1999 Notebook: Interval XXIV

9 August 1999
She Just Didn't Know When to Stop
Uncle Don got drunk but it wasn't his fault, not really. It turns out that the hostess was to blame.

"She just kept pouring me drinks," he explained, "she just didn't know when to stop."

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10 August 1999
Kennedy's Spawn
I wonder if the person who wrote the "JFK Jr. spawns interest in sea burials" headline in this afternoon's Examiner was clever or stupid. It's a subtle distinction even at the best of times.

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11 August 1999
Virtual Eclipse
Well, it's time for the last eclipse of the millennium, and I'm ready. I'm in San Francisco, far from the path of the eclipse, but that's not going to stop me.

I have a picture of Cornwall on my computer monitor. At the time of the eclipse, I'll turn down the brightness on the screen, wait a bit, then turn it back up.

If past eclipses are anything to go by, it should be just like being there.

12 August 1999
The Futility of Crunky
I don't know what it is about fonts. I generally use only one, a variant of Goudy I created before I knew any better. Sometimes I also use Futura and/or Gill, but usually I rely on my ersatz Goudy.

My choice is a conscious one; I have literally hundreds of different fonts from Aachen to Zurich in my computer. And even though I've never even looked at half of them, I still keep collecting more. It's a sickness, albeit a seemingly benign one.

I recently acquired Crunky, another font I'll probably never use, probably never ever. What sold me was the description:

    Crunky is a thick, chunky font with no numbers and no punctuation. Have you ever seen the drawings done on cave walls by Cro-Magnon men? This font is kind of like that, only I did it with a $3 grand computer. Ha!

Ha! Indeed.

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13 August 1999
John Goggin (snaportrait)
John is a friend of mine.

14 August 1999
Damp Swiss Watch
Although I'm not at all militaristic, I must admit that I do like my Swiss Army knife and Swiss Army bag. I've had the bag for a couple of decades; it's held up well. And I always lose a Swiss Army knife before it ever breaks. (On the other hand, I of course lose the Swiss Army knife tweezers almost immediately, for obvious reasons.)

So far so good.

When I needed to get a new watch, I decided to get a Swiss Army watch. There were lots of them on display; I chose one that had an attractive face. It turned out to be the diver model, "water resistant" to a depth of one hundred meters.

My selection meant that I could, in theory, dive twice as deep with my new watch as I could with the other models on offer. In practice, I've never been deeper than maybe five meters underwater, except in a submarine. Still, I liked the idea of having a watch that was much more than I needed: nothing succeeds like excess.

I should have known better. I recall that years ago, Idi Amin challenged the Swiss to a battle on Lake Victoria. The Swiss stayed well clear of Uganda. It could have been because of the shameful quality of their dive watches.

I went for a walk in a gentle rain. My Swiss Army diver's watch got damp and stopped working, forever.

End of story.

15 August 1999
Wretched El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Angeles de Porciuncula
Edwin told me he was going to El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Angeles de Porciuncula next week.

"Where?" I asked.

"LA," Edwin explained.

I normally prefer full names to nicknames or acronyms, but I'll make an exception for wretched El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Angeles de Porciuncula.

16 August 1999
I'm Such a Slut
The text that was originally here isn't here. It's been pulled, yanked, spiked; it's gone.

The text that was originally here disparaged a fatuous, pompous twit. It was very easy to write; the twit in question presented a broad, inviting target.

The text that was originally here disparaged a fatuous, pompous twit that my perfidious colleagues and I are about to approach for a very large favor. In fact, we are going to ask him to give us buckets of money. Based on our collective experience, we think there's a very good chance of success.

My perfidious colleagues have pointed out that should the fatuous, pompous twit happen to notice that I've referred to him as a fatuous, pompous twit, the likelihood of getting our paws on his money is increasingly unlikely, bordering on improbable.

And that's why the text that was originally here isn't here. It's been pulled, yanked, spiked; it's gone. I can't believe what a slut I am.

17 August 1999
The Inscrutable Noodle
I'm in Twenty Feet, a Japanese restaurant. (The name comes from chef Emiko Nagayuchi's admonition: "Eat the twenty feet of noodles daily."   [Of course, she actually said, "Eat the six meters of noodles daily," but Americans have never been comfortable with the metric system.])

I've been waiting forever for my udon, and the waiter can't tell me when I'll be served. Every time I've asked him, he just tells me, "The path of the noodle is both winding and long."

Tomorrow it's back to burritos; there's nothing inscrutable about a burrito.

18 August 1999
Encounter with a Kaymogre 4399
A friend at another laboratory invited me to inspect his new Kaymogre 4399, a computer that purportedly has excellent voice recognition capabilities.

I decided to test its abilities with a homonym.

"I write," I said.

The Kaymogre 4399 replied, "No, you wrong."

I was very impressed.

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©1999 David Glenn Rinehart