free (and worth it) subscription

An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

Last Weak  |  Index  |  Next Weak



20 February 2020

gratuitous image

No. 4,655 (cartoon)

I can’t answer any questions that begin with “why.”


21 February 2020

Love Flows Like ...

Sarah and Kenji are going through a rough transpacific courtship. In addition to the geographic challenges, there’s also a severe problem: they don’t have a common language. In the latest scrambled message, she told me that he urged her to, “let our love flow like seppuku entrails.”

“What in the hell is a seppuku?” she asked. “Is that one of those three-eyed things I see in the grocery stores over there?”

“I appreciate you asking for my opinion,” I replied, “but I think you should spend more quality time with your dictionary since I only know the same seven words of Japanese that you do.”

I was being disingenuous. (”Disingenuous” is my preferred synonym for “dishonest.”) If Sarah does bother with a dictionary, she’ll find “seppuku” is the formal name for “harikari.”

I wonder if and how their love will flow, but I’m not going to ask.

22 February 2020

Sound Regression

I connected my computer to a great sound system for the first time in months, and heard nuances in my recordings that were lost on cheap speakers: the good, the bad, and the ugly. (Apologies to Luciano Vincenzoni and Sergio Leone.)

I’m thinking of Jack White’s latest studio release, Boarding House Reach. (At least it’s the most recent work I’ve grabbed of the Internet.) I heard all sorts of audio layers that were lost on unsound headphones. I also heard the pops, hisses, scratches, and other ugly vinyl artifacts I thought I’d left behind decades ago.

I have over forty thousand songs on my computer; I can listen all day and all night for over four months without hearing the song twice. I’m fortunate that I don’t have fussy ears that would require me to feed the turntable a new record every time I want to listen to another half dozen tunes.

I won’t argue with my friend Sonja; I’ll repeat her claim that virtually the entire market for vinyl records comprises impotent men of all ages. Changing records gives people with sex problems an excuse to get out of bed every twenty minutes.

23 February 2020

Alcohol, Scientifically Speaking

Deirdre was apoplectic with indignation if not incandescent with annoyance at the bar tonight. Thomas, the bartender—who’s also the owner of the eponymously named Tommy’s Tavern—posted a sign in the window, “Free counseling with every drink!”

I don’t know what possessed her to do something so foolish, but she got into an argument she couldn’t possibly win with Tommy. She pointed out that she spent tens of thousands of dollars and years of her life to become a therapist, and that alcohol wasn’t going to solve anyone’s problems. She railed against quackery, berated him for his fraudulent promotion, et cetera, et cetera.

Tommy didn’t even pretend to listen; that’s how professional he was.

“You done with your speech?” he asked when she requested another drink.

He didn’t wait for her reply, another great debating technique.

“Listen lady,” he said dismissively, “alcohol is a solution, scientifically speaking. And that’s all I got to say.”

I thought that was some pretty good counseling right there, but I learned from Deirdre’s example and kept my mouth shut.

24 February 2020

Fractional Differences

Brett told me he met a spectacular woman at a party and that he may be falling in love. He added that this time it looks serious.

I glanced at my calendar, and sure enough, it was Monday. It happens most weekends: he meets an attractive female of the opposite sex about his daughter’s age, they exchange phone numbers, and that’s about all he needs to conclude he’s found the woman with whom he’ll spend the rest of his life. In practice, the relationship usually lasts about as long as it takes for one or both of them to sober up.

He showed me a photo of his latest conquest like a proud trophy hunter, which I fear he is.

“Don’t you ever get tired chasing women half your age?” I asked. “You know how this is going to end once she does the math and figures one day she’ll have to change your diapers.”

“I’ll have you know I’m a fraction of her age,” he huffed indignantly.

“I’m guessing that fraction is about five thirds,” I replied. “How’m I doing?”

“You don’t know what love is,” he said defensively. “And anyway, age is just a number.”

Poor Brett; his number is up, figuratively and literally.

25 February 2020

gratuitous image


I’m fairly conventional when it comes to photography and other things too numerous to mention. I use well-established aesthetic norms for my compositions; a traditional education is hard to overcome. I admire the snapshots my friends make; they don’t know what the unwritten rules of “good” visual images are so they make interesting photographs.

I can’t unlearn what I know, so I decided to try the next best thing and show how the two-dimensional sausage is made. I went back to the days of contact sheets, when an editor or photographer would use a red grease pencil to indicate how an image to be cropped.

“Going back” is misleading at best since the prevailing aesthetic at the time was to never ever never ever crop. Instead, everyone from Henri Cartier-Bresson to Richard Avedon and back again presented their photographs with the edges of the negative surrounding the image. This provided a nice, black, visual girdle and proved that they were so brilliant they never had to crop as lesser photographers did.

I tried to fake hand-scrawled red lines, but they looked predictably like the graphic shams they were. I settled on using unembellished straight lines I drew with my computer’s imaging program.

I showed Majestic to a couple of friends, but the reference to a contact sheet was lost on them. Instead, they debated the merits of different types of motor homes.

And with that, it’s time to explore something else, anyway you look at it.


Last Weak  |  Index  |  Next Weak
©2020 David Glenn Rinehart