Stare.
 
2002 Notebook: Weak XXIV
 
   
gratuitous image
11 June 2002
No. 7,978 (cartoon)
Good morning.

There’s nothing good about it.

That was a joke; it’s nighttime.

12 June 2002
Pasta Antenna Problems
I just got a new antenna, and now my radio can hear weak stations from across the bay, some twenty kilometers away! I never cease to be delighted by the wonders of contemporary technologies!

I’m listening to a radio station in Berkeley of all places, and the musical curator is playing some extraordinary tunes. I’d like to know the name of the performers, but that’s a problem. The curator plays a number of songs in a row, then announces the names of the ensembles at the end of the sequence.

I’m waiting and waiting for the announcer, but the songs continue. Meanwhile, a dozen meters away, I’m boiling pasta for tonight’s dinner. I know the pasta’s not done, but it’s time to check. I continue to wait for the announcer, even though I know the pasta may be getting close to being overcooked.

After waiting as long as I can, I sprint to the galley, only to discover limp, mushy pasta.

Feh!

I run back back to the studio, and hear the radio curator conclude the list of performers, which I’ve missed entirely.

Double feh!

I guess it’s like all those smart folks say, technology really is a two-edged sword. Given the flaccid state of my mealy pasta, any sword is useless at this point.

13 June 2002
Loving and Liking
I had lunch with Frances on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. We talked about art, then moved on to love, the only other subject worth discussing at length.

I asked her if her beauty confused her many suitors.

“I suppose so,” Frances replied. “I always find myself telling them that I wished they loved me less and liked me more.”

I never really thought about the relationship between liking and loving someone. I always assumed that anyone who loved me also liked me; I’ve never found any evidence to the contrary. On the other hand, and unlike Frances, I’ve never blinded anyone with my appearance.

I like Frances, and told her so. We continued a relaxed conversation until the wine was long gone.

14 June 2002
No More Darkroom(?)
I haven’t been in a darkroom in over a decade. After tonight’s experience, I may never make another darkroom print again.

Chris let me use his studio—and his quadtone greyscale printer—to publish a portfolio of my photographs. A decade ago, such a setup would have cost a quarter of a million dollars. And tonight, it’s mine for the price of a six-pack. (The six-pack’s for me; for some reason Chris doesn’t drink Rainier Ale.)

After a decade of writing and making bad conceptual art, I’ve just made my first “serious” (read: retinal) prints. And, although I know this is a very dangerous if not suicidal attitude, I’m impressed with what I’ve done.

Impressed and depressed. About the only thing I dislike about my new prints are the artifacts from the chemical film process. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have the mottled tones that need to be corrected had I made the images with a digital camera.

Although I may get a digital back for my Hasselblad, I wonder what I’ll do with my Leicas, Nikons, Rolleiflexes, and view cameras that I used for decades? I suppose I have no choice but to put my camera fetishes aside and concentrate on art.

I’m beginning to understand how my grandmother felt; she began her life traveling by horse and eventually flew on a jet. Never make another darkroom print again? I have a hard time believing that I’ve lived long enough to see the end of one era and the beginning of another.

15 June 2002
Nonalcoholic Spirits
I’m staying at Margaret’s place and taking care of Lulu and Rosie (her two cats) while she’s traveling. Margaret wisely packed the refrigerator full of beer and food before she left, so I haven’t left the house since I unpacked my computer.

I’ve been hearing doors slamming, even though all the doors and windows are secured. Curious. A half hour ago, I heard Lulu shriek, followed by by the sound of a huge crash. Rosie and I scrambled upstairs, and this is what we saw: nothing. Nothing was broken, and nothing was out of place.

I finally remembered that Margaret told me ages ago that she shares the house with a ghost, or a spirit, or some damned(?) thing. At the time, I neither believed not disbelieved her; I’m agnostic about such matters. After recent events, though, my mind is a bit more open.

gratuitous image
16 June 2002
Dead Bedtime Bird
My second day of housesitting passed uneventfully until bedtime. I walked into the bedroom, turned on the light, then saw the dead body.

I had a strange reaction to the sight of the lifeless body of a brown bird in the middle of the spotless carpet. I had an immediate and visceral response to the sight of a dead animal in the middle of my clean, tidy cave. For a second or two, an adrenaline rush cut through decades of acculturation.

Since I suddenly found myself wide awake, I grabbed my camera to photograph the surreal tableau. After that, I had to deal with the custodial chore of removing the body.

I went to the kitchen and spotted an empty, cellophane pasta bag still on the counter from tonight’s dinner. I took the packaging (Maltagliata dal 1848 Pasta di semola di grano duro #366 Fusilli, yum yum!) back to the bedroom. I lifted the dead bird by its stiff leg, and slid it into the pasta bag. (I was relieved to see the bird hadn’t bled on the carpet; I always have a difficult time explaining bloody carpet after a housesitting stint.)

The dead bird looked even more surreal behind the illustration of a fat Italian chef. I decided that image would also make a nice photograph, but I decided to wait until morning light instead of setting up my strobe. I put the bird in its colorful, cellophane body bag on the front porch, then finally went to sleep.

I slept in, perhaps because there was one less bird screeching outside the window. After drinking my morning espresso, I grabbed my camera and opened the front door. I spotted the pasta bag a meter away from where I left it, but the bird was gone.

I wondered if perhaps the bird had only feigned death. I didn’t wonder for long. When I wandered around to the patio, I saw the leftovers from the birdy buffet: a shredded torso, a leg here, a leg there, and feathers everywhere.

17 June 2002
Filled with Inertia
Frederick O’Hanly, who claims to live in Göteborg, Sweden, sent me a brief note after accidentally finding my notebook on the Internet.

    Dear Mr. Rinehart,

    After taking the time to see your works, I am myself filled with inertia.

    Sincerely,

    F. O’Hanly

I have no idea what he meant, so I’ll interpret the opaque comment as a compliment.

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©2002 David Glenn Rinehart