Archive for the ‘Berkeley’ Category


November 15, 2009

After a very early morning deluge yesterday, every vista cleared to nearly crystalline clarity. And I saw a lot of them in Berkeley, combining a brief climb on some paths (near a rock formation named Old Stone Face) with a quick trip to the pier.


coffee shop hangers-on: kid on laptop; man with hand drawn peace-love shirt

coffee shop hangers-on: kid on laptop; man with hand drawn peace-love shirt



Elizabeth O tells me the neighbors have been hanging out various poems on their pathside fence for about a decade


librarian graffiti?


looking south from Berkeley Pier: Oakland docks



looking back at the Eastbay Hills








Overlooked until now

November 13, 2009

Today’s Berkeley paths walks included at least two sights that surprised me in that I ahd somehow missed them all the time i lived in the general neighborhood: Cragmont and Remilard Parks, and the tire elephant.

The former is the smaller brother of Indian Rock Park, but with superior views of the Bay, the City and the bridges.  The latter is an art school student’s project that has been in the yard for about five years.  Neither to be missed


Time marches on…

November 12, 2009

…but it’s magically easy to catch up with some people in Berkeley merely by visiting the North Side (original) Peets.  I was rewarded there yesterday not only by getting to visit with a delightfully arch library school student (a planned meet up) but also with running into a former Berkeley High teacher who was out and about with her 3-week-old son (blissful in his sleep).  The term “old home week” got legs on it during this hour.

Beyond the personal, there continue to be some excellent sights to share, including:


Walking Berkeley

November 9, 2009

That’s what I’ve been doing a lot of time here:  walking, looking, looking, walking.  The weather is mild and mostly dry and for some reason I keep stumbling across unexplored square patches of town.  Some of these are pretty, some just curious.  For now, I’ve stayed almost exclusively south of University Avenue, with one brief foray to the original Peet’s on North Side and today’s ‘splore of Mineral Springs Trail, in Tilden, where I’d never hiked before.



A single tree

The ancient wreck along Wildcat Creek

The ancient wreck along Wildcat Creek



Like a magnet….

November 5, 2009

Within 10 minutes of walking out into the berkeley afternoon in search of a good stretch after 8 hours on airplanes, I ran into…road construction.  his version, in front of the Berkeley Bowl, looked positively  delicate and dainty, in contrast with South Park’s big dig.

Nonetheless, road construction is road construction.  I feel like Schultz’s Pigpen…..with construction in lieu of dust motes.

Bookhunter abroad

October 14, 2009

While flinging myself around Dartmouth at lunchtime today, I came face to face with Xeric Award-winner Jason Shiga’s Bookhunter–talk about delightful surprises!  Jason, a mathematician and cartoonist, worked–maybe still does work–at Oakland Public Library some years ago.  Years before that, I met him through our mutual friend Rory Root.

Bookhunter is a funny and straightforward story of library police recovering stolen property.  But Jason has done some way more gnarly things across the eyars:  he came to a library program I arranged years ago to show off his adventure book which one had to unfold in order to access the line–excuse me, a line–of the plot.

So, jetting around Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, on a crisp autumn noon, it was a nice, warm reminder of times past, places present otherwhere than here. Made me proud to ahve a local library card.

A week of waterfronts

August 18, 2009

After yesterday’s lunch time walk along a very hot Dartmouth waterfront, I’ve accumulated nearly half a dozen urban-coastal views in about a week’s time.  Different oceans, different surfaces underfoot, obviously different views, and different sets of walking companions.  For the hottest of days, asphalt is not recommended as a walking surface; if today’s heat is as intense, I plan to cross to Halifax and use the boardwalk.

Here are some of the waterfronts I’ve seen and walked across the past week or so:


Berkeley Pier, on the east side of the San Francisco Bay, "exactly opposite the Golden Gate"

Looking from Albany Bulb, across SF Bay to Richmond

Looking from Albany Bulb, across SF Bay to Richmond


Coastal rail trail between Point Isabel and Richmond Marina, on the SF Bay

Coastal rail trail between Point Isabel and Richmond Marina, on the SF Bay


Dartmouth, NS, shoreline, near Alderney Landing, looking south

Dartmouth, NS, shoreline, near Alderney Landing, looking south


from downtown Halifax shoreline, dawn, looking east across harbour toward Eastern Passage

from downtown Halifax shoreline, dawn, looking east across harbour toward Eastern Passage

Could this be vacation?

August 13, 2009

The week, so far, has been not only hot but also filled with direct sunlight, unsoftened by fog after early morning.  Which means that walking around through the afternoons has been on the uncomfortable side of hot, especially when adding in such scenery as black asphalt to reflect on the walker.

Today, although bright and still close to too warm, seems a little gentler weather-wise…maybe because it’s not yet quite afternoon? My gmail page shows the weather in Halifax to be brighter today than yesterday’s clouds/rain.  I’m glad for those there.  

And here I am glad to be having a quieter, cooler day.  Almost like vacation.

East and West

August 12, 2009

If it was Tuesday, it was East Oakland, my old neighbourhood of Fruitvale.  It’s been partially transformed by the new BART plaza, International School and the continuing build out of Clinica de la raza. And much of it remains brilliantly unchanged: the Aloha bar was being repainted, and La Mexicana (best home made tortillas in town–25 years ago) was closed, but the jeweler-cum-record shop was as always, as were the twin blue spires of Saint Elizabeth.

We found a stupendous garden, high with corn, ribboned with chayote and guarded by nopales.  For lunch, there was a sope, a chile relleno, a quesadilla and an enchilada suissa. My former dwelling place has been gated but the building doesn’t seem to have gone much downhill.


And then, when it was Wednesday, we went west–first to SF and then to West Oakland, where the Victorians still line the streets–and some even get fresh paint. We stumbled onto an artists colony, an urban farm, and the memorial to Loma Prieta’s removal of the Cypress structure.  Those pictures tomorrow.

Welcome back Berkeley summer weather

August 11, 2009

After two days of oppressively overheated air, the fog has returned.  This morning the hills are lost under a blanket of white, no bright rays bleed through the clouds and the air is a cool relief. Berkeley does spring with abundance–three or four long ones a year–and having missed any in Halifax, I feel fortunate to catch it here.

Yesterday, hanging a while in the shade created by the University Avenue overpass, at the Berkeley Amtrak “station,” the air was as dry as dessicated leaves, but someone must have swept because there were no dust swirls in the breeze.  A couple of trains–one headed northeast to Sacramento and the opposite number pointed to San Jose–swept through and even they created no eddies. This morning there would be no shadows there either.

Today is Fred’s birthday. Nineteen years ago, Berkeley was locked in a week-long heat wave in the middle of which he was born; both the days before and a few days following were murderously warm. And in his current inland California location, he’s probably fairly toasty today.  But here summer is back on.  Cool.