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:
   avoiding confrontation
Friday, May 15 1998


  had a fitful night's sleep just because of the dental appointment I was dreading at 11:00am this morning. What's more, I set my alarm far too loud and too early, and had to add an hour to my sleep time for sanity's sake. After interacting briefly with the internet, I dropped a line of hard drives down a UVA walk way hoping to raise curiosity and concern amongst passing pedestrians. I had blown hard drives to spare, and unloaded some more in the Rosehill Drive neighborhood of my dentist. The clock was only reading 10:28 at a convenience store where I bought a bag of corn chips, so, with a freshly empty basket, I went on a dumpster diving run at my favourite computer dumpster on Preston.

I ended up at the dentist's office way too early and found myself reading about China's adoption of the Internet from either Time or Newsweek. My dentist today was David Dalley, a dentist I found using Altavista a year ago when I had tooth problems then. That time I'd had my teeth cleaned, drilled and filled by one of Dalley's female understudies, but today I got the man himself.

I knew from his web page that Dalley is a Sufi (whatever that is), and looking at him today, he struck me (not unexpectedly) as an eccentric. He's tall and lanky, with big bushy hair, sharp thin features and darting eyes, sort of like an intelligent version of David Koresh. He'd do well playing the theatrical role of a youngish mad scientist. His words and actions are fast, quirky, deliberate, precise, and scrutinizing, and though not especially warm or friendly, strange enough to confer a reassuring sense of playfulness.

Before he did anything he looked over my paperwork asked what I was doing now since surely I wasn't working at Comet. "I'm collecting unemployment," I said, matter-of-factly. He seemed sufficiently pleased with this, perhaps, in his own way, somewhat delighted even. He rapidly went over the suspect tooth with lens, mirrors and poking metal things, then banged on it with a small blunt metal object, asking if it hurt. It felt just fine. He took an x-ray and confirmed that my only problem was a little gum inflammation and I would be fine. I have no idea why it has that black X in the middle of it, but if he said it was okay, I was willing to believe him. After all, it wasn't really causing me any pain except when I bit down hard on it. I felt kind of stupid for having come to the dentist at all; I got the feeling that Dalley thought I was a dental hypochondriac.

Anyway, the bill was only $23.

Overjoyed, I continued on to the Downtown Mall, bought myself a hot dog (with sauerkraut and relish) from the friendly mid-mall hot dog man, and tried to track down Jen Fariello with absolutely no luck. I ended up in the Mudhouse drinking a cup of coffee while two businessmen had a power-discussion about investments and real estate strategies in this town. One of the men clearly had higher status than the other, as he made abundantly clear with voice, body language, and interactions with third parties. Meanwhile, their cellular phones and beepers were going off incessantly. I found their presence both interesting and obnoxious. It's easy to see why these kinds of guys are the first against the wall when revolutions come.

On the way home, I picked up a half gallon of vodka. What with suddenly not having to foot big dental bills, I feel rich all of a sudden.


ack at home, Johnny Boom Boom and Jessika engaged in several fights on and off. Jessika is so cranky these days that I find it best to avoid her. I spend most of my time in my room watching the History Channel. Today there was a show about German atrocities during the Battle of the Bulge. As I watched, I worked on colourizing my handy "scene table" which is designed to set the curious straight on the stereotypes of various white youth scenes.


n the late afternoon, Matthew Hart and Angela showed up with Johnny Boom Boom (who they'd found on the Downtown Mall), their dog Shira and fifty dollars worth of cooking supplies, intent on having yet another barbecue in the Kappa Mutha Fucka front yard. Soon enough we were all drinking Budweisers and Matthew was blasting torrents of lighter fluid on hapless piles of charcoal briquettes. Unsatisfied with the progress of the fire, he and Angela set out for still more lighter fluid.

I didn't particularly enjoy hanging out with these characters as a group. They mostly know each other through a mutual interest in heroin, and away from that here in boring old Charlottesville, they tend to interact with each other mostly by means of superficially good-natured insults. This has long been one of the irritating characteristics of Matthew and Angela's relationship. But when you throw Johnny into the equation, the dynamics become somewhat more complex. When they're together, Matthew and Johnny both flirtatiously insult Angela, and Angela insults them both back, though the two boys never insult each other. Johnny says very little about Matthew at all, whereas Matthew has nothing but quasi-sycophantic praise for Johnny. The insults often ride on the fact that both Angela and Johnny are of Italian extraction and are often pronounced with that exaggerated Philadelphia accent Johnny frequently employs for rhetorical effect. "Fet Italian ehs," for example, is a common phrase tossed around amongst them. This sort of banter is funny for awhile, but it quickly grows boring or even disturbing, especially as you come to realize these insults really are designed to inflict a certain amount of pain, payback for earlier insults and jealousies.

Top: Johnny Boom Boom chuckles smugly to himself. Below: Matthew Hart makes burgers (as well as little insults) for Angela. Note the casual proximity of a heaping bin of recycling.

In relation to me, I find Angela and Matthew occasionally inserting tiny little barbed insults perhaps designed to exclude me, to make me pay for wrongs against them, for example, my "kicking them out" back in February. These low energy attacks aren't especially severe, and hard for anyone except me to pick up on. But the point is clear. They're there to visit Johnny Boom Boom, not me.

We ate hamburgers that Matthew smushed together with his bare hands. Food preparation was anything but sanitary, especially with a shedding Siberian Husky requiring pets by the same hands that made the burgers. Flies, dog hair and smoke filled the air, and occasionally the dog would try to sample some of the semi-prepared food items. Angela didn't eat anything at all; she tends to be fussy about culinary sanitation (yet another instance of the oddity of her mate selection).

Not having had enough sleep last night, I decided to take a nap. I was awakened by the sound of Angela and Matthew trying to get Johnny to come out of either Jessika's room or the bathroom (places into which Johnny routinely disappears for long periods). They were saying, "Come on Johnny, we want to hang out with you!" They weren't saying anything to me at all, but that was the end of my nap.

By the time I came down the stairs, Angela and Matthew were playing an old Frank Sinatra record very loud and dancing rambunctiously. Frank Sinatra died last night, and this was the first time this particular record had ever been played in our house.

Out on the porch I found Zachary and Shawn (drummer for the Counselors) enjoying the waning moments of the barbecue. Shonan and his sister Natalie had also shown up, and Shonan was drinking directly from a litre bottle of cheap vodka that some friends had given him for fear of its being discovered by parents.


atthew Hart had word of an "80s Party" at the Triplets' House near Batesville in southwestern Albemarle County. All of us then present (except the two Counselors) decided to go, but there was a bit of a transportation problem. Matthew's Dodge Aspen could only hold six people, and that was after taking the air conditioning unit out of the back seat. But we all crowded together anyway and drove to Natalie and Shonan's house where we split into two groups, one of which rode in some sort of sport utility vehicle driven by Natalie.

All the way to the Triplets' House, Natalie followed behind Angela and Matthew. Angela was the one driving because Matthew has had a restricted license ever since the whole DUI fiasco back in February.

As (by now what seems) usual for a party at the Triplets' House, there was lots of liquor and young people, this time with a campy 80s edge. "Wild Thing" and "Funky Cold Medina" blared from the stereo.

The Triplets aren't especially fussy about those people they call friends, and tonight's crowd included a few of those horrible followers of Chaz. For example, one of the guys who attacked me on the Corner back in November was there. He glared at me, but I thought it best to just avoid eye contact with him. Later in the evening, Leslie Tapeworm came with a crew of Downtown Mallsters (white teenagers, mostly) that Matthew Hart refers to as "The Malt Liquor Mafia." But (as Jessika noted), Leslie stood around most of the night holding herself, humping up her shoulders as a showcase of bad posture, looking sad, insecure and lonely. I certainly wasn't in the mood to cause problems and for the most part all these horrible people kept separated from me and my friends. They'd occasionally come out the door to the back patio (where I was mostly hanging out), notice that none of their friends were there, and then just go back from whence they came. Interestingly, the sociological conditions were such that any urge to tangle was completely suppressed by these essentially automatic measures. Everyone, you see, knows the Triplets well and no one wanted to be the trouble makers at their party (something the tough guys certainly don't mind being at the parties of people they know less well). And, unlike the time they ganged up on me on the Corner, tonight I was part of a rather substantial contingent of friends, all older, bigger, more experienced and (most happily of all) brighter than any of them.

The only real interaction with a true (self-declared) skinhead was with Wingnut (who, I guess, had come with some of my tough guy opponents). He asked to talk to me, so I said sure. We went around to the front of the house, he lit a cigarette, offered me one, and I accepted it (the first cigarette I've smoked in more than a year). He was calm and not especially threatening. I was drunk, rather full of myself, but in a friendly, magnanimous sort of way. As he had last time I'd had a substantial conversation with him, Wingnut told me of how busy he has been fielding calls from big skinhead groups all across the country, asking who is this Gus character and why is he causing problems. According to Wingnut, the problem these anonymous skinheads were having with me were mostly about things I written on the Internet about Wingnut himself. This might have been the same old Wingnut rhetoric, but suddenly I was seeing a side of Wingnut I had never seen before. He seemed almost sensitive, even a little vulnerable, like a real human being. I told him I didn't have any beef with him at all, I hadn't written anything especially bad about him, that indeed I'd actually heard good things about him from Ray (his housemate), and what's more, I'd heard that his punk rock band was "really good." But, concerning the Internet, I was firm. "I write what I think, and if people don't like it, I don't care. They can kill me if they want. In fact, if I was to die, I think that would be pretty cool. I'm not doing anything right now, I'm unemployed..."

"You could get a job..." Wingnut volunteered, almost helpfully. I think he was convinced at this point that he was dealing with a complete lunatic. He went on to suggest that I write a book or a gossip column and not put my stuff on the Internet.

I responded that I thought he and I were probably pretty similar, that we're outspoken individuals who don't live in fear of others.

In the midst of this, Angela and Matthew walked back and forth by us several times. Angela glared at Wingnut each time, and Wingnut was dismayed, asking Matthew and me what her problem was. "Oh, she's upset about that time at the Tokyo Rose when someone hit me in the head with a bottle, but I know you didn't have anything to do with that." Matthew was in his usual drunken out-going friendly mode, and he shook hands with Wingnut in a gesture of good will. Later I saw Wingnut and Johnny Boom Boom having a long and seemingly pleasant conversation.

Jessika, Morgan Anarchy, the Boy Jesse and others arrived. The Triplets were trying to get the hot tub working, something they evidently try to do at every party, but the damn thing hasn't worked in years. There was some dancing. The one most obvious lesbian couple were the only people making out, but others were getting cuddly on the couches and chairs. Johnny Boom Boom seemed to be liking Sarah Kleiner quite a lot.


atalie drove Shonan, Jessika and me home. It was a long drive and the 80s party and the booze had left me in a cuddly mood.

Jessika and I continued on foot to a party on nearby Stribling at the residence of a guy named Doug Ross. All the usual Charlottesville party people were there: Tad, the very black, very snaggle-toothed Mel, "Crispina's Sister" Eliza and Jatasya, who seemed fairly intact despite being injured in a recent auto accident. Ever on the decline, Jatasya proved incapable of saying any more than "I had a dream..." The party had long since wound down, but there were still Budweisers. Doug Ross played Astrud Gilberto on the stereo, since Jessika loves it so.

I found myself trying hard to talk to Mel. He has lots to say, but I never can tell what the hell he's going on about; I think the problem is that he doesn't move his lips when he talks. Compounding my difficulties with comprehension is the fact that Mel constantly pauses and waits for acknowledgement of things he's just said, and all I can do is just nod and say, "Uh huh."

I slipped off home unannounced, leaving Jessika to hang out with the few die-hard partiers remaining.


one year ago

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