1999 Notebook: Interval VIII

9 March 1999
A Delicate Quandary
I keep in touch with lots--most, really--of my old friends. Many of them are flattered by what they consider to be my honorable and noble behavior. That's not really true, though. As usual, it's just laziness on my part. It's a lot easier to reactivate old friendships than to create new ones.

And so it was that I thought I'd track down an old friend from high school. The Internet makes such a task much easier than it would have been a decade ago, although it's still difficult when someone has a common surname, and more difficult still when I can't remember whether that surname ended with "-en" or "-on."

I hadn't talked to this distant friend in at least a decade. That makes contacting someone all the more fun; I can begin the conversation by saying, "This is someone you haven't heard from since the '80s."

Anyway, I was looking forward to talking to my old friend; she's had a difficult life. In addition to the usual travails of trying to remain an artist, her father committed suicide many Thanksgivings ago.

I wondered how she was doing.

After trying a few wrong numbers, I finally reached an answering machine message that sounded promising. "Hello," it began; "you've reached ..." She gave her name, the right name in the right voice.

And then it all went wrong. She went on to give the name of her business, "Herbs and Energy Work."

What's the only thing that rhymes with sewage? New age.

Now I'm not one to disparage personal beliefs as long as they don't hurt anyone. At the same time, though, I'd rather not listen to an impassioned pitch about crystals and herbs and pyramidal energy. Or whatever.

I think I'll wait a few more years before I call her again.

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10 March 1999
The Kirin Scam
The label on my bottle of beer informs me that, "A mythical beast that is half deer and half dragon, the Kirin heralds good fortune." This beast in my hand is half deer piss and half beer-flavored water, and heralds bad fortune. I may have, from time to time, accused the Japanese of a few crimes against nature, but making bad beer was never one of them.

And it still isn't.


What a crock of sushi!

Kirin's brewmaster doesn't waste his time at a Los Angeles Budweiser factory. The only Kirin employees that visit that wretched plant are those who are being punished before they're fired. These miserable incompetents spend their LA days in a jet-lagged drunken stupor; their "strict supervision" consists mostly of trying to avoid vomiting in the vats of foul swill.

11 March 1999
Left Hair

All my hair is pointing to the left today. I wish I knew more about left brain versus right brain theories to know what this means.

12 March 1999
A Good Quip Gone Bad
I read that an anonymous film critic said: "Everyone wants to be like Ghandi: thin, tan, and moral."

I really liked the line when I first heard it, but then I had second thoughts. The person who penned the quip was obviously an American.

And then I had third thoughts. Americans never voice a desire to be moral; that's an a priori assumption.

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13 March 1999
California Girl Mackerel
California Girl's in trouble! She's surfing along, minding her own business, unaware that a giant mackerel has his ravenous eye on her!

Surf, California Girl, surf, surf, surf!

Faster, faster, faster!

Go! Go! Go!

But wait ... California Girl knows exactly what she's doing! She aims the pointed tip of her surfboard right at the mammoth fish's snout and kills him instantly!

Splat! Pow! Curtains!

California Girl then sells the fresh fish to a canner; that's the first stop on his long trip to my bowl of rice. Yum yum yum!

Yum yum yum! I love you, California Girl!

14 March 1999
Feeling Good, Usefully
Todd asked me whether I saw the Internet as a useful tool or a feel-good tool.

After thinking about it for a few seconds, I told him that I couldn't imagine a useful tool that wasn't a feel-good tool. And, of course, vice-versa.

I feel good. Usually.

15 March 1999
My Intriguing Brother's New Phrase
My brother's really obnoxious. I flatter myself in thinking he learned it all from me. Recently, though, he's come up with something even worse than anything I ever thought up. Ever.

Here's what he does. Whenever anyone says anything--anything at all, he assumes a thoughtful expression, and then says, "Intriguing."

"I think I'll make some pasta for dinner."


"I heard a rumor that the Rainier brewery may be sold."


"Looks like it's going to rain."


"I asked mom to look into having a postnatal abortion. On you."


That's my brother: intriguing.

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16 March 1999
Inorganic Fruit, Not Fountain
I don't worry about my diet a lot, especially when it comes to the healthy versus unhealthy foods debate. We're all going to die of cancer if we don't die of heart attacks first, so what's the point?

I bought some cheap pears. The low price suggested they weren't organic, a theory that seemed all the more probable when I noticed that one of the pears was rotting, curiously. The pear just grew bacteria, nothing else. Unlike organic fruit of my acquaintance, the miserable pear didn't erupt in a fountain of fruit flies. All I got for my pennies was a pleasing explosion of some sort of bacteria.

You don't always get what you pay for, but you always pay for what you get. Nevertheless, the part of the pear that wasn't rotten was quite tasty.

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17 March 1999
Self Snaportrait
I just bought my first new Leica in twenty-some years today. It's handsome, sterile. This is the first photograph I made with it. It's not a very good self-portrait, but it is a good cliché. Still, I prefer my Pour Self Trait.

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©1999 David Glenn Rinehart