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Sunday, August 03, 2008


Places to Eat in Emeryville.

This isn't a list of every place in Emeryville: it's just the places I like. Which all happen to be veg-friendly. (Go figure.)

Veg Friendly Eville Dining.

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posted by Arlene (Beth)6:03 PM

Thursday, April 03, 2008



Those of you who knew me before the days of the WWW know that I wasn't much for sleeping. It's not that I don't LOVE sleep with a remarkable intensity; it's not that I don't fantasize about sleep during some of my working hours... I'm just not very good at it. I was not good at sleeping as a child (when I had the flavor of insomnia in which I failed to fall asleep at appropriate times) and as an adult (when I fail to remain asleep through some convenient period of time, such as "night").

I discovered a cure for this: bicycle riding, and especially bicycle riding to and from work. Bicycle riding has become a great passion of mine for many, many reasons: one of those reasons is that it allows me to experience blissful, deep, profound states of sleep.

[*shiver of delight at the thought of deep states of sleep*]


Alas and alack, since... what are we calling it. The Incident? My unfortunate encounter with the earth? My passionate, uncontrolled bonding with streetcar tracks? A day that will live in cycling infamy? Anyway, since I "shattered" my arm last year and went through my subsequent surgery and multi-month recovery period, cycling has had a different flavor for me. (No, not blood. Not vicodin, either.) It is still something I love, but now it is tinged with fear, and I weigh the risks of making a trip differently than I used to.

As a big-city urban person, just about all encounters with the outside world are fraught with peril and risk: the risk of standing near someone who smells bad, the risk of seeing a really good foreign film that you'll be boring your entire peer group with for ages, the risk of being killed while crossing the street on a green light by a person in an SUV having a conversation so inane that they will be ashamed to describe it to the police ("It involved a sale at Lowe's, a bag of cat litter, and jug wine..."), the eternal threat of discovering a completely addictive coffee place, or seeing a good art show, or hearing a really stupid argument... Death is on that list, of course, as it is anywhere, indoors or out. Having my bike stolen due to improper locking or foolishly leaving it anywhere in the greater Civic Center region was always on that list. But doing something that might cause me months of pain is a new item that has me re-evaluate all sorts of things, and not just biking.

Under my new risk evaluation scenario, I find myself unwilling to bike places that are not inherently fun. So, for example, my bike ride to work at my company's offices to Emeryville are fun-deprived. No matter which of the three main routes I choose (and I usually choose the longest to get in the most biking), I'm never really wallowing in the sort of pleasure I get from biking in the City.

I don't really enjoy the one mile bike ride to BART here in SF: although the street is now buttery smooth on the BART-bound side due to some water main work, it's just a mile. I don't even warm up. And I have to bike past (and cross) the spot where I crashed each time.

I don't really enjoy the ride from West Oakland BART to Emeryville. I like MLK drive, with its landscaping and odd mix of Victorian buildings and what appear to be steel mills, and I like hearing the geese flying overhead and honking... But I nearly always bike there alone. Or with big rigs that want to make right turns through me. I have to cross all those tracks, and the sewage treatment plant imbues several long blocks with an aroma that defies pleasant characterization.

Yes, I love the morning light. But it's just three miles! By the time I pass Semifreddi's and smell the garlic bread, I'm just warmed up, and the ride is nearly over.

Biking in the City is so gorgeous. Yes, I bike down Third Street now and then, and the industrial areas along the port, but... It's still SF!! I still get views of the rest of the City! My City! I get to see the bay, the lights, the vistas! And there are always, always, always other cyclists... (Not that I'm scared when there aren't, like when I bike through the Presidio's residential sections at night, or any of Terry A. Francois. But I know there will be cyclists thereafter, at any hour.)

Biking in the City is such a reward in and of itself, and I love being here so much... My Oakland commute just isn't the same. It's about 8 miles round trip, but in such awkward little increments (1 mile, 3, 3, and 1)... It's just not satisfying. And it's something of a relief to figure this out, because I thought that I was unmotivated because of a fear about biking, when really it's that biking where I happen to bike in Oakland isn't much fun, and especially isn't much fun alone.


It turns out that my BART & Emeryville bike commute isn't rigorous enough to prevent insomnia, either. :-(


Recent bike-related dream 1: cruising down Market Street from the top of Portola, I am doing an easy 40 mph (with moderate break riding) as I approach Castro Street.

There are streetcar tracks at Castro, where the F turns around.

I see them, I consider my speed, and I cannot figure out how to avoid having a crash. I begin to turn to hit the turn in the tracks completely perpendicular, but that will launch me into a curb and then a planter. I begin to panic. I wake up.

That was a nightmare.

Recent bike-related dream 2: Jack Black, acting like many of his characters, has a shop on 29th Street near Mission where he tricks out bikes. His custom jobs are wild, funny looking, and often completely impractical, involving a tall bike with high handlebars with its wheels resting in a contraption that puts the power into small, toy-truck skates at the bottom, for example.

I bike (on a road bike) south on San Jose Avenue from his shop, where the hill tops out at Randall (!). There is an odd, triangular intersection where Dolores blends in, and on the intersection is an odd building, made of wood, with a second story veranda and a grass or bamboo roof, which is a bike bar. There are bike races going on upstairs on the veranda: one of the riders lays down her bike in a turn, and pieces of the bamboo railing fly down onto the street, while she skids to a stop without making the drop. [And then... other stuff that I forget, though I continued south on San Jose.]

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posted by Arlene (Beth)9:37 PM

Friday, May 11, 2007


Time flies when you're commuting.

Here is a recap of my very exciting life in recent weeks:

Week of April 16th: frenzy of pre-office-move work. Return home tired and cranky nightly.

Week of April 23rd: frenzied office packing, along with other frenzied legal dept activities. Tip for the wise: do not work in a legal department, because for moving purposes, people pretend all those files (including "important looking" documents found in dusty boxes in closets) are actually yours. Return home tired and cranky nightly.

Week of April 30th: frenzied unpacking, settling in, becoming accustomed to loss of hour or more each day in transit to new location in East Bay. Wisdom of accepting friendly offers of rides home varies, depending on traffic conditions. Fall asleep on couch routinely after dinner.

Week of May 7th: weekend purchase of folding bicycle pays off with faster (but still too long for my tastes) commute with more of a purpose (namely, health and sanity). Begin exploring area surrounding new workplace on way in and out of office. Exchange route information with other cyclists in office, distribute Bike To Work Day information. Spend evenings going to bike movies, packing goodie bags for BTWD, taking walks, and generally trying to reclaim normal existence.

My weekends during this time period have all been good, but... they are terribly far apart.


The new office is in the City of Emeryville (, an area adjacent to Berkeley and Oakland that was largely industrial throughout my childhood, but which is now full of brand new malls and condos. We're within walking distance of a major office-working-lunch-hub, the Emeryville Public Market ( Just mentioning this place lights up the eyes of countless colleagues: instead of being a mall with a food court in its center, it is JUST the food court part. There are more than 20 vendors selling a wide range of steam table or made to order foods at reasonable prices. The existence of the PM may be the primary reason that there has not been rioting in the office: construction problems mean we have no kitchen, no break room, no refrigeration for foods from home, and no way of making the food products that our company sells for our own consumption. (Random breakfast treats and catered company products have also helped.)

Excitement over the PM was palpable during our first week, but is flagging now: a colleague has remarked that there are plenty of choices, but he's learning that many of the options are not optimal for his tastes or health, and so realistically he has fewer options than he originally thought. (I'm being more diplomatic than he was.)

I haven't yet tried all of the venues, but will comment on them over time.

I've also made three field trips to adjacent areas for meals with colleagues, with some success. So I can write about those, though I'd like to revisit two of them to get a better range of dishes to review.


I'm giving up on my hopes of ever really catching up on posts, and will start fresh and just post as I can.


posted by Arlene (Beth)10:00 PM

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