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#a8 :: Rubber germ

February 21, 2008

Work at the SETI lab – and every other acronymed institution from DARPA to the headquarters of the NRA – had run at a breakneck clip since first contact. Nothing galvanizes an entire race like a blanket signal transmitted to every single computer, television and data-display display device on the planet, carrying images of an […]

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#a7 :: Carrier pigeon message capsule (part 2)

February 20, 2008

I open the capsule. Inside, the tightly-rolled message lies in wait, a fragile knot of mystery. I pull it out with tweezers as carefully as I can (cotton gloves probably would have been far less intrusive, but I’m a geek, not an archivist) and unfold it. Attempts to spread it flat are not quite futile, […]

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#a6 :: Carrier pigeon message capsule (part 1)

February 19, 2008

Featherlight. Tiny. Packed tight like a bomb. Barely half an inch long and weighing but a few grams, this stamped-aluminum capsule came (from an Escondido antique store) fully loaded. A rolled-up pellet of tissue taunts me with veiled possibility. What’s it say? So many possible roads it could take: Vital vintage intel? A message intercepted? […]

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#a5 :: Child’s water bottle

February 18, 2008

For the past, let’s see, six months, my 8-year-old son has been bandying this … phrase … about. For a while, he didn’t know what it meant, and cared even less, but he would utter this phrase every chance he got, snickering and cackling like a fiend. It is the funniest thing he’s ever heard. […]

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#a4 :: Chinese laser/LED combo

February 17, 2008

On a side trip to dusty Guangzho province during our honeymoon nearly 14 years ago, it all came clear to me: Town after town shared the same burly energy: raw labor in copious supply. Assembly lines, construction sites, and industrial workshops pungent with the gritty tang of toxins being applied with deft haste – everywhere, […]

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#a3 :: Flickering lion

February 16, 2008

Mass production fills my hands daily with cheap marvels. Lenticular-screen images serve up false-3D images and crude animations via devilishly simple technology: A backing card imprinted with two images side-by-side, half-blended, is overlaid with triangular-grooved plastic. Your left and right eyes see different images simultaneously (3D) or one image shifting to the next. As you […]

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#a2 :: Faux long-stemmed chocolate rose

February 15, 2008

It was the perfect metaphor, really. His hair plugs, his teeth caps, his botox, his Bavarian penile-compensation vehicle. And now, she sighed, biting her lip, this. She sniffled a bit more and peeled back the red foil. The “blossom” popped out of its green-plastic receptacle and tumbled under the futon. I will not lose it. […]

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#a1 :: Bodywork dolly

February 15, 2008

I’ve missed this blog. Hello, old friend. This black lump of cast iron could be any number of things: A chunk of railroad tie fashioned into a doorstop, (or so claimed the antique store owner in Cutchogue, Long Island who sold it to me for 9 bucks over Christmas). An anchor for wayward blueprints on […]

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#365 :: Ring

February 14, 2005

Here are some of the posts I had the most fun writing and/or shooting.If you like any of them, maybe you’ll email one to a friend who might enjoy it, too. And if you just discovered this site, any of these is a good place to jump in: Rubber Ghoul Drain Valve/Bell Photo-Theremin Saab Front […]

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#364 :: Shaman

February 13, 2005

Friends and web-cruisers: This phase of HEAVY LITTLE OBJECTS is drawing to a close. I’ll announce the winner of the Luchador Libre contest in two days – (it’s not too late to enter!) I can’t say what this site will become, but with tomorrow’s entry – the last of a near-solid year’s worth of daily […]

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#363 :: Leatherman Squirt

February 12, 2005

I am homo sapiens, a tool user. GRUNT. I feel naked without a blade. Ill-equipped for the day without my pocket knife and PDA. Impotent when faced with a Torx screw that needs budging and a toolbox full of flatheads and Phillipses. I’ve gone through quite a few pocket multitools: the Swiss-Tech Micro-Tech was nice, […]

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#362 :: Cuban Cigars

February 11, 2005

They arrive like smuggled slugs of radioactive metal, encased in sheets of cedar and sheathed in little tubes of machined aluminum. A relative (I shan’t say which) snuck them off a cruise ship and back in through Customs. The tobacco tastes no more extraordinary than the average Dominican blend – woody, rich in the back […]

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#361 :: Gel caps

February 10, 2005

Problems. Solve my problems with a thing. My problems are in my head, they’re in my life, I can’t touch them or put a dent in them or even make sense of them or time for them. But my problems run my head. And my head runs my time and my time runs my life. […]

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#360 :: Fortune Cookie

February 9, 2005

A brain tremor emerges from childhood, a submerged snag in the deep, slow-flowing river of memory: I was probably three or four when I put my forefinger and thumb together, tight, pinching nothing and imagining a whale in there, its full tonnage trapped between my fingerprints. It was a huge concept for a kid – […]

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#359 :: Clockwork Tin Bus

February 8, 2005

Wind the key, and it goes – a self-locomoting toy, the culmination of myriad simple technologies in a complex, palm-sized plaything: Wheels – once just logs used to move other logs, now advanced to trim wheel/hub/axle design. Tin lithography – the semblance of color, depth and detail printed in Benday dots on machine-cut, rust-prone sheet […]

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#358 :: Bow

February 7, 2005

This is the cultural equivalent of a successful GoogleWhack: A purpose-built frippery with one and only one use. The peach-satin confection came flat in a glassine envelope, a little stack of ribbon rectangles. To set it up, you pull a little thread at its center, which bunches the strips into loops forming a perfect, gift-ready […]

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#357 :: Chajchas

February 6, 2005

I look down at my hands resting at the keyboard, fingers curved across asdfghjkl;, waiting to speak. I wind up staring at them for nearly a minute. Soft traces of LCD light brush my knuckles above my fingertips, which rest on little beveled metallic-look plastic keys. Blood pulses thinly through veins across the backs of […]

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#356 :: Scurvy Knave

February 5, 2005

One of two things will happen: He’ll eat your heart off a pike, or he’ll have your guts for garters. You have a choice: You can fight him with a cutlass, or you can walk the plank. Choose: The devil or the deep blue sea. These little avatars, these plastic warriors are a safe outlet […]

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#355 :: Seltzer Bottle

February 4, 2005

He wakes up after an hour or so, his face pressed to the wet bar, his brain still well-pickled on the shots of rye he’d been tossing back before (and after) he insulted that lady (well, she wasn’t, really) and she slapped him hard. He doesn’t bother raising his head. It’s comfy here. A warm […]

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#354 :: Carnation

February 3, 2005

A sweet, dimheaded, new smell in my 16th year, the smell of the white carnation my mom pinned to the lapel of my prom jacket. Something suffused with promise and age, almost as if a mantle were bestowed upon me, a threshold placed before me and a sword and shield thrust into my hands. “You […]

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#353 :: Stereo Realist viewer

February 2, 2005

In its heyday, the Stereo Realist 3-D camera was the most popular 3-D camera around – used by Harold LLoyd, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Edgar Bergen (and one would assume, Charlie McCarthy to capture the world in stunning 3-D. I was introduced to my fetish in art school, when I went to an exhibit of stereo […]

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#352 :: Miniature Sieve

February 1, 2005

So many projects so little time it’s like running my gray matter through this dwarf kitchen tool facsimile just to put two thoughts together that make sense first I’m running around flogging my resume next I’m killing myself with a headful of MySQL code that I don’t understand just to cope with a hosting switch […]

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#351 :: 1977 Hot Wheels Funny Car

January 31, 2005

SUNDAYSUNDAYSUNDAYYYY!!! TOP-FUEL DRAGSTERS AND NITRO-METHANE-BURNING, FIREBREATHING FUNNYCARRRRS!!! *** PLUS ! *** THE GREATEST MONSTER-TRUCK CRUSH-OFF OF ALL TIMMMME!!! ONLY THIS SUNDAYSUNDAYSUNDAYYYYYY!!! That radio ad was just burned into my head in high school, by which time I had (mostly) graduated from an inexplicable addiction to poring over dogeared issues of Hot Rod and Top Fuel. […]

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January 30, 2005

FRIENDS: HLO will be down for the next day or so as I switch servers. If I were an expert DBA, I’d have it done in 60 minutes, but the fact is I’m just this guy who knows a little HTML, so I’m slogging through all the command-line jungles without much of a machete. The […]

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#350 :: Dymo Label-Maker

January 25, 2005

Just 20 years ago, this was the state of the art in signifyin’ machinery. Clicking the grip feeds embossable tape in: Select a letter by turning the alphabet wheel. Squeeze to print the letter – your grip sandwiches a bit of the colored tape between a positive-negative pair of dies, stamping the shape of the […]

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