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Here In Oakland

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Today at the pump


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July 30, 2010

Now I'm Flying
Friday. We cancelled out on listening to Mr. S's band last night, but I found myself thinking I'd still like to get out of the apartment one more time and ended up taking a bus downtown to check out the Pro Arts opening opposite City Hall. Getting off the bus there was some really nasty blues coming from the City Hall area itself, so I walked over to see what was up.

There's been a local blues group that's been sponsoring blues concerts for over a decade now, originally playing on 9th Street when I first became aware of them and started occasionally visiting after work to listen and shoot pictures, our office being on 11th Street, just two short blocks away. This is evidently where they've ended up, playing on Thursday evenings, and the band was pretty good. So, what the hell, I could always walk over to the art show opening later, I stayed around, listened to some wicked guitar and took pictures.

I'd brought the 50mm f 1.4 lens thinking I was going to be inside up close where a 50mm is really desirable and not thinking I might want to photograph a band (hard getting anything novel or new taking pictures of a band once you've photographed your first, oh, say hundred or so of them) where I'd have otherwise brought something to get in closer, but what the hell, these things happen, get close and then get closer. The photographer is responsible for bringing in the picture, even when he doesn't bring in the picture.

Anyway, a look in at the show after listening to the band, a bus ride back thinking I was now really hungry, let's try the sushi place at the bottom of the hill in front of my apartment. So I had Maki rolls and sake (spending altogether too damned much money) and wandered back home finally feeling just fine, thank you. Just fine. An hour on the guitar a little buzzed (I hadn't had all that much sake) and then to bed, the day done, the editorial “we” done, looking forward to tomorrow.

Back home now from breakfast and the papers. UPS had left a message on my phone yesterday saying they were going to make a delivery today that required a signature, but couldn't tell me when the truck would arrive except it would be between eight in the morning and seven in the evening. OK. UPS has often delivered here after six in the evening and I'm due to be down the street at six to have a beverage with the usual crew, let's hope they arrive sooner than later. All this excitement over a guitar. Will it turn out that it arrives after six when I'm not here? Sometime today between eight and seven? This is customer service?

Later. I talked with my apartment manager who mentioned she was going to be in all day, so I left a note on my mailbox saying she could sign for any deliveries and headed out for lunch around three. I get hungry around three. A walk down toward the theater, a picture or two along the way as I can't take a walk without taking a picture (or two), a slice of cheese and mushroom pizza (which, surprisingly, I was able to eat) and then a walk home along the lake (as I can't get back home without walking along the lake). The UPS man had not arrived in my absence.

But he did arrive an hour later. I was not expecting the Stratocaster to be much different in size or feel than the Michael Dolan guitar the store had rented to me. I'd taken the Dolan with me to Portland to compare with a Strat owned by my brother-in-law and they'd seemed quite similar. If anything, I was thinking his Strat seemed a little “clunkier” (clunkier: hip musician talk), but again, very similar and buying a Strat would not put me in a place where I was essentially in some ways having to start over.

This one seems smaller, the strings slinkier, the weight lighter, the look sexier and the sound just fine, thank you. I'd thought of keeping the Dolan if I could get a really good price on it, as it seemed a nice guitar and I'd been playing it now for three months, but no way after today. OK, the Stratocaster is an Eric Clapton model, built to his specifications and modified as time has gone along and as he's requested changes.

“Blackie” is the nickname of the guitar they started with and they've modified the various this and that's as he's requested them. Sounds good, anyway. That's what they say in their advertising. And hell, I did decide to take this guitar playing far enough so I could play Layla. Right? Right?

OK, crazy to get an Eric Clapton model the first time out, but after the cameras crazy takes on a somewhat different character. The proof will be in the playing in another six months. Will I still be practicing every day with some semblance of a smile? Might not, but right now I'm flying.

The photograph was taken on the Warm Springs Reservation in Oregon with a Nikon D3 mounted with a 70 - 200mm f 2.8 Nikkor VR II lens.