“The sirens will continue to resound every thirty minutes until the all clear.” But we are all clear, or pretty near to it, at the southern tail of El Cerrito curled against the Berkeley hills. Before it got dark we had a good view of the coal-colored cloud extending sideways over Richmond. Chevron’s refinery does this every few years, though not always at such volume; Standard Oil built it in 1901 and it’s been the biggest employer in the city ever since, except when there was a war on. So it has a lot to do with Richmond being Richmond. “We call Chevron 'Thunder Dome,'” said a local on the news, “because when it blows, it blows.”
The emergency response was quick and thorough. J. says it must be a dry run for the quake, or whatever else is coming. The northern BART stations have been shut down, and the track across the street that usually reminds us of our metropolitan area has gone silent.
Repeating myself from a few years ago: Oil and Water (title track).
See also: South Side Richmond.
One has to find some explanation why it is that one finds beautiful that which is beautiful. A technical explanation. It is indispensable, to know the rules of color, to know exactly why Van Gogh’s apples at The Hague which are of a definitely crapulous local color seem so splendid, why Delacroix slashed his decorative ceiling nudes with rays of green and yet these same nudes are clear and have brilliant color to their flesh, why Veronese, Velasquez, Franz Hals all had more than 27 blacks and as many whites, Van Gogh committed suicide, Delacroix died hating himself, and Hals drank in despair, why, what was it? Their drawings? For a small canvas of Van Gogh in The Hague Museum we have two pages of his notes on its orchestration. Each color has its reason for existing and I, by God, I’d go to scan canvases without having studied and this because everyone is in a hurry, God knows why....
Nicolas de Staël, correspondence, 1936
What’s R. doing?
She’s ripping the New Yorker to pieces again. Specifically the Louis Vuitton ads, and the ad for Siri.
Can’t you talk to Siri on your new work phone?
I suppose so. How does she work? “Hold down home button.” Um, Siri, where can I find a yellow-billed magpie?
I DON’T KNOW THAT. BUT I CAN SEARCH THE WEB FOR IT.
OK, search the web.
SEARCHING FOR, WHERE CAN I FIND A JELL-O BILLED MAGPIE.
(J. falls onto rug, nearly expires laughing)
Somewhat similarly, I'm grateful to Google Voice for consistently transcribing a coworker's name as Abalone.