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:
   send in the clones
Saturday, January 17 1998

athan VanHooser, my childhood best friend, lives in this town with me. We, the most progressive individuals in our high school, both moved here partly as an escape from the cultural backwater of Redneckistan. Oddly, though, we hardly ever see each other. We live completely different lives. He's a married school teacher and a home owner, and I'm a marginal degenerate on the fringe of society, wired though I may be. But today Nathan said he'd be swinging by.

He had some errands to run. Somehow I became involved, mostly to get out of the house, away from the computer.

Nathan is a practicing environmentalist and actual societal do-gooder. His errands included recycling and taking old clothes to the Salvation Army. I looked over the clothes and grabbed a shirt and a pair of pants. They were perfectly good, like most dispossessed clothes I encounter. I didn't ask, but it seemed strange that he would decide he didn't want to wear a certain shirt any more. I wear my clothes until they completely disintegrate. I've had some shirts since high school, and they've faded and filled with holes and fallen from style, but you'll see me in them occasionally. My size hasn't changed appreciably in 15 years. I weigh 155 pounds plus or minus five. (I think, however, that a rudimentary beer gut may be fighting for a toe hold, with no resistance on my part whatsoever.)

We ended up at Barracks Road, dropping off videotapes and walking (not driving) to various stores to buy things. At Border's bookstore Nathan did a little research. He uses the place exclusively as a library.

We split a medium pie at the pizza place near the Chesapeake Bagel place. I forget what the place is called, but it's a lot better than Gumby's.

I actually did some shopping at Kroger. I usually completely forget to go shopping at all, but "when at Barracks Road, go shopping."

Nathan carries his practical environmentalism to unusual extremes. For example, as he bought his stuff at the Kroger, he didn't want paper or plastic; he wanted to carry everything loose in his hands. I donated one of my bags to his doomed balancing act. I don't even think about resource waste when I get shopping bags, even though the American institution of meta packaging is clearly ridiculous, unnecessary, and excessive. I just don't like the aggravation of telling the bagger his job does me no good. I'd rather make him feel useful than save the world and be considered a suspicious weirdo. As Nathan pointed out while we walked away from the store, cashiers and baggers frequently get irritated when you tell them you don't want a bag at all. It's as if they're about to tell you to get the hell back to Russia where you fucking belong.

Next came an excessively long stopover at Integral Yoga, one of Charlottesville's several natural food grocery stores. We were there to complete a shopping list and pick up spices (we had to measure and weigh them from bulk). We also ran across and were distracted by hippies we know, love and/or loved. An unctuous blonde woman wanted to talk to Nathan about bicycling and then I ran across Fatima outside in the parking lot as I paced back and forth in boredom. Fatima works at Integral Yoga, ironically as a bagger. IY is one of the few places on Earth where the concept of carrying out your grocieries without a bag isn't automatically considered suspect. Fatima says she's moving to California soon. I'm not especially surprised.

Then back at Nathan's place on Little High Street, I solved the case of the mysteriously vanished MacTCP control panel and looked over a laptop Nathan is using to teach himself Java. I forgot to ask him how he can hope to learn Java if he doesn't even know HTML yet. With his usual eager industry, though, I'm sure he'll do just fine.

Nathan gave me five of his homebrewed beers and then took me home. On the way we discussed the disturbing fact that sex is almost always on our minds, that we have never thought about any girl without also thinking something sexual about her. The only exceptions are our immediate female relatives. Nathan thought it kind of strange that he'd have such a strong aversion to his sister. But I pointed out that our inclinations have to have some way to keep brother and sister from fucking each other, otherwise they'd certainly do it. Study after study has shown that proximity is the single biggest factor in sexual pairing, and there is no one more proximal than you sister. The aversion to one's sister no doubt has deep biologic roots, although I've seen goats and chickens (and rednecks) without any sisterly aversion at all.

After Nathan dropped me off at Kappa Mutha Fucka, my adventures were over and I was again seated in front of my screen. My hangover from last night interfered with my motivation, and I numbly surfed the web.

In the evening, Monster Boy and Theresa appeared, looking for a ride to a big party in Richmond. We didn't have what they needed except for alcohol.

send in the clones


hat's when they came, the Quintuplets. I'm using that term broadly to describe the five person contingent consisting of the Triplets mentioned in yesterday's entry, combined with KC and Sarah Kleiner. They're mostly Jewish and Virgo, and they're all thin, stylish, seventeen years old and brunette. One of the Triplets was actually elsewhere, out on a date with a boyfriend described by the others as a "loser" (complete with thumbs aimed at the floor). She'd been replaced with a blond girl with excessive eye shadow. Beyond her being blond, she was most definitely one thing that was not like the others. She was their age, and relatively fashionable, but she'd already had two kids. Her first pregnancy began before she was fifteen.

This time they drank. The booze flowed freely. One of the Triplets denied herself alcohol; she was the designated driver. Matthew Hart and I suggested that she learn how to drunk drive and drunk drive well. It's not just a capability, it's an essential life-preserving skill. This is not to say that we were giving the impression that drunk driving is cool, only that it's better to know how to do it than it is to do it badly.

Matthew and Sarah have a sort of strange intimacy that flares up between them. It's an easy thing for them to express when Angela isn't around. I wouldn't say it's the sort of thing that is leading down a slippery sexual slope, but it's caused problems in the past.

The whole time I was doing tricks in Matthew's wheelchair (it's a new skill I've taught myself). Some of the girls wanted to learn how to stay up on two wheels, something that's effortless to me now. But none of them could do it, even when I stood behind them to catch them should they fall. It's strange to think I learned how to do such an apparently difficult new physical activity so late in my youth.

The Triplets really liked my paintings, and somehow managed to get me to talk a lot about them, something that I, under most circumstances, sort of resent doing. I explained that the paintings are all about aspects of sexuality, things that I'd never reveal about myself in writing.

The plan that Matthew had been promoting all evening was to go to the Tokyo Rose to see Raphæl open for the Ninth (a band that helps to preserve Charlottesville's reputation as a hotbed of low fi).


  rode with Deya. What can I say? It was another of those drunken Tokyo Rose evenings, complete with smuggled-in alcohol, chats with Jennifer the wacky bartender, attempts to motivate people to dance, and a sad vacant longing for something bigger, better, deeper. I guess I just take the wrong drugs sometimes.

Matthew (now equipped with Angela) found me wandering around outside in the parking lot and they took me home.

The carrying on continued. Matthew fixed me a burrito. The Quintuplets came and went and came again. We chatted and confessed. Somehow at some point I found my way to bed.

one year ago

For linking purposes this article's URL is:

previous | next