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Here In Oakland

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Today at the pump

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Under here.

September 8, 2010

Ambulance Driver
Wednesday. Crap. Crap, crap. AT&T managed to delete my DSL hookup and won't be able to reinstall it until a week from Friday. Evidently the people I ordered the iPhone from at their store down the street were unfamiliar with people who have my particular package and happily cancelled my account, an account they no long offer. They'll hook it up again, fiber rather than over the wire, and they won't charge for the modem and the installation visit, but ten days without internet access in my apartment is a hassle.

Starting with this laptop. It must take five minutes to boot and install whatever it needs to install in the café down the street. It could be looking for things it can't find, I didn't hook up the two external hard drives at the café I always attach here, but I'll have to go through the damned thing, figure out why it's so slow away from home and fix it. (Excuse me for a moment while I sit here and fizzle like bacon in a fire.) Life in the fast lane. You don't really have a choice.

So. Otherwise things have started well in the sense I've had breakfast, read the papers and the head seems screwed on solidly enough to navigate. We'll leave the head to simmer in its own juices for the moment, I'm tired of analyzing it: the sinuses, the ocular migraines and such. This fast lane again, it gets faster, faster than I'm able to manage. Today, anyway. This morning. We'll sit here and chill.

Later. A bus downtown and a walk here and there with camera in hand. Given my attitude starting out (why in the hell am I heading down here again?) it turned out pretty well. A picture here, a picture there. Sometimes you can have your eyes in a good place, even when your head is funky and today was an example. Walking back I passed a pelican feeding out by one of the Lake Merritt fountains and got one or two interesting pictures. Should have stayed longer and taken more. Still, for good or ill, for pictures that turned out and pictures that didn't, not a bad walk. They say walking makes for good vibes, a better attitude and a svelte figure. They say many things.

I think a run through the pile of receipts and such on the desk is in order: get rid of them, file them, make sure this ten or so pages of legalese they sent me describing my camera insurance says what I think it says and gives me what I think I'm buying. Much too complicated. Makes you think they're trying to put something over on you, take your money and give you little or nothing in return. Where could that thought have come from? What kind of attitude is that? After Wall Street, the banks (does anyone love the little ones, let alone the big ones anymore?), the phone companies, the insurance companies, the....

What started that?

I don't know. I'm not really obsessing on the evil ways of the world. I do now and again, of course - we have our little personal political prejudices - but not for the moment. Even the DSL call this morning with AT&T didn't set me all that far off. I don't think the world has become a place it hasn't been all along, it's just we're seeing the mechanism more clearly now after the big time damage done and all the little Emperors out there are being recognized by all (with the exception of a few Republicans) for what they be: stark naked little vampires with hands in the till and blood on their faces. We've all turned into the little boy who pointed and shouted out. It was a little boy, was it not? An innocent, still uncorrupted enough to see? The Emperor and his lack of vestments? The froth on the lips? The blood on the chin?

But enough. On a lighter note I've been chipping away at the apartment, getting areas clean, vacuuming rugs and ridding myself of useless stuff (called trash). And feeling pretty good about it. And surprised. This morning, stopping at the ATM on the way to breakfast, I noticed a dumpster placed out on the sidewalk waiting for pickup filled with, well, junk. The things you can't easily get rid of because they won't accept them in the various recycling bins and garbage cans they have here at the building. Old and broken electronic boxes and such. Stuff this rare and valuable trash bin was designed to accommodate.

I had the remaining pieces of that broken glass topped bathroom scale in a paper bag with me in the car that I was planning to put in one of the sidewalk trash cans on the way to breakfast (I know, this is a first for me, but I'm desperate and no longer feeling any guilt) when I saw this trash bin. My, my. I suspect it's there every Wednesday in the early mornings. Next week I'm bringing one or two small items I've been wanting to get rid of now since the beginning of the millennium. See if it's out there waiting. For me. If it has room for more, as this morning's bin had room for more. Odd thing to get me excited, but it certainly has.

Later again. A walk down the way to a café with WiFi near Gold's Gym to stand outside and download my mail finding there'd been a car pile up on the 580 off ramp at Mac Arthur feeding into Grand. A dump truck having slammed into a passenger car, flattening its back seat area like a paper cup so that it looked as if it had been cut in half and the rear section hauled away somewhere. That car of course then hitting the car in front of it and that car slamming into the next car in line.

If there were injuries, they'd been taken away by the time I arrived, but there was a crowd, people were taking pictures and so I didn't feel particularly ghoulish taking pictures too. A note to self: include people in the pictures, the closer the better; the actual accident, the bent metal and such in the background. My rules, but then I'm a candid portrait photographer. I may have mentioned this.

A walk farther on to get an ice cream cone - Too many ice cream cones? Can you have too many ice cream cones? You can? - and then returning to the apartment, my downloaded mail in hand. Well, in the iPhone in my hand. How am I going to respond to the one or two that matter? Slowly, I guess, one dinky letter at a time. No Internet for another nine days. All you can say is “what the hell”. It did generate some pictures this afternoon I wouldn't have otherwise have gotten, though. That's to the good.

I'm glad, if there were people injured, they were gone by the time I arrived (the paper this morning said four, none of them serious). I don't want to think about anyone having been in the back seat of that car. How many times have I sat in my car at that exact same place waiting on the light? Would I have attempted to take photographs of the injured had they still been present? Capture pain? Capture sorrow? I'm not sure. Depends on the situation. We are, of course, talking about medical professionals already on site, binding wounds, the photographer somewhere in the background or off to the side. A shot, maybe two, of the ambulance driver?

The photograph was taken at the Oakland Chinatown Street Fest with a Nikon D3s mounted with a 70 - 200mm f 2.8 Nikkor VR II lens.