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Today at the pump

The Sole Prop's Sister?


Under here.

March 15, 2010

I Amuse Myself
Monday. Up at six and off to breakfast at six-thirty, back now at eight, two large cups of coffee, a blue berry waffle (with a sliced banana on top) and a mixed fruit cup to the better, the sun coming up now in a nice clear sky. My, my. What to do now with the rest of the day comes into play, hey, here in Oakland.

That's embarrassing.

No, it's just a bit of exuberance augmented by some cheer leading on my part. I'm not sure it really means much as I seem to do this every day with mixed results. Too much conscious emphasis on taking photographs maybe, not enough let the subconscious set the schedule, lay off the cheer leading part. Cheer leaders are for football games and such, useful now and again in other pursuits, but over done when they're over done.

None of that makes sense.

It's like starting an engine and letting it idle before setting out, making some random marks with a drawing pen to get the ink flowing, no sensibility intended, no sensibility required, just a way to get the day to start. And we're looking for a way to get the day to start to the point of getting in the car and searching out old haunts. At my age I'm not certain I'm much interested in new haunts, not sure I'd even recognize a new haunt if it came to haunt me. (Now even I'm embarrassed. Best to start this again.)

They're evidently actually making a Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers movie from what I'm seeing on Facebook. I've found Facebook quite useful in keeping track of my cousins and their kids, a way to see a bit of what they're up to from a distance and allowing me to remember their names and where they live when we have our family get togethers twice a year in Seattle. Same with some of the folks I knew in the seventies in the underground press, the Freak Bothers having a fan site on Facebook with updates from an time in my life I long ago lost contact with.

I first ran across Gilbert Shelton, the creator of the Freak Brothers, when he was the editor of The Texas Ranger, the hands down best college humor magazine in the sixties published at the University of Texas in Austin, and reprinted many of his old Wonder Wart Hog strips in Seagull magazine at the University of Washington. The first person to buy the screen rights to the Freak Brothers was Universal Pictures in the early seventies, either Cheech or Chong (I can't remember which) spear heading the project. They paid a quarter of a million dollars for the rights, wrote a script, then let the project lie with the rights going back to Gilbert when time specified in the contract ran out.

“Dope will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no dope” sounds nice, but a quarter million here and again can come in handy too, I would think. In the early seventies anyway, when you're close to broke. So there's a stop motion movie being made at the moment and I hope it gets released. I'm good for a ticket, anyway, if I or any of the rest of us are still around.

Speaking of which, Saint Misbehavin': The Wavy Gravy Movie is soon being released and they're having a showing and a reception down at the Grand Lake Theater April 1st. Wavy Gravy and his wife used to come by the old Rip Off Press parties (there were a lot of interesting people who came to the old Rip Off Press parties) and I met him there for the first time. I “met” him in the sense I was introduced, said hello, no more than that (standing around stoned out of our collective minds), but I wondered if I might know one or two of the people who show up at this reception, so I bought a ticket wondering if anyone I might recognize is still half coherent these so many years since.

Later. Hopped a bus downtown and then walked back to the apartment in the new “snug” shoes without mishap. No, they're not ready for prime time yet, but a two mile walk indicates to me they're going to make it. I'm going to make it. This is good. Sometimes stupidity can be turned into a win, albeit more wearing on the psyche (and feet) than I like.

I sat out at a table in the City Center (I do like outside tables). A picture that could have been better if I'd just raised the camera, focused and waited for the shot, I don't think the subject would have had a clue I was taking his picture as absorbed as he was in his mobile phone, but you learn. Every outing provides another bit of information whether you ever use it or not.

A walk back then to the apartment passing stores you don't always see on every block. A detour again behind the church at Grand and Harrison to take another picture exactly like the rest of the pictures I've taken at this spot. Probably not a good sign, not a good habit. Still, I suspect, if I thought about it, planned, did my homework, I could go back to this place and really get something I might like. But that would take work. Effort. So I don't. I guess I fit into a category of photographer to which I'd not like to admit. Nah. I comfortable with it.

Passing another photographer snapping a picture by the lake, an advantage of having the camera in your hand, although the lighting isn't the best. A minute or two sitting at a bench I'm more than familiar with wondering if the reason I'm attracted to trees without leaves is the fact they grow, the branches are arranged, in a very specific pattern, influenced by their location and how they're exposed to the light. Forests evidently grow in the same fashion, you can apply a mathematical formula to a square mile of jungle and come up with very accurate information on how many trees, their ages and the like. Kind of like Mozart and his music, how it seems to have a mathematical form and some people are attracted to it for that. Same with tree (branches) maybe for someone with a camera.

You want a pass on taking so many dumb photographs of tree branches? Is that it?

Every thing you say seems to have a hidden motive anymore. What have we come to? Is there no lack of transparency left (except in the government)?

Approaching the apartment I passed what was once a bus stop sign and a sidewalk newspaper box, all of which along with pieces of the headlight on the offending car scattered in the distance. How did the guy do this? Drunk? Maybe. Better a newspaper box than a person of course, but then you never know what really happened or who else or what else may have been knocked on their ass. I'm limping a bit by this time, the right leg a bit numb and slightly dragging, not due to the shoes, unfortunately, but something else. I don't want to think about the something else, put it on the pile with the others I want to block out. Still, things like this do come up, they stay for a while and then (so far) they stop. The doctors I mention these things to haven't been alarmed.

So it's still early in the afternoon, the mail is due soon and I have things to mail that I've been putting off. Nothing past deadline, but I suspect this is the day to do them. I'd planned to get them out this last weekend of course, but how many times have I said leave it to the weekend and then ducked out? Ha! I amuse myself.

The photograph was taken at the San Francisco 2010 Chinese Lunar New Year with a Nikon D3s mounted with a 70 - 200mm f 2.8 Nikkor VRII lens at f 2.8 at 1/500th second, ISO 640.