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August, 2008:

Obama’s Speech

Watched Obama’s acceptance speech in a pizza joint with a bunch of Berkeley types. It seemed to go over well.

A weekend in the bay area

On Saturday visited SF with three of the other new students. It’s remarkably simple to get there on the subway. Saw the tail end of one of the famous farmers markets, and walked along the city near the north coast. Briefly visited pier 39 and saw more than a hundred sea lions there. A little farther along the coast a restored sailing ship was tied up to a dock. Constant stream of oil tankers and container ships into and out of the bay.

Walking back we cut through the city. Some streets are steep enough the adjacent sidewalks have been replaced by stairs. Chinatown seemed nice. As did Union square. Overall it’s a very different impression from my one evening in New York City.

Today my main accomplishment was making it to Target through back-to-school sunday traffic to purchase a microwave and enough food to last me another few days. The rest of the day was intended for quite reading, a plan that was foiled by the minor music festival held outside this evening that made it too loud within the apartment to hold a conversation on the phone without shouting.

Travel Photoset!

I had a bit of downtime today (waiting for a package that still hasn’t arrived) so I finally uploaded a set of photos from my drive along I-80. As always, here are a couple of highlights:

Construction of a wind farm in Western Iowa. I hadn’t realized just how big the blades were for these. It was really impressive.
Assembling a Windmill

The Utah Salt Flats. They stretch on for miles and miles, but there was rest stop near the end where we could get out and wonder out onto them. They win for coolest terrain.
Bonneville Salt Flats

And my favorite picture from the drive actually comes from Nebraska. To me this photo look like an idealized version of the midwest, what we should look like, even if a lot of us doesn’t.
Nebraska Farmland

Berkeley Hike

Just wanted to quickly point out the new set of pictures I recently uploaded to Flickr. These still aren’t the cross country drive set, I still need to triage those, but pictures from a hike my girlfriend and I took last weekend before she left.

You can see the whole set here, but I’m going to post a couple I find of particular interest:

Here’s a view out over the Berkeley campus all the way to San Francisco Bay:
View of Berkeley and the Bay
And here’s one of the menacing palm trees:
Palm Tree

As always, click for full sized versions of the photos.

Stolen books

Guess what the most frequently stolen books are from UC Berkeley libraries? Vegetarian cookbooks. Just thought you’d like to know.

I got reacquainted with a bunch of the other first years that I met during interview weekend last night. Today is the first day of orientation. Things like library training (where I heard the fact about the cookbooks), and lab safety training (for the fifth time in as many years).

So until next time, remember to lock up your moosewood cookbooks before having company. 😉

This one goes out to my car

For transporting myself, my girlfriend, and all my worldly possessions more than 2000 miles across half a continent, through seven states, mountain ranges, deserts, and over the continental divide and, after all that, passing a California emissions test. Truly you are a prince among automobiles.

Subaru really makes an excellent vehicle.

Apartment Update

Knowing how much exciting the idea of pictures from the inside of my apartment must be. Here’s a shot of one wall (For bonus points, click through to flickr to see the notes explaining the purpose of each item):

 Computers at the Apartment

Internet In Berkeley

Finally got my internet up and running. It was rather embarrassing having to call tech support because I couldn’t figure out the instructions for self-activation, but I’ve got that out of the way now, and will be writing up the details of my trip as I find time. For now: The apartment is great, I’m alive and well, and Berkeley seems to have more Indian restaurants per capita than any city I’ve ever visited!

Slippery slope

Here’s my friend’s wedding annoucement. Just doing my part to embarrass the new couple. Though I suppose it’s been more than three months now. Happy late three month anniversary buddy!

With regards to the title, next thing you know I’ll be posting pictures of my other friend’s baby. Or even video (I have video). But we won’t go there.

Insight from Jiffy-with apologies for bringing up politics

This story all begins because I went in to get my oil changed before driving across the country. It turns out my car went past 90,000 miles since I last had it serviced, and lots of things recommended to be serviced every 15,000 or 30,000 miles also needed to be taken care of (fuel filter, automatic transmission system, etc.) I tell you this not because I believe you will find it fascinating, but because it explains how I came to spend an hour sitting in a Jiffy-lube on monday watching fox news, and happened to catch Obama’s speech on energy issues.

I haven’t been one of those people who’s been grabbed by Obama’s speeches, but he’s certainly the guy I’ll be voting for in the fall and he was talking about an issue that interested me so I was watching his speech intently, and he was making good points (except for the windfall profits tax + rebate but that’s a different post). About ten minutes in to his speak, I start worrying I’m giving away the fact that I’m a democrat, so I decide to look over at my car, so it’s obvious I’m not paying TOO close attention to Obama’s speech. I turn my head and everyone in the room has their eyes locked on the TV. The middle aged, working class guys getting coffee, an old lady, a young mother with a screaming baby, even the employees working behind the counter.

And that’s why I think Obama is a great nominee for the democratic party, and would make an excellent president. Despite all the dirt Hillary Clinton and John McCain have tried to make stick to him, despite the fact that his personal appeal and policy positions were definitely a second choice for me after those of John Edwards, Obama gets people to pay attention. People who would normally tune out any news about politics, and people who normally meet anything a democrat says with an audible snort of derision, simply because the person who said it was a democrat.