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Today at the pump

The Sole Prop's Sister?


Under here.

July 5, 2010

Play Hey
Monday. We skipped out on attending any of the fireworks displays last night. I should have known, planning on having a toast to Ms. K precisely at six. And another at seven. Just covering the bases: six o'clock in the evening here on Pacific Coast time is seven o'clock Alaska time. Opened the remaining more expensive bottle of sake, ended up drinking about half, what I call a reasonable evening, none of this full bottle crap. So a chapter is ended insofar as a chapter is ever ended.

They had a story recently about our local Alameda animal shelter, how the budget has been cut and they have many cats and dogs stacked in cages in the hallways awaiting adoption or the euthanasia bullet. Made me think of driving over to the shelter and picking one up. Just like that? “Picking one up?” I have a family party to attend in the middle of this month, best to wait until I return, take my time going up the road (as I've said many times in the past), take my time coming back. Ha. Ha without the exclamation point. Take my time. When has such as that ever passed through these lips?

Still, another Fourth of July survived. I believe today is pretty much considered a holiday around and about, the parking meters not running (I hope, I haven't gone to breakfast yet, writing this last night), the mail not being delivered and such. The mail isn't being delivered, right? Shows you how much I'm in touch. So we'll take it as it comes, here in Oakland. I'm not sure there's another choice.

An overcast morning, up at seven-thirty, again without having set the alarm, to breakfast and the papers, then on to the supermarket to buy milk, Comet and dishwasher soap. I live alone, when I use a dish I generally wash it by hand on the spot, no need to put them in the dishwasher, so I haven't used the dishwasher in over a year. Literally. Maybe two years. So when I opened it up I discovered quite a bit of silverware and more than a few dishes. Remember my mentioning I'd bought dinner place settings from Macy's, wondering why I seemed to have so few plates and bowls and such? Does this sound smart? Like I'm in control?

Are you worried?

Nah. I understand why it would never occur to me to check the dishwasher, not having used it in such a long time. Been my habit as a bachelor for years. But indicative that not all the grey cells are functioning. Still, at my age, at this rate, I'm good for a decade or two. Something else will get me long before then. But again, interesting to watch, interesting to put yourself into a different context: old fart puttering around in a funny looking hat. Kind of like going incognito, nobody's paying attention to you (ha! or your camera, click! click!). Cartier-Bresson would be amused.

We are not Cartier-Bresson.

Indeed. Very few Cartier-Bressons out there anymore.

Later. A bus downtown to get off at the corner of 17th and Broadway to check the name of the building with the plywood on its doors and an Oscar Grant mural around the corner on its side. Youth Radio was what my memory said, but I wanted to check so I could go back and label it correctly for both the journal and the photographs I'm adding to Here In Oakland. I may become something of a reporter yet, checking facts. I recall checking facts was a big deal in the journalism curriculum at school. Pain in the ass, checking facts. Probably why I chose to write the humor column.

A cup of coffee in the City Center out in front of the bagel shop, the place deserted but for one or two people and a couple of security guards. One thing about the City Center, they have plenty of security guards. A picture of the lone person I could see from my table and then another picture of a pigeon who looked to be in trouble, hobbling along with a bad foot and rumpled feathers, pecking for something to eat on the bare pavement. I almost went back inside for a bagel to feed the poor guy, figuring he didn't have all that much time left in his condition, might as well make today a day when he got a meal at least. But I didn't.

A walk then back home along a slightly different route checking the boarded up buildings. Boarded up because they were vacant or boarded up waiting on the Mehserle trial verdict? I'm guessing a bit of each. Another shot of graffiti high up on a building, another shot of The Lunch Box. I like the paint job and the sign on the building above it that had harbored more graffiti the last time I'd been by, the new Lunch Box sign now covering it up.

Pretty exciting, was my thought, the streets almost empty. Another try at the FairyLand photograph I took yesterday, looking for a feeling of coming on the thing unexpectedly in the middle of the woods. I had a camera with the equivalent of a 200mm lens and I thought this combination might get a better picture. I think it did. Otherwise a good outing, the sun coming through as noon approached. A self portrait reflected in a building window downtown, a picture of a sparrow rubbing its head against the base of a lamp post. I didn't quite see the small spider web nest of small twigs as I was shooting, wondering what rubbing his head on the base of a lamp post was about.

So, it's now one in the afternoon, the walking has been done, at least from an exercise standpoint, I may well go out again if I can think of a good reason. Any old reason is a good reason, anymore, so I suspect I'll get out later if only to sit by the lake. A haircut tomorrow, an EEG the next morning, a trip to Portland coming up the week after. Stuffs happening, I guess, the world turns, the sun comes up and the sun goes down, the world warms, the East Coast (I hear) is frying. Nice to be here in Oakland.

Later still. Later in the afternoon practicing the guitar. I will have had it now for a full month come Thursday, this week. I thought maybe I'd get beyond lesson one in a month, but I haven't. Still, I can now finger the chords without a lot of problems, I suspect they'll come easier and easier as I practice, and the fingertips have toughened up quite a bit. Some days I'll get in maybe thirty minutes, some days over an hour, all of it in short segments, playing again until the fingertips begin to hurt. We'll see. I'm enjoying it, the guitar I rented seems to be a good one, it holds a tune-up pretty well, although I tune it every time I start. Minor adjustments on a string or two is all that's required.

You talked about practicing two hours a day.

I'm getting there. The idea is to do whatever it is I do for three months and see then where I sit, where my head is at, how my fingertips are doing, how many chords I can play. Hey.

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.