Bill Gurstelle’s Absinthe & Flamethrowers
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[Photo by Scott Beale]

I frequently have to pinch myself over the fact that I get to know, work with, and be friends with so many amazing and talented human beings. One of those people is Bill Gurstelle. You don’t have to spend much time with Bill to realize, as David Letterman likes to say: “He ain’t hooked up right.” But just as Letterman only reserves such a statement for crazy people he truly admires and respects, I mean this in the best possible way: Bill Gurstelle ain’t hooked up right. Case in point: At breakfast on Sunday morning at Maker Faire, he was telling us about his desire to go to a place where he could eat Casu Marzu, the maggot-infested cheese where the maggots try and leap into your eyeballs as you eat it. The breakfast I had just finished took an interesting turn in my stomach, but knowing Bill, I figured I probably got off easy (at least the pancakes and eggs stayed in my stomach!). There’s a method to Bill’s madness, about risk, living life to its fullest, and the roll that risk/danger-seekers play in innovation, change, and probably evolution itself. He delves into more of this in his latest book: Absinthe and Flamethrowers: Projects and Ruminations on the Art of Living Dangerously.

Bill has also just begun a guest blogging stint on Boing Boing. It’ll be interesting to see what sort of trouble he can get into there.

4 thoughts on “Bill Gurstelle’s Absinthe & Flamethrowers

  1. On page 5, Gurstelle asserts the Saturn V
    rocket used solid fuel rocket engines. This
    is profoundly incorrect. Solid fuel rockets
    were NEVER used for manned missions before
    the space shuttle, because NASA was too
    worried that they would do exactly what they
    eventually did to the Challenger.

    The Saturn’s 1st stage used LOX/kerosene.
    The upper two stages used liquid hydrogen
    and LOX. The command module and the LEM
    lower and upper stages used liquid
    hypergolics.

    If he got something that simple and
    obvious wrong on page 5, I can’t hold out
    much hope for the rest of the book.

  2. If I missed out on all I’ve learned from Bill, and all the thinking he’s provoked in me, because of a single error he’d made, well, I’d have missed out on a lot. But YMMV.

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.

View more articles by Gareth Branwyn