2009 Notebook: Weak XL
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1 October 2009
No. 2,220 (cartoon)
I’m a vegetarian.

Because you love animals?

Because I hate plants.

2 October 2009
The Flow of Ideas
I wondered why Selena had a box of laxatives in her studio, so I asked her.

“Do you have some of your best ideas while you’re sitting on the toilet?” she asked.

“Who doesn’t?” I replied.

“Laxatives mean more toilet time,” she explained, “and that makes me a happy artist.”

I assumed she meant that she enjoyed more ideas, but I didn’t ask for clarification. There are many things I don’t want to know, and what comes to pass in Selena’s bathroom is one of them.

3 October 2009
Clarissa has post-traumatic stress disorder after returning from the occupation of Iraq. Heading into a painful divorce, Charlie suffers from pre-traumatic stress disorder. I’m glad I just have straightforward stress, and very little of it. The realization that my stress has a beginning, a middle, and an end makes it seem relatively trivial.

4 October 2009
Day One Without a Computer
Should I ever write my autobiography, I may title it, New Dimensions in Stupidity. The latest depth I’m plumbing involves today’s trip to the east coast.

I enjoyed a nice dinner last night with Jorge before I left. He seemed surprised that I was so relaxed an hour before I had to leave for the airport, so I explained that I didn’t need much preparation. I’ve made a dozen flights in the last months, so, as a pseudo-nomad, I was more or less perpetually packed.

I was looking forward to the midnight flight until I got on the subway to go to the airport. That’s when I discovered that I did forget to bring one item, something that’s as important to me while traveling as my shoes and my toothbrush.

This pseudo-pseudo-nomad left his computer in the studio. Oh well, at least I remembered to bring the power supply; I left that at home a couple of years ago.

I doubt I’ll ever write an autobiography. Or, if I do, I’ll take Samuel Goldwyn’s advice. “I don’t think anybody should write his autobiography until after he’s dead.”

5 October 2009
Southern Hospitality
I’m having a lovely time visit visiting Diane in North Carolina. I’ve spent a lot of time on her porch in the mountains, from where we can see South Carolina. I’m just beginning to get a feel for southern culture, but a lot of it seems to involve disparaging South Carolinians. I guess not much has changed in the last century and a half since James Petigru observed, “South Carolina is too small to be a nation and too large to be a lunatic asylum.”

I told Diane that I was watching my cholesterol, but she didn’t seem to think that was worth worrying about. She appeared to believe that food that tastes good must be good for you, so she made bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwiches for lunch yesterday. When Diane asked me to put mayonnaise on all of the sandwiches, I suggested that everyone might like to put on their preferred amount.

She wasn’t having any of it, and explained that a BLT is a southern staple, and that there’s only one proper way to make one.

“Of course, you can have it Yankee style if you like,” she offered graciously. “I’m sure you can find somewhere else to stay tonight.”

She was joking, but with just a little bit of seriousness in there. I’m just beginning to get a feel for southern culture.

6 October 2009
Day Three Without a Computer
I haven’t had a drink this month; that’s normal for this time of year. I don’t drink alcohol during the first two weeks of every calendar quarter. I appreciate that alcohol affects perception; that’s one of many reasons I enjoy drinking. My quarterly periods of abstinence are essentially accounting exercises to confirm I’m getting more out of alcohol than it gets more out of me.

I now find myself in similar experiment after becoming involuntarily untethered from my computer.

I spend many, if not most, of my waking hours working on my computer. That’s fine; it’s the tool I use to create visual art, obnoxious noise masquerading as music, this discharge of words, and more. That’s good, or so I tell myself.


I wonder how much of my time on a computer is actually productive, and how much of the tippety-tapping on the keyboard while gazing at my monitors is just going through the motions of working. Now that I’m staring into the Carolina sky with few fresh thoughts between my ears, I wish I had my computer here to mask the paucity of ideas.

7 October 2009
The Book of Useless Trivia and Truisms
I’m running low on ideas, which, in practice, means my inventory of things to plagiarize is getting rather lean. Normally, I’d forage the Internet, but that’s not an option on tonight’s six-hour flight to San Francisco.

That’s why I was happy to run across The Book of Secrets in a used bookstore. The four-hundred page volume is filled with two- and three-sentence tidbits, er, secrets. Since it only cost two dollars, I figured that I couldn’t go wrong.

Once again, I figured wrong.

The volume should have been called, The Book of Useless Trivia and Truisms. It features sections on How to Get Optimum Performance from Your Videotapes, Building a Tennis Court, Male Body Type: A Factor in Executive Dressing, et cetera.

I found only one useful bit of information buried in the rubbish. A sign on the door reading, “Please phone; we don’t respond to the doorbell,” might confuse an inexperienced burglar.

In other words, I wasted a couple of dollars. Tomorrow, I shall ferret about on the Internet, where everything’s free, and worth it.

8 October 2009
A Joyous Reunion
I’m back with my computer after four long days. (Actually, they were the standard-issue, twenty-four hour days; they just seemed longer than usual.) I’m delighted; Seymor is not.

Seymor maintains I have an unhealthy addiction to computing; I maintain he has an unhealthy obsession with quack psychology. I find it most annoying to have virtually every activity one might enjoy described as an addiction. Feh.

For example, I visited an Internet site that provided a list of hundreds of alleged addictions, including art addiction. Art addiction?! Here’s the purported problem: “Getting high to produce better art is common. Also, the lifestyle of an impoverished artist can be addictive.” I assume poverty must be addicting as well; that would explain why most of the world’s population is desperately poor.

I may or may not be addicted to art, caffeine, love, and even computers. Seymor cares about such dubious clinical pronouncements; I do not.

And as for computers, they’re simply tools. The use of tools is what differentiates me from a rutabaga or a velociraptor, a distinction I enjoy. Conversely, Seymor’s addiction to stupidity means he’s human as well. I’d rather not be the same species as him, but, well, here I am.

When I started writing this, I thought I had something to say, but obviously I don’t. Oh well. Although I have nothing to say, at least I’m not saying it on my wonderful computer.

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©2009 David Glenn Rinehart