Saturday, November 28, 2009


Here in the East Bay we don't really seem to have seasons, we just have weather. During the "winter" we some more cool rainy days, and in the "summer" we have a few warm days (and the occasional day that one might be tempted to call "hot" if one didn't know better). But that's about all the difference there is, as far as I can see.

Take Thanksgiving weekend, for example. Thursday was beautiful - sunny and not quite warm. Friday was cool and rainy. Saturday was sunny and very windy and again not quite warm. And Sunday - oh, wait, that's tomorrow. We'll just have to wait and see.

Brian's family is here for the holiday, and it's great to spend some time with them. Point Isabel and Golden Gate Park yesterday, Point Reyes today, and they'll all be taking off tomorrow so I hope they enjoyed themselves. Looking forward to seeing my family at Christmas.

Realized when I looked at the blog today that I still have not posted any pictures of the new house since the repairs and redecorated have been (mostly) completed. Promise to do so soon. In the meantime, here are some recent pictures from my wanderings in Berkeley and a trip to Chicago in early November:

My two new favorite products. Quake Hold because it holds stuff in place during an earthquake (or at least it makes you feel as if you've done something meaningful to prepare for one), and Potty Mouth, because, well, look at that package!

Yes, it's true, the check-cashing place on San Pablo and University actually has the nerve to call itself a "community service."

Morty looks out the window during a recent outing to Cesar Chavez Park (we've seen Burrowing Owls the last three times we've been out there - very cool!

Someone has painted these shadows around the fire hydrants on Alcatraz Avenue. I only walk there after dark with Morty on our last walk of the day, and they fool me into a double-take almost every time.

Evening foliage and streetlight on Belmont Avenue, on my way back to my friends Jason and Michael's apartment after working a long day for Columbia College Chicago.

Early Christmas lights on State Street in Chicago.

The floor of the elevator in Jason and Michael's building. I guess I have a tendency to get distracted by shiny things.

Seriously, who would feed the pigeons on the corner of Wabash and Van Buren?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Boxes, the Boxes!

Yes, we still have lots of boxes in big piles, in almost every room (the kitchen, bathroom, and master bedroom, however, are now box free). Had some trouble getting all the curtain rods back up, which has prevented us from reassembling our bookshelves, which would enable us to unpack and shelve the books, which would allow us to get rid of most of the remaining boxes.

I promise to post pictures of our new house as soon as it's presentable. I know it's gonna be worth it, even though the past few weeks have been quite the rollercoaster:
Morty actually sits nicely on the lap of our neighbor, Venesa, so she can say goodbye (you might not know it, but he's NOT a lapdog!).

Our other, neighbor, Miss Dorothy (President of the Frank Mugsy Mordecai McWhinesalot Fan Club), puts on a brave face on our last day on 7th Street...

...and actually poses for a picture with me!

We visit the friendly puppy on our last official walk in our old neighborhood (we think her name is Xena, but we're not sure).

My favorite picture of friendly puppy Xena from the day.

Morty and I shop for drapes at Bed Bath and Beyond, where they let you bring your dog inside as long as he's in a cart or being carried (Morty was not very happy about this, but bore it reasonably well).

Getting used to being a commuter again (crossing San Pablo to at dusk in this shot).

This is the block I work on, about 7:00 p.m. on a recent evening. We're looking towards my office, which is half a block down on the right.

This odd guy is actually inside the door, stuffed between the push bar and the glass at the futon shop on San Pablo. I'm not sure what he's supposed to be doing there, but he's very eye-catching.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Bad Blogger! Bad!

Yes, it's been a while since I posted. Brian and I have bought a house in Berkeley and are in the process of fixing it up (which Brian has done a great job of making happen) and packing -- things have been moving very quickly for the past few weeks! But by October 1 we'll be in our new house and hopefully things will settle down. In the meantime, here are some recent pictures:

Here's the amazing bench cover that my sister, Shelly, made for Brian's office.

Here's the lovely peach cobbler we had for dessert at Sea Salt, where we went for dinner to celebrate buying our house.

Brian has a hot dog at the Labor Day sale at one of the appliance mega-stores we went to; we had to buy a fridge and washer/dryer for our new house.

Hot buy! Woot!

In the atrium of SF MOMA during a recent visit.

I pass this sign often, and it always cracks me up a little bit. Maybe the program will get better one day.

Out for a walk with Morty the other day (I was picking up his poop and he decided to let fly right in front of me)...

...And then he had a good laugh.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Thomas Frank Owes Me Money

Yes, it's been several years since the Baffler folded. And yes, it wasn't his fault, there was that pesky fire that took out their offices, blah, blah, woof, woof. But still, I had just re-subscribed, and I got nothing from them: no note, no email, no refund check - NOTHING.

So now the guy's publishing books and has a column in the Wall Street Journal and is going on speaking tours and talking about the Baffler like some beloved deceased relative and he never once mentions that HE OWES ME MONEY.

I went to see him speak here in Berkeley a while back, and when they asked me to pay for it I told them that Thomas Frank, in fact, owes me money. They were not impressed, nor swayed from their desire to part me from my hard-earned $15. When I showed them the event listing in the Daily Planet that said the event was $12 and made no mention of the fact that it was $12 in advance and $15 at the door, they grudgingly let me in for $12. After which I sat politely in the audience (at a church, mind you) and watched him work his way through a gigantic bottle of beer while talking and fielding questions about his latest book. Highly entertaining stuff, don't get me wrong, but if you're going to sit around talking and drinking beer you should bring enough for everyone. And if your tiny underground magazine goes under and you subsequently pop up with your own column in the Wall Street Journal, you should not be surprised when your former subscribers post blog entries with titles like, "THOMAS FRANK OWES ME MONEY."

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Hot Enough For Ya?

I haven't actually heard anyone say that since I moved here - must be a Midwestern saying. But even in "Paradise" people do talk about the weather. "How do you like the heat?" seems to be the California equivalent phrase for when it gets over 80 degrees. I think they're getting annoyed with me laughing at them.

Neighborhood News:

The colorful crowd who live on the opposite corner of our block cleaned up their yard recently (right before they apparently got evicted). They put all the empty case boxes of liquor and the toilet in their front yard into shopping carts - perhaps for easy move out.

In the winter, they made me a snowman in my cafe mocha at Cafe Cacao, in June they made a flower pot...

... but the end result was pretty much the same.

Mysterious street art, taped inside a box lid and found at the park outside the Bayer parking lot at 7th and Heinz while out on a walk with Morty (who was not impressed with it, by the way).

Looks kind of spooky, maybe even extraterrestrial, but it's really the reflection of my desk lamp on my desk.

Brian and I went to the old ball game, and saw the Orioles lose to the A's - but not as bad as they had the night before, so I guess we lucked out.

I'm not sure what of mine will sell on EBAY, but I assume it's not my actual stuff or they wouldn't need the quotation marks.

Had such a fun time with Shelly and Mitch when they visited (see my pics on my Flickr page or Mitch's on his Flickr page). But then they went back to where it's REALLY hot.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Proof of Life

No, not the crappy movie from 2000 with Meg Ryan and Russell Crowe, but actual proof of life.

We thought for a while that there were House Finches nesting in the vines over our front door (we even used the back door for a couple of weeks) but we couldn't see a nest and weren't really sure until Brian cut back the vines (after several days of no finches flitting around our porch). There were several old nests in there, and this is one of them. No, we're not psycho enough to let the foliage take over the whole house! We had to cut them back, really!

In other news: we took a quick trip to Marin County last weekend to go to Point Reyes National Seashore. Borrowed a scope from Golden Gate Audubon; in this picture Brian is scoping out a bird on the rocks below which may have been a common murre (but even with the scope we couldn't tell). Cool and cloudy all weekend, but we had a great time nonetheless.

On Saturday we took a walk along the beach to go by one of the nesting sights (in the wire enclosure) of the endangered snowy plover. We were very lucky to see the mother away from the nest foraging for a little while, otherwise we wouldn't have seen anything because the nest is very well hidden and you can't get very close.

We think this was an egret of some kind that we found on the beach.

HUGE amazing thistles. The picture doesn't really convey how massive and thorny they were. You definitely would not want to fall into one of these.

On our way home we stopped at Audubon Canyon Ranch to see the heron rookery. Each of the white blobs in the lower right of the photo is a great egret on a nest, and this was only one of several popular nesting sites at ACR. It was pretty cool

We took the long way home and went over the Golden Gate Bridge, which neither of us had done since we moved here. It is far superior in every way to the Bay Bridge, except it costs $2 more to get on.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Roses Very Beautiful

They're not bigger than my head, but they're as wide across as my hand.

And then there are the runnunculus...

And whatever these are...

And then there are the snails, everywhere...

And then you get to Cafe Trieste on your way to work and have to wait in line and you know it's all downhill from here.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Easter Weekend - so much going on. Lots of stuff to do at Berkeley Friends Church, Brian's folks are visiting from Baltimore, and Spring has sprung with a vengeance. Not enough time to blog properly, but here are some favorite recent photos:

I was happy to see some lilacs in our neighbors yard, I miss my Midwestern spring flowers! Haven't seen any peonies anywhere yet, though, and they're my favorites of all.

Wisteria everywhere out here (just learned what it was today when Pam told me, I had been wondering because it's everywhere). Did I mention the wisteria everywhere?

The Calla Lily plant in our backyard continues to make huge, amazing blooms.

Most ridiculously phallic blooming plant in my neighborhood so far.

Brian works the scope (borrowed from GGAS - there are some fringe benefits) during a recent birding outting to Martin Luther King, Jr. Shoreline in Oakland.

Morty waits at the Peace Post outside the Farmer's Market in downtown Berkeley (because the People's Nazi Farmers wouldn't let him in).

Is it just me, or is this sign kind of naughty?

Someone tied two Corgis to a parking meter right across the sidewalk from us (Pam, Eric, Brian and I) while we were eating lunch at Metro Cafe in Montclaire today. Cute, cute, cute!