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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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Like my brownhouse:
   having an Ocean Beach yard sale
Saturday, March 25 2000
Last night I made three signs on some thin cardboard stock saying "Moving Sale Sat 8-2 Cable + Cape May" with little arrows sticking out beyond the edge of the sign pointing in the right direction. Overwhelmed by the sheer volume of our stuff, Kim and I were planning a yard sale.
8:00am proved a little too early for us. Sophie needed walking and we needed coffee and food and a handle on how we were going to get some large items to the consignment store.
So we went to the Zen Bakery, something we didn't think we'd be doing ever since deciding the place was trying to go entirely wholesale. Today the bakery actually had its open sign saying open and little tables for eating set up invitingly outside. What kept the place from looking overly-retail were the bakery crates filling a third of the dining room.
On the way to the Zen Bakery, we'd passed particularly rowdy goings on at Lucy's, the Ocean Beach morning alcoholic's bar of choice. Though it was only a little past 8am, a couple belligerent drunks out on the sun drenched sidewalk were on the verge of pounding one another.
A semi-homeless woman with dirty fingernails strolled up as I sat in front of the Zen Bakery sipping my coffee. She'd found a pager on the beach last night and was trying to find someone to buy it. Once she realized I had no interest in her scuffed-up pager, she started telling me about what happened on the beaches last night. Evidently the Schteveish spring break crowd had descended with their kegs and their condoms and completely torn up the Pacific shore of Southern California, Ocean Beach being no exception. The sand was covered with trash, kegs, torn-down signs and overturned lifeguard towers. It was also riven with the tracks of four wheel drive monster trucks. "I spent the night under a tree," the woman said, "and I could barely sleep on account of the noise. I need to go get me a drink."
We managed to borrow a huge red Suburban SUV from Scott down the street just as we were realizing that we weren't going to be taking anything to the consignment store. Things were selling too easily and for fair enough prices right in front of our courtyard community.
A family of Mexicans were first to arrive, driving a van with orange Baja California plates. They left with the prize possession, a butcher-block dining room table with four matching chairs and a small pine bookshelf (as well as a plant Kim threw in for free).
Next came one of those older yard-sale-cruising antique sharks, the kind who never wants to pay any money for the treasure he finds. He only wanted to pay $20 for a beautiful walnut dresser from the '20s, and for some reason Kim let him get away with the steal. But while he was off getting his truck, we sold it out from under him for twice as much to a cool guy living in a cramped one bedroom apartment across the street. The antique shark's consolation prize was an elegant neogothic bookshelf.
Some of the other neighbors, particular Nikki from across the courtyard, brought some things out to sell alongside ours. The event became one of neighborhood socializing in the sun, sort of like a block party without the beer and hot dogs. It was sad in a way to find ourselves meeting so many interesting folks from our street just as we're preparing to move away. People should have yard sales at times unrelated to moving. They should hold them regularly as a way to bond with their neighbors.
We used Scott's huge red Suburban to take our cream-colored mid-modern couch set to the upholstery place on the corner of Cable and Voltaire to be redone. It will be expensive, but at least they'll be out of our hair for the next month, at which time they'll be delivered to us in West Los Angeles.

I came along with Kim for her final visit to the V!ctoria Rose to pick up her paycheck. For reasons that seem to transcend normal capitalist concerns, tensions between Kim and her erstwhile employer are at an all-time high, so this was an unusually stressful visit.
Kim and I did lunch at Rancho's in Ocean Beach. It started with a terrible argument on the subject of what day to move to Los Angeles, Thursday (Kim's idea) or Friday (mine). Kim was insisting that we didn't want to be driving on LA freeways on a Friday, and I was saying that we had no business in LA until the weekend. In the end, as always, I had to let Kim win the argument in order to have a peaceful meal, but I resisted as long as I could, until she became loud and abusive in a way that distracted the people sitting at other tables.
We watched two more movies tonight. The first was yet another comic introduction to our new home, Celebrities Caught on Videotape featuring lively out takes of Papparazzi video. The second was the Stanley Kubrick flick Eyes Wide Shut featuring Tom Cruise and his wife Nicole what's her name. The movie didn't have that much of a plot (what Kubrick films do?), but it had enough of two of Stanley Kubrick's hallmarks to keep me interested: matter-of-fact weirdness and timeless grandeur. The latter was especially in evidence during the scene at the darkly decadent secret-society gala. The soundtrack sounded like Dead Can Dance and I couldn't get enough of the spooky, primeval theatrics. Indeed, I didn't really care about anything else in the movie, just that one scene. Happily, all the pre-release buzz about sexual fireworks between Cruise and his wife amounted to nothing more than hype and wishful thinking by the sort of Christian fundamentalists who write pages such as the one to which I just linked.

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