you always remember your first

I didn’t know an entire building could shudder… This one was only 3.4, but directly under us.


Crawfish boil!

It had been far, far too long…

uncooked crawfish

boiled crawfish

on table



room, beta version; job, alpha

I’ve spent the past two and a half weeks craftily avoiding a full-time job search by painting and furnishing my room (I also got a California license and plates, auto and renter’s insurance, and a bank account somewhere in there). So the room has come together nicely:

Clare's room

And now I’ve found myself very pleasantly inundated with video editing—Cory’s soil-knowledge-in-the-village project and a freelance job up in Berkeley. Exciting times!


a perhaps unfair comparison

Near the Louisiana Gulf Coast:

LA scenery

Looking towards the California coast from the Berkeley Hills:

CA scenery


Dr. Robert Solomon, 1942-2007

Sad news from Austin: Dr. Bob Solomon, UT philosophy professor and all-around badass, died from heart failure in the Zurich airport on January 2. The Statesman and Daily Texan ran obituaries (the Texan includes a great photo of a young Bob), and Matt posted a personal recollection to the Austinist.

I took three semesters with Dr. Solomon, including his famous “Existentialism” class. Below are doodles from my notes, the second of which was copied directly from Bob’s blackboard drawing, if I remember correctly. Leslie and I will be pouring out a Shiner for him.

The Gods

Kierkegaard and God



Merry Christmas!

Clare with ornament

(Christmas present and Christmas past)



new house

living room

I’ll be sharing a two-bedroom Craftsman-style house in Oakland, half a block from Piedmont Avenue and otherwise ideally situated in a great neighborhood convenient to just about every form of transportation a person could want. I’m excited to earn the right to some Oakland civic pride.

And, for the record, posting to Craigslist’s housing wanted section is the only way to go when searching for a room. Now to find the equivalent for jobs…


Santacon 2006

My baptism by beer into my new San Francisco life came yesterday in the form of Santacon 2006: San Francisco Santarchy.

Leslie and I spent Friday night preparing our Santa garb.

Leslie with beards

We went at 9AM on Saturday to meet up with the other East Bay Santas and take the ferry into the city. On the way, we were stopped by a Japanese couple who wanted a picture with the crazy locals. I was excited to officially be a crazy local.

Leslie, Clare, tourist

On the ferry, Leslie broke in her beard.

Leslie + Corona

And an elf sang in honor of the rainbow that appeared over Alcatraz as we neared the city.

Elf playing on ferry

rainbow over Alcatraz

When we got to Pier 39, we met up with a whole mob of Santas, many of whom took advantage of the “Santas ride for half-price” deal at the carousel.

Santas at Pier 39

Santas on carousel

Next stop: Bubba Gump’s for a round of Bloody Marys, then on to Hooter’s, where things started to get… weird. er.

Leslie spanks Santa

From there, Santas wheezed up a very long hill…

Santas uphill

Squealed gleefully down a curvy road…

Santas down Lombard

And played a disorderly game of Twister in the park.

Santas contemplate Twister

More beer, and then some more beer after that, and then Santacon commandeered the Hustler Club, which is where Leslie and I finally parted ways with our newfound Santa family. Oh, and Leslie twisted her ankle because she ignored the one piece of advice given to us by a veteran Santarchist: Don’t drink so much that you fall down.

Too bad Christmas only comes once a year.

Clare on carousel


paradise calling

Berkeley is some kind of alternate universe, overrun with Foresters and Minis and suffering from a very serious Prius infestation. The grocery stores have Harper’s and Bust in the checkout lane racks, and the neighborhood drug store has an entire aisle of $30+ yoga mats. Bryan pointed out a raw/organic/live food restaurant which serves “I AM OPEN-HEARTED spicy mole pizza.”

One of the biggest adjustments for me while both driving and walking around town is that pedestrians have right of way. Which, while not a unique concept, is actually enforced by popular consensus here. Well, popular consensus and the threat of hefty fines. At any crosswalk without a light, a pedestrian can just waltz across the road and traffic in both directions has to—and does—stop. This is convenient when on foot, but it makes driving extremely stressful. I’m constantly worried that some empowered pedestrian is going to jump from a curb and exercise her right to make me be courteous. I’m actually less afraid of hitting someone than I am of drawing the sanctimonious ire of other Berkeleyites. Berkeleyians. People who buy yoga mats at the drug store and smoke their drugs on the street.

It’s fantastic. Housing update coming soon!


hunting season

I’m wrapping up a very nice visit to Austin before flying to San Francisco this weekend to house/apartment hunt. If anyone out in the Bay is looking for a roommate or knows someone who is, let’s talk!

Here’s my craigslist post:

$650 – Returned Peace Corps Volunteer looking for home (berkeley)

I’m a newly-returned Peace Corps Volunteer (Senegal 04-06) who is planning to move to the Bay in late December/early January. I’m hoping to start at Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism next fall, so would like to be close to campus or a BART station/bus stop.

What I’m looking for:
– A single room
– A well-loved kitchen
– High-speed internet
– Friendly, laid-back roommate(s)

And in an ideal world…
– Off-street parking
– Hardwood floors and big windows 🙂
– World peace

About me: I’m female, 25, and originally from Louisiana. I have done both solitary (mud hut) and group (PC crashpad) living, am generally laid-back, maintain a moderate level of cleanliness, and am a movie lover and aspiring foodie (veggie-friendly). I have a blog/gallery at

I’ll be in the Bay from Dec 2-12 trying to find a place to live — I’d love to hear from you if you’re either looking to rent out a room or looking for an apt/house-hunt buddy. Thanks!

* Cats are OK – purrr
* Dogs are OK – wooof