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Today at the pump

The Sole Prop's Sister?


Under here.

July 4, 2010

Of That Sake?
Sunday. Well, a funky day, yesterday, ending with a run to Beverages & More to buy a bottle of (cheap) Ozeki sake (on sale at $4.99) to sample that evening (drinking the whole damned thing) and a bottle of (less cheap) Rihaku Junmai Ginjo (Wandering Poet) sake (on sale at $34.99) to raise a toast at 6:00 this evening, as many others will be raising a toast at 6:00 this evening, in a “special moment of remembrance” for Ms. K, who (again) passed away two weeks ago today in Alaska.

I mentioned Gallo Red Mountain would have been more appropriate from our own history, but Red Mountain was more for myth, atmosphere and solace during times when we were broke than anything else, and the name - Wandering Poet - seemed most appropriate. And I'm the guy who's doing the drinking. And, well, knowing the lady, she'd have agreed. And partaken of a sip or two to just, you know, check out this Wandering Poet business. Poets and writers: moths to her flame.

So, into the (cheap) sake last night (no need to heat it in the microwave, we're taking it at room temperature more often than not as long as it's not sweet) I happened to turn to the Arts channel on TV where they were playing an aria from La Fanciulla del West, an opera by Puccini. I have many recordings of operas by Puccini that I haven't played in a very long time.

So, the sake well in effect, I put, not a record on the turntable, but a video of La Boheme into the tape player, the fucking amazing Australian version by Baz Luhrmann (one must be accurate here, even considering one might offend, but the fucking amazing version by Baz Luhrmann) and listened to it through to the end.

Talk about nostalgia. Ms. K wasn't into opera, this isn't about Ms. K, but something else. The celebration of the 4th of July, perhaps, a moment to reflect. Still, when's the last time I listened straight through a favorite opera? This retirement thing, this disconnect from the workaday world perhaps, has its surprises. Is my lack of listening to the music I once loved anymore to do with, what, this three square meal a day, cleave to the dictated patterns and norms, mechanistic universe of struggle for naught, life of thine and mine? We'll not go there. We are not altogether making sense. But we'll see if this music continues after the sake is gone. I suspect not. Many adventures are started by no more than an alcoholic nudge. Ocular migraines come to mind.

You know that in Boheme, Mimi, the heroine, dies?

Why yes. She does. Tunefully as well as tearfully, I might add.

The Fourth of July That was indeed the product of the sake last night, the consumption of an entire bottle, some five or so glasses of wine. No complaints. We need to do these things now and again, listen to the music of our youth, toast the fates, howl at the moon. Pretty calm howling at the moon, though, but we're getting older now and “wiser” may be coming into play. Nice to have “wiser” around, particularly when the moon is nigh and the werewolves have come out to play.

Up this morning with a bit of a head, the sinus-upper palate thing basically, but the sinus-upper palate could just be the form the hangover had decided to take. I like the Ozeki, but as cheap sake, albeit decent cheap sake, does it lend itself to hangovers where the more expensive stuff might not? We used to suggest in the wine business, when we were drinking gallons of stuff most people have only read about, that the aged high quality reds didn't lend themselves to hangovers the way the plebeian cheaper stuff did. Ha! I think we knew we were kidding ourselves, unless by “cheap” you were talking about something made in a backyard still. Swill from a still. But I digress. It's only this narrative that gets that far out of hand.

To breakfast, a good breakfast, with the papers, back now after ten, the day ahead. What to do, where to go, what cameras to take? Simple questions asked again and again, the answers getting somewhat clearer over time, I'd like to think. To San Francisco and the fireworks at Pier 39? Right there at the BART station? Jack London Square? No fireworks, but still a big street party with music on various stages and such? Probably not. But who knows? The head is clear and the hangover is gone.

Later. A very nice bus ride downtown followed (after some ungodly concoction I had out on the patio at Peet's - whipped cream, drizzled chocolate, coffee, whole milk, very tasty) by a nice leisurely walk back to the apartment, the head clear, the attitude excellent.

Some pictures along the way, of course, nothing too exciting. The city is still bracing for the verdict in the Mehserle trial coming next week, some of the store fronts in the areas most likely to attract a crowd have nailed plywood over their windows, the local youth radio building boarded up with a large mural on the side of their building. I'm probably going to be there to photograph it so I suspect there will be more pictures coming.

I thought you avoided conflict?

We'll see, we'll see.

One nice thing of note. I ran a picture or two of two geese with their very young goslings and wondered, some time later, why I hadn't seen them but for those two days when they were seen eating with one of the large flocks. I'm assuming these are the same four some five weeks later. There are four of them, I think, just as there were four at the end of May when I first saw them. So good. I wondered if they'd survived. They have. And if they're not the same four? Well, who knows? We'll assume they are even if they aren't. Optimism today, on the Fourth. (Hup! Hup!)

So again, feeling pretty good, some thought now that it's three in the afternoon as to where to go later. Pier 39 in the city? Drive downtown, see if I can find a parking space near a BART entrance? If I can, the trip is trivial. On the train right at the station, off the train right there at the Ferry Building, crowds and fireworks aplenty. Or stay home? Drink some of that sake?

The photograph was taken at the 2010 San Francisco Carnaval Parade with a Nikon D3s mounted with a 70 - 200mm f 2.8 Nikkor VR II lens at f 8 at 1/125th second, ISO 200.