A Sumtyme Blog of Knowthing

Old and in my way: One less thing on my bucket list

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I finished painting my house, it took about 6 weeks, including washing the stucco down with a brush and liquid cleaner—by hand—  a primer coat, finish coat and touch up. The hard part was standing for long periods of time especially on a ladder  as this put a strain my knees. I tried to limit by daily time  to three hours but when he pain on my knees  become increasingly worse I increased the time to hurry the job which only increased the pain on my knees.

This will probably be the last time I am physically capable of doing this kind of work, I guess its my bucket list as I like doing manual work and soon if not next year, I will probably not have the stamina or strength  to do  it. One less thing on my bucket list means I am  six weeks closer to my death.

Mieko and I went to San Francisco Sunday taking the ferry both ways, below is a pier in San Francisco,

San Francisco

an afternoon at a wine bar,

San Francisco wine bar

somewhere near Portero Hill


and a tug pushing a cargo  ship at the Port of Oakland ,

tug and ship in Oakland port

And San Francisco in its natural state.

A San Francisco Sunday

Written by Steve

October 26th, 2016 at 12:17 pm

The king’s knew clothes

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Sometimes what we see is mis-interpreted by what we think we see. Learning how to see without thinking about we see is an important skill because what we see is direct and what we think we see  is modified to make a consistent fit with what we are supposed to see.

a house in japan

While its not always of value to experience what you see directly—as individuals our experiences are unique however it is much  more practical to use a language instead of creating our own based on our unique experiences but the language itself includes boundary mechanisms which will translate what we actually saw to what we are supposed to see—thinking modifies what we see to conform with the common view of society.


While it may be true that if we behaved based on what we truly saw the society would be in anarchy, i.e. the social forces of cohesion could not unite us, sometimes what we see commonly as true is really false and artists can show that to us when they learn to see directly and create based on their personal unique experience instead of creating images of what they are supposed to see. What we see and what we think we see are two different things but the latter is socially  cohesive and the former is truth. We are best off with some kind of balance between them.

Shibuya at night

Popular art is more in conformance with what we are supposed to see  than what we really see  which is what makes it more more popular but it rarely is about any kind of truth concerning what we really see. Reality is what we really see but commonality is about we we are supposed to see and while  the process of creating popular art may yield fame and fortune  for the artist and makes the audience feel good it is not about truth.

Written by Steve

October 23rd, 2016 at 9:36 am

Old and in my own way: Drinking, eating, walking, reading

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My chances for developing Alzheimer’s are increased, from my father’s side,  his mother had it, there were four brothers, one passed too young but the other three developed it at about 79  years old, Fortunately no genetic contributions from my mother’s side but at 86 years she had a stroke resulting in serious memory loss and expressive aphasia.


I was seriously involved in her care  for  3.5 years while she lived in a memory care facility near me, with two months in a rehab nursing facility recovering from an operation. During this time she lived in two different (and in my judgment good) memory care facilities about halfway on the before and after sides of the rehab experience. During this time I met people with different forms of dementia, many who suffered from Alzheimer’s.

a tree in our yard

I met a man who was in his late forties,  suffering from Alzheimer’s for over eight years and at the point I met him was not able to do any basic functions, barely able to walk. He was still in good physical shape, he had earned a black belt in karate had been a “free” rock climber, a deep sea diver, taught both of these sports as well as a professional career illustrator for NASA. HIs wife was employed with a major silicon valley corporation whose products are not only used all over the world but as you surf the WWW you are seeing results of those products and upon hearing of the husband’s situation ands considering the future medical costs, gave her the lay off for her years of hard work, resulting in a loss of insurance as well as income.

a tree in someone else’s yard

Getting old is not my choice but neither was being born and you cannot have one without the other. Regardless of the negatives  in my life I had enough positive experiences to establish a professional career, support a family and have a son,  and for this I am grateful, especially when I learn about the unfortunate situations of many people all around this earth.

a building in San Francisco

Seeing the street scenes in San Francisco, wondering what  all of these people are doing milling around, buying things, going places, being employed and are they grateful to live in a country where your house is not bombed out on a regular basis or political dictators control important natural  human behaviors.We have yet to develop an answer for the problems these ambitious power hunger achievers  create in their pursuit of personal glory  at the expense of others but certainly a Clinton or Trump—no matter how bad they are and both should be 100% unacceptable to the US public—operating within our institutions is a lot better than a Putin, a Xi Jinxing or an ayatollah.

union square san francisco

I stopped buying Japanese pottery a few years ago. Those of you who have been to the pottery pages of my Empty Page site may be familiar with my modest passion and interest in Japanese folk pottery, mostly guinomi, tokkuri, some chawan and some pieces used for eating. I still use these things everyday and where in the past I tended to save the nicest pieces for special occasions I now try to use them on an everyday basis.

shuki, bizen and karatsu

Who else will use them if I do not? and I have no one to leave them to, neither my wife or son appreciates them, or wants them. Do I sell them before I get Alzheimer’s or perhaps my strategy should be to sell most and choose  one guinomi and one tokkuri to use until I pass out or die?

new years food and pottery

Above are my last New Years treats,  bizen tokkuri by Nakamura Makoto and ekaratsu guinomi and small plates by Maruta Munehiko.

landscape in my yard

Outside of studying investment and things which may affect the market daily and long term I do not read mch anymore. At night where I used to read for at least 30 minutes I now pick up a favorite book, open it, read a few pages and go to sleep. The books which work well for this include novels by Hammett (The Glass Key and Maltese Falcon being my favorite), nineteenth century philosophy/sociology, picture books of art such as “How to Wrap Five Eggs,” and interesting ideas such as “The Gutenberg Galaxy” by Marshal McLuhan.

feet at 11:30

As my feets approach my last hour and my ability to walk is  slowly deteriorating, walking with my eyes and camera is and has been a great pleasure for me, I am fortunate to have had good physical  health although I exercise every day, my favorite exercise being to walk four miles at a fast pace while listening to The Archers, In Our Time with Melvin Bragg an the Reith Lectures but still over the past four months I have become about 10% slower. Fortunately you can see below I have a wonderful place very near my house to walk.

alameda creek trail near Beard Rd staging area

Hopefully for many more years  my feet will continue to point the way.


Written by Steve

October 22nd, 2016 at 9:56 am

A giant step toward an unfree world market

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The news that Duterte has “aligned with China” is concerning, China’s plan under the guise of BRICs is to build a market complete with internet access—an internet which they control—and the cost for countries to  join this economy which means access to the chinese market will be  the rejection of market and military involvement with the United States. This marks a qualitative step toward the end of a free world market and a market and an internet which is controlled by the Chinese government.

Below is Powell Street Station,

san Francisco

and BART,


A building I like to see when I go to San Francisco.

Aa building in san francisco

Written by Steve

October 20th, 2016 at 8:28 am

Old and in my way: Feets don’t fail me yet

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My parents lived in Japan for 14 years and they collected some interesting—to me—things which I enjoyed being around, seeing, touching, using. When they arrived around the age I am now every time I visited they would give me something to take back and I could not understand why they would part with these wonderful things. Now that I am that age I again find myself getting a little smarter in understanding them.

my feet photograph

I have stopped buying things that I do not consume on a regular basis such as clothes, pottery, visual art and books—I read them in the book store. I used to enjoy visiting second hand stores to appreciate the junk others thought was collectable and often I found things, a bizen tokkuri for $2.00, two bizen yunomi for $0.50 each with he price written on them in black crayon which took about two years of use to wear off,  a Daruma branded abacus four feet in length—now I avoid these little islands of discarded treasures because I just do not want any more stuff in my life and do not want to yield to temptation.

my feet

I am getting old and I can feel it in my knees, when I use my arms to help me stand up, when I can no longer walk my four miles in 54 minutes but its about an hour now and I am thinking where/to whom  can give the stuff which I have fondly collected  and used over the years.

my feet

My books, I took them to the local book store to find out  they did not want them, books which I treasure such as “How to Wrap Five Eggs,” “The Mumonkan” (Blythe Translation), my graphic design books, books on Japanese pottery and a type specimen from an old and now out of business letterpress printer. Many are beautiful to look at and like the type specimen book, to run my fingers over the printed type and feel the impression into the paper, and the book store did not even want these wonderful treasures.

I am 71 years old now, qualified for medicare and social security and I even took my first IRS RMD this year. I can still walk around, do physical work around the house but little by little my body is changing. I acquired a “trigger finger” which stifles my ability to play guitar as well as to easily  pick up small things between two fingers. It hurts my knees to stand a long time, but does not hurt to walk. When I go to San Francisaco to walk around for the day I travel increasingly slower  and am grateful when someone gives me their seat on a much hour BART,  perhaps there will be a day when I stop going.

my feet

My feet were, and hopefully still are, an important  part of my life, I like walking whether for fun or exercise—I usually do four miles a day still at a good but increasingly slower pace—and exploring new and old places on foot. This theme for my blog will be about getting older and like my previous posts, don’t take my words too seriously or skip over them entirely as  they are just the price you pay to see the images,


Written by Steve

October 18th, 2016 at 12:08 pm