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Today at the pump


Under here.

August 30, 2010

Zen Lesson Stuff
Monday. To bed last night at a decent hour, up this morning with the alarm at six, breakfast at the usual place, the mood good, the attitude good, the day good, the sky clear. What more can I say? Well, given my history, more than anyone may wish to contemplate.

Before I forget, I did put another batch of photographs up on artandlife, in a Chinatown Street Fest section under Oakland Miscellaneous. For all my complaints about pulling pictures out of this festival (or any street festival, really), not unlike pulling teeth (perhaps a slight exaggeration, I've never myself tried “pulling teeth”), the results were reasonably good. The technique is to just walk through the crowds (and I do mean through the crowds) with the camera ready in the right hand, the telephoto lens cradled in the left around the ring that operates the zoom, on the alert for interesting expressions - approaching, standing or sitting - so you can shoot quickly. Some of them come and go in an instant, but in that instant you need to get off a shot.

How to apply this in other circumstances? With a lighter crowd, more aware of you the photographer (the stranger with a camera) without all the people around for cover, without all of the other photographers around shooting pictures, for instance? Well, we'll see. Different strokes for different crowds. Or something like that. Anyway, a good weekend of shooting. More of the photographs worked better than not and I'm happy about it. Of course it's Monday, a new week, what have you done for us lately, Mr. Bucko? Life, with all its quirks and rules, no rest for the wicked.

Later. A bus ride downtown thinking I'd get a Clipper card at the local bus office. Yes, I could get one, fill out this form, pay the fee and we'll take your picture, sending you the card through the mail once it's been processed. Sounded good. The Clipper card allows you to pay for any bus in Oakland or San Francisco (and other local cities) as well as BART, all at the senior discount.

A feature I liked is the card is reloaded automatically from you bank account when you run low. Of course paying for each individual bus ride doesn't make sense for me in Oakland, since a monthly bus sticker costing twenty dollars is much less expensive than paying two dollars for every round trip, so I'd still need to come by the bus office for a monthly sticker. I take many trips in a month. Many more than ten at two dollars a pop. Then again, so what?

I filled out the paperwork and took it back to the window to find that my current senior card already has the Clipper card features built in, just pay them whatever I wanted to add money to the card and I'm in business. Between standing in lines and asking for information, this took a lot longer than I've described, I'd come full circle. You learn by doing, I guess. They don't automatically add money to my card when it runs low, but maybe I didn't quite understand the Clipper card description, maybe it doesn't do it automatically either, except I suspect it does. Maybe go online and check. Use the head instead of the feet. Deedle-dee-deet.

Still, BART and S.F. buses will now be much easier to manage, no small dollar amounts left over on the BART tickets (it does add up) when you're finished. More mobility, maybe an incentive to get out and about. One can hope.

Back now at the apartment after coffee at a table in the City Center, walking back paralleling Broadway on Telegraph, taking my time, eventually catching a bus on Grand. Nothing in the way of pictures. I'll think more about that, how to perceive interesting images when walking through too familiar surroundings. If I don't have people's faces to photograph, well, what else might there be in the hopper? What other than faces might draw me to shoot its photograph? How do I find figure this out? But we've been here before. I'm rambling. Spinning my wheels. Again. And again.

Later still. A brief session with the guitar. I'm close to memorizing two of the songs included in the first lesson book. I suspect I should just sit and play them over and over until there's no hesitation, no mis-fingering and sounds that sound like, well, music. We'll see, we'll see. Telling myself little stories here rather than practicing.

Four loads of laundry finished, the socks folded into balls and put in their bin, the t-shirts and such folded and put away in their drawers. Sheets on the bed. I waited too long, of course, not so long as to run out of clean clothes, but long enough to run out of dark socks and the pairs of jeans I like for both color and fit. I'm learning it's hard to get the right jeans online. The next time I buy them, maybe in another five pounds when the waist shrinks another inch, I'll go by the local Sears. They carry Lands End, they carry Levi's, hard to buy the wrong shape or color when you're holding them in your hands. Even for me. Right?

I think the walks for the day are done. I went by the local AT&T store to see what they'd charge if I converted my land line to mobile. Take whatever that costs and see what the total would be if I then cancelled my t-Mobile account, my current phone no longer keeping much of a charge. Basically, by converting the land line to mobile (no more land line, but keeping DSL) and then cancelling the t-Mobile account and number, I come out slightly ahead. What was I spending on this land line? I probably could have saved some money if I'd talked to them about it earlier, looked for a better price.

So I have a web enabled smart phone (bare bones contract, but more than I'll use) coming next week. The feature that allows you to see how long before your bus arrives as you stand waiting at a stop? See if it's even coming? It sure will be nice, two buses in two days now leaving me flat, no bus at all, drivers still calling in sick. I've bitched about this for how long, not realizing I could have gotten the damned thing without spending any more money than I'm spending now? Diddle-dee-dow? A Zen lesson arriving unexpectedly from out of the Cosmos. Something to celebrate.

You're clenching your teeth as you're saying that.

I'm still working on this Zen lesson stuff.

The photograph was taken at the Oakland Chinatown Street Fest with a Nikon D3s mounted with a 70 - 200mm f 2.8 Nikkor VR II lens.