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September 13th, 2000

Have To Handle It
Now, here I sit, photographs scanned, dinner done, Wuss out on the balcony having eaten a full can of cat food today, working on the second. Should be a good time to let 'er rip so here I sit, letting 'er rip. Except. I went to work this morning, had lunch, returned. Day went quickly. Accomplished some things. Whoop. So now what is it exactly that I will let rip across these pages?

They are running out of gas in England. Says so on television, so it must be true. One of the people at our company was planning on travelling to England today for a vacation. Something about her husband just returning from a month in Africa, so maybe, she thought, they'd call it off. He was all travelled out. Mr. Bill, two desks down, is on vacation in Chile at the moment. In Chile? In England? These places are just a hop and a jump away? Our new manager was going to spend the weekend in Hawaii, but couldn't make a last minute plane connection, so he spent Friday in Wisconsin and the next two days in Chicago. Home, for him, but still. Hawaii over the weekend, London for a couple of weeks, except they weren't going anymore because the husband was tuckered out after a month vacationing in Africa, Australia in the winter (of course, where else?) and Asia any old time at the drop of a hat on business.

The world has changed. My world has changed. Maybe running out of gas in England will put the brakes on some of this, but I doubt it. I've been thinking on and off for the last couple of years of spending a long vacation in London, shooting pictures, drinking beer, maybe taking a quick side trip up north to say hello to Rien, never really believing I'd do it. Maybe I'm dreaming. Maybe I will be the last kid on my block to circumnavigate the earth. Over a weekend. When the connections are good and memories of Africa are fading into the distance.

I did shoot some color in Seattle. Slides, as it happens, not print, and I'm realizing I need more practice adjusting the color, particularly the flesh tones. I pretty much use Kodak film, but I'm tempted to use some of the Fuji Astia that everybody's talking about for its natural skin color. I wonder about that. I tried some rolls, well, maybe fifty rolls of Velvia early on for its intense color, but realized intense or no, the skin tones were terrible and went back to 100s Ektachrome professional. You keep it in the refrigerator and I've had maybe twenty rolls sitting next to the catsup for the last six months as I began to shoot more and more black and white (Kodak T-MAX with the occasional roll of TRI-X for dramatic effect). Maybe it's getting old. Normally you shoot this stuff up pretty quickly and I notice the expiration date on my last two boxes is (my, my) 9/2000. I must have had it now for almost a year. Maybe that affects the color. Don't know, but I'd bet on photographer error before I'd blame it on the film. Mumble. Ramble.

You can't buy a gallon of gasoline in this area for under $2 and hearing the news today on world oil production (they're near the limit), it wouldn't surprise me to see it at $3 next summer. So why am I sort of toying again with the idea of getting that Jeep I let slip through my fingers last spring? I guess it doesn't matter, by the time I might actually buy one (after many thoughts of yes, no, yes, no) the cost of gasoline will have sorted itself out and my current consumption of 3 gallons a week on a week of heavy travelling means it doesn't really matter whether I drive an electric toothbrush or a Peterbuilt thirteen wheeler. Forget about electricity, though. It will either double or triple by the time next summer rolls around or we'll be having rolling brown outs for the next half decade. Supply and demand. I knew all those economics classes I took in college would come in handy. No supply, plenty of demand, the price goes straight up to the top of the graph. They will build power plants in California again, of course, in order to bring rates down and I'm not sure how long that will take, but I'm betting the cost of electricity will cause a lot of very fast construction.

Too bad about the salmon in the rivers of the Northwest, though. As an old born in Seattle salmon fisherman, I'm not sure I want to hear that electricity is more important than salmon. There's a certain "we're out of pretzels so let's eat the babies" quality about it, but lack of energy will kill the fish. I've been away from home now for thirty years: "Seattle, have you kept the faith and the home fires burning? And what's this I hear of our salmon? The last one. Pan fried over a hydroelectric fire."

Erratic sanctimonious thinking methinks on this warm California evening, tied somehow to the world through an Internet connection. England brought low by a few truck drivers irate over their gasoline taxes. Tsk, tsk. We'd burn down Washington if they even suggested such. You may recall our earlier irate behavior over taxes, although I think it was England that torched Washington City back then before we ourselves could get around to it. Our turn next, no doubt, these miscellaneous rolling troubles, but maybe not immediately. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow. No reason to make any unnecessary acquisitions, bicycles with the thought of actually riding them, for example, until we've considered every aspect, put it off perhaps until the next generation will have to handle it.

The photographs were taken in Seattle weekend before last. The quote under The Sole Proprietor title is by Seneca who undoubtedly first uttered it in Latin.