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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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10 September 2014

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No. 5,657 (cartoon)

I wonder what will happen when I die?

Don’t worry; there’ll soon be no doubt.

11 September 2014

Another Technological Disappointment

My telephone isn’t much of a phone at all; it’s really more of a pocket computer with which one may place phone calls, although no one does that any more. (Please take a moment to remember all those great “Is that a computer in your pocket?” jokes before moving on to the next paragraph.)

I was disappointed to read the technical specifications for Apple’s new phones/pocket computers. I wanted a smaller phone with a larger screen, but they’re only offering a larger and much larger phone with larger and much larger screens. I’d need new pants with larger pockets to carry a larger phone, and that’s a problem. I just bought new pants a couple of years ago, and I shouldn’t need to replace them for at least another year or two. By then, I may be able to finally buy a smaller phone with a larger screen.

I’ve always done well by following Henry David Thoreau’s admonition, “Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes.”

12 September 2014

Still Teeming With Life

Brandon died about five weeks ago. This was news to Anita and everyone else, since Brandon’s body sat—if a corpse can sit—on the couch of his locked apartment for five weeks. Anita reports that when the police broke down the door, they discovered his decomposing body chock-full of maggots.

“Poor Brandon,” she said, “he would have appreciated the dark irony. Even in death, he was still teeming with life.”

I thought that was in appallingly bad taste, and that her sordid humor was as good a way of dealing with death and grief as any other.

13 September 2014

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The entrepreneurs at Dang Foods came up with a great idea: bake some coconut chips, add some sugar and salt, et voilà! They’re selling Dang Toasted Coconut Chips for seventy dollars a kilogram.

Dang! Why didn’t I think of that? (I wish that wasn’t such a familiar refrain.)

14 September 2014

One Less Camera

When I was a teenager, all I wanted in life was to be in love, with food in my stomach and film in my camera. That’s proved to be a great approach to life, especially when it comes to the voluntary slavery colloquially known as a career. As is often the case, I learned a thing or two from Marcel Duchamp.

“I consider working for a living slightly imbecilic from an economic point of view. I hope that some day we’ll be able to live without being obliged to work. Thanks to my luck, I was able to manage without getting wet. I understood, at a certain moment, that it wasn’t necessary to encumber one’s life with too much weight, with too many things to do, with what is called a wife, children, a country house, an automobile. And I understood this, fortunately, rather early.”

It’s worth noting that he also said, “I have forced myself to contradict myself in order to avoid conforming to my own taste.” That may or may not explain why he died happily married in his country house.

The big flaw in my teenage plan for a rewarding life was film: I never imagined that one day it would be redundant. Recently, an earnest young man placed an ad saying that he wanted to buy an eight by ten view camera (one of those huge cameras that uses eight inch by ten inch sheets of film), so I sold him mine. I hadn’t used it—or been in a darkroom—in twenty-five years, so I finally had to acknowledge the obvious: I’ll be using plastic Japanese cameras for the rest of my life.

I hope I live long enough to rewrite the previous sentence.

15 September 2014

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A Culinary Abomination

A few weeks ago, I wrote about a shirt I couldn’t wear because it had “I see dumb people” printed on the front. Julia read that, and is now wearing the shirt because she’s not afraid of offending dumb people. Even better, she gave me a new shirt with a nice graphic of one of my favorite foods with the words “California Burrito” beneath it.

I was walking down the street wearing my new shirt when a stranger pointed to it and said, “That really is a California burrito, with French fries and everything!”

I was shocked and beyond aghast that what I thought were stylized strips of cheese were really deep-fried potatoes. French fries in a burrito? Zoot alors and sacré bleu!

How deeply embarrassing; I must meet with a couture consultant to see if anything else in my tiny wardrobe also contains a repulsive subliminal message.

16 September 2014

The Editor In Me

I’m deeply embarrassed, and I don’t embarrass easily. Especially when I’m alone. I shall ’splain.

I collect music the way a rabid dog collects fleas: frequently and effortlessly. I have forty thousand recordings on my computer, and they just keep appearing in my aural library like disease sores. For example, the Apple corporation recently gave me the “gift” of a dozen crappy songs by some famous Irish mediocrities that just appeared, unbidden, on my hard disk. Oh well, at least the corporate hucksters promptly published instructions on how to delete the pretentious pablum.

Hold it, just hold everything: where was I? Ah, yes, embarrassment.

I was listening to a random selection of music when I heard this derisible line:

And I guess it’s just the woman in you that brings out the man in me ...

I stopped working on my current alleged art project and promptly deleted every recording by the ensemble I’m too embarrassed to name.

And I guess it’s just the idiot in them that brings out the editor in me ...

17 September 2014

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Thirteen Allston Way Stripes

I was cycling down Allston Way in Berkeley just the other day, and there they were, right in front of me, right (and/or left?) in the middle of the road: freshly painted stripes.

The city painters had obviously put a lot of time and effort into painting these sequential lines; their crop marks and guidelines were still clearly visible. They did all the work, and all I had to do was push the shutter release button to make painterly photographs in Thirteen Allston Way Stripes, which may or may not have been a good idea. To paraphrase George Eastman, “You paint and I do the rest.”


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©2014 David Glenn Rinehart

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