Friday, June 10, 2005

The Sun Comes Out in Berkeley

The weather situation improved dramatically early Thursday afternoon with all the cloud cover burning off in under two hours. I'm finally getting some mild, sunny California in preparation for hot, sticky Texas.

I spent a couple of hours walking around the UC Berkeley campus, admiring the handiwork of master architect John Galen Howard, who also helped develop San Francisco's Civic Center complex after the 1906 earthquake and fire. Howard's famous Greek Theater was locked down, but at least I got to take in the spectacular view corridor from the UC bell tower, which goes straight out to the Golden Gate Bridge. Like many big state campuses (UT included), the newer buildings try to compensate for the harshly functional blunders of the Sixties and Seventies. Too often, though, this amounts to nothing more than putting a Spanish tile roof on a turd.

Unlike the Drag in Austin, Telegraph Avenue still has record stores. The Berkeley branches of Amoeba Music and Rasputin Music are a block away from each other and both seemed to be garnering plenty of foot traffic. I bought a used vinyl copy of Hubert Laws and Earl Klugh's soundtrack for the forgotten 1980 cable favorite, How to Beat the High Cost of Living. I enjoy listening to that brand of shopping mall jazz fusion when I cook. It makes me feel more successful than I really am.

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