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Grand Lake Theater area in Oakland

March 18th, 2002

I Smoked Kools
I placed two orders for clothes a week ago last Sunday, one with Lands End, one with L.L. Bean. I've done this before. Lands End has arrived before L.L. Bean both times. Both orders were placed over the web on Sunday and Lands End showed up on Thursday, while L.L. Bean showed up today on the Monday following. I notice L.L. Bean's two day Fed Ex shipment has taken four business days these last two times I've placed an order. The last two Lands End orders were shipped two day UPS and they arrived in two days, although the email they sent me said two day UPS can take two or three to arrive. Both companies shipped 48 hours after receiving my order.

A comment to L.L. Bean: it makes a difference. Lands End is kicking your ass. I like the belt I ordered, though. The belt was worth the wait. Liked the shirt too, although I'll wait to wash it and see if it comes out of the drier wrinkled before I decide.

The bar in the photograph at the top of the page is located near the Grand Lake Theater in Store window manequin in Berkeley Oakland and I pass it on my way to breakfast on weekends. Not such a great photograph, but a photograph to look at and think how I might make it better. (I'm partial to the thought of adding a long haired naked woman just outside the front door, a beer in her hand and her lips slightly parted in a silent hello.) I've not been inside, at least not while I've lived here in Oakland, but I think I went in there early one morning after midnight in the mid seventies to buy a pack of cigarettes. We were at a party somewhere down the street (across the street?) at a recording studio, my partner having just been retained by the studio to do their PR. I don't remember the name of the band that owned the studio, but they had plans. It's good to have plans.

A different me, a different time (cigarette time), a long time ago that I find hard to recall. I didn't stagger into the place looking for those cigarettes, although I'd had more than a few drinks, but it was late and it was dark and the entire place was filled with African Americans who turned their heads to see who this white boy might be, a blues band playing up on a small stage in the background. Don't remember if the band was good, but they had the atmosphere: a dark room, plenty of smoke, plenty of hip looking black blues people looking up to see who this might be on a midnight in Oakland. I smoked Kools.

The banner photograph was taken near Lake Merritt in Oakland and the second photograph was taken yesterday in Berkeley.