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:
   musician scene
Friday, January 30 1998

'm very satisfied this evening, because I finally got my new LINUX machine functioning on the Internet using a PPP scheme. It wasn't easy, involving lots of experiments with things called "chat scripts." The modem I'm using is a 14.4 Kilobaud external modem, the same one I've been using as a mousepad. Since the modem is on most of the time now, this "mousepad" is now a heated one. It's actually a nice feeling to have warmth radiating up from the the mousing surface.

In the evening, I was drinking my vodkatea, occasionally watching snips of teevee downstairs with Deya, but mostly upstairs in my den of antisociality. The mantra-like repetitive cycle of MSNBC's Lewinski coverage is numbly comforting.


omeone had left a flyer on our door advertising the appearance of the Ninth (the local lowfiesque white boy rock and roll band) at the Outback Lodge, a bar over in Preston Plaza with a somewhat redneck clientele. In an effort to get out of the loneliness of our house on a Friday night, Deya and I decided to go. She did the driving of course.

We sipped the last of our "for the road" alcohol and headed in to the bar. I'd never been to the Outback before. But diluting to inconsequential the usual lowbrow crowd were lots of friends familiar to me: the jolly artist Nicholai (asking as usual for Apple II software he can pirate), Zachary, Raphæl and his new violin-playing girlfriend, and Ray and his unassuming doe-eyed blond girlfriend. Ray showed me what remained of the hole bitten into his neck by Kiki (aka Bad Sex). In the poor light it didn't look so bad, put it felt lumpy and weird when I (at Ray's insistance) ran my fingers over it. "That cost me $900 in medical bills," he said, "200 dollars a shot!" But you should see the other guy. Kiki allegedly has a broken jaw and is missing a few front teeth as he recuperates in Michigan.

The Charlottesville musician scene is a cohesive bunch; at performances they hang out with each other near one of the corners of the stage, eating the free food and drinking the free beer provided by the venue. Occasionally I benefit from my connections to this scene. I suppose Deya and I could have been on the guest list and not paid the $5 cover charge, but that became a non-issue pretty quickly when I suggested to Zachary my desire for a beer. He thought that was an excellent idea and headed for the bar. "How much is a pitcher?" I asked, reaching for my wallet. "Don't worry," Zachary said, "I'm a guitar player!" The fact that he wasn't in the band didn't matter. He's part of the Charlottesville music scene, see. Three pitchers of Red Hook later (one of which I paid real money for), I was enjoying myself enormously.

After much delay, the Ninth got to playing. "Little Dave Sickman," the front man, was dressed in a brown suit. There's a perpetual almost naïve sadness about Dave that lends a lot to his music.

Normally the Ninth is one of those bands you stand there and listen to. But tonight they showed more flexibility, rising out of their usual Sebadohesque calm into more of a danceable rock band, albeit with unfortunately evident Dave Matthews Band influences, I have to say. There were a lot of girls in front of the stage dancing with each other while some of the usual patrons oogled them from afar.

Later, in a surprise move, Dave got this dreadlocked black guy up on stage and had him singing. At this point the music was a strange hybrid of lowfi and reggæ, if you can imagine that. I think Dave was trying to play more of a ska rhythm on his guitar, but it's awfully hard to break out of that overall lowfi rhythm/chord structure.

Then a beefy black man grabbed the mike and did some sort of rap thing. Yes, friends, things were getting sort of strange.

I had a feeling during all of this that the Ninth has a lot of potential for success as a band. At the very least I was certain that they are the best band in Charlottesville.

Good things about the Ninth:

  • Stand-up acoustic bass
  • Very good drumming
  • Good song writing
  • Adequate, functional guitar
  • Good vocals
  • My mother liked them when they played at the Downtown Artspace.
Bad things about the Ninth:

  • They have a keyboard player, yet the keyboard adds little to the music and occasionally drown out its finer moments
  • Often times they seem too restrained, which isn't good in live performance
  • When they do unleash themselves, it occasionally has a whiny quality.
  • My mother liked them when they played at the Downtown Artspace.

For diversity of experience, I went to the opposite corner of the bar and sat in a booth by myself. Some drunk girl came over to talk to me to ask if I was depressed, and I led her to believe that I was. She responded with generic words of encouragement. I felt like controlling her for some reason, so I strung her along for awhile with a pleasant, earnest dialogue.

When the show was over, Deya drove us back to our neighborhood. We dropped in on Tyler at the Haunted House and chatted for a bit. When I was bored, I walked back home.


airly drunk as I checked my email, I decided to compose a brief drunken sentiment in my musings. A little background info: Nancy "Firedrake" Taylor is planning on coming with the Mayor of Bethesda Avenue to Kappa Mutha Fucka's Aquarius Party (Saturday, February 7th, 10:00pm). Nancy recently cut off what remained of her hair, and in my drunken state I found this titillating (even though she's a married woman!). This is what I wrote:

A week from tomorrow I run my fingers through Nancy Firedrake's übershort hair or die an agonizing death!

one year ago

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