Thursday, October 29, 2009

Blake's - the M-City of Berkeley?

Yes, it does exist. Well, kinda. On weekends the local hangout, Blake's, turns its basement into a club and every Friday it becomes a haven for Asians. I got in for the first time last Friday with a friend since there was an event on, some mixer thing for Cal dancers.

I didn't got in with any expectations. What's the point, how can anyone have expectations once they've experienced the full glory of 146 Roe St? But damn. What though the venue is certainly lacking - it's literally just a huge basement, which I guess is kind of cool - the party goers make up for in dancing.

I think there's a whole different definition of 'grinding' over here. The worst offenders? The gay guys. Holy crap. I'm gonna say no more on this topic, except that let's just say that all four limbs end up on the floor.

But at least in this environment, I was actually able to look out over the d-floor above everyone's heads. Any of the white guys would've looked like giants in that place.

My verdict:

Venue: 6/10 - Run down basement theme is pretty cool. Need's serious ventilation though.
Music: 8/10 - Lots of club bangers.
Bar: 8/10 - One long ass bar runs down an entire wall. Quick service, cheap drinks.
Crowd: 4/10 - Yes they do put out more here. Too bad there was an A-train of grinders making its way through every 15 mins.

I definitely had a better time at Opel in SF after Love-fest Evolution. Club right by the bay, d-floor on the jetty, elevators to different floors. Glowsticks. Way cool. Oh and racial diversity - but who needs that?

I think you can just make out the jetty d-floor.

So I guess the hunt for my M-city continues...

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Five-O! Five-O!

Dammit. I knew I wouldn't be able to stay clear of the law for my entire trip to the US. They've finally caught up to me. I've been summoned to court, which actually kind of excites the law student in me.

But what is this? For a traffic violation? I don't even have a car here. So what have they done me in for? It's not like I'm that much of a huge unit that I have to go down the sidewalk with an sign stuck to my rear that says 'oversize' and an escort of vehicles with those cool flashing orange lights.

Nope, they got me for parking my bike against a hand rail. That's it. Apparently we're not allowed to. What the hell? I never got that memo. I tried to play the dumb tourist but that didn't work. I reckon the cop was just jealous of my awesome cruiser:

Yeah what's up? Chamillionaire and I are riding dirrrrrrty!

On the topic of cash-money, I recently spent my last Benjamin on a show ticket to watch Wicked. Awesome musical by the way, and if you're inclined towards that sort of stuff I highly recommend seeing it. Actually, anyone who has seen the Wizard of Oz as a kid and enjoyed that should watch this - I love how they work the two plots together. Brilliant. (Yeah I can be cultured and gangster).

Never fear, I actually found a twenty on my way to the show.

OK. I have to come clean, that's not really my bike. This is:

Nice and practical. And completely harmless. And I got it for a bargain - $100, which is less than the cost of my traffic ticket. When the economy is this bad I guess this is the kind of revenue that keeps things going. At least I know that Californian taxes go straight to the Governator's 'supplements' budget, if you know what I mean.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Manchester Who?

Sing it with me everyone. To the tune of 'The Ants go Marching':

Nana nana nana nana nana... nana...
Nana nana nana nana nana! nana!

His armband said he was a red, Torres, Torres,
You'll never walk alone it said, Torres! Torres!
We bought the boy from sunny Spain,
He get's the ball he scores again,
Fernando Torr-es, Liverpool's number 9!

I think it's safe by now for me to post this up, hopefully you've all seen the game - Liverpool v Man United in case you're living under a rock. I sure as hell did. Someone please rub it in to Dexter for me, and Guhan. But mainly Dexter.

Pretty damn exciting game - OK I still think the Champions League game between Real and AC Milan was more of a neutral's fantasy but you can't compare when you're as big a fan of LFC as I am. I was the only idiot in I-House jumping around like crazy when Torres sunk the shot, everyone else was talking about how Cal beat Washington State in the college football game. Wait, no, quite a few of the Europeans were there too. But they're all loser Man United supporters.

Awesome game that's all I have to say. Lucas - the 'not quite as beautiful as Torres' Lucas - had an awesome game. He should totally keep his hair short. And Rafa, wow, emotionless as always. He didn't even flinch when we scored. Good to see Vidic and Mascherano get sent off again too. That makes it 3 Liverpool vs Man United fixtures in a row for Vidic, and 2 in the last 2 seasons for Mashy. Tradition at its best.

Here are some more pics, mostly of Torres... man he's so beautiful.

All without Stevie-G as well. Right on chaps.

I know a few people who want to be where that thumb is.

So, how do you like them apples?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Cool Wall (Part 5)

Wow, I've had an insanely busy week - various events included theater performances, run-ins with the police and hitting up the Berkeley equivalent of M-city. Yes, I know, you can't wait for that blog post can you? Well neither can I... too bad I've got more exams coming up so it'll have to wait until I find a bit more time.

For now, I have to keep up with the weekly edition of The Cool Wall. What's that? Boo? You want the low-down on our version of M-city right now? But it's not even Saturday night yet! Don't worry, it'll be here soon.

OK, enough teasing. This week's wall is, well it's not really a stereotype. It's just a mess. Profanity, rude pictures and words, and bad spelling. However, it reminded me of Sergeant Wong (our favourite guy who went to NS), so we'll name it after him.

Check out the 'Serg' (pronounced 'sARg') Wall:

Even the guy who tried to correct the spelling got the spelling wrong. Forgive him, after all, it's only Pablo.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Cool Wall (Part 4)

This week's cool wall entry is a variation of our favourite 'let's tell everyone what I'm doing/need to do in my msn/facebook status'.

It's the To-do list wall.

Obviously the problem with it being written on public space is that its open to various suggestions from your neighbours. I'm referring to the kitten and the 'have me'. I hope those notes are in no way related to that girl from part 1 of this series ( - but I think they are.

Anyway, the wall version isn't nearly as bad as the msn/facebook status. I may step on some toes here but seriously: we DON'T want to know how many exams you've done and how many you have left - we're all studying for exams so I'm pretty sure everyone else has their own to worry about. Tick 'em off in your diary if it makes you feel better.

This week's bonus: no it's not another wall. It's a preview of something that I will hopefully be blogging about later - the food in the land of the FAT. We'll start off here with something I would eat, anytime.

Buffalo steak. (The smaller piece is lamb. I wanted lamb too, it's not popular at all here.)

Cave man diet

So I had massive red meat cravings over the weekend which I had to satisfy. There are no decent steakhouses in Berkeley so I had to do it my way. I put on my Rambo gear, went to Yosemite national park and killed a wild boar (buffalo) with a handmade spear after taking down the park warden's helicopter with a rock and a solid right arm throw. I also saved an entire village of malnourished Thai rice farmers with my bow and arrow. Oh and on my way back I punched someone's head off.

Seriously though, I really wanted to try some US game meat and buffalo was the easiest to get my hands on. And yes Mum, Kristy, Phil and Sas: I was also keen on making sure I hadn't forgotten how to cook.

The small I-house kitchen for resident use.

Damn I can't wait for Rambo 5.

Friday, October 16, 2009

This is...RSF!

Rivo, Leeming, Zest, Jets, FF, Lakeside...the list could go on. What do they all have in common? They all pale in comparison to the sweat-bucket that is the RSF. U-dub heavy weights room doesn't even come close.

Most of you know that the first thing I check out whenever I leave Perth is where I can get my next workout induced endorphin hit from. I've had to put up with some crappy places, like some hotel 'fitness rooms' which consist only of a treadmill and an exercise bike (er-hem Sydney) and sometimes I've even had no place to go, in which case I'd have to get my ghetto-workout on. But I've also had some good times, like the YMCA in Singapore (I'll never forget the sight of South-East Asian bodybuilding champion Simon Lau biking in his zebra striped hot pants), and the Russell Square FF in London.

However, this time around, I knew finding my local gym hideout would be no problem. This is college life - you work, you workout, you eat, you party. Alright, that's enough of an intro.

Welcome to my house, let me show you around.

Doesn't seem like much from the outside...

The RSF is a short 3 minute bike ride down from the I-house. This equates to about a 10 minute ride back uphill after beating the crap out of your legs in the squat rack for an hour. As you walk in, you can see the pool on your right. In front of you is a small kiosk and a hall which leads to the locker rooms, massage rooms and the main basketball stadium where the college games are held. To your left is the holy grail.

Have a snack, or just a perve at the pool.

Unfortunately, it's still a 'normal' gym, so there is still 'normal' cardio equipment for the Duracell bunnies and people dressed in Olivia Newton John outfits (let's get physical?). Of course it has to be the first thing laid out in front, so potential members get to see what's on offer. That's alright, I prefer working out in the guts and bowels of these kinds of places anyway. Up the stairs is access to the indoor soccer pitches, aerobics rooms, special martial arts padded rooms, badminton courts and the like.

To the right of the cardio stuff is a row of squash courts, and in the background you can see the entrance to the recreational basketball courts (6 of them I think). But to the left is what we're interested in.

There are 3 weights rooms. The main room is pretty big, I reckon its about the size of Myaree FF. I didn't have a wide angle lense so you can't really tell. Then there are two annexes. Each a tad bigger then Lakeside. Pretty much everything you need, including a fully stocked equipment cupboard that they actually let you use. There are so many kettlebells they use them for door stoppers (also 'cause not many people actually use them). There is even a Ronnie Coleman standing leg curl. Ain't nothing but a PEA-nut!

Main room. Ingredients all included - just add sweat.

Annex one

Annex two

Basically the place is fucking awesome. It's open from 6am to 2am the next day on weekdays, and only closes a little bit earlier on weekends. Membership gives you access to everything, including classes for free (but who gives a shit about that), the pool, locker room and court hire.

Death 'squat' row

And if you can't find a spot free on death row, just hit up the annex.

Even the drink fountains are hardcore. One to drink from, one to spit in.

Of course, being a college gym, you have your stereotypical locker room antics. What's inside my locker?

A) Sweaty gym clothes?
B) Posters of hot women?
C) Posters of buff men?
D)A midget?

And behind door number 4166...

I suppose it's C! Pictures of the D-BOSS. Motivation at its best. I hit a new PB everytime I look into his eyes.

So how much does it cost to be a member? $10 off peak per week like FF? $100 student discount per semester like at UWA? $105 for 3 months like at Lakeside?

Nope. Just $10US for a student. Oh, and a plane ticket to the States.

Monday, October 12, 2009

You Know You're in Berkeley When... (Part 3)

You get woken up by squirrel's eating outside your window.

So instead of peacocks at UWA, I've had to settle for squirrels on campus at Berkeley. These little buggers are everywhere, but yes they are oh so cute. They come up to you while you're eating outside, and then stand up on their hind legs and wave their bushy tails with their front paws extended. I mean, how can you say no to that? Here you go little squirrel, have some of my protein shake.

But they're not all cute. I was windsurfing the other day (yeah I know the only kind of board I ever set foot on in Perth was a boogieboard) and while we were out on the water our food and bags got attacked by 'scrats' - 'squirrel-rats'. To imagine what these ugly-fuckers look like, think of a large rat with a mole's head and a squirrel's tail, then multiply that by Lady Gaga's face at the MTV awards and you get pretty close. OK sorry that was a little bit low-brow.

On a related note to Berkeley, yet again one of the Professor's here has won a Nobel Prize - this time for economics. Go Cal! Shit I bet even the squirrel's here are smart. So congratulations to the 'Edgar F Kaiser Professor Emeritus' (what a killer title!): Professor Oliver Williamson for deservedly winning a Nobel Prize today through his hard work and endeavour, and not through his skin colour.

Well, that may be a bit harsh but since when have Nobel Prizes been given for effort? In any case, when the nominations went out Obama would've been President for all of a month. But regardless, major respect! He doesn't live by the rules.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Cal Soccer

Today I went to see the Cal Men's Soccer team play Washington. OK, it's kind of sad to see such an awesome stadium so empty but in a way it's awesome that soccer isn't that popular here, since the games are all free entry for UC students. The quality is pretty good too, I mean it is at a college level.

I think it wouldn't be a bad idea trying to get a scholarship for being on the team, getting free education at a top school and paying by simply playing you're favourite sport.

More info on intramural college soccer soon!

On an unrelated note, when I was out clubbing in SF we stopped by a Macca's. Look at it! Damn classy.

The Cool Wall (Part 3)

Ahh yes, the one you've all been waiting for - the penis wall:

Still, I haven't seen anything that compares to Phil's handiwork. Not even one little vein? T-Phail would be disgusted.

The 'Sex Monster'

plenty to choose from...

About two week's ago a few of the Korean girls hosted a legit Korean BBQ night at the I-house. There's a kitchen here which the residents can use and they cooked up a pretty good meal. So I'm sitting down, about to chow down on my second serving of Bul-gol-gi when the guy next to me interrupts me to introduce himself - his name is Tom.

And this is my first (and so far only) encounter with the 'Sex Monster'. Later on that night a few of the girls ask me if I thought there was anything strange about Tom. Yes I did, he was fucking awkward, and kept staring past me when I was talking to him.

Only later do I find out what he truly is, and today at lunch the stories were confirmed. This guy is an elite sexual predator. His prey? Korean girls, of course. His MO? Standard format is as follows:

1. Go to an event that is bound to have Korean girls in attendance. (Dinner was a good choice Tom).
2. Strike up a conversation with a target and bring up his singing 'talent'.
3. If possible, persuade target to go up to his room so he can exhibit his music collection.
3a. If not possible, lend target a CD, so that she must return to his room eventually.
4. Sing to her for 2 hours.
5. Proposition.

I have a Korean girl living in the room on my left and two living in the room to my right. Current alert status is set to 'orange'.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Attention wannabe Bella Swan's...

Yes, I'm looking at you Hui (actually I am you're on my wall :) *awww*)

Do you like pale-skinned guys who can stop an out-of-control car with their bare hands and climb up trees as if gravity didn't exist all whilst keeping their mascara from running?

Well then, to be honest, you're not that special. You're just one of the other million girls who read Twilight, saw the movie and well, got obsessed. However if you're one of the lucky ones who have a huge giant poster/cutout of Edward Cullen in you're room - then yes you're special (I won't say why).

What is the point of all this? Why do I suddenly give a shit about scrawny guys who can't go out in the sun? No, I am not jumping on the Twilight bandwagon.

It's because I've met Edward Cullen. He's living 3 doors down from me:

I was wondering why people only ever go into his room and why I only ever see him at night.

Seriously though, his name is Ignacio aka Nacho and he's from Madrid. There is a real story about him that's pretty funny: he was late coming in for exchange because the Department of Homeland Security had him confused with a terrorist by the same full name. Idiots, can't they tell he's a vampire?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Cool Wall (Part 2)

This week's wall stereotype is the classic 'infowall'. You know what I'm talking about, the one where there's an interesting historical fact that goes with the current date, just in case you wanted to know when President So-and-so went into office or President so-and-so got out of office for playing with someone other then his wife.

Anyway, apparently October 1st really wasn't that interesting since this is all Suzy could come up with:

Ok I promise next week's wall will be more interesting, although this one is usually pretty good. Maybe Obama's name will be up there soon.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Suit up - Neon Party & I-house Welcome Dance

Two Friday's ago Alpha Alpha Alpha threw the annual Neon Party. People came all the way from Stanford just for this.

They usually have some pretty interesting frat party concepts here that I don't think are common back home. I mean sure we have themes all the time, but here there are a few regular types that I think are pretty different. There's the 'wet' parties which usually involve bouncy castles with wet slides and ice baths/jacuzzis made from converted ute trays. Then there's the paint parties where everyone goes in white colours, and upon entry you get armed with paint and usually end up the night really high off the fumes and with a new custom painted shirt to take home.

You can guess what happens at neon parties, but this time there was a bit of a primary school twist where every person who entered gets a number written in uv ink on their wrists. Someone else of the opposite sex also has the same number. You can see where this is heading... Ok well you're not obliged to do anything if you find that person.

Though, it was pretty funny at the Alpha Alpha Alpha party because the guy at the door was smashed and about 30 people ended up having 69 on their wrists.

Last Friday the I-house itself threw a Welcome Dance - which was more like a high school social then anything. Just like the neon party it was 21+ only for drinks, but of course as you can see there's always a way (also notice the beer in cups - red cups too!). Anyway the highlight of the night was probably the pres upstairs in our living area as opposed to the dance itself (DJ was wack!).

Actually I have to say seeing the frat boys from DKE streaking was pretty high up there too:

I have no idea why I said I wish they would come back.