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Here In Oakland

Art & Life

Today at the pump


Under here.

August 8, 2010

Ask The Question
Sunday. Another evening watching a Netflix movie last night, having had a bit of sake after a run to the supermarket, to bed fairly late. I seem to recall. No, not that much sake, my usual two glasses, but the mind, you understand, it's been fuzzy in the mornings. And the afternoons. And the evenings. And it forgets. Up this morning at six-thirty without the alarm, to breakfast and the Sunday papers, back now before nine, the morning overcast. Maybe a nap. Maybe, maybe, another morning of maybe's. So many maybe's.

I do go on about this sinus thing, but I am looking forward to seeing that ear, nose and throat guy a week from tomorrow. Much of this fuzzy headed business could be coming from the sinuses. So we'll see. Something to look forward to even if it turns out to be naught.

I was thinking along these lines after going back to look at yesterday's entry after posting, going back and needing to clean it up. Embarrassing when you yourself aren't quite sure what you were fumbling to say, aren't quite sure how all those “typos” got in there in the first place. No errors in the “moi” you understand. “Typos” can happen, but they're the damned sinus-keyboard-phase-of-the-moon's fault.

Later. Off on the bus, dropping an extra dose of the pain meds before setting out because, well, maybe they'd make the day a little smoother, maybe they'd make the day into a day; a walk then back to the apartment. I realized I'd have liked to sit and have a cup of coffee out on the patio at say Peet's, but the thought of coffee was altogether un-wonderful. Still, the downtown fairly quiet, not that many people around, although certainly more than enough to be comfortable out in the middle of things with a camera.

We'd passed this on the bus at the 17th Street stop, so I walked back through the City Center and on down Telegraph to photograph it from three angles. Three angles because I'd brought a telephoto lens and couldn't get up close and still include everything I wanted in the picture. If I'd brought the “correct” lens for this particular subject (there isn't really such a thing as a “correct” lens, just other perspectives, only limited by the photographer's imagination) I'm sure I then would have run across something quite different that would have been better imaged with a telephoto, so there's no way to win (other than to bring the whole kit and caboodle, in which case I wouldn't have been able to carry it all and still walk).

I don't, by the way, have illusions this mural is particularly great art, but I'm guessing the entire tagging, graffiti movement thing does say something interesting about protest and the current mind set of the local populace and this piece is a good indicator of the times and the moment. I assume that's Oscar Grant, an angel with wings, right across from the mural depicting Oscar Grant in memoriam.

Oakland is rightly upset over this killing, not necessarily because of the particular specifics of the incident itself, although sufficiently horrifying, but because this incident represents a long history of discrimination and battery against Oakland minorities by the police and the city establishment. People get tired of having their kids killed at the hands of the establishment. So I see this as a statement being made through a grass roots visual medium. I'm in favor of grass roots visual mediums, great art or not. More murals is my thought. And fewer killings.

So fine. I ran across these people picketing the Catholic church on Harrison near Grand. You don't see people picketing a church very often. I'm not sure if they were picketing the local bishop for being a major force and supporter in keeping Proposition 8 (the initiative before the federal court banning gay marriage) alive and in place or because of the church's recent pedophilia problems - one of the signs talked about the lack of women in the church hierarchy - but we obviously have people who, I assume, are members of the church and upset enough to demonstrate their frustrations.

Now if we could just get you and I out there picketing our representatives to get the political house in order. Well, you know, you're walking along for an hour with your mind drifting and it tends to wander into improbable areas. I mean, you and I, out there picketing?

I assume we went through a period similar to this in the thirties before they were able to put the necessary laws in place to stop the markets, bankers, brokers and such from gaming the system. I wish I were more familiar with exactly how that history unravelled. They got there, they did what was necessary, but I'm guessing the forces they were arrayed against weren't as big and nasty as they've become. But of course I digress. People picketing the Catholic church, though. Who ‘da thought, here in Oakland?

I stopped at Coffee With a Beat for a soda and a Cranberry muffin, not so sure I really wanted or needed the muffin, and sat out at a table for a while contemplating art and life after the walking. An urge to go by the bird sanctuary area by the lake, just a short walk farther on down the street, and then a walk along the lake and home. It's now two in the afternoon. Some guitar practice I think. Nothing much going on otherwise out there this weekend, the month doesn't really start until next weekend when we have a number of festivals lined up through and into next month. Life between festivals. Is there life between festivals? Better be, given there's so much of it.

Later. A bit of guitar, a bit of television news, a bit of guitar, a bit of television news. I think I detect a rut. Delicate, detecting a rut. Good rut? Bad rut? A good rut turning into a bad rut? Not yet, but you've got to keep your eye on it, be flexible, challenge your assumptions. (Hup! Hup!) I get nervous when I write what I realize are attempts to convince myself through these kinds of off the wall self motivational: hup! hup! hups!

And that's what it is?

Well, that's the problem. Is it or isn't it? That's why you have to ask the question.

The photograph was taken Friday evening at the Oakland Art Murmur with a Nikon D3 mounted with a 24 - 70mm f 2.8 Nikkor G lens.