still shocking in 2004
Sunday, October 3 2004
I did a little cowboy plumbing at Elevator House on Eagle's Nest. There was an obvious leak in a copper pipe, so I soldered in a replacement segment. Only then did I discover another leak further down the pipe. So I replaced that segment. And the damn pipe still leaked! Looking at it carefully, I could see little lengthwise cracks running the entire length of the pipe, the telltale signs of a pipe that has been damaged by freezing. This piece of pipe is the very lowest in the house's plumbing, so I came to the conclusion that it had frozen when the rest of the plumbing had been drained, but not completely.
Back on my trench project, I mixed up some fresh new concrete and used it to seal the place where the PVC pipe drainage pipe penetrates the retaining wall. It's a complicated joint, because the pipe also has to pass through the plastic membrane that it normally lies on top of, and any water flowing on that membrane wants to drain out around the pipe, as opposed to backing up and flowing out through the pipe (what I want it to do). The concrete I'd mixed yesterday was still wet and crumbly today, so I chipped it all out and replaced it with a fresh new bag I bought today. There's a huge difference between old concrete and fresh concrete. It's something you can tell when you're mixing it. With new concrete, you can feel the heat radiating from it because of the intensity of its exothermic reactions. That shitty concrete I'd been using yesterday, by contrast, gave off no heat at all. I knew it was no good when I had to break through a shell of solidified concrete on the outside of the bag to get to the powder inside, but for some reason I'd used it anyway.
This evening Gretchen went to see Michelle Shocked at the Colony Café in Woodstock. It ended up being a most unusual performance. There was Ms. Shocked, strumming her guitar with her bowler hat completely covering her eyes, asking a series of rhetorical questions while trying to make some sort of political statement about how fucked up America has come to be under George W. Bush. "Do you know Martin Luther King?" she asked rhetorically. "Barely!" some woman shouted. This retort somehow killed the energy. Eventually Ms. Shocked left the stage saying she'd be back in five minutes to start all over again. And she did. She came out, played a few songs, and then lapsed back into that thing where she strums her guitar and asks rhetorical questions in hopes of doing something positive for America's fucked up political situation. But then that same lady who had shouted earlier shouted again, this time from the balcony, this time a vaguely right-wing or otherwise self-centered retort. Shocked had had it. "SHUT THE FUCK UP!!!" she shouted. But she continued playing, only to be interrupted yet again. "Look," Shocked said, "Five of you are going to have to go up there and tell that woman that this is my time, that we have to do something for our democracy." (Something like that.) It was a real hoot.
Today Gretchen drew my attention to some stories that affected her:
Life in Baghdad - You think the media is only reporting on the bad news in Iraq? Read this. Then read down a little ways to the story about how the Arizona Republic buried a wedding picture because the wedding was - still shocking in 2004 - interracial.
Finally, read this the story about a butch black lesbian (an "Aggressive") in Newark was stabbed to death by a group of guys because she proclaimed her lesbianism, and it's a story that, unlike the murder of Matthew Shepherd, the national media hasn't covered.
Geese flying east over the house today.
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