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:
Friday, May 1 1998

t was the familiar old first-of-the-month bill-paying run-around. Since it was raining, I decided to make the necessary errands in the Dodge Dart. Jessika came along. As we were leaving, I noticed a little red sign that had been hung on our front door. The sign warned that our utilities would be shut off on the "next business day unless..." I had no intention of waiting around to see that happen, so I was sure to take a detour from the rent-paying mission (foremost in my mind) and head downtown to get the utilities straightened out as well. As usual, though, I was completely scatterbrained about everything, having to drive back to the house because I'd forgotten a hefty check written to me by Deya. When I went to cash it at her bank, Wachovia (across the street from the landlord's office), the doors were locked and I had to walk through the drive-through because (of course) I'd left my car on the other side of Ivy Road.

"You have to have a car," the teller patronizingly stated.

I threw up my hands and, with melodramatic despair, said the obvious "But I don't have a car!"

Quoth the teller, "Okay, I'll let you do it this time." I wonder why people even bother being jerks when they don't really mean it.

In the landlord's office I waited a long time as one of the Godfreys dealt with a phone call. A massage therapist was interested in renting some business space. He scheduled a time to go look at it, giving his name and phone number. Suddenly the conversation took an unexpected turn. "I've been looking all over for you, you're the one who skipped out on that other place. But now I have your phone number! You owe me a big pile of money!" said Godfrey. He went on to say, "Just because you totalled your car and was found with drugs and booze doesn't affect your obligation to me. I will come after you!" The audacious massage therapist was evidently willing to settle up old accounts if it meant he could be given a tour of the business space. He agreed on a time and place to hand over the $1200 check he owed. When the call was done, the two Godfrey brothers discussed the matter and agreed that once they had their check, they'd just cancel the showing of the business space, even though the massage therapist "now claims he's clean."


n the late afternoon, Morgan Anarchy, his two gutterpunk friends and Cecelia the Brazilian Girl all showed up. Jessika joined them on an excursion to the Downtown Mall in anticipation of Fridays After Five, but I stayed home to finish up a number of little things.


hen Deya came home, she went to feed her rats milk as she normally does, but she found they weren't really interested in it anymore. She guesses they've outgrown it. One of the rats actually grabbed one of the eye droppers and ran off with it. I wonder if the little guy thought owning an eyedropper was the same thing as having an endless food supply.

Deya drove me to the Downtown Mall so we could join the festivities.

There were lots of people, young and old, (as usual) but for whatever reason, there were none of those horrible skinhead types about. I was quite prepared to mace anyone who gave me trouble, and I'd even thought up a cool line to say just before doing so. "You want some fire sauce with that taco?"

In the Downtown Artspace, the show mostly consisted of oil paintings on rivetted metal. Some of the paintings were almost photorealistic and most impressive, while others were vague attempts at abstraction that did nothing for me at all. The eats were exceptional, especially the Thai peanutbutter spaghetti and the baba ganouj.

Gallery Neo featured oil paintings of little domestic scenes. I was especially impressed by the composition of these paintings.

At the Altamont, the spooky old apartment where Farrell used to live, there was an unusual opening happening in an apartment. Tall Brooke's mother was moving out and decided to have a show in her emptied apartment as one last hurrah. Many people were showing there, and I must confess that I was so struck by the unusual location that I paid little attention to the art.

The best opening of all was actually in bozART. The featured artist this month is this guy who does pen and ink drawings of the jungle. They drawings themselves are huge, but the details are mind bogglingly intricate and precise. They were so well done they actually gave me a head ache. I wondered, though, at the sanity of anyone who would take the time to produce such things. The other work there, particularly a set of oil portraits and scattered members' works, were all surprisingly good. In my mind I'd sort of started writing off bozART as a bunch of frumpy Sunday painters, but yet again I see the folly of bitterness-flavoured prejudice.

When I joined up with her back at the Downtown Artspace, Jen Fariello took me on a tour of her new apartment upstairs above the Jefferson Theatre. The stairway stunk of yellow popcorn, as it always has. Jen excitedly pointed out the eagle-eye view of the Mall and then gave me a tour of her rooftop patio. It's accessible only though a high window in the kitchen. "I can see I need to lose some more weight," she chuckled as she squirmed through. The patio placed us squarely at eye-level with Charlottesville's skyline (for what it is). It would be a nice place for a barbecue, Jen thought.

I grabbed one of my paintings from the last Artspace show, Roosterotic, with hopes of taking it home. I soon came upon Jessika and Deya, and we stopped on the Mall to talk. As always happens, our social nucleus snowballed and others showed up: the husband and wife team of Jessica and Steve (they live out in the county and throw big parties, none of which I've ever attended), Jamie Dyer and his very pregnant wife (the former wife of David Sickmen), Nathan VanHooser and his wife Janine. I was in a generous mood and offered to loan Jamie the painting I was holding, Roosterotic. He accepted with his usual unreproachable charm.

It was time to go home. We were joined by Morgan Anarchy and the gutterpunks and headed back to Deya's car. Somehow all six of us, along with most of the art from the past Artspace show managed to cram inside.


ack at Kappa Mutha Fucka, we all decided to go to the Tokyo Rose. Using the same successful trick Deya and I had tried last time, I drew the Tokyo Rose hand stamp (the backwards-facing girl) on one of each of our hands in black ballpoint pen. It was actually quite a lot of work, especially since gutterpunk hide is usually rough and oily and a difficult surface for drawing. Morgan and the smaller gutterpunk named Jay were especially difficult canvases. The gutterpunks had been drinking cheap whiskey and cola all night and by the time I was done with Jay's counterfeit hand stamp, he'd already passed out. We had to leave him behind.

At the Tokyo Rose, I was the first one in the building, which wasn't difficult, since most of the time my friends take forever to do anything. I was met at the door by Bob, a smallish nervous guy Jessika had met a few weeks ago at the Andy Warhol Under Water Party (the night of March 21st). The next day Jessika had played him up as an eccentric personality, remarkable for his tightly energetic waves and tense-grinned hellos. Last time, the first time, I'd seen Bob, I'd told him I'd heard lots about him, and he seemed bashfully flattered yet a little perplexed. More recently, Wacky Jen told Jessika that Bob had been dating "a model" and had been forced into an acrimonious breakup. By the time I'd heard the story, of course, it was that Bob had been dating a "supermodel" and had been forced to ditch her because her taste in music sucked. So as you see, I had lots to talk about as he checked my hand. I showed him my counterfeit handstamp, and of course he knew it was fake. He laughingly suggested that I smudge it a little, that it was too dark and precise (which was true). By this time, Wacky Jen had come around the bar to see the stamp for herself. Just then came a rumble as Jessika and Josh (one of the gutterpunks) tumbled down the back stairs into a fence designed to keep people from sneaking in. Wacky Jen, the closest thing besides the diminutive Bob to an authority figure, had to tell them to go around and come in the right way. I felt kind of bad that all five of us came to the show with the intention of sneaking in for free, especially since the "powers that be" were all friendly t our plight. Very few people had come for the three local bands, and I felt sort of like the leader of a gang of parasites. Deya felt even worse about all this than I did and she actually ended up giving Bob $5. For his part, Bob said he would let us all in this time for originality. From then on, my friends mostly behaved themselves. At one point I saw Josh the Gutterpunk hitting on some random woman at the bar (a friend of Nicole Truxell's), boldly kissing her on the lips. You have to give the gutterpunks credit for sheer audacity; they never think for a moment that they're not respectably dressed no matter how filthy and smelly they get, and they'd made no special attempts to tidy themselves for this particular Friday night. Later on, Morgan shouted a few times that the bands sucked and then Josh tried to steal a keg, but these were, for them, comparatively minor excesses.

The bands weren't much to my liking, even bands I've liked in other places. They all were excessively singer-songwriteresque, among other irritating traits. Raphæl (the second act) sounds like he's been listening to entirely too much Ani DiFranco, though he does it all with a sort of Dave Matthews-by-way-of-Eddie Vedder voice. Since Wacky Jen's housemate Paul has resigned from the job, Raphæl is also the Tokyo Rose's new soundman, and he had to keep going back and forth between the stage, the soundboard, and various people with whom he socializes briefly. Raphæl is a no-nonsense kind of guy, and perhaps he will also begin to act in some capacity as bouncer. The last band was Supertanker, and unlike their wonderful low-fiesque performance at the Downtown Artspace on April 16th, sounded more like the goofier show they did on February 20th. Supertanker seems to have permanently absorbed Lily Hoffman (the little sister of local rockstar Loren Hoffman) as one of its members. But she doesn't do much except background vocals and inaudible guitar. It wouldn't be the first time a person was added to a band's lineup just for her name to appear on the poster.

Most of the time, I hung out at the bar, chatting with Wacky Jen or Nicole Truxell and doodling on a piece of paper (a signup sheet for people who want to be on the Supertanker mailing list). I wrote the word "Superchunker" and the phrase "TOKYO ROSE ENDORSES MARIJUANA" over and over in many different sizes and at various angles until I had filled almost every hole of negative space on the sheet. Wacky Jen had a partial beer on the bar and every now and then I'd have a sip. Various people came and went. Wacky Jen pointed out Wendy when she saw her come in. [And yes, Wendy wrote about this night as well.]

one year ago

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