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small gray square Today felt European, mostly because it was cloudy, almost blustery, except for a few noon-time rays, and in the afternoon it even rained for the first time since what - March? April at the latest. I wore the black jacket that I bought in Alaska, withdrawing it from summer closet-storage for its seasonal debut. In the evening, during a stroll, I smelled the wonderful autumnal fragrance of wood smoke - Californians light up their fireplaces when it's even slightly chilly.

small cyan square I rode the Bay Area Rapid Transit to Berkeley, after the freeway drive up to the Daly City terminus. Since the trains are similar and their fare-paying systems are identical, here's a comparison of other attributes between the Washington, DC "Metro" and the BART systems.
Car InteriorGray and BrownsOff-white and Oranges
Closing Doors alert-sound One buzzer-tone Two chime-tones <1>
Fares <2> Constant Higher during "Rush Hour" <3>
Station DesignMany are uniqueAll the same
Also the BART trains' windows have an aluminum bezel that's almost perpendicular, which I found comfortable resting for my elbow and forearm, unlike the Metro's thick rubber window gaskets which angle downwards. As you can tell, I favor BART, although I've heard the contradictory viewpoint.

small orange square Visited several of the Berkeley bookstores, mostly of the "used" variety, including Moe's which is quite good. In "Pegasus" I read the new last chapter of A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess. This was omitted from the original American printing, which ended at the same place the movie did: Alex saying "I was cured, all right" (sarcastically, because he's realized the conditioning of the Ludivoco Technique is gone). In this final chapter he's got a new set of three droogs, but he's getting apathetic about the old ultraviolence, and even more distressing:

I was slooshying more like malenky romantic songs, what they call Lieder, just a gloss and a piano, very quiet like yearny, different from when it had been all bolshy orchestras and me lying on the bed between the violins and trombones and kettledrums. There was something happening inside of me, and I wondered if it was like some disease or if it was what they had done to me that time upsetting my gulliver and perhaps going to make me real bezoomny... Perhaps I was getting too old for the sort of jeezny I had been leading, brothers.
Then he runs into his old droogie Pete, who has a wife, which leads to his own thoughts of settling down!
But now as I end this story, brothers, I am not young, not no longer, oh no. Alex like groweth up, oh yes.
I read the original when the movie came out, in my Senior year of High School. I realize now Alex' future-world has been quite influential on my POV because of that time of exposure. In a new foreword Burgess slams the American editorial decision, says it changes the whole story's theme into one of mere youthful nihilism, since the redemptive concluding maturity was omitted. Do you know that the film's been banned in Britain since just after its initial run?

small yellow square Elsewhere in Berkeley I

  • had breakfast at "The Original Mels" (Mels being the burger chain best known from "American Graffiti" - that branch was demolished, but now they're popping up all over - N and I had a meal in an apparently phony clone in NC en route to the Outer Banks)
  • visited the beautiful green art deco Berkeley Public Library across the street (a lucky thing, too; since it's closing real soon for years, for renovation - I must photograph it sometime or perhaps even draw a picture)
  • bought books at Moe's (the brand new 2nd edition of Lonely Planet's "Slovenia" and Philip Kerr's all-in-one-volume Berlin Noir trilogy)
  • had lunch at the "Manga-Manga Japanese Bistro", which is decorated with posters from Japanese cartoons and has comic books (manga) strewn about.

small green square A main reason I made this journey was to join a "March Against the War on Drugs". This was a depressingly shabby, sparsely-attended affair, whose actual march (down three blocks of Telegraph Avenue, where that main drag ends at the edge of the UC-Berkeley campus) I missed since I got bored by the rambling speech of the apparent leader. Instead I drifted into "Cody's" books instead. This street has homeless street-freaks, just like Haight in San Francisco - one little knot of about four seemed to belong to two teen-aged kittens which were actually mating right there on the sidewalk at high noon - their humans did nothing to prevent this; watched with amusement, actually - the earth's Big Problem in microcosm.

NC - North Carolina
POV - Point Of View
UC - University of California
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<1>Kinda like in Paris, only there it's two buzzer-tones. The Berlin S-Bahn has three buzzery tones.

<2>Like in London and Tokyo, both systems charge incrementally more for longer trips.

<3>Not only is the regular commuter stiffed, but the higher prices are in effect even for an hour or so after the rush-hour schedule ends, ie when trains no longer come so frequently.