Early this morning, I ran into trouble. I was trying to paint some corners and edges in a long-neglected room of my house. I started out at the joint between the wall and the ceiling, doing my best to cut a perfectly straight line right at the joint.

It wasn’t working. The paint was either falling way short of the joint or pushing up onto the ceiling, exactly where you don’t want it. I kept at it, figuring that my hand wasn’t steady enough. After completing some hand-calming exercises derived from yoga principles, I attacked the joint again. Same shit—a really bad cut that will need corrective intervention once everything dries. So I tried the other hand and a different stance on the ladder. More unsatisfactory results were obtained.

So I took a step back and examined my tools and work area. Paint was fresh and pretty well shaken, so that wasn’t the problem. The wall-ceiling joint was pretty even. Ladder, sturdy.

But what about the brush? Come to look at it, that brush had seen a lot of action, including tons of similar projects, numerous dips in solvents and water and whatnot.

So I decided to finally indulge myself in that $14 brush I’d recently snapped up at Duron. And the whole world opened up to me. Dipped that thing in the paint, got in position, and pulled it along the joint. Straight-edge painting bliss, Ian MacKaye meets home renovation!