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San Francisco Carnaval Parade

June 10th, 2006

To Know That
Friday. I've joked a bit about my mornings after drinking sake the night before being better than mornings I've had without it in recent days. This whole week has gone pretty well, this day too, which means, I suppose, I've been drinking sake in the evenings, which I have, and that I've been feeling better. Let's see how the weekend goes. Let's see how the evening goes and go with it. Diddle-dee-dit. Do you have any intimation I might have had my first cup of the evening? Wouldn't surprise me if you did.

Saturday. Then again joking about alcohol is reasonably stupid, particularly for someone of my age and, since the sake locker is empty, I think I'll give it a rest. That and the, um, hangover I'm hosting at the moment.

One of the reasons I bought an iPod, something I don't use very often, is the fact you can attach an external microphone and make recordings. I've had this thought I'd like to record conversations overheard on the bus. Sneaky, I suppose, but I'm not sure what harm it might do (a photograph you can attach to an actual person, a voice you essentially can't) and I'd like to write some of it out to get a feeling for the rhythm and the rime. Teach myself something about dialogue, in other words, to write in voices that are different from my own.

I've always had this idea that I'd like to record street conversations. I've heard at least one brilliant monologue by a woman on a bus headed for Berkeley, she talking master level trash with three smart African American kids who were maybe twenty, she maybe forty, she blowing them away. I say smart because they were clearly listening and evaluating, understanding the game being played and the fact they had maybe run into someone or something they'd never known existed, or, at least, had never thought they'd run into on a late afternoon in a bus headed for Berkeley.

Two or three people hissed at her for her language - this being a no holds barred free form take no prisoners exchange, you understand - the two or three hissing from the front of the crowded bus having no clue as to what might be happening. The three African American kids knew they were being nailed in front of an audience, but there was no apparent ego damage - something you want to be careful about with strangers - they knew they were being allowed to play the game with a master, albeit a more than slightly crazy master, and they were taking notes. What would I have given to have a recording of that exchange, to be able to go back and hear it after the fact to see if I'm hallucinating this or I'm on the mark? I wonder how it would look written out on paper? Would it translate? Could I cop some licks?

What started this was the recent arrival of a small hand held recorder from B&H. I discovered (last week as I was sampling my second flask of sake for the evening and leafing through the B&H audio catalog that I'd just received in the mail) that by clicking the appropriate button on their web site they'd send me one of these swell small hand held (about the size of a pack of cigarettes) recording devices the very next day. Which they did. Which is another reason, if not to go on the wagon, then not to drink sake alone and unattended in front of a computer screen.

Anyway, this thing has built in microphones that pick up conversations (and street sounds) real slick and I've been playing with it in various crowded environments and wondering how one might use the output of one of these things on a web site. Somehow I felt you needed to know this. Here in Oakland.

The photograph was taken at the San Francisco Carnaval parade with a Nikon D2x mounted with a 70-200mm 2.8 Nikkor VR lens at 1/320th, f 2.8, ISO 100.