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Under Construction
At a lunch in Oakland

May 18th, 2006

Hurting and Clear
Wednesday. Well, the flu is now gone, allowing an examination of the aching roof of the mouth top of head thing in its pure form. Is it any better? I wonder. It does slow me down. It causes me to write about it over and over, which makes me wince, but not enough to stop. So, home early with a run down to the local store for a bottle of sake, a box of Triscuits and a container of sharp cheddar spreadable cheese food (Which will kill you dead of heart failure if you eat it more often than about once a year. It doesn't say so on the container, but you know deep down it will.) after watching the News Hour on public television. Sharp cheddar spreadable cheese food is one of my comfort foods, maybe my one comfort food. That and a little sake. One hopes a little sake, we're not all that far into the evening yet.

I've been watching another Chinese drama on channel 26 lately set in Shanghai during the war with Japan. Chinese melodramas have a flavor and a style of their own. No sex, of course, you wonder how they came to be more than a billion people, but they use a somewhat different palate in depicting life and death, art and life, love and success. There's more ambivalence toward happy endings, what happens to their heros and heroines as the stories unfold.

Generally, we don't allow Nature's Perfect Woman to be gunned down in the street by bandits or chopped up into small pieces by Rat Boys in our dramas unless it's to give good reason for our hero to go forth and slaughter the miscreants in righteous indignation: the father, the boyfriend, whomever might be played by Bruce Willis or Charles Bronson. The Chinese viewer is evidently more comfortable seeing their couples torn asunder by homicide, genocide, fratricide and suicide, not only in the first, but often in the second and third reel with whichever hero who's still alive when it's over standing alone in a desert with his rattle and drum. Depressing attitude toward art, one might say: too close to reality. But refreshing. Ultimately refreshing.

Thursday. Ah, yesterday the head was foggy and I was worried. Today was more like Monday and Tuesday, the attitude good, the head hurting, but clear. I can live with hurting and clear. Really.

The photograph was taken at a lunch in Oakland with a Nikon D2x mounted with a 17-55mm 2.8 Nikkor lens at something or other, f 2.8, ISO 100.