2001 Notebook: Weak XLXII
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24 December 2001
Inventing Cheese
Rivka didn’t finish her milk when she dropped by the lab last month, so I put it in the refrigerator in my laboratory’s server room. Tonight, when I grabbed a beer before exorcising a possessed server, I discovered that the milk was still there!

Sort of. The milk had separated into disgusting, blobby curds suspended in a foul-smelling liquid.

“Kirsten, check this out!” I exclaimed. “I think I may be inventing cheese!”

“Sorry, David,” Kirsten replied, “I think some other Neanderthal beat you to it.”

“That’s fine; every great invention has a thousand fathers,” I philosophized. “And anyway, this is exactly what I needed.”

“Smelly proto-cheese?” Kirsten asked.

“No, something to leave for that fat scumbag Santa if he breaks in here tonight,” I said with a nasty smile. “Once that stupid do-gooder takes a drink of this crap, he won’t be back here again.”

“David, I don’t think you thought this through,” Kirsten cautioned. “After all, where does St. Nicholas live?”

“The North Pole, of course,” I answered. “Everyone knows that. What’s your point?”

“Northern people thrive on disgusting food,” Kirsten explained. “Scandinavians eat lutefisk, Aleuts eat muktuk, and so on. I bet Santa might enjoy that rot.”

“Damn, you may be right,” I cursed. “It looks like another Christmas eve soldering razor blades inside the stovepipe.”

Why can’t nosy people like Santa just mind their own business?

25 December 2001
Meeting Mary Boltman
Greer insisted that I come to her party this afternoon; she wouldn’t take “no” for an answer. She maintained that I’d enjoy myself, since it would be “a great opportunity to meet Mary Boltman; she’s a real hoot.”

I’ve suffered through a number of false hoots recently, so I reluctantly accepted Greer’s invitation.

Greer introduced me to Mary in the kitchen; Mary was licking cookie batter off the blades of an electric blender.

“I used to do that when I was a boy,” I said.

“Always remember to unplug the beater first!” Mary advised.

“Thanks,” I replied as I made a quick inventory of the hors d’oeuvres.

“I like batter and I like dough!” Mary exclaimed. “I’m a batter girl!”

A batter girl! Greer was right; Mary really is a hoot.

“You’re not writing that down, are you?” Mary asked when she noticed me fiddling with the electronic doodad that translates my handwriting into text.

“Of course,” I replied. “Otherwise I might forget that you’re a batter girl.”

“You’re not going to publish that, are you?” Mary continued.

“Yes, but don’t worry,” I assured her. “I’ll change your name to ‘Margaret’ or something.”

Mary Boltman is a real hoot, and I’m a real liar.

26 December 2001
Like, Totally Check
A young guest at my lab opined that the beer we were drinking was ‘like, totally check.”

Oh dear, another slang word to learn. I just learned that “mint” means “good,” just as “brilliant,” “hella-tight,” “bad,” “cool,” et cetera, once did. I’ll never catch up with popular slang; I suppose that’s the nature of trendy lingo.

I was sharing my laments with my totally check guest when the young visitor corrected me.

“Dude!” he interjected, “I meant totally Czech Republic! I mean, like, this beer is totally Czech!”

We all agreed the beer was, like, mint.


27 December 2001
Thank You, Japan Shipbuilding Industry Foundation
Last month, my friend Huey won the United Nations’ Sasakawa Environment Prize. As I mentioned earlier this year, I’m not particularly impressed by awards. Since all my friends amazed me some time ago, awards are relatively inconsequential. Having said that, I was impressed that Huey’s award had two-hundred U.S. dollars attached.

“So Huey,” I asked, “What are you going to do with all the loot?”

“Well, David,” Huey replied thoughtfully, “I’ve always had my eye on this cereal that costs seven dollars a box. After I got the award, I bought a box. It was pretty good. I think I may buy another.”

“Anything else?” I asked in my least parasitic voice.

“Well, I think we’ll soon be looking at a better bottle of whisky.”

I guess awards aren’t all that bad, after all.

28 December 2001
Bad Twin Timing
Katherine’s pregnant with twins; she should be a mother within a month or so. I’m very happy for her, although from my perspective her timing could not have been worse.

For decades, I’ve wanted to make a portrait of a nude, pregnant friend with a beach ball under one arm and a watermelon under the other. Unfortunately, none of the women I know who’d pose for such a lovely portrait have given birth during watermelon season.

I sent Katherine my best wishes, and delicately suggested that she remember beach balls and watermelons should she decide to expand her family.

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29 December 2001
Teton Rock
It’s a very rainy day in San Francisco. For some reason, the winter monsoons inspired me to replace the soles on an old pair of hiking boots. When I examined the aging boots, I discovered a hitchhiker: a piece of granite from the Tetons that lodged in the sole during long hikes there last August.

I’m not sure what to do with the stone. Although I’m not a big fan of souvenirs and knickknacks, there’s something appealing about a hitchhiker, and this is the first one I’ve seen since Wil-Ma.

I decided to put the small piece of granite in the back of a desk drawer. I’ll discover it there in a few years, then throw it out. By then I will have forgotten its provenance.

30 December 2001
Practical New Year’s Resolutions
I’m generally almost perfect when it comes to keeping promises, but for some reason I’m not very trustworthy when it comes to following through on my new year’s resolutions. That’s why I’ve decided to take a different approach for next year.

In 2002, I will make less art, and concentrate on making my meager output even more worthless. I’ll eat more fatty foods, and spend more time playing video games. I’ll make fewer friends and communicate less with the ones I already have. I will do whatever it takes to become a bit more stupid and lethargic.

I’ll be satisfied whether or not I keep my new year’s resolutions. I can’t lose!

31 December 2001
An Uneventful New Year’s Eve
It’s new year’s eve in San Francisco, but it’s atypically quiet. A couple of years ago the numerically challenged folks were anticipating the millennium, and last year at this time the folks who could add were about to celebrate the third, albeit artificial, millennium.

2000 was a Big, Round Number; Arthur C. Clarke wrote a book about 2001, but 2002 seems relatively nondescript.

I plan on doing something about that. Mañana.

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©2001 David Glenn Rinehart