Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Dreaming July

The Flaneur had an unusually eventful month this year. Here are a few fleeting impressions for my unfaithful readers.

Seismic activity of human origin continues along Milvia Street. While the venerable New Deal Post office building threatens to tumble into the claws of rapacious real estaters, the bulldozers and cranes have been busy dismantling the ancient gymnasium building at the high school. A steady stream of dust swirls up from the athletic fields still under construction behind the gym now collapsing in clouds of particulate matter. The whole area smells like someone's musty cellar from the 1930s.

Farther along Milvia an even more disruptive scene takes place in the dust. The phenomenal quixotic soccer field at Carleton is being crimped into a ballpark. A breathtaking expanse of open lawn where I would sit and rest in the sun, a halfway point from the Berkeley Bowl to my home, is gone. The digging began July 5th and now represents a hazardous walk past the sad defunct Ice Land skating rink building through dirt borne by howling winds. A microcosmic remnant of a once-happy town, appears today as a kind of a melancolony.

But demoltion derbies, surgeries and hypodermics of all sorts aside, one finds the golden vein of wonder in everyday life even still.

A birthday rolled up with a real bateau ivre of a picnic with a primordial pal down at the kite-festive Berkeley marina.The wind blew steady over our salmon and stout as we sheltered in the weeds. The part of the brain that exists in the future was stimulated by a fortune of  sidereal indications. One leg I left in the sun in a new pair of shorts came home sun-burned-- a rarity for me and all part of my slightly seasick evening. But all for pleasure as the water waved into cat's paws and a phantasmagoria of kites snapped overhead. A stack of jelly fish kites were condom-like with a submarine subconscious effect suspended in the air.
We drove back toward the golden wall of the Berkeley hills looking smaller now as the bay remained so vast behind us.

So the actual birthday arrived with the early morning fog still chilly around me as I hiked up to the San Francisco train. I stopped in the Park as the Farmer's market swam alongside. Smoked here to enliven my long quiet passage by rail. Good times good travel under the Bay and under the city to emerge up around the Mint and submerge again until Irving street riding the N Judah out to Golden Gate park.
Always a light-footed ramble down past the Botanical garden with its lonesome fountain--tourists are sparse now that they must pay to frolic there. Over to the grass-roofed,  hobbiton amusement park of the Academy of Science I stroll.
Obtaining my ticket ($35 for adults...the ones who have to pay it), I sidled off to a deserted corner of the grounds to consume my double-dose blonde brownie. I notice a nice fenced-in garden there that I would access for lunch. A slightly dour bored-to-tears guy loiters around the garden, presumably to thwart fence-hoppers. He observes me boredly.
Next I slip inside the dense forest of signage, screens, out-landish interior architecture and occasional live creatures. Twenty-five years since my last visit and it certainly is a changed place. I tunnel about and take a breather on the living roof before lunch follwed by parking myself beneath the sloping glass of a very deep coral tank with myriads (might as well use the proper word) of colorful fish in kinetic patterns over waving heads of coral. In this I drifted quite a long while. A tower of luminous jelly fish recalled the jelly fish kite formation of last week. Little kids commune with me telepathically. I try to use my mind-power to affect a chambered nautilus hovering in his tank--he moved to keep his eye on me
The grand finale was two viewing of an earthquake program in the dish-screen of the planetarium. Great fear of falling effects and a scene on a beach in which the cliffs behind you advance in a most hallucinogenic splendor. A real head-kick as we descend to the earth's molten core of fear.

from my notes: 
a tower of luminous jelly fish, chambered nautilus head trip, baby ostrich races and synchronized sea horse shows, anemones wave to me on the bottom of a coral reef, the earth moved inside the seismic planetarium

All in all, a lively summer in a refusal of being made to suffer by apparent sensory phenomena.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

More Anti-Happenings Around Town

To the Flaneur's wizened resignation time and entropy march on.

It was the beginning of May I was managing  a busy first-of-the-month day. My itinerary included a stop at the cannabis drive-in in order to restock my home supply of one of God's great gifts to mankind.
It operated out of a mirror-windowed building that curved and sloped over a parking lot giving away its origins as a fast-food place.
The advantage to the place in addition to being walking distance from my home was that it offered a room where one could prepare and consume one's purchases. Fine coffee was provided by the house, an idea I always found to be a prudent one--everyone had a coffee and woke up a bit after the magic indica dust made them a little sleepy.
But today low and behold and without prior notice even though I had been there a week or so earlier, the gate was locked on the business at noon. Their landlord it seems had been intimidated by the federal district attorney, a  woman aptly named Haag, and given them the boot. A few familiar employees manned a table to get the hapless customers like myself to sign up for home delivery. Chagrin falls on the local scene.
As for myself an hour later I was at the old place on telegraph where I had gone for years and was very happy with the buds I found.

Alongside the quaint and mildly pleasing news that Harold way which runs between Kittridge and Alston near the Library and Post Office would be changing its name to Dharma Way. A large Tibetan Buddhist school and book and tanka shop had acquired all properties on the short street and moved the wheels of the City it seems. Jack Kerouac wrote The Dharma Bums about Berkeley when he lived here for in the mid-fifties. It foretold of a wave of "rucksack revolutionaries" to follow in the sixties, some of which marches on in the post-apocalyptic new century.

But the big whammy arrived with the news in the Daily Cal yesterday the the great funky old building on the National Historic Register that has been the Berkeley main Post Office for 97 years will abruptly be closed and sold off. Roll with it or blast off, baby.