1999 Notebook: Interval XXV

19 August 1999
Jill seemed surprised when I declined her invitation to go to a Museum of Modern [sic] Art reception tonight.

"It would be a great networking opportunity," she said.

"Sorry, but I don't do networking," I replied.

"The hell you don't!" she exclaimed. "If it weren't for your parasitic networking, an idler like you might actually have to work."

"I'm an artist," I indignantly explained. "The world owes me a living."

"What a load of crap," Jill responded. "You're always networking."

"Ah," I exclaimed, "what we have here, I believe, is a semantic problem. I only collaborate with people I like. And when I'm with people whose company I enjoy, it's not working. It's notworking. I notwork."

Jill looked skeptical, but then again she always does.

20 August 1999
Tappety, Tappety, Tappety ...
Lynn, Morrie's wife, called today. She said Morrie's still hanging onto life, surprising the medical professionals who thought he'd be gone by now. He made it outside a couple of times under his own power to sit in the sun. Lynn said he's still cracking jokes, still being Morrie.

Imagine that: going outside to feel the sun for perhaps the last time; spending each day with your partner of forty-five years as if it could be your last, because one of those days soon will be the last.

And here I am, in a dark mood in a dark room on a brilliant day, tapping on a computer keyboard.

Tappety, tappety, tappety, tappety, tappety, tappety, tappety, tappety, tappety, tappety, tappety, tappety, tappety, tappety, tappety, tappety, tappety, tappety, and then it's over.

21 August 1999
Destruction at Dr. McGrath's Laboratory
Dr. McGrath's laboratory is a mess, a complete mess. Chamber seventy-four is a panorama of broken chemical tanks, puddles of noxious chemicals, cracked pipes, splintered cabinets, and so on.

The destruction is complete and intentional. Dr. McGrath's junior assistants are tearing everything out of his laboratory's film developing chamber. They're wrecking everything recklessly; everything in the film developing chamber is headed for the dump. Everything.

It's sad to see what appears to be the end of an era. I developed my first roll of film over thirty years ago, but my darkroom's been in storage for over eight years. I intend to resurrect it one of these days, but that day seems increasingly elusive.

Nevertheless, I was grateful when Dr. McGrath said I could rescue whatever I wanted from the rubble. I grabbed a few dozen film holders and reels, a timer, and a couple of stainless steel tanks. When I get around to developing film again one of these days, I'll have more than enough hardware.

22 August 1999
Flip. Flop.
Today, a piece of pasta one hundred and thirty-five millimeters long flipped out of the pan of boiling water. The noodle in question flopped around on the counter for almost nineteen seconds.



Rainier Ale is an amazing adult beverage.

23 August 1999
The Difference(s) Between Erotica and Pornography
I have no idea who Gloria Leonard is, but she has just confused me. Or, to be more accurate, something she said has resulted in no small measure of befuddlemen: "The difference between pornography and erotica is lighting."

Ordinarily, I would never pay much attention to a comparison between two topics of no interest. But the problem here is Ellen Steinberg, or, more exactly, her observation on the same subject.

"Does anyone know the difference between erotica and pornography?" Steinberg asked theoretically. "In erotica you use a feather; in pornography you use the whole chicken."

I tried to decide whether either, both, or neither woman was right, but I didn't try very long. Neither pornography nor erotica merit that much consideration.

24 August 1999
A Long Hike in the Library
Jorge Luis Borges was born a century ago today.

A month ago I used what would have been Ernest Hemingway's hundredth birthday as an excuse to write about him; I suppose I could repeat myself and do the same with Borges.

Instead, I think I'll go for a long hike in the library.

gratuitous image
25 August 1999
Constant Random Variable
I finally figured out why the cashier at Lary's Liquors always charges me a different price for a forty-ounce bottle of Rainier Ale. It took me a while, though.

At first, it seems like the price should be obvious: $1.89 plus tax plus CRV. The problem is with the CRV, which turns out to be the nature of the CRV itself. CRV stands for Constant Random Variable; that means that the variable in question is, in fact, variable.

And so it is that on any given day that my takeaway price of a forty-ounce bottle of Rainier Ale ranges from $1.89 to $2.23. The price is never ever the same, a fact that must be attributed to the elusive Constant Random Variable. The retail price, by definition, must be both random and variable.

Is that any way to run a business?

26 August 1999
Accidental Suicide
All the newspaper headlines today report that Daniel Wieler accidentally committed suicide. I'm confused; "accidental suicide" seems like an oxymoron.

gratuitous image
27 August 1999
Gerrica Dunning (snaportrait)
Gerrica is a friend of mine.

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©1999 David Glenn Rinehart