After work last night, I drove from San Jose to Berkeley...
- With the new hybrid, I watch the miles per gallon gauge closely. Intellectually I have a good idea what it takes to consistently get 40 mpg on the highway. But even if I drive in the right lane, I feel compelled to go at least 60 else I start to replay my being rear-ended this spring (even if it did finally spur me to buy a new car).
- I also make good use of the GPS. For something new, I routed myself through San Lorenzo on the way to Oakland and Berkeley. Who knew San Lorenzo had a real downtown?
- The Berkeley Hills are incorrectly called the Oakland Hills. Nice highway, though.
- The usual melange of happenings in Berkeley: a Free Tibetan protest (with the Tibetan marchers carrying Tibetan flags and candles and led by someone carrying an American flag), a belligerent homeless woman, a well-dressed French family walking along the always scruffy Telegraph Avenue, someone soliciting me in the middle of the sidewalk asking if I like hip-hop (presumably to buy some), and a young panhandler calling me "father" and "pops" (and I think he meant it in a good way).
- Rasputin's had the Wooden Shjips CD I was looking for.
- Amoeba was particularly fine. Downstairs, it was a DJ set by Afrika Bambaataa with thirty dudes standing and watching. Upstairs in the classical music attic, they were playing opera. I wasn't enamored of either music but the juxtaposition was promising.
- Moe's had David Thomson's The Whole Equation: A History of Hollywood for $8.00. This is one of my favorite books of the decade but until I finish Nixonland: : The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America on my Kindle, I'm trying not to splurge on more. By the way, Nixonland is interesting and disturbing and a reminder of Republican politics prior to this century.
- Half Price Books had Thomson's The New Biographical Dictionary of Film but I already own it.
- Finishing my tour of bookland, the new and ill-fated Cody's was having a 40% off closing sale. Alas, I ended up buying some books after all, including Gershwin: His Life and Work by Howard Pollack. Whether I will really read 800+pages of this is unclear but I feel I should since Gershwin is America's favorite semi-serious composer. Actually, what I'd really like to read is a good biography of Stephen Foster so I can learn how his life turned out so poorly in the end.
- I decided to return home via San Francisco so I could see the sunset. However, I was a little late and missed the color. And as I was driving over the Bay Bridge, the fog obscured much of San Francisco starting at the Ferry Building. But by the time I got home, the sky was clear and the moon was hovering over Menlo Park.
- Most importantly, I listened to Carl Stone's long Woo Lae Oak on the way up and then back. It's like a string section and Peruvian pipes meet at Drone World. Such exquisite timbre. Music from Other Minds describes the work:
Woo Lae Oak is a continuous electronic work crafted out of loops of the sound of a rubbed string and a bottle played by blowing air over the top.