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She likes my journal !!

Vickie and Bruce
December 18th, 1999

Of Sloth and Incoherence
Today we travelled north a few miles to have Christmas lunch in Rockridge, my old Oakland neighborhood. A matter of getting on BART (the station entrance is located beside our building) and descending the escalators at Rockridge station to enter the restaurant across the street in the Market Hall. Adventurous dining in an adventuresome world. Our budget was $25 per person. This was good for an entree and a desert, no wine, no salad. Which was fine. The wine was unremarkable and expensive and I was not ready to spend $10 for a glass of mediocre Cotes du Rhone, even with company money. Which is, of course, stupid. Prudent, but stupid. The salads were all endive mixed with something. My entree was a clam and mussel spaghetti dish that wasn't awful. The company was excellent and we finished by 3:00. All this was good. This is not a complaint. Three days next week then Thursday and Friday off. Whoop. I am practically pre-ecstatic.

This is a low stress approach to Christmas. I am in favor of the low stress approach. I am in favor of a low stress approach to life, come to think of it, not so much because life is so stressful in and of itself, but because after four decades of what I now realize was a pin ball bounce off the bumpers light show kind of existence without any points to show for the effort, I've discovered there's a choice: You can take it heavy or you can take it light. You keep the score. Nobody's watching. My modest memories of the bridges I've built, the bridges I've burned and the bridges I've had shot out from under my feet remind me to ask why I'm in the bridge building business in the first place? Why not real estate? Besides. There are boats. There are helicopters you can rent by the hour. There are delivery companies with next day service. Sit back. Watch the people pass on the sidewalk, my son, lounging over your Sunday paper and latte grande. Out in the air, sure, but under the awning away from the rain with your muffler and jacket.

People are saying "whoa!", life is meant for living, my son! Life without strife is, well, not life. True, true, but what life, right? What living? Why not a caffe latte life with an occasional movie for excitement: Chow Yun-Fat for adventure, Tom Hanks for aw shucks! and Jimmy Stewart for the masochistic. I'm sure I'll regret this lack of ambition to make my bed, trim the tree, go to work, visit the in laws, service the kids or fall in love because one of these days someone will explain the terrible truth and boy, will my face be red! I can see it, staring up at the ceiling, life ebbing and alone: "Fuck! I shoulda and I coulda but I didn't!" Meanwhile I'll thumb through this new photography book I've found: Life And Fate At f8.

I went to see The Green Mile Friday evening, the Tom Hanks movie that has received what can only be called mixed reviews. When I was in Seattle I read John Hartle's review in the local daily (There are two of them in Seattle and I don't remember which one. I think it was the Times.) and he began with the length, three hours, and then took it from there. Same with the reviews I've read in the local San Francisco papers. Roger Ebert liked it, but, you know, television. Hartle was the film critic for the University of Washington Daily when I wrote my humor column. I believe he went straight to the local daily as their film critic. He was good and his reviews generally made sense. He panned The Sound of Music, for example, when it was released. Anyone who would pan the Sound of Music on a major motherhood and cookies city daily is alright.

Well. The Green Mile is long and it has that Steven King everything's tied up in a ribbon and delivered on a plate character that I hate in his books. Still, I liked the movie. I've always liked Hanks and he's, well, Hank's. I liked the director Frank Darabont's last movie, The Shawshank Redemption (also based on a Steven King book). This one did have nice big chunks of well shot, well acted stuff, but it was a tad exhausting and I did think, well, this could end now. I think I see where it's going. Time to get up and stretch. Time to go home, it's late. Bits and pieces of brilliance, a nice trite Steven King plot and a good feeling when it was finished. If you don't like Hanks or you didn't like The Shawshank Redemption and if you don't like feel good movies with a simple overly politically correct plot then skip this one. I'm happy to have seen it. It was a choice between it and Inside John Malkovich. I kinda liked the Malkovich previews. Maybe I'll see it tomorrow. After lunch.

The main character in The Green Mile (And I don't think I'm giving away anything here.) reminisces in the end about aging and death, a subject I've been thinking about these last few years. I'm getting older and although I can probably look forward to another twenty good years (there are reasons to suspect that might not be true, but for reasons of argument, let's say twenty years still walking and talking and packing a camera.) the thought is, well, twenty years doing what? Shooting pictures? Of what? Writing a journal? About whom?

Well, yeah. Shooting pictures, chapter 35: Picaresque Old Farts. Son of the Son of a Journal: My Day In Bed. Whatever. It's maybe not a good assumption, that a natural interest in one thing will lead to a natural interest in another and you won't be looking for something to do next month. The rule is you keep looking (without getting into a snit), but still, what's coming in twenty years? In twenty minutes? How are the knees? Any dizziness after breakfast? (I really needed to stop this and throw half of it out three hours ago, but it got out of hand so now I'm just going to post it and start over tomorrow. Write shorter, write better. Shorter is better. Coherence gets good marks. Repeat this.)

I didn't think I had a chance. Thank you Ms. Xeney.
She likes my journal !!

Best Words and Pictures:
This journal is so good. I've lost track of it several times but I've always been relieved to find it again. I'm not a very visual person and I usually don't care one way or another about photographs in journals, but the photos here are top notch, and it wouldn't be the same without them.

She talked about the pictures, but you saw the part about the words in the title, right? Right?

All the photographs were taken at the family party in Seattle. I scanned each of the negatives and worked with them for perhaps two hours before I gave up and scanned the prints. I'm going to try one of the film processors recommended by the local professionals in town the next time to see if it makes a difference. It doesn't always have to be my fault.