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Here In Oakland

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June 4, 2012

To Bed Early
Monday. To bed last night late, after watching the first half of an Amazon movie over the Roku box, little or nothing on my (no cable) choice of channels and programs. When's the last time I've watched anything through the Roku box? Netflix, actually, but I found I preferred trading DVD's to online and then, in a snit, canceled the entire service. Such is the cranky act of a recalcitrant old fart in Oakland, I guess. I suspect I'll sign up for the online part of Netflix again, but later, when I'm more sober (and more or less sane).

Up this morning an hour later than the alarm, off to breakfast and back in an intermittent rain, more a mist than a rain, back now with the day ahead. What to do on an overcast verging on rainy day, a Monday no less? Well, probably the usual things, but with a raincoat, a hat and a plastic wrapper for the camera. What else would we expect?

Later. Still quite overcast and again, on the verge of rain, but I did set out for the hospital lab, taking a bus and then another bus to arrive just after noon, back then on a bus (and then another bus) to the morning restaurant where I had an onion bagel with cream cheese, a scoop of ice cream and coffee. OK, I know, but that's what I was willing to eat. We do eat vegetables, now and again, but not today. Besides, we're a couple of pounds under our target of one hundred and sixty, close enough to the straight and narrow for this stage of my life. Ice cream and bagels.

Walking back from the café I decided to take the slight dogleg along the lake. There was still an intermittent stream of people running and walking, but a day on the edge of rain seems to have kept most of them home. Just beyond the end of the white column pergola I discovered three of the gosling families curled up on the narrow grass strip between the lake and the sidewalk, geese and goslings both seemingly quite oblivious to the people passing or to the person standing there taking pictures. Seems to work for them, they look healthy, their number undiminished, no one of them particularly excited by passersby. Me, oh, my.

Home now as we approach mid-afternoon, the sinuses and upper palate still stewing in their own juices, but perhaps not as angry as they were yesterday. Thoughts again of getting a marijuana card, although the two recent experiences I've had don't recommend it as a solution. Blow my head off, yes; ease the ache and still let me remain functional (albeit a bit stoned) during an evening? While out on the street shooting? We'd need to experiment to see, deedle-dee-dee.

You'll never get around to it.

I'll mention it to my neurologist. I suspect he has an opinion and, for some reason, I suspect he'd be amenable to giving it a try.

The prescription, not necessary the stuff itself. Not that he hasn't ever, um, experimented in the name of science (of course). This is the Bay Area, forty years after the Summer of Love: everyone here's taken a toke at one time or another in one of those last forty years.

Later still. A good start on the guitar as we approach six. I believe the six o'clock detective pot boiler is the Italian Don Matteo thing, which is reasonably well done, I suppose - Terrance Hill, the actor, is good if my memory is accurate - but the script leaves me, well, causes me to leave. Too bad for me, except I'm stubborn and would never willingly get my head around it unless, of course, it was needed to keep harmony in a house where I was living with a Don Matteo fan.

The idea is bizarre but not out of the question in a world addicted to an occasional blast of black humor. I guess. Of course it might change my opinion on a toke or two before the program got started, get so blitzed I couldn't tell a Matteo from a ball of twine.

The fingers are still stinging after short sessions of release bends. Basically you stretch the string with two, sometimes three fingers so it plays a higher note when you strike the string and then decreases as you move your fingers to release the tension, the fingertips pressing hard against the thin steel string. Same with a bend, except it's in the opposite direction, the sound rising, rather than falling.

So your fingers hurt. I'm wondering how many “bends” I'll need to do and for how long before the finger tips toughen up enough to play for a decent period. Not a problem when you're playing a tune, as there's usually not all that many bends involved, but for a “bend” lesson you repeat the sequence over and over and the fingers let you know they're less than amused.

Another Roku box movie for now is my guess. Otherwise it's to bed early.

The photo up top was taken at the San Francisco Carnaval Parade with a Nikon D4 mounted with a 70-200mm f 2.8 Nikkor VR II lens.