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#a106 :: Nano clips

May 30, 2008

My keyring is getting out of hand. Time to reorganize. I ordered these online, taking a guess at the size. They’re too small. So now I have 10 each of three kinds of precision-made, stainless-steel fasteners. A still-gnarly fistful of keys and tools. And a new order in to the manufacturer.

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#a105 :: Branded M&Ms

May 29, 2008

These are extraordinary M&Ms for two reasons. For one thing, they are red and battleship gray – a color I have never seen in M&Ms. For another, Mars imprinted them with “Panda” – in honor of the thoroughly excellent movie that my wife just finished producing.

Filed under: Artifact, Edible | Comments (0)

#a104 :: Chocolat Michel Cluizel, Paris

May 28, 2008

My wife’s boss brought these back from Cannes – a tightly-boxed array of wicked little chocolates. Put aside, pour une seconde, the drug-nerve reaction that ordinarily would have you gobble these down with all the brainless gluttony usually reserved for chugging-Hershey’s-kisses-until-the- growing- pile- of- foil- wrappers- threatens- to- interfere- with- the- wi-fi …

Filed under: Edible, Fetish | Comments (0)

#103 :: Cast-iron mermaid

May 27, 2008

She waits, coyly fanning her hair. Demure yet voluptuous, sensual yet pensive, she waits for the tide to rush in and bear her away. At barely five inches tall, she weighs more than a pound. And she is magnetic, both figuratively and literally. With no maker’s mark to introduce her, no indications of origin to […]

Filed under: Art, Facsimile, Miniature, Model, Objet, symbol | 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 […]

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

#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)

#a100 :: Atwood HexBaby

May 24, 2008

Little slabs of steel, plasma-cut and and grinder-shaped by hand. Peter Atwood makes rock-solid finger tools. ‘Nuff said. This one’s good for prying open paint cans and yanking stubborn nails and splitting things and opening beers. Coupled with the Leatherman and the chain mail, it makes my keyring a nasty fistful of metal. Which is […]

Filed under: Fetish, Tool | Comments (1)

#a99 :: Neodymium cube magnets

May 23, 2008

One hundred twenty-five cubes of high-power synthetic magnets, each barely three millimeters on a side, stick together tightly. Pull them apart and they align into strands, each North pole sticking to the next one’s South. Strong polar attraction plus weak sideways attraction means a strand bends and flops – and defies efforts to reassemble them […]

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#a98 :: Refrigerator magnet

May 22, 2008

Home turf’s on my mind today. Senator Ted Kennedy’s illness left a vacancy on the commencement program for Wesleyan University this Sunday. Barack Obama is stepping in. So, it’s a big deal but: I grew up on the Wesleyan campus (Mom and Dad have worked there for decades). Let’s hope they hold it somewhere more […]

Filed under: Adornment, Model, Objet, symbol | 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)

#a95 :: Nail clipper

May 19, 2008

The elegance of pure and simple machines springs often from the plainest of needs. Without this crisp chrome gadget, we’d all look something like this. So when the industrial revolution and the boom of cheap tools crested late in the 19th century, Wikipedia tells us that Chapel Carter – of necessity – invented the nail […]

Filed under: Tool | Comments (0)

#a94 :: Lesney station wagon

May 18, 2008

My wife found this excellent machine at a garage sale, and garaged it in our bedroom alongside the others in her collection, which includes a purple travel trailer, a hot-orange Stude custom and a thrashed yellow fuel tanker. She’s a collector not of brands (Lesney, Dinky, Matchbox are all the same in her eyes) nor […]

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

#a93 :: Hawaiian fishhook

May 17, 2008

I hunted it down, searching from gift shop to gift shop in Kona last summer, wiith a will. I wanted something real – of bone – something distinct from the beautiful, overly-copied and -cheapened polynesian talismans littering the tourist coast of Hawaii’s big island. I eventually tracked this down at a shop specializing in such […]

Filed under: Adornment, Artifact, Fetish, Instrument, Miniature, Model | Comments (0)

#a92 :: Thimble

May 16, 2008

Armor on the brain lately: The Telmarine king’s armor was about the best thing in Prince Caspian, which was otherwise a dull roar of a film. Gorgeous, filigree’d stuff. … and … Grant Williams, The Incredible Shrinking Man stabs an un-armored tarantula (which poses as a giant killer spider) and lives to explore the ever-expanding […]

Filed under: symbol, Tool | 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)

#a89 :: Rubber LED pendant

May 12, 2008

In the realm of burned-out rave gear trends, the blinky LED pendant burns on – loud and frenetic as an 8-year-old on his fourth bowl of Cap’n Crunch. In fact, it’s always as perpetually in style as the good Cap’n himself. Squeeze this complex polyhedron in the right place and it bursts to life, its […]

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#a88 :: Foldz-Flat pen

May 11, 2008

It’s a slick little gadget that seems like a brilliant idea: a full-sized pen that you can fold up and stuff into your wallet – until you realize it’s as thick as six credit cards. Still – piano-hinged chrome-steel panels and a triangular profile when assembled give it a charming retro-space-age cachet, and the leatherette […]

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

#a87 :: Fabric from Christo’s “The Gates”

May 10, 2008

Let’s skip the art theory and get right to the point: Christo’s work impresses on a visceral, monumental level. I’ve been fortunate enough to see two of their works: Surrounded Islands (1982 or so?) – drove down with a colleague to Miami to where the artist had floated skirts of bubblegum-pink polypropylene around 11 or […]

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

#A86 :: Tape ball

May 9, 2008

This keeps your straight lines covered, fends off errant brush strokes and roller hits. When I finished painting the bathroom, I pulled this off the walls and away from switches and fixtures. It began life as a tree somewhere, and got pulped, rolled, died, cut, glued and re-rolled, wrapped in cellophane and shelved. Now it’s […]

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#a85 :: Australian stamps

May 8, 2008

The lickety-split digitization of all human commerce runs into a brick wall when it comes to sending physical messages. Until mass production sufficiently cuts the cost of 3-D printing and, thus, the 3-D fax, humans must carry hand-made documents and machine-made objects from one place to another. To subsidize the cost of the trucks, trains, […]

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#a84 :: Joy buzzer

May 7, 2008

Somewhere, in some bizarro alternate reality, this thing is funny. Wind it up and a little clockwork mechanism delivers a nasty, vibrating buzz when the button is pressed. Slip the ring onto your finger and the gadget into your palm, and shake hands with an unsuspecting dupe to press the button. The gadget buzzes the […]

Filed under: symbol, Toy | 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 […]

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

#a82 :: Rattan pouch

May 5, 2008

This came from Hawaii, wrapped around a much more significant HLO that I’ll blog about later this week. Someone – Hawaiian or Chinese, I’m left to assume, since there’s no maker’s mark, wove it together from strips of reed. The top fits beautifully over the bottom – and resists casual attempts to pull it off: […]

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