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At the pet shop near Rockridge in Oakland

March 5th, 2005

The Years Pass
Another day with the head aching: Felt funky in the morning, seemed to clear up by mid-afternoon - my attitude cleared up, anyway - and now, as the light is fading around 6:00 (thank god the days are getting longer), I'm feeling pretty good. So naturally I've poured a glass of whine. Um, wine.

I picked up two cases of tuna-like cat food today, since I ladeled out the last can from the last batch for Emmy this morning. Seventy seven dollars for 48 cans of cat food. Comes from Thailand, this stuff. Says so on the label. Probably riddled with mercury. I mean Thailand, after all. In fact, thinking about the seventy-seven bucks, I'm sure it's riddled with mercury. The turkey something or other she seemed willing to eat suddenly seems healthier. No mercury in turkeys, surely. Hormones, no doubt, but what the hell, can't be any worse than what they put in chicken and I myself eat a lot of chicken. Canned in Chicago or wherever, the turkey stuff. You won't find no mercury in Chicago, right?

Seventy-seven bucks for seven weeks worth of cat food. I can remember when, well, no reason to go there. When I was younger a dollar was worth ten dollars today, at least for certain things. Probably worth twenty of today's dollars when you're buying a house. Probably less when you're buying food, what with all those Mexican field workers we're still able to lure over the border for whatever miserable number of dollars we're willing to pay for an hour, a week, a month. I'd say a year, but we don't want none of them field workers hanging around for a year. In California. Or is this too Bay Area for the wider audience?

People like to talk about protecting the borders without mentioning how much of our economy depends on migrant workers. I say if you talk about solving what is admittedly a porous border, you need to talk about putting into place a rational way of dealing with our need for labor, “rational” in the sense of eliminating the need to kill so many making an attempt to return to their jobs. But, you know, since the politics involves really big bucks, nobody's willing to talk about it.

Are we off on a tangent? Do you know anything about porous borders or migrant labor?

Yeah, a tangent. I exploited migrant labor once in the wine business, although we required fairly skilled people and paid a lot more to tend our grapes in Napa than workers made in, say, the Central Valley.

And that mitigates your participation? I ask again, do you know anything about what you're talking about?

You understand this is a journal? A blog? A place to pour forth your reservoir of less studied, albeit firmly held opinion?

Later. I passed a younger woman walking with a Nikon D2h around her neck as I was returning from breakfast. I asked her what she thought about the color she was getting, particularly the saturation. Bottom line: she's had the same thoughts I've had, the seeming lack of “punch” in the color, even at lower ISOs. The D2h has a minimum ISO setting of 200. The lower the ISO, generally the better the color. Certainly this is true with film. The new D2x, which was due to hit the stores this week, has a bottom end ISO of 100. Do I really want to spend the money on a D2x before I hear someone say the color looks OK?

The D2h was released with a street price (without the many needed peripherals) of 3,200 dollars, which was lowered to 2,000 some months later (when a not yet available new model was announced that will replace it). Have they fixed the color? Same number of pixels, a little faster, a little what? More color? Mumble. Still, a connection with another digital photographer. A good encounter. And the picture above was taken at ISO 400 in low light with the D2h. Mumble.

Now, since it's later, it's been a couple of hours since I poured that first glass and I've drunk two now for the evening. The half empty stoppered bottle is sitting next to the microwave in the kitchen and I'm feeling just fine. Now, two glasses is about right, half a bottle, 375 ml of wine. A good high, a nice way to augment the evening. Now, how to convince myself I couldn't, you know, use a little more? If two makes you high - me, oh, my - wouldn't three make you higher, make you better able to dance the fandango, particularly since the evening is young, here in Oakland?

Last night I had two glasses of wine, two glasses the night before. Awoke with a clear head both mornings, as clear as any morning I've awakened after a night of drinking not a drop. A sensible routine (he said). Still, living alone, on any given evening, what's to say I won't slip as I have, indeed, slipped in the past? Nothing, I suppose. The bottle is stoppered and I have things I want to play with this evening, ending the evening by watching that Japanese samurai series on channel 26. I'll do that and I'll keep to two, but this particular test repeats itself now, doesn't it? Every night. Will we let it get out of hand over time, as the years pass? Maybe. Here in Oakland.

The photograph was taken today at a birthday lunch in Oakland with a Nikon D2h mounted with a 17-55mm f2.8 Nikkor lens at 1/20th second, f 5.6 and ISO 400.