A day in the life of Capp St. Noisebridge

Noisebridge moved into the new space, what, a year ago or so? Something like that. Because of the pandemic, we have been a little slow settling in, and this winter with the rain and Omicron surge, there wasn’t a ton of activity – a solid core of regulars working to get the space organized, the wood shop even more functional, the giant laser cutter in working order, and so on. I spent Friday and Saturday afternoon at the space and thought I’d report on my day today! In case you are worried about my pandemic surge risk taking I will mention everyone at the space is vaccinated and I stayed outside 95% of the time and wore a well fitted n95 mask!

Friday in between work meetings I cleared an enormous load of junk and trash to the front porch, listened to Claus’s vision of what might happen with the space, emailed an electrician for a quote, arranged for trash pickup today and a plumber to come snake the clogged drain. 272 Capp was some sort of auto repair place for a while, with a big concrete driveway and a rollup door you could drive through. The drain in this “front porch” driveway area has been clogged since the move-in, and we’ve gone through a few attempts to lever up its rusty iron grate to no avail.

First off me and TJ chatted with a guy I know I’ve met before, James, who is a science fiction writer, who let me photograph his amazing “battle jacket” covered in patches for punk bands and nerd things, stopped by and talked about his plans for lenticular printing. I gave him some tips on cheap options for rubber rollers (like for printmaking). Wonder if we will see some nifty lenticular print workshops at the space?

james with patch jacket

The trash pickup guys were intrigued and said they might come back another day for a tour and will tell their boss, who would like the idea of a free workshop.

The heroic plumber who showed up today chiselled and hammered the hell out of the grate, got it unstuck, snaked and hosed out the drain several times (absolutely disgusting smelling motor oil storm drain situation! ) The plumber is now a friend of Noisebridge and I think is going to show up to take a welding lesson.

I took on the top half of a plywood laser-cut obelisk that was in the trash pile (rained on all winter) as my project. It is now spray painted with spare cans of paint & I’m going to add hinges to one panel so it becomes a cabinet, slather it in marine varnish, and put a solar LED light inside.

Justin from Technical Underground spent hours building a giant planter box for the front porch – totally off the cuff out of scrap lumber. It still needs some sealant inside, a bottom shelf, casters so we can wheel it around the patio, paint, a coat of polyurethane, then I’ll fill it with the herbs and succulents that are now in some janky plastic pots.

Have a look at things coming out of our horrible car repair shop storm drain (drains to Mission Creek, I’m afraid)

heroic plumber

Meanwhile people were coming into the space and doing amazing mysterious things. Some 3-D printer stuff was happening, a guy showed up with a box of electronics stuff and god knows what he was up to, someone tried out sewing machines upstairs, a dude showed up with fancy lumber to build himself a desk –

One of the most hilarious interactions went like this, a dude riding by on a bike stopps & yells in, askking if we are open. Yes! Yes we are. “Do you have any electrical engineers here?” Yes probably. Maybe! What’s up. “Can I bring this, well, I have this BOX, I got it at an auction and it’s like, this 80s bullshit device that does something with your Aura, and electricity, and I want to know what it actually *does*.” Ok well how big is this box and can i just say right off, that you cannot leave it here but that does sound … hilarious” “It’s got a little carrying case! I can bring it and show it!” “Bring it a little later like 5 or 6pm when a lot more people will show up!” Hours later dude rolls up on his bike with a sort of thin suitcase and we all cluster round to see the 3-Part Body Charging Molecular Enhancer!!!! Hilarity ensues! It is several glass plates, a palm sized piece of hammered copper soldered to an amp lead, and some laminated instructions. Turns out we are missing the other 2 suitcases with the Transformer thing and the Bulb but the instructions were AMAZING.

diagram of molecular enhancer

I feel that some of the instructions are worth sharing with the world and you will have to imagine my dramatically reading them aloud, lingering suggestively on any mention of rubber or nooses in order to make TJ die inside.

How I Experiment with The 3 Part Body Charger

This is how I start and stop the machine so I don’t feel a zap of current when I start or shut it down.

1. I sit on a plastic chair (plastic does not conduct electricity) or
2. Sometimes I use our sofa. I cover the area I sit on with a kind of rubberized material or thick blanket that does not conduct electric. I remove my wrist watch.
3. I PLUG THE CORD INTO THE 110 WALL POWER SUPPLY I MAKE SURE THE MACHINE IS OFF
4. I place the aluminum & glass part (B) on a clean flat dry floor
5. I position the transformer part (A) as shown in Diagram
6. I place Bulb Part (C) in Foam on floor next to my chair.
7. I insert all 3 plugs in their proper sockets on back panel board as shown on diagram
8. I clean the soles of soles of my bare feet and place only the heels on the aluminum part of the glass plat
9. I tie the string of the Harness on the wire next to the bulb and secure the rubber around my neck this prevents the bulb from breaking if I should drop it.
10. I form a noose from the end of the starting cord and tie it on my right wrist.

Many lines or phrases in BOLD, ITALIC, in RED LETTERS, or ALL THREE with Suspiciously Weird Capitalization and yet a notably correct use of the subjunctive!

As near as I can tell this Molecular Enhancer is the equivalent of slowly licking a 2 volt battery. SADLY, Zach the neighbor on the bicycle only has 1 of the 3 part Body Charger. But we enjoyed this historical tour of someone’s absolutely crazed invention.

Justin Lazerbong brought me a very tasty burrito!

Briefly taught another young person how to use a power drill, left her to drill holes in the Obelisk, and I just kind of enjoyed being like “Here’s a power drill, hold it perpendicular, squeeze gently and get the feel of it , BYE” I think she had fun.

I also sent some innocents who had never done such a thing in their lives before, to a paint store to buy several kinds of paint, which reminded me of a similar good time when I yolo-ed to the e-waste center in my wheelchair trundling an enormous heavy bin on entirely inadequate casters 3 blocks down Capp St. with a fabulous young nerd named Wolf who had (I think) just shown up for the first time that day. Hello youngster we are going on a JOURNEY.

Among the things I gave away at the curb (post trash pickup) were: a pharoah costume in original packaging, cupcake decoration kit, many VHS tapes and DVDs, a bunch of weight lifting gizmos (which sadly, the owner of them showed up several hours later unexpectedly, oops, but noisebridge is not a gym, and they were in the trash pile but I felt bad as he was distressed and explained ot me that when programming, it was important to take breaks and do exercise to keep blood flowing to the brain – sorry dude) Some buckets, some more buckets, gnarly old pieces of lumber that had been in the rain and had nails sticking out, and some sandals. By this time the plumber (still snaking the horrible smelling patio drain out after 2 hours at it) was yelling out in a companionable way to passers by, “HAVE SOME FREE STUFF! YES ! FREE!! FUCK YEAH ITS FREE” unbending a bit from the beginning of the day when he was awkwardly calling me “Miss”.

I tweeted this afternoon to try and remember the fun stuff going on: https://twitter.com/lizhenry/status/1482455008507432963

This post is already too long but SO MANY THINGS HAPPENED and I met like, 20 people and got to hear all about their
projects and beam at them benevolently and share some cookies. And that is what I love about Noisebridge! But most of all I love the feeling of contributing something to society and this city, beyond my own private life, family, home, and job, together with other people.

3 thoughts on “A day in the life of Capp St. Noisebridge

    1. I am definitely having fun but of course what I’m doing right now, or a lot of it, is complex drudgery like sorting through enormous piles of stuff and junking it or finding people to take it for free! And SCRUBBING THINGS… somehow I left that out. But all the fun stuff happens in between.

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