Tuesday, December 31, 2002

Singing in the Rain

Got the usual suspects in mp3 rotation

Its raining and blustering outside. Been like this off and on, the temperatures positively balmy however..

In the middle of the steel-gray scudding clouds, winds and rain - the sky briefly flashed a beautiful golden pink this afternoon. Far out.

Yeah, I got a picture.

I havent been out in it the past few days because the nagging pain in my back has flared up to Full Fledged Back Pain, the kind they make fun of on sitcoms.

Never really had it before, so as the guy in the tie-dye'd shirt I was chatting to who goes by the name Avatar and makes a living massaging dogs (no, really - Ive seen him in action ) said..

"I think its age catching up to you."


Im chalking it up to the cumulative effects of no regular exercise and sleeping on odd things this past year. Futons, Couches, bus seats, sleeping bags and floors. Thank god, no park benches.

Im dreaming of a space with a low mattress close to the floor right now.
Still considering the resolutions for the coming year.

Im still working on the past ones, as its always an ongoing process...

- Follow Dreams. Check.
Saw a wonderful flick called Waking Dreams, a disjointed animated/rotoscoped dissertation on what dreams and life are about. Having thought long and hard about all this the past coupla years, Im glad to say I understood most of it.

Now that Im in the Dream State... should I treat it as I would a lucid dream? Hmm.

- Trying to be a better man. Yup.
Thank god I aint trying to be the PERFECT man.

- Release my defenses. Indeed.
They had been holding me back even as they were effective in keeping me from being damaged. Progress, but still working on unwrapping the onion..

By the way, Ive learned the perfect technique in quickly peeling cloves of garlic.

Smash 'em with a light but firm touch with the heel of the palm under the flat blade of a knife. Works good.

And so it goes for habits and defenses..

- Learning to keep in touch with people. Uhmm, hmm.
I have packages for Manuel and Kate I havent sent yet, a notebook full of names and emails I havent gotten around to collating.

Hmm, there's work to be done thar...

Progress takes work.

Gunnnnnnnh. Mebbe I should take up yoga this year.

In the meantime, theres good ol Ibuprofen in prescription strength.

Sunday, December 29, 2002

Mild weather my ass

Pulling down the knit skullcap that Fred gave me to keep warm, Ive found myself cursing the wet, cold breeze off the Pacific thats endemic to the Bay Area.

&%^#%@. Jaysus, the shit you have to endure in trying to capture a simple sunset.

And it rains. Not constantly, but sweeps lasting days at a time.

But then it clears .. and the view becomes stunning.

There's nothing like an after-storm sunset.

Unfortunately, the clearing is usually caused by the cold wind. Oy.

I knew it rains here, but no one hepped me onto the cold.

But it IS beautiful.

From the Emeryville shore looking across the bay to San Francisco and the Bay Bridge:

Looking down to the Bay from Telegraph Ave and Bancroft in Berkeley

Several people suggested I check out the view from the Berkeley Pier and Marina, which sits directly across the bay from the mouth of the Golden Gate Bridge...

Downtown Berkeley, from the pier, at dusk.

and this would be San Francisco, from the Pier, also at dusk..

Its trying to get shots like those that make me realize I will be upgrading equipment soon..

Someone else then suggested I check out the view above Berkeley, from the Cal-Berkeley campus @ the Lawrence Science Hall.


Oh yeah, apparently this is mountain lion country too

Heh. Someone scratched out 'mountain lion' and put in 'yuppie'. Yar.. every square inch of the mountainside above Berkeley thats not the property of the state has a house on it.

I know the views are spectacular, but I dunno.. doing this in mountain lion, wildfire and earthquake country? Nuh uh. Not me.

Still, for views like this...

Not bad at all.

Now, if it werent so ^@@#!#! cold....

Saturday, December 28, 2002

"What? Youre always up at 5am anyway.."

The call was from the 718 area code, and it was at 5am Pacific. I pointedly reminded him of this.

At the rate LilBro calls (never), Id forgotten I'd even given him the cell number.

He called to help him navigate the final purchase of a laptop off NY's Craiglist.

"How do I know it'll be a good laptop?"
"Just use it. Look for spots on the screen stuck on one color, less than two - youre doing good. Use the battery, if it dies after 20 minutes, the battery is bad.Listen to it, if it does anything more than hum silently or the fan sounds weird, walk away. If you dont feel good about it at ALL, walk away."

I had helped him pick a laptop from the Craiglist. He told me what he wanted, I found him a bandits deal. (PIII 750, 15-inch screen, DVD, 20 gig drive, 256 megs RAM @ > 600 bux. I watch out for my fam.)
Now he was nervous going to check out and pick up the machine..

"What if it goes bad after I bring it home."
"Negotiate a return time. If it goes bad within a week.."

"Should I give him a check or money order?"

I was cooking eggs when he called after the meeting.

"Yo son, its kinda heavy. Are they all supposed to be 6 or 7 lbs?"
"That one is mostly for people needing one machine to do everything. You wanted top of the line with all the optional extras."
"When he opened the laptop and turned it on.. I did everything except HUG the man!"
"Its nice, eh? :-)"
"GOD, it doesnt even have a SCRATCH on it! AND he gave me a sweet laptop bag and extra batteries."
"Yep, you made out like a bandit."
"Hee. Thanks big brother."
"No problem, papi."

Thats what big brothers are for.

Now if he'd call more than once a year...
Speaking of shopping on Craigslist.. I was laffing at two computer classifieds

Old computers, monitors, subwoofer, and whatnots. - $1
- SparcStation 1&2, SparcClassic (actually, a box full of Classic and IPX parts, including a spare motherboard and several external enclosures)
- 2 14" PC VGA monitors, decent cosmetic and ok functional condition
- Mac Quadra 600 *with* Mac OS8 media.
- phat Labtec powered subwoofer and two satellite speakers, perfect for blasting mp3 from your PC.

Any of these beautiful pieces of classic beige computing is yours for a bottle of beer, or $1 if you have issues supporting my habit

And #2


I bought this laptop as a gift that I unfortunately could not give! It is new in the box and has a DVD drive and CD Burner included, also.

Free Box of 156 Trojans included.

Dancing around the Tree of Lights

Another Christmas thing I'd come across in Berkeley, was the lighting of the tree ceremony.

This being Berkeley, this meant several things were, well, different from what would be expected elsewhere - although logical given some thought.

- The Great Christmas Tree of the City of Berkeley is 5 foot tall.

Yup. People had to do a bit of peering at the sidewalk to find the poor thing.
But, it meant a massive tree wasnt cut down to be displayed for a few weeks, it cost less to buy and the power to run the lights on the tree didnt waste a lot of energy.

Also, the tree could then be dragged INTO city hall to protect it from roaming vandals and the everpresent homeless folk.

But still, it looked kinda cheap.

I didnt take a picture.

- There was entertainment, of sorts.

An all female jazz band, who played a few sets of forgettable standards and a .. hmm.. lessee if I have this right..a Brazilian martial arts studio put on a demonstration, music and dance display.

Yah, I think Ive described it well.

Capoeira from the Capoeira Arts Cafe (*must not roll eyes, do not roll eyes*) has become a favorite of Berkeleyites, who reacted with joy at seeing this..

So, a few pix from the Berkeley Lighting Ceremony in Downtown Berekeley

I took a lot of pictures of this chica. Her face has character.

Thats not a fur boa by the way, thats pink fur trim on a denim jacket. Wild, Cat (which happens to be her name.)

It was pretty cool.

The highlight for me though was when the incoming new Mayor of Berkeley came, lit the tree (no sunglasses were needed, trust me on this) and danced goofily for a minute with the troupe like only a middle-aged white man can.

Later, the Mayor made news for having tossed a few thousand copies of the Cal-Berkeley student newspaper in a fit of rage over the paper's endorsement of his opponent.

This might or might not have made the news back east, but thats a story for another day.

I have pictures.