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Sproul Hall, Berkeley
March 18th, 2000

Skip Sunday
This is a day to catch up. Renew the driver's license. When exactly was that deadline? It might have been my birthday (ten days past) or it may be this coming week, the version my brain wants to believe. Looking at the letter from DMV will settle it. Now, to find the letter from the DMV, to find, well, whatever.

Beautiful day and I did get out and get some sun, shooting pictures of people passing, starting with a cup of coffee early on and a latte later in the morning. Life in the 21st Century. These were good things, but they're done and I'm done and it's just noon and I'm thinking the afternoon will have to live off of DMV letters, paying bills and whatever I can get going on the stereo with the doors open and the sun shining in.

Wuss is, I'm afraid, functionally insane what with the move and the new surroundings and the steady diet of Hill's Feline c/d-s. He's up here on the desk making little "cat lost in the cosmos" meows, hopeless little noises calling to someone who never lived or something that never was. Communication with cats of ages past, perhaps? Longing for another set of laws when cats didn't live packed in cotton and kitty litter, but lived and died with red claws and an attitude. My last cat died that way, under the wheels of a fireman's car: Punk teenage cat with a fuck you expression forever frozen onto her face: you got me asshole, but so what? I buried her in my back yard. She was a good cat.

Is this a transference thing? Wuss as moi? A day when the unbearable urge to get on a motorcycle and race into the highway takes control and the world flows beside you like gooey green plastic? Probably, except now, years and years later, all grown up, the motorcycle fantasy doesn't cut it anymore and I'm not sure what's left in the way of escapist routines to replace it. Actually, checking out the DMV letter this afternoon doesn't seem so bad and I have this urge to, well, get out some files I brought home from the office to see if I can't, um, finish some of them up before Monday. Something that was once routine in my deep fast receding past, working the weekends, fretting over deadlines. Perhaps I have swung too far out of balance and the occasional work day at home won't hurt.

Self: (whaaap!)


San Francisco has had two daily newspapers in the thirty years that I've lived here and one of Same old window. them, The Examiner, has been sold to a local investor. There's a somewhat circular more complex story here, the Hearst organization that owns The Examiner has bought the locally owned and more successful Chronicle, which they will now run in place of The Examiner which must be sold for anti-trust reasons. The Examiner staff will have their jobs guaranteed and be absorbed by the Chronicle and the new owners will maintain The Examiner with a new staff of their own choosing. Although you might think The Examiner will fail lickety split under the heel of the now Hearst owned Chronicle, that's not altogether certain. The Fang family, the founders and owners of a number of local newspapers in the Bay Area and now the new owners of The Examiner, might know what they're doing or get lucky and the local populace may well decide to support The Examiner if they do something different and interesting.

The story in The Examiner today quoted Warren Hinckle, a former Examiner columnist, once editor of the long defunct Ramparts Magazine (If you know the name, you know, and if you don't, the story is too long to tell right now.) and current writer for the Fang Empire as saying that he will be part of the new management team and that the new Examiner will be (fill in here with some upbeat and encouraging good news pronouncements). Made me think two things: first, what if I were younger and interested in working for a San Francisco newspaper? Reminds me of San Francisco in 1969 when I first arrived when the then new Rolling Stone magazine lived just down the street along with a number of other interesting rags that popped up and down over the next few years. Those with some moxie might drop by their office to see if they couldn't pick up invaluable experience along with some swell starvation wages.

Second, what am I doing right here and right now with this journal other than writing something akin to a column? Not one that will ever necessarily enjoy a wide readership, but a weird kind of "daily" writing exercise that I enjoy in the evenings and on the weekends from the comfort of my own livingroom. That's most of the battle, enjoying the "doing" of writing rather than the "being" of writing. The public "persona" of writer is usually more attractive than the actual "reality" of writer, but I seem to have learned to like the mechanics of the business here on the Internet without a lot of pressure. People (a select set of the razor sharp few) come and read, but not a whole lot of people, and that works.

Before the web, if you wanted a daily writing gig with any kind of readership, you had to go out into the real world and actually wangle a writer's job. There was time and opportunity to practice in college, but not a lot of time, and there was, at least for me, a fair amount of pressure (I crawled through college on my hands and knees, stark naked and terrified.). Here, it's crank them out in the comfort of your own home, make mistakes and then crank out some more and make some more mistakes and then sit back and think about those mistakes while sipping on a cool mass market beverage before making some changes or not making some changes and then maybe take a week off at the beach without having to placate a testy editor and then come back and write some more until you're a good writer or you're not. Except for Ally McBeal on Monday nights, it's better than watching television.

I appear to have rambled. Perhaps I'll skip Sunday.

The banner photograph was taken of Sproul Hall on the Berkeley campus. Another mannequin from the same shop window.