A Reseach Excursion to Berkeley

While I was in San Francisco, Pica contacted me to let me know she and Numenius would be in Berkeley on Saturday and wondered if I would have time to get together. I was glad they took the initiative because it turned out the conference was winding down and I was looking for an excuse to visit Berkeley for the first time. I had a paper to give in the morning, but after that I jumped on the BART with a few others from the conference and met up with Pica and Numenius in front of Games of Berkeley.

From there we strolled to a café/music store called The Musical Offering just south of the Berkeley campus to find a quiet place to chat. And of course there was much to chat about. It wasn’t long before we were sketching design ideas for a new Ecotone logo on napkins and brainstorming about where the site might go in the future. Once again, it was great to meet the people behind the blog, in person and in place, and our conversation helped infuse energy into the dissertation project in ways that I hadn’t expected.

Indeed, I didn’t plan to work on my dissertation that day, but I was happy to credit it all as research. After Pica and Numenius headed back to Davis, I walked over to Cody’s bookstore where I found a great little book called Place: A Short Introduction, exactly the overview of critical geography that I was looking for. It gave me hope that might still find ways to nourish my inner geographer without having to start another degree program.

As the afternoon waned, I met up with Derek and Co. at Becket’s pub for drinks—which I didn’t count as dissertation research.

Berkeley might not be the countercultural hotbed it once was (there’s a Starbucks cross from the university’s main gate), but I still found myself stimulated by the place and the company and was glad that blogging (and bloggers) once again gave me an excuse to explore.