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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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Weak IV


22 January 2017

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No. 1,683 (cartoon)

You’re retreating into alcohol and drugs.

I’m storming ahead; only cowards retreat.

Full speed ahead!

23 January 2017

Cat and Mouse Chess

Buzz and Annie argued all night at Wanda and Joel’s party about who was the better chess player. By midnight, everyone was more than tired of their braggadocio, so Wanda brought out her chess set to silence them.

Given that they both had been drinking rather a lot, I thought it would be an even match. I was wrong; no surprises there. Wanda quickly massacred almost all of Buzz’s powerful pieces, then slowly picked off the survivors. She could have enjoyed a blitzkrieg victory, but savored torturing Buzz like a sadistic cat slowly dispatching a mortally wounded mouse. He did his part by refusing to resign even in the face of certain defeat.

Buzz remained defiant despite his humiliation.

“I didn’t underestimate her,” he explained, “she was just much better than I thought.”

24 January 2017

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Miniature Crater Lake

I put some stuff in a little thing I found then I photographed it. It kinda looks like Crater Lake, kinda, and that’s the full story of how I created Miniature Crater Lake.

25 January 2017

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Burns Night with Guinea Pigs

It’s Burns night, and that means one thing: haggis and whisky! I suppose that’s two things. Oh, and the poetry of Robert Burns. Yes, that’s three things, and that’s also quite enough numerology.

Mitsuharu Tsumura is one of those people who can’t leave well enough alone. The Peruvian chef decided to make his mark on Burns Night by serving haggis made from Guinea pigs instead of sheep. The wee rodents are barely a kilo; how much grub can you boil in such a tiny stomach? And the wee rodents’ lungs can’t possibly be even a mouthful.

Guinea pig haggis is a triumph of haute cuisine and marketing over common sense in Scotland, but it’s surprisingly popular in Switzerland, where it’s illegal to own a single Guinea pig. What to do with the last survivor on your Guinea pig ranch?

Guinea pig haggis!

It’s a stupid idea, but then eating sheep entrails, suet, and oatmeal wasn’t such a brilliant concept in the first place. Fortunately, no one has yet had the hubris or stupidity to suggest a whisky substitute, for there ain’t no such thing.

26 January 2017

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Canada Here We Come!

As William S. Burroughs noted, “Paranoia means having all the facts.” This may or may not be a sequitur, but my learned colleagues at the Internet Archive are planning on storing duplicate copies of the Archive’s files in Canada after Trump threatened to, “shut parts of the Internet down.”

Let’s start with a couple of premises.

First, digital data is binary data: ones and zeroes.

Second, it’s good to keep data in different geographic locations; that’s one of the premises of building a backup—or mirror—site.

Archivists are considering building a data center in Alberta or Tronna. (I used the phonetic spelling of Canada’s second largest city for those of you who don’t speak Canadian.) I proposed we create both, with half the data in Alberta and the other half in Tronna. And that brings us back to binary data: we put the zeroes in one location and the ones in the other. Ted Nelson recommended putting the zeroes in Alberta because it’s colder there, and I concur.

Now here’s the beauty of my plan. The bifurcated data would losslessly compact extraordinarily well using Batlan-Fischler compression. And so, I’ll able to store all the information for the Canadian data centers, er, centres, on two floppy disks.

There’s just one trivial step left. I’ve done the heavy lifting, but the engineers will have to create a table to rejoin our data.

Beauty, eh?

27 January 2017

Happy New Year’s Eve

I usually pay no attention to the lunar calendar, but given that many if not most of the merchants here on Clement Street are Chinese, I’m aware that today is the last day of the year of the monkey; tomorrow is the first day of the year of the rooster.

This shouldn’t bother me, but it does. It wasn’t long ago that I got used to drawing a monkey when it was time to date a check, and now I have to learn how to draw a squiggle resembling a rooster.

28 January 2017

Happy New Year

Stephan made a huge pot of chicken soup for the Chinese new year dinner I attended.

“Is it good fortune to eat chicken to celebrate the year of the rooster?” I asked.

“How much did you pay for this meal?” he responded.

“Nothing,” I replied, “I’m your guest.”

“I’m not Chinese,” Stephan noted, “but if a free meal’s not good fortune, then I don’t know what is.”

Xin nian hao!

29 January 2017

Latkes Without Crutches

Andrew knows somebody who knows someone who knows somebody, and that was all we needed to sneak into the party at the University Club tonight.

It was quite a spread; I could have made a meal from the acres of appetizers. So I did.

“These little latkes are exceptionally good,” Andrew declared. “Do you know what’s missing?”

I ate my tenth one more slowly and thoughtfully than the first nine, then concluded that I couldn’t think of how they could be any better.

“Zackly!” he exclaimed. “Lesser latkes would have benefited from being cloaked in ketchup, but these require no such culinary crutch.”

I’m not sure whether the latkes and/or the martinis were talking through Andrew, but it doesn’t matter. I now have a new standard for appreciating deep-fried potato cuisine.


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©2017 David Glenn Rinehart