Monday, September 29, 2008

Ready, Set, Go!

Very busy with last minute stuff before I leave for Asia tomorrow. A couple of people have expressed surprise that I wanted to do the trip again, considering what a tough time I had last year. All I can say is that I thought about it quite a bit, and saw a lot of things that I could do differently and better, and I really wanted to do it again to see if I actually could do that. I feel like I barely scratched the surface last year, and wanted the chance to visit the amazing places I visited last year again and see if I could push myself and get out more and get more out of the trip. Plus, I'm unemployed, and can use the money!

Next post will be from Bangkok. In the meantime, here are some pics from a few of the cool things we managed to squeeze in over the last few days:

Took Morty to the off-leash dog area at Point Isabel (man, it's BIG!). It was a beautiful, clear day and there were tons of people and dogs of all sorts there. In the pic at right, Morty gets himself into a three-way.

Three German Shepherd-type dogs, apparently on a time-out.

Peace activist Kathy Kelly spoke at Berkeley Friends Meeting Friday night, she was amazing. Even the poet who opened for her was good (hope I'm getting soft in my old age!).

Hala the neighbor-cat kept coming into the meeting house, and we kept escorting her out. She's very friendly, and wears a tag on her collar that says, "Not all those who wander are lost."

I've completed my volunteer training to be a dog-walking at Berkeley Animal Care Services, and spent some time the other day with Embry, the lab-mix puppy. He was adorable, and just wanted to lay in my lap.

Friday, September 26, 2008


They are everywhere. Black ones, purple ones, gold ones, green ones. There are over a dozen varieties in places like the Berkeley Bowl and the Monterrey Market. There are hundreds in the tree outside our house right now, and there are critters that use our roof as a platform from which to feast on them at night. Must be the season of the fig!

Took the Trans Bay Bus to San Francisco the other day to go to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

SFMOMA had lots of cool stuff, including yet another dose of contemporary Chinese art (man, those guys and gals are HOT right now!).

They also had a Frida Kahlo exhibit, which people lined up to get into. I'm not a huge fan, so I went to the photography gallery instead.

Getting ready to go on the Linden Asia Fall 2008 recruiting tour for Columbia College again, leaving on Tuesday. This year's itinerary has us in 9 cities in 21 days: Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Seoul, and Tokyo. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A Guy's Walking Down the Street With 3 Goats...

... and that's not the set-up to a joke, that's just life in Berkeley. It was about 9 p.m., so I couldn't get a picture with just the Treo phone, but Brian and I recently saw a guy walking down San Pablo (a pretty busy arterial street that runs north-south in west Berkeley) with three goats on a leash.

And then, about a week later, our neighbor in the back brought home a vending machine full of Clif Bars! I did not manage to get a picture until she had nearly emptied it and now it is covered with plastic and looks very forlorn. So, everyone, take heed - if a couple of guys walk by your window with a vending machine full of Clif Bars on a dolly and drop it in your yard, don't wait, get that photo right away!

Here's the best part - it takes credit cards!

In other news:

The neighbors' cat perches on the gate to our yard like he owns the place.

Another sight you could only see in Berkeley.

Morty gets some water at the Tofu-Yu Deli after a long walk on a warm day yesterday.

Cormorants sunning themselves at the Aqautic Park, as seen on the aforementioned long walk.

Monday, September 15, 2008

When Vegetables Go Bad

Who knew that if you left an artichoke on the stalk, this would happen?

It grew a big purple flower, for fuck's sake!

And, to Julie and the rest of our ESR friends, fear not about the distinct lack of books on the shelves in Brian's new office. He has been hard at work filling up those shelves (and getting books out of our rather cramped house). Will post another pic once he's done.

Alternate title for this post: "Cuidado! Hippies!" We ate with friends at Cafe Gratitude a couple of weeks ago, where every table has a board game that you can't win and every day has a question (that day's was: "What are you a YES to?" to which I replied "Global Domination!" They assumed I was joking). Cafe Gratitude somehow manages to be irritatingly hippie and annoyingly touristy at the same time. Quite Berkeley.

Brian on the tree swing at the park on Albany Hill, where we had a nice hike last weekend.

Morty on guard in the kitchen. Hey, even though you're constantly alert and ready for action, it's nice to have a something soft to lie on.

Violet demonstrates her Patented Pose of Ultimate Relaxation.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Mid-Week Getaway

Brian and I were very fortunate to have his father, Eric, and brother, Thayer, invite us to visit them last week while they were visiting Eric's sister in Elko, Nevada. They rented a dog-friendly condo near Lake Tahoe and we joined them for some fine food, hiking, and conversation. Brian's mother was able to join us for the final night, on which we watched a VHS copy of "The Terror," one of those crazy Corman films with an awesome pedigree - starring Jack Nicholson and Boris Karloff, assistant director Frances Coppola (no "Ford" in his name back then) and cinematography by Monte Hellman (who would go on to direct "Two Lane Blacktop" in a few more years).

Morty very intrepid on the hikes, though we did have to resort to pug portage and hoist him over a few boulders. A very beautiful area (even if I am, apparently, allergic to it). I fear my Treo camera does not do it justice, but here are a few pics:

The drive up was very hot, but Morty still couldn't resist the lure of the window.

The condo was very comfortable and cute, even though it had a large, scary chair featuring what looked like buffalo hide in the living room. Brian's mom, Pam, sat in it - she's much braver than I am.

Half of the houses seemed to be under construction, the other half for sale or even abandoned.

The Young family men contemplate nature.

Morty sits and pants while we have lunch.

Lake Tahoe had the biggest pine cones I've ever seen!

Spectacular scenery everywhere we went.

Weary hikers stop for ice cream.