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Here In Oakland

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Today at the pump


Under here.

August 10, 2010

Passed In A Flash
Tuesday. Up at six after a good night's sleep to weigh myself on the new bathroom scale that arrived yesterday (haven't gained or lost from what I can tell), to breakfast and the papers and then on over to the hospital lab to get my now a week late Protime test, a monthly drawing of blood to see how the blood thinner is doing. Pain in the arm, a pain in the ass.

Still, back to the apartment just after eight, the morning sky (as always) overcast, a demonstration to go to and photograph later starting at noon in front of the Oakland City Hall. What more could an old photographer ask? Well, maybe something more exciting than a demonstration against big business and its hold on government, but you never really know how these things may turn out. Things happen. Images appear.

The ongoing question as to “how the sinuses and upper palate are faring” is answered with a “doing OK”. It all runs together after a while, but the attitude, if not perfect, is better than many another I can recall. We're writing with some semblance of clarity here, we're thinking of taking a bath before we set out later for the downtown, maybe get in a little guitar practice now that the head is reasonably clear. Hard to read the little notes on their little staffs and calculate how they relate to your fingers when your head's in a fog. Grab the good times while you may, hey, no one can be around forever. And remember: we still have Layla to master.

Later A bus downtown. It came ten minutes late, but it came. Which is good. If I'd had confidence in it coming, I'd have taken the later bus, but we are learning to be careful. Such is life in Oakland where the bus drivers continue to call in sick during their contract negotiations. But I digress, as usual. Easy to do without an editor.

I got off a stop early to photograph the mural on 17th Street between Broadway and Telegraph and found the artists still at work on it. A mural in progress. So I took two or three pictures with the 24 - 70mm lens from across the street this time and found the results more to my liking. So the telephoto isn't worse, it isn't better, it's just different. Back and forth, back and forth. Not unlike my flailing brain.

The gathering wasn't all that large, although there were some hundred or so people in attendance. They gave speeches, they sang songs and everyone seemed happy enough with how it was going. Or unhappy enough with corporate lobbyists and how they were going might be a better way to put it. How to get corporate money in the billions out of the political system? Well, that's the question and they seemed to understand and be comfortable with the idea a solution was going to take time to implement, building a movement piece by piece over whatever number of years might be required. I hope they're right. Everyone seemed about my age or somewhat younger, not an unusual age for a group trying to get together on a work day at noon I suspect.

Back then on the bus cutting out early after about forty five minutes, feeling hungry. Why so hungry? I'd been hungry at breakfast, ate one of their larger menu choices (albeit ordering one instead of the two included pork chops with a half rather than a full order of Country potatoes), now I was hungry again quite a bit sooner than usual.

So a walk (where else?) to the usual place for a BLT with avocado sandwich. And French fries. How often do I have French fries? How often to I actually eat them? All of them? Well, all of them except for about four or five? I was hungry, which is good I suspect, as long as it doesn't get out of hand and torpedo what I'm now calling my day to day diet. Vegetables more often. Chicken instead of beef. Meat more often as a component to a dish added for flavor rather than a dish in and of itself. I read that somewhere: meat as a flavoring agent rather than a separate (overly large) course in a meal. It sounded right at the time, given my current reduced appetite and lost palate, and it certainly works.

A slow walk with two or three stops to sit for a bit and watch the people pass by on my way back to the apartment. Not tired, really, but slow for the pleasure it brought. I'm good at this slow walk business, keeping an eye out for pictures, what I call an amble, but this was even slower, more sensual, with the camera over the shoulder rather than in my hand, strap wrapped around the wrist, ready. Nice way to do it. But the result, of course, was no pictures.

I'm taking a break from the guitar at the moment, playing those new notes I was talking about, some semblance of a tune that's been lurking somewhere there inside coming out in brief glimpses. Goes slowly, this sight reading, this quickly picking of proper finger positions. But I'm making progress. I keep saying that, but I am. Slowly. (Hup! Hup!)

It's seven in the evening, where did the day go? Breakfast, yes, I remember. Blood drawn at the hospital. A message on the answering machine saying all was well, continue the usual dosage. A gathering in front of City Hall to photograph, a mural to snap. Yes. Lunch after a walk down the way, taking my time. A session on the guitar. Still, the day passed in a flash, as it often does these days, here in Oakland.

The photograph was taken of a Black Crowned Night Heron along Lake Merritt with a Nikon D3s mounted with a 105mm f 2.8 Nikkor Micro VR lens.