I got to spend Friday and Saturday last weekend up in the Bay Area again– Palo Alto and Berkeley, specifically. Three really fantastic things came out of that trip:
1. I got to spend time with Sidney, who will be up and moving himself to China in a month. On the flight over, I became patently aware that everything I love about that part of California– the City aside– I only know because of him. He gave me San Jose (Santana Row, within which there was Maido, the French bakery and Sino), Santa Clara (the Rivermark plaza with the mini bagels shop and the gorgeous Safeway) and Milpitas (Vietnamese food, green waffles and the light rail), Monterey (Cannery Row and the aquarium and even the drive to and from SJ, which involved both Gilroy and Hollister), Palo Alto (Pluto’s) and Berkeley (Zachary’s, Telegraph Ave., the Rose Garden and Sather Tower). Oh, and "The Stinking Rose" in SF. He is also responsible for exposing me to Blackberrys; he has since moved on to iPhones, and while the hardware+software alone would make it tempting to continue following in his mobile migration, the data plans are a little off-putting. Especially as I got my current plan back when text messaging was not so insanely expensive.
2. The weather in Berkeley was perfect, which apparently is a rarity. I got to visit my ring guy (my car ate my Berkeley ring back in April and it hasn’t spit it back up, so I had to get a stand-in) and the cereal place was finally open! I forget what it’s called, but it’s on the other side of Telegraph kind of across from Ryno’s (good frozen yogurt, not as good as Cefiore but similar to Yofrutto). Do you know about the cereal place? It’s fast-food cereal! You go in and order two scoops of cereal and they give it to you in what looked like a gigantic Chinese take-out container and then you go to the milk machine (like they have in university cafeterias) and get your choice of milk. It’s genius and adorable, and the last two times I visited Berkeley, there was still only the "Opening Soon" sign in the window. Oh! And they make sandwiches. Sandwiches! Cereal sandwiches! I mean, there’s still bread and whatever, it’s just, instead of pastrami you get Froot Loops. Something like that.
3. I finally, finally got to meet Megan. I guess most people know her as "the other Megan", the first Megan being Megan McArdle, but I knew of this Megan way before I ever heard of, or read, that Megan, so the "other" attribution is backwards for me. But anyway: we got to meet! The previous quasi-attempts had always been foiled by timing, so I was really excited that she was going to be in Oakland that weekend. She picked me up while I was happily trekking from UCB to the Marina and we caught the tail-end of the Kite Festival (a bazillion-foot-long lizard kite! and a lobster kite! and a penguin kite! [Megan, mock-condescendingly: "That’s silly. Penguins can’t fly!"]), and then she took me to the Cheeseboard Shop (which I’d read about ages ago, I think on kottke.org) and picked up a really good zuchinni-pesto pizza, which we got to eat with Megan’s Chris. (I got to meet her Chris! It was such a strange thing, to connect a flesh-and-blood person with what had previously just been a proper noun attached to a little bit of personality and otherwise mostly paraphrased conversation.) He’s in transportation engineering and city planning, so I made him talk about that for a little bit. But for the most part, I was appallingly uncharismatic due to an overwhelmingly unanticipated shyness. Her writing has just always meant so much to me. You know? A variant of Little Sister Syndrome, I suppose.
And I’m supposed to be leaving for Camp in like eight hours, and about all I’ve done today was make and eat 16 ounces of frozen yogurt. I haven’t even started a list of what to pack; considering I can stuff the entirety of my closet into my car, I’m not particularly motivated to expedite the process. I’m a little nervous about the drive, to be honest. It’s been a ridiculously long time since I’ve made a drive like that– lately, I’ve either flown or been a passenger. It wouldn’t be unlike me to get as far as Baker and then change my mind about everything and flip Camp the bird. Maybe I’ll fly down and just learn the L.A. bus system? But I really wanted to drive up to VC for a day, or at least hit the PCH. Man. Complications. I already don’t want to go anymore.