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Here In Oakland

Art & Life


Under here.

May 4, 2012

Just Strumming
Friday. I made it a point to get to bed early last night after spending some time reading the manual sections needed to find and adjust the settings on the new camera to the way I like them. The menus are different, the button placements are different, but not all that different, and after all these years know what I need to change to match my preferences. I like the thing, but suspect, as I guess I've always suspected, it's not a camera I need in any real sense, not with the cameras I've already got and the money involved.

Then I glance through the news obits, note the ages displayed and figure what the hell, I'll run out breath before the bank account does. (A common rationalization in this world, but comforting none the less. Hard to see myself out on the street shooting pictures way out there in the future, not a lot of need for funds when you're sitting in a chair in front of a television set waiting on the Korean soaps to start.)

Sitting there with an I.V. in your arm and the medicos hovering over you asking why you haven't paid your overdue oxygen bills yet?

Well, there is that. What can I say? I'll be in the good company of similar idiots if any are still around. I'll no doubt miss the sake if that's no longer in the cards, not that I've ever been much of a card player in this life, but I believe there'll be plenty of morphine in that I.V. drip for aches and ills. Korean soaps and morphine, time will pass quickly I'd think.

Stop please. Go take pictures.

Later. An aimless sort of a walk starting with a bus to the downtown ATM and then on for a cup of caramel coffee and an espresso chocolate brownie in the Rotunda building, another bus to Jack London Square to see they'd finished redoing their big brown cactus ball fountain. All of the pictures were pedestrian, but I rationalized my lack of inspiration on “testing the new camera” images against the other cameras’ images in Photoshop to make comparisons and so took pictures happily enough as I walked.

But such is life. A bus then back to Peet's to sit out at one of their tables without buying anything inside (there's only so much coffee you can drink in a morning) before heading over to the City Center where they were setting up for a concert at noon. Enough of that, so a walk farther on to the City Hall where the mayor was making a short speech in front of reporters and a light crowd to celebrate Oakland's 160th birthday. My, my, who would have known?

But enough of that. There was a bus due across the way, so on back to the apartment feeling a bit burned out. There's an Art Murmur later this evening I'm thinking I'll photograph, so maybe another chance at something better (my attitude, not the novelty of the surroundings) after I practice a little guitar and take a nap. I'm ready for a nap even with all the sleep I tell myself I got last night.

You do get tired more easily as the years go by, not something that should be a surprise, but interesting to experience. We're not out of the water yet, we're still swimming, putting on a reasonable show, but there are clouds on the horizon. One hopes far on the horizon. Anyway the sun came out later this morning, we're doing fine for the time, this time, so no complaints.

No complaints?

More a descriptive narrative.

Later still. A nap of perhaps an hour. I say a nap, but really a lie down to drift along without getting to sleep, up then to play some guitar and then get involved in cataloging some of the older negatives from the seventies, finding one of me I'd forgotten about. A little heavier, I'd say, if only for the hair.

When I was in Jack London Square I'd gone by Beverages & More and looked over their selection of sakes, thinking maybe I'd buy one and take it home for later this evening, but talked myself out of it if only to avoid carrying it back in a bag. Hard to carry a camera, shoot pictures and carry a bag in the other hand.

I used that as my rationalization for going down the hill for sushi and sake, warding off the proprietor when he offered a refill. Feel good about that. I'm a little buzzed with the emphasis on little. Still, a picture of one of the sushi chefs before heading back to the apartment to catch the six o'clock Italian police procedural (which happens to be an ongoing lawyers against the machine yarn these Fridays) and play along on the guitar. Lots of time on the guitar today, lots of time yesterday, still obviously thinking of my performance from last week.

You really had to push yourself?

Actually no. You just play along, play the old lessons as well as the new lesson, practice the chord changes and the melodies, zone out without thinking, just strumming away.

Oakland May Day Demonstrations taken with a Nikon D3s mounted with a 70-200mm f 2.8 Nikkor VR II lens.