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From a series of test photographs.

August 18th, 2001

Kind of a grim look. There were others, but better grim than dork. The one below has that plucked chicken feel about it, an angry plucked chicken looking determinedly off into the distance. Another ten or fifteen pounds and I'll have that old man's skinny stringy neck thing going. Or, at least, a neck. What the hell. Better late than never. I was lighter in my earlier days, but had that same doomed-depressed feeling in photographs. Doomed-lost would have been more hip, but doomed-depressed was my 70's schtick. And 80's. And 90's. I'm thinking more along the lines of doomed-survivor for 2000.

What started this was looking at a photograph I ran in February '99 some two months before my jaw operation. I found a visit to the page in my referral logs and I was surprised at the difference. I assume the jaw operation made things even worse, a kind of blow fish augmentation, but I'm not sure. People gave me weird looks after I returned from the hospital. These are the result of a series of exposure tests for my cameras. Be curious to see if one F5 is different from the other. Run a bunch of film through at various exposure settings and see which ones I prefer. Exciting stuff.

Had the usual breakfast down by the lake, then drove over to Berkeley to finally drop off my paperwork at the "find an apartment" company that got me this place. Then I drove to Oakland, parked, got on the Fremont BART train, which travels down the east bay (to Fremont, where else?), and got off at the Lake Merritt station. I knew there was a Lake Merritt station somewhere on the other side of the lake from my apartment, but I wasn't sure where it was located, and I was thinking, well, maybe I could find a place to live near the station and take BART to work. Well, yes. I could see my office building not far in the distance. The Oakland Art Museum, where I'd gone to the Gordon Parks exhibition last weekend, was one block down. Quicker to walk to work from the station than take a train. So I learned something. Thinking about it, maybe I should have checked out the next station down. How far is down? Find out tomorrow, maybe.

OK, then I got back on the train and rode under the bay to Market Street near San FranciscoFrom a series of test photographs City Hall for what reason I do not know. What was I thinking? Maybe there would be a nice crowd demonstrating outside, an opportunity for pictures? I don't know. Apartment dread, maybe. Back on BART, get off in downtown Oakland again, go over to Ratto's for a lime drink and potato salad out at a sidewalk table. Ratto's is OK, but their food isn't as good as it should be for the price. The old Ratto's owned restaurant that was next to the deli once featured opera on Friday evenings. A good dinner, expensive, but not too expensive, and one or two local singers performing between courses. They were good. It was good. Ratto's was famous for them over the years - I mean, opera? In Oakland? - and only stopped when they sold their restaurant some years ago. Too bad. Nothing like it anywhere else.

Later: I rented two movies, both Japanese, one, Sonatine, that I've just finished watching. I realize that I saw it some time ago when it wasn't yet a member of Quentin Tarantino's Rolling Thunder series of recommended films (So far, so good, by the way. If you're into Tarantino.) There was a time when I watched a lot of Japanese film. This one, well, this one is "very Japanese". So "Japanese" you may have to be Japanese to really appreciate it. Now I'm sitting here feeling inadequately Japanese and wishing, maybe, I hadn't watched it at all. Good, but depressing. Remember my self description above? Doomed-depressed? This was a doomed-depressed film in a decade where I'm going for doomed-survivor. As I said, very Japanese: Long silences on the beach. Sand traps. Fishing. Submachine gun shootouts, roman candle shootouts, haiku shootouts. A sweet young thing standing up on the road, the wind in her hair, waiting for him to return. Which he does. Almost.

The photographs were taken in the bathroom, some test photographs to better calibrate the cameras. The quote is from the play, A Woman of No Importance, by Oscar Wilde.