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

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Like my brownhouse:
   the end of Kappa Mutha Fucka
Tuesday, May 26 1998


pon awaking, the very first thing I did was throw my mattress over the fence and then drag it to the trash pile at the adjacent apartment complex. That mattress had served me well, originally being an orphan that I adopted in the early days of the Dynashack. Someone had come by several months into my use of it to pick it up, but I hadn't been home so they'd given up. This morning it was just yet more of society's waste. It wasn't looking too good and the springs were acting funny. If I ever need another mattress (and I'm sure some day I will), they can always be found. They are like pencils this way, but less so than the now-ubiquitous futon.


ext on the agenda was the disposal of Monster Boy's big striped couch, two big pieces that fit together in the corner of a room. Originally we'd thought we were selling them to Aaron's Attic (whose slogan is "Everything old under the sun"), but that deal fell through and we just wanted to get rid of them. Deya and I thought we could just carry them down Observatory and set them up enticingly on the grassy median of JPA, but we soon gave up on that idea. They were far too heavy to carry a quarter mile. But then we found that they actually would fit in Deya's Mercury pacer station wagon. Soon we'd set up the whole sectional as it would normally be placed in a typical living room, complete with all the cushions. From a distance, to the many driving by, it looked very attractive; you couldn't see the stains or smell the beer and dog-induced funkiness. The whole thing was gone within an hour.

Deya went off on another massive junk disposing mission, taking small stuff to just leave in random places about town. It seems better that way, it's less psychologically stressful to depart with things if it seems likely they will end up in a good home. These last few weeks have been unique in my life in terms of all the material possessions I've been shedding. Never before have I willingly disposed of so much of my stuff. It's especially strange to be tossing out things only a few months after obtaining them in the first place, with the joy of finding them still vivid in my mind. In a way, this has me redefining my relationship with the material world. I'm realizing that everything I think that I own (and own proudly!) is really just loaned to me from what Wacky Jen terms "the pool of things." In such times as these, when outright disposal is the least desirable option, there is a hierarchy of options for shedding my surplus things:

  • selling them
  • giving them to friends
  • giving them to strangers
  • giving them to the Salvation Army to be sold to strangers
  • dropping them off around town to await the fates
  • putting them in other people's dumpsters
  • piling them up in front of the house to irritate the neighbors
Having to dispose of so much stuff makes us unusually altruistic. We felt a real sense of joy when we discovered someone had taken Monster Boy's couches. But then someone from Aaron's Attic showed up. You snooze, you lose.


ollowing the same principle, Matthew Hart and Angela finally came by to get their crap on this, the final day when such things were possible. Unfortunately, some things they'd expected to find were already gone. Where were the little wooden tables? More importantly, where was the air conditioner, the one he took from his car to make room the night of the 80s party? We explained that the air conditioner "Had been here, but, wait! It's gone! Someone must have taken it!" He stormed around silently pissed off and loaded up the things of his that weren't gone (including a couple mattresses that had formed part of Jessika's "princess and the pea" bed arrangement). Everything Matthew and Angela took was to be used to furnish Peggy and Zach's basement apartment up on Carter's Mountain, where they'll be moving on June 1st. Johnny Boom Boom rode with Matthew on the way up the mountain and later Johnny reported to Jessika that my old housemate wasn't buying the story that the air conditioner had "just vanished."

I didn't have time to worry about such politics as I cleaned up a house that Matthew had once seemed determined to destroy. The old ferret shit came up pretty easy with a putty knife, but the candle wax around Matthew's bed was much more troublesome.


y scheme for cleaning revolved around the idea of completely clearing out rooms, cleaning them, and then making them "off limits." Deya and Jessika worked without such systematic thoroughness, starting cleaning projects and leaving them half-finished to start up new projects. As the hour drew late, I determined to finish one of the massive bits left undone: the kitchen. I assaulted the electric range, which had, under the burners, many years' accumulation of a sticky, oily mixture of carmelized starches and cooking grease. It came up in satisfying slabs with a putty knife, but there was no way I could make it shine with the time I had. I did make stove surface itself look pretty good, however. Then I focused on the refrigerator, going shelf to shelf in a urban warfaresque "mopping-up operation" (now I know where the term comes from; World War II must have been fought by batallions of kitchen staff).


  bunch of people: Joanna Road Rage, Johnny Boom Boom, Peggy and the Baboose, all showed up at around 3:30, just when the biggest push should have commenced. They weren't really part of the solution so they ended up being part of the problem. Jessika felt compelled to chit chat with them about gossipy things (like Sarah Kleiner); she has no sense of the movement of time, and is always eager to socialize even under the most demanding of emergencies. Who was wanting to fuck whom was not important to me at all just then; I found myself growing enraged by the people lazing in the yard, tromping through the house to use the phone, and especially, smoking cigarettes and flicking ashes upon the front porch (which I had just swept). As I strained to replace an outdoor light fixture that I'd long ago hidden for fears of its being smashed, I just let loose with my rage and hollered "We need to get cracking! We don't have time for socializing! We can talk about Sarah Kleiner later!" After that, Peggy helped me in the kitchen, greatly accelerating my progress despite the fact that one of her hands was tied up holding the Baboose. She works fast and effectively when she puts her mind to it. Joanna Road Rage passed through the kitchen at one point and asked why I was so cranky, a question I did not dignify with a response.


n the last hour, it was just Deya and me working. She finished off the bathroom and then hosed down the front porch while I attacked the back porch and kitchen. When she was done with the front porch, she cleaned out the refrigerator and I cleaned up systematically behind her as she emptied shelves. We worked surprisingly effectively in such constricted space.

When the house was done, a miracle of echo-y emptiness, I locked it up and sat down to drink some ice coffee I'd been preparing for this magic moment. Off in the distance the university bell chimed five times, the hour at which we were required to be out of the house. We'd won. Deya sipped on a beer and we stared calmly across Observatory, exhausted but satisfied. Somehow the house had made it through countless perils to a state probably more tidy than we'd found it. Think of the obstacles we had overcome:

  • Matthew Hart during the final Leah period, when Leah routinely threw bottles and cups at her then-boyfriend (I'd found myself filling many arc-shaped dents with dry wall compound)
  • Theresa Venezian, who frequently broke things like windows as a melodramatic form of sentence punctuation
  • Matthew Hart during the Angela period, when, in fits of pathetic drunken neediness, he smashed windows and bathroom doors to express emotions like jealousy and desire
  • Shira the Dog, who left mud on the walls, destroyed Monster Boy's couch and dug holes in the yard, and put poo and pee stains in the dining room
  • The Boy Jesse, whose craziness always seemed on the verge of breaking something, though I don't think he actually broke anything
  • The constant menace of the skinheads, who, as it happened, never mustered the guts to show up and cause problems, though for a period I was so afraid this would happen that I armed myself with a .30 caliber pistol
  • Ray Robot, who as recently as two days ago suggested that it would be a cool thing to trash the house
Deya drove over to her new place at the Wertland Mansion with a final load of stuff, and I rode over shortly thereafter on my bike, intending to keep it there during my travels.


t the Wertland Mansion, Jessika, Deya and I drank a last bottle of red wine and watched a bad action adventure on the teevee (the girls get free cable as part of their summer sublet arrangement). As an ironic commentary on all the stupid babe pictures that surround them in their new abode, Jessika put up a picture that had been on the Kappa Mutha Fucka bathroom, a photocopy originally prepared by Leah depicting a bare-breasted girl all tied up with thin black straps. Considering the picture later, Jessika suddenly realized that the frat-boy-type housemates who live next door will probably get the wrong idea and think that Jessika and Deya are some kind of dyke couple. They do dress kind of weird, especially Jessika, who of late has embraced a sort of fetishistic femme look, featuring layers and layers of lacy girlie clothes. In Jessika's mind, the fact that the all-American housemates might get the wrong idea about her and Deya is a wonderful thing; it admirably serves the purpose of fucking with their minds. To cause even further mind-fucking, I suggested maybe including some unexpected rock and roll bumperstickers juxtaposed with the bondage picture, ZZ Top for example.

We wondered among ourselves what sort of interactions Jessika and Deya will have with the housemates over the long summer. We thought the boys would probably try to avoid them at first, while simultaneously being intrigued (they are girls, after all). We decided that the boys' reticence to approach the girls will probably break down the first time the boys get really drunk. I envied my friends; it seems they'll get some fascinating experiences out of all this.

Deya still needed to go home to pick up her rat Francis and her cat Nicholas. I rode with her, since I needed to drive the Dart back to Staunton one last time. Suddenly I realized that I was leaving, that this was it - a major turning point in my life. I said goodbye to Jessika, and off Deya and I went.


ack at the locked and vacant Kappa Mutha Fucka, Nicholas was playing nervously in the yard. He'd been apprehensive and jumpy these last few days as he watched room after room emptied, scrubbed clean and acoustically altered. Deya picked him up and put him in her car. He didn't want to go; he had the most horrible expression on his triangular grey face. But away Deya drove, leaving me alone in the yard. I was the first person to populate Kappa Mutha Fucka, and I would be the last to go.

It's hard to express the feelings I had. I was feeling sort of sad and nostalgic, but also I felt energized by being on the cusp of some future era. I walked around the yard, picking up hay and putting it on dirt spots and pushing clumps of leaves and maple seeds out of the driveway with my foot. Various cats unusually near me, looking at me in weird ways that both seemed to say goodbye and condemn me for presiding over the taking away of their friend Nicholas. As the evening light dimmed, I climbed in my extremely packed Dart and backed out of the driveway of 129 Observatory Avenue, formerly known as Kappa Mutha Fucka. I'd barely left enough room behind the wheel for myself.


ack home, I told my parents that the end of Kappa Mutha Fucka had gone smoothly. They had a few interesting tales to tell. The most odd of these was about Josh Furr, my redneck friend who is now in jail on the charge of attempted murder. Josh had been using a match-making service and had the numbers of a couple girls he wanted to contact, but since he was in jail and could only make collect calls, he asked my Dad to call the girls instead. Surprising enough, my Dad decided to humour the poor inmate and called them up. He only got through to one of them, but the moment my Dad said Josh was currently in jail, she said she was most definitely not interested.

I went to bed fairly early, after unpacking a small amount of my crap. Rain had begun to fall. When I couldn't sleep, I got up and began working on my musings and stayed up until 3am.


one year ago

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