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Here In Oakland

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November 24, 2012

Guitar Or No Guitar
Saturday. To bed last night about the same time I got to bed night before last, getting up again at the same time at six-thirty. Not sure that's enough sleep, about seven hours, maybe slightly less, but what the hell? We got up and out the door and headed out to breakfast on a nice sunny morning, parked across the street from the morning café so as to encourage my driving on after to the supermarket. Good. A good start.

Had breakfast - the waffle with strawberries and bananas with a side order of dry toast with jelly - forgetting to check the pandorea flowers to see if they're still making it, but photographing the drop in gas prices and to note a discarded funky hand drawn Thanksgiving flier taped to the sidewalk. Ah, well. We take our images as we find them.

Off to the supermarket to restock the essentials, large packages of paper towels, toilet paper, tooth paste and the like (including two of the small bottles of sake), maybe three or four other shoppers in the store, home now with a slight dry mouth developing. Very slight, no thoughts that something more dramatic is on the way, but now I have to wonder about the waffles? Ah, well. I didn't ask about MSG, thought I'd ask the owner tomorrow as, I suspect, since I've known her now for some time, she will be forthcoming. We'll see.

Anyway, as said, a really nice sunny day out there. Maybe just the briefest lie down on the bed just in case before heading out for a walk at least to the farmers market, maybe somewhere more ambitious as the mood may change or lightening strikes.

Later. Now that we have these ocular migraines figured out and we've decided we're cookin', we set out thinking we'll go by the morning café and take the picture we should have taken this morning. Good. We have a destination, Houston, light the fire! Hup!

Out the door arriving at the bottom of my hill to see four small blocks of wood with Leprechauns painted on them (and maybe Santas and Santa's helpers) just like the two others I discovered a year or so ago a mile from here on Mandana that I've photographed more than once, both of those similarly nailed to the bases of telephone poles so, of course, I took these pictures.

On by the lake to join the line of people walking and running, keeping an eye out for pictures, but not all that attentive, I'm afraid, as I was wondering about the dry funny tasting mouth that seemed to be growing. Growing worse, not better.

To cut to the chase, by the time I reached the farmers market area packed with people - it is a sunny, nice, warm etc. morning - I began experiencing some of the old visual distortions I've not had now in some time. If you divide your field of vision into thirds, three rectangles in the row, imagine turning your head and having the two rectangles on the end move to the new location, but the middle rectangle fade and blink and come into focus on something that's not quite clear a good two seconds later.

Disconcerting, especially since you're now feeling quite rocky and have noticed your knee wants to buckle every now and again as you're walking. Fall down? Me? A first time for the knee, though. How steady do I look to the people passing? OK, not good, things are weird - really weird - we'll cross the street at the corner, walk back home and lie down. Yes. The pandoreas can wait.

The distance home, about a quarter of a mile, went quickly enough, although the symptoms continued to increase rapidly - had I been driving I'd have pulled over to the side of the road, let me tell you - and by the time I reached the apartment building I'd managed to walk right on by without noticing and had to double back to find it. I recognized the terrain - it's my street after all - but had trouble sorting it out, looking as it did both familiar and alien, looking right, but not looking right, the pieces out of order (the head out of order).

At the apartment I crawled into bed for twenty minutes and then all was well. I'd had a bowl of cereal before setting out for the walk, two bowls, actually, and now I'm remembering I had issues with cereal earlier and had decided against eating much of it in one sitting. Two bowls of cereal? Not large bowls. The kind with the freeze dried strawberries mixed in, you just add milk? Processed food again? The Fates turning their faces, stirring the pot, not auguring a happy ending?

Anyway, it's one o'clock in the afternoon, I'm thinking of heading over to get a chicken sandwich at the burger place - chicken, lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise and a bun - as I'm still hungry. We'll skip walking to the morning café after the adventure of the morning. Hmm. Maybe a dash of reality has been inserted telling me it's not going to go away without more effort at finding a solution and, if we're not lucky, it's likely going to be with us until the end. An old Doors tune: "...this is the end, my friend...." Well, we're babbling and being ever more foolish.

Later still. Out the door again thinking that chicken sandwich is just across the way, no reason to walk the longer way to the morning café, but then, when exiting the building, felt the air hit the nostrils, felt them dilate and the mood lift by a good fifty feet, so off instead (where else?) to the morning restaurant!

A scone, a cup of ice cream and coffee for lunch, a walk then back to the apartment, stopping briefly to take one or two photographs along Grand and then along the lake. Just like that, as if the earlier episode hadn't happened which, I guess, is the way they come and go around here in Oakland.

I did walk on up the sidewalk beyond the point where I turn off to the apartment to see if there were any more of the little Munchkins affixed to light poles farther on up the street and found two more. Six in all added in the last day or two, probably yesterday, added by someone who's what? Doing it street by street? Which streets? My nearby street and a mile across the way Mandana? Are there others sitting at the bottom of poles on other streets? Does the world know? Does the world care? So many questions, so few answers.

Some guitar now (he said), get started early, make sure we don't miss practicing enough this day (as we did yesterday and the day before).

Evening. Screw it: another nap, just a short one, make sure the world is firmly nailed to the horizon. I had a brief creepy dream it's food that causes these issues, doesn't matter what kind of food, any food with calories. Hard to give up calories for more than about a week day or so before the natives become restless. Reckless. Pissed. Inordinately rude at all the right and wrong moments.

Are you getting in your guitar practice?

I've tuned the guitar and done the warm up exercises.

And that's it?

And that's it.

You've obviously gotten into the sake.

I remembered I had it sitting on the kitchen counter and have indeed consumed the two bottles, feeling much better now for the effort, the sinuses clear and clean, the air running through them like cool water over velvet, tickling whatever nerves there are in the lining, the attitude good. I'd have had a third bottle if there'd been one, which is why I buy but two.

I'm not sure air actually passes through the sinuses.

Doesn't matter. Wherever it goes it feels good.

And the guitar?

And the guitar. The six o'clock Swedish police procedural, another Beck, was one I hadn't seen before. The damned thing is growing on me, guitar or no guitar.

The photo up top was taken yesterday walking along Grand beside Lake Merritt with a Nikon D4 mounted with a 24-120mm f 4.0 VR Nikkor lens.