Our 11-year-old car just passed the 200,000-mile mark on the odometer. It’s been with us for multiple transcontinental drives and a lot of smaller road-trips in between. This is our unicorn: a combination of manual transmission, smooth straight-six engine, all-wheel drive, and cavernous station wagon that’s simply no longer available from any manufacturer. What will we do when this car is ready for retirement? That’s a tough question.
The Bay Area seems to experience seasons at a different pace from much of the rest of the country. Summer is a month-long period from mid-August through mid-September, fall lasts from October through March, and the summer goes from April until August. Winter (as the East Coast understands it) isn’t a part of the equation. Being back in fall, then, has me reminiscing about fall in the North Country, with leaves starting to dot the ground and the Blue Hour arriving sooner.
Berkeley’s undergraduate student population is still mostly gone for winter break, leaving UCB’s campus to resemble St. Lawrence’s during Fall Break in October. The empty-ish parking lots might be bleak, but at least it’s easy to get a table at lunch time.
And one final bonus from that fall weekend: a most dramatic and exciting picture of a most unexciting car. I present to you: the World’s Most Interesting Toyota RAV-4.
Shipping containers are ubiquitous yet mysterious. Because they’re used to transport almost everything, they could contain almost anything—and that has been used to great effect by a variety of my favorite authors. There’s little doubt over what these particular containers are holding—mostly supplies left in dorm rooms by St. Lawrence students at the end of the year—but there’s still a healthy dose of mystery in their juxtaposition with the regular structures of a college campus.
Old buildings of the northeastern U.S. have been repurposed and adapted so many times that they all have odd quirks and echoes of that modification. Look at the patterns in the brick on the back of this building: the skeletons of old walls and structures where they were removed, and windows covered over where there are walls on the other side. What did the back of the American Theatre once do?
Just around the corner in my neighborhood, across the parking lot of the Energy Biosciences Building, is this little slice of Downtown Berkeley neighborhood. The mixture of tacky, earthquake-proofed 1960s architecture, charming older apartment buildings, abandoned structures, and sprinkling of trees make it home.
So often in suburbia, the facades of buildings are a bit boring and a couple of designs feel ubiquitous. The back of a commercial property, though, has been given over to this hyper-utilitarian aesthetic that is a much more interesting subject. A couple of security lights cast the some of the best shadows.