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:
Monday, April 13 1998

or some reason I imagined that I would be getting a hearty tax refund this year. But I didn't take lots of factors into account. One such factor was a $500 check I got from my former insurance company when they "demutualized" (whatever the hell that is). That one check forced me to fill out the more complex 1040 tax form, not the 1040A or the 1040EZ. Then I discovered that I'd made nearly $15,000 in over-the-counter income in 1997. That's a lot, folks.

I had to ride my bike all the way to the Downtown Mall to get the necessary "schedule" to "attach" to my tax form to account for the $500 insurance windfall. Good thing the day was so warm and sunny, or Uncle Sam would have surely been a recipient of substantially more of my wrath. But at the time, it all seemed worth it. I thought I'd be getting a refund, really I did.

But no, when I was all done with my forms, I found myself writing a check for more than $200 to Uncle Sam. That certainly tempered my Springtime enthusiasm. Strangely, for the first time in my whole life, I felt like a real taxpayer. Suddenly I wanted to have more of a say-so in how my tax dollars are spent. I could almost feel myself turning into a selfish right wing tax-cut enthusiast.


n the evening, I came back home from another of my excursions to UVA's Olssen Hall. Arched-back and puffed-up fluffy, Nicholas the Cat ran along beside me for the last few dozen feet of my bike ride down Observatory Avenue. I found Jessika and Deya just heading out. Jessika had told me about a 6 o'clock appointment to look at a house on 5th street, and I'd expressed an interest in going with her, but I'd lost track of time. I appeared late enough to see the vitriolic note Jessika had left for me but early enough to actually go along. Since today was the day to hang our stuff at the Downtown Artspace, we took our art along as well. I had five recent paintings (all featured on earlier musings pages), Jessika had her mirror "painting" of her face, and Deya had three of her baffling fragile sculptures, one of which vaguely resembles a cooking turkey (made of plastic grocery bags).

The house we went to look at was way out beyond I-64 on 5th Street Extended. That's kind of far, a definite minus. Then, too, it was a modern suburban-style house, the sort with no real soul. That's never an issue for me, but it is for the girls. Another minus. But the rent was reasonable and there was a lot of room. The current tenant, a woman with an ugly little baby, gave us a tour. I doubt we'll be getting that place.

Deya drove all around Belmont (our preferred neighborhood to settle) in search of a place for rent. It's a fabulous mix of architectural styles, many with ludicrously over-accessorized yards. The straight but hilly streets were full of children more interested in April sunshine than Nintendo 64. We couldn't find any place for rent, but we oohed and ahhed about the houses anyway.


n the Downtown Mall we found Raphæl and his band performing an impromptu electric-powered concert. That was all well and good, but various volunteer guitarists had appeared to lend a hand and had managed to steer the band into a serious rut: they sounded like they were doing an endless Grateful Dead jam session. A little punk energy seemed to be sorely needed. Warren, Raphæl's unassuming drummer, chatted briefly with Jessika. She became alarmed when he spoke of the sensuousness of cream-filled donuts.

Down in the Artspace, we dropped off our art and ran across Nikolai, who showed us a van for which he'd traded a painting. It was so comfy inside I found myself falling asleep.

I looked in vain for coffee, but all the coffee shops were closed for some reason, and I was forced to buy an overpriced cup at the Jewish Mother, yet another new Mall restaurant.

Back at Kappa Mutha Fucka, Jessika, Deya and I were hungry, but they didn't have any money and I wanted to eat a pizza. So I ordered one from Chanello's and paid for the whole thing myself. Who says I don't have an occasionally generous streak?

We watched some sort of Mexican movie with subtitles and then a show that documented an elbow-reconstruction surgery. All the disgusting surgery details were shown, and it was rough watching, but I was fascinated anyway and was eager to see the results.


s we were watching the elbow reconstruction, Wacky Jen and Kirstin the Eco-radical arrived. They'd been at Michæl's Bistro hoisting brewskis in the aftermath of an art opening featuring works by my old housemate Elizabeth. The usual "Potato Night" had been canceled for this opening, but Jen and Kirstin are so used to hanging out with Jessika and Deya on Monday Nights that they decided to come over.

Stories and gossip filled the air. Hitherto-unknown interrelationships between completely dissimilar people were unearthed. I told Jen that sometime she should make a colour-coded chart detailing all the connections between the people that she knows and has known in this incestuous little town, from Jamie Dyer to Monster Boy.

Just one example of the strange connections in this town: Kirstin says that her mother used to be best friends with Morgan Anarchy's mother, and that Morgan's older brother was given her last name (Randall) as a first name. And Deya says she went to preschool with Morgan, back in the days when he lived at the house that would later be Big Fun.

Shameless plug: you can see my art and meet me live and in person! My paintings will be featured along with works created by perhaps a dozen other artists at 6pm on Thursday, April 16th, at the Downtown Artspace, under the Jefferson Theatre on Charlottesville's Downtown Mall (112 East Main Street; 1-804-963-7976). There'll be live music, poetry, and other fun things. It's free and open to the public.

one year ago

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