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:
   news of attempted murder
Tuesday, May 12 1998

oday I planned to return to Staunton to put lots of my stuff in storage. I loaded my Dart with, oh, let's see: four AT-size computer boxes, an enormous PS/2 Model 80, a baby-AT box, three monitors, a massive mound of keyboards and a good collection of motherboards, all of it working equipment. It was lots of stuff, and I wondered how best to smuggle it all home without raising the ire of my parents, who have specifically told me they don't want any more of my crap.

I had a plan to stash some of it in the ditch somewhere near my childhood home and come back for it later, but I was too lazy for that and decided to just drive home and somehow deal with any political problems as they arose. Lucky for me, neither of my parents were home when I arrived, just Don, my psychotic brother. He seemed to be doing relatively well, eagerly telling me a very disturbing tale. It seems that Josh Furr, our long-time redneck buddy, is now in jail for shooting a couple of guys in a car with a shotgun. I've known Josh to be excessively paranoid, and he gets bad when he's drunk. But I never thought he had it in him to actually shoot someone. Maybe Don was lying to me, but he doesn't lie in quite that way. Besides, he told me, "I wouldn't shit you about something like that!"


n my genes is an almost pathological attachment to things. It seems pretty clear that I get this from my mother, Hoagie, because in some ways she is worse even than me. There's a room in my childhood home that is cluttered with, quite literally, unknown layers of Hoagie's possessions, interspersed with layers of dust. At this point, of course, her possessions will not all fit in that one room, and occasionally my Dad is forced to build additional outbuildings. He and I built her a fairly large mouse-proof building back in the mid 80s when she was interested in raising bees. We call it the "Honey House" and it's filled with beehives and piles of unused honey equipment. But it's also filled with horse equipment and related magazines. My mother, you see, no longer has any interest in bees; the building is just there to contain her mountains of stuff. More recently, in my absence, her stuff has begun to accumulate in my Shaque.

As a fringe benefit, I use the Honey House attic for my stuff. It's mostly obsolete dysfunctional electronic equipment. To make room for my new stuff (which is functional, not-entirely obsolete equipment), today I cleaned out lots of crap from the Honey House attic (intending on disposing of it in various sociopathic ways). In deciding what to throw out, I had to overcome all kinds of irrational attachments that I form to inanimate objects. Perfectly functional AT&T 8086-based PCs, no matter how good they look, no matter how much I sacrificed to get them, will never be of any use to me. I stripped what I could out of them and tossed them in the "throw away" pile. The same for circuits that I painstakingly built up from components. There was my time, my toil, burns on my fingers - worthless to me now, tossed on the trash pile.

In the evening I went on a drive in my Dart to dispose of some of this electronic crap. I saw some beautiful unfamiliar countryside on the way, since I was going to places I do not usually frequent.


n the local evening news we of my family learned that Josh Furr had indeed shot a couple guys with a shotgun and then turned himself in to the police. The incident had occurred at Josh's father's business, the Joe Furr Stockyard west of Staunton. The victims of the shooting had included one of the Landes boys against whom Josh has long maintained an inexplicable hatred. I've never gotten a straight answer from Josh to questions about what exactly the Landes boy has ever done to him. Josh speaks of amorphous conspiracies and talk behind his back. "You can't trust that Neil Landes!" is usually how he sums up his feelings. Ironically, Josh's long-time girlfriend, an ugly overweight girl who loves him a great deal despite his psychological abuse, is a member of the Landes clan. This is a fact that he has long used as justification for his seemingly contemptuous treatment of her.

Now, I've always been aware of Josh's unstable psychology, especially when he's under the influence of alcohol. He's scared me a few times with his drunken paranoid rages. But I never really thought of him as dangerous. It seems almost inconceivable that he would actually fire a shotgun into an occupied vehicle. What could have possibly provoked such a thing? I have my doubts that the Landes boys would ever do anything that even remotely justified such action; they're comparatively sophisticated. I'm left thinking that Josh is a bona fide tragic case. His motives are good, he's generous, he's honest, he believes in doing more than his fair share. But his brain is wired in such a way that he can't live as a reasonable person in our society.

Josh's condition right now is horrible. He obviously confessed everything to the cops right away, without a lawyer (or any legal protections), perhaps seeking the protection that jail can afford against repercussions. After all, Josh has long spoken of a massive Landes conspiracy. Perhaps Josh had been working under the mistaken assumption that he had killed his victims (he hadn't; one was treated and released, the other is in stable condition).

But the pathetic thing about all this is that Josh didn't accomplish his apparent goals; his victims weren't killed or even severely wounded. The story on the local teevee news played second-fiddle to a more thorough drug-related murder that had taken place in Harrisonburg.

It doesn't seem likely that Josh will get out of jail any time soon; his days of playing a role in my life are probably over. We'd hardly been seeing each other at all anyway, but at one time Josh was my principal friend in this area. We used to get together on a weekly basis to play terribly untalented speed metal. Josh played drums, provided beer and pot, and I played guitar. We amassed many tapes of our sessions of practice, tapes of which Josh was most proud. He saw his musicianship (for what it was) the major reason to go on living.

For my brother, Josh's imprisonment will have much more tangible effects. Josh was Don's best friend. He came out to pick up Don three times a week in a cattle truck and they'd ride together to Fredericksburg hauling loads of live cows. And Josh frequently employed Don to clean his trucks. About this new situation, Don says, "It's like a death in the family."

one year ago

For linking purposes this article's URL is:

previous | next