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Under Construction
Today in downtown Oakland

November 13th, 2005

With An Interest
Sunday. I am sitting here in reasonable fettle, looking about my computer area and getting ready to finish putting it in order. This is pretty good for someone who consumed a bottle of sake last night. I knew at the time I shouldn't drive down to the local Beverages and More (store) and purchase two bottles of sake. I knew in my heart I wouldn't drink the two, but I also knew in my heart I was probably going to drink the one. Just the nervousness of a Saturday evening, I suppose, the moon half past full. Still, as I said, I'm sitting here getting ready to finish the clean up of the computers, realizing I'm actually going to do it and additionally realizing there is no way in hell I'm going to do the laundry this morning, this afternoon or this evening, although significant mood changes can occur over the course of an afternoon.

What's all this hoo-haw about drinking sake? You haven't been drinking very much at all, other than with friends, and you've even passed on a couple of opportunities to do that.

I don't know. Maybe there's a politically correct mechanism spinning inside my head. I know the line you have to walk with booze. It's a fuzzy line, easy to rationalize, but you get a pretty good take on it over decades. I have many friends who seriously crossed the line when they were young and they either jumped back cold turkey in their thirties or died in their forties. There are one or two exceptions who seem to be able to drink on forever, but they are the exceptions and I, had I their record of consumption at my age, would not be my age. It's just, I don't know, I've been overly sensitive to my general health and feelings of well being these last four years. I think it's one of those “passages” they write about in books: turning thirty, turning forty, turning sixty. I'm just not up on the literature anymore so I don't know that what I'm wrestling with (and interminably writing about) is common to the lot of us lucky enough to enter a seventh decade: an event of both terror and celebration.


It's more interesting to write “terror” than “concern”. “Concern” sounds like something you'd read in a book about growing Geraniums. A writer's device. Has an edge. I'm getting tired of being “concerned”. You hear about getting old and getting aches and pains. What they don't seem to mention is they do come, yes, but they also go away. I hadn't realized that this stuff doesn't necessarily stick around until it does stick around and that in the meantime I can be out shooting pictures, drinking sake (albeit in smaller doses) and not breaking a sweat every time I skip through the obituary column in the morning paper.

Later. I shot the photograph as part of a series taken for a “Photographing People” class last summer. My first reaction was what a wretched tired looking son of a bitch I was, the photo at the top being one of the kinder depictions. But I shot them and I printed them and I taped them to one of my book cases because that's what the instructor said a real photographer did. Hard not to notice them when they're taped to one of your book cases. And I've gotten to like them. Maybe not “like” so much as find them instructive, as if they were photographs of someone else, if not by someone else, and I don't therefore have to invest any ego in their examination. They were taken with the 4 megapixel D2h, a camera not designed for portraiture unless you're into taking portraits of basketball players in the middle of a game. Now that I have the new camera and more strobe lights to remove the funky looking shadows, I think I'll shoot more. That was a good class, by the way. I fought certain parts of it, but I highly recommend it to anyone with an interest.

The photograph was taken as part of a series for a photography class last year with a Nikon D2h mounted with a 17-55mm f 2.8 Nikkor lens at 1/250th second at f 5.6 at ISO 200.