger Baboose). She looked as if she'd been crying. It turned out that Zach had wrecked her car. For some reason he'd thought it would be cool to run over one of the retractable buttresses on a backhoe at high speed. By so doing, he'd managed to knock a dog leg bend into one of the front axles. That sort of damage is, to put it mildly, expensive. Peggy is furious and just wants to go back to Pennsylvania as soon as possible and leave her troublesome husband far behind.

After a ride came to pick up Peggy, I made the observation to Jessika and Deya that "you can save a lot of money in this world by not doing stupid things." I pointed out all of the money of our friends (Matthew, Angela, Rory, Peggy and Zach) that has gone down a rathole with nothing whatever to show for it, all from people doing stupid, irresponsible things.

At a certain point today I completed my retro-surrealist rooster (which I'm featuring on this page) and started on another vaguely surrealist thing, this one more of a doodle done in acrylic paint. Deya and Jessika both went separately for walks in the warm windy night. Jessika recently has developed an obsession with carrying an umbrella, although it's important for her to always have an excuse. She loves to hear the weatherman say "there's a chance of showers."

Jessika has also been complaining about a number of perplexing health problems, including extreme skin dryness and the fact that it feels unnatural to eat most kinds of food (thus, I suppose, the dinner of onion grass).

one year ago

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