Approaching the Sacramento River and the Martinez bridge.
December 15th, 1998

Back to Oakland, Dear God....
Just before we crossed the Sacramento river at the Carquinez Straight, we traveled through a marshy area just as the sun rose over the horizon. The Sole Proprietor shot a number of pictures with the digital camera through a train window that was spattered with white rain spots. The parlor car attendant, seeing what the Sole Proprietor was attempting, took him down stairs and opened the top of the exit door so he could shoot unimpeded. The banner photograph is one of those photographs and it seems to have turned out all right.

The train arrived in Emeryville just after 8:00 AM. Emeryville is a smaller station just north of Oakland and happens to be closer to the Sole Proprietor's home than Jack London Square so he got off the train and found one lone cab waiting at the curb. He was home before 9:00.

The cat was in one piece inside sleeping at the foot of the Sole Proprietor's bed and took a fairly laid back attitude toward his arrival. Good. No visible signs of trauma either physical or mental (he's sure cats have mental trauma, he's just not sure they have much in the way of brains) so the Sole Proprietor said hello, stacked up his luggage and went over to Telegraph for breakfast. With one of the Nikons loaded with black and white film, but not the digital. Why? Cats may not have brains, but Sole Proprietors don't seem to have much going on upstairs either. Wasn't all this about shooting pictures so he could post them real time? Where were you, Sole Prop? Do you read any of this stuff? Real time?

He did some shopping at Luckys. Bought cat food. Looked at some of the prices with and without the Lucky discount card. These swine were selling things the Sole Proprietor liked at substantial savings if you had the card. The Sole Proprietor had been holding out against the card, knowing full well what they could learn about him from all that nice purchase data (do you trust your grocer?), but this was the last straw.

What was it they didn't know about the Sole Proprietor already? Anyone analyzing his purchases over a period of time could tell pretty much anything they wanted to know including the color of his teeth. Ah, well. They already knew the color of his teeth (the Feds, after all, still have all those pictures they took last spring), but he's not sure he wants them to know his cholesterol level, income, inability to cook water, laziness quotient and the length or color of his hair. Still, tuna fish was a lot cheaper with that damned card and Big Brother would come one day anyway, he just hadn't known they'd be wearing Luckys name tags and drive him away in the back of a reefer truck.

The banner photograph was shot from the train with the Coolpix just north of the Sacramento River near the Carquinez Straight. There are photographers who only shoot in the early morning or late afternoon because of the light. He wonders why.