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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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15 October 2016

gratuitous image

No. 2,149 (cartoon)

When will you stop torturing me?

When you enjoy it.

16 October 2016

Hearing Trees Dream

Alina and I went on a walk through the park last night under a full moon.

“Be very quiet,” she told me, “and you can hear the trees dreaming.”

What a lovely way for her to say, “Shut up, David!”

17 October 2016

Function Passes Out

Jacob has started to design and build furniture, if you can call it that. He showed his latest creation that he alleged was a couch.

“I’ve never see anything quite like it,” I admitted.

“I think of it as form following function,” he replied.

“Who doesn’t love Louis Sullivan?” I asked.

I didn’t add that his so-called couch was a perfect example of form following function, where function was quite drunk and looking for a place to pass out.

18 October 2016

Ghost Pepper Burger

There’s a reason I’ve never found anything that was too spicy to eat: I’ve never tried to torture myself. I generally agree with the premise that nothing succeeds like excess, but that doesn’t apply to bhut jolokias, or ghost peppers.

To imagine the difference between a ghost pepper and a habañero, compare a nuclear missile with a hand grenade. Or something like that. An anonymous patient at the University of California San Francisco Medical Center discovered that difference when he used ghost pepper purée on his sandwich. He ended up with a twenty-five-millimeter hole in his esophagus.

The macho gourmet spent over three weeks in the hospital and went home sporting a gastric tube. There’s a lesson here: don’t be an idiot. It’s a lesson almost no one learns; that’s what makes the world such an amusing and horrifying place.

19 October 2016


A few years ago I read that no one has ever spent a day behind bars for stealing a bicycle in San Francisco; I doubt anything has changed since then. The other day pedestrians on Valencia Street observed a thief using a battery-powered electric saw to cut through a heavy bike lock on a sunny afternoon. He got away with an expensive bike.

It takes a competent bike thief with the right tools less than a minute to cut through any lock, so what to do? Daniel Idzkowski came up with an answer: SkunkLock.

The SkunkLock looks like an ordinary U-shaped lock, but with a nice little twist: it’s filled a pressurized, highly noxious gas. When someone cuts through the lock, anyone within three meters will vomit uncontrollably from the nauseating gas.


I’d prefer a lock that explodes and sends hot shards of radioactive shrapnel into the would-be thief’s vital parts, but I suppose that could injure innocent passersby. I wonder if perhaps a lock that delivers a zillion-volt shock might be both more effective and satisfying.

Nah, any lethal lock would probably explode on me; that’s how technology works.

My prediction: SkunkLock will be a successful business endeavor, and serious bike thieves will wear respirators.

20 October 2016

One Ant?!

There’s been an ant in my bathroom at the Internet Archive for weeks. An ant. One ant. What’s wrong with that picture?

There’s no such thing as one ant, that’s what.

Ants work in teams, troops, and battalions. There’s no such thing as one ant, so I can’t begin to imagine why there’s a lost, solitary scout scurrying around in circles on the bathroom’s sterile floor.

I fear the lost ant isn’t lost at all, and may be a harbinger of impending horrificness. There are not a lot of defensive measures I can take except to stop dining in the bathroom and flush the toilet regularly.

One ant. This ain’t good; this ain’t good at all.

21 October 2016

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Internet Archive Audio Underground

There used to be a patch of dirt where the Internet Archive’s Sans Frisco scanning center used to be before it burned to the ground almost three years ago. A couple of days a couple of guys with a cement truck covered the plot, but I got there first to create Internet Archive Audio Underground. Prepare to yawn; here’s the story ...

Dr. Ximm told me that headphones can also serve as microphones. I thought I could do something with that, and I did.

I began by putting a pair of inexpensive in-earphones (along with my carte de visite) in a waterproof, airtight glass jar. I buried the jar half a meter deep in a hole I dug in the sandy soil. (After pushing pixels for years, I can’t describe how refreshing it was to shovel dirt, so I won’t.) I live along numerous earthquake faults, so I buffered my installation with at least a hundred wine corks.

I threaded the audio cable from the jar through a polyvinyl chloride tube to the surface an hour before the cement truck arrived to literally seal the project. This afternoon I played a Velvet Underground recording to soothe any subterranean creatures who were disturbed by all the construction hubbub.

And now it’s back to pushing pixels ...


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©2016 David Glenn Rinehart

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