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Today at the pump

The Sole Prop's Sister?


Under here.

May 18, 2010

To See How Tired
Tuesday. Although there were clear patches of moonlit sky last night, making me think we might have clearer if not clear skies this morning, it's overcast and looking a little grim. Still, the mood is good, breakfast and the papers have been consumed and I'm thinking of doing this and that with reasonably good intentions. If not a walk later, then something else. So good. We can leave out the hup! hup! hups! They'll be back soon enough, probably tomorrow.

They're saying this is one of the colder, more rainy Mays the Bay Area has seen. Evidently the Jet Stream hasn't shifted northward, as it usually does, and we're getting what I assume is the Pacific Northwest's weather. OK. Sounds rational. Worldwide this has been the warmest first four months in the 130 years NASA has been keeping records, something many were thinking might happen with an El Niño in place. The sun itself is at some kind of solar minimum so one wonders if these warming predictions, bad enough in and of themselves, aren't occurring at a faster rate than anyone has been predicting. Off by a factor of two? Three? Bad things do happen. Fire and ice, either they say will suffice, when you're doing disasters.

But these thoughts, this gloom and doom chatter, are not what I'm up for this morning (Hup! Hup! Already?) If I'm going to obsess over immanent dangers, at my age anyway, better to focus on, say, earthquakes. No one disputes we've got a big one coming, no oil companies are paying people to say the scientists are fibbing. Still, preparing for an earthquake would mean moving one or two of my bookcases in the bedroom (so they don't fall on top of me as I'm sleeping), acquiring a hand cranked flashlight/radio to keep by the bed and keeping the camera batteries charged so they're ready (to photograph the destruction). None of which I'm going to do, of course, noting all the other useful and fulfilling tasks I've successfully avoided. Clever, those little hand cranked radios though.

Later. A bus downtown and then a walk back, meandering a bit, taking a longer way home, but slowly, stopping for coffee at the City Center, taking a couple of pictures, and then again just off Grand near the Christ the Light church at another Peet's. Lot's of Peet's in Oakland.

I did shoot one or two pictures along the way. Another photograph of the stump beside the sidewalk along Euclid near Grand. I kind of like that damned thing, makes me want to blow it up really big and see what it looks like when it's the size of a wall. I won't, of course, not today anyway. A photograph or two at the City Center drinking coffee, watching the people pass. I just watch, don't spend a lot of time spinning stories, making judgements. Judgements tell you more about yourself than they do about strangers. Still interesting to watch for a while before moving on. A photographer's habit.

This guy was really hobbling. I took the picture by placing the camera on the table pointed in his direction and tripped the shutter as I took what appeared to be an innocent sip of coffee. Why I just didn't just put the camera to my eye, point it and shoot I'm not sure. This isn't something I've done all that much in the past. He wasn't looking at me, he wasn't likely to look up. And did I mention he was hobbling? The cane beside his leg? I could have outrun him blindfolded, hopping on one leg in a gunny sack. Lack of courage on my part, a photograph that at other times I'd have just raised the camera and shot?

A sign on a fence along Grand. Not something that will ever see the inside of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, my photograph, but it caught my eye enough to take it and run it through Photoshop. “Best to follow your eye”, he repeats confidently (hup! hup!). Don't ask, just shoot. They're cheap, these pictures. He said.

This photograph to note the web address so I could take a look at it when I got home. This is a recently opened tattoo shop on Grand, not that far from my apartment, and I was curious as to what it was. I guess you can make a living doing tattoos in this new tattoo day and age, even in a middle class neighborhood filled with restaurants, apartment houses, smaller office buildings and, I guess, customers. What I've been noticing now for a while made it seem more than a tattoo parlor and I've been curious.

His bio is a bit florid, but I admit his background is interesting, an actual artist making a living out of an Oakland store front. Attempting a living. Lots of small restaurants, boutique shops and one assumes tattoo parlors going out of business on any given day these days in Oakland. Still though, an interesting development.

I take it from reading you're tired after your walk?

I'm not looking forward to re-reading this tomorrow to see how tired.

The photograph was taken at the San Francisco 2010 How Weird Street Faire with a Nikon D3s mounted with an 70 - 200mm f 2.8 Nikkor VR II lens at f 5.6 at 1/640th second, ISO 400.