Saturday, October 25, 2003

Summer is here!

Berkeley Today at: 4:52 pm PDT
Partly Cloudy
Hi: 92
Lo: 57

Whoo. Joy.

Of course, the natives are whingeing (thats word, cyn?) about how bloody and unbearably hot it is.


Ive waited a whole bloody year for this. To walk around without a jacket at the ready.


"Youre not a California native are you?"
"No ma'am."
"Well, weather like this at this time of year creeps us out.. this hot weather causes forest and wildfires, as the hills are dry."
"Also, this is what we call earthquake weather. Earthquakes tend to occur during this time of year in this type of weather."
"Yes. This type of weather wouldve been a blessing in August, but in October and November, makes us nervous."

Although, later StonerDude would snort at this and say:

"Maaan, if the Giants and the A's make the World Series, these people start worrying that the Big One is coming."

He isnt a native, natch.
The old man, when I asked how long he expected this warm spell to last replied..

"It could be a week, it could be four minutes.. you never know around here."


Friday, October 24, 2003

Talkin bout it


Being flexible isn't usually your thing, but today it benefits you tremendously.
Love insists on doing it one way, not yours, so you'll have to decide if you'd rather be together or be right. Outsiders may misunderstand the dynamics of your relationship, but don't bother explaining.

Normally, Im fairly circumspect about the personal stuff - but Im writing this down...

Because I think I have to.
You need to put a partnership or relationship on a firmer footing, and the sun in Scorpio over the next few weeks will make it possible.
But it won't just happen out of the blue: The effort must come from you.
Make sure those you interact with on a one-to-one basis know what it is you think and feel.
Communication is the key to success.

Maybe this is another fear to confront?
One of the most important rules of goal setting is to put them in writing.

Written goals are a tangible sign of a promise that you intend to keep. They can remind you of that promise when time is short and other priorities press in. They will also help you track your progress, make your accomplishments more obvious and help you identify problem areas that need more attention.

Sadly, only 5% of Americans write down goals and objectives, but 95% of those who do succeed.

"Hey. Hey."

I reluctantly opened my eyes against the sun and the green of the reflected grass and sky, came out of my inner world and prepared to be social.

"The photography coming along?"
"Non. The camera is busted."
"Is that a reason?"
"Is that a reason to change what youre doing?"
"Nah, Im replacing the camera. I am a photographer."

Id been thinking of getting around to writing down my affirmations (Make 5 mil a year! EVERY year! Win the Pulitzer! Get a Macarthur 'genius' grant! Make the NEA wonder who do they have to sleep with to get me to take their money and positions!) to make my dreams real, and at that moment, I decided..

"Its time."

So, I started writing, and then I stopped.

I couldnt put down all the things I wanted. I knew when you do it, it manifests and all the things that happen, good or bad, you have to deal with, come what may.

So, all I have written down is "Get my cameras in 3 months."

Thats it.

Nothing else.

Whats stopping me from writing down the other executive orders?


Or do I have to think some more?

Thursday, October 23, 2003

Announcement at the Library

6:25pm Pacific

"Attention Berkeley library patrons, enthusiasts and sunsets lovers.

Outside the third, fourth and fifth floor west windows, there is a glorious view of todays sunset going on for the next few minutes. Please feel free to stop what youre doing and take a look.

Thank you."

Any wonder why this place is growing on me?

Going through my 'pics'

Other pics that are personal faves, but I wont be printing in 8x10...

Hmm.. well, maybe...


I just like the painterly quality of this one.. no one seems to agree.

Ditto here.

I shoulda started the tattoo project a long time ago.

But what do I know.. Im just the photographer. :-)
Today's horrorscope and other predictions
You want your freedom, but a nagging voice is saying no. Saturn holds you duty bound.


No, its not money thats holding me back.
Ah Poo, remind me never ever ever try to anticipate what you tell me.

Lets put it this way.. losing someone over jealousy? That it would be sad?

Right prediction, wrong woman.

Romance requires a lighter touch. Rely on your natural attraction and don't feel you need to force things. Focus on a partner's strengths and they'll grow. The opposite is true, too, so don't point out a partner's weaknesses. There's no reason to argue tonight.

No, I'll try not to.

This one, it would indeed be sad.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Workin' it

, often seemingly humble and generally circumspect in public, definitely have a strong streak of vanity and exhibitionism, although theyd be loath to openly admit to it.

(If you live with a Virgo, check out how often they pause to check themselves before a mirror... )

Mine comes out with the glow of pride I get when people admire my gear.

The cameras I had were all impressive looking, and I purred from the feedback I got from my shiny things.

But you gotta know your audience, and this is Berkeley, home of innumerable small presses, writers and frustrated writers.

Hoo-boy, the atention Ive been getting walking around, either reading or prominently displaying it from my backpack, The Publish It Yourself Handbook.

Heheh. Youd think I was carrying around nude posters from the whiplash reactions and questions I get about the book (although the nude poster would cause far less of a reaction, this being Berkeley after all), people talking about the books they want to publish.

Yep, Im in the right place.
"Well, we were living on this hilltop, and I was writing, and we were living this life that was frequently lovely, but also was often grim."

- Oliver Lange, "Kitchen Counter Publishing" from The Publish It Yourself Handbook

Marn, one of my literary heroes, wrote me today:
It seemed to me you were bottoming out there a bit,
Joe. Are you feeling better now?

The short public answer is, yes - yes I am. But probably not to the naked eye. :-)

As an ex put it, Im living a "sordid, nasty life" living poor and homeless (I forget nothing).

But, I chose this path, this life. And, as the man said, the life is frequently lovely (as hard as it is to believe), but often quite grim.

Ironically, thats life.

Now, this being Berkeley, there is an odd twist to this.

It seems Im earning a badge of honor.

Homeless in Berkeley.

Ive joined esteemed company here. Many, many people have this on their resume.

Lets list a few: Whoopi Goldberg, Tom Hanks, Timothy Leary, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsburg, Jay Ward (think Rocky, Bullwinkle, Boris and Natasha), Jessica Lange, Alice Walker, etc etc.

All were "Homeless in Berkeley", hands down the place to be if shipwrecked in California.

The list of people who have couch-surfed, "camped-out" or have had no definite address through Berkeley is simply mind-boggling.

Its a rite of passage.

Personally, Im not fond of this. Piss on holy poverty. I HATE being broke. Without computer. Without camera. Without cooking facilities. All of the above.

It sucks.

But, as I said - the payoff is turning out to be incredible.

My work is respected, and the people with connections are connecting me.

Plus other perks. :-)

My dreams are definitely unfolding to full length.

But, it aint easy.

No, you dont wanna be me, but I like this ride.
By the way Marn, one of the pleasures I indulge in as often as I can (before the cold and rainy winter comes), is to lay out in the grass at the Park by Berkeley's city hall.

Yesterday, as I snoozed, not worried that anyone was gonna molest me, a pit bull puppy bit me on the chin.

Since this puppy knows me, he didnt break skin, as he was issuing a playful challenge, the little spaz.

I took the leash and walked the dog, - err, got pulled along, barefoot in the grass.

Then he lay by my side chewing on things that American Yellow-eyed Staffordshire Terriers like to chew on, as I read in the sun in the park on the grass, until his mommies came to pick him up.

Other people joined me until the sun faded over the Bay and Golden Gate Bridge.

No, not so bad.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

"My name is Joe, and I dont technically qualify to be here. Yet."

I dont use drugs. I hardly ever drink.
Cuz, I have the personality. Im scared of diving off the deep end.
Im afraid I will LIKE it and never come back up.

My life-long reputation is that of a sober tee-totaler.

So, this isnt a trivial thing for me.

"That day when we talked, I was gonna go buy and use. Heavily. You saved me, man."
"I did?"
"Yeah, I was gonna go get fucked up THAT DAY, but you talked to me and told me I was fucking up and realize that its time to go into (a local Berkeley recovery program)."
"Wow. I didnt realize that."
"Yeah man, thank you."

"The irony about that is that..."
"Remember I told you that this year, I set myself about learning to surrender?"
"Yeah, I remember."
"So, this year.. Ive surrendered to my fears, to love, to suffering.."
"Now, Im wondering if it isnt time to try some of those stuff that 98 percent of Californians indulge in."
"I dont know, something I may have to do to go beyond myself... Hell, Ive always wanted to know what those acid trips are LIKE."

"Oh. You know..."
"As an artist, I highly recommend it."
"Ah shit. :-) "
"Man, Ive tried pretty much everything.. it aint all that. Dont do it."
"Yeah. Still, when I was in South Florida.. and people were like.. 'man, ya gotta try things at least ONCE'. There's something to that. I think its the next step."
"No, dont do it."
"Hm, still..."
"Look, people around here RESPECT you because youre not like them. You dont indulge.. And if you did that, they would lose respect for you, big time."
"Yeah, my reputation. I know. Still.."
"No, Joe. Dont."

Surrendering aint easy.

Maybe I should just grow dreads, eh..

Yeah, thats it

From the NYTimes:
As Opposed to Numbness, Pain Is Good

New Yorkers did not shrug. They grieved for the 10 who died on the ferry, almost as if they all knew the victims personally.

"They got retraumatized, is what happened," said Phyllis Cohen, a Brooklyn psychologist. Sept. 11 is never far from from people's minds. "Each time something happens that is a reminder of the original event, even on a smaller scale, we get traumatized all over again,"

For sure, the calamity in the harbor is special for several reasons, including a "there but for the grace of God go I" factor. But no less important is the ferry's iconic status.

"Those symbols of our city are kind of embedded in our lives in a way that we treasure," Dr. Walton said. "Any damage or injury to them or around them adds to the grief that we feel.


Ah crap

Happy Birthday Nance.

I DID remember your birthday was coming, but due to my exposure to the California chemicals and advanced age - I didnt remember to double check my reminders.

Which happens to be on my dead hard drive, not my Yahoo reminder (which Im starting to suspect is munching my stuff.)

Ah well.

Happy Birthday dear.

Always good wishes, always thinking of a helluva person.

Monday, October 20, 2003

Growing on me

I like the way the man in line at the Au Coquelet coffeeshop put it.

"Im originally from Detroit, and I left Berkeley in 1992 and came back.

You see, Berkeley is a growing place. By that I mean, here in Berkeley, you dont have to fit in, you have room to be yourself.

Whenever you leave and go back to where you came or to other places, you find that youve grown outside the box, and from there on - you look for places where you dont have to fit inside a box.

So, you come back to Berkeley."

Yeah, its a growing place.

And Im growing in ways I didnt expect.

One of Kate's favorite pix...

Taken as we were walking from dinner at The Stinking Rose in North Beach..

Any others, hon?


Offhand, some of MY favorites...

George and A. when they took me on my first trip to Au Coquelet..

(Eh, so Im sentimental. Shoot me.)

Sunday, October 19, 2003

No fear

"What do you think is the one thing that holds people back.. laziness or fear?" Mira said.
"Fear, hands down." I replied.

I know what I want now.

Im not so afraid of the ambiguities anymore.
In the park

"Whats your name?"
"Mine's Courtney, Joe."
"Right. You take care, Courtney..."
"I WILL see you again, Joe."

She smiled and walked off with her bicycle, her blond hair showing beneath her cholo rag.

I hear a chuckle behind me. Without turning around, I knew what it meant, as he had seen me and LeGirl laying in the grass and sunshine yesterday.

"Im a shy guy at heart, man."
"Uh-huh. Right. The white girls like you intellectual types.. "
"Oh lord, Im just minding my own business. Nuttin to get excited about.."

He chuckled again.

"Have you seen a woman named Sandra, black female in her 40's?"
"No, although I think someone was asking about her earlier."
"Ok, someone who is concerned for her is looking for her. Thank you Joe"

For a second I thought I misheard the police officer, but no - she DID call me by my name.

I dont know any cops who know me by name. How the hell did she know mine ?

Berkeley/Oakland IS a small town, but someone else offered an explanation..

"Berkeley cops always have people undercover here getting information, figuring out who's selling dope. They know who you are for sure."