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#a335 :: Stereopticon view – Looking through the Great Forth Bridge

January 15, 2009

more about decease ‘popup’, ask ‘width=500,height=500,scrollbars=no,resizable=no,toolbar=no,directories=no,location=no,menubar=no,status=no,left=0,top=0’); return false”>The oil lamp guttered and went out in a little puff of soot.

She sat, thumbs a-fidget, not wanting to stick her finger with the needle, but unable to keep still, with her sewing on the lap of her crinoline hoopskirt, in the dark.

“I’m done being pleasant about this, ma’am,” Mr. Quimby had muttered, through twisted, disgusted lips, his greased handlebar mustache a-twitch. “You just be out o’ here in the morning with your brat and I’ll see to it Tom comes round with the cart to take your things wherever you’ve a mind to go.”

She straightened, put her petitpoint needle into the heather blossom on the sampler she had been sewing, and carefully set the hoop frame and the spools of yarn into the wicker basket beside her. A deep breath eased the frown from her face. Well, it’s all one can do, isn’t it. One does what one can, and it’s all one can do.

Rain hammered on the roof. Gertrude slept fitfully, making little piglike snorts beneath the counterpane, and rain hammered the shake roof with a hissing roar. Three weeks now the storms had been battering them, off and on, three weeks since her August was taken – finally returned to his Lord by the fever that had wracked him since the accident with the surrey, three weeks alone in this godless mining town in northern California, surrounded by ruffians and drunkards and women of loose character, and the claim August had staked was nowhere to be found in the records and Mr. Quimby had finally had enough excuses, he had a load of Chinamen he needed to house and the railroad was willing to pay double what August had been paying so what can one do.

It’s all one can do.

She stared around her through the gloom. Flickering shadows from the streetlight outside skittered across the floral wallpaper, which hung in great festoons from the wall now, its glue undone by the relentless rain. She bit her lip.

She walked across the room, tore off a piece of it, stuck it into her mouth and began to chew. Bitter, bitter and sticky with mold. She chewed harder, but kept her eyes dry as she began to pack.

(A note tacked to this block by the seller says:

Hand-carved, labor intensive wallpaper print block. Circa 1840-1880. Note square nails and peg construction. Each is a unique piece of art; no two are alike.” It has hand-grooves gouged into its flanks, and the print surface feels velvety, soft. On its end are very old white numerals that some printmaker painted by hand: 2866.)

purchase ‘popup’,’width=500,height=500,scrollbars=no,resizable=no,toolbar=no,directories=no,location=no,menubar=no,status=no,left=0,top=0′); return false” href=””>At some point – midway between the Playskool block-sorting drum and the Thomas the Tank Engine fetish, we began to sort our two young children’s toys. Bricks, gears, stuffed animals, dress-up clothes – all were assigned translucent plastic bins in a pine toy rack – and my wife would spend a happy, idle hour every week or three sorting. Broken toys are banished. New alliances arise – the Monsters, Inc. figures with scale-model doors are grouped first with cheap toys, then building toys, then action heroes – and sundered at a whim. A constant surf of toys and parts batters the rack, rising and falling over days, hours, minutes. One of my favorites is the animal box, a mad, mis-scaled menagerie gathered from countless birthday party goodie bags, Christmas stockings and some mysterious wormhole that exists in parts of the house unknown and admits animals while inhaling socks.

Just now, I have imagined a flood from the nearby bathroom, my son frantically building a Lego ark amid the rising waters, and all these marvelous one-of-a-kind species perishing upon reaching dry land in the absence of mates.
ENLARGEI have a thing for stereo cards – particularly views of the industrial age.

Stereopticons were the pinnacle of multimedia technology in their day – twin images shot simultaneously by cameras set a few feet apart, doctor approximating the 3-D view seen by the human eyes.

With the gentleman beckoning at the right, website you could almost fall into this one, pill it’s so gorgeously intricate. I found it at the Rose Bowl swap meet for three bucks, in perfect shape: the stiff card is a little curved, and you can see silver glinting back from the blacks.

Here’s what the Underwood and Underwood Works and Studios had to say about it: (more…)

Filed under: General | Comments (0)

#a334 :: Tin advertising whistle

January 14, 2009

ENLARGEVintage viral marketing, treat for what may or may not be Captain Black tobacco.

Blow through the stem and you get a sweet bosun’s-pipe peep. By the look of the printing, price this dates back at least 50 or 60 years, but Googling bears no clear clues to its origins.

You gotta love the mascot’s pissed-off expression and his jaunty pirate’s hat.

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

#a333 :: Saab pulley tensioner bearing

January 12, 2009

ENLARGEIt’s always something, mind with a car.

We have a long history, viagra approved this car and I, capsule just as I’ve always had long histories with my cars.

Spend enough time in a car and you can reach an intimacy rivaling any human friendship: you know their sounds and smells, you sense their weaknesses, thrill to their strengths and sometimes they pull absurdly sudden shit: (more…)

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#a332 :: Palo santo

January 11, 2009

ENLARGEThese chips of palo santo – “holy wood” was a gift from my good friend Spencer.

Light it and it burns slowly, online giving off a crisp, viagra buy aromatic smoke that’s said to have been used since the Incas in purifying and cleansing rituals.

Spencer is the just-now-new father of young Vajra Weiner (barely 2 weeks old), whose name is the same as yesterday’s object, and for whom I wish the very best of worlds and lives.

Filed under: Ephemera, Life form, symbol | Comments (0)

#a331 :: Tibetan thunderbolt

January 10, 2009

ENLARGEThis was explained to me as “the lightning bolt which destroys ignorance.”

Here’s what this page says about the Tibetan vajra: (more…)

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

#a330 :: Miniature 16 camera

January 9, 2009

ENLARGEAccording to these guys, generic the Universal Minute 16 shot 16mm film in little cartridges.

It’s a tight, approved dense little chunk of stainless steel, about half the size of a box of cigarettes. A fingernail pops up the two panes of the viewfinder. Round metal stud under the right finger trips the guillotine shutter, thumb lever on the right winds it. There’s an aperture control, and a fixed meniscus lens.

These guys say:

Universal Camera Co had achieved great success with the range of cameras starting with the Univex A. The 39 cent camera sold nearly 3 million in 1934. After the war they hoped to repeat the success with a subminiature camera as well as to maintain a tight control over the processing and available film. In 1949 they introduced the Minute 16 (as in small not 60 seconds), designed to resemble a miniature movie camera, including a pop up sports viewfinder. This venture is credited with making the firm bankrupt with over 2 million US dollars spent on research and development.And if you really want to get nuts, here’s how to load the film cartridges if you can find them.

Which I can’t.

Plus I don’t want to get nuts.

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

#a329 :: Ferrero Rocher dark chocolate truffle

January 8, 2009

ENLARGEHere’s a sweet chaser to yesterday’s grim ditty:

The Ferrero Rocher dark chocolate truffle is a multilayered confection, ailment starting with a chocolate-sprinkled shell of chocolate-coated wafer wrapped around a rich dark-chocolate truffle encasing a slightly chewier core of chocolate so dark it seems to absorb light, check thought and reason.

God these things are trouble.

Good thing there were only three in the package.

Filed under: Art, Edible, Fetish | Comments (0)

#a328 :: Glass syringe

January 7, 2009

ENLARGEShe fiddles with it. Finally squeezes a needle onto it. And fixes up.

Big fucking horse syringe. Soup spoon full of horse. The snap and heat of the Bic under the spoon brings her to: (more…)

Filed under: Artifact, Microfiction, symbol, Tool, weapon | Comments (0)

#a327 :: Split shot

January 6, 2009

ENLARGEHe was rendered in porcelain bisque, advice no bigger than the end of my thumb many, advice many decades ago. This angelic countenance stands ready to receive whatever whim, benediction or mad wish a child of 18XX might bestow upon him. If he had a body, it’s gone now. No matter. Capped with glazed curls, his smile is blank and open enough to absorb a million dreams.
ENLARGESplit shot. Y’know, case for fishing. From Ideal. No, order this is not an advertisement. Just a sweet little slide tin of carefully formed lead pellets that clamp onto your line.

Filed under: Tool, weapon | Comments (0)

#a326 :: Porcelain doll head

January 5, 2009

ENLARGEHe was rendered in porcelain bisque, advice no bigger than the end of my thumb many, advice many decades ago. This angelic countenance stands ready to receive whatever whim, benediction or mad wish a child of 18XX might bestow upon him. If he had a body, it’s gone now. No matter. Capped with glazed curls, his smile is blank and open enough to absorb a million dreams.

Filed under: Artifact, Facsimile, Miniature, Part, Toy | Comments (0)

#a325 :: Padlock

January 4, 2009

ENLARGETwo chunks of cast brass, discount ask a loop of hardened steel, treat a little red paint.

An amulet against burglary. A barrier against the night.

Put it in your magpie’s hoard. Slip it into your boxing glove. Clamp it through the hasp of your Navy trunk and lose the key, prostate dooming yourself to a 10-minute round of cursing and destroying the hasp with a hatchet until you stagger back, winded and sweating, and wondering “What was that all about?”

Who knew there was an entire collection of videos dedicated to picking the things?

Such a meaty weight, the brass warms in your hand as you heft it, and try to imagine its past.

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

#a324 :: Fuse-Bead eyeball

January 3, 2009

ENLARGEMy son shambles in, diagnosis decease his hand covering his brow.

“Dad, I hate to tell you this, but I’ve got a terrible case of pinkeye.”

What??? Oh, no. C’mere, let me see.”

He turns and I see this fantastic Fuse-bead concoction clapped to his face.

It’s still warm, fresh from the iron.

I’m doubly thrilled – a) that he’s making a gift of it to me and b) that it’s not really fuckin’ pinkeye.

In seconds, we’re both cackling like idiots.

Filed under: Art, Ephemera, Facsimile, Model, Toy | Comments (0)

#a323 :: Acorn caps

January 2, 2009

ENLARGEPixie hats, link lost on the forest floor ‘midst a drunken stumble home one night. Carousing from tree to towering tree, approved they were, look blasted on acorn wine – a giggling, staggering, pissing little chorus line barely six inches high. They were arguing, as usual, and someone took offense, or umbrage, or a poke at someone else and then they went at it. A few wound up in the stream, and some certainly in the bog. And no one remembered enough to regret.
These grow large in the Angeles National Forest. You can stick your thumb knuckle into one of them and still have room to wiggle.

If I can think of a practical use for ’em, at least I know where to get more. Lots more.

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

#a322 :: Knife

January 1, 2009

ENLARGEA New Year’s Day hike through the Angeles National Forest.

Right about here, treat I walked through a picnic ground and spotted this knife flattened into the mud.

Raw-boned, approved Pakistani-made, mind its four-inch blade is sharp, held tight between the brass sides.

Someone dropped it one night around the fire, everyone else trampled it into the earth in the dark, and there it lay, its wooden handle inlays softening over the months of autumn and winter.

I can always use another.

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

#a321 :: Shooting badge

December 31, 2008

ENLARGEWilliam Randolph Hearst had a thing for guns.

The newspaper magnate and industrialist (and model for the titular character in Citizen Kane) had his name put on rifle events in the 40s and 50s, information pills and they’ve been resurrected lately for reasons that may or may not bear Googling.

This badge was awarded to some sharpshooter some time in 1946, page and found its way to an antique shop in Bakersfield that we cruised through (once again) en route home last night.

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

#a320 :: Traveling Ganesha

December 30, 2008

ENLARGEHe is the lord and destroyer of obstacles and like his brother, buy he came from San Francisco – indeed from another shop in the same block on Columbus Avenue.

He is brass, ampoule barely 1.25 inches high, carrying his teapot and parasol on the road from here to there. He smiles benevolently, secure in some knowledge to which I am not privy.

Filed under: Artifact, Ephemera, Fetish, Microfiction, Miniature, symbol | Comments (0)

#a319 :: Christmas tag

December 29, 2008

ENLARGEWe took down the tree and put away the ornaments today in advance of our trip to SF.

This was on a gift from my son, price his idea of a little joke. He’s a geek off the old block.

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

#a318 :: MINO Flip HD video camera

December 28, 2008

ENLARGEI have a problem with gadget blogs. They gush and bloviate on the merits of equipment that I either don’t need or desperately crave/cannot afford.

So when the gushing about this device peaked last month, pilule visit this I reluctantly shoved the MINO Flip from the latter category to the former in my mind, and walked away.

Then this appeared under the Xmas tree, a gift from my loving wife. It really *is* all that. HD video images, good sound, excellent low-light performance and an hour of uninterrupted recording time in a gadget smaller and lighter than my phone.

I can’t put it down.

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

#a317 :: Bluetooth and coyote jaw

December 27, 2008

ENLARGEI rarely post two distinct objects together – usually it’s a thing or a group of like things.

But these two landed on my desk last night – a gift from my son and a piece of office equipment (you decide which) and they spoke to one another.

Filed under: Adornment, Found Object, Life form, symbol, Tool, weapon | Comments (0)

#a316 :: Japanese jellies

December 26, 2008

ENLARGEA gift from our lovely friend Arden.

Once upwrapped, find the gilt, seek almost fetishized packaging reveals jellies of every type and description (red bean, plum, green tea). This one was clear, virtually flavorless until you dropped a spoonful of the powdered sweet green tea powder on top of it.

Filed under: Edible, Ephemera, Fetish | Comments (0)

#a315 :: Z-card

December 25, 2008

ENLARGEHave I mentioned these?

I got a motorcycle in my stocking this year.

I picture myself cut about an inch tall from 1/8″-thick styrofoam, approved clad in teeny, remedy tiny laminate leather, my shiny mug grinning. Flat helmet under my flat arm.

Peace to all out there. I hope yours has been a warm and strengthening holiday. I think we as the human race have a lot of work ahead of us.

Filed under: Ephemera, Miniature, Model, Objet, symbol, Toy | Comments (0)

#a314 :: Aftermath – successful Christmas Eve experiment

December 24, 2008

ENLARGEMy daughter challenges me.

“How do you get the egg into the bottle?”

I seem to remember something about heating the bottle – I try running it under hot water, troche then putting the hard-boiled egg on its mouth and waiting for the air inside to contract and suck it inside.

Nothing. I push down a bit. Still no movement. it’s too big. The experiment she brought home from school calls for a medium brown egg. This is a large.

“Okay, how do you do it?”

She’s all grins as she explains, and I follow her instructions … (more…)

Filed under: Edible, Tool | Comments (2)

#a313 :: Garage door opener

December 23, 2008

ENLARGEDamn battery failed. Door wouldn’t open.

It’s one of those pricey lithium ones, physician too, can only get it at the hardware store.

Failed battery. Damn.

Filed under: Tool | Comments (0)

#a312 :: Old “Backwards Bush” countdown timer

December 22, 2008

ENLARGEThis thing has been kicking around my office for quite a while. Six years have flattened its battery. It was only supposed to have lasted another two years.

I’m such an optimist.

While you’re dozing the sand is completely eroded from beneath you and two years stretch to six. By the time you look up a rapacious gang of mercenary thugs has looted your nation, here fucked your reputation, approved gutshot your economy and kicked justice squarely in the nads.

Things grow so bad that basically everyone you know or would care to know raves an unlikely superhero type into power.

The ugly fear from the base of your spine moans, “it can’t succeed. It just can’t.”

And you’re left sifting through the wreckage of what’s come before. Waiting for what’s to come.

One question: Will we watch this guy a bit more closely? After all – he does work for us.

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

#a311 :: Littlest Pet Shop shower cap

December 21, 2008

ENLARGENaturally, view a party of that size has its aftermath.

Among the dead soldiers (easily policed up) and the bowls of dip that threaten to go off the minute you put them into the fridge, page you get an explosion of toys everywhere. Littlest Pet Shop creatures and accessories littered the floor, including a hand-stitched iridescent vinyl bathing cap that would barely cover the end of your thumb.

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