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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:
   firing the realtor
Tuesday, October 1 2002

One of the many changes that will accompany our move to the country regards transportation. While now we rely on MTA cards, taxicabs, car services, and the kindness of friends, upstate Gretchen and I will need our own vehicles. Originally we'd planned on buying them in the greater Kingston area, but in considering whether or not they would actually be cheaper there, we decided to broaden our search area to include New York City. This morning Gretchen called a guy in Staten Island to inquire about his used 1998 Honda Civic and he said he'd swing by tomorrow to give us a test drive. At a price of only $7800, we were surprised it wasn't sold already. So we decided we should give him the cash tomorrow if that was what needed to happen. The only problem was that our bank accounts had become barren cupboards in the aftermath of paying the 20% cash deposit for the house in Hurley. Did we even have enough money? After fifteen minutes of financial panic and the anticipation of several weeks of ramen eating, it turned out that we were in the clear. Gretchen had about $2000 in her accounts and I had the rest. And then it also turned out that some of Gretchen's investments were more liquid than had originally been thought. Only the desperate want to be selling stocks in this economy.
In other news, this morning Gretchen fired our real estate agent and we spent the rest of the day tracking down a lawyer and doing the marketing-related tasks one does when one sells a house without the assistance of a professional. As part of this effort, I put together a website and Gretchen took out a series of ads in the New York Times, both on their website and in the paper itself. The internet marketing was either cheap or free but the print media was expensive, but only an insignificant percentage of the $20,000 our realtor would have charged us had Hell frozen over and she somehow made the sale.
The ordeal with the realtor made us angry at first, but now it just makes us sad. We'd actually liked our agent, though she was terribly neurotic and flaky. Gretchen had a soft spot for her because of her crippled dog who requires a sort of doggy wheelchair to get around. And the agency itself is a little Park Slope-based outfit, not affiliated with the mega corporations like Coldwell Banker who are doing to real estate what Starbucks has done to neighborhoods and Ikea has done to disposable furniture. That said, our sense of charity and our eagerness to support local businesses extends only so far. Besides, we've gone from supporting a small local realtor to supporting ourselves DIY-stylee. Though completely impractical, I'm entertaining the idea of an economic paradigm shift wherein people get all their supplies out of the trash and perform as many of their services as they can by themselves, even if it means they occasionally fuck shit up in the process.

In the evening, Gretchen and I went into Manhattan to see one of M@ry Purdy's comedy pieces, which was part of a three-part series called "Tr!ple Threat: Boob$, Break-up$, and Beauty Pageant$." We were joined by Nancy at her apartment in Park Slope and met a bunch of people at the Sanford Meisner Theatre in the far west of Chelsea. All kinds of Gretchen's people were there, mostly women but also the odd sensitive guy: Eulalia, Lin, Nancy's sister Linda, and David the Rabbi. The theatre was so far to the west of the subway lines that a fairly substantial walk was required.
Not to be condescending or unnecessarily sexist, but to be perfectly honest, I didn't expect much from an evening of what was clearly going to be chick humor. Be that as it may, I find chick entertainment to be far superior to the testosterone-drenched idiocy that passes for specifically male entertainment. In the end, I found the show consistently entertaining, even though much of it wasn't particularly funny. M@ry Purdy's part was far-and-away the funniest, partly because it was so autobiographically realistic in its presentation of the experience of, well, developing breasts late in life.
After the show, a group of us (including M@ry, one of the other comediennes, and most of Gretchen's contingent) went to a nearby bar called the Half King to drink a few brews and nibble at dishes mostly from the golden food group.

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