Stare.
 
2003 Notebook: Weak III
 
   
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15 January 2003
No. 6,172 (cartoon)
Nothing could have caused it.

It had to happen.

Nothing could have prevented it.

16 January 2003
Light Is Light Is Light
Yesterday I listened to a radio interviewer query Nicholson Baker about his most recent book, Box of Matches. Baker said he created the entire volume in the early morning hours before sunrise. The author claimed he wrote by the fireplace, and that the lack of incandescent light changed the way he thought.

I like to experiment with different ways of thinking, so I decided to give Baker’s approach a try.

It’s eight minutes after four in the morning, and I’m sitting alone in a dark, windowless room. I’m writing without any artificial light, but my thought processes seem about the same as usual, albeit a bit sleepier. My computer screen looks exactly the same as it does in the morning, afternoon, and evening.

When Nicholson Baker awakes in a few hours, I bet he’ll laugh about all the people who got out of bed in the middle of the night to write. I bet he’ll laugh until the porridge shoots out of his nose.

17 January 2003
Tripod You Paint On
I was perusing a bulletin board when I saw a curious announcement.

    need eisle I cant spell,
    tripod you paint on

    I am hoping one of you out there have one your getting rid of and want to give to me or sell for cheep. I’m poor. Laura

I reread it a couple of times, and finally figured out that poor Laura was looking for an easel. I wonder if Laura’s a real artist, or if she just knows how to write like one?

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18 January 2003
Nine Degrees and Cloudy in San Francisco
The weather outside my San Francisco laboratory is overcast, nine degrees Celsius. I discovered this from inside the windowless lab by glancing at the top of my computer monitor. I’m experimenting with a new program, Meteorologist, that uses a wireless connection to link my computer to a constant stream of weather data on the Internet.

Karl suggested that Meteorologist obviates the need to leave the lab, but I know that was his lame attempt at humor. No one has yet to invent a protocol for putting Rainier Ale in TCP/IP packets.

19 January 2003
The Unanticipated Pressure of Alternative Sensibilities
Judy wrote to tell me that she enjoyed the John Lennon quote about enjoyable time wasted not being wasted. She then told me about another one of his observations I’d not heard: “Reality leaves a lot to the imagination.”

Of course.

It’s like Gareth said, “Facts crumble under the unanticipated pressure of alternative sensibilities.”

20 January 2003
Mission Statement
I couldn’t find anyone to treat me to lunch today, so I decided to treat myself to a stonkingly mammoth El Farolito burrito. I enjoy sharing a meal with friends, but I also take pleasure in inhaling a succulent burrito with the same enthusiasm and table manners of a leopard devouring a zebra’s warm entrails.

A businessman interrupted my selfish reverie when he sat down beside me. He put his briefcase on the table, opened it, and dumped his entire lunch off his plate on to a sea of business papers.

Splat! The burrito hit immediately with an impact that ruptured the thin tortilla skin. He shook the plate, and a gentle shower of salsa and chips rained down on the oozing mass of rice and beans. He closed the briefcase and opened a bottle of Negro Modelo.

He took a few sips of his beer.

I took a few more bites of my burrito.

“Wondering about my lunch?” the businessman asked after a few minutes of silence.

“I generally find that when I’m minding my own business that I’m not minding anyone else’s,” I replied. “On the other hand, I can’t deny that I have an inquisitive mind.”

“I’ve been selling insurance for over thirty years,” the man said in a tired voice. “Thirty years. Sold a lot of insurance in thirty years.”

The businessman took a gulp of Negro Modelo and stared at the briefcase.

“And now some MBA punk with acne is telling me how to sell insurance,” he continued. “Telling me how to sell insurance. He tells me this morning that he thought he smelled alcohol on my breath yesterday after I got back from lunch with one of my biggest clients. I learned a long time ago it’s a lot easier to sell insurance to someone who’s had a few drinks.”

“Then having a beer for lunch today sounds smart,” I said. “I think it’s important to have an antagonistic relationship with people who try to run your life.”

“So anyway,” the businessman went on, “Mr. MBA says, ‘Wally, I want you to think about the new mission statement at lunch today. I think you’ll agree drinking on the job will impede us from fully leveraging our synergies.’”

“Leveraging our synergies,” he mocked in a falsetto voice. “Mr. MBA’s getting my statement, a big Mission burrito dumped in his briefcase.”

“That’s what I call a Mission statement,” I agreed.

The businessman opened up the briefcase, poured the remainder of his beer in with the rest of the mess, snapped the briefcase shut and walked away.

21 January 2003
Below Average Models
I just read a précis in a Viennese publication about scientists in Canada and Austria who conducted a rigorous investigation of dubious merit. According to the synopsis, the researchers analyzed the measurements of five-hundred and seventy-seven women featured as centerfold models in Playboy magazines from 1953 to 2001.

The scientists concluded that, on average, the models weighed less than typical women.

I feel like I just took a cold shower in the clear light of new knowledge.

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©2003 David Glenn Rinehart