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#a254 :: Bird of Paradise blossom

October 25, 2008

Scrabbling up the wall to festoon the entryway with cotton-silk spider-webbing, he grabbed hold of a fistful of rubbery plants in the wall-planter on the ledge above him. He gained his footing above, but a chunk of colorful bloom snapped loose. He turned it over on his palm …

Filed under: Jetsam, Life form, Part | Comments (0)

#a253 :: Desk cleaning time

October 24, 2008

You own a lot of shit. You accumulate more of it every day. Sometimes, you have to pick through it to get your desk clean. And you make little piles. That might or might not be photographs of your life told in debris. And yet, you never seem to get rid of the things as […]

Filed under: Adornment, Art, Artifact, Blahg, Ephemera, Facsimile, Fetish, Found Object, Instrument, Jetsam, Life form, Miniature, Model, Objet, Part, symbol, Tool, Toy, weapon | Comments (0)

#a246 :: Creepy Crawlers mold

October 17, 2008

This deeply iconic toy from my youth let you commit a sort of reverse archaeology: Begin with the shapes left in metal by “disgusting” creatures – an aluminum “fossil” that holds the power to create a form of life. Pour plasma-like “Plasti-Goop” into their very absence. Heat it on a small thermoelectric hotplate. Watch the […]

Filed under: Artifact, Objet, Part, Tool, Toy | Comments (0)

#a240 :: “Magnum” 13-tip tattoo needle

October 11, 2008

Tonight was big. For three-plus years, Justin has been installing and detailing my biomechanical arm. He does all the heavy shading with one of these nasty bastards – 13 tattoo needles epoxied together in a head and soldered onto a needle shaft. Tonight he finished all the principal work, leaving only some cleanup, and we’re […]

Filed under: Jetsam, Part, symbol, Tool | Comments (0)

#a236 :: Stanley Handyman bullet level

October 7, 2008

It’s fitting that today’s object is a level. For today I have finally brought HLO completely up to date, after a double-whammy punch of working vacation with my family in London for a month and a full-bore trip to Burning Man crushed my daily blog output. A good level operates with an oracular efficiency and […]

Filed under: Artifact, Found Object, Instrument, Part, symbol, Toy | Comments (0)

#a233 :: Hexagonal mirror

October 4, 2008

Every year, about six weeks after Burning Man, the community of Burners gathers in L.A. for the Decompression event – a taste of Black Rock arts and nonsense plunked down in the middle of the city. This year, they moved it to the lovely L.A. State Historical Park (more photos here). I wore, among other […]

Filed under: Jetsam, Part | Comments (0)

#a222 :: Worn bicycle brake pads

September 23, 2008

So that’s what that horrible grinding noise was. Two or three mornings a week, I pump my Cannondale up the fire roads of Griffith Park, do my old-man stretches at the top beneath an ancient live oak, then bomb back down towards home. Do the math – a 200-coughcough-pound man on a 25-pound mountain bike […]

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#a213 :: Canon i9900 Bubble-Jet printer cartridges

September 14, 2008

This is the business end of the food chain that produced this. For $12, you get a little, meticulously machined and vacuformed plastic box half packed with lurid ink, the other with a cubical cotton swab that seems to absorb all the ink – eight flavors of which are required to keep the printer running, […]

Filed under: Jetsam, Part, Tool | Comments (0)

#a205 :: Jerry-rigged Bluetooth earhook

September 6, 2008

For the second time in as many months, the earhook on my Bluetooth headset snapped off. You can’t buy replacements for these things online. I know, I’ve tried A cheap little plastic part fails, leaving you the choice of fixing it (virtually impossible to glue) versus spending $50 to buy another gadget. And you still […]

Filed under: Part, Tool | Comments (0)

#a192 :: Refrigerator water filter

August 24, 2008

We replaced our fridge a few months back. Then it told us we needed a new one of these. For $36.95, you get a thick block of Lucite wrapped around a double-fistful of charcoal crumbs with a couple of hoses and gaskets on the business end and some helpful instructional pictograms on the “user” end. […]

Filed under: Jetsam, Part | Comments (3)

#a187 :: iPhone 3G

August 19, 2008

My birthday gift. My wife’s love in a handheld marvel. My new video game platform. My toy. My crack pipe. My next-gen paid-content conduit. My memory bank. My little wallet-suck. My preeeeciousssss. My underestimation of Apple‘s continued brilliance at industrial design. My PDA. My GPS. My portable Thomas Guide. My jukebox. My phone. The blue […]

Filed under: Art, Fetish, Instrument, Objet, Part, symbol, Tool, Toy, weapon | Comments (0)

#a151 :: Feather

July 14, 2008

Look, let me level with you. I’ve been slamming in four nights worth of HLOs for the past hour or so, just to get ’em done. In fact, I’m post-dating this one because I’ll be in transit 24 hours from now. We’ve been packing and prepping our own house for a big house exchange with […]

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#a137 :: Watch guts

June 30, 2008

Cheap stuff breaks. You get to decide – take it apart? Or just stomp its li’l plastic casing to shrapnel. I’ve had this in my stuff drawers for years. I keep promising myself I’ll take it apart.

Filed under: Artifact, General, Part | Comments (0)

#a131 :: The NeoCube

June 25, 2008

Magnetism enchants and mystifies me. These 216 neodymium magnets – each 3mm thick – cling together in clouds when crushed, in polyhedrons and exotic coils when aligned. I roll them between my fingers, and they snap together with the surety of pure particle physics. They form a collective entity, a hive colony of homogeneous individuals, […]

Filed under: Fetish, Objet, Part, Toy | Comments (1)

#a116 :: Chinese stainless-steel swivels

June 9, 2008

The Great Keyring Refitting is proceeding according to plan. As I’ve mentioned, my keyring – packed with a bruising handful of keys, tools and heavy metal fetishes, needs draconian reorganizing or the nasty fistful of steel might just sever my left femoral artery next time I bend over to tie my shoes. This pack of […]

Filed under: Part, Tool | Comments (0)

#108 :: Chibi giant robot warrior

June 1, 2008

I’ve written before of chibi. No more about that need be said. Right here, Scope Dog (or someone very much like him) packs two big fat weapons on his short, stout person. He’s 5 inches high and balances quite well on his feet – one at a time – if you provoke him.

Filed under: General, Jetsam, Part, symbol, Tool, Toy | Comments (0)

#a102 :: 88MB Syquest Drive cartridge

May 26, 2008

Ah, Syquest. This 8-inch-wide slab of a disc, encased in a high-impact plastic carrier, was the very height of portable data storage 16 years ago. You could pack a lot into 88 megabytes – screenplay ideas, hundreds of newspaper stories, Photoshop tomfoolery – so long as you had a Syquest drive. Of course, this is […]

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#a101 :: Lens mechanism

May 25, 2008

Clockwork is a wonderful thing to begin with. Couple it with optics and it carries the promise of alchemy. I once spent hours poring over used-gear cases at camera shops, camera shows, flea markets, staring at oblong packages of brushed aluminum and black leatherette. I was a photo geek …

Filed under: Fetish, Jetsam, Part | Comments (0)

#a97 :: Iron box wrench

May 21, 2008

This beautiful little enigma began life as a hot rivulet of molten iron, poured into a sand mold with a precise 5/8ths-inch hex opening at one end. After knocking it out of its mold, its maker probably quenched it, heat-treated it again and then dipped it once in black paint and (after waiting a respectful […]

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#a96 – Craftsman adjustable pliers

May 20, 2008

I love the Sears Crafstman tool guarantee. It’s simple: break it and they’ll replace it.For the rest of your life. Period. I bought these adjustable pliers a good 25-some years ago, when I was spending hours at a time lying on my back under a filthy Volvo. Cursing. A lot …

Filed under: Artifact, Instrument, Jetsam, Objet, Part, symbol, Tool, weapon | Comments (0)

#a91 :: Magic starfish – How the Web feeds the seven deadly sins

May 15, 2008

I’m bench-testing this theory: Everything on the Internet – every single human endeavor online – can be mapped against one or more of the seven deadly sins. Too simplistic? Maybe not. Just consider the primary sins that we ever-so-weak mortals commit by running, populating or using services like these: Gaming? – Anger. Celebrity news? Envy. […]

Filed under: Fetish, Jetsam, Life form, Model, Part, symbol, Toy | Comments (0)

#a90 :: Pull tab

May 13, 2008

“Hold him, Teck, I wanna piss on him.” Boomer loomed over the prostrate sophomore and began unbuckling his pants. Kyle looked up – as much as Teck’s kung-fu grip on his neck would allow, at least – sighed, and resumed staring inches away at the defocused glitter of burst Lowenbrau bottles and Molson caps in […]

Filed under: Adornment, Artifact, Facsimile, Found Object, Jetsam, Microfiction, Part, weapon | Comments (0)

#a83 :: Floppy disk

May 6, 2008

A mix of no-nonsense design and obsolescence incarnate, this is a perfectly made object lesson in hubris: The 3.5-inch floppy was designed to last for decades – and outstripped within a mere few years by bigger, faster, even-more-durable flash memory. What are they good for now? Coasters. Table-levelers. Impromptu office Frisbees. And speculations on what […]

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#a78 :: Ukelin strings

May 1, 2008

Strings own our music. Violin, electric guitar, piano, mandolin, koto, balalaika, electric bass, bull fiddle – all vibrate with the voices of plucked, sawn and hammered wires. More than brass or woodwind or electronics, second maybe only to drums in the pantheon of world musical instrumentation, strings run the longest and deepest in the bloodstream […]

Filed under: Instrument, Jetsam, Part | Comments (0)

#a76 :: Set screw

April 29, 2008

This threaded, slotted nugget of galvanized steel is smaller than a pencil eraser. Somewhere in my house, something is slipping because this fell out of it. I won’t know exactly what that is until it falls apart. I’m waiting.

Filed under: Found Object, Jetsam, Part, Tool | Comments (2)