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November 23, 2011

How I Treat It

Wednesday. To bed last night fairly early, up this morning with the alarm feeling just fine, to breakfast and back, the sun shining at eight in the morning on this Wednesday, my guitar lesson coming at ten.

We are making progress in coming to a settlement with my guitar practice. What I'm doing, the number of hours I'm practicing, are just fine. More than the instructor asks, fewer than I'd like in a more perfect world where things go as you'd like, but just right for where my head is at. And that's progress, I think.

I've been wondering about that. Why hassle over something you've volunteered to pursue because you seem to like it? How many roadblocks do you have to build, even little roadblocks, where no roadblocks are needed? Wanted? Desired? Here in the great Oakland marching band? So maybe we'll drop it, just, you know, play on.

They don't usually have electric guitars in a marching band. It's possible there may be acoustic guitars out there somewhere, but no electric guitars that I've ever heard of.

I figured I'd be one of the guys bringing up the rear on a flat bed truck plugged into a generator sitting between two Marshall amps in a chair. Less stress, less exertion, no need to worry. Some electric guitar players, I'm told, even manage a bit of sake before a performance. Not that that was a factor. Certainly.

Later. Went well, it did. Got through the piece, fumbling as I will when playing at my lesson, but came back after a couple of tries and played it right, played it as I'm usually able to play it in practice. Lots of reasons for this fumbling at the lesson, none of them related to the guitar, so we'll get on by and not worry about it. Which, I suspect, will in and of itself reduce the problem I'm saying isn't much of a problem anymore. Which is odd but true. Doodle-dee-do.

A short lie down not quite a nap and then a bus to the ATM on Broadway, a walk then to have a cup of mocha coffee in the Rotunda building, not many people around for a Wednesday during a noon hour I was thinking. Overcast, of course, the Thanksgiving holiday tomorrow, maybe people were heading home early. Lucky these days there are some who are still able to do it.

Another photograph of Egil Knutson's figures in his Pro Arts “Hard Times” exhibit (the Pro Arts people asked, should I post a picture on a blog, that I credit the artist).

A walk then around the plaza taking one or two pictures. Again, overcast, a group meeting in circle off to the side (laying out the Revolution?) as groups have been meeting daily all along, the fellow in the tree hiding his face when I approached to take a picture, a fair number of security guards in evidence. More than I remember. I wondered about this big black SUV without plates. Right out of central casting, although you think more in terms of the feds than the locals.

So, a bus back home, maybe a little guitar to go over this new “string bending” lesson. He showed me how it's done, how three fingers are used to make it happen, what I hadn't understood was how hard you have to press/push to reach and achieve the right sound. I've been thinking my fingertips are in shape, callouses in place, but after doing a few of these they're going to have to get much tougher. The instructor said it may take a number of weeks to get it down, so the tone goes up by necessary two full frets. The third string I was able to manage, the second string is going to take longer, the first string, well, the first string seems to be the barrier. Still, I do seem to be learning.

People aren't going to know first, second, third strings from Adam.

Everyone's seen a guitarist push/bend strings on a guitar. That's all that's really needed. It turns out those strings are made out of steel and they require more than just a little encouragement.

Later still. Adobe does have a Camera RAW Beta upgrade on their web site that includes a Nikon V1 component, so I've downloaded the thing and it does now allow me to view and manipulate the files. Good. I haven't used anything other than RAW now in too many years, as it allows so many adjustments not available with a jpeg, and I'm spoiled.

I'm still not sure about this V1 camera, but we're playing with the thing and I've a long way to go before I need to make a decision. It's in many ways a toy compared to the big Nikons, but it's an interesting toy that may end up with a small place in my shooting. I suspect, though, I've committed an error. Not for the camera, but for the fact I'm a different kind of photographer with a different series of interests and having a small camera I can carry in my jacket pocket to take the occasional picture of the family (posing) or the Eifel Tower (passing) just isn't of interest. Or use.

Evening. A walk down the hill for sushi and sake. We'll not do much tomorrow. My morning café is closed for the day, so I'll sleep in and take the day as I find it. It's often interesting to walk around the city on an important holiday. The places are deserted, just me and one or two others, maybe there's a picture or to in it that will be interesting. No complaints, I've done so many of these now over the years without too much damage.

I notice the Christmas tree people have set up shop again under the highway across from the Grand Lake Theater. When's the last time I had a Christmas tree? I have the necessary stuff: the base and ornaments acquired over the years, many of them from childhood. But I won't. Given the state of my apartment.

Sure, blame it on the apartment.

It never says a word, no matter how I treat it.

The photograph was taken at the Occupy Wall Street Rally and March, November 19, 2011 with a Nikon D3s mounted with a 70-200mm f 2.8 Nikkor VR II lens.