|I've come too far to turn back now,,,
Basecamp berkeley. In exile from my home. A home many days I doubt I shall ever known. It is 12:21 am and I am in the woods behind Berkeley campus, just down the hill from Berkeley Labs and the cyclotron. Nuclear research labs, no doubt affiliated with Laurence Livermore a few miles away. Nuclear weapons research labs all around. What a funny life.
I spent the day in San Francisco, although I woke up here. Last night, after a disappointing night at the bars, I ended up at Jupiter where at least I could smoke. The whole experience was so star-crossed I am loath to return, even if they do have the best beer selection in town and the only patio on which one can smoke. Both wireless access points available use encryption, so no internet.
Today I awoke on the hill above the stadium nestled benieth som poplar trees which sing and drum in the night winds. Before my eyes the belltower on campus and the golden gate bridge beyond Behind a branch, the city of San Francisco. On the trail to the site, which I had never been down before, I met two deer. We spent five minutes checking eachother out, as only deer can check eachother out, before deciding on "no threat" and moving on with our respective evening plans. The spot I found was level-ish; although there was a more level spot nearby, I opted for the more secluded spot behind three large trees. I found a defensive fortification downhill benieth some fallen limbs, and settled in for the night, just uphill. The morning was cold. In the low fifties (20 C), but I slept better than I had in months. The cold chill on ones cheeks while shrouded in down is a narcotic sensation to the experienced. The view was spectacular.
After breaking camp, I headed down the broad trail I figured I was camping beside; practically a graded road, and back to the parking lot at the foot of the hill and Cyclotron Road. Jumping on my skateboard, I soon realized the road was way beyond a reasonable grade to be riding with a 30 pound pack. I skidded down the hill dragging my foot, jumping from the board on occasion, until I hit main campus and could let loose. Moments later I was on Shattuck, at the cafe' where the day before I had discovered a wireless access point. It didn't extend inside the cafe', but there was a computer with free internet there anyway. A little more observation yielded a Linksys four port router, for the single computer on its DSL. A clear invitation. So I asked, and plugged in. For Breakfast, a seeded bagel (a real bagel, not just bagel shaped bread) cream cheese (excellent; tart, yet fresh, smooth yet thick) and coffee (dark french roast, well above average and comfortably within the range of goodness).
After several hours exploring ... excuse me. So creatures are fighting. Sounds like cats, but really not. Maybe racoons? Dude, they're really going at it! Sounds like its over now. Owls are hooting down the hill from me. No deer yet tonight, but I imagine they'll discover me eventually. The squat Jen and I discovered is amazing. Among the best I've ever seen. A thick limb fallen to the ground, but still attached to a tree quite a ways away. The branches off this limb for a perfect canopy one can walk benieth. They also form a screen covering three quarters of the downhill slope, completely eliminationg... No they're still fighting. Geeze, they sound like monkeys, to be honest, but that's unlikely. Anyway, there is zero visibility of this site from all directions but maybe a 20 degree window to the northwest. I can see lights on the back of berkeley lab through there, across a wide open field. Someone has rudimentarily levelled the ground inside and built a windbreak and wall in that window. There is even a rabbit hole escape through the thick part of the canopy that I imagine leads straight into the gully one follows to climb up here. Whoever did this knew exactly what they were doing. There's even a 15x15 olive drab tarpauline in here. No one's been here this season to be sure though judging from pine needle coverage.
So on with the day. I went to the Berkeley Public Library today, the central location. I only stopped in to use the bathroom, but casually investigated. I found the USGS maps for berkeley, and a large portion of the Tipitaka, including, if I'm not mistaken the complete Abhidhamma, in its only english translation of which I am aware: that published by the Pali Text Society. May they burn in Fruedian hell. I'm sorry. Not my favorite interpretation of those texts. Still, ripe material, available for checkout as soon as I have my california ID.
Which was the primary mission for the day. I had an appointment at the DMV to correct a typo in my Social Security number. This necessitated taking the Bart to S.F., and skateboarding to the panhandle. I finally managed to locate the flat Josh, David and Tommy lived in when I dropped T Byrd off here in '96. The same flat WiL and I stole Josh away from, and which the rest of the crew soon abandoned for Boulder. The same one I slept in the night before my licence was removed from my person in Wyoming after 28 hours of driving. It had eluded me twice on past visits. Its been another little side story; Cafe' Abir was my only reference.
So my visit to the DMV was painless, and I went to lower Haight for a beer. But first I found an access point in Buena Vista park, sent several emails, including two long ones to John Tillman of all people, defending the notions of Universal Health Care, and railing against the misappropriation of privilege by Dubya in the current Gulf War crisis.
Then to Cafe' International in lower haight where it was happy hour, and where they have a free wireless access point as well. Theres is actually legitimate. So I spent three hours there sending email... Over the course of the day I learned all about how to build directional antennae out of Pringles Tubes and/or soup cans. A project I am ....
oooohhhh.... okay. That is very very very strange. Last night on my way to my campsite I met three kids, one who was freestyling in the most insane way. He would not stop. When rhymes failed him he resorted to made up language. His friend was beat boxing for him. It was too cool so I invited them for a smoke. While the young freestyle protoge rapped we got to talking. I told them about my plans to camp, and they told me about... this.
It sounds like cherebus himself. It makes me wonder what that tunnel under these mountains on the USGS survey is really all about. It sound like grrrrrrrrRRRRRRRWAAAAA grrrrrrrRRRRRRREEWUHHHH. I should have recorded it. I imagine a cross between an elephant and a gargoyle hearing it. Its at once organic and unnatural. If I strain my imagination I can almost derive a mechanical explanation, and I think I will, because no living creature should be so pathos ridden as to produce sounds like that.
okay, so now I'm sitting alone in the woods with creapy beast noises... adventure!
So after a day of geeking and wandering and acomplishing much, I am becoming more firm in my resolve to settle here for a month or two, camp out, live between the library the gym and the woods. Tomorrow I get my membership at the YMCA, and begin working out. And showering again. I'm looking forward to a shower. I haven't had anything but a bathroom refresher spongebath since Seattle. Still I don't stink as much as I should... but you never can tell these things... I must present a strange picture these days. So many things I'm not quite.
so here it begins.
© Hudson Cress, 2003. All rights reserved.
Disclaimer: All events and people are part of the elaborate fiction that is my private reality. Any resemblence to actual people or events is purely coincidental.