Do It Yourself

Come on in, Ricky. Ricky, I‘d like you to meet Stacks. Stacks, this is Ricky.

“Hey.”

“How’s it going?”

“All right.”

As I mentioned a few days ago, Stacks, I have to go do jury duty. And since California Rules of Court, Section 980, and the Grand and Trial Jurors Committee jury-service policies indicate that “a juror is prohibited from granting an interview (long or short) with members of the pressnews media, while he or she is enrolled as a serving juror,” I‘ve asked Ricky to write this week’s Sitegeist. That way I don‘t accidentally interview myself and wind up doing 30 days for contempt, okay?

“Um, okay.”

Don’t worry about Ricky. Ricky‘s your average 9-year-old, so he does excellent work. Remember those Motherwells I wrote about back in ’87? Bob hired Ricky to paint about half of those.

“Wow.”

Great. I‘m sure you’ll get along just fine. Ricky, Stacks‘ll get you started. It shouldn’t take more than five minutes. When you‘re done, just run the Turn-In script -- there’s an icon on the desktop -- and that‘ll file the thing with the editor, leave a message on her voice mail and send your invoice to the accounting department. Make sure you leave the computer on and toss whatever you use into the recycling bin.

What else. There’s lemonade and sandwiches in the fridge.

If you have any problems, double-click the Margaret Hamilton icon -- it‘s on the desktop, right next to the Turn-In script -- and that’ll send a bicycle messenger to the courthouse. And I‘ll be checking back for messages. All right? Thanks. I really appreciate this. Have fun.

* * *

“I’m sorry; your name is . . . what?”

“Stacks. Or Piles, if you like.”

“‘Piles.’ I like piles.”

“Either one‘s fine. As you can see, we’re pretty much all over the place. Shulman wants you to write either Pile 1291 or Pile 19.”

“Nineteen sounds good. May I have some lemonade?”

“Sure thing. Why don‘t you go ahead and write the column first, though. It only takes a minute. You’ll find Pile 19 in the sink.”

“Which sink?”

“The one with the frying pan.”

“Here?”

“That‘s a saute pan. The other one.”

“Got it. What now?”

“Lift the pan, and you should see some notes.”

“Okay. Notes. There they are.”

“Got the notes?”

“Got ’em.”

“Good. Bring the notes over to the computer.”

“Can I get some lemonade first?”

“You‘re almost done.”

“Fuck.”

“That’s the spirit. Now, sit down at the computer, and make sure you‘re in the Sitegeist program. Are you in the Sitegeist program?”

“How can I tell?”

“In the upper right of the menu bar, there should be a little Mike Lee icon. See it?”

“Yes.”

“Good. Now just hold down the space bar, read the Pile 19 notes into the microphone, then release the space bar when you’re done.”

“This microphone here?”

“Right there. Three, two, one, and . . . read.”

“Okay: ‘Megalopolis transportation. Wooden machinery. Bicycle? Curious? Malaysian factory workers join First Church of Jesse Ventura. Johnny Brown from Laugh-In: Write on, brother, write on!With the nineteen-cent Write Brothers Pen!It keeps on writing great!’Cause it‘s made by PaperMa-a-a-a-a-a-ate! (repeat ad nauseam). Rico Petrocelli -- better third base or shortstop? Soap.’ Done.”

“Now release the space bar.”

“I did. Nothing‘s happening.”

“Give it a second.”

“There’s still nothing . . . wait a minute.”

“You see that?”

“Wow! How does it do that?”

“Congratulations. When it finishes, just double-click the Turn-In script and it‘s lemonade time. So, Ricky, how did you get that Bob Motherwell gig?”

* * *

#If you want something done right, do it yourself. Or spend U.S.$300,000 on MegaCar (www.megacar.com -- turn your volume down to avoid death by Bob Eubanks--style voice-over), the mystical magical macho treatmobile from Brabus, Germany’s notorious Benz-tweaker. MegaCar may look like a Mercedes sedan filled with a bunch of ostentatious crap, but it‘s actually a “mobile high-tech office,” you see, “equipped with a mobile network connection” installed into a Mercedes sedan. Brabus proudly lists among its MegaCar target group “rich high-tech freaks who like to be on the bleeding edge.” Drip, drip, drip.

#For $298,000 less than the cost of a MegaCar, you can own a sturdy wooden bicycle from the Amazing Wooden Bike Company (www.candytape.comawbc). One of these bikes, the elegant Uprider model, handcrafted from solid teak, was profiled in a recent fetish section of Wired. More interesting, Ricky and Stacks found, were the company’s two other models -- Snake and Dragon -- both criminally garish things replete with dragon heads, bull heads, green and gold wings and . . . just nasty. But dependably so.

#In 1892, do-it-yourselfers Wilbur and Orville Wright opened a bicycle shop in their hometown of Dayton, Ohio. Eleven years and several arguments later, they flew. By the late ‘60s they were long dead, and PaperMate began selling “Write Bros.” pens for 19 cents each. The Wright Brothers National Memorial (www.nps.govwrbrwright.htm), presented by the National Park Service, presented by the U.S. Department of the Interior, is prepared to answer any questions.


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