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Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


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   adventures in plumbing II
Sunday, November 24 2002

I continued feeding my new-found plumbing obsession today. A few days ago the butane tank was frightening presence in my hand and I had to contain an irrational fear that it would spontaneously explode. Now, though, I'm much more cavalier with the thing, putting it down while it's still lit when I need to free my hands and not bothering to shield two by fours from the flame (it's no big deal if they should get a little blackened). I'm also tackling bigger tasks while the water is shut off, not feeling compelled to wrap things up and test whenever I accomplish some small milestone. Today, for example, I plumbed the bathroom sink, both hot and cold water (starting from 3/4 inch copper pipe stubs) during a single deliberate water outage. Then, during a second outage, I flipped over one of the shower's two sets of valves, which I'd made the mistake of installing upside down.
The procedure for ending these outages was always the same. I'd track down Gretchen, whatever she happened to be doing (usually installing insulation or reading in her office) and I'd hand her a walkie talkie. She'd go to the basement, turn on the water, there'd be no leaks, and we'd all say hooray (or its modern equivalent). Meanwhile Louis was at my elbow in the rather tight confines of the spacious bathroom hanging drywall and whenever I'd be doing the breaker one nine thing with Gretchen he'd always be sure to jokingly holler "turn the water off!" But for some reason he never actually did so while I had the talk button depressed on my walkie talkie. The first thing I'd always do once the water was back on was to wash the goddamn solder flux off my hands, though I could never completely eliminate it and formed a waxy film over my fingertips, making everything I touched seemed just that much smoother. I've never had such frictionless fingers in my entire life.
By the end of the day, I'd accumulated a throbbing layer of pain from all the tiny molten solder burns as well as other, more stupid burns, usually resulting from a reflexive grab for a pipe that I'd had in a flame only seconds before.

In the evening Gretchen and I went out for dinner, as we occasionally do, to the Hurley Mountain Inn. That place is very theme-observant; tonight all the waiters (oddly, there were no waitresses) were dressed in striped referee outfits bearing a Sam Adams logo on the back. I think this had something to do with Sunday Night Football, which was on playing on every television. As usual for nights when we go to the Hurley Mountain Inn, the large cozy dining room hosted very few customers. There were a few plump white guys at the bar sitting with their knees far apart, chit-chatting with the ridiculous referee bartender, and that was about it. Meanwhile we sat in the non-smoking nook beneath a row of mounted deer trophies, me eating fish and chips and drinking New Castles, Gretchen drinking top shelf booze and eating lasagna.

For the past few days I've been thinking about how horrible it would be if someone was in love with me while having a completely repulsive taste in music. The thought of some hot chick getting gooey to a Backstreet Boys tune while thinking of me is far more unpleasant than imagining a repulsive shrew simply masturbating to my image. Actually, though, I've also been thinking about the flip side of this inappropriate love music issue as well. I'm pretty sure there have been times when the object of my desire would have strongly disapproved of the music I used for a romance soundtrack.

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