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:
   Silent Andy's garage
Friday, January 2 1998

e made sure to watch the Jerry Springer Show when it came on at 11am. I hadn't seen it since Jerry began permitting so much violence, and I was impressed. It was completely low-brow and idiotic, but there was something about it that drew me in. People behaving like animals is delicious and unhealthy like a half gallon of Breyer's fudge twirl icecream. I simply must get the Jerry Springer Uncut videotape.

Jerry Springer and a number of errands contributed (as expected) to the delay in the start of a weekend trip to Philadelphia. Matthew Hart and Angela were going, and I was taking the opportunity to visit Jessika.


inally, though, we did go. We left Shira the Dog behind for Deya to worry about. On the way north, we stopped off at the landlord's place to pay the rent, but he was closed for the day. Not wanting to take rent money to the uncertain vagaries of Philadelphia, we dropped it off with Deya at her workplace, Rebecca's Natural Foods.

On the long drive to Philadelphia, we took note of several classes of bumperstickers and "Jesus Fish," those little schematic silver fish that occasionally also include the name of Jesus written in either English or Greek. In infidel Charlottesville, there are also a good number of "Darwin Fish," which are modeled after the Jesus Fish but have little feet. We figured we'd probably see a good mix of Jesus and Darwin Fish, but the evidence is in and it turns out that, as a whole, America is much more religious than sardonic: we saw four Jesus Fish and not one Darwin Fish. We also saw a good mix of NASCAR stickers, but the bulk of these were on non-Chevies. We only saw a couple stickers related to hippie or rock and roll culture. It occurred to me, by the way, that rock and roll is the only music culture well represented in bumperstickers. I don't know if I've ever seen rap or country bumperstickers. I have a racist/classist interpretation: perhaps people from those cultures, as a whole, take too much pride in their vehicles to defile them with sticky paper.

For most of the ride, the music that Matthew played was Oldies, that special new class of music comprised largely of hit pop music from the sixties and early seventies. It's rather different from Classic Rock (which is focused more on that familiar rock and roll sound), but it's all rather similar: the guitars are completely undistorted, the vocals are always inane love songs, everything goes through reverb, and the production values are mediocre. After awhile it begins to all sound the same. I was getting awfully sick of it by the time we made it to Philadelphia. I don't know how this whole "Oldies = Goodies" trend began. Perhaps it started as some kind of ironic thing when Matthew's tape player broke. But now it's the only music Matthew plays in his car.

Speaking of ironic, we were finally listening to a non-Oldies station on the streets of Philadelphia as we drove around looking for Sara Poiron's place, and Alanis Morrissette was singing her little clueless celebration of irony.

It's like ray-eey-ain on your wedding day
A free ride when you've already paid.

It's "Alternative" gone bubble gum.


ara Poiron was subdued as she answered the door. She didn't have much to say, and kept vanishing to hang out with her new vegan boyfriend Seph. Seph was a nice enough guy I guess, but I wonder what he thought of the fact that I was wrapped around a 3 litre jug of burgundy I'd bought on the road.

Sara's housemates were also present, and they seemed friendly enough to me, except that they eventually started playing a dorky anti-social game of scrabble. A large blackish-brown dog seemed to like me scratching his head, but he made a noise the whole time that sounded rather like a growl and it made me nervous.

Sara claimed her lack of spunk was related to some Xanax she'd taken. Xanax is a kind of sleeping pill that heroin users take when they're kicking, although Sara might have actually been trying to go to sleep.

I talked to Jessika on the phone and arranged with Matthew to eventually head out to Malvern.

Johnny Boom Boom Mancini arrived, and Matthew greeted him warmly as usual. Soon we were bidding Sara adieu and heading back to Malvern. Johnny was in his own car and I continued riding with Matthew and Angela.

For whatever reason, Matthew simply dropped me off on the street in front of the place where we knew Jessika to be: her friend Jody's house. Knocking on the door of Jody's house, I heard a smash behind me; my bottle of burgundy had somehow leapt out of my bag and committed suicide on the concrete. Oh how depressing. This sound alerted Jessika, and she met me at the door.

Jessika was dismayed that Matthew had dropped me off without taking the time to come in himself. She seemed to take this as a bad omen for the evening.


essika and I didn't stay long at Jody's house. We continued on foot to downtown Malvern to visit her friend "Balled Andy," the guy who drove her down for her last visit to Charlottesville. In a move to be less insulting to our friends, we decided to start calling Balled Andy "Silent Andy" instead.

Silent Andy's garage is behind The Pour House, the downtown Malvern coffee house. It's really supposed to be used as a studio/workspace, since it doesn't have any plumbing or toilet facilities. But of course, Andy does live there, along with a little hippie guy named Jason. His garage is full of musical equipment and African drums in various stage of construction/destruction.

I played guitar a little while the other guys played drums and stuff. That's always fun, but I wonder how much it bores Jessika. I can't imagine her finding any use for a musical instrument.

In addition to Andy and Jason, there were a number of others. I don't recall too well. Then Matthew, Angela and Johnny Boom Boom showed up. Let me just say, Matthew was looking and acting weird in an uncomfortably familiar way. From pin-prick pupils to the shaky tension in his voice, we knew what drug he had taken. He told Jessika he was on Xanax, but she knew he was lying. Angela was weird too, but this sort of thing isn't as evident on anyone as it is on Matthew.

Then Jessika and Johnny Boom Boom started arguing in front of everyone. They weren't saying anything direct about the serious issues at hand, and they weren't making any progress, they were just wasting my time, and everyone else's time as well. So I got pissed and told them both they were assholes, that they were wasting my life, and that they should take it outside. For emphasis, I was stomping my foot. At that point Johnny, Matthew and Angela departed. Matthew said something about this being another one of my miserable Philadelphia experiences.

So after that, Jessika and I discussed the situation with the others, and she started crying. She'd seemed kind of mad at me when I'd been complained, but soon she was remembering the episode as being simply "funny."

Balled Andy has a cat that looks a little like a caterpillar. His/her name (no one really knows its sex because of its long hair) is "Snowplow," in honour of his extremely flattened facial features. Snowplow is obviously some sort of Himalayan cat, like Sara's old cat Stink, but by comparison, Snowplow makes Stink look like a horse face.

Now, as I've said many times in the past, I'm not a big fan of horse faces. I generally like flattened facial features. But Snowplow's face was so flat he looked like he suffered from Down's Syndrome. I started jokingly referring to him as "Corky Thacher." Jessika was not pleased by my opinion of Snowplow, and she said many things in his defense. All the other boys present naturally sided with Jessika. But I didn't care, I thought Snowplow looked like a deformed mutant, and I delighted in riling everyone.


essika and I walked back to her place and ended up crashing in her little room, in the basement under her grandmother's house, which is the adjacent townhouse. You see, Jessika's neighborhood is comprised of numerous binary townhouses, and Jessika's parents have bought both halves of theirs and moved one of the grandmothers into the other half. The basements of both sides are full of enormous quantities of gradually-acquired junk, most of it weird furniture, mannequins, and boxes of loot. From the ceiling above Jessika's basement abode hang numerous disembodied mannequin arms and legs, while fully articulated mannequins lounge in rocking chairs, decked out in wigs, robes and black lingerie. It's very weird, in that way so common to members of my subculture (see the movie Gift).

one year ago

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