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

Saturday, April 29, 2006


Sunflowers, originally uploaded by dumbeast. a vase.

Pearl's Red Dot

Pearl's Red Dot, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

...on my dicatphone, which could buy and sell me three times before breakfast.


Stamps, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

Cork, epoxy, alphabet pasta

alphabet pasta

alphabet pasta, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

From Foodvale, East 14th at Fruitvale


Sketch, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

For initialling return envelopes

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Also Knave-like

Also Knave-like, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

All day long, balls kept flying at my head.

Sometimes I feel, sometimes I feel,
Like I been tied to the whipping post
Tied to the whipping post,
Tied to the whipping post,
Good lord, I feel like I’m dyin’.*

Well, it's probably not as bad as all that. For instance, the situation doesn't call on me to climb up that recently dynamited slide zone yonder and dislodge them boulders with this here crowbar, nor to handle the dead. At least it hasn't yet.

*Allman Brothers Band — “Whipping Post”
Marcel Duchamp — Nine Malic Moulds from “The Large Glass”

Friday, April 21, 2006


Alvin, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

This little clump of hair on the left side of my head is always sticking up in the morning when I wake up. We call it an 'Alvin' for reasons that are lost to me now. It must be the fastest growing hair on my head. It's always been a mystery.

I've got a theory about it now. It occurred to me that, if I was the type to comb over, that's where I'd be looking for material. My theory is that I probably come from a long line of comb-overers, and some genetic program is causing that hair to keep on trying.

Good luck to that!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Words that resemble "knave."

Words that resemble "knave.", originally uploaded by dumbeast.

As in:

  • "Curb your tongue, knave."
  • "Keep a weather eye on that varlet, or he'll steal you blind, God wot."
  • "I was reluctantly compelled to thrash the impudent jackanapes with a taxidermied otter."

Corinthian PLUS!

Corinthian PLUS!, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

Column, reflections.


Baleen04, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

I knave in a building which reputedly has the largest elliptical dome West of the Mississippi. On my floor, surrounding the domed well there's a course of more-or-less Corinthian columns, behind which stand the tempered-glass fronts of many offices just like the one which employs me.

Looking across the well, the columns reflect in the glass, none of which is exactly flat, so you get this distortion of the fluted columns. They look like the throat grooves of rorqual whales to me.

Workin' in the Pod. Happy 4/20! I'm so baked.


Tools, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

What I brought to work today for my anti-static project.

Heartfelt thanks to Jim for giving me the roll of 3M Core Series 2-0300 tape before he split for the boot. Also, his tip about hitting the wall was spot-on.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Static Solution

Static Solution, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

I've got a small problem at work. I'm in a cozy fluorescent-lit cubicle. I sit in this plastic chair, typing at a plastic keyboard, which sits on a plastic desktop.

I have no idea whether I'm getting a positive charge or a negative charge, but believe you me, some electrons are changing hands over here, as whenever I stand up and touch something, I get a nasty shock.

The weather has been anything but dry, so I don't see any relief coming from that direction. I'm wondering if there might be something easy that I could set up to keep myself grounded while I'm at my desk, to leak off those Coulombs as they arrive and not have to do the capacitance discharge mambo whenever I get up to go to the photocopier, or to get myself a bowl of gruel, or whatever it is they keep in that trough.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Open Source Citizenship March

Watch the video

Oakland, CA; Monday April 10th, 2006

During my lunch break on Monday, this march was happening, down 14th St past Broadway on its way to a rally at the Federal Building. I marched along.

That shit always gets to me. I dunno. Ali McGraw's character dies of cancer in Love Story? Jeff Skilling has a rough day on the stand? Eeh. But for some reason, a mass movement of people asserting their eqality always chokes me up.

Friday, April 14, 2006


Mandelbrot, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

...pastries of finite volume, but posessing infinite density.

Funny story--to take these to work, I had them in a bag hanging from my handlebars, but they were so heavy, my bike would only travel in tight little circles. I had to divide the cookies in two and hang one half from either handlebar to be able to navigate effectively.

Flipper DVD

Flipper DVD, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

I was talking to Larry. Then I made him a movie. Haven't heard from him since then.


Desk, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

...and now, Desktop® Background!

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Flipper Rules OK?

Watch the video
Cellphone footage from the Fab Mab Reunion Concert at the Fillmore SF last night--April 8, 2006. Great show! I could't get Dirk Dirksen to show us his tits, though.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Saponified Grief

This is a remake of a movie that my friend Bruce Bursten made in, oh, 1970 or maybe 1969, ok? He was at Nicolet; I was holding down the wierdass Jew bastard post at Homestead High School.

Bruce's movie was called "Saponified Grease", and as Bruce was a science whizkid (soon to become a major organometallicist), it concerned the saponification reaction, whereby fat is transformed into soap, juxtaposed with greasy Pauchuco music as interpered by Frank Zappa. This might or might not be accomplished through hydrolysis. I'm a clerk, not a chemist or an ethnomusicologist, so I'm sure that I don't know.

Bruce shot his film in Super-8. I've reproduced his sound track as faithfully as my shattered meomory allows. I starred in "Saponified Grease" as "guy in a bathtub eating Crisco out of a can with a spoon." It was one of my first film acting gigs.

Bruce has subsequently gone on to become a world-class chemist and educator. I have to confess that, over last Christmas, when he tracked me down to tell me that he had just been appointed Dean of Liberal Studies at a prestigious Midwestern college, I felt a pang of jealousy. Like, of course, now I'm a glamorous clerk in a law office in Oakland. But back then, I didn't have that going for me, and I'm afraid that Bruce's success kind of rankled. So I had to examine that, and out of that introspection came this film; a remake of Bruce's cinematic classic.

I've taken some artistic license with Bruce's original vision. This time, the transformation goes from grease to grief, as, let's face it, we've all lived through enough now that we know regret on a level that our teenaged selves hadn't yet encountered. Saponification combined with grief of course calls up the Nazi death camps, so I had to roll with that.

Anyway, this turned out to be something of an in-joke Valentine to my old friend. I'm glad of your success, Bruce, and it was great remembering all our old times together.


Tuesday, April 04, 2006


Arbuckled, originally uploaded by dumbeast.


"I woke up in a sack in the middle of the East River."

Monday, April 03, 2006

Renee's Feet; a Composition

Renee's Feet; a Composition, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

I liked the distorted checkerboard thing that Renee's pants/socks/shoes were doing from my perspective today at the Angry Club. It was a welcome distraction from the pantload of hooey they were trying to make us swallow.

What'm I (having for lunch)?

What'm I (having for lunch)?, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

Chopped Liver?

Thanks, Babe

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Watching Television with Cats

Watch the video
Watching television with cats, a still camera, and some footage of that damn helicopter from last Sunday morning.

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