Stare.
 
2008 Notebook: Weak XXXV
 
   
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28 August 2008
No. 993 (cartoon)
Tora! Tora! Tora!

Stop pretending that you’re Japanese.

Your trousers have no pockets!

29 August 2008
Bad Hawaiian Air
Just when I thought air travel couldn’t get much worse, it did. And on a forty-minute Hawaiian Airlines flight from Oahu to Maui, even.

First, there was the vexatious ukulele “music” Seymor warned me about. The fiends who run the airline played it over the speakers before takeoff, a time when I was forbidden from using my headphones. Feh.

As soon as the plane was airborne, the couple sitting behind me got into an argument that lasted almost the entire flight.

“You should apologize.”

“For what?”

“For burping.”

“I didn’t burp.”

“Yes you did.”

“No I didn’t.”

“Yes you did.”

“That wasn’t a burp; that was a hiccup.”

“You should still apologize.”

“It was a hiccup, not a burp.”

“You still need to excuse yourself.”

“Not for a hiccup.”

“Yes you do.”

“But hiccups are involuntary.”

“That doesn’t matter.”

“Yes it does.”

“Anyway, it was a burp.”

“It was a hiccup!”

And so on, ad nauseam.

But that wasn’t the worst of it. I sat beside a Canadian woman who talked incessantly about curling, the lamentable Canadian practice of pushing a stone around on the ice. I can’t blame the poor Canadians for their pitiful practice, what else are they supposed to do living in a land of icy rocks?

I try to keep an open mind; I think it’s fine for Canadians to visit Hawaii. Who could blame them for wanting to escape the icy throes of their homeland? Having said that, I think they should be restricted to traveling on Air Canada so they don’t inflict their curling tedium on others.

Things got worse when we landed. The ubiquitous ukuleles were so exasperating that I missed the burp versus hiccup debate and the curling tales.

Double feh!

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30 August 2008
Scott’s Vows on Paper
Scott and Clare got married yesterday. They didn’t run out of food or wine, so I thought it was a wonderful wedding.

I saw how Scott spent the last minutes of his bachelorhood, and what I saw was this. I saw Scott transcribing the text of his wedding vows from the video screen of his mobile phone to a piece of paper. I know why he did it, too: Clare told him to do so because she didn’t want him to use his phone during the wedding ceremony.

Actually, that wasn’t the last thing he did before the ceremony, but I promised not to tell anyone about has last act as a single man.

31 August 2008
Huge Sea Beastie
I’d been in the ocean for perhaps a minute or so when it happened. I was adjusting my dive mask and snorkel when I spotted a massive something swimming toward me with my peripheral vision. It might have been a boulder-shaped dolphin, but it wasn’t.

That sight of a giant piece of wildlife suddenly appearing within a meter of me triggered a strong reaction in some prehistoric—or at least pre-twentieth century—part of my brain. I panicked with an adrenaline rush for a second or two until I realized that the behemoth loggerhead turtle was, in fact, a huge loggerhead turtle.

I followed it around for a while as it glided over the coral. S/he used her front legs (front flippers?) as wings to fly over the ocean floor. Her back legs (back flippers?) served as rudders, or perhaps the wing thingies on the side of a submarine. The ridiculous conical tail appeared to be of no use whatsoever.

And, of course, I had nothing to fear; I watched the vegan beastie dine on a seaweed salad bar. I wondered what turtle soup tastes like.

1 September 2008
Good Hawaiian Riddance
There are only so many encounters one can have with sea turtles before the amazing becomes the norm, so I’m glad to be leaving Hawaii while the giant sea creatures retain a bit of their prehistoric mystique. And I’ll be especially glad to return to San Francisco and reacquaint myself with the letters b, c, d, et al.

The early Hawaiian colonizers were as greedy as they were rapacious; they completely denuded the islands of so many characters of the alphabet that, to this day, Hawaiians are limited to a fraction of the twenty-six characters the rest of the English-speaking world enjoys. Every time I saw a j or an x on Maui, I knew it wasn’t native to the island, and had been imported at great expense from overseas.

The restricted alphabet has forced the Hawaiians to resort to desperate semantic measures, including using variations on “poop” and “puke” to describe their native dishes. I’m so glad I’m headed to a place where the natives can spell as well as make great burritos.

2 September 2008
Found Art on Hawaii No. 315
I rarely enjoy a pleasant surprise on a commercial airliner, but I did yesterday when I discovered that someone had transformed a copy of Hana Hou! magazine into a work of art, perhaps several.

The anonymous artist transmuted advertisements into cultural critiques—and funny ones at that—by writing on the ads. My three favorite examples:

[photo of beautiful young woman modeling pearls]
I want money

[photo of handsome couple frolicking the the surf]
You will never be them ...

[photo of hotel room with panoramic view]
Yeah, you wished you lived here. Why?

I feel so fortunate that chance led me to find this work. The discovery is challenging me to reassess my approach to making art. Everything I do is documented; everything from photographs to writing to music to films is infinitely reproducible. Perhaps I should consider doing one-off pieces. And maybe even make them truly conceptual works by not documenting or signing them?

I doubt I ever will; that’s a little too pure for me.

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3 September 2008
Ten Pineapple Rings on Maui
Just as I’ve done on other trips, I decided to make a regional piece of art while I was in Hawaii. And then I had to address the eternal aesthetic question, what to do? Alaska was easy; I love Alaska. And New York wasn’t hard; I like New York.

But then there’s Hawaii, a series of islands comprised of Hawaiian simulacra. After much toing and froing, I settled on photographing that iconic Hawaiian fruit, the pineapple. And not just any pineapple, either. I used a can of Dole pineapple slices provided by the piece’s patron, Dr. Goggin. I thought the perfectly identical rings had as much to do with a real pineapple as Dole’s agribusiness plantations and miserable tourist traps have to do with the real Hawai’i.

And so, I transformed ten corporate pineapple rings into Ten Pineapple Rings on Maui. And that was that.

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©2008 David Glenn Rinehart