2003 Notebook: Weak XIX
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7 May 2003
No. 9,118 (cartoon)
You’re paranoid.

I’m just being prudent.

8 May 2003
Not a Gentleman
“What do you do?” asked the woman wearing the red eye patch at Kendra’s party.

“I make bad conceptual art,” I replied, “if that’s not repetitiously redundant.”

“I guess Kendra was right when she said that you weren’t a gentleman,” the woman said.

“Just out of idle curiosity,” I responded, “how did you arrive at the obvious conclusion?”

“A gentleman,” she announced, “is someone who can make bad conceptual art but chooses not to do so.”

9 May 2003
First or Second Favorite Organs
I was talking with Sid about my recent visit with Philip Hyde, a photographer in his eighties who went blind a year or two ago.

“Philip seemed to accept his fate,” I told Sid, “but I’m not sure I would. After all, my eyes are at least my second favorite organs.”

Sid, who’s also in his eighties, shook his head.

“Trust me on this one, David,” Sid said, “When you get to be my age, they’re first.”

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10 May 2003
Shredded Wheel
I was riding down Polk Street in the rain when the front wheel of my bicycle began to shudder and jolt violently. Just as I came to a shaky stop, BLAAM!

“Damn!” explained another cyclist as she sped past me.

I smelled burnt rubber, looked down, and saw shredded metal where the rim of my wheel used to be just seconds ago. “Damn,” I said to myself.

After a walking my bike back to the laboratory, I showed the carcass to Dr. Goggin and asked him what happened.

He laughed. That didn’t tell me anything; he always laughs when I show him the results of my latest accident. After examining the wheel, he told me I’d finally worn through the metal after years of braking.

I protested that couldn’t have happened since I’d regularly replaced the rubber brake pads. He said that didn’t matter. Dr. Goggin told me that bits of beaks and bones get between the brake pad the metal, then grind into the wheel. After years, the metal becomes so thin that it loses its structural integrity. After that, BLAAM!

Sometimes I wish I knew more about bicycle maintenance. But before I can take any decisive action, lethargy raises its tired head, and I conclude that knowing Dr. Goggin is all I need to know about bikes.

11 May 2003
Where’s the Dirt?
Laurie Anderson penned a brilliant critique of “virtual reality” art: “Where’s the dirt?”

Good question. After recently noting that Maggie Hambling appreciates the value of untidiness, I wonder if I might be spending too much time at my immaculate computer.

12 May 2003
Half an Idiot Savant
I told Lucy I could fix her computer, but I couldn’t.

“I’m surprised,” she said. “I always thought of you as an idiot savant.”

“You’re half right,” I replied. “Just drop the savant part.”

13 May 2003
Broken Urn
The fog rolled into San Francisco this morning, so I went over to Margaret’s apartment to get my coat and boots. When I arrived, Margaret was visiting some of the old folks in her building to help them with this, that, and the other thing. I decided to join Margaret on her rounds.

Margaret didn’t want to spend much time with Mr. Hansen, perhaps because he was looking at her rather lasciviously. Although such leering is reprehensible, Margaret looked even cuter than usual given her atypical outfit. She really should dress like an elf more often, but after the uncomfortable visit with Mr. Hansen, I doubt that she will.

On our way to Ms. Frederick’s apartment, Margaret showed me a note the old woman had sent her.

    On the oak table by the couch, you will find a red urn and a newspaper partially obscured by a large beach towel. I would be grateful if you would dispose of the envelope folded inside the newspaper. Do not worry if you break the urn; I will clean up the spill.

Margaret asked me pick up the envelope while she was petting the cats. I tried to be meticulously careful, but failed. When I turned around after securing the envelope, my backpack hit the urn and sent it crashing to the floor.

“Don’t worry about the urn,” Ms. Frederick said in a tired voice, “I’ll clean up the spill.”

“Don’t worry about the urn,” Margaret said with a smile when we were alone in the hall, “it had to break. It just did.”

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14 May 2003
Take Sixty
In 2000, I photographed a jazz festival an old friend of mine organized. Over two years later, I finally got around to making an image of the event, Sixty Musicians at the 2000 Santa Fe Jazz Festival (Arnoldo Acosta, Joey Baron, John Belzeguy, Gary Burton, William Cantos, Gary Cardile, Keith Carlock, Dave Carpenter, Dori Caymmi, Marc Copland, Kirk Covington, Bert Dalton, Eddie Daniels, Bruce Dunlap, Peter Erskine, Robin Eubanks, Eugene Freisen, Bill Frisell, Gil Goldstein, Geoffry Gordon, Drew Gress, Jamey Haddad, Antonio Hart, Ari Hoenig, Dave Holland, Wijnand Jansveld, Vic Juris, Larry Karush, Billy Kilson, Scott Kinsey, Dan Kolton, Wayne Krantz, Howard Levy, Dave Liebman, Romero Lubambo, Herbie Mann, Cesar Camargo Mariano, Tony Marino, Ross Martin, Scott Mayo, Victor Mendoza, Ron Miles, Steve Nelson, Makoto Ozone, Alan Pasqua, Ricardo Peixoto, Jochen Rueckert, Tony Scheer, Simon Shaheen, Mike Shapiro, Marc Simon, Paul Socolow, Tim Sullivan, Jai Uttal, Glen Valez, Claudia Villela, Jerry Watts, Kenny Werner, Johaness Wiedenmuller, Gary Willis).

I posterized all the photographs of the musicians, in part to mask my deficiencies as a documentary photographer. This approach led to an accidental new aesthetic: this is the first piece I’ve ever done that needs to be printed large. This piece, like most of the work I’ve done in the last decade, uses vector-based graphics, and is thus capable of being printed at literally any size. Until now, I’ve been satisfied with small prints, but this one needs to be huge.

Sixty Musicians at the 2000 Santa Fe Jazz Festival represents my failure as a conceptual artist, which may or may not be a bad move.

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©2003 David Glenn Rinehart