Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Walking to the Library

The walk to UC Berkeley's libraries from BART is largely pleasant. Once one reaches campus, there's the option of walking through groves of trees. I believe most of them are oak and eucalyptus. When I say oak, that's the type of oak found all over California (whatever it may be), which has small leaves and can put up with a dry climate. And speaking of a dry climate, when I flew into San Francisco last week I experienced my usual sense of intense disappointment looking down at all that dried out foliage and dead grass. California's flora looks better up close than from the air, when it becomes clear that not quite all of it is dead. Still, the Czech Republic is gearing up for what's expected to be the worst drought since 1947. I gather the drought of 2003 will be as nothing. When I left, the grass was already turning brown along the river, which I don't think happened until August in 2003.

Fortunately, the Bay Area is not so dry as one might think. True, one only gets a little rain in the winter, but the air is generally cool and damp from the Bay. Plants seem to get most of their moisture from the air, which includes plenty of fog.

But, of course, to have anything other than arid plants like oak, eucalyptus, and wild grass, you have to water. It takes a lot to kill ivy, but the stuff doesn't look very good unless it's well watered.

I tend to start off my day at the library at Moffatt's Free Speech Cafe, assuming there's a seat free. Moffatt was the undergraduate library back when Doe had closed stacks. Now it's a pretty good place to find books because practically no one goes there. It has loads of tables and carrels, but a dearth of electrical outlets. When I was there yesterday, it was also frigid. I don't get this. Berkeley's climate only requires airconditioning about three days a year, and it was pretty chilly outside yesterday despite being sunny. Between the airconditioning and the lack of power for the laptop, I was soon out of Moffatt and into the warmer climes of the Gardner stacks, where I was almost warm enough wearing my sweatshirt.
One of these days I expect Moffatt, which is not a bad building for one of its mid-century vintage, will be overhauled and made a really nice place. After all, in Moffatt you can get a nice view of campus out the window, which is certainly not the case in the underground Gardner stacks.



Blogger Kristen said...

You are my idol. Not even over jet lag and already you are in the library!

June 28, 2007 6:02 AM  
Anonymous bikerbar said...

I dont know where you got the info about the drought in the Czech Republic, but its actually quite overcast, cool and rainy now

My head cold has become an ear infection .. ugh

June 28, 2007 1:44 PM  
Anonymous Amy said...

Welcome back to the States!
It's no mystery that so many people want to live in the Bay area. Between the minimal need for A/C, the scenery, AND the political climate (I think we can count on it to remain blue overall), it sounds fabulous!

June 28, 2007 3:53 PM  
Blogger Karla said...

Not that the Czech Republic hasn't gotten any rain this summer, but quite a few of my Czech friends told me of the impending drought. When you think about how little snow we had this past winter, it's not surprising.

California does have nice scenery of its own kind, but I do prefer greener regions. As for temperature, I complain everywhere. Here, it's that it's too chilly in the summer (at least we're having blue skies for once); elsewhere, that it's too hot to do anything.

June 28, 2007 4:14 PM  

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