Ex Bibliotheca

The life and times of Zack Weinberg.

Monday, 5 August 2002

# 11 PM

I noticed that my vacuum cleaner was emitting an awful burning smell so I took it apart. There was so much hair wrapped around the rug-beater and into its bearings, that it had stopped turning. The motor axle had been spinning against the stationary drive belt, heating it until it charred.

So I took the beater and the belt down to the vacuum cleaner parts place on Berkeley Avenue (just east of Shattuck, north of University) only to find out that on Mondays they are open from 9AM to 1PM. I had gotten there just too late.

I'm all for shopkeepers taking half days if they want, but couldn't they be open in the afternoon when I'm awake enough to get there, instead?

Oh well, I'll just have to go back tomorrow, which is fine 'cos then I'll have a chance to stop at the Kasuri Dyeworks (which is just plain closed on Mondays) and maybe get some new pillows for the couch.

# 5:40 AM

mime troupe

I spent today as a volunteer helper-outer for the San Francisco Mime Troupe's show in Ho Chi Minh Park (aka Willard Park). This was loads of fun. I got to lift heavy objects, eat a free lunch generously provided by one of the actors,canvass the crowd for mailing list subscriptions, watch the show, canvass the crowd again for donations, and lift the heavy objects again. All this with a bunch of really cool people. What more could one ask?

There were two guys at the back of the crowd with signs protesting the show, on the grounds that it gave a false impression of small obscure Central Asian countries. This accusation is wholly justified, but I think it also totally misses the point. Obscuristan (the show is titled "Mister Smith Goes to Obscuristan", and takes place largely in that fictional country) is a parody, as is everything else in the show. I mean, does anyone actually think George W. Bush wears a shimmering purple dressing gown all the time, and watches celebrity boxing? Does anyone actually think that a celebrity boxing match has taken place between Henry Kissinger and Noam Chomsky? And the accurate elements are precisely those that are salient in the public meme pool right now, which is just what you want in a parody.

(Okay, I would be willing to believe that Mr. Bush does watch celebrity boxing; I am not in possession of evidence either way.)

The troupe has a nifty portable stage which they built themselves, made out of aluminum trusses with a wooden floor above that. It has several different ways to change the set, lots of ways to get on and off, and good sight lines for everyone in the audience. It's also really easy to put up and take down.

seen on the street, sort of

I do the occasional "seen on the street" post where I write about something wacky I saw. inpassing.org, however, is a blog devoted to things that the pseudonymous Eve saw or heard on the street. In Berkeley. I should add that I have no trouble believing that even the wackiest things she writes up did happen.

unless otherwise specified all superheroes are jewish

Teresa says so.