1999 Notebook: Interval XI

6 April 1999
Alpha25-to-K Compliant
A computer nerd recentlk wrote to tell me that I can expect computer problems well before the ones I've been worrking about in 29,940. She said I should make mk work "alpha25-to-k compliant." (Alpha25 is the twentk-fifth letter of the alphabet.) She warned of dire consequences if I used alpha25 after 31 December of this kear. She tried to explain whk this date was so important, but I couldn't understand the technical details.

And that's whk todak's notes are safe but mostlk illegible. I think this alpha25-to-k compliance malarkek is just that. Tomorrow, I go back to living foolishlk, a polick that's alwaks served me verk well.

7 April 1999
Cannon Golf
I've been developing a new game, cannon golf. It's like regular golf, only the players use cannons and cannonballs instead of golf clubs and golf balls. It's a brilliant idea, if I do say so myself. (And I do say so myself, because almost no one else will.)

Unfortunately, I've run into a couple of daunting technical problems. First, the standard forty-three kilogram cannonball makes a huge crater every time it lands. It's no fun playing a game where every shot is a hole in one. And then there's putting. I've tried a number of different designs, but developing a cannon that's accurate at a distance from three meters is proving to be a formidable engineering problem.

I keep asking myself what Berthold Schwarz, the German monk credited with inventing the cannon in the fourteenth century, would do if faced with these challenges. "Drink more beer" is the only plausible answer.


8 April 1999
The Beauty of Art Schools
I've never understood why people pay money to go to an art school. The only reason I've ever come up with is that cute art chicks look even cuter when the air is filled with plaster dust and the fumes of turpentine, fixer, and cheap red wine. This is, of course, a damn good reason, but it doesn't explain why so many people pay so much money to relearn something they once knew. (I've never met anyone under the age of six who didn't consider him/herself to be a good and successful artist.)

And then David Sedaris explained everything in a single sentence. "That's the beauty of an art school: as long as you can pay the tuition, they will never, even in the gentlest way, suggest that you have no talent."

9 April 1999
Caveman Over Holland
Wim de Nijs is flying again, musically. Airport bureaucrats in Groningen, Holland, had yanked the pilot's license for repeatedly using air traffic controllers' channels to broadcast his a cappella rendition of the theme song to "The Flintstones." Singing in English, the pilot's longer renditions of the tune lasted up to twenty minutes.

A Dutch court overruled the ban, and de Nijs is again airborne. Birds have to sing; pilots have to fly. Or maybe the reverse.

10 April 1999
Flash Art--"The World's Leading Art Magazine"--proclaimed in the March-April 1999 edition that art made by white males may again be shown after years of being "forbidden in the art world."


11 April 1999
Parricidal Marketing
Francis and Cynthia said they gave their kid fifty dollars so he could attend a popular entertainer's concert and buy one of the musician's promotional "Kill Your Parents" t-shirts.

"Sounds like a waste of money to me," I opined.

"I don't think so," said Fran. "We listened to some crap music when we were young, too. With any luck he'll learn a bit about marketing. You've got to admit parricide and teenage angst is a great combination."

12 April 1999
Beethoven Mit Schlag
The fingers on my left hand twitched when I listened to Beethoven's third symphony; some moldy part of my brain remembered the fingering sequences for the molto ballsissimo horn parts. There was only one thing to do after the piece was over, so I did it. I took a nap.

I dreamt I was in a Miami apartment visiting Beethoven and an old woman. Beethoven looked pretty good; he was trim, tanned, and surprisingly handsome in a Hawaiian shirt, shorts, and plastic sandals.

"Herr Beethoven," I said, "Every time I play one of your symphonies I feel like I'm riding a mammoth at full gallop down a steep mountain. The mammoth is drunk, but it never stumbles."

I waited for a reply, but Beethoven didn't say anything. I couldn't tell if he was amused, confused, bemused, or all three.

"Herr Rinehart," said the old woman in a thick German accent, "Herr Beethoven is--how do you say?--deaf as a door mat."

"People usually say 'deaf as a doorknob,' but I understand what you're saying," I replied.

"Mit schlag!" exclaimed Beethoven, laughing.

13 April 1999
A Notable Week of Nothing
I heard about some magician in New York who gained a bit of notoriety for lying in a transparent plexiglass coffin for a week. For 168 hours--an entire week--he did, well, nothing. Nothing at all.

I don't know what all the hubbub's about. I've gone far longer than a week without doing anything.

14 April 1999
Pollock Puzzle
Julie sent me a Jackson Pollock jigsaw puzzle. Twenty-five hundred pieces! What could I possibly have done to annoy her that much?

gratuitous image
15 April 1999
Some Dead Military White Guy (snaportrait(?))
It looks like another of my new year's resolution isn't working. I resolved to make a portrait in each of 1999's thirty-eight intervals. I decided to do this for a couple reasons. First, I have a number of friends I've never photographed. Second, I needed the practice; it's been years since I did much work with a "real" camera.

I've taken full advantage of my artistic license to describe photographs of a sleeping infant, an invisible person in a sleeping bag, a kitten, and two statues, as "portraits." Although the liberal terms of my artistic license allow me to claim I've kept my resolution, I know I'm cheating.

My failure was particularly obvious today, the last day of the eleventh interval. To fulfill my self-assignment, I photographed a statue in the park with a telephoto lens. I don't even know name of the stone person in the photograph; the park was closed and fenced for "refurbishment." Maybe I'll find out later, maybe I won't.

The only thing I know with any certainly tonight is that my problems with portraiture seem to be increasing.

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©1999 David Glenn Rinehart