Welcome to UTC -7

Ah, Berkeley: the quintessential American student town, where the young gather on the road’s median strip to sit on the grass (in cheery violation of the “Keep off the median strip” signs). Berkeley’s also home to Dominic and Zoe Glynn, my dear friends who I haven’t seen in far too long and have had an excellent time re-acquanting myself with again. It’s been a perfect warmup to the intense and crazy week that will be the Apple World Wide Developer Conference.

So, Friday was spent re-exploring Berkeley with Dom: for those who remember, I was here at the start of 2004, and it brought back good, good memories seeing the University of California at Berkeley, and the intersection of Bancroft Ave and Telegraph where all the froody 60s peace-out stalls are. Mahreen, if you’re reading this, you’ll be pleased to know that everything was pretty much exactly like we remember, except it’s a bit warmer right now!

After grabbing some lunch at Saul’s where I was reintroduced to American-size portions in the form of a West End Massive Corned Beef Sandwich, we stopped by the very dangerous and evil Amoeba records on Trafalgar, where I picked up no less than 15 CDs:

  • Propellerheads: Propellerheads (the prequel to Decksanddrumsandrockandroll: a collector’s item, and I got it for an entire $1)
  • Propellerheads: Spybreak!
  • Sasha and John Digweed: Communicate
  • James Lavelle: Fabriclive 01
  • Future Sound of London: Lifeforms EP
  • Future Sound of London: Lifeforms
  • Photek: Modus Operandi
  • Rˆyksopp: Melody A.M.
  • Thievery Corporation: Babylon Rewound
  • Monk and Canatella: Do Community Service
  • Lamb: Remixed
  • DJ Shadow: Preemptive Strike
  • U.N.K.L.E.: Never Never Land
  • Battlestar Galactica Season 1 soundtrack
  • Battlestar Galactica Season 2 soundtrack

See, despite spending $150, I actually ended up saving money because for the price of those fifteen CDs, I could have bought a mere five CDs back at home. YA RLY! Hey music industry: price your stuff reasonably and people will buy them! Screw this $35 for an album crap back in Australia; I quite like the $8 I pay for a CD at Amoeba. I should add that I only looked at the Electronica section too; the damage to Dinga would have been far worse if I had bothered to wander through the House section, not to mention all the DVDs.

For dinner, we dropped in to none other than Pho Hoa, the famous Vietnamese Pho Bo shop on Shattuck St. Mahreen, no doubt your memory will be triggered by this as well: you’ll be pleased to know that I did, in fact, get the crazy-big serve of Pho Bo and finished all of it, and I of course had to have some Taro Bubble Tea. After that it was time for some beer and a good catch-up chat with Zoe and her cousin Andrew, which ended up going until about 5:30am when we all reluctantly crashed.

Saturday was even better: we had a cruisy late morning double-falafel for breakfast at the Fertile Grounds cafe in conjunction with some genuine Illy coffee. This was followed by an afternoon consisting of insanely great Cheeseboard Pizza, white wine, and hours of conversation up at Indian Rock, which provides a beautiful scenic view of Berkeley and the Bay Area. I love summer.

Meanwhile, Dom and Zoe’s place here rocks. The rent they’re paying is unbelievable good considering how nice the place is, and they even have the same comfortable futon that I slept on while I was staying with them in Toronto. Dom’s love for gadgetry shows: their Robot vacuum cleaner means they never bother vacuuming the house normally, and their little Prius automobile is awesome. I am so getting one of those as my next car: any car that has a Power button, voice recognise for GPS and telephone dialling, and does 5 litres per 100 kilometres has my vote.

Later today I’ll be meeting up with Yannis and Violette for Yum Cha, and after that it’ll be time to check in to the Courtyard Marriott at San Francisco, where I’ll be heading off to the Australia and New Zealand pre-WWDC drinks. Oh yeah, life is good right now!

(You can find all the photos from the first few days of my Berkeley expedition in the gallery.)

Sydney to San Francisco and Berkeley Playlist

  • James Brown: Ain’t it Funky Now
  • Massive Attack: Angel
  • Seal: Crazy
  • Rˆyksopp: Eple
  • Tears for Fears: Everybody Wants to Rule the World
  • U.N.K.L.E.: Lonely Soul
  • Tool: Stinkfist
  • Yoko Kanno: Fish-Silent Cruise Part 2
  • The Wallflowers: One Headlight
  • U2: All I Want Is You
  • Vogue: Ambient Energy
  • Freeland: Big Wednesday
  • Yoko Kanno, The Seatbelts and Steve Conte: Call Me Call Me
  • Faithless: Bring my Family Back
  • Propellerheads: Cominagetcha
  • Sunscreem: Cover Me (Trouser Enthusiasts mix)
  • Yoko Kanno: Dujurido
  • Decoder Ring: Escape Pod
  • Tool: Eulogy
  • Jazzanova: Fedimes Flight (Kyoto Jazz Massive remix)
  • Starsailor: Four to the Floor (Thin White Duke mix)
  • Lamb: Gabriel
  • Handel: Lascia Ch’io Pianga (performed by Single Gun Theory)
  • Cliff Martinez: Helicopter
  • Mono: Hello Cleveland!
  • Radiohead: Where I End and You Begin
  • Thievery Corporation: Warning Shots
  • U.N.K.L.E.: Unreal
  • Depeche Mode: Useless (Kruder and Dorfmeister mix)
  • Radiohead: Planet Telex
  • Shpongle: …But Nothing is Lost
  • Zauron: Lovelight
  • NuBreed: One Day
  • Way Out West: Pulse of Life
  • Leftfield: Release the Pressure
  • Sting: Shape of my Heart
  • Yoko Kanno: Some Other Time
  • Barakka: Song to the Siren
  • Lamb: Trans Fatty Acid (Kruder and Dorfmeister remix)
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