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:
   first opening sale
Thursday, April 16 1998

he color in the background of this page is described in hexadecimal as "caffca" and I think that's pretty chinese.


  slept very poorly last night because of the anxiety that built in anticipation of today's job interview. I eventually took a bath and taught myself more Adobe Illustrator. The tub is a great place to study computer printouts of informative web sites.

At the appointed time, I dressed up in a white shirt, polyester green jacket and my ugly gold and black tie and drove my Dart to my interview. The place was Photoworks, a high-end graphic shop on Rio Road up dreadful 29 North. My interviewer was named Geoff, and I liked the way the interview went. We actually seemed to have good rapport, and the people there, my prospective co-workers, all seemed really laid back and likeable. They weren't irritating nerds or dry industry cogs, they seemed more like art school types.

But then I was tested for my skills. I have to say, I didn't do too well, but considering all my knowledge of Illustrator was conceptual, not hands-on, I was amazingly good. I could see though that my interviewer was disappointed. He took me to his office after I was done and said my skills weren't quite up to what he was looking for. But he didn't want to just say no. We'd developed some kind of bond, I think. He figured my skills would improve if he gave me a chance to come up to speed. In the end, he said he'd sleep on it and that I should call him on Monday. This was about as good as I should have expected, but I still felt a weird form of pent-up misery on the drive home.


  took a nap and then dicked around with assorted computer equipment. My mother Hoagie arrived sometime in the afternoon. She'd come to town just to see my lastest art at tonight's group opening, a show entitled "Future International Art Stars."

During a lull in Hoagie's visit, I finished the poem Jessika and I started the other day, the one entitled "When Jatasya Got a Lobotomy." I'm especially fond of my weaker rhymes, like for example "from the thirties/insecurities" and "film it/drill bit."

My mother is very chatty. Everything she sees needs its little comment, and she sees everything. It's a little like Wilbur the Cockatiel picking at my facial stubble, but she's my mother, she who must be endured. She and I sat with Jessika at the dinner table, talk-talk-talking away. I was drinking vodka and bitters and Jessika was having a screwdriver while my mother sipped plain orange juice temperately. At about 5:30 pm we decided to head on down to the Downtown Mall to see the opening. We didn't drive because we knew we'd be drinking mucho alcohol.


e caught a free UVA bus on JPA and rode it to the university hospital and walked from there. It was a wonderful day for walking, and my mother repeatedly expressed how delightful it was. She must be sticking with her St. John's Wort. As I pointed out landmarks she seemed to relish the fact that she was actually walking past places she normally only gets to by car.

I bought a little 750 mL bottle of cheap vodka at the ABC store as my contribution to the opening's food and drink. In the artspace, Jessika put the vodka right on the finger food table beside the crackers, chips and dips. I'd never before seen hard booze so casually included in an art opening spread.

Jen Fariello's printer was out of ink, so I had to label my paintings by hand. I came up with titles and prices on the spot:

Other art included zillions of small colour photos by Nellie, the manic, sketchy figure-filled paintings of Nikolai, a number of low-relief sculptures by Jeremy Linzee, David Sickman's first-ever sculpture (of which he was most proud), and several colourful and monumentally stylized faces by Nicole Truxell (referred to in here once whimsically as "*&&*"). Some of Deya's flimsy little sculptures carried whimsical titles; one hour-glass-shaped object she termed a "Time Machine." Hoagie liked Jessika's mirror drawing almost enough to buy it, but she's got way too much crap on her walls as it is.

Hoagie was cranky with hunger, so as soon as I had my art properly labeled, she and I left with Jessika, Peggy and the Baboose for Millers, where it was difficult to find an outdoor seat. It's a little too smoky for my mother inside Millers, see. Whatever friends happen to be around have a way of benefiting from my mother's somewhat flip generosity. I guess if I have to listen to my mother going on and on about her shrewd investments, I ought to take advantage of them as well, even if I have to endure her ceaseless happy banter with everyone. But Peggy didn't take advantage of my mother's deep pockets. She just hung out with us and drank water. The Baboose, or "Abu" as he's also known, was fairly well behaved as usual.

Towards the end of our meal, a huge parade of people passed us on the mall. They were mostly women, engaged in a "Take Back the Night" demonstration, designed to highlight the fact that women shouldn't have to be afraid to walk around at night. I remember these parades from Oberlin, when "Take Back the Night" was very popular among a certain sector of the womyn population. At the time, of course, I was irritated by anything overwhelmingly popular with the politically correct crowd, so I've never said anything about Take Back the Night except wry little sardonic comments, although when my clothes were all dirty I used to wear my girlfriend's purple Take Back the Night tee shirt. But as I looked at the parade tonight, I could see a number of my friends participating, including Wacky Jen and at least two of the Triplets. They motioned for us to join them, but we couldn't of course, we had an art opening to return to. Later Wacky Jen told me more about Charlottesville's version of Take Back the Night. She said that it used to be confined mostly to Fratville, a hotbed of date rape activity.

When we returned to the Artspace, there was a fair crowd for a Thursday night, though it would have been an anemic crowd for a Friday night. Most of the people from my art and low-fi music scene were there: the Blond House crowd, people commonly seen at Gallery Neo (like John and Lydia), and various people from bands like the Ninth, Supertanker and Raphæl. Jen Fariello had a big smile on her face, telling me that my painting Spook Central was the first thing sold. It was the first time I'd ever sold anything at an art opening. She handed me $50 in cash then and there, with more to come.

Then live music kicked it. Funky Matthew was in endless noodling guitar solo mode, something that always goes on for far too long at Artspace shows. Then Peter Grieser and perhaps parts of his band Supertanker played. He was a lot better and more serious than I remember from a performance I saw once at Millers. He's a genuine low-fi dude, though I find myself using that term broadly to describe any band of white boy rockers who aren't Dave Matthews wanna-bes, experimental noise, goth, metal, punk or funk.

During a lull in the music, I attempted to read "When Jatasya Got a Lobotomy," but Nikolai, who was providing an underlying guitar texture, kept "helping out" with backing vocals (Ew-Ah-Ewwwww!) that drowned out the words.

I always like the way Nikolai plays; he's sort of like a one-man Guided by Voices. Jessika was impressed as well; she hadn't known what to expect.

I eventually got a chance to read my poem again, this time with more comprehension by my audience. Another thing I did was try to solicit donations for more alcohol, mostly without luck. When there was enough cash, Deya went on an alcohol run and came back with three litres of Carlo Rossi Paisano. Other people showed up with beer. I was very drunk by this point, though it didn't seem like I'd drunk very much.


t this point I more or less went into alcohol-induced blackout, though Jessika told me later what I did. She says that Hoagie, Jessika and I all went to Millers because Nikolai had invited us to go there with him. But he ended up sitting with other people and leaving us to socialize with ourselves. As I often am when I go to Millers drunk, I was in a terrible alcohol-induced funk, trying to piss off Jessika by telling her that I liked Jatasya much better than her and that when I first met her, she was the most irritating person I'd ever met.

I was in such a bad mood that Hoagie and Jessika decided it would be best to get me home. At this point I started remembering things again, though the memories are vague and disconnected like photos blowing around in a dust storm. I tried to help with the process of getting a cab by using the phone in Escafé, but the woman at the door tried to extract a cover charge from me. After much trouble with fucked-up pay phones, we somehow found our way to the Greyhound Station on Main Street. I remember deliberately walking like a maniac in a sadistic effort to frighten my mother. With the assistance of a weird flute player, we eventually managed to get a cab to take us back to Kappa Mutha Fucka.

one year ago

For linking purposes this article's URL is:

previous | next