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Telegraph Avenue, Berkeley.
November 8th, 1999

Dried Fish and Potato Vodka
Those of you who are even now reading the nominated entries in the journal awards might take a moment to visit Mr. Nicholas E. Grinder's alternate ballot. I do not believe Mr. Grinder requires that you maintain a web journal in order to participate. Some may consider this sour grapes on Grinder's part, but I call it good journaling, reminding us to let loose and laugh as we did when we first got into this business. You know, a headline, two or three light hearted paragraphs, a dancing chicken, a picture of the cat. A PICTURE OF THE CAT, Grinder! Kinky links and leather garments came later. About two seconds later. Coincident with the arrival of web rings, hit counters and award contests.

The rain last night had passed on through by the time I awoke this morning, the clouds breaking to the west, grey and white in the sun. I toyed with the idea of driving. I needed to go by the hospital for a blood test this week anyway, fuzzy headed or not, thinking finally I'd be driving in on Wednesday to have dinner with friends, so better I take care of the blood work Wednesday morning. And not miss two days of walking. And maybe, I don't know, the exercise would clear my head.

I should go back and read some of last year's entries. Was I feeling a similar lack of energy, all of this caused by what? Dark days and darker days coming? My sister and her husband are talking about moving from Portland to the Nevada desert for similar reasons. Is it lack of sun or is mine a permanent year round funk? Dull and tired in the summer, dull and tired in the winter. I'm worried about this. I used to be pleasant company if only in my own company. Now I'm a complainer.

This was handled in earlier times through circumstance, of course. I mean, who lived to be Oakland City Center at a Warriors basketball team promotion. fifty? You didn't have to think about whether or not your mind was fuzzy, every moment a tippity tap tap typed terpsichorean stroll through the new and the exciting. I wonder about my ancestors in Iceland during the winters. I've read the Sagas and there was lots of action in the long boats, but what did they do in the winter when it was forty below and all you had in the larder was dried fish and potato vodka? Was anybody ever sober enough to wonder why they were feeling dull and draggy on days when they weren't drunk? Is clarity of mind and imagination an affectation of the 20th century? Back in the bulk of human history did old folks over the age of 20 even desire to be coherent? I wonder. If they wrote a journal they kept it on animal skins, don't ask me about writing instruments. Would you keep a journal on animal skins if you were clear of mind and sober? I doubt it.

The banner photograph was taken on a recent Sunday morning on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley. The woman was a spectator at a Warriors basketball promotion in the Oakland City Center.