9/29 at 10:30PM e/p
Hackett finds himself at an abandoned RV camp in the middle of the woods. The camper lacks indoor plumbing, a modern convenience he refuses to live without. He sets out to build a bathroom and shower from the discarded items of the campsite. Needing to get water from the ground up into a tree, Hackett creates a bicycle-powered “sponge brigade” pulley system to bring him closer to his goal of a working flush toilet. Using plastic water bottles as pipes, and a plastic pink flamingo as a showerhead, Hackett is well on his way to creating the thing he’s most looking forward to at the end of a hard day: a steaming hot shower. That’s when things get complicated. Unable to heat water in the way he intends, Hackett has to improvise a way to bring the heat to the water, using rocks, a metal container, propane, and some good old-fashioned brute force.
I know this group of people, an ad-hoc art collective with members drawn from the usual places where people who are in ad-hoc art collectives hail from (Oakland, Brooklyn, New Orleans- actually, none of them are originally from Oakland, Brooklyn, or New Orleans, but this is where it starts to get tedious so I will leave it at that), who are working on a big, grand project in an abandoned building in Detroit. (I think it is telling that like seventy percent of the people that I know have a history of being involved in abandoned building-focused projects in Detroit, myself included. In the non-teevee world I live in, working on stuff in abandoned buildings in Detroit is about as edgy as wearing mismatched socks, but slightly less interesting.)
Anyway: this group of people are all young and attractive, some are even talented. Their project has promise, the place where they are staying has no plumbing. A dozen people, a month of close-quarters living, a hand-dug trench as a toilet. This skeeves me out in ways that are so deep and primal that articulating it is impossible: I am a guy who is never at a loss for words, and when I heard about what they were doing, all I could say was “Ewwww”.
On this week’s episode I am stuck at a trailer in the middle of some of the most gorgeous countryside I have ever been in, a landscape that looked exactly like the rolling terrain that is built around a really high-end model train set. The trailer is a classic Airstream, seemingly recently inhabited by hippies. I hate hippies. As usual, my rage was the source of comedy gold. As usual, the gold was cut out by the order of the network. They did not want to alienate the lucrative (getting up there in age, I assume) hippie demographic. Expect ads for tie-dyed adult diapers and hybrid SUVs. Also, there was a lot of ranting about carnivorous horses (don’t ask) that prob got cut out as well.
This episode contains what might be my favorite build of the season, the sponge brigade pump. Water is moved from a stream to a cistern using a conveyor belt of sponge foam threaded along a rope, driven by pedal power. I have never, ever seen a system like this, and it worked wonderfully. I would like nothing more than to take credit for this brilliant hack, but Chuck Messer, producer, engineer, and owner of Lena (the smartest dog in the world), came up with it.
Also: I spent a lot of time in trees. There might or might not be a risque shower scene at the end, depending on if I was too sexy for the censors.