2002 Notebook: Weak XXII
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28 May 2002
No. 6,543 (cartoon)
We can’t go on like this.

Why not?

I have no idea.

29 May 2002
Vodka Ice Cubes?!
I received an invitation from the Russian Federation Union of Scientists to attend a San Francisco reception for Dr. Vladimir Alekseyevich, the genius who invented the vodka ice cube. The invitation promised, “Cocktails with Dr. Alekseyevich’s patented cubes will be on offer.”

“On offer” doesn’t sound like free drinks to me. I passed.

Vodka ice cubes?!

30 May 2002
Half-baked Art
I received an invitation from Art Newvöe to attend an opening for Stephano Traspae and his half-baked art.

The premise of the exhibit is that Traspae creates works that are only completed—or, in galleryspeak, “fully-baked”—in the viewers’ minds.

That describes all of the good art created in my lifetime. I can’t decide whether that means I should or shouldn’t go.

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31 May 2002
The Perfect Photograph of Japan, Lost
Recently, I made the perfect photograph of Japan. The image shows manicured trees and a couple of telephone poles in front of a white, rectangular, cement building with mountains in the background.

Unfortunately, I seem to have lost the original, high-resolution digital file for reasons that have nothing to do with sake. All I have is a tiny copy of the photograph I made for viewing over the Internet. I’m not sure whether or not that’s a problem. On one hand, I hate to lose a good photograph. On the other hand, I have one or two thousand photographs better than the perfect photograph of Japan.

Since virtually none of my photographs will ever be seen, what’s one more lost image?

I’m not sure what the answer to that question is, but I’d wager that it’s close to “not very much.”

1 June 2002
Selectively Charming
“Well, you can be charming when you want to be,” Velma concluded after a protracted and exasperating conversation.

I ignored the olive branch.

“And why would I ever want to be artificially charming?” I asked. “Sounds like an oxymoron to me.”

“Sounds like a moron to me,” Velma shot back.

I love Velma; she’s full of witty repartée, and more.

2 June 2002
A Parasite, Demeaning Freelancers Everywhere
I got bored, so I decided to post a false notice on an Internet site for artists.

    I’m a ghostwriter who’s been commissioned to write interesting, exciting entries for an artist’s notebook of sorts. Not unlike the alleged artist in question, I too lead a boring, uneventful life and can’t think of a thing to say. Thus, I’d be grateful if you’d tell me about something brilliant you did or experienced. (You won’t get any credit or money; that’s art!)

    To give me your idea—and the rights to use it—please drop me a line:

    - Art

(I figured I couldn’t get a better nom de art than Art.)

Some idiot who didn’t sign his/her name decided to reprimand me.

    You are pathetic. You put up an ad to ask someone to give you their ideas without you giving them pay or credit? How did you get this job? You are the epitome of the ennui of this crumbling society. You produce nothing original and add nothing beneficial to this life. You are a parasite.

And then I got a reprimand from another evangelist.

    If I were to give you an idea, and you were to incorporate it into your work, then it’s collaboration. For you to get paid and not me would be theft.

    Your excuse, “You won’t get any credit or money; that’s art!” is a BS justfication [sic] for inexcusable behavior. I get paid to write, and if I were to involve someone else by using their idea, I’d pay them, too.

    As a freelancer, I feel that you demean freelancers everywhere. If you can’t do the job you’ve been hired to do, then you shouldn’t have gotten it. Pass it on to someone who’s capable of doing it without resorting to consensual plagiarism.

I finally got an ostensibly helpful note from “Mr. Big.”

    I was really drunk and I met some lady who was really drunk too and we went out to my truck. She wouldn’t give me her phone number, and I don’t remember anything more.

    Can you work with that?


3 June 2002
My Creative Process
As part of his research project at the University of Winnipeg, Dr. Lawrence White sent me a note requesting “a brief narrative describing your creative process.”

And so I did.

    I sneak up on ideas. Sometimes I hide in the bushes, motionless, waiting to ambush a passing idea. Often, I feign unconsciousness after a couple of drinks, and let an unwary idea wander by.

    I spring with surprising agility. I hook my claws deep into the struggling idea’s flesh. Once I’m in control. I sink my teeth deep into the idea’s neck. I then shake the idea violently until I hear the satisfying snap of the idea’s spinal column. Although I’m embarrassed to admit this, I delight in tasting the idea’s loss of the will to live.

    I lap up the idea’s warm blood, and then the idea is inside of me. It’s mine, all mine!

I mailed those three paragraphs to Dr. White over two months ago; he never responded. I doubt he ever will.

4 June 2002
A Burrito for a Fish
I met Riki Ott at lunch today. I came because someone else offered to pay for lunch; I stayed to hear what she had to say. She told incredible Alaskan stories about maleficent oil companies, poisoned workers, wiretapping, sterile fish, financial ruin, and so on. Riki’s stories of treachery and deceit differed from a thousand other similar stories from my do-gooder days in one important respect: scale. The tragedy involves thousands, not hundreds, of workers, billions, not millions, of dollars, and so on.

Riki was still recounting scandalous anecdotes at the end of a two-hour lunch, so I suggested we continue the conversation over dinner. And, since environmental activists are generally on even lower budgets than artists, I offered to buy her a San Francisco burrito today in exchange for a big piece of Alaskan fish tomorrow, conceptually speaking. The catch is that I have to go to Cordova, Alaska, to get the fish. That’s fine with me; it’s been too long since I’ve been there.

Riki thought I was being generous; I suppose that’s because she doesn’t know me very well, especially when it comes to my fishy gluttony.

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©2002 David Glenn Rinehart