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:
   four twenty, 1998
Monday, April 20 1998

ometimes it's nice to get rejected for a job. I just got rejected for the Photoworks job, you see, and I feel liberated. I'd set my alarm so I'd wake up early and call to find out my situation there. I must have hit my snooze button six times before I finally turned the thing off and got up. The snooze button is a feature I don't usually employ, but last night I'd been too lazy to change the alarm from 8am to 9am, so I'd alotted myself a whole hour of snooze button-mediated "rewards."

In the mail today, along with my very reliable unemployment check and redundant copies of various computer catalogues came a postcard from someone claiming it to be Ally McBeal. It was an official Ally McBeal postard modified so that a bubble came out of Ally's mouth saying "I Love The Gus." She went on to thank me for things I'd said somewhere in my website and she signed herself "Ally McBeal."

I spent much of today putting together yesterday's entry. The subjects covered were so complex and beyond my comprehension that I found it to be an enormous task, but I got it done today.

Too bad I was cooped up with my computer, not enjoying the bright colours of this cool sunny day.


f you've been reading these musings for at least a year, you may recall what festive rituals I performed on April 20th of last year. April 20th is, you see, an important day to fans of Canabis sativa/indica. The number "4-20" represents the smoking of marjuana in police code, and, as in many subcultures, this "implied perjorative" has been embraced by pot smokers as a cultural touchstone. At 4:20 each afternoon, every hippie chick with a bag hidden in her underwear drawer has an excuse to pack a bowl for herself. And if you linger until 4:20am after a weekend party, it's customary to fire up what you have for your hearty comrades (then, of course, you eat lots of pancakes at the Pancake House). I'm not much of a pot smoker myself, and neither are any of my close friends, but April 20th is a big day in the counter culture of which we're apart, and it stood to reason that there would be parties tonight. After a visit to the Corner, Jessika, Deya and Morgan Anarchy returned with news of a big four twenty party out in the county to the northwest of town. The party was to be an early one, so we'd have to leave pretty much immediately (to the extent that we actually can do things immediately).

On the way we stopped at Farmer Jack for bottles of sweet fortified wine: Catawba for Morgan, Red Grape Mad Dog for Jessika and Pink Grapefruit Mad Dog for me.

The party was out on Lake Albemarle, a developed artificial lake in the fancy horse country southwest of Barracks Road. Unfortunately, neither Morgan, Deya nor Jessika had brought written instructions telling how to get there, and we soon found ourselves at the end of a dead end road (Lakeside) that ran along the side of Lake Albemarle. The lake smelled like decaying shellfish, and it reminded Morgan of the days when he lived under a bridge over Philadelphia's Schuykill River.

We went the other way on Lakeside until we came to the other dead end, and nowhere did we see evidence of a party. As we went back and forth several more times on Lakeside, we were joined by another car, a shiny sports car that made us think only of rednecks. But when it became clear that they too were looking for something and not finding it, we stopped and talked to them. They weren't rednecks at all, and, as it happened, they were looking for our four twenty party. When at last we found a little incomprehensible paper sign denoting the four twenty party, the party was already over. And it was only about 10pm. Lame-ass pot smokers. All of us (both cars) ended up at that first fragrant end of Lakeside we'd been to and, despite the air quality, continued with our Mad Dog sipping. Those in my contingent didn't really know the people in the other car; they consisted of a nondescript white guy, a light brown dude with dread locks and a blond girl with a local accent. We could barely see each other in the dark moonless night. They had some pot but no paraphernalia to celebrate the day. So Morgan fixed them a makeshift bowl out of a Milwauki's Best Light can. I was the only person in my contingent who smoked any of the pot.

After awhile Deya decided it was time to go. She'd have to be up early tomorrow for a gardening job she's been doing lately.

We figured that the four twenty partiers would have probably ended up at Bill's apartment over near Downtown (that's the place where old men hang out with young teenage girls; see the entry entitled "the long room"). When we arrived and Deya saw that there really was a party happening, she dropped us off and headed home.


he party crowd was very similar in composition to the group that used to hang out at the Horrid Crash Pad: gap-toothed Jeremy, Mel the very black crooked-toothed wise man, Little Jason, Hapless Mike of the werewolf finger nails, Bill (of course), and even Tad. The main difference was that there were more girls. Still, many of the girls present tonight were known to drop by the Horrid Crash Pad back in the day: Eliza (Crispina's Sister of large meat pizza fame), and Katherine (a university hospital nurse), Senna (a disasterously hard core party animal and mother of two).

There were also some additional people folks like Utkhan the Turkish dude, Tall Ben from Abundance House and Tall Brook. Tall Ben has just surpassed Tall Brook on the latest wave of an ongoing late teenage growth spurt.

There was also this new girl, a robust blond who likes to hang out with the Charlottesville street musicians. I don't know her name, so let's just call her 840. Anyway, I overheard an incredible conversation going on between Jessika and 840. 840 was asking Jessika if she was the same girl who wore the blue wig. Jessika insisted that she was not and 840 replied, "good, because that girl is such a bitch!" 840 proceeded to go on and on at some length about how horrible the blue-wig wearing girl was, as Jessika calmly nodded her head and I smirked with delight. I whispered to Senna about how funny this situation was, but that was a mistake because she immediately leapt into the conversation to set everyone straight. I tried to interrupt Senna by banging out a country beat on a twin set of drums, but alas I was unsuccessful.

Monster Boy and Ray Roebuck suddenly arrived, and this pleased me no end since I remembered with great fondness the four twenty party of last year, when Monster Boy and I shared "the chalice" in the Horrid Crash Pad. For even older times' sake, I tried to change the ongoing performance of live drum-soaked hippie music to something darker and more interesting. I picked up an electric guitar and started playing the bass line from Joy Division's "She's Lost Control Again" much as I had at the four twenty party of 1996, aka "Woodstock."

Monster Boy got involved in a conversation with Katherine. He decided she should be called "Special K," and then she decided I not Monster Boy (though his real name is Glen), should be known as "Special G."

Morgan had been drinking 190 proof moonshine, and there'd been a peach soaking in his glass. He offered part of this to Jessika, and she somehow managed to choke it down. After that, she lost all remnant shreds of sobriety and became a lunatic. She started shooting her squirt gun at Tad, he reacted in some way, and then a little scuffle erupted. Soon Jessika found herself surrounded by a bunch of men, pressing in closely and trying to keep each other from touching her. I was somewhat stoned at the time, and this ritual looked very primitive and sinister to me. It brought to mind all the times I've seen roosters having a stupid macho standoff over some hen. Later on, for whatever reason, Jessika attacked me on several occasions for the tiniest of infractions. In all cases, I wriggled free and escaped to another part of the room.

Out on the front porch I found myself chatting with gap-toothed Jeremy. Like me, he's older and wiser than most of the people he hangs out with. We got to talking about how people growing up today know nothing of the fear and dread we lived with every day growing up back in the Cold War. Of course, to hear us talking about it, you would have gotten the impression that we felt a certain pride and carried a certain useful set of qualifications for having lived in those scarier times.

Bill, the only one present who actually lived there, was fielding lots of sound complaints from neighbors and he wanted the party to wind down. By this point Bill was very drunk of course, and his face was especially red.


o we all mingled outside until we found rides to our next destination where, it was hoped, the four twenty party might continue (even though it was already well into four twenty one). I ended up in the back of Katherine's black truck with Brook and Jessika. As we loaded up, we drunkenly hollered "Contributory Negligence!" In Virginia, you see, riders who ride in the back of a pickup have difficulty collecting from insurance companies in cases where accidents occur because insurers have recourse to a "contributory negligence statute" in this state. This is something Jessika is learning as she tries to collect for injuries sustained in an accident one fateful night on Carter's Mountain.

We ended up at a house in southeastern Charlottesville, at the residence of Tall Brook, Senna, Senna's two kids, and possibly others.

Nothing too interesting happened there. Jessika battled guys (including me) occasionally, and Tad made a few fucked-up comments each time. For example, he claimed "love" as a motivation to violently reciprocate when Jessika squirted him with a squirt gun. Monster Boy and I looked at one another in dismay.

I sat for a long time on a couch playing with a frisky puppy dog, drinking water, and waiting for someone to speak the wonderful words, "it's time to go." I wanted to go to bed, and I wanted to do so sober.

Ray Roebuck finally mustered the resolve to break away. He was the only one left with a car, so I'd have to go with him and about five other people. Morgan and I sort of wanted to leave Tad behind, but Jessika insisted that we wait for him. She cited a time when he called a cab for her and Deya as evidence of his righteousness, and she shamed us for our selfish ways. As payment for her words of support, she rode with his bony ass shoved in her side for the several mile ride home.


organ walked back to Ray Snabley's house, but that left Tad, Monster Boy and Ray Roebuck at my house. Ray had a plan to make a bunch of food for us, but between us, Jessika and I didn't really have any groceries to work with. In her gradually lifting fog of intoxication, Jessika was alarmed to discover that there are absolutely no 24 hour food delivery places in Charlottesville.

Ray Roebuck was clowning around the house, gratuitously spilling beer, inadvertantly breaking things and otherwise causing me irritation, much of which I voiced without inhibition. I absolutely loathe him when he's like this. I can tolerate most kinds of drunks, but I hate his kind with every fibre of my being.

I would have gone to bed earlier than I did, but Jessika kept expressing resentment every time she caught me making moves to escape.

one year ago

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