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:
   wedding beer
Friday, August 13 2010

location: five miles south of Staunton, rural Augusta County, Virginia

Before setting off for whatever adventures the day would bring, I wanted to make a final push at fixing the gasoline filler tube on the Subaru. So I jacked it up again, sanded all the existing epoxy and some of the existing metal, and then applied another thick layer of JB Weld. This time, though, instead of just letting the extra drip off like honey, I adhered a piece of plastic underneath to keep it from escaping. Then I waited around for a couple hours until it was tacky and could hold its own against sloshing gasoline.
I went into town to take more advantage of Coffee on the Corner. I didn't have any web development to do because that project was on hold while a client looked over the results (or something). But there was email to be caught up on and hummus bagels with tomato to be devoured. [REDACTED]
Next stop was the nursing home to visit my father. He's been looking better these last few trips if only because he's wearing actual clothes instead of just a hospital diaper and gown. True, I'm not used to seeing him in anything but blue jeans and a button-up shirt (and it's disconcerting to see him sweat pants and a teeshirt). But he looked like a functional human being this way, certainly more so than the various pruned and drooling geezers who are now his peers. We walked up and down the halls several times, something he enjoys doing when he is especially anxious. His most recent anxiety is about bankrupting the family and squandering my inheritance to be kept alive in a nursing home. He's decided he wants to come home when he can though he'd also recognized that his lungs were doing better away from the dusty hoardscape where he'd been living. I did what I could to assure him Hoagie would do whatever she needed to do to make him comfortable. "But what if she doesn't want to?" he asked. "Well, she understands your situation. She'll do what needs doing."
Then Hoagie herself showed up on the elevator near the Alzheimer's Wing and there was a chance to see if the wheels really reached the road. Was Hoagie willing to give up some measure of her pathological hoarding behavior to give her husband a reasonably clean and dust-free environment? It was tense there for a moment because my mother is a profoundly selfish person, despite having a husband who is fast running out of options. In the end, though, there seemed to be a tentative agreement that my father would stop calling 911 all the time if Hoagie would clean up the place and make it more liveable for him. That was as close to a frank conversation as ever happens in my family.
Next stop was Charlottesville, this time to visit Jessika and her boyfriend Aaron at their new house on Ridge Street (off Fifth Street, my most common route from I-64). I picked up some wine, beer, and vegan essentials at the Fifth Street Food Lion (that place is as a ghetto as any grocery store I know, but they actually had Vegenaise and fake cream cheese. (Though I couldn't find any fake bacon.)
It was a little past four and Jessika and Aaron were drinking PBRs out on the front porch of their new house. Jessika gave me the tour and the place definitely lived up to its pre-purchase reputation as a "practical house"; it was a surprisingly-tasteful raised ranch. Everything about it was in good repair stylistically reasonable. Really all it had needed was some repainting, and that was done. There's a guestroom and individual studio space for both Jessika and Aaron. A modern American house is actually a lot of space for just two people.
The most surprising thing about the house was on display in the large basement laundry room. There the overhead utilities were exposed and once could see that the house's sewer pipes were all made out of copper pipes as big as your arm. Jessika says this always impresses the plumbers who happen by. And why not? All that copper has to be worth a fortune. (Aaron says he is definitely not letting any junkies find out about the specialness of the plumbing; junkies, after all, will tear wire out of drywall in hopes of selling the copper for scrap.)
Jessika drinks all beers with lime these days, including PBR (which is mostly all Aaron drinks). I tried some lime with a PBR and it was an improvement. But it was going in the wrong direction. Given the kind of beers I like, I should be shoving a slice of grapefruit down the necks and into the cans of the dubious brews I encounter.
Outside, the house had that great front porch for watching the world stroll by (and a better world it was in comparison to the old house on Midland in the Hogwaller neighborhood, which Jessika still owns and is now renting out). And out in the back was a little a narrow patch of genuine forest. From both locations there are mountain views. Unfortunately, though, the mountain in question is Carter's Mountain to the south, where some douchebag just finished building himself Russian-mobster-style mansion.
Jessika and Aaron were planning on attending a wedding reception at a bar called The Taphouse somewhere between downtown and the Corner. I'd feared even my best clothes would have me looking like a slob were I to crash a wedding reception, but the whole thing was a lot more casual than that. The reception mingled easily with the rest of the restaurant. When we first arrived we bought beers from the bar, but then we discovered there were wedding beers, which were free.
Soon after our arrival we had a number of conversations with random wedding party people, including some a high-rolling Hollywood producer who seemed like he'd just snorted a fat line of Peruvian cocaine off a toilet seat. The wedding was between a descendant of the guy who had owned back when I'd worked there, so in a way I felt a little like family. Not that I remembered any of those people, but (for example) the sister of the groom remembered me.
Aaron keeps floating this idea of perhaps making a movie based on the non-linear story of Big Fun (as told by me). But how would one arrange such a story? Someone needs to invent a workable version of video hypertext. I admitted to Aaron that a lot of the Big Fun Glossary embarrasses me now, but he assured me it would be a simple matter to edit those parts out.
When the wedding reception wound down, Jessika and I walked down main street to the Blue Moon Diner, where some band was performing. That place was impossibly crowded like all the other fun night spots in Charlottesville. At a certain point Jessika and I were sitting outside on some raised perch and, as often happens when one is hanging out with Jessika, there was some annoying guy standing in front of us being tiresome. He asked me what I did for a living, so I told him, "I suck dick." According to Jessika, I didn't stop with that, going into lurid details about the nature of my dirty job that someone has to do.
Somehow we made it back to Jessika and Aaron's place, where drinking continued out in the back. Tiny biting flies had been a problem earlier in the day, but now they weren't presenting much of a problem. Perhaps they're repelled by high levels of blood alcohol. I lay down in the grass and felt perfectly comfortable.
Later we went inside and I gave Jessika a detailed explanation of why it is that Gretchen and I do not want to have children. For me it's mostly that I don't like kids, but for Gretchen it's mostly that no one should be so presumptuous as to bring a person out of oblivion and into life.

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