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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)

#a136 :: Metal shavings

June 29, 2008

Buy one large cantilever umbrella to keep the sun from killing you on the deck. Realize it’s too small. Buy two. Realize it would be nice to be able to shift them around the deck, to better block the coruscating sunset. Look for casters. Realize the umbrella stands’ feet aren’t fitted for them. Look for […]

Filed under: Jetsam | Comments (0)

#a135 :: Bottle caps

June 28, 2008

They began life as sheets of tin (following a long and, one can only imagine, complex refining process) – punched into circles, crimped, printed, lined with plastic and clamped atop bottles of beer, soda, cider, seltzer. They rode in place, dutifully sealing out the world of dust, bugs and oxidization. They bent to our thirst, […]

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

#a134 :: Word beads

June 27, 2008

The notion of the exquisite corpse is simple: By juxtaposing random words, you create a new reality. You can manufacture newfound logic that approaches poetry. Or you can hash a bunch of meaningless verbiage that probably only sounds really cool after a couple of bong hits. Leave it to the American kitsch industry to commoditize […]

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

#a133 :: Pig lighter

June 26, 2008

“So what are you gonna write – that your wife spotted this on a counter at 7/11 and had to have it?” Yup. Happy birthday, my dear love.

Filed under: Facsimile, Fetish, Miniature, Tool, Toy | Comments (1)

#a132 :: Korg Kaossilator dynamic phrase synthesizer

June 25, 2008

Fair warning: I held Rick Wakeman and Keith Emerson in very high regard when I was, like, 13. I thought Frankenstein was the single coolest thing I’d ever heard played on keyboards (after “The Well-Tempered Synthesizer”). I keep Amon Tobin and DJ Spooky on heavy rotation these days. I am a hopeless synthesizer slut …

Filed under: Fetish, Instrument, Toy | Comments (1)

#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)

#a130 :: Stogie

June 23, 2008

My vices are few and far between. But this evening, while my family is away camping, leaving me to a regular work schedule and an empty house, I had my once-every-six-months cigar. This 9-inch-long Gurka has been sealed in a glass tube – perfectly preserved, I might add – since William brought a box of […]

Filed under: Fetish, symbol | Comments (0)

#a129 :: Shipping plug

June 22, 2008

Removed. From what, I cannot remember. Draw your own conclusions. ….

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

#a128 :: Japanese bug collectible

June 21, 2008

This life-sized stag-beetle toy came pre-fetishized from Mitsuwa Marketplace, our favorite Japanese supermarket. The Japanese culture of packaging dictated that F-Toys Confect. manufacture the 3-inch-long, hand-colored, pre-assembled dorcus titanicus castanicolor from 12 hand-assembled parts, encase it in a two-piece, blowmolded thermoplastic container sarcophagus, box it in cardboard emblazoned with myriad messages via multiple fonts printed […]

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

#a127 :: Aluminum pencil sharpener

June 20, 2008

I love the precision of this dramatically machined little block of a tool. Each hole feeds a standard diameter pencil’s point up into a carefully positioned groove, at a particular angle. Each groove pushes the pencil against a steel sharpening blade at a blade of a different length – assuring you a fresh point of […]

Filed under: Fetish, Tool | Comments (0)

#a126 :: Astrojax

June 19, 2008

When you play with Astrojax correctly, its three torusoid balls, each mounted with a different colored LED, whip around in concentric, flickering orbits. The red and green ones anchor either end of a 3-foot-long nylon string, and the yellow ball slides up and down the string, exchanging weight, mass and inertia with the ball riding […]

Filed under: Toy | Comments (0)

#a125 :: Rusty nails and screws

June 18, 2008

Our neighborhood was built in the 1920s. I don’t know when they set these telephone poles, but ever since then, people have been tacking notices up on them with whatever fasteners came to hand. The signs, posters and advertisements all came down – by weather or by hand – but the metal stayed put. I […]

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

#a124 :: Miniature Indian corn

June 17, 2008

In the vast pantheon of American kitsch (and it is vast), the significance of miniature “Indian corn” just baffles me. Farmers cultivate the basic (full-sized) species to sell to craft stores and maybe florists. Yet here’s a tinier – cuter? – version for the express purpose of … what? I’ve never had the pleasure of […]

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

#a123 :: Cigar cutter

June 16, 2008

A good cigar is a smoke, but only if you trim its bullet end first with this – a pocket guillotine. It’s the sort of tool with which bad men threaten to maim hopeless patsies in cruel movies. Being as it’s extremely dangerous and cheaply made, it defies one to think of other, more beautiful […]

Filed under: Tool, weapon | Comments (0)

#a122 :: Easter egg

June 15, 2008

We had an egghunt all over the hillside behind our house for Easter a few weeks back. While I was tearing down a fence yesterday, I came across this escapee – one of William‘s fantastic eggs for the kids – packed with little vinyl characters and equally-chewy Starburst, sealed in a chrome eggshell. Should I […]

Filed under: Found Object, Toy | Comments (1)

#a121 :: Geode

June 14, 2008

I could probably Google the metamorphic process that built this pocket cavern. Wikipedia also has useful information, I’m sure. But then I’d be burdened with that knowledge every time I looked at another one. I’d rather retain the mindset I have now – the same wonder that attracts my 8-year-old son, from whom I borrowed […]

Filed under: Fetish, Objet | Comments (0)

#a120 :: Silicone clown fish puzzle

June 13, 2008

A lifetime of desiring and acquiring manufactured things has warped my brain, reprogrammed my very lizard DNA, I’m sure of it: This toy’s translucent color and pungent, exotic-plastic aroma make it seem good enough to eat. I pull it apart into convenient, bite-sized pieces, and consider the options: reassemble? Or devour?

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

#a119 :: Broken cleaver

June 12, 2008

I am going to tell you a story now. A man fell in love with a woman. She fell in love back. They married, and to celebrate their marriage, they journeyed to Beijing. They toured the city, mesmerized. They ate rich and pungent food. They heard lush choral music sung by brightly-dressed acrobats in vivid […]

Filed under: Fetish, General, Instrument, Jetsam, Model | Comments (0)

#a118 :: Space man

June 11, 2008

He waits, always, tools in hand: a coil of something (rope? wire?) and a cryptic triangular gizmo. Or maybe an alien artifact. He stands tall – barely 1.8 inches of light-gray plastic. Why is he smiling?

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

#a117 :: Dot-com relic

June 11, 2008

Like all major American newspapers, the Los Angeles Times – as we know it – may be doomed. Never thought I’d say that – I worked in newspapers for 17 years, including ’90 to ’97 on staff at the Times, and I always kept the faith. I had rough moments mixed in with the fantastic […]

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

#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)

#a115 :: Ivory manta ray

June 8, 2008

We swam with manta rays in Hawaii last summer. Yes, it really was that idyllic. We tell ourselves it was kharmic payback for a summer of pain – our dear friend Keith died horribly and too young, we were both working 14 hour days and struggling to be with the kids, our daughter broke her […]

Filed under: Adornment, Art, Facsimile, Fetish, Life form, symbol | Comments (0)

#a114 :: Household wasp

June 7, 2008

The wicked thinness of this creature’s waist reminds us that if there’s a God, he/she/they/it lies in the fractal diversity of perfect biology: The wasp is built as light, tough, fast and wicked-cool as a Harrier jump jet, a Flexible Flyer, or a Baron Margo motorcycle . If ants had motorcycles, they would ride wasps. […]

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

#a113 Jelly silicone ninja

June 6, 2008

At the hallucinogenic nexus of pop culture, American tastes and mass-production technology, odd blossoms bud. Here, forming an icon of cool stealth for the amusement of the mobs calls for transparent violet jelly silicone. What better way to say “They know nothing of his presence until his blade has already passed – and by then […]

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


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