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Under Construction
Oakland Chinese Street Festival

August 30th, 2002

So Much Beating
Thursday. I ordered another computer to use as a file server here at home. My gut feeling is I have only so much time left at the company and I want to practice stuff I can't practice without one. Oddly, spending the money (it wasn't all that much) is a sign I really do believe the axe is about to fall. Time to get what I need while I've still got a paycheck - you know, the new suit (all that weight lost) for interviews, a case of film, a jumbo restaurant pack of Ramen, whatever's needed to make the transition - and hunker down for what's to come. If I miss the bullet tomorrow, I'll probably go into the office over the weekend and make copies of everything I haven't already copied (just in case). Tomorrow could be the day, a week from tomorrow more likely, but who knows? Maybe this is no more than whining.

I don't plan on looking for work until the beginning of next year, though. I'll do theOakland Wednesday after work blues concert spadework, but spend most of my time on personal interests through January. The photography and the journal yes, but also toying with other stuff. Keep it to "interested in", none of this "I hate it but I need it to eat". I don't want to do the MCSE unless the market says there's no other way to earn a living without one. This is not my first time around the technical block, so there's not much I haven't already done with servers and desktops and laptop's and routers. Stinking routers. I don't like repetition. I recently had a job nibble from the Outlands and, although it's more vapor than substance, it bolsters the confidence. (The Outlands are the Barbarian Lands, anything more then twenty miles from San Francisco. In New York it's anything west of the Hudson.) Who knows? Another plane into a building and I may never find a job. Then again, another plane into a building and none of us may work again. Interesting option. I wonder if there's any zip left in my old Smallpox vaccination? The one that didn't take.

One thing though, whatever happens these next two weeks, I'm getting the rest of the doctors out of the way. A podiatrist. My right heel (in particular) hurts. This prostate thing. The doctor said if the analysis comes back negative, he'll call me. Of course, if he doesn't call before the appointment next month, then I'll know what to expect when we meet. That will be one hell of a meeting. Lose a job, lose a prostate, gain, I don't know, a deeper knowledge of what it all means. What does it all mean, Mr. Natural? Means less if you have the means, means more if you're out of a job, means whining if you're keeping a journal. What would you trade to have your prostate whole and free of signs of cellular suicide?

Friday. Still employed, back from the dentist. I volunteered to take the on call beeper over the weekend as the on call techie will be out of town. I've never carried it before and, although my first thought was I hope there aren't any calls, my second thought was how does this beeper work? Is it set to beep? Yeah, I think so, but what was that buzzing feeling I had in my pocket as I was driving to the dentist? Have I missed a call? Shit.

There's a gay pride something or other at the Oakland City Center tomorrow followed by the Oakland Art and Soul Festival on Sunday and Monday. I'll shoot all three. I stumbled across the gay gathering last year as I was getting off the bus in downtown Oakland, so I guess it's now an annual Labor Day event. The usual bands and entertainers and booths selling stuff.

If it weren't for the fact the stuff is (mostly) gay related, you wouldn't particularly think gay at all. Not so much because obviously gay people aren't in attendance, but because obviously gay people are in attendance at every event in the Bay Area, so what's the difference with his one? No big deal. I have no doubt gay life can be hard around here, as hard as hard gets, but I assume it's better than most anywhere else (you know, the Outlands?) and one sign is the fact you don't think about it very much. Go to a gay event? Sure, who's playing? Somebody popular and your gay event is watered way down with straights. Which maybe says something about "around here" and "out there". You know, the Outlands, where the Barbarians live? (I know, I know.)

So, three days of shooting pictures in Oakland, just a short bus ride downtown. None of the three will give up their images easily, nothing like shooting the preparations for a parade, for example, the pickings are slimmer and the people, some dressed to the nines, most not, wonder who's the photographer? An opportunity to try my (plug, plug) Art & Life cards, hand one to anyone who asks why I'm shooting. Who do I work for?. Well, you know, New York Times? Time - Life? Art & Life? I'm with Art & Life. Or will this horse only take so much beating.

The photographs were taken at an Oakland Chinese community street festival.