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San Francisco 2008 Carnaval Parade.

Under here.

July 5, 2008

A Ticket To Ride
Saturday. Although Jack London Square has had signs posted for some time saying their annual Independence Day fireworks display was cancelled for this year, evidently, for whatever reason, they had one last night. I knew about it from the papers, just as I know I've usually gone and pretty regularly photographed it, but for whatever reason I decided to stay home and watch my comes on at eight in the evening Chinese Kung Fu soap (with English subtitles). Was I feeling punk? Has this new improvement in the aching sinus-head thing fizzled out? Am I back in a hand basket? No. I don't think so. One of life's little mysteries, I guess.


Yeah. Flake. I'm just not sure why, this Fourth of July, I stayed here in the apartment. I watched the Kung Fu soap; I watched while consuming more than one glass of wine, come to think of it; I got a good night's sleep.


An Independence Day idiot with lots of company, I have no doubt. What did you do on the Fourth of July? You did? Really?

Later. The usual early down the way breakfast, then later, before noon, a bus downtown to catch BART to Berkeley; lunch at Le Noté a nice piece of chicken on a baguette, a walk to the theater for a Frapa-whatever at a Starbucks before settling in to see Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson. A decent flick, a little longer than I liked, but a good overview of who he was, what he did and the impact he had on the world.

Yes, he was a favorite; yes, he wrote his best stuff during the short period between his first book Hells Angels and his series of Rolling Stone articles that resulted in Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail, '72 and yes, I wish he hadn't lived his image and drunk himself into oblivion if only for the selfish reason we live at a time when we could really have used his talent, old man or no. A long time ago, those sixties and seventies, a different time and a different reality except, unfortunately, for the politics: the bombs and bullets, the gentle and not so gentle rape of the defenseless by people in power. But, well, a decent movie. Better than expected even after reading the positive reviews.

The head a bit fucked up wandering over to Berkeley on BART then back by bus. The vertigo aspect still seems under control, this is very good, but now that I've returned to the apartment I've popped a couple of the swell little pain pills that don't work to see if the aching sinus-right eye-upper teeth bother of the moment won't settle down. I thought of getting off the bus at the Seven-Eleven-Look-Alike and buying one of their clever little bottles of whiskey that seem to sell so well, but figured the pills that don't work should be enough and I don't need to get too comfortable at the moment with alcohol. Not so soon after watching Gonzo.

I first started paying attention to the back stories of writers people were paying attention to after my family moved to New York and I was twelve or thirteen: writers then such as Hemingway and Kerouac, writers later such as Kesey and Thompson. You had to wonder if it were absolutely necessary to dodge bullets in a foxhole or hop freight trains in the night, fiddle with LSD at Stanford or do drugs and alcohol to, um, grease the wheels, sharpen the perception, get yourself published. I always assumed Thompson wasn't writing his better stuff drinking the way I now guess he was, doing the things he seems to have actually done, living the life he so brilliantly described. It seems quite a price for a ticket to ride.

Still, what do I know? The problem with writing (for me) has always been the need to put whatever it is that's gotten into my craw down on paper. There needs to be an appreciation for language, sure, a need to create a personal style, yes, but spilling your guts on paper is a pain, not for what comes out, embarrassing or not, but for the process of searching it out, reaching down and grabbing it day in and day out. Hard work. Makes you crazy and in need of a drink. Not for the lazy or the too comfortable who've not been driven to the point of fleeing to find another, other, world.

You fled your life in New York.

Yeah, but everyone “fled their life in New York”. I met hundreds here in San Francisco. “Getting out of Texas with guitar” was still big when I arrived. Excellent people with that batshit crazy light in their eyes. I myself fled all too comfortably, all too easily and I was, well, too laid back to write it down.

Lazy and nothing to say. At least you came to the right place.

No matter, life is good at the moment and those little pills appear to be actually doing their stuff.

The photograph was taken at the San Francisco 2008 Carnaval Parade with a Nikon D3 mounted with a 70 - 200mm f 2.8 Nikkor VR lens at 1/1600th second, f 2.8, ISO 200.