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:
   off to Ann Arbor
Thursday, July 2 1998

he Shaque is good for dreaming and that's just what I did. I dreamed that Matthew Hart decided to throw a big party at Kappa Mutha Fucka now that none of us is living there anymore. We organized for days, a keg was procured, people were invited, and (in an unusual twist) lots of food was prepared. Before the party, I was in the living room, but it didn't look like any room in Kappa Mutha Fucka; it more resembled my childhood home's living room if it were to ever be straightened up. My computers were all set up on a living room table and I was working on a project, grouchy as ever because partiers were showing up, causing distractions and being noisy. I wasn't just at a party, though, I was also at work at Comet, the now-defunct Internet Provider where I used to work. I was surfing the web but trying to look busy while Evan, one of my old overlords, paced around cheerfully looking over our shoulders to see what we were doing (something he never used to do).

When I finally decided to get up and join the party, a new burst of people showed up: KC and the Triplets, Bill the drunk, and other Charlottesville party personalities. The party started hopping, so much so that one of the outside walls began to give way. "Good thing I'm not on this lease any more," I thought. But then, as I was helping myself to some delectable cherry cobbler, I suddenly realized that someone must be living in this house, and we surely hadn't received anyone's approval. Just about that moment, the party cleared out completely, and thinking it best to follow the herd, I ran away too. But I was curious, so I doubled back and saw that a snazzy dark turquoise old-model topless single-seat sports car had pulled into the driveway, driven by a middle aged man carrying a little baby. A woman, evidently his wife, had already climbed out (though I couldn't see any place where she could have fit). I shouted "Are you the people who live here now?"

"Yes, we are." they responded wearily.

"Look, I'm sorry about the party, but I didn't know Matthew hadn't cleared it with you guys first!"

The wife said, "Well, you might as well come in and eat some of this food. We can have a nice little restrained party."

Excitedly, I strolled past the keg into the house, which was fresh and tidy again. As I went to take a piece of that delicious cherry cobbler, I woke up.


efore even getting out of bed, I added some digital camera images to recent musings entries. Now there are pictures of the Cherry Avenue neighborhood outside the KFC, Charlottesville ladies' fashion, a mysterious folk religious shrine, and Harvey the Elderly Dog.


y mother, Hoagie, made me delicious homemade pizza and my father gave me a little last-minute web work (impeded somewhat by being down), but what I was really home for was to pick up a laptop computer and track down all the addresses sent by people willing to have me visit during my road trip. When I had all the things I needed, I drove the Dart back to Charlottesville. Rain pelted down savagely on the east side of the Blue Ridge, creating terrifying conditions. But at least the rain kept my engine nice and cool.

After cashing another big Godfrey Property Management check at the Barracks Road Nations Bank and buying a little vodka, I went to Deya's place. But no one was there, so I came here to UVA's Cocke Hall. Right now, all parts of the Internet that I need are working exactly as they should. The next musings update will be from some place far from Virginia.

circa 8:30pm


kay, I lied. But I didn't mean to. Everything was riding on Wacky Jen being able to get off work tonight, but she failed to do so. She showed up in front of the Wertland Mansion jumping up and down and shrieking at the top of her lungs, "Look at this, look at this!" We went out on the balcony and there she was, complete with a foot-tall bicolour mohawk all spiked and perfect, if you go for that sort of thing. I don't know if I approve or not - I sort of have my doubts - but I'm reserving judgment for now.

Since now we had to wait for Wacky Jen to get off work before we could set off for Michigan, Deya and I found ourselves suddenly burdened with hours to kill. Let's see, there's always teevee:

  • Steve Austin is the Six Million Dollar Man. We can rebuild him... we have the technology [even if the cutting edge microprocessor from Intel has a four bit data path] ...
  • The Simpsons - the one where Bart Simpson shreds the memoirs of President George Bush
  • ABC News with Peter Jennings. Just be glad the kids prefer watching bootleg Hanson videotapes, or else Peter would soon have them all saying heuhs, deuhlar and euht
  • The Simpsons again (we get two reruns each and every day here in Charlottesville). When, by the way, The Simpsons inevitably gets made into a movie, I have an idea for a possible actor to play Ned Flanders.


  mixed myself a little vodka-icetea concoction in a orange, blue and white Virginia Cavaliers plastic cup and walked back to UVA. The Corner was bathed in that ruddy glow peculiar to this time of year. Each brick seemed content snuggling in its framework of surrounding greyish-white concrete. The air was hot and humid, but the mere promise of the coming cool of the night seemed to make it feel just perfect. Everyone seemed to move in cheerful slow motion. I would have liked to spend the rest of my life sitting and sipping vodka at one of those black-painted circular metal tables. As I crossed University Avenue, soft modern rock wafted over the scene from the open window of a sport utility vehicle stopping at the 14th Street railroad bridge traffic light. "...closing time, so finish your whiskey or beer..." The thick of Summer has come to Charlottesville.

circa 11:30pm


guess I should have known, given my experience with Charlottesville, that the plans for the Ann Arbor trip were all bound to fall apart. I returned to Deya's house in the evening and she told me that she probably shouldn't go after all. Her reasons for not going included her overall poverty and the fact that she does actually have a job. This was bad news for me, since those of us still wanting to go to Ann Arbor had intentions of using Deya's car for the trip. Deya suggested I call Wacky Jen at the Tokyo Rose to talk to her about the situation. When I talked to Jen, though, she told me Catherine DeGood was wimping out on the trip and that I should call her and convince to go, since her car was the only suitable one left for the trip. But by the time I called up Catherine, she'd already made up her mind not to go. She told me she was wrapping herself around a bottle of cheap red wine and that she thought it would be bad to take her car and let random people drive it (since it belongs to her parents). It was no consolation when she added that she'd actually been psyched to go back at 5:00pm. And so the trip fell apart, as always seems to happen to the best laid plans of Charlottesvillians.

what eventually happened


hen Wacky Jen got off work, she came directly to Deya's house. I was all packed-up for the road trip that wasn't to happen, feeling disgusted with my friends and irritated with Jen's mohawk (the spikes of which she'd had to wash from her hair in order to work as bartender tonight at the Tokyo Rose).

Jen hadn't yet assuaged her guilt by swapping her stolen tire back with the bad one she'd put on a random car, and she asked if I wanted to come with her tonight to serve as lookout while she undid her past dirty work. I was pretty sleepy, but I agreed to go. When we showed up in the appointed parking lot, however, the victim's car was gone.

I'd sort of made up my mind by this point that Wacky Jen's car was suitable for the trip to Michigan. Sure, it had its problems, including the fact that it had fallen off a jack several times and needed brake repairs as a result. But its engine sounded robust, and it certainly gets better mileage than the Dodge Dart. Jen was fairly eager to go as well, and it wasn't difficult for us to both decide to bite the bullet and hit the road after all. First, of course, we had to put the stolen tire back on Jen's car (remember, she'd been driving on her donut the past few days in anticipation of recovering her old wheel). Then, too, we had to go to Jen's place to drop off some stuff and pick up some things.

While we were there, Morgan Anarchy and Johnny Two Boom randomly materialized. They'd just been playing laser tag with Dempsey, Tasha and Monster Boy on the UVA campus and were on the verge of cardiac arrest from the unusual physical exertion to which they'd subjected their alcoholic bodies. It turned out that it was Morgan and Johnny who had spiked Jen's hair, and Morgan went on and on about how she should care for it and what way it should be put in order to look "sexy."

Morgan asked if he and Johnny could crash at Jen's house, and she said it was fine with her. But this entailed more than you could possibly imagine, since Morgan and Johnny had brought their enormous moose-like German Shepherd dog, Spunk, and of course he was going to need to sleep with them. His presence met with the considerable consternation of Fly Boy, the native dog at Jen's house.

After the dogs had reached some sort of accommodation, and after Jen had packed her shit for the trip, we slowly made for the road. First, though, Johnny's car had to be moved out of the way. Morgan was all eager to drive it, the first car he'd driven in four years, but when he couldn't figure out which of the pedals was the gas pedal, Johnny Two Boom decided it was to his best interest to take over. Nothing happens very fast with Johnny Two Boom, and much time passed between when Johnny climbed into his driver's seat and when he finally backed into the road to let us escape.

In the end though, an hour passed and all the necessary goodbyes had been said, and Jen and I were heading west on I-64, then north on I-81. Jen was doing the initial driving.

I hate to say this, but Jen's driving was anything but relaxing. Before we'd left, I'd entertained notions of getting some sleep while Jen drove, hoping to return the favour later in the trip. I hadn't considered, of course, the way Jen drives. She's a maniac, that's all there is to say. She sloshes back and forth in whatever lane she chooses to drive in, overcompensating and under-compensating, and when there's no cars around, she's perfectly content straddling the middle dotted line. But when there are cars around, she sometimes seems to approach perilously close, oblivious to anything they might be doing and never using her turn signals. If, for example, another car slows down in front of her, she'll continue to accelerate towards them for a good two seconds longer than my reflexes would dictate, long enough to instigate a panic reaction on my part. For the whole ride, then, my stomach churned and leapt and twisted and winced. There was no way in hell I could get any sleep.

We did make occasional stops, though, and at every one of these I posted musings promotional flyers. At the rest stop on Sideling Hill in western Maryland, for example, I put flyers in every men's room toilet stall and also in the men's room fold-out baby changing table, as well as most of the phone booths. Other places where I posted flyers included the streets of Cumberland, Maryland, and rest stops in south-western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio.

I took over driving responsiblities at Sideling Hill and drove all the way to the outskirts of Columbus, Ohio, and Wacky Jen managed to sleep for a number of hours from Western Maryland to well into Ohio.

one year ago

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