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Thomas and Rebecca.
August 7th, 1999

Pictures and Paragraphs
Last night, faced with a block of moving boxes stacked military style left and center in my living room and a film scanner that wasn't working, I opted to skip the Friday journal entry, clean the desk, put the computer up and pull it apart. Test the scanner after checking and reseating all the SCSI cables. Bingo! Worked. Now that it was open, add the second SCSI adapter and hard drive I've had sitting on a shelf for the last year and a half. Recognizes the second SCSI card, recognizes the hard drive. Move files from the C: drive onto the new D: drive and think about the power supply fan and how it has been making unpleasant worn bearing noises. Reassemble the machine.

Pack more boxes. Go to bed. Read parts of Hemingway's A Moveable Feast. I haven't read Hemingway in 25 years. Don't know what they say about him any more. An eight hundred pound gorilla who in his time affected every writer on the planet. Wrinkle my nose at the style sometimes but wondering all the while at the rhythm. Spare yes, but reading it is like falling, nothing between you and message. Still not thrilled by what I'm reading until the last three page chapter that clips me neat and tidy with the last sentence.

As a digression, the San Francisco Chronicle was purchased yesterday by Hearst and San Francisco will now be a one newspaper town. The story is more complicated, but essentially, that's it.

I lived near New York City when the Herald Tribune folded. I was .old enough to note it in passing and to read the stories about television and how it was killing newspapers in major cities. I wondered about that, but it was only later when I considered becoming a reporter myself that it made any difference. Now, just as I did when I was younger, I note it in passing and wonder what the world will be like in 10 or 20 years when the Internet Revolution reveals what it's doing? (We're typing our emails now, but it'll be audio-video on PDA's that come as prizes in Cracker Jack boxes soon enough.).

When I was young I read: newspapers, books, magazines, political polemics, letters, you name it, if it was written it got processed. Reading was the element. Although I'm about the same age as television and I remember watching my first television programs at the age or 4 or 5, television has never been all that pervasive in my life. I didn't watch it in college and I didn't own a television set until I was 40 when my sister gave me one as a present. I was more into saloons, story tellers and the Stones as there was only so much time in the day, even back then.

So today the Chronicle is bought by Hearst, the Examiner is folded, there will be a morning and an evening edition (maybe) and Herb Caen is still dead. And I will buy my copy to read over breakfast checking Friday to see what's going on over the weekend I might want to photograph. And that's it.

I was born too late to be a Ben Hecht reporter and too soon to be an Internet hot shot and just right to be whomever I've become. We've seen it in programming. I was alive when the first electronic computer was built and a programmer ran wires to code the logic. Then punch cards. Then monitors. Then method and object and instance and child. All of them different and the mind set that thrives on one can die with the next. Much like reading and writing and arithmetic once done with pencil and paper now with buttons and LEDs, soon by asking the object in your pocket programmed to answer with a soft Sophia Loren like whisper in French. Not the same thing. Not the same mind set. I do like the Sophia Loren bit.

Maybe these journals are more primitive than we think. Still pictures and paragraphs. Ha!

The banner photograph was taken of my upstairs neighbors last weekend. For some reason the negative is underexposed. The photograph of the woman was taken at the Gay Pride Parade in San Francisco.