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Oakland Carnaval Parade

May 30th, 2002

A Bad Guy
Even with the three day weekend last weekend, the walls seem closer, the mind more fuzzy and the attitude, around 3:00 this afternoon, less than wonderful. Why not walk across the street, you old fart, and order a beer, put your feet up and leave the grind behind? Except for the beer, actually. For all this excitement living life at the edge: after all, a whiskey and water after work every night (wadda cut up!), I don't much like alcohol in an afternoon, in or out of the office, in or out of the sun, in or out of my mind. Or early evening hangovers, come to think of it. Too many old friends with another idea on the subject, too many friends who never got old. But I'm whining. And it's after six. And I'm feeling better. It's just, you know, I seem to be writing this same stuff again and I'm not sure how to stop.

Hard to say what I got in the way of photographs of the two Carnaval parades other than a bunchOakland Carnaval Parade of them. The color is back, I picked up another contact sheet of a roll of black and white that I'd finished up yesterday at lunch, but started at the tail end of the Oakland Carnaval parade in Mosswood Park. Four or five good ones on that roll. Four or five out of 36 is good. Some of the other rolls seemed particularly barren, but then I've thought that before and discovered better things later when I sorted them out. That's what I mean by white noise, by the way. I get some interesting pictures back from the lab, but my head is buzzing and instead of sorting them out I crawl back into bed. Stress, bubba. Hope it's not old age. Best it's the stress and not the photographs.

I received an email today from my old college fraternity asking me to go to the embedded link and update my entry in their alumni directory. I haven't contacted my old fraternity since college, although they managed to track me down some years back and put me on their mailing list. I haven't provided them with any information other than to confirm my then home address, but I went to the link and saw they had my name, current residence address, company name, company address, work title and phone number(s). Which means if they have all this, others have this and more. My financial history, no doubt: income, taxes paid, web purchases, health records, driving records and an automated but accurate psychoanalysis of off kilter attitudes evidenced here in the journal. (I'd like a peek at that.)

Since the technology continues to get faster and cheaper at the same incredible clip, the cost of acquiring and storing that data - huge amounts of data on huge numbers of people - approaches zero. I'm told here's an Asian city-state that's put a lot of money into their technological infrastructure to the point most small financial transactions - store purchases, paying for a ride on a bus or a commuter train, buying a pack of gum, a cup of noodles down the street - are made on what is essentially a debit card. That same card is also used with card readers to gain entry into many public buildings and rooms: restrooms, restaurants and bars and all of this information is assembled and tracked. Their not so democratic government knows a whole lot about who's doing what, when and with whom.

That's part of what's so scary after 9 - 11. There was a time when the national police - FBI, DEA, CIA, those kinda guys - wouldn't talk with one another and spent their time hunkered down in bureaucratic battle. Not a bad arrangement, since people defending their turf don't have time to harass the citizenry. Keep 'em small and keep 'em busy was a good model that kept them reasonably ineffectual and out of our lives, from using their power as Hoover used the FBI: spying on members of Congress and the government to build files that could prove useful come budget time.

Now the technology that in some sense helped bring on 9 - 11 also provides the means and maybe the need to track people's lives to weed out the bad guys. The only problem is that eventually, in a world driven by ego, money and ism's, eventually everybody's a bad guy.

The photographs were taken at the Oakland Carnaval Parade last Sunday.