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Oakland City Center concert.

February 15th, 2003

Here In Oakland
Friday. I seem to have missed Valentine's day, missed in the sense I didn't write an entry, didn't scan a picture, didn't send a card. Another long day at work - what else is new? - although I took a two hour, two Guinness lunch for the first time in any time I can remember. A one Guinness lunch, rare enough in itself, but two, doodle-dee-do, is unusual. This, more than any other thing I can think, is a sign of age and change. Not that I ever drank all that much during any business lunch in my salad days, but never? Never, is, after all, never.

This led, in a weird way not worth recounting, to my missing a connection with my fellow workers for drinks after work in that I went to the wrong place, drank a single beer, and, by the time I'd figured it out and checked my voice mail ("We're at over at...."), it was time to go home and take a nap. And listen to the news. And sit down to scribble this. The excitement, the excitement. It is Friday, though, and the first set of camera batteries is in the charger.

Saturday. Still have the dizzy weak headed feeling, but I've packed the cameras and film. Shoot the parade until it starts at 5:30, take BART to Oakland and meet friends for dinner at six. The sky is cloudy and they're predicting rain, but I think we might get lucky. Not much light for shooting, but I'll use the strobes as I've done every year. Interesting to have a night parade, but less fun to shoot. I should think about the way I've been preparing, try something different. I said the exact same thing last year. Still, with my head wobbly, I don't want to try anything too exotic, too far out, too, um, strenuous. Weird. Want to get this head thing resolved.

Later. I remember now why I never seemed to shoot, let alone get any pictures at the Chinese New Year parade. Lots of little kids in cute costumes, older kids in marching bands, Kung-Fu kids, Piccolo kids, cartwheel kids, kids who should be home with their parents watching television. I'm not enthused shooting little kids, even little kids in swell costume. The SF Police Department has a Lion Dance unit and they're all adults, but even the Lion Dancers, although the cameras feel safer surrounded by heavily armed men chauffeuring a dragon's head on a pole, don't really cut it. I got progressively dizzier as time progressed, but I left at the appointed time having shot no more than a roll or so of film. One or two frames may be good, but you never know.

Dinner in Oakland, the timing good, MSM giving me four tickets to hold, I passing one to MRT, and we headed for the Paramount. Good timing, good parking, easy to get to the theater except I can't find the tickets. I go through my pockets. All my pockets.

I am wearing a shooting jacket, one of those jackets with a million pockets, most of them filled with unexposed film, spare batteries, lens cleaners, small notebooks, road flares and no tickets. I am walking back to the car with MRT, leaving MSM at the theater with MRT's ticket, planning to go have a drink with MRT and come back and pick up MSM in front of the theater in an hour, so she, at least, will see some of the show (she, who has provided the tickets in the first place), when I put my hand one last time in (one of my) pockets and there are the tickets where I'd placed them. By themselves, paper clipped together, in the pocket. Not little tickets, you understand, but long rectangular theater tickets. And it is not a hidden pocket, it's right up there in front, easy to access, a button, but no zippers, no velcro. Inside the tickets. Alone.

James Brown. We were right on time. Here in Oakland.

The photograph was taken at an Oakland City Center concert.