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#a433 :: Potato chip

April 25, 2009

Her: Dad, is this a heavy little object? Me: Yep.

Filed under: Edible, Found Object, Jetsam | Comments (0)

#a429 :: Rotten witch fingers

April 21, 2009

A Halloween candy bowl kept at the back of our cupboard finally (pardon the pun) gave up the ghost. Used to be you would reach into it for a tasty treat, and a little infrared sensor triggered an animated rubber witch’s hand to snatch at yours and a voicebox would rasp, “Trick or treat!” This […]

Filed under: Facsimile, Jetsam, Object of the Month, Part | Comments (0)

#a428 :: Undesirable keychain tag

April 20, 2009

At some point last month, my mother-in-law gave my daughter (age 7) a little keyring with a big fob that spelled out “Love” in lurid gold-chromed script. It was schwag from some utterly-too-grownup movie, as evidenced by the little stamped-metal tag proclaiming the brand. Here’s what ensued the moment I laid eyes on it: Me: […]

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

#a427 :: Refrigerator shelf shard

April 19, 2009

What happens when your son has parked a big bottle of water precariously on the top shelf of an open refrigerator door and you unwittingly shut the door, causing it to plunge to the bottom and snap the shelf straight out of the fridge? You hunt through the shattered plastic shards looking for the serial […]

Filed under: Jetsam, Part | Comments (1)

# a426 :: CD opener keychain

April 18, 2009

To someone who uses knives as much as I do, this thing is about as useful as Truck Balls. You press it against the side of a sealed CD or DVD, depressing a spring-loaded cap to reveal a tiny steel blade that slices open the shrink-wrap. They were giving them away today at Amoeba for […]

Filed under: Artifact, Blue, Ephemera, Jetsam, Tool | Comments (0)

#a425 :: Gilette Shaving Cream cap

April 17, 2009

The fetish of packaging, the gloss of the new. Plastic lids for shaving cream come in two sizes – the simple quarter-sized button protector found on Barbasol or this full-bloat blowmolded cylindrical monster, which covered the can of Gilette I bought last week. With the earth’s carbon load trending toward the toxic, I worry about […]

Filed under: Ephemera, Green, Jetsam, Part | Comments (0)

#a424 :: Fruit pit

April 16, 2009

This also came home with the kids from their hike – I’ve always liked the unforgivingly ugly shape of seeds. They are meant to be discovered by accident (bite into a delicious fruit, find a nasty, woody chunk of bitterness) and discarded as useless – the better to propagate their kind.

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

#a404 :: Plastic box

March 26, 2009

This thing came from this box. What the hell should be done with it? A little tableau? A photo cube? Hood ornament for an art car? C’mon, folks. The mighty packaging industry worked mighty hard to conjure this up just to hold a toy on store shelves until sale. It doesn’t appear to be recyclable. […]

Filed under: Ephemera, Jetsam | Comments (0)

#a397 :: Chinese headlamp

March 19, 2009

The second one of these things to fail in five days. First, my dependable Cat-Eye flung itself to its death from a busted handlebar mount, the white beam tumbling wildly down to clatter in the dark. Then this, which snapped from its mount as I adjusted it on the way down my hill before dawn […]

Filed under: Jetsam, Tool | Comments (0)

#a394 :: Mystery gizmo

March 16, 2009

Every now and then a mystery washes up out of the ceaseless surf of crap inundating this house. What is this? It has the precise curves and clean-milled transparent plastic of an Appleproduct, but has a vinyl flap-valve at its center. No one in my family can explain it.

Filed under: Found Object, Jetsam, Part | Comments (0)

#a384 :: Chinese tektite

March 6, 2009

So here’s what all the suspense and anticipation was about: A tektite – a lump of molten-then-resolidified glass created when a meteor traveling thousands of miles per hour smashed into China. You can see impact grooves left by rocks or other particles crashing into it before it cooled hard – all of this took place […]

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

#a381 :: Flexplay DVD

March 3, 2009

This is one of those freaks of science that will have completely obsolesced within 10 years. I weep at the sheer volume and depth of technological experimentation and collaboration that culminated in its manufacture – all of it doomed to the landfill and a fascinating footnote in Wikipedia because of FlexPlay‘s very wizardry: A Flexplay […]

Filed under: Artifact, Ephemera, Jetsam | Comments (0)

#a375 :: Grass frond

February 25, 2009

I walked back to the house this morning after dropping the kids at school. I brushed the foliage outside our house with my hand. This came loose. Keeping my rhythm so I could square up head-on with the workday, I stuck it into a clutch of hibernating agapanthus and kept cruising down the front steps […]

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

#a370 :: crushed putty

February 20, 2009

Guest post from my son, 9. This silly putty was found under my shoe after sitting there for a few days. The long line down the middle is from the shoelace under the shoe. The other part with the ridges is from the pattern on the sole of the shoe. It’s kind of squishy, but […]

Filed under: Found Object, Jetsam | Comments (0)

#a367 :: Pull-tab collection

February 17, 2009

Used to be you’d tear open a can of beer (or pop or soda or Clamato or whatever) and throw away the aluminum tab. Or maybe you’d chuck it inside and risk swallowing it, lacerating your throat or lungs, and winding up a footnote in the New England Journal of Medicine. But at some point […]

Filed under: Jetsam, Tool | Comments (0)

#a366 :: Original copper transmission line – Hoover Dam

February 16, 2009

This is almost the holy grail of heavy little objects: a thing with history, patina, functionality, exciting manufacture and moving parts. Jesus, it made me one happy tool-using ape to find this: a chunk of the original copper electrical transmission line installed during construction of the mighty Hoover Dam. For five bucks you get a […]

Filed under: Artifact, Ephemera, Fetish, Jetsam, Part, symbol, Tool | Comments (2)

#a365 :: Lead type

February 15, 2009

It’s fitting that I mark the end of my second full year of daily obsession on this blog with such an archetypal handful of heavy little objects: I found these samples of a truly lovely display font in an antique shop in rural Arizona earlier this week – artifacts of a dead technology going for […]

Filed under: Artifact, Ephemera, Jetsam, Objet, symbol, Tool | Comments (2)

#a364 :: Las Vegas thrill tickets

February 14, 2009

I work in this office, in my home. It’s a nice office, in a very nice home, but when you’re in a building 24/7, you develop a deep need to get the hell out before your urge to claw your hair out turns too real. Cabin fever and a three-day weekend conspired to send us […]

Filed under: Artifact, Ephemera, Jetsam, symbol | Comments (0)

#a358 :: Palm fragment

February 7, 2009

Los Angeles jetsam reminds me daily that I live in a freakish magpie’s nest of a city. Stolen from aboriginal people by Spanish missionaries who gave huge chunks of it away to soldiers, whose families then sold it off in ever-decreasing slices and slivers, Los Angeles has always been shaped by grabbers, opportunists and self-reinventors. […]

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

#a357 :: Rokenbok ball

February 6, 2009

Children’s toys approximate reality. In the happy world of Rokenbok this is not a huge, filthy boulder shot through with veins of iron and smeared with the engine oil it’s been sitting in in the junkyard where you unearthed it after the glacier dropped it 3.2 million years ago. It’s just part of a load […]

Filed under: Artifact, Ephemera, Jetsam, Part, Toy | Comments (0)

#a356 :: Plexiglas disc

February 5, 2009

This looks like an ice core taken from the frozen surface of a lake the size of a desktop. It’s actually chunk of Plexiglas that Dad sliced off of a 3/4-inch-diameter rod he had kicking around somewhere in the basement. He was kind enough to mail it to me along with his other HLOs, which […]

Filed under: Jetsam, My father's HLOs | Comments (1)

#a354 :: Club flyer

February 3, 2009

I picked this up from dozens I found scattered on the sidewalk in downtown L.A. the other day. I’m not sure which pisses me off more: that someone blew the cash to have flyers for a one-time event printed in four colors and chromekote only to have someone else throw them all over the ground […]

Filed under: Ephemera, Found Object, Jetsam | Comments (0)

#a345 :: Kershaw pocketknife

January 25, 2009

My old Kershaw. I carried it 12 years ago, then laid it down three or four years later after the liner lock quit holding the blade stiff, and the rubber in the handles began to degrade. It’s still an elegant little tool and feels wonderful to open. I hang onto it because, well, you never […]

Filed under: Jetsam, Tool, Toy, weapon | Comments (0)

#a344 :: Chrome-plastic miniature cutlery

January 24, 2009

This nation has bought into the culture of preciousness from the very first needlepoint sampler of the earliest Don’t Tread on Me flag. We can’t say we invented it- I think we can thank the Egyptians or the first culture that ever created chubby little fertility-goddess fetishes for that. But the U.S. has a by-God […]

Filed under: Adornment, Ephemera, Facsimile, Jetsam, Miniature, Tool | Comments (2)

#a342 :: Sony-Ericsson Bluetooth headset

January 22, 2009

This stuff just sort of stacks up, doesn’t it. Old hardware: power adapters, obsolete cellphones, underequipped storage devices – eclipsed technology. This headset is actually still operational and could be working today – if only I hadn’t snapped the earhook off it at some point. Dead tech.

Filed under: Jetsam, Tool | Comments (0)