2003 Notebook: Weak XXVII
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26 June 2003
No. 8,634 (cartoon)
I can’t stand you.

That’s why I suffer you.

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3 July 2003
Food on a Stick
I had to stop for a snack when I saw Food on a Stick, a roadside “convenience” store near Florence, Oregon. It turned out the business only offered two kinds of warm food: mystery vegetarian food on a stick and mystery meat on a stick.

“What’ll it be?” the clerk asked.

“I’m not sure,” I replied, “what’s in the mystery vegetarian food?”

“All sorts of random stuff from the factory,” the clerk said. “It’s labeled on one end of the stick, but you can’t see it until you’ve eaten everything.”

I bought the mystery vegetarian food on a stick and ate it in the parking lot. I couldn’t figure out what I was consuming until I saw the words on the stick: Aubergine and Rice Surprise.

The mystery vegetarian food on a stick tasted bland yet wretched. I guess the surprise is that I ate the whole thing.

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4 July 2003
Sushi Barbie
Nancy asked me if I saw Barbie the mermaid when I took a shower.

“I couldn’t miss her,” I said. “I assume you put her in there for my amusement.”

“I figured you’d do something interesting with her,” she said with an ambiguous smile.

“I rarely fail to disappoint,” I volunteered.

Nancy and I chatted on the couch for a while until we heard her six-year old daughter Sadie screaming in the bathroom.

“My Barbie,” she cried. “What did you do to my Barbie?!”

“I caught her in the tub,” I explained, “so I hung her off the faucet, but kept her head underwater so she could breathe.”

“Don’t worry honey,” Nancy told Sadie, “Barbie’s fine, and David won’t do it again.”

“I’m sorry, Sadie,” I lied, “I thought you liked sushi.”

Sadie ignored me for the rest of the afternoon, thanks to sushi Barbie. Nancy and I had a long, pleasant talk; I think she appreciates sushi Barbie too.

5 July 2003
Overruling Tails
When Sophia and I couldn’t decide whether to have peanut butter sandwiches or a salad for lunch, we flipped a coin. Heads meant peanut butter sandwiches, otherwise we’d have the salad.

The coin landed face down, so I started pulling salady bits out of the refrigerator.

“Shall I make a dressing?” I asked.

“No,” Sophia declared, “I think we should have peanut butter sandwiches with honey instead.”

“I thought the coin decided that we’d have salad,” I said.

“It did,” she replied, “but I thought about it and decided I’d really prefer peanut butter sandwiches. With honey.”

“I think that’s the point of resolving uncertainty by flipping a coin,” Sophia continued. “If you disagree with the outcome, then you’ve discovered your real preference.”

We enjoyed our peanut butter and honey sandwiches.

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6 July 2003
From .22 to .44
Russ took Elizabeth and me to the Oakridge Gun Club; that’s about the most excitement one can have in Oakridge, Oregon. We each fired off a few clips of a .22 automatic, then decided to switch to a .44 for a bigger kick.

We admired the large holes the .44 bullets ripped through the wooden target. I couldn’t figure out whether the .44 was twice or four times the size of the .22. Although .44 is two times .22, f4 on a camera lens lets in one fourth as much light as f2. I was still pondering the question when we ran out of ammunition.

Sheldon later assured me that a .44 is two times as powerful as a .22 And after that, Scott declared with absolute certainty that there was a four to one ratio between the bullets.

My learned friends are a blast.

7 July 2003
Hasselblad Problems
Phillip asked me to take a photograph of his most recent sculpture with my Hasselblad, so I pulled my old 500 C/M out of the safe. We drove away, but soon had to return to the lab when I remembered I needed a light meter as well as the camera.

When we finally arrived at Phillip’s studio, I put my camera on a tripod and started to compose a photograph. I thought that the image on the ground glass wasn’t very sharp; that’s when I remembered that I had to manually focus the Hasselblad. When I finally released the shutter, the eyepiece went dark because the 500 C/M’s mirror doesn’t automatically return. My next reaction was to look at the image I’d just made, but, of course, that was impossible. The image was still in its latent stage, undeveloped.

I didn’t enjoy my reunion with film; I fear our differences may be beyond reconciliation.

8 July 2003
Modern Art Is What Happens
Geoffrey and I discussed contemporary art, and concluded it’s pretty lame, that it always has been pretty lame, and that it will always be pretty lame. Geoffrey suggested that the late John Ciardi had an interesting perspective on the sad state of affairs.

    Modern art is what happens when painters stop looking at girls and persuade themselves that they have a better idea.

That didn’t sound like a very good argument, although it was more convincing than most other theories on the subject. There is something to be said for tradition; albeit not much.

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©2003 David Glenn Rinehart