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Here In Oakland

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July 9, 2012

Really Arrived
Monday. I watched the Sergeant Lewis offshoot of the Inspector Morse series last night on PBS and so didn't get to bed until close to eleven. I've never quite liked the Morse character, like the later Lewis character better, and have so far enjoyed the series.

Anyway, up with the alarm on an overcast morning, to breakfast and back to finish an edit of yesterday's entry. So many odd juxtapositions of words, odd combinations - not typos, as such, but something else - something to do with rearranged connections in the brain. What the hell, not the first time I've wondered how they got through the first pass.

My thought is often - what the hell? - might as well become more ambitious with the writing rather than less. Semi-colons we'll leave to another life. But then I have many ideas these days, none of them coming to fruition. No complaints. These are still good days, just different than they were in the past.

You followed through on your list of tasks in the past?

Sometimes. Less so, it seems, as I've grown older. Not the first one in the world to whom it's happened.

Anyway, the day is clear, we'll see what we do with it. That second section of Temescal pictures, for example, I started them yesterday, I'll finish them later this afternoon.

Later. It took longer to put together a section of earlier photographs for the Temescal Street Fair because, well, the photographs were few and the ones I'd processed, when they were taken, really weren't up to snuff. These were from 2010 and 2011, not all that long ago. Which is a bit depressing, although it gives me more insight into the problems you encounter while learning to shoot pictures on the street. Being a street photographer. Being a wanna-be street photographer. You learn one note on a guitar, one photograph in a camera, at a time.

So I did finally post them before heading out for lunch at the morning restaurant. Which was nice, although, even at noon, the sky was still overcast and it was a little cold. It's clearing up now that it's one and maybe I'll take another walk in say another hour, but interesting to be too cold when you hear what's happening east of here in the rest of the country.

I've been passing by this outside my apartment house front door for the last two days. We had the San Bruno gas explosion and fire in September, 2010, where eight people were killed and thirty-five houses leveled with more destroyed in the blaze. So we're a little sensitive on the subject noting, whether we want to or not, places where P.G.&E. is “making repairs”. It's the earthquake that's supposed to get us, not the gas. “Jumpin' Jack Flash, it's a gas, gas, gas....” Rock and Roll foretold it all, from beginning to end.

You don't consider what you've just said a sign of a mind on its last legs? More than just words in “odd combinations”?

Not since it started at the age of three.

Later still. I ran across this website in a news story this afternoon and had something of an epiphany. The site itself hasn't been written or designed with all that much clarity, but what they seem to be doing is passing out and installing small Geiger counters that send real time radiation and location information to the web so you can track the readings real time on an online map. They started rolling it out right after Fukushima, but are also rolling them out in the U.S. and eventually worldwide.

There's now a company manufacturing these small units to be available this year. The epiphany is: if they're cheap enough and if you, as an individual, can purchase one and set it up where you want without too much effort, the result would be an extremely powerful tool for informing people with a mechanism that didn't require a government organization to instigate and operate (and have their oversight be eventually corrupted), people who then might rise up when they see damage being done. The industry and their government “oversight” groups wouldn't like it, but that's a given.

Then, having had the epiphany, I watched an interview with Erin Brokovich on T.V. where she was describing her problem in tracking down and then entering water pollution data into an online map. My, my. Another powerful real time way to bring a visual presentation of pollution data to people who can look in real time at reported problems in their own neighborhoods. Again: my, my. When you see kids are getting cancer in a town not far from your own, you suddenly want to get up and do something about it. I hope.

So tomorrow I'll (maybe) go by the Oakland Tribune and ask about their classes on where and how to get information from the city government. They're looking at it as an experiment by creating an information resource for their reporters, but I'm curious to see if there isn't a way to tie something into an online, easily supported by volunteers, updated in real time, map of my own. I suspect my little epiphany will come to nothing, they usually do, too much effort required, but this one did get the juices flowing and getting the juices flowing is getting harder to engineer anymore.

Could there be photography involved?

One would hope.

Evening. Another good evening. Nothing much on television, although I got roped into watching an Inspector Morse that ran til after ten, but I also spent a long series of stints on the guitar and futzing around with the old scanned black and white negatives. Summer may really have arrived.

The photo up top was taken walking down Mandana toward Grand with a Nikon D4 mounted with a 135mm f 2.0 Nikkor DC lens.