Infospigot: The Chronicles

I thought you'd never ask

Dan Brekke

Dan Brekke
Editor, writer, journalist, student of history. Chicago native, long-time resident of Berkeley, California.


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DECEMBER 12, 2011 12:02PM

Hey, Rainmaker

A dry summer, and then comes the fall
Which I depend on most of all.
Hey rainmaker can you hear the call?
Please let these crops grow tall.

—The Band, "King Harvest"

We had some rain… Read full post »

DECEMBER 11, 2011 11:14PM



The manse on Holly Street, in (nearly) full holiday regalia, with the moon riding shotgun in the clouds.

DECEMBER 10, 2011 10:25AM

Curbside Eclipse


This morning's lunar eclipse, shot across the roof of a house across the street. Not many this morning trod the frosty street, to paraphrase Dylan Thomas, but when Kate and I went out to watch, about 6 o'clock, we heard voices of a couple of neighbors down the block. So… Read full post »

DECEMBER 8, 2011 2:50AM

Vulture Beach Drama


Saturday in Fort Bragg: Just north of the mouth of Pudding Creek, a couple of dozen turkey vultures were hanging out around a low bluff above the beach--sunning themselves, taking off on short flights to check out the local offal, then back for more sunning, and grooming, and occasional drama… Read full post »

DECEMBER 5, 2011 8:20PM

Motel View


A discovery of 2011, by way of Thom Brekke: The Beachcomber, a motel in Fort Bragg. Here's what you see right out the back of the place, which is built adjacent to an old logging road (and before that, a rail line) used to carry logs to the Fort Bragg… Read full post »

DECEMBER 5, 2011 1:27AM

Road Blog: Mendocino Vineyard


Back home in Berkeley tonight. But at noontime today, we stopped on our way south at Toulouse, a vineyard and winery along Highway 128 in Mendocino County. We went into the tasting room and bought some wine, then walked up through the vineyards briefly. One bird note: We see robins… Read full post »


We drove up to Fort Bragg with a plan of driving someplace in the interior of the county--Montgomery Redwoods State Reserve, near Comptche in the back of beyond, was one candidate. But in the full light of day and looking out at the coast right outside our window, it seemed… Read full post »

DECEMBER 3, 2011 1:00AM

Road Blog: Asti


Headed north on U.S. 101 for a couple days in Mendocino County, I pulled off at Asti, just south of Cloverdale. The wine valleys are full of fall color. Today's bonus: Despite my earlier post on drought anxiety, it must be said that today was incredible. In the mid-70s in… Read full post »


It's December now in the Bay Area, and if you're fastidious about your weather expectations, you look out the window and want to see rain. Or at least a little gray. But in the wake of the little wind event of the past couple of days, what I see… Read full post »

DECEMBER 1, 2011 3:52PM

Family History Files: Tim Hogan

A long-ago teacher of mine--G.E. Smith, who taught English, literature, and a lot more at Crete-Monee High School in the 1960s and '70s--became interested in his family ancestry late in life. It wasn't an easy thing. I don't know a lot of his personal story, but I do know that his… Read full post »

NOVEMBER 30, 2011 10:50AM

Berkeley: In the Fog


Buena Avenue, at McGee Avenue. It's been foggy here the last couple of mornings (and again today). Last night the fog came back in just after dark. Pretty dramatic. After dinner, "The Colbert Report," the 10 o'clock news, and walking The Dog, I went out to try take some pictures… Read full post »

NOVEMBER 29, 2011 3:57AM

The King's Daughters Home for Incurables


Broadway in Oakland, between 40th Street and MacArthur Boulevard. I have been up and down this block hundreds of times driving, on the bus, on a bike, and on foot. Late this afternoon, while waiting for a prescription to be filled at one of the Kaiser pharmacies nearby, I took… Read full post »

NOVEMBER 27, 2011 3:33PM

Berkeley Parking: $516 an Hour

ticket102411.jpgAbout a month ago, I had an errand to run on Berkeley's Solano Avenue. I needed to go into the bank to get cash to pay our local after-school dog-walker. A row of spaces outside Andronico's, the grocery near the top of the avenue, was empty. Paying for parking here is… Read full post »

NOVEMBER 26, 2011 4:02PM

Morning Sky Show: Hawk vs. Crows


I've read that in other parts of the country, West Nile virus has had a devastating impact on crows, with 90 percent of the population dying in some places. In the small piece of California I see regularly, it's a different story. The crow population seems not only healthy, but… Read full post »

NOVEMBER 25, 2011 2:04AM

The Pie


Thom's apple-pear pie. For which one word will suffice: Day-umn!

NOVEMBER 24, 2011 1:32PM

Old Business

1. Anniversary week: This here blog turned eight years old (56 if it was a dog blog) on Tuesday, the 22nd. I was thinking of writing a post on the Top 10 Things I Have Learned blogging, and maybe I still will. For now I'll just say thanks to the happyRead full post »

NOVEMBER 24, 2011 12:55AM

PM Getaway, Holiday Eve


I almost never drive to work in the city (San Francisco) at regular commute hours. I go in at midday, usually, and return home well after the last of the evening commute. But today I drove because it was the day before the holiday and the morning rush hour was… Read full post »

NOVEMBER 22, 2011 1:51PM

Tree vs. Car


While walking The Dog in the rain and wind late Saturday night, I heard the sound of heavy equipment somewhere in the neighborhood. I wondered if the noise was carrying all the way from Telegraph Avenue, where a big apartment building had burned the night before. Was it being demolished… Read full post »

NOVEMBER 21, 2011 12:29PM

Blue 99 Percent Obama


I've meant to get a picture of this only-in-Berkeley muralette for a while. I finally snapped it yesterday while I was taking pictures of a neighborhood mishap (tree vs. car) across the street. Not sure when this piece was done, but the first time I noticed it was at night,… Read full post »

Berkeley is blessed with several lovely neighborhood shopping districts. A couple of those areas feature stores that started out as world-class produce markets and have turned into big groceries. One of those is Berkeley Bowl, so called because it opened in an old bowling alley on Shattuck Avenue in… Read full post »

NOVEMBER 19, 2011 4:50AM

Berkeley Fire, Haste and Telegraph


Updates here: The Daily Cal's Storify page on the fire.
ABC7 report on early progress of fire.
Brief report from Oakland Tribune (worth it for the short photo slideshow)

A five-story, 39-unit apartment building at Telegraph Avenue and Haste Street in Berkeley, three blocks south of campus, bu… Read full post »

NOVEMBER 18, 2011 2:39PM

Occupy and Recall


Juxtaposition at the corner of Adeline and Market streets in North Oakland; shot from the driver's seat of the Oakland-Roving Minivan (I was stopped at the light). Movable object meets resistible force.

If you haven't been following the story:

Jean Quan recall drive opened by Oakland group
GrRead full post »

NOVEMBER 17, 2011 2:49PM

High Country: Carson Pass and Beyond


Since the automobile-borne traveller can't and doesn't want to do straight-line trips in the Sierra (lots of river canyons, ridges, peaks, valleys, and rocky defiles of every description in your way), our trip last Saturday from the Calaveras County outback to the alpine embrace of Hope Valle… Read full post »

NOVEMBER 14, 2011 2:30AM

Aspen, Up Close


We made a long weekend trip up to the Sierra over the Armistice/Veterans Day weekend. Friday: to Calaveras County to visit our friends Piero and Jill, who have a couple acres and a cabin up there. Saturday: After more hanging out at the 4,800-foot contour, we drove back out to… Read full post »

NOVEMBER 11, 2011 1:32PM

Posted in Berkeley: General Strike


Or "Helga General," if you want to be more literal (and Spanish) about it. Posted in the window of Subway Guitars at Cedar and Grant streets. (In fact, we're in between "general strikes." This poster refers to the event last week. And now students up at Cal are planning another… Read full post »