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#a225 :: House of Commons hip flask

September 26, 2008

Just a nip. He wondered – as he idly did in these customary moments when he stole a drink just after lunch in the House of Lords dining room, between a trip to the loo and the afternoon session – whether the cameras would see him. Surely they did. London was positively filthy with CCTV […]

Filed under: Fetish, Microfiction, Tool | Comments (0)

#a224 :: Amelia’s USB

September 25, 2008

A soft, mushy, pungently overripe spot has formed in my brain over the years to accommodate certain industrial finishes. I sweat and pant for the chrome of bicycle handlebars, the deep metalflake of kustom kars, the wrinkled black baked-enamel of 1950s cameras and the liver-colored hammertone of certain antique audio gear. So it is with […]

Filed under: Art, Ephemera, Fetish, Tool | Comments (0)

#a223 :: Sawyer View-Master

September 24, 2008

In the 50s multimedia realm of celluloid filmstrips and magnetic tape, this was, arguably, the iPhone of its day. You could get “reels” of stereo photos or cartoons on virtually any subject – 8 shots each – and completely immerse yourself in 3-D imagery – even sometimes with a soundtrack. Sawyer’s View-Master put images of […]

Filed under: Art, Artifact, Facsimile, Fetish, Tool, Toy | Comments (0)

#a221 :: Petrie

September 22, 2008

At the obvious risk of being (as well as sounding) thoroughly sexist, you never know what nerve you’ll hit with a woman until you hit that nerve dead-on. At the same time I bought RayD8 to back up my photos, top-secret work projects and random droolings, I bought this little orange Mimobot and gave it […]

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#a217 :: “Leight Sleepers” brand earplugs

September 18, 2008

I’ve worn a lot of earplugs. I’m a light sleeper, I have kids and I camp on the playa, which readies you for pretty much any cacophonous grab-bag of a soundscape the world can dish out – while making it impossible to cobble together 3 decent minutes of sleep for the noise of hooting, bumping […]

Filed under: Adornment, Tool | Comments (1)

#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)

#a212 :: Hand-carved Indian candlestick

September 13, 2008

This appeared in the house some time in the past month. I have no idea where it came from, beyond the tiny “India” sticker on its base. Around it, a lion chases an elephant that threatens to trample the elephant that flees the lion. Candlelight sounds nice.

Filed under: Art, Found Object, Objet, Tool | Comments (0)

#a211 :: Tennis ball

September 12, 2008

Pock. Puck. Pock. Puck. (shuffle-lunge)Pock*blick* “Out!” (applause). I never got any good at this game, but I adored watching Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe, Andre Agassi and Venus Williams play Wimbledon. Another bit of trivia from the summer trip to London – Henry VIII used to play tennis in the great stone hall at Parliament. […]

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#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 […]

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#a204 :: “Eco-soil”

September 5, 2008

We found this stuff sold by the packet all over Brick Lane market. Dry, it looks like colored bug feces. Wet, it transforms to plump pearls of color – a silica-based soil substitute for potting soil, into which one is supposed to shove one’s flowers, adding a juicy splash to one’s Ikeafied bed-sit. As I […]

Filed under: Objet, Tool | Comments (0)

#a196 :: Krishna card

August 28, 2008

This object’s juxtaposition to yesterday’s is purely coincidental, but thoroughly contextual: Robed Krishnas rove Black Rock City by night en masse – 20 or 40 of them hauling on immense hawsers to tow a tall, spidery carriage with 8-foot-diameter spoked wheels (something like this) that is wired with LEDs and lushly-colored floodlights. Chanting. Continuously. By […]

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#a195 :: Bible tract

August 27, 2008

Faith is one of those nature versus nurture questions. You either have it by the time you’re an adult, or you don’t. But unless it’s very strong, you’ll find it sorely tested. I was raised a good Catholic by a very good Catholic and an excellent Episcopalian, but wound up walking away from the Church […]

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#a190 :: Pizza protector

August 22, 2008

Inside the box from Hard Times, an itty-bitty thermoplastic table stands, poised to protect our 18-inch half-bacon-half-mushroom-and-black-olives pizza from the combined effects of gravity, pressure and corrugated cardboard. A tiny insurance policy, a finger in the dike, a talisman against doom. Landfill material.

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

#a189 :: Tattoo needle

August 21, 2008

There’s a certain serenity to getting tattooed. You sit (or lie) back on the chair or table and agree to let someone cause you tremendous pain for several hours and scar you for life. What gets you through the pain is the promise of how marvelous the scar will be. I’ve been waiting months to […]

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

#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)

#186 :: “Thunderbird”

August 18, 2008

The decision had cost Daniel. Which is why he was standing here now with this ridiculous knife in his hand. Ankle-deep in all the tools he had yanked from the toolbox and flung to the floor as he rifled fruitlessly for a real weapon. weapons. Both blades out. Ready. Wicked. He tried not to look […]

Filed under: Adornment, Fetish, Objet, Tool, Toy, weapon | Comments (0)

#a185 :: Defender Xtreme “Peramedics Pocket Knife”

August 17, 2008

The second in the series of three birthday knives shimmers with the fetishy beauty of orange anodized aluminum. For just $6.75, the Chinese export company will cough up a decently sharp 4-inch drop-point blade wrapped in satiny orange metal and emblazoned with an enamel “peramedics” (sic) emblem. Bonus features – a seat-belt cutter and tetrahedronal […]

Filed under: Fetish, Tool, weapon | Comments (0)

#a184 :: Maxam “Assisted Opening” Liner Lock Knife

August 16, 2008

Larger image Mom and Dad, being loving, clever parents, took pity upon me after reading about the pocketknife incident. They Googled around and stumbled on BuynSaveDirect.com, a sort of geek-heaven/tactical-weapons porn shop masquerading as a knife’n’flashlight supplier. For barely $7 you can buy (among other things including Tasers and swords) solid, Chinese-made pocket knives in […]

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#a184 :: Message fan

August 15, 2008

You can keep your Adobe Photoshop, your diffraction foil, your glitter-gel pens. For my money, mankind’s greatest contribution to democratizing flashy art and entertainment has been the light-emitting diode. This programmable, Chinese-made fan lets you spell out messages that it miraculously traces in the air by spinning eight tiny LEDs at hundreds of RPMs and […]

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#a183 :: SuperGlue Future Gel

August 14, 2008

It took me years of accidentally cementing my fingertips together using the old Super Glue before I discovered two things: This stuff was originally designed for closing wounds in triage situations; and Future Gel is much more manageable – it never gooshes in a stream from the tube when you puncture a plug of dried […]

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#a182 :: Bluetooth headset

August 13, 2008

Six weeks ago, California law did not require me to wear this while driving and using my cellphone. Five years ago, this sort of gadget did not exist. Fifteen years ago, I counted myself lucky to be using a cellphone the size of a brick – one that had been issued by the Philadelphia Inquirer […]

Filed under: Adornment, Tool | Comments (0)

#a178 Gerber Harsey Air Ranger

August 9, 2008

Two odd things about trying to catch up with a “daily” blog that you’ve sorely neglected while traveling like mad is that: a) you’re essentially lying to your users if you don’t admit that things are being backdated; and b) you can’t remember when anything really happened to you, or which objects occurred to you […]

Filed under: Fetish, Tool, weapon | Comments (3)

#a176 :: Modeling clay

August 7, 2008

Thick cylinders of slick plasticine, pure of color and form. Someone’s gonna mess them up very shortly.

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#a175 :: Printing blocks

August 6, 2008

Carved in Africa or India or perhaps on some island, I know not where, these found their way to the gift shop of Brighton Pavilion. They were lumped in mysteriously with all the other gift-shop trappings of chinoiserie, the Chinese-design fantasy that George IV lost himself in while having Sir John Nash design his summer […]

Filed under: Adornment, symbol, Tool | Comments (0)

#a173 :: Chewable toothbrush

August 4, 2008

British ingenuity has concocted a perfect offering for airport vending machines: For a £1 coin, you get two of these: It’s a spherical plastic capsule. Split it open, and there’s a circular sheet of instructions and an oddball chunk of nylon with bristles on one half and a capsule on the other. Pop the capsule […]

Filed under: Edible, Tool | Comments (0)


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