I actually started thinking about getting some sort of WESTFALIA last summer. I am not sure if was reading KOOK or the weather or what but back then I knew I needed a change automotivly. When I looked at the prices on CRAIGSLIST though I was freaking shocked. WESTYs seem to have become the GRATEFUL DEAD of four wheeled vehicles, a true, honest-to-the-gawds cult vehicle. That put them out of my price range of course (always costs a lot to belong to a cult these days)…until the deal for Testy the WESTY came about. Sure she needs some love…ok she need a whole lotta love…but I am amazed at how driving an old Wolfsburg product has changed my attitude. I have taken to in the afternoon at the office to sneak out to the Van for a half an hour to write or draw or read or think. WiFi in downtown Palo Alto is not hard to come by if you know how to park so I am test driving the whole “Mobile studio” concept.
Like a good hobby Testy the WESTY has turned on the “dollar store pack rat” in me as well. Some people collect stuffed bears or back issues of old magazine or porcelain clowns (Ok those people need to seek professional help!). I seek out little things that will make my new mobile studio more habitable and in line with my “writer/artist on the move” lifestyle. That, combined with my new desire to “listen to my inner Scotsman” (as Dr. Norm the Rock Climbing Physist has taught me) leads to new avenues of entertainment.
Today for example, I needed to replace the roll up iPhone charging cord I carrying in one of the pouches of my computer backpack so I went to CENTRAL COMPUTING, which is just around the corner from me on El Camino Real. If you have never been, and you are either a geek or a cheap bastard (or both) then treat yourself.
There is a scene in NEUROMANCER where Molly takes Case on a Cyberspace Cowboy shopping spree to get the equipment for THE STRAYLIGHT RUN. In my imagination they would have gone to a future version of CENTRAL COMPUTING. All the cheap (but workman like and functional) Chinese and “almost out of date” computer crap you can imagine. Metal shelves piled high with boxes covered with alien creatures from video games you have never heard of, hard drives stacked up like Dove Bars behind glass, shrink wrapped things with too many cords that only leave you to wonder what they were for and why anyone would need to replace one. I sometimes just wander the isles and admire the confluence of computers and the dollar store. In an earlier incarnation I was “too good” for the place, now it is a haven of air conditioning and the smell of off gassing Chinese plastic.
Today was a good day for me though because not only did I find my retractable iPhone charge cord ($5.95) but I also found a cool suction cup arm that fits perfectly between the winscreen and the instrument cluster. Add to these fact that it fit into my “holy Trinity” of purchases, it was a true “Techno-Westy-cheap” sort of purchase. Like a 12 year old I couldn’t wait to get out to Testy and install the arm. I figured that if I stayed in the parking lot to test it, and it was crap, return was a simple thing. Luckily it worked brilliant, attaching the iPhone in a comfortable location like a control pod in a Syd Mead shuttle. My “Solos ship” comes more into focus. COOL!