Justin Hall's personal site growing & breaking down since 1994

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june 15

meditations on home improvement:
bookshelves and a vcr

we've been making this old architects' office into a place to live steadily - it's a process of merging immature consciousness with the domestic american ideal. we've still managed to select eclecticly our plates and dishes - we buy one of each type we like at different stores. but our bookshelves?

this place we live, it's wonderful. it used to be an office. a pointed roof with a ladder up to the ceiling above the bedroom - with the toilet, the only place covered, closed-in in the entire joint. there's a patch of dirt in the middle of the concrete floor by the kitchen, with plants growning out of it. it's alternative. artistic - reconfigured from an office to a living space by artists, the doors are either lime green or sunshine yellow. the heat ducting writhes through the arch space above the main room like the necks of brontosauraii.

it's an inspiring place to live - skylights overhead give much natural lighting, and the tree in the middle of the place makes for nice staring at different parts of this place.

but there's not a single closet. or shelf, outside of the kitchen. there wasn't even a place to stick yer toothbrush - the sink is so narrow. so i've been making amy go with me to home depot two or six times a week since we've moved in, to improvise closets - dowels and chain hanging from the rafters, or amy likes amber bulbs to make the lighting less harsh and more ambient.

today we bought some shelves. the cheap, white formica crap. the shelves i had as a child, that collapsed and spilled everything all over me as i was moving them around. the stuff that brad morris' desk was made out of when i was playing around with his sister casey and banged my head against it and didn't think any damage had been done but i was actually bleeding into my hand.

anyways, six feet of books and cds was mine to organize for only 45 dollars. and as i was "easy assembling" the practically cardboard, i thought to myself, why didn't i just build this myself? like buy some planks and some nails and a lot of sand paper and just throw them together? oy. maybe nails in planks don't hold as well. maybe i need to learn something besides media stuff. carpentry apprenticeship two days a week?

and vcr, media stuff, last week we went shopping for one. somehow my mom bought a vcr with a jog knob when i was a teenager, and i became addicted. that's the round thing that lets you move through the movie by twisting to adjust the speed at which the movie rewinds or forwards through what you're watching. amy loves that too, and we theorized at that point that attachment to jog knobs was a trait of folks who'd done video-editing, who liked precision control over their video viewing.

what's strange is the way the video cassette player industry has addressed this pheonomenon. it looks like jog knobs were all the rage two years ago or last year, but they were too many moving pieces or too weird for people, so now, a lot of vcrs have a jog knob shaped protrusion, with the play/stop/rewind/foward buttons embedded therein. no moving twisting knob. no jogging, only the illusion of circular control. strange like that.

so anyways, we found an out-of-production sony with jog control on the vcr, and the remote, and it was priced-to-move as a floor model! what a victory!

it's a little absurd.

so as we wander through the house, doing or not doing dishes, hanging up or not hanging up our towels, stuff like that, amy finds me controlling at times. like when my suggestions, phrased as commands, are not in the flow of a back and forth sharing relationship, she gets resentful. probably rightly.

anyways, maybe she'll be giving you her side of domesticity soon; she got given an old duo 280 of jonathan's - her first computer since an apple IIc back before clinton, before bush even. it's a little strange to have us both working on our duos on either end of this house. i called today for a second phone line.

today's muzzik:

typed in relative silence, only the music of dogs and amy bustling about, the neighborhood, etc.

posted to the mary jane girls, "my house" from some delicious motown sampler in a cardboard case i found for 7$ at venus records in the village - "serious grooves from the masters of soul." i played this song, started it on track five cuz amy was singing this earlier. marvin gaye, "inner city blues" is so beautiful i can't stand it.

and the sounds and smells of amy teriyaki grilling the last uneaten trader joes frozen ahi tuna so we can eat it for leftofters tomorrow.

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