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Here In Oakland

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Today at the pump


Under here.

August 4, 2010

Photo Larder
Wednesday. Up with the alarm at six, to breakfast and the papers, back before eight, a haircut scheduled today at ten. I'm in need of that haircut today at ten.

I have to admit a certain concern over the state of the writing these last several days. Is it sinking into some horrible pool of self-referential crap? The “self-referential” part, no problem, it's much of what writing a journal is about, but I get hints of a mind going to pasture here, an uncoupling from what is generally considered a sensible place on a brain's bell shaped curve. Too far to the right? Too far to the left?. Guitar practice? I can see talking about guitar practice, but in something other than the simplified sing along silliness of the terminally self absorbed, a tape loop of sorts, continuously playing a nonsensical fragment taken from from one of the brain's many forgotten subbasements, grating on the nerves.

Are we awake? We're certainly complaining about whatever rather than doing anything about whatever. You remember the American ideal? Say little, do much? Are we ready now to “do much”? Correct whatever it is you think is wrong? Brain drain? Come on! Around here in the blogosphere, who'd notice? Who'd care?

We do notice these things as we stumble along, we go back and edit to make our deathless prose sound halfway coherent, we note the problem points, but we certainly have no plans to make corrections now that we've retired. There are many ways to sink into the sunset that don't involve alcohol or recreational drugs. I expect to meet my maker picking the first chords of Layla or more likely, Twinkle, Little Star. I'd bet, if I were a betting man, on Twinkle, Little Star given the direction of this conversation. But what the hell, who knows, maybe I'll learn to bend those notes before it's over.

Later. Back from the haircut: a bus downtown, a walk back. The bus drivers are still calling in sick, still in the middle of wage negotiations in this downtrodden economy, but my bus going downtown came on time. The walk back, well, that's the idea, a walk for exercise (and pictures), but I noticed the bus I might have taken was way late if it came at all. I can sympathize up to a point, but waiting on a bus for an extra half hour when you're in a hurry sucks. The drivers who do arrive aren't the ones causing the problem. If it's getting them a better wage deal, well OK, go with what works, but it's frustrating standing like an idiot on the sidewalk waiting on a bus that's never going to come.

Later still. Another nap, the head finally clearing, I'm thinking guitar practice for the rest of the day. I mentioned tripping up yesterday, playing the simple notes of a simple tune badly, frustratingly worse than the day before. They say, after a night's sleep when the brain has had a chance to engrave whatever sequence you were trying to master into its tissue, that you're better the next morning. One reason they suggest you practice every day for say half an hour rather than every other day for a full hour. True or not I guess I believe it and hack away fingering the notes thinking, well, they sound terrible, but all this hacking and cracking will lead to hot patootie playing on the morrow.

A bit naive, don't you think?

As you may have guessed from my babbling over the years I'm a great believer in lying to yourself in order to get things done when all else fails. Hell, go with the lying right off if you find it's working. You've got to tell yourself a story if your practicing seems hopeless, do you not? Something to get back that smile and make you want to pick up your instrument again? Plunk those notes? Make the neighbors cringe?

You don't believe that.

Well I don't disbelieve it either. They say “The Big Lie” was invented here in the United States sometime in the twenties and thirties and it's been used since for nefarious purposes. I'm thinking there must be some good uses it can be put to as long as no kitty cats are harmed or the minds of small children perverted. Don't you think?

None of this has anything to do with thinking.

Later again. The music stand arrived and, although it required some assembly, I was able to cobble it together the tools I had on hand. It's nice, it does what I hoped it might (adjusts to the right height) and I was able to get in some note ripping practice. Note ripping in that it went better than it did yesterday, which is nice. Aura Lee, sounds like Love Me Tender, doesn't have all that many notes, but many of those notes I've discovered can be sneaky.

So good. The day has gone, if not well, then satisfactorily. I was going to run a picture or two, but decided to save them for the main pictures needed for tomorrow. There are three festivals and parades and such coming up this month and I need them to replenish the photo larder.

The photograph was taken yesterday leaving the Oakland City Center with a Nikon D3s mounted with a 85mm f 1.4 Nikkor D lens.