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November 4, 2010

Safer Climates
Thursday. To bed last night at nine-thirty, awake at six before the alarm went off. Caught up on my sleep I'd guess. A good night anyway, no complaints. To breakfast and back before eight, the sky clear, the sun bright. It was up in the seventies yesterday, uncomfortable without the fan. Fall and winter in the Bay Area. That will change, but change around here brings a laugh from anyone who survives across the bridges out there in the real world.

Wise cracks aside, I do have to come up with a photography project for this coming winter, find something appealing to examine with the camera. Can be anything, really, as long as it gets me off. Many thoughts as to what to try so I'll follow what I understand to be the rule. Pick one, do it, see if the clouds part and the sun shines through. If not, it will lead you to the right place and all will be swell. Simple rule, not so simple to follow. But we'll see. Can't practice the guitar all day. Hard enough as it is to practice for more than an hour. Need something else.

Later. A walk out the door thinking I'd like to go somewhere, but where, and then put it aside. How many times have I asked that question? A walk across Grand to the lake skipping any idea of taking a bus. Where haven't I been overly often in the last week? Month? Year? A photograph of the same old tree with interesting clouds in the background. Might be fun to work on this photograph, figure out how to shoot it more dramatically, more interestingly, more, well, put that thought aside too. I'm obviously not serious about it otherwise; well otherwise I'd do something about it (and shut the fuck up).

Still, an interesting walk down the way, out and around, another tree backlighted by the sun. I'd set out in a black turtleneck pullover I'd put on this morning when it was still cool and dark, something to keep warm without having to put on a shirt. Don't ask me why I don't like to put on a shirt. I've asked the question myself without an answer. Of course, as I was walking, as it got warmer under the sun, I got warmer in my black turtleneck and light (black) jacket so I sought out shaded places to sit when I got too warm.

One of those places was out in front of a café across the street from my morning café beside Walden Pond Books. Why don't I eat there now and again? Well, it doesn't open early enough, the sidewalk tables aren't nearly as comfortable and I have the conceit it's a place for younger folks still in school doing their younger folks still in school coffee shop routine. Now a thought like that tells me more about what's inside my own head than anything else, still I avoid such places, avoided such places when I was a student myself. Of course that was during the long haired hippie-freak era and anything considered too slick, too artsy-fartsy, was the kiss of death. Once you entertain such ideas they don't go away, I guess.

Then again now back at the apartment, warm enough now to need the fan. There's an afternoon ahead, let's see how we handle it. Those frame making tools and supplies? Let's see if I can make a frame. Frame a print. And report on it tomorrow. Be honest about it. See if I make progress with the framing project and get in my hour of guitar practice. I've already practiced this morning, but I'm curious. If I say I will get in an hour, will I?

Why go through this? It's an off the wall, not particularly important thought. If you're going to put on the pressure, even just a little, why not apply it to some other more important task?

Because, because. Yesterday I received Mr. D's latest folio in the mail. Very nice. I owe Mr. D 1,600 words on my old Seagull magazine soon and, although I've made progress, come up with how I want to approach it and written a draft, I'm still avoiding going to the finish. So maybe I'm picking something easy to get through the afternoon, put the real stuff off. Then again, then again.

Tomorrow the judge is announcing the sentence in the Mehserle trial, the BART policeman who was convicted of killing Oscar Grant, shooting him as he lay face down beside the train at the Fruitvale BART station, and there's a demonstration being called at four in the afternoon in front of the Oakland City hall. Which I will photograph. Along with about a berzillion other photographers, video and still, press and amateur.

It doesn't matter the right or wrong of what the sentence will be anymore, a jury has gone over the rights and wrongs of the thing and a judge will be rendering his decision. Could be Mehserle should be set free on probation, could be he should go to jail. Don't know, can't tell. It's gone way beyond that and represents a judgement on police harassment of people of color in Oakland, bias against them in the courts and, if the man walks, everyone assumes there'll be trouble tomorrow.

I'm assuming if there's trouble it will start later in the evening after dark in areas beyond City Hall, as that's been the pattern in the past, and I will be long gone by the time any of it might break out. There at four, gone after five, taking BART to the city to meet at Harrington's with the usual crew. If there's to be bystander beatings and window smashing, let the younger more nimble guys cover it. I'm into street photography, not street mayhem in which old grey haired guys become targets. Anger is nondenominational, nondiscriminatory and is available to all (who haven't cut out for safer climates).

The photograph was taken last week at Roy's in Oakland with a Nikon D3s mounted with a 24 - 120mm f 4.0 Nikkor VR lens.