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Here In Oakland

Art & Life


August 7, 2015
Should Know

Friday. I decided getting to bed and lights out by ten were more important than watching Vera last night, probably a good decision. Awake fifteen minutes before the alarm was due to sound at six-thirty and up easily enough to walk to breakfast on an overcast morning, the sun breaking through as I was walking home. I suspect another sunny day will follow.

Later. We'll do a little rebelling here and skip heading downtown to photograph Latham Square and walk over to the ATM on Lakeshore instead was the thinking. And that's what I did. There's a one year anniversary “demonstration” against the Mike Brown killing in Ferguson scheduled later this afternoon at four and it would be better to take the Latham Square pictures then, knowing my history of not going downtown twice in the same day. Thinking ahead.

So, a sunny late morning, a walk in a t-shirt over to and along the lake to Lakeshore and then on along Lakeshore to the bank. Two police SUV's, sirens screaming, passed in the distance as I was walking, not a particularly unusual sight, but I found them with four others pulled over to the Lakeshore curb with a small crowd of police surrounding a guy in handcuffs.

What struck me in this was the number of onlookers who were taking pictures and video right up close with their smart phones, the police pretty much ignoring them. This is Oakland, after all, where the police have made the national news too often this last decade, although the feeling is they're getting better. Slowly, but better.

You've done a study of the local opinion on this?

Well no. Actually. Anyway, a photograph from a distance, in the back of my mind thinking I really should test these cameras in video mode should I ever run into a situation where video would be appropriate.

I'd walked by this group on the sidewalk, the police talking with the guy in normal conversational tones and, again, a number of people, two African-American women in particular, in close videoing all this with a great deal more courage than I was demonstrating.

A good sign if the local police are now as cool as these guys appeared to be. A good sign that onlookers not only understand they're allowed to take photographs, but step right up and take them without being hassled.

But you didn't make any effort to take photographs yourself.

Whatever happened had already happened and, other than the seemingly calm tone of the undertaking, nothing struck me enough to go out of my way to take a picture. The people taking photographs had probably been there when whatever happened or soon after it happened and it made sense they'd be interested.

Later still. I did catch a bus downtown at three-thirty, I did get off at Latham Square and take pictures (they'd knocked off work by then and left for the day) and I did walk on to the City Center to have a strawberry fruit drink of some kind and a small waffle square at Jamba Juice, as it seems the other cafés were closed or closing at four.

OK. So far, so good. A walk to 14th and Broadway where a van had pulled up and people were putting signs in place. Just a few passers by had stopped to talk for the half hour or so I was there, a picture or two and then a bus back to the apartment. There are more of these scheduled over the weekend.

Evening. Watched Democracy Now and then started New Tricks at seven before losing interest (even though it looked to be one I hadn't seen before) and decided instead to lie down and watch the The Wrecking Crew, a documentary I'd started earlier on the tablet. Interesting documentary, taught me a bit of L.A. music history I hadn't known before and it got me hooked. Lights out by ten. He said. Again.

I got on the scale this morning to see the weight was now consistently running two pounds below my arbitrary one-sixty target. For some reason the recent month or so readings of one or two pounds over are now running the one or two pounds under. Another sign things are looking up? Looking down? How can you tell?

I still bitch (obviously), the sinuses are still acting up, but I've been entertaining the feeling things are turning for the better. For how long, for how far, I don't know.

Perhaps your intermittent daytime hallucinations are moving into the evenings?

Makes you wonder. This has been a thought that's been reoccurring rather regularly lately, thought you should know.

The photo up top was taken at the Art & Soul Festival yesterday with a Nikon D4s mounted with a 70-200mm f 2.8 VR II Nikkor lens.