brucine (broo'-seen), 1) n. Pharm., Chem. a bitter, poisonous alkaloid, C23H26N2O4, obtained from the nux vomica tree; 2) n. Bruce Bortin's 'low-impact' weblog

Sunday, January 30, 2005


Doc, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

Today's theme is surveillance. It started with an email from nessie outlining all the evil privacy issues that come unannounced and unbidden with your free gmail account.

Later, I ran into our mutual friend Doc at Bevmo. I took a picture of him while he was waiting in the checkout line.

One of the checkers saw me do this and told me, "I don't think you're allowed to shoot that in here," so I put my camera away. After a minute, the checker asked me what I was doing, still hanging around there. I told him I was waiting for my friend to check out.

Would he like me to wait outside?

"No, I guess that's alright. Sir."

I don't know. It's not as if they're not videoing everybody who enters their store. Very discreet, tiny cameras, but they're there, if you bother to look for them, which is what I was doing while I waited for Doc to check out.

As a younger man, I would have raised a stink about all this. It would have taken the form of going around ostentatiously photographing all their surveillance equipment until they called security and had me removed. But, Christ, the checker was probably just having a bad day and wanted to rag on somebody. I mean, he's probably making $5 a day waiting on alcoholics and, truth be told, I'm one of them, and I'd rather not get 86'd from the store.


Saturday, January 29, 2005

Pearl Closeup

pearl 006, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

After she calmerd down a bit, she came and sat on my lap.

Isn't that a shoener punim?

Pearl Emerging

Pearl Emerging, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

Pearl worked herself into the comforter yesterday. Here she is scooting out of it.

Friday, January 28, 2005


Snowflakes, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

Hello, hello, hello. Alright. I made covers for the DVD of "A Tour of Bruce's Colon" yesterday.

Manilla filefolders painted acrylic brown, entrapping handcut snowflakes, just like in kindergarten, each one different. Like Hillel's Moral ABC. All one! All one!

Thursday, January 27, 2005


Mini-Black, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

Department of revolting commercial utterances.

This is a box of little cookies or crackers, I guess. From the new Korean market on 14th St. Where Eugene's used to be.

Oh, ugh.


Signpost, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

Much improved since last October

Wednesday, January 26, 2005


Unhappy, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

Ray at the vet today.

We wanted to check out how his overall health is doing since his trip to I-131 camp last fall. He wasn't at all pleased about the examination.

He wouldn't speak to us after we got home. Poor guy. He's forgiven me now, though. In fact, he's bugging me for attention right now.

Alright, Ray!

Ludo On Greenscreen

Ludo On Greenscreen, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

This is, I believe, Audrey's mouse, Ludo. Or it might be Adam's mouse. And I might have the name of the mouse wrong.

Anyway, Adam & I videotaped a bunch of mice on a piece of green illustration board yesterday, for future chromakeying into whatever situation is desired.

Who knows? Is it possible that Detox Mouse is scheming to declare Fatwa on your ass?

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Glen Moriwaki

Glen Moriwaki, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

Mary & I just attended the first class of Art 109--Contemporary Art at SF City College. Here's our professor, Glen Moriwaki. He's intelligent, engaging, and not inarticulate. Didn't piss me off even once. I don't know what I expected, but it wasn't that. Huh.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Out of Context

Out of context, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

This sigmoidoscope was for sale at somebody's booth at the Laney Flea Market yesterday.

I don't know for sure where it's been, but I could certainly venture a guess.

Tree / building / reflections

Tree / building / reflections, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

Fraenkel Gallery Window

Fraenkel Gallery Window, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

The Fraenkel Gallery is showing photographs by Irving Penn.

Here's the window to the back gallery.

Gallery Paule Anglim Skylight

Gallery Paule Anglim Skylight, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

I hit some of the downtown SF galleries on Friday. At Gallery Paule Anglim, there was a nice retrospective of Jess.

I liked the skylight over the stairs that lead to the gallery. I wonder how those pine needles got there.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Outside Kaiser

Outside Kaiser, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

Still from my new video, "A Tour of Bruce's Colon"

I decided that the movie started too abruptly, so yesterday, I rode up to Kaiser and filmed an introductory sequence.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Pearl's Closeup

Pearl's Closeup, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

Love that Gaussian blur filter!

Gotta love Pearl, too.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005


Monitor, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

Still from my new video, "A tour of Bruce's Colon"

This shot helps set the scene in the sigmoidoscopy chamber.

Coming never to a theatre near you! (It's kind of transgressive)

Hello, Dr Cohen

Hello, Dr Cohen, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

Still from my new video, "A tour of Bruce's Colon"

In which I meet Dr Cohen, who presumabley chose this line of work of his own free will.

Hello Kitty!

Hello Kitty!, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

Still from my new video, "A tour of Bruce's Colon"

This shot is from the "What's up Bruce's butt?" sequence.

Fantastic Voyage

Fantastic Voyage, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

What else might be up Bruce's butt?

Ice Water

Ice Water, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

Mary has to soak her elbow in ice water every day. Turns out, Ray likes ice water. We're not sure whether he likes the cold, or just enjoys hanging out with his people. You know, social drinker.

Nothin' right about that boy.

Ray's Close-up

Ray's Close-up, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

Pearl & Ray in the Beautiful Morning Light

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Acacia Blossoms

Acacia Blossoms, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

Robot 2

Robot 2, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

Construction site at 14th & Jackson

Fungus 3

Fungus 3, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

Fungus 2

Fungus 2, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

Fungus 1

Fungus 1, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

A couple of cut-down tree trunks on 17th St. between Jackson & Madison have sprouted these elaborate fungus growths. It's a beneficial side to all the rain.

Sunday, January 16, 2005


8'2", originally uploaded by dumbeast.

Clearance marker at the drive-thru drycleaner at 14th & Jackson.


Robot, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

Behind the Fridge

Behind the Fridge, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

We cleaned under the fridge today, for the first time in the 9-1/2 years that we've lived here.


Saturday, January 15, 2005

Tony at Club-65

Tony at Club-65, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

Tony's telling us about cleaning up Oahu after the tsunami of 1966.

"Every time you move the bulldozer, up comes a leg, up comes an arm."


Mary & I stopped in on Tom at around 3 yesterday. He was in such a state. After dragging him out of his blindingly hot new office for the Neckface/Date Farmers show at The Luggage Store...

Neckface Speaks Truth, originally uploaded by

... we took him out to Club-65, a Tenderloin watering-hole near his new office.


Club 65

By the time we left, everybody had cheered up considerable.


WD-40, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Sombrero Fallout

Sombrero Fallout, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

Good light in West Oakland Wednesday.

This is outside the old "Bea's Transient Rooms" building across Wood Street from the old Amtrak station.


Yesterday, I got
Richard Brautigan's novel,
Sombrero Fallout
from the library

22/17ths of a Haiku

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

New Sofa with Ray

New Sofa with Ray, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

Peter E.V. Allen brought his truck over, and we picked up this BRAND! NEW! COUCH! at Cost Plus. Thanks for the help, Peter!

That's Ray there, regarding the changes to his kingdom.

Mary said: "He's shaped just like a

blue hubbard squash."

I can see her point.

Old Sofa

Old Sofa, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

We pitched our ugly old sofa last night. Mary had done some very nice patchwork on it, but it was hideous, and it smelled bad.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005


Scope & Lube, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

"Beware of all enterprises that
require new clothes."

Henry David Thoreau, Walden

"..also, enemas."

Bruce Bortin, Brucine

If you're over fifty, and have the mixed blessing of a health plan, you might know what I'm talking about.


Sunday, January 09, 2005


Duckweed, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

There's presently a bloom of duckweed on Lake Merritt.

Duckweed is the world's smallest flowering plant. This is either true, or it's one of those things which I say as though it was true.

I'm not really sure.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

New page up on 'bortino'

Bumper Sticker, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

I finally got around to organizing my documentaion of the bumpersticker project from last autumn. You can see it at

Beautifying America Through Self-Righteous Smartassitude

BB sez check it out.

Amal & Cerina Still

Amal & Cerina Still, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

Title screen from a DVD that I cut pretty directly from a little footage that I shot of our hike with Cerina and Amal in Santa Barbara last month.

Just sent the disk to Kum-Kum.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Acacia Buds

Acacia Buds, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

The next tree down. Right in front of the Hill Castle.

Acacia Flowers

Acacia Flowers, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

I saw this on Jackson Street today while I was coming home from posting Al's movie to him.

Art & Law Letter

Art & Law Letter, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

Art & Law Still

Still from 'Art & Law'

From a short film about my friend Al Green, appellate attorney & abstract artist.

The other day, I visited Al to see how his paintings were coming along. I photographed some of them.

Thing is, a couple times, I hit the "take some video" button on the camera, instead of the "take a still photo" button.


Thursday, January 06, 2005

Still from Altman Video

Still from Altman Video, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

Just finished the video of Lynne-Rachel's installation.

Certainly caught my eye

Certainly caught my eye, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

From the Department of Confusing Commercial Utterances.

Googling "The four crotch crotch rocket", it turns out that 'crotch rocket' is slang for a fast motorcycle. MiniUSA is comparing their car to that.

This billboard graces the corner of Market & West Grand in Oakland.

Why is Oakland a good place to live, work and play?

Why is Oakland a good place to live, work and play?, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

"Oakland does not have so much pollution. There is not so much disasters except for earthquakes."

This is from a display at the West Oakland Library. It was made by Norman Cheng in R. Young's 4th grade class at Lincoln School.

For more infromation,, 1-877-737-0370

10th Night

110_1006, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

Here's what the view of the television has been (from my chair) since we got the Xmas Tree.

On December 11th.

I'm just sayin'.

For extra credit:

Drew Carey or Andy Richter? I mean, it's obviously Drew onscreen here; I'm asking who do you like better?

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