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Here In Oakland

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Today at the pump


Under here.

August 9, 2010

In The Past
Monday. Yesterday came to an unfortunately not unusual close, an ocular migraine creeping into the fuzzy side of the brain and throwing whatever I was working on off. Well, throwing the last stages of writing this off. To bed for maybe an hour, listening to the radio and all was well, but it crept up in such a way that I didn't quite notice its arrival until it was comfortably situated. Such is life.

Still, whatever last evening, up this morning to the alarm at six, breakfast and the papers at the usual place, back now before eight, the morning again overcast, the day and the week ahead. Some progress on the guitar yesterday, realizing, although I was having trouble in recognizing some of the newer notes learned in the lesson book, fumbling with them, having in some cases to look them up and then look them up again, that I wasn't really having any trouble recognizing and playing the first notes learned in the lesson book, that I'd practiced them enough to reliably recognize them and play them, although not in a particularly masterful way. Which means these new notes will become like those old notes soon enough, it's just a matter of time and repetition.

An obvious realization, you might say, but a good one. Gives you hope. Gives you confidence things are marching forward and the miserable noises you're managing to make on your guitar will improve. How much they'll improve, well, who knows, but however far it goes will undoubtedly surprise you. Which is good. Kills any thought of stopping. Makes the day to day slog halfway rewarding. More than halfway rewarding, yesterday marking the end of my first two months playing the guitar.

Later. A walk down to the bottom of the hill to catch a bus downtown. No bus. The drivers are still calling in sick. OK, back to the apartment for a nap. A good nap, over an hour, felt pretty good when I got up. Another walk down to the bus stop. The bus didn't come. I caught the bus after, thinking less than pleasant thoughts. A Zen lesson out of the blue. Celebrate.

A lunch in the City Center put together at the Fountain Café from their buffet, a salad heavy on tomatoes and broccoli. I was in the mood for a salad, couldn't convince myself I wanted to eat anything else and I'd just read how tomatoes and broccoli. were good antioxidants in fighting prostate cancer. You read so many things. For all I know the cancer study was underwritten by the national tomato growers association (in conjunction with the broccoli. mafia), but what the hell, couldn't hurt. It's probably good to remember now and again that I've had prostate cancer and it can come back. I like tomatoes. I don't mind broccoli. Must remember to pick some up at the supermarket, eat them cold out of the refrigerator cut into sections with a bit of salt (if you must).

Otherwise a walk through the City Hall area to cut down 16th to Telegraph and go by that new mural I photographed yesterday with a telephoto lens (from across the street). I had the 24 - 70mm lens this time, remembering my statement it was a better choice in photographing this particular mural. Well, what do I know? The telephoto seems to have done a much better job shooting from across the street, maybe the 24 - 70mm would have done better if I hadn't been so close, but another Zen lesson about confidently stating things you know nothing about.

It might well have worked better from across the street, you should give it a try. And you didn't say better, you said different.

I was thinking the same thing, try one or two more angles, try one from across the street. But I believe I did say “better” as well as “different”. Pretty exciting stuff to have going on when you're retired, don't you think? Whether one lens or another gives you the better picture of a mural? Why are you laughing? Are you jealous? Of this rocket ride I'm living, here in Oakland?

A bus back home, maybe get a longer walk in later. The head, the sinus-upper palate thing, seems much better: the mind clear, the attitude good. I think a bit of guitar plinking would go well right now as I listen to the afternoon news on public television. See if I can pick these new notes out with any better precision, now that I've had another restful night for the brain to integrate yesterday's session.

Have we added another exciting something to the afternoon? Aren't you worried about the blood rushing to your head? Maybe best to put on a parachute?

I'm kidding, but I'm not. I'm babbling, but I'm having fun. I'm clear headed, but (I'm afraid) full of BS. Better than chicken shit, I'm thinking, out here on the farm.

Later still. A walk down to the ATM and back, not much of a walk, but a walk none the less. It occurred to me I might be having a slight case of this ocular migraine coming on. I'd been getting in my guitar practice and found concentrating on recognizing and fingering the new notes seemed overly difficult, a late afternoon fuzziness was the thought. But then, as I was walking home, the obvious occurred. If it is, it's a very light case, no little visual puddles floating in space when you close your eyes, but still. But still. It's gone now, which is good. Maybe finish that guitar session, learn those damned notes. has scheduled a demonstration in front of the Oakland City Hall at noon tomorrow and I'd normally photograph it in any case, but they're demonstrating against undue business influence in government, so I don't mind joining in. I'll still shoot photographs, but I'll send any decent images to MoveOn with my complements. They've used one or two on their web site in the past.

The photograph was taken along Broadway in downtown Oakland with a Nikon D3s mounted with a 105mm f 2.8 Nikkor Micro VR lens.