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Here In Oakland

Art & Life


Under here.

August 26, 2011

Get Some Distance

Friday. Must be a Labor Day weekend coming up with regular gas prices jumping twelve cents a gallon overnight at the pump. Just sayin’.

To bed last night just after ten, up this morning with the alarm, to breakfast and back after waiting for ten minutes outside my apartment house front door for the Times to arrive. Two times now in the last week. Naughty, naughty New York Times. Overcast out there, dark and grey enough to last for a while. No complaints, really, as I have (at the moment) no thought of a place to go.

Going through the paper earlier I noticed the local Oakland Chinatown StreetFest is scheduled for this weekend along with J-Pop in Japantown over in San Francisco. J-Pop is the more important from my perspective, but I want to photograph the StreetFest as I've done in the past too.

We'll see how our stamina holds with two street festivals on the same days over the same weekend. I'll think in terms of photographs to be gotten rather than potential aches and pains. These little aches and pains I get through walking and such are trivial, really, given how mild they are and how little time they last. Won't say any more. A good photography weekend coming up, pissant aches and pains be damned.

That's called tempting the Fates.

The Fates have other more important things on their plates.

Later. So, the Sistahs Steppin’ in Pride Parade is set for tomorrow too. Three events in two days. I can shoot the Sistahs at ten to eleven, it's just down the block at the white columns on the lake, shoot the Chinatown StreetFest in the afternoon and then take on J-Pop on Sunday. Is that a good idea to leave the more important event to the last day when you can't go back the next day if it doesn't work out?

That means the Sistahs and then J-Pop, J-Pop taking maybe three hours or so with travel time, back here in Oakland in the late afternoon. I could then take on Chinafest if I'm still conscious, it's just two blocks from the BART station. I could. Sunday would then be open for follow ups. We'll see.

Later still. A bus downtown and then a walk through the farmer's market on 9th Street to have the Site For Sore Eyes people fix the pair of reading glasses I use to read the papers over breakfast, the little pads that sit on the bridge of the nose having been lost at some point recently when their soft case was evidently, well, squashed. Don't remember it being squashed. First the one went away and then the other. OK with just one, uncomfortable without any.

Anyway, they were indeed able to fix the glasses, which is good, they don't charge for such things, a walk then to Peet's for a cup of coffee and a scone out on their patio, the sun out by now, the weather just fine. A bus and then a walk most of the way back home passing the church on the corner of Grand and Harrison. Why hadn't I seen this before? An opportunity for photographs?

Again, finishing my walk, I passed by this little cardboard bit of graffiti on a parking lot fence. The same piece of graffiti has been up at the other end of the fence for some time and I've chronicled its presence and then, through a series of photographs, its one piece at a time demise. This is what is left of the old display. There are a number of these throughout the city, don't really know how many, but they're nice. A little different than slapping paint on a wall where with paint, if you find you don't like it very much, getting it off is a pain in the ass.

Anyway, here now, just after noon, time for my first guitar session of the day, the morning so far having been quite good: clear headed and interested in most everything. None of this head in a bell stuff. Hup! No really, it's been good.

Even later still. I've been going through that “riff” I've been talking about. Yesterday I practiced it for a good hour and a half. There were chord progressions mixed in there too, but an hour and a half of whatever total time I practiced was spent on that riff. I say riff, but it contains a blues rhythm section broken up by four ten note riffs, so it's more than just a single progression of notes. Still, how many times did I run through it, how many mistakes did I make? More than enough, let me tell you.

So this morning, another forty minutes on that riff to start the day's session. Better, I think. It is interesting to see how I look at it, learn to analyze it, learn to make adjustments and then memorize the adjustments so they play by themselves. Gives an insight to what it means to play an instrument, how far along I've gotten, how very much further I need to go. So, not really a complaint, more a realization, an observation, the things that keep you going. IMHO

Evening. A walk down the hill to have sushi and sake at the local sushi shop, back now after taking a detour across the street to shoot a picture or two in the early evening here along Lake Merritt. I said I was going to forego sake for two weeks, I've managed two days, my rationalization being it wasn't very much sake, although the owner again gave me a top up. We'll see. We have a long weekend starting tomorrow morning and we will soon know how it goes.

New York is preparing for a hurricane tomorrow. My family moved to New York in the mid-fifties and we were there some year or so later when they had their last major hurricane. We were renting a big house out in Yonkers that had a stream running through the front yard and the hurricane inundated the entire lawn turning it into a small lake that almost reached the house. We had no idea what sort of weather they were accustomed to having in New York, coming from Seattle, but evidently they haven't had a major one since. We'll see what happens tomorrow.

I'm ready for the weekend in the sense I'm ready for the evening. Lots of time practicing that riff so far this afternoon. More to come before the day is over. The day overall has been good, let's see if I've ruined it with my little sake side trip. I was hungry, the sushi was nice without adding a bunch of calories (with the exception, perhaps, of the green tea cheesecake) to the diet. An American obsession, I'd guess, this continuous commentary on one's diet, here in the vast plains of dissimilitude just north of the Oakland lake.

Note: Interesting. After writing that, feeling pretty good, I had one of the strongest (what they've been calling for good or bad reason) ocular migraines than I've had in over a year. Your basic the world goes directly into Alice In Wonderland mode where you basically go to a place where all of the rules (gravity, linearity, memory, sense) no longer apply. Doesn't last very long, under an hour, you come out of it when the world reassembles itself, but you don't really know you've gone round the bend until it's practically over. Does that sound strange? It is, but something like an order of magnitude more than you might imagine. Not so much scary as weird. Very weird.

If the sake I had just before it started is the cause I'm actually going to think of doing something about it. Hmm. Have to think about that. But tomorrow, not this evening. Best, maybe, to get to bed, get some sleep, much going on in the morning, get some distance, think about it then.

The photograph was taken at the Oakland Art & Soul Festival with a Nikon D3s mounted with a 70-200mm f 2.8 Nikkor VR II lens using a 1.4x teleconverter.