We scrambled at the last minute to try to get somewhere to see the eclipse. We ended up at the local park with a bunch for friends and neighbors with everything from telescopes to layers of dark glass. This was shot by holding the camera in one hand and a couple of layers of welder’s glass in front of my lens with the other. A kind of like the lo-fi cross-process look that came out.
My mother turned 93 or so, Monday, or so. We’re not really sure about any of it, but that’s what her US passport says. Of course, I had to work yesterday, so I brought her to my house on Sunday. We didn’t really do anything special to celebrate per se. We just hung out for a while in the late morning, had some vasilopita (Greek new year’s bread) and Greek coffee. We talked about the same things over and over; I told her it was her birthday and how old she is, how old I am. I tried to clarify again how long I’ve been married, how old her grandson is, and so on. Then, after a while, the familiar cadence of alertness and fatigue progressed and she was ready to go home to the facility.
There was never much emphasis on anyone’s birthday in my family. I suppose this is because Greeks celebrate name days more so than birthdays, but in America that seemed only to happen as a brief mention during or after church. Consequently, I never had a real sense of either of my parents as celebrated or as celebratory. They just plugged away, day after day. (I, of course, had birthday parties, but they were typically muted affairs. Three or four friends would come over for cake and we’d run around in the back yard for a couple of hours.) Once I was older, I tried to celebrate both of my parents birthdays. I wanted to show my love for them, but in my American grown-up way. Neither ever seemed very comfortable with it. Maybe it was because they were already quite old and didn’t really want to be reminded, I don’t know.
Anyway, she seemed pretty sturdy and in good shape, all things considered–especially in the flannel shirt. I’d never seen it before, so I suspect it was a holiday gift to one of the other residents. They don’t seem to worry much about whose article of clothing is whose at her place. The glasses aren’t hers either. That’s probably just as well; hers have the thickest lenses I’ve ever seen and resulted from, I think, communication problems and confusion at her last eye exam a couple of years ago. She can’t tell how far away anything, like the next step or the handrail, is when she wears them.
But she did pretty good on this day.
So, happy birthday, ma. Here’s to another year.
Just over two and half years ago, I moved my mom out of her apartment nearby, and into a board and care facility. As I prepared to move everything out of the apartment, I decided I would photograph everything in it. Every thing. I did. The aim was to document all the objects which held some significance before casting anything to oblivion. Actually, it was to document everything and figure out later what has significance. The truth of the matter is that every single thing did. That’s just how I am.
There were just a few things I missed because they were not in the apartment at the time. A sugar bowl had been in use at my house for a couple years. It was my parents’, probably my father’s from before his marriage to my mother, and I remember it from early childhood. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I learned what depression glass is, or that it is somewhat collectible.
A month or two after I had completed the documentation project, I decided to photograph the few things that were scattered around my house. The sugar bowl was in heavy use near the stove. I thought to wash it before photographing it. That’s when I dropped it in the sink and broke it, and my heart. Though broken, I decided I would still photograph it, but I didn’t do it then. I was too disappointed at the time. I finished washing it and put it up on the shelf above the stove for later. Two and half years later, I’ve finally got it over with so that I can now,… cast it into oblivion.
Late last week I finally decided to stop and shoot the station wagon I’d passed several times on my commute to and from work. That night as I was perusing Google+, I read something which led me to some free Lightroom presets. I decided I’d try out a couple. The first one was a kind of lomo effect. I applied it to the station wagon and posted on flickr. I didn’t think to much about it; I have not been too active lately and I’ve not been getting many veiws, which is understandable. I have just been trying to keep up with the post-a-day project, and not getting much chance to check out what everybody else is doing.
So, I was surprised the next day when the photo had been explored and getting tons of views and faves. I thought it was a pretty boring shot. I guess people like this lo-fi stuff. The popularity of hipstamatic is testament to that. So with that here a gallery with a couple more attempts to explore this theme.
I had a meeting to attend tonight, which led to two other things.
The first thing is that I parked in front of a bizarre storefront. Years from now, people won’t believe that it was once chic to glue rocks to your walls and spray paint them bright colors, so I wanted to make sure I documented it.
The second thing that happened is that after the meeting I walked by Phil’s fabrication shop down on San Pablo at the old transmission shop. I saw him through the window and knocked to simply say “hi”. Instead, he invited me in and we had a great conversation for a big long time. Again.
It’s genuinely inspiring to get to talk to such creative people and see their wonderful work. Again, we threw some ideas around and talked about cool stuff to try and do! Clearly, I must find a way to be more productive. Staying up late at night to work on personal projects after working at a job all day, parenting, and meeting other obligations, is resulting mostly in sleep deprivation and not a lot of quality work on any front. But I’m determined to figure out a way…
The upside is that when I left work this evening the light was reasonably nice and I decided to shoot a couple cars that are often parked nearby, such as this stylish hearse. Once I get settled a bit more and start making some progress at work, I’ll be ready to start exploring the neighborhood with camera.
And just for the heck of it, I’m going to create this post from within flickr’s share tool. I used to use it and didn’t like it that much, but it looks like maybe it has changed over the last couple years–which is like 14 in web years. So, maybe it will display properly.
And then, i’m going to review some regex concepts. And then I’m going to install Tiki Wiki on my laptop to see if it will work well at work as an in-house wiki, and then… I’m going to… get… my few hours… sleep… … before …. zzzzzzz
One might suppose that on the day before I start a new job I would be focused on preparing myself. Such leisure would have been most welcome. Instead, it was a crazy day of non-stop errands too numerous to list here, but ending at midnight with the completion of the dessert item for the international potluck in Theo’s second grade class tomorrow. Somehow, I managed to get this shot of the Continental in between taking my mom back home and getting parts at the hardware store. So, all that running around was good for something after all.
So to return to the saga of the two moving violations, while I was still waiting to hear back from the court regarding my written case over the first ticket, I had gone over to Mod Lang in El Cerrito to get a couple CDs for Sarah for her birthday (You guys are wonderful, by the way!). It’s not all that far, but I drove because I was running various errands, and I parked right on Fairmont Ave, right near the shop.
When I was leaving I wanted to go back the way I came to go back home and to avoid having to go down to busy San Pablo. Now, a you can see, Fairmont is not a big street. It’s small, about the same size as my very own street. And there were no cars anywhere in either direction. So, almost reflexively, I pulled away from the curb and made a u-turn. The problem is that Fairmont is striped. Double-yellow. Just as I got the car turned around, a bicycle cop rode up and got all in my face, looking like I had personally insulted him, and waived me to the curb. I dutifully pulled over. I felt myself going numb with disbelief. When he came to window, he asked me, “Do you know why I stopped you?” I’m pretty sure my response was a silent and curious mixture of autistic vacancy and “what-the-fuck-kind-of-question-is-that” irritation. He asks for my proof of insurance. I don’t have the latest slip in the car, only the previous one which had expired about three weeks previously. The ticket is written for both the illegal u-turn and the lack of proof of insurance.
Eventually, the courtesy notice comes. I quickly read it over and put it aside. I want to find out what the outcome of the pending case is before I even think about this one. The first ticket is sustained. It makes no sense to fight this one, because I straightforwardly broke the rules. I did it unintentionally, but I did it. So, I’ll pay and be done with it. But I’m going to wait until after Christmas.
Finally, a couple weeks ago I started thinking about paying the fine. I saw that I could do it online, thank god. The only glitch was that I have not heard back from the first court about going to driving school. And the check has not been cashed yet. So, I don’t know whether to pay for traffic school for the second ticket or not. So, I start calling to find out about where my paperwork is for that.
I call several times over the course of two weeks and talk to a few different people. Despite having sent my check for the traffic school in mid-December, there is no record of it at the court. Someone offers to go look the through the backlog on the desk of the person who’s supposed to process those, but is out sick this week. Nothing. The next day, nothing. The next Monday, nothing. Finally, yesterday, the day before the due date for paying the fine of the second ticket, I call again and still there’s no trace of my check. So, I decide to pay again with the second fine.
But then, when I actually tried to do it, I discovered that I could not do it online because I had to show proof of insurance IN PERSON. No scans or PDFs or anything. So, today, the very absolute last day before I’m delinquent and thereafter considered a hardened criminal, I head out to the Superior Court in lovely Richmond CA, checkbook and insurance slip in hand.
I park on the street a block or so away because parking lot and street are totally impacted. The court building is mid-century Soviet. Recent security measures have been deployed to limit access to one entrance/exit with the usual x-ray machine and metal detector. The first thing that happens is that as I go through the detector, the deputy very rudely barks at me, “Is this your bag? Get rid of the camera,” and boots me out. So, now I’m standing there wondering what to do. Go all the way back home? Or leave my fairly expensive camera and lens in the car, on the street, in a highly questionable neighborhood. Never mind that, as you’ll see, there’s already 200 people with cell phone cameras inside the building.
I go back to the car, get in, start to drive, and turn around back towards the building. A car in front of pulls away, so pull into the curb spot. 2 hour parking limit. I take my camera out and try to put it under the seat, but it won’t fit. So I kind of jam it in a bit and pull the child’s car seat and some paper debris over the top. I tell myself, “it’ll be fine here next to the court house for the 15 minutes I’ll be in there.”
I go back in and through the security check, and swing around to the hallway where the traffic court is. Holy shit! Only 9 am and the line is already the whole length of the long corridor and doubling back on itself. In the first 10 minutes, I don’t move at all. Not. One. Bit. At first, I think I am not going to make it. I’ll be at least two or three hours in this line. But finally, it starts to move. Meanwhile everyone in line is getting to know each other. There’s lots of talk of single motherhood, job situations, etc. Kinda sweet actually. Then there’s this black guy going on about some kind of Jewish conspiracy going all the way back to the Lincoln assassination. Really. Lots of historical detail in play. I gotta remember to look that one up.
Finally, almost exactly one hour after getting inline, I reach a window. The person on the other side was pretty nice and we exchanged some gallows humor. She’s already ready for a drink at 10 am. $304 later, I’m out of there and heading to my car.
Thankfully, the car is intact, camera and all. And I got this swell picture of a tree out of the deal.