It is somehow appropriate this photo is out of focus.

Sunday, Patching it Together
Yesterday got a little out of hand. Icelanders do not tell their children stories about kids being eaten by Trolls. There are plenty of Trolls under bridges, but they are defeated by acting right and playing straight. The only wooden shoes that come to mind when we think of the Dutch are on a can of Dutch Girl Cleanser. We are much more interested in the "drug dealing sex crazed tulip farmer" side of the Netherlands' equation as noted by Rien Post in his journal than we are about windmills and wooden shoes.

On a short note, the Sole Proprietor got to thinking about how his life may have been made different by the fact that he is a third generation immigrant to this country. His grandmother and grandfather on his mother's side came to San Francisco at the turn of the century and moved to Seattle after the 1906 earthquake. On his father's side, primarily Danish, he's been around a little longer as the then named Jensen's arrived in the late 1850's. He's always assumed he had no real residual American culture "entry shock" that he was working through while he was growing up and although his father would mention that he pretty much had no choice but to fight as a kid when someone called him a "square head", the Sole Proprietor assumed this was the past, a fight for his parents in a different time and a different place.

Two things happened, though, yesterday: First, he bought and read a copy of Pete Hamill's book Why Sinatra Matters which talks at length about being an Italian during the early and mid twentieth century, a story the Sole Proprietor is not altogether familiar with, and, second, he found himself writing about a pile of stones in Iceland that was the old Palmason family farm. It just sort of came out and although there didn't seem to be any great bundle of energy associated with it, it must of had something going because there it was for all to see. The Trolls barbecuing the kids was just a line that read well. He got the hay hook from Thompson, of course, but what the hell, steal from the best. Unless it wasn't just a line he liked and had some hooks of its own hidden below the surface. If so, eventually he'll know. These things come out.

Hamill's book was what the Sole Proprietor had hoped from the title, an opinion of what is was about Sinatra that made him so important to this culture and to the world. In attempting to describe his psychological makeup from his cultural history in Hoboken, New Jersey, the Sole Proprietor realized very quickly that this description had some meaning for him as well and, of course, many of the people he knows. This is a touchy subject, one you don't just bring up without care with all its overtones of bigotry and racism, but one that shapes the soul and worth thinking about in the bathtub, at least, and maybe on these pages as well.

Interesting. When you think about real prejudice, the silhouettes of black men hanging from trees in the south, the silhouettes of Italian men hanging from lamp posts in New Orleans, the camps with Asian Americans driven from their homes like animals you think, well, how can a WASP from Iceland have any issues that are even half as important, that wouldn't look like a joke in comparison? The Sole Proprietor doesn't know and has always assumed that he doesn't, but then there may be issues of which he is totally unaware that have driven his life more than he imagines, making him who he is, issues he's never really thought through. Maybe its time. To think. PUNY talks about being a Chinese American, what it is to be Chinese, what it is to be American, with some underlying heat. Maybe its time to think about what Trolls under a bridge have had to do with his life, if anything at all.

The Sole Proprietor just ordered the Nikon Coolpix 900s from B&H Photo in New York City this morning and had them ship it next day air so he'll have it on his vacation that starts Wednesday evening when he boards the train. He will find a way to upload a daily journal update and include pictures from the new camera. He will also run a few miles of film through the 35mm Nikons. The Coolpix 900 takes an image of about 1200 x 800 pixels, somewhat more than a meg in size. The negatives he gets out of the 35's can be scanned at 2700 pixels per inch and fiddled with in PhotoShop before its reduced and sized for the web. That produces a raw file of about 40 meg and the difference is real. We'll see. He'll know by next weekend what the digital camera can do. He is now hopelessly in debt, but this is Christmas in America, right? Hopelessly in debt is his birthright, cultural integration issues or not.

Enough. He needs to prepare for next week. Think about what needs to be packed and therefore sent to the laundry between now and then. What he needs to get done at the office and to decide whether he should have the folks upstairs feed his cat as offered while he's gone or whether he should have his cat boarded. He doesn't like the thought of Mr. Woose locked up in a cage for six days, which is how this boarding thing is managed, but last summer when Mr. Woose was left in the care of the folks upstairs, he freaked and stood his ground against the local alpha male and got himself chopped.

When the Sole Proprietor returned he had to take Woose right down to the vet and have him reworked so the wounds would drain and heal. The Sole Proprietor spent the next week coaxing pills down his throat and irrigating the wound. The Sole Proprietor isn't sure he's ready to handle that again. Maybe if he asks the folks upstairs to keep him locked inside this time. Bigger than a cage and a place where he's comfortable, right?

The Sole Prop needs to work on the "Photographs of the Week" section. The sun is shining and when he went out for breakfast around 7:30 this morning, the light was wonderful. He had a camera with black and white loaded, but all the color was in the refrigerator and needed a couple of hours to come to room temperature, so he took the black and white. Missed some nice color shots, but got one or two decent black and whites. Maybe he has to think about buying film you don't have to keep in the refrigerator.

The banner photograph is of a reflective ceiling taken at the Oakland City Center. The Sole Proprietor has others like this one that are in focus, but this one has a nice dark blue background that easily takes a typeset date.