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October 16, 2012

Keep A Journal
Tuesday. To bed again before ten, to sleep not too long after, up with the alarm on an overcast, but soon I'd say to be sunny morning. Off to breakfast and back in the usual routine. A good day ahead from the look of it. A little warm probably, but only an idiot would think to complain.

Only you and your fellow idiots.


In taking my shaky photographs at the Autumn Lights Festival on Saturday I got to thinking I haven't been to the various Lake Merritt gardens in a long time. Maybe a good day to wander over with a closeup lens to see what kind of pictures I might get in better light. Just a thought that occurred as I was writing. Maybe. You never know.

The Presidential town hall debate this evening. I'm not looking forward to it, but of course, I'll watch. I remember bygone days on Arkansas Street in the 70's, listening to the Presidential election returns into the night, Nixon and the war and Watergate and the rest, how interesting and (I have to say) exciting, pacing and sitting, pacing and sitting. I suspect this coming November election, listening to the returns (with all that appears to be hanging on the outcome), will be a similar experience (probably practicing along on the guitar this time without the pacing - I find it difficult to pace and play guitar at the same time).

“May you live in exciting times.” How many times do you repeat - “interesting times” - before your nerves are shot? I understand more clearly with each passing year why one pulls up the covers and gives over to a fantasy of what's normal, to a fictional sense of balance, in a world where there really isn't anything you can call normal or balance that can't be tipped in a second. And then, what the hell, I pick up the guitar and have another drink. My parents went through the depression, WWII and the Cold War without outwardly blinking, why should my course be any different?

Later. Another one of these “what exactly am I doing?” bus trips downtown to the City Center to sit out at a table drinking a cup of coffee. OK, comfortable enough, but how many times have I done exactly this same thing in just this last week, month, year? Or is that the neurotic aspect: in asking the very question? You took a bus, you sat at a table, you drank coffee and you returned home in a good mood. There's a problem there, is there? Bucko?

Anyway, the sun is out, the trash is being collected below my balcony at this very moment and it's too early to head over to the morning café for whatever (with ice cream) for lunch, so maybe I'll do something constructive. Probably a good idea to do something constructive once in a week, don't you think?

Later still. A call at quarter past noon from Mr. & Ms. S saying they were on their way in a rental car to San Francisco and would I like to meet for lunch? Well, sure, so a bus and BART to San Francisco to meet at Harrington's over a Guinness and a hot turkey sandwich. When's the last time I had a hot turkey sandwich? And mashed potatoes?

So, an unexpected quick turn around trip to the city, home now after three, we'll heat up the guitar and get in our practice (because if we don't, we'll happily moan about it here for another week). Even I can't take another week of happily rationalizing our adventures with the guitar. I don't think.

You don't indeed think. Yet you write. Maybe think about that for a mite.

Evening. So I watched the town hall and then watched the pundits do their “analyses”, more body language and how loud the voice than the issues. Pundits are a different species. I'm not sure I'll ever totally understand where they come from in the wider scheme of things. What they taught us in journalism school doesn't really apply, but then many things they taught us in school turns out to be not overly useful when you get out into the real world.

Still, I played along on the guitar as I was listening, played along through the pundits' pontifications and then played along watching another Maigret at nine that it turns out I've seen in the recent past. And yes, I really didn't know how it ended until it ended, another program I've seen within the year where I've totally forgotten who'd done it, yet still recognized the beginning and many of the scenes. At least I'm consistent. At least.

So to bed. It's close to eleven, not good, but we'll soon be asleep, get up with the alarm for breakfast and then come back to again pick up the guitar and practice (after a nap). The lesson is Thursday and, given my progress this evening (even after well over two hours), I'll need all the addition practice I can find.

Without having seen people play one of these things, heard them play, I wouldn't have believed people could actually learn to play such a thing: picking in time, on the beat and without noticeable error or effort.

You have to assume someone a very long time ago started plucking at a string on a stick in a cave somewhere in Africa and just kept on plucking that string until something interesting started to come out. He (or she) probably didn't complain, didn't fret and, other than a little cave painting on the weekends, didn't keep a journal.

The photo up top was taken at the Sunday Streets Berkeley with a Nikon D4 mounted with an 70-200mm f 2.8 VR II Nikkor lens.