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#108 :: Chibi giant robot warrior

June 1, 2008

I’ve written before of chibi.

No more about that need be said. Right here, Scope Dog (or someone very much like him) packs two big fat weapons on his short, stout person.

He’s 5 inches high and balances quite well on his feet – one at a time – if you provoke him.

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

#a107 :: Mexican figurine debris

June 1, 2008

ENLARGEShit. This was whole at one point.

Then I moved the fridge to futz with the water feed line and it toppled off, shplattering all over the kitchen floor.

Filed under: General | Comments (0)

#a106 :: Nano clips

May 30, 2008

ENLARGEMy 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.

Filed under: General | Comments (0)

#a105 :: Branded M&Ms

May 29, 2008

ENLARGEThese 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.
(more…)

Filed under: Artifact, Edible | Comments (0)

#a104 :: Chocolat Michel Cluizel, Paris

May 28, 2008

ENLARGEMy 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 …
(more…)

Filed under: Edible, Fetish | Comments (0)

#103 :: Cast-iron mermaid

May 27, 2008

ENLARGEShe 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 lead us to her story, she’s a perfect blank slate for fairy tales.

She’s simply what you want her to be.

Filed under: Art, Facsimile, Miniature, Model, Objet, symbol | Comments (0)

#a102 :: 88MB Syquest Drive cartridge

May 26, 2008

ENLARGEAh, 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 to a modern 1GB flash drive as a Powerbook is to a diesel-powered Mergenthaler Linotype machine. I no longer have the computer with the SCSI card that was needed to control the drive that read these things. Data retrieval for such discs is pricey and sure to disappoint.

And I’ve long ago forgotten what I stored on the dozen or so discs I had collected.

So – I bid it farewell. Relic of a more innocent Web, a less detail-obsessed time.

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

#a101 :: Lens mechanism

May 25, 2008

ENLARGEClockwork 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 …
(more…)

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

#a100 :: Atwood HexBaby

May 24, 2008

ENLARGELittle 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 fun to lug around most of the time but has to be stripped of anything useful (beyond keys) before it’s shown to the TSA.

I have yet to run into tiny nuts that need turning, but perhaps that’s because I haven’t given myself an excuse to do so.

I use this thing all the time.

Filed under: Fetish, Tool | Comments (1)

#a99 :: Neodymium cube magnets

May 23, 2008

ENLARGEOne 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 into a cube.

Perfect is the joy of manually-operated narcotics.

Filed under: Fetish, Toy | Comments (1)

#a98 :: Refrigerator magnet

May 22, 2008

ENLARGEHome 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 secure than the athletic field. The whole thing is surrounded by sixth-floor book depository windows. The blood curdles just thinking about it.

Filed under: Adornment, Model, Objet, symbol | Comments (0)

#a97 :: Iron box wrench

May 21, 2008

ENLARGEThis 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 interval) dipped the handle end in red a little too soon, and set it down to dry.

I do not know its original purpose. I can only guess that it was supplied with a steam engine or other old-time motor, the sort of wheezing, tapocketa-pocketa-pocketa rattletrap that eased men’s labor and needed constant adjusting. Anyone have any ideas?

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

#a96 – Craftsman adjustable pliers

May 20, 2008

ENLARGEI 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 … (more…)

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

#a95 :: Nail clipper

May 19, 2008

ENLARGEThe 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 clipper.

And dozens of inventors spent the next hundred-odd years trying to improve on perfection.

Filed under: Tool | Comments (0)

#a94 :: Lesney station wagon

May 18, 2008

ENLARGEMy 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 of mint-ness (most of her two-dozen little cars are chipped and beaten escapees from probably more than on e toybox). She collects something deeper: The inherent, undefinable coolness of body design, paint color, fit and finish – which is one of the myriad reasons I love her so.

The pot-metal chassis of this old Lesney declares it to be an “American Ford Station Wagon.” Looking at the beetled brows over its headlights, the slightly-sinking fins sprouting from its flanks, I’d put it at 1959 or 1960, the era in which America was detoxing from its sick jones for baroque styling – and stepping away, perhaps forever, from the height of automotive art.

Dig the tinted window plastic, two-tone paint and trailer hitch. If gas weren’t $4 a gallon, I’d be out hunting down the real thing on eBay Motors right now.

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

#a93 :: Hawaiian fishhook

May 17, 2008

ENLARGEI 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 Oceanian symbols. Hand-tapered and shaped, from a single cow’s vertebra, it hangs from a nylon thong around my neck. The artist shaped the points to razor sharpness, around a circular space that keeps the points from severing my jugular veins in my sleep.

It is transparent to airport metal detectors, impervious to all the chemicals I bathe my body in daily
in the shower, inscrutably timeless in its design and beauty. It was an object of pure obsession until I found the right one, and fulfillment the moment I chose it. Even now I can’t say for sure why I’m so attached to it, but that it’s honest and powerful and beautiful.
(more…)

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

#a92 :: Thimble

May 16, 2008

enlargeArmor 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 universe as part of God’s little plan (still one of the finer movie endings from my boyhood)

… and … (more…)

Filed under: symbol, Tool | Comments (0)

#a91 :: Magic starfish – How the Web feeds the seven deadly sins

May 15, 2008

ENLARGEI’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.
Porn? Heh. Lust, silly.
eCommerce and mass media? Basest greed.
Food and gadget sites – Gluttony, pure and simple.
Blogs? Social networking? art communities? Vanity, vanity, vanity.
(more…)

Filed under: Fetish, Jetsam, Life form, Model, Part, symbol, Toy | Comments (0)

#a90 :: Pull tab

May 13, 2008

ENLARGE“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 which he knelt.

He really needed to figure this out.

Stoned, Boomer was harmless. Just another burly, ugly, dumb asshole dropout loser from Hull, who bailed out of junior year and found work sheetrocking crackerbox condos for Beacon Hill yuppies to feed his beer and pot habit … (more…)

Filed under: Adornment, Artifact, Facsimile, Found Object, Jetsam, Microfiction, Part, weapon | Comments (0)

#a89 :: Rubber LED pendant

May 12, 2008

ENLARGEIn 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 RGB-LED heart pulsating with the promise of an endless string of nights in Ibiza or Goa with no cover, no closing time, no hangover, no guilt.

Squeeze it again, and it dies. Or reverts to what it is – an ounce of exotically-molded silicone wrapped around a mass-produced irritainment generator and hung from a chintzy ribbon necklace. I imagine after it goes for an extended swim in the kids’ toyboxes it will stay in that state permanently, as there’s no clear battery port anywhere on it.

Ah, well. Factory hands in China get to eat for another 5 minutes because we now own their work.

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

#a88 :: Foldz-Flat pen

May 11, 2008

ENLARGEIt’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 trim feels extra-ginchy.

Get ’em here, and you can be as embarrassed as I was to have paid $14.95 each for two of them.

Oh, wait, the price is now $24.95. Bargain!

Spotted at Cool Tools.

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

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

May 10, 2008

ENLARGELet’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 so of the Biscayne Islands. (more…)

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

#A86 :: Tape ball

May 9, 2008

ENLARGEThis 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 an undifferentiated blob of linear splatter and stickum – about 10 inches in diameter and barely two ounces.

Filed under: Jetsam, Tool | Comments (0)

#a85 :: Australian stamps

May 8, 2008

ENLARGEThe 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, planes and numb-minded civil servants who move our stuff, we rely on the most archaic and quaint of constructs: A law requiring us to buy elaborately-printed squares of paper and glue them onto packages to prove we’ve paid for the service.

This odd lot of Australian stamps came into the house as a gift and is handsomely shrink-wrapped and labeled – oddly – “GIFT.” Which mirrors the same sort of moebius-strip recursion that gave rise to the practice of using postage stamps in the first place.

Or maybe I’m overthinking it. Again.

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

#a84 :: Joy buzzer

May 7, 2008

ENLARGESomewhere, 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 dupe. Hilarity ensues. Made in China.

Filed under: symbol, Toy | Comments (0)


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