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:
   Space Party IV, the Final Frontier
Saturday, May 2 1998

fter doing all the little bureaucratic things that I need to do in order to continue getting my unemployment checks, I returned home and was soon visited by Peggy and the Baboose. We sat around drinking coffee and watching Infomercials together. (Peggy is always happy to go along with whatever your plan happens to be.) For some reason I found the Infomercial acting style hilarious and couldn't make myself watch anything else. I got a special joy when the slickster tried to sell me a kit teaching me how to Make Money on the Internet. His big revelation (made to a bombshell blond in a tight mini-dress): all that space on your web pages "that just goes to waste" could have ads on them. What content these pages might have was never once addressed.


oon the usual crowd descended: they'd been out getting the necessary elements for building "spacey" costumes for tonight's big party. Blond House, my old housemates, were throwing their last-ever Space Party, "Space Party Four, the Final Frontier," and we'd all been graciously invited to attend.

Not only that, but Natalie the German girl had specifically requested that I build "space ships" in the yard as I used to do for space parties at the old Dynashack. In order to have basic supplies for space ships, I'd been rooting around in my room, looking for marginal technological things that I don't want to have to carry with me when I move out at the end of the month. 286 motherboards and a nice old German turntable without a needle, for example.

What I had on hand wasn't going to do it, so Jessika suggested we all go to a galvanized steel fabricating place in Belmont to get pieces of shiny spacey scrap metal from the dumpsters there. There were so many of us that we ended up going in two different cars. Wacky Jen had joined us by this point and Morgan Anarchy and the gutterpunks rode with her and me. We dropped off some space ship materials at Blond House, the gutterpunks on the Downtown Mall and rendezvoused with Peggy, Jessika and Cecelia in Belmont. One of the dumpsters at the galvanized steel place was full of unlikely things, leftovers from a yard sale. Many of these things were ideally suited to being used as space party accessories, particularly a couple pairs of ski boots ("space boots") and a little gun-shaped electric propeller for steering a motor boat. There were also numerous decks of playing cards and an old manual typewriter. As we gleefully went through the dumpsters and gathered up pieces of air conditioning ducts, pipes, and other spacey things, a withered old man showed up and beheld us in complete amazement.

"What are you... what are you all about?" the old man asked.

"We wanna rock!" Jessika replied without hesitation (this is the chorus to a Twisted Sister song the gutterpunks have been playing).

The rest of us volunteered that we were building space ships, an equally imponderable (though more informative) statement.

Everyone except Peggy and me had unusual hair colour: Wacky Jen's was light purple, Cecelia had big streaks of deep blue-violet, and Jessika was wearing her blue wig. The old man couldn't get over it.

"Are you trying to raise money or something?" he asked.

"Oh no, we got more money than we'll ever need." I answered.

"I like you," the old man told Jessika.

"I like you too!" Jessika almost shouted.

The old man asked Jessika to turn around and then made some complimentary comment about the quality of her body. He gave Wacky Jen similar compliments, but said something fairly rude to Cecelia when he noticed the black dragonfly tattooed above her left breast.

Jessika spontaneously did a cartwheel, showing the old man her fishnet stockings and layers of lacy slip to good advantage. The Baboose smiled and babbled. Cecelia lit a cigarette. Thunder rumbled from the storm clouds overhead. Worlds were in collision. In the end the old man advised us that we shouldn't stay long or else the metal fabrication proprietor might show up.


acky Jen dropped me and most of the metal off at Blond House, and I immediately started creating space ships. First I made a lanky four-legged robot with a garbage disposal mechanism for a head. Then I built a lower, chunkier space ship that swiveled on its base and showed the bottom of a manual typewriter to advanced-technologically good advantage. Occasionally rain fell and I sought refuge by sipping a Budweiser on the front porch of Blond House with my space-colleagues, including Elizabeth, Krazy Thom, Danielle (aka "Small Wonder"), and my old housemate Andrew. Among other things, today was to be sort of a Dynashack reunion.

To shield against threatening rains, Andrew and a guy named Nathaniel had built an awning over the stairway. But the plan was to have the space party mostly happen outside, and to shield that from rains would take far more drastic measures. Suddenly Franz arrived with a huge plastic sheet, and he and Krazy Thom somehow managed to position it over a big swath of front yard. They even threaded a candle-holding chandelier through it. The air was so still that it was actually possible for candles to burn without protection from the wind.

Meanwhile, I continued to toil away at my little space ships. I attached a couple long strings to swivel-capable space ship so I could control it remotely from the porch, rather like a simple marionette. Since it also contained an internal light and an AM radio tuned to no particular station, it could be made to appear as if it really was doing spacey things out there on the lawn.

One last gadget that I made consisted of a record turntable turning at 78 RPM under the silvered backing unit for an automobile headlamp. With a spotlight focused on it, it made for a fairly respectable light show.

Danielle ordered pizza, though of course one had to be cheeseless owing to all the vegans then present (Franz, Elizabeth, Freedom and Patrick).

For a costume, I'd originally intended on putting circuit boards all over my body like I did for the last space party. But I'd neglected to bring my circuit boards with me, and it looked like I'd have to make do with what I had if I didn't want to have to go all the way back to Kappa Mutha Fucka. I stripped silver backing off old radiator insulation (dumpster dived from the metal fabrication place) and put it in random ways across my abdomen, sort of like a "space mummy" or a perhaps a rag-tag inter-galactic hopper of "space trains" (see this entry). I completed the outfit with a metal helmet made from a large heating duct elbow joint. It was very uncomfortable and induced all kinds of sensory deprivations, but I kept it on for at least a half hour.


eople trickled in. One of the earliest of all was Wendy's friend Faten (you can read about her party preparations as well), wearing bits of electronic equipment "dumpster-dived" from the Chemistry building.

Wacky Jen showed up in a sleeveless dress made of topographic maps. All her exposed flesh had been painted a dark shade of green. She attached the boat propeller gun to her outfit somehow and used it to menace any and all who needed menacing. Lots of people brought space guns of various kinds; I was shot by water pistols more times than I could count. (Which reminds me, sometime I want to take a water pistol full of bleach to a goth show.)

When the Kappa Mutha Fucka contingent showed up, at first I couldn't tell who they were, they were so thoroughly costumed. Jessika had seen to that, despite the "let's just show up and drink" attitude of the gutterpunks. Morgan was dressed in a dapper blue outfit, his face painted blue with vertical stripes, his head topped with a hat from the forties. Jessika was an evil clown in a huge puffy dress, round black nose and orange clown hair. I don't know how she did it, but it made her look like a little fat girl. Deya was wearing sort of a blue alien prom dress, complete with a tentacled blue monster made of acrylic rope and wire. The New Orleans gutterpunks were wearing lots of face paint. There was an additional person with them, none other than Nancy Firedrake (who I had invited, though I'd suspected she wouldn't show up). Nancy wasn't wearing an outfit (aside from a leather punk rock jacket and black floral dress), but her short hair with bleached tips made her look kind of spacey anyway, in that way that John Arnold always outfits himself for space parties. Nancy and I went out by the rotary space ship and chatted some as I sipped a beer through a straw. I was still wearing my awkward helmet, and rainwater stored up in the fiberglass insulation drained down onto my shoulders. I got sick of the damn thing about this time and put it aside.

Later I attached a little satellite-dish-shaped vegetable steamer (a device that has always seemed over-engineered to me) to the top of my head, calling it a "Space Yarmulke" and claiming (especially to Sarah Kleiner and the Triplets) to be a "Space Jew."

Jessika was surprisingly drunk in short order. As usual, Ray Roebuck was harassing her, doing stupid stuff like pulling off her clown nose. She became infuriated with him and kicked him with her heavy space boots and punched him as well. Ray Roebuck wasn't the only one to whom she took exception. There was a new guy there, a smallish, supposedly bisexual former navy man (I believe he's been residing on the Blond House couches). Jessika asked him why he was staring at her and he said, "I'm thinking...I'm thinking about having sex with you." For some reason the Blond House people tolerate this guy, but they grumble whenever he turns his back to them.

Chesney was doing the DJ thing from his room and a pair of huge speakers blared the tunes out into the yard. He had two turn tables and kept up a steady stream of unremarkable music. I suppose he was concerned about attracting a big crowd of party crashers from up out of the nearby 'hood, so he mostly played super white-boy dance music: Blondie, Queen, the Eagles, even Phil Collins for Christ's sake. A petition circulated calling for better music. I signed it "Ozzy Osborne" and Jessika signed it "I'm a Space Ship Taking Off into Space Pshhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!" (something she'd been saying randomly and repeatedly all night). A couple of unknown people did come up from the 'hood, starting with an older black man who said "Shorty's is closed, can I get a beer?" No one cared about such crashers as long as they were willing to wear space outfits. A big roll of silvered foam material was at the ready whenever someone needed some expedient metallic garb. It was the first space party ever in which a vast majority of those present were dressed appropriately.

I was surprised when Tad showed up; he's not often seen mingling in the same circles as the Blond House people. Tad wasn't dressed up at all, so someone got him a white face mask, a sheet, and a bunch of shiny foam stuff, making him look like a giant alien ghost.

There was much dancing out in front of the house, and I participated most vehemently. Dempsey the weirdo had his video camera running for most of this phase.

At a certain late hour I looked out over the front yard and saw it packed with humanity. Another well-attended space phenomenon was taking place. Soon enough the beer ran out.

When it seemed the party was winding down, Nancy Firedrake and I walked all the way back to Kappa Mutha Fucka (some two miles away) along the Lynchburg line of the railroad tracks. Leaving the party was, for me, not entirely without cost; the artsy "space portal" that had been placed in front of the Blond House driveway had a number of sharp loose wire ends, and one of these stabbed me in my left palm (not my right one, Nancy!) and a torrent of blood spewed forth.

There were other parties we could have attended, for example Ray Snabley's house had a keg or two and there was also a performance of the Counselors over at "The Bombshelter" (a new club over at 10th and Grady). But we were tired and drunk and decided to call it quits for the evening.

And Nancy Firedrake is a hottie.

Read Nancy Firedrake's account of this day.

one year ago

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