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Here In Oakland

Art & Life


July 13, 2013

Does Anymore
Saturday. Another bright clear morning, Mr. S dropping by for breakfast this morning, mentioning he was thinking of biking over to the Presidio in San Fransisco for an event; I sitting, thinking “biking over on BART and then through the city to the Presidio?” would be like me saying I was booking a ticket to Rio for coffee and ice cream. He's younger than I, but this is yet another demonstration of how timid I've become with age.

And dry as dust.

We beat the dry dust to death yesterday. Maybe just go out and take some pictures today, play a little guitar, leave off the whinging til Monday. Getting on a bike in this traffic would be like strapping myself into a seat on a rocket headed toward the moon.

I suspect you exaggerate.

I do. I'm a little upset after editing yesterday's entry, the clipped wanderings of a less than settled mind all paraded out in public. Not supposed to do that if all your tacks are in place to keep you from losing your things in the wind.

Later. Nice, outside. The air still cool in the mid to late morning, the sun shining, the sky clear. Over to the lake to take a picture or two while engaging in the usual conversation as to where we might go. Downtown? On a Saturday? Better than a Sunday, at least today there'd be places open, but no go.

On over and around to the bagel shop where I had a bun without coffee out in front at a table, the sidewalks crowded, the farmers market going full tilt. The vision was a bit wobbly, but nothing out of the ordinary, certainly nothing to impede my progress other than in becoming excited by worrying about it.

Back then to sit on a bench by the lake: the usual bikers, runners, walkers and odd balls out in the sun. The temperature was still decent as it was approaching noon. Back home to think about picking up the guitar, a good session yesterday, getting in another today would be even better. Pretty exciting stuff, I'd have to say, if excitement can be defined as something that puts you to sleep.

Now, now.

Gotta do something to get me off my butt.

Later still. Hung around the apartment for the rest of the afternoon, surfing the web and taking a nap. Tired of the web, couldn't sleep. Beep. The guitar sounds weird. Tuned it up, but something was off. Not enough to put off practice, but we're working on it.

Fixing the guitar or putting off practice?

Probably both.

Evening. It's obvious now, even to me, that every Annika Bengtzon (intrepid Swedish reporter) story ends with the lady travelling to some dark place where she's surrounded by killers, dope smugglers and really bad people all bent on her demise, but she (miraculously) fends them off and delivers the story before deadline. That's just the way it is on Saturdays at six. So we watched and played along on the guitar.

On a guitar feeding into an amp that's on the fritz or, I suspect, has had one of its many knobs or buttons pushed or twisted and it's doing everything but amplify the music. Which means I will probably have to read the manual to fix it. I have the manual, but I'm fighting it.

Read the manual describing all the things this particular model will do. Record, immitate other amps, add various kinds of distortion, play pre-recorded songs with all the instruments in place except for the guitar so you can fill in. But not how to just turn all that stuff off and play.

You're the one who bought it.

I was young and stupid when I started. For anyone who wants to learn the guitar: get a simple guitar, as few knobs as possible, and an amp with an on-off switch and, if necessary, tone controls. Add the other stuff later when you've figured out how to play. End of sermon.


I changed the battery in the guitar, reversed the guitar cable connection to the amp, turned it on and it worked. Which means I don't know how I managed to do it. The battery inside the guitar? Doubt it, as it plays fine through the teachers amp during our lessons. Reversing the guitar chord? Taking one end out of the amp and plugging it into the guitar, the guitar end into the amp? Doesn't make sense. Less and less of this stuff does anymore.

The photo up top was taken at a salsa session, taken one year ago this month in Splash Pad Park with a Nikon D4 mounted with a 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II Nikkor lens.