- 8 October 1997
- Edible and/or Hallucinogenic and/or Poisonous Mushrooms of the Pacific Northwest
- When I was hiking with friends at Mt. Rainier we talked a lot about mushrooms, even though none of us really knew much about them. One person would say "I think that one's good to eat," another would respond, "no, that's a poisonous one that looks like the edible one," and a third person suggested "actually, it's not poisonous, just hallucinogenic."
I liked the ambiguity so much I decided to put it in print. Anyone who's willing to spend too much time dealing with the technical details can view and/or download a PDF copy to see the entire set of sixty-nine fungi. Should you bother, please keep in mind that what I've created is art (or so I allege), not a reliable reference guide to our friends in the forest.
- 9 October 1997
- Point No Point
- Mindy works at Point No Point. Everyone who lives within a hundred kilometers of Point No Point doesn't find the name any stranger than, say, Greenville or Lake Smith. Everyone else laughs at such an absurd name. I suppose the difference between normality and absurdity is familiarity.
- 10 October 1997
- Nocturnal Sock Migration
- When I went to sleep at the base of Mt. Tahoma last night, I had two socks on each foot. (It was a cold night.) This morning, though, I awoke to discover one sock was outside of my tightly-zipped sleeping bag. There is no logical explanation for this; this promises to be a very interesting day.
- 11 October 1997
- Unpopulated Car Camping Sites
- Some winter day I will photograph a series of "official" car campsites in Mt. Rainier National Park. I was struck by the contrast between the uniformity of each site--a fire grate, a paved parking space, a picnic table--and the completely different landscape of trees, shrubbery, logs. It's a good excuse to make photographs at Mt. Tahoma again, especially with great titles like Site D1, Site D2, Site D3, et cetera.
- 12 October 1997
- Contextual Roots
- On the path to Eagle's Peak I saw the roots of a huge fallen tree. It was a beautiful massive tangle of roots, new plants, gravel, lichens and dirt.
I told my hiking partner that I never expected to see sculpture that that good in a gallery. She agreed, saying that if the base of the tree and its immediate surrounding were transported intact to a gallery "it would look like bad 1970s art." I had to agree; I've been doing pseudo-conceptual art for so long that I forgot about sculptural considerations like context.
- 13 October 1997
- The Inuit Have a Word for It (Sometimes)
- The Inuit have 273 words for snow, but none for leveraged buyout or attention deficit disorder. These linguistic imbalances don't seem to be a problem for anyone.
- 14 October 1997
- An Unbelievable Climbing Story
- On the way down from the top of Mount Lassen I met the only other party on the mountain today, a solo hiker from Florida with plastic bags for gaiters. I felt a bit sorry for him, but not because he was ill-prepared. (I'm always cutting corners with impunity ... so far.)
Even assuming he makes it to the top, his friends back in Florida will probably believe his story of climbing a snow-covered peak is either understated or overstated; no one will be persuaded that a solo hiker's more-or-less accurate account is more-or-less accurate. I told him he should use his camera's self-timer to take a self-portrait when he was on the summit.
"No," he disagreed; "that's way too Japanese for me."
- 15 October 1997
- Mountain Water Travels Poorly
- I drank some of the water I brought back from Mt. Rainier. I shouldn't have: after a week in a plastic bottle it tasted predictably foreign.
- 16 October 1997
- I've Been Raided!
- The government of Monaco has impounded all of my notebook entries since August. It's all very confusing; all I know is that government bureaucrats there claim they're to be used as evidence in some sort of fraud investigation. And that's all I know.
I'm perplexed. I've never had much money, I don't know many people who do, and I've never been involved in any sort of monetary fraud worthy of the name. I have, of course, been involved in a wide variety of aesthetic endeavors of varying degrees of impropriety, but compared to what major art scam artists get away with it's not really even worth mentioning. (I hope that's how the Monacoers / Monacists / Monacites see it, although I fear they may be too French to be rational.)
I think overzealous investigators may have been confused by the title of a piece I did recently--Foundations, Fountains, Filters, and $ome $eriou$ Mone¥. (Fortunately, that work was already on the server before I was raided.) I'm sure if the cops read it they'll see there's been a huge misunderstanding, but I'm not at all sure they'll bother.
The upshot, or, more accurately, downshot, of all this is that I have to go to Monaco to get this straightened out. Since the entire principality (is that the same as a country?) is only three and a half square kilometers, I should be able to track down everyone I need to see. Or maybe not: I don't have a tuxedo and my pistol's being repaired. I'm going to have to do a lot of research on the country before I go, since everything I know about Monaco has been gleaned from old spy films.
Instead of asking myself "What would Sammy Davis Junior do in this situation?" I'm going to have to start thinking like James Bond.
Blam blam blam blam blam!!!
- 17 October 1997
- Nice Lemon Aim
- On the flight to Nice, I squirted the woman sitting next to me with the lemon slice I was squeezing. I apologized, and explained that it was nearly impossible to aim a lemon accurately. "That's why lemons have almost never been used for warfare," I said with a smile. She returned my smile and said she understood, but she didn't. I had intentionally squirted her--I've found with practice that I can aim a lemon--in order to neutralize her obnoxious perfume.
My experiment worked.
- 18 October 1997
- French Customs
- I was stopped at the airport by a French customs inspector who rattled off a lot of unintelligible questions about my camera and computer equipment. (His queries were unintelligible because they were in French, one of the many languages I neither speak nor understand.)
"I'm sorry," I explained in my slowest and most English English, "But I do not speak French."
"What!" he exclaimed, "You come to France but you do not speak French?!"
"Ah," I replied, "but it is you who want to talk with me, no?"
He waved me through, with the inimitable French disdain for all things foreign.
- 19 October 1997
- Statue of the Unknown Suspect
- The concierge at the hotel assured me it was easy to find the headquarters for the Monaco police, it's behind the gigantic Statue of the Unknown Suspect. The towering sculpture depicts a suspect waiting to be frisked, a familiar position to many visitors to this sad cross between Miami, DisneyBurb, Las Vegas, a police state, and a tacky country club.
A couple of my relatives have been kicked out of Monaco for fashion faux pas: one took his shirt off on a hot Mediterranean day, the other wore a scarf round his waist. SacréBleu! I've only been stopped once so far: a white-gloved cop asked me "Do you live here?" (Translation: "I don't think you belong here.") I told him I was a scientist attending an international conference. I think he knew I was lying, but he was too lazy to investigate. Either that, or he was looking forward to nabbing someone on a friskable and/or deportable offense.
- 20 October 1997
- Puking Prince Pierre
- Monaco is full of sculptures, most of them are the public art equivalents of the poodle droppings that figuratively and literally mark the principality. My favorite statue so far depicts a vomiting baby, Prince Pierre François Somelier. His mother, Queen RenéIV, commissioned the marble statue "as a permanent reminder to my august son of his mother's sufferings in preparing him for the throne."
What a delightfully malicious woman! To this day, he's remembered as "Puking Prince Pierre."
- 21 October 1997
- Monaco Balls
- I saw pyramids of cannon ammunition all around the castle; I suppose Monaco's rulers have kept a tight enough grip on their little fiefdom for so many years that they don't worry much about a revolution. These Monaco balls reminded me of my friend Monica Baltz; it's the only time I can remember objects alliteratively referring to someone's first and last names.
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©1997 David Glenn Rinehart