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:
   feeding hungry friends
Monday, April 27 1998

  gave Jessika $20 as she left to go grocery shopping with Peggy. She managed to spend it all.


n the evening, there were plans to go to another Steve Weiner memorial service, this time at the Quaker meeting house he attended. Today was what would have been Steve's 50th birthday. A group of people started milling around in the Kappa Mutha Fucka living room as 7pm approached: Peggy & Baboose, Ana & Nemo, Morgan Anarchy and Jessika and Deya. I was up in my room working, but at the appointed time I left with my cohorts for the Quaker meeting house, which was somewhere in north-central Charlottesville, a part of town with which I am unfamiliar. We were working under the belief that there would be refreshments, and Morgan and Jessika (among others) hadn't eaten.

The meeting was much like the original ceremony at Steve's house had been. The only difference was that it occurred indoors. With the exception of the original Steve Weiner memorial, I had been unfamiliar with Quaker protocol. From what I saw today I found it to be an almost anarchistic religion; there is no leader and the meetings do not appear to be orchestrated at all. The pews form concentric circles facing towards the center of the room, and most of the time silence dominates. This is when "meditation" can occur. Whenever someone wants to say something, he is expected to stand and say it, then sit down, and the "meeting" continues. In a way, it's not really very different from how we "hang out" in Kappa Mutha Fucka, except we have beer, teevee and music to help us deal with the silent parts. Finally, like birds all turning in flight, everyone gets up and the meeting is over. At this point there is a certain amount of ceremony made of handshakes with other "friends."

In the midst of the little tales and observations told about Steve, someone found it necessary to sing "Amazing Grace." Others joined in with wavering unpracticed voices. But that's about as religious as the ceremony ever got. The refreshing thing about Quakers is that they're evidently humble about their religion; it's a personal, internalized thing, and lording doctrine over each other is not part of their ritual.

Observations made about Steve were much like they had been at the first meeting, but with more of a firm idea of what Steve meant to us. Points made (in decreasing order of importance) included:

  • Steve knew what he was and was not afraid to say so.
  • Steve had no social pretensions.
  • Steve was so brutally honest that he sometimes seemed cruel.
  • Steve had an unusually ability to embarrass people, giving them insights into uncomfortable parts of their psyches.
  • Steve had a knack for seeing potential in others.
  • Steve was a complete lunatic.
  • Steve was persistent and supportive and never gave up on people.
  • Steve had a loud obnoxious voice.
  • Late in his life, Steve scared small children.

Jamie Dyer was there, and he spoke on at least two different occasions. He had wonderful little stories that somehow brought out Steve's unique positive qualities without drawing much attention to the things that used to make me dread the ringing of the telephone.

Nobody in my contingent made any spoken contributions to the meeting. Though I had lots of Steve Weiner stories floating around in my head, none of these could be given as evidence of his contribution to humanity without also showing him to be a pesky, annoying, dirty old man.

When the meeting was over, it turned out that there were no refreshments after all, and we all returned to Kappa Mutha Fucka very hungry.

What do you do when you have six hungry adults and two cranky babies all together in one place? You cook dinner or you order pizza. Anything less is uncivilized. The sheer weight of the social obligation made me cranky, especially since I'd only just bought all the groceries that were to be used. But Deya made guacamole, and with beans, soft taco shells and freshly-picked lettuce, it made for some good eats. With food in my stomach, my mood has improved considerably. Morgan is napping downstairs in front of the television. It's tuned to the History Channel. We'd been watching a show about tornados, but now it's a program about the history of trains. It's much more fascinating than I'd expected. As a jumper of trains, Morgan should probably wake up and pay closer attention.


ast night at the Escafé, Jessika talked to Jatasya's boyfriend, a fiddle player in the Hogwaller Ramblers. He's a post hippie from New Jersey, and all of his hair is buzzed away with the exception of two dread locks on the back of his head that resemble cat feces ("he just can't let go," Jessika says). Anyway, the story on Jatasya is that she was driving on I-64 by herself and somehow hit a tree. She's got staples in her head but at least she's finally out of the hospital.


n the evening, the house was empty and I set out for the computing center in Olssen Hall. I found Jessika, Deya and Morgan Anarchy all there, trying to make the computers do their bidding. As they crowed around me, I grew uncomfortable. You see, I like to do my computing discretely. Drawing attention to myself and acting as if I'm part of a carnival have never been an aspect of my public computing. I have a certain amount of paranoia that the "authorities" will catch on to the fact that I'm exploiting their facilities, come to recognize and eventually ban me. So I decided it was best to go do my computing elsewhere. I went to Thornton to use the Pentium Pro machines there (instead of the comparatively primitive 66 MHz PowerPCs I use in Olssen), but Spies was down and I was forced to do other things. Like a techno-businessman's dream coming true, I found myself so bored I actually went shopping; I bought a 233 MHz K6 processor for $100.

Meanwhile, all around me, engineering students loudly and frantically discussed their imminently due projects with one another. One of the things I noticed as I listened to their banter was the amusing fact that men and women have a great deal of difficulty communicating with each other without simultaneously transmitting lots of sideband information related only to sexual matters. This information serves a useful class-related purpose, if only motivational. To the extent, however, that I interfered with this information (with my non-class-related presence) I derived a certain sly satisfaction.

personal traits I like among my friends, with examples of friends who have them

  • sanitary personal habits: Jessika, Deya, Nathan VanHooser
  • a good sense of financial justice: Matthew Hart, Nathan VanHooser
  • concern for the property of friends: Jessika, Morgan Anarchy (mostly), Nathan VanHooser
  • an advanced sense of irony: Matthew Hart, Jessika, Deya, Sara Poiron, Nathan VanHooser
  • intellectual curiosity: Nathan VanHooser, Wacky Jen, Deya
  • artistic proclivities: Jessika, Deya, many others
  • eclectic musical interests: Jessika, Amy from Memphis
  • inquisitive spirit: Wacky Jen, Jessika
  • familiarity with current events: Peggy, Nathan VanHooser

one year ago

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