Accidentally Almost a Puma Again, Awkward





I hadn’t been to a WeWork Berkeley Happy Hour in awhile. I sat by myself and texted a friend. I looked up and saw an attractive guy.

Me: Long haired muscular Asian boy alert! I love WeWork.
Friend: Haha, go say hello.

So I did. We had a good conversation so I asked him out. He said yes. We texted back and forth for a couple of days planning the date. He was kind enough to ask me if I had any dietary restrictions. I googled him and there it was on his LinkedIn profile. He graduated from Cal in 2015. I thought he was probably around 30. Nope. He probably had no idea that I’m considerably older than him. I wondered if I should alert him. I decided that a date was not a marriage proposal and to stop overthinking.

The day of our date. He canceled. It’s not me it’s him, he said. It bummed me out. It bummed me out just because I liked talking to him and had put myself out there.

Being young is hard for him. I’m not being sarcastic. I get it.

Accidentally Almost a Puma Again, Awkward

Berkeley’s Simply Bowl: Is It Real Poke?


Poke is trendy. Spelling it, “poké” is trendy. Berkeleyside’s Nosh writer Kate Williams said that poke is, “the new burrito-smoothie-bubble tea-13 dollar salad.” WeWorkers, Cal students and everyone everywhere flock to Simply Bowl in downtown Berkeley. Is the poke they serve there “real?”

My boss thinks that the Simply Bowl(s) do not contain “real” Hawaiian poke. His reasons are: it’s not marinated and the bowls contain squid and wet stuff (seaweed?), which are not authentic ingredients. Regarding his marination accusation, Kate’s response is, “most poke isn’t marinated, just tossed in sauce.” She says the fact can be verified in, “ALL OF THE STORIES about poke in Serious Eats.” I thought marinated fish was ceviche.

Poke comes from the Hawaiian verb “to section, slice, or cut,” so it’s open to a chef’s interpretation. I’m not a chef, but I say that avocado cubes do not a poke make. I’m pretty sure you need raw fish to make poke.

People in these parts flock to Simply Bowl. I had a spicy poke salad today and now my gut hurts. Kate also pointed out that Simply Bowl doesn’t allow you to build your own poke bowl. You have to go to San Francisco for that. Or you can build your own cinnamon roll down the street at at Cinnaholic.

Berkeley’s Simply Bowl: Is It Real Poke?

Cats In The Hall

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I live in Downtown Berkeley and my apartment building has a cat infestation. Two identical stray cats have taken up residence in the hallways. One of them dropped out of a ceiling fan onto the washing machine while I was doing laundry once and scared the fuck out of me. The front door of the building doesn’t close and they can easily scootch in under the security gate. At first it was a cute surprise but now I feel like a shit head for not feeding them when evidence abounds that other dwellers around me clearly are.

We are not a neighborly bunch. Residents come and go a lot as the building is near Cal. I saw my landlord in the lobby and asked him about it. He said they were trying to catch the cats. Huh? One of them zoomed into my apartment once and I just picked it up and carried it outside. I really don’t want fleas. I know I suck.

I googled and found that I am not alone in this problem. In Miami, a man shot at his neighbors for refusing to stop feeding strays in their shared apartment complex. On the other end of the spectrum, a stray in Russia living in an apartment’s hallways was heralded after saving an abandoned infant from freezing to death. I hope Marsha the cat got a real place to live after that.

Friend or foe, what are you supposed to do about stray cats living in your apartment building? The Humane Society has specific advise for housing managers. TNR stands for, “trap, neuter, and return.” Managers are supposed to get the cats all fixed up at the vet and then either take them to some kind of community group or ask the residents to continue caring for them. I’m not paying rent to live in an animal shelter? I know I suck.

There are laws in California pertaining to feral cats but as far as I can tell these laws leave the specifics to local government. The City of Berkeley website also suggests a TNR approach but also has a section called, “Do Feral Cats Lead Short, Miserable Lives?” and advice for keeping the cats out of your garden (ultrasonic cat repellents and motion activated sprinklers). Poor kitties.

Cats In The Hall

Beer v. Wine in Downtown Berkeley

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Spoiler alert: beer wins

I like to drink. I like beer and wine equally. I like cocktails less. When I’m dating someone, I tend to be easily steered toward their drink of choice should they be opinionated about such things (pretty much all men). P liked IPAs so now I have favorites (Pliny the Elder and West Coast). N was an alcoholic so he preferred beer with a low ABV. Summertime is session time. J likes wine, which is good because one glass of wine per social event is allowed on the Tiffany Diet.

Downtown lost its only wine bar in March. It’s been replaced by another Berkeley beer place. I’m not sure why we need a Half Moon Bay Brewery taproom but they are moving in. Where else can one drink wine in downtown Berkeley? B&B Kitchen and Wine Bar opened recently but J has already commented, “meh” on their wine list. Something about only drinking organic wines. The wine at Revival is good and sure you could hang out at Chez Panisse drinking wine but could you really? Also, the Gourmet Ghetto is not Downtown Berkeley. Beer wins.

I’m writing this story at The Punchdown in downtown Oakland. My $10 glass of Pipeño Pais (Do I sound like I know what a Pais is?) is reasonably priced but I still feel a bit pinched. I could save at least $3 if I was drinking a beer. I like to think of myself as slightly wealthier than a college student so I won’t count on such a schmancy establishment opening near Cal anytime soon.


Beer v. Wine in Downtown Berkeley

Disposable Cups Suck

Last week I went on a business trip to Humboldt County. Are you wondering what business I’m in? Arcata is a strange place but redneck hippies are a group I’m familiar with being from just up the coast in Coos Bay, Oregon. I had lunch my first day at The Depot, Humboldt State University’s food court. There were no cups anywhere. No cups allowed! I needed my Diet Coke fix so I asked for a cup and was charged $1!

Later that afternoon it was coffee break time and I asked my colleagues about the cuplessness. It turned out for the bargain price of $0.75, I could get a mason jar for all my beverage containing needs. Wow! That’s some hardcore environmentalist action, the likes I’ve never seen in Berkeley. Cal is trying to be greener but nowhere near as committed.

I figured this was just a hippie university thing but no. That night I went for nigiri to go and asked for a Diet Coke to drink while I waited. The hostess forgot and then presented me with my sushi and drink to take away in a soup container. It did not fit into my cup holder.

Disposable Cups Suck