18 April 2008

The Gutenberg Invention

This video, the first of six installments, shows the BBC team replicating an original Gutenberg printing press, from building the press to casting the type to making the paper. (It skipped the ink; I wish it had taken a small look at the fourth essential ingredient.)

It's fascinating, funny, insightful and spine tingling, if you're into the printed word as much as I am. I think I'm going to add "operate a manual printing press" to my list of things to do before I go.

All six parts total more than an hour, but a thoroughly worthwhile hour it is.

07 April 2008

02 April 2008

Oh, the Stupidity

So, I've been unemployed for exactly eleven days now (Oh, I didn't tell you that? Must have slipped my mind. Anyway, thank you for not asking.) and only today got around to scrubbing the bathroom. For all my professed amour de cleaning, I sure have managed to put that one off for a while.

I've baked cookies, made pelmeni from scratch, hung a hat rack, done oodles of dishes, drank buckets of tea, but have avoided cleaning. Today I could put it off no longer.

I vacuumed six times, getting up all those obnoxious rubbery pellets from artificial turf that hate to be vacuumed, getting up every last sneaky shard of broken glass (total glasses broken by Frenchy since we moved here: 3; total broken by guests: 2; total broken by me: a big fat ZERO. I'm just sayin'.) every cookie crumb, and every stray bit of dirt. I hung up all the clothes on the floor. I dry swiffered. I wet swiffered. I took the wet swiffer pads and got down in the kitchen floor and scrubbed the gook out of the corners. All fine and good, although gross.

Then I took a big breath and tackled the bathroom. Toilet, sink, shower walls, tub. At the end, I can't figure out why the last bit of dirty water in the tub is not draining. I select one of our two plungers (please don't ask) and start to plunge away.

No deal. The water stays, and just gets dirtier. I plunge more emphatically, and get an image in my head of, well, something that my boyfriend thinks I should do more often. Still nothing happens.

Out of breath, (wow, the similarities are stunning!) I sit back on my heels. What could possibly be blocking the drain? All of a sudden, it comes to me.

I lean forward and flick the lever which had accidentally been switched, allowing the stopper to rise. The water drains away merrily and I realize why I had been avoiding cleaning the bathroom: Soft Scrub must really do a number on my brain.