Let's go fishing

Now that the first wave of midterms is over, you and your friends might want to get away from college life for a day or two. Oakland and San Francisco are the likely destinations to the east, though there is a more humble escape to the west along the Marina — the scenic, sea-breezy pier. read more »

let's go fly a kite!

Remember that truly excellent scene from the ending of “Mary Poppins” where the entire Banks family dances around singing about kite flying? No? Well, you should watch it again, because as we said, it’s excellent.

Or, if you’d rather experience the joy of kite flying first-hand, just make your way to the Berkeley Kite Festival. You heard us right: This weekend, July 30-31, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Cesar E. Chavez Park (at the Berkeley Marina) will transform into a magical place full of winged things.

There’ll be plenty to do — perhaps you fancy a lesson in stunt kite flying? Maybe you want to watch the Rokkaku kite battles (we don’t know what to expect with this one, but it sounds pretty badass. If you’re a kid, take advantage of the free kite making opportunities from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. If you’re not a kid, you should go anyway, because this is the kind of thing that’ll bring back wonderful childhood memories of blue skies and sunny days … even for those who never flew a kite before in their lives.

Image Source: satragon under Creative Commons
Berkeley Kite Fest [Highline Kites]

Last year’s championships were held in San Francisco.

This week, the Berkeley Yacht Club plays host to the U.S. National Windsurfing Championships (the last time it was in town? 35 years ago). Spectating and general gawking at the world-class windsurfers in the Berkeley Marina is free.

The competition features three different events including slalom, formula and freestyle. The freestyle competitions, where windsurfers perform tricks (judging criteria: variety and difficulty) with names like Shaka, Chachoo, Burner and Clew First Puneta will blow you away (sorry, we couldn’t help ourselves).

Freestyle and racing events begin at 11am on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Check out the championships schedule here.

Image source: dogenfrost under Creative Commons

July 4 Fireworks

When it comes to the 4th of July, there are the basics: grilling burgers, wearing shorts, drinking … lemonade. As you don your red, white and blue feel free to stick to these classic festivities and enjoy the simple pleasures of being an American.

We at the Clog have been eagerly awaiting this fabulous day off, and have assembled a list of ways to spend the 4th. read more »

4th-posterYou might have thought Berkeley routinely boycotts July 4, since it’s like, a patriotic holiday that could probably somehow be construed as mildly politically incorrect or less than totally inclusive or whatever, but–much to our delighted SoCal summer transplant’s surprise–it does not. Apparently, the city puts on a series of  pretty Berkeley-ish events (Zydeco and belly dancing, anyone?) every year at the Berkeley Marina, which culminates in a fireworks display over the bay at night.

So whether you actually make the trip over there to get the full earsplitting experience, or you enjoy the rockets’ red glare from somewhere with a bay view and a couple of Natty Lights (or some other equally patriotic beverage), you can count on Berkeley to make July 4 at least a little bit special.

And just in case thinking about the potential detrimental effects  fireworks might have on “lost and frightened animals” was keeping you up at night, toss and turn no more. The city of Berkeley was all over it. In 2007.  Yes, you read that right. They were, indeed, considering a “Lazer light show” instead of fireworks.

4th of July Berkeley Marina [Website]

Some of you may have attended the annual Berkeley Kite Festival & West Coast Kite Championships in the past, but when we first heard of it, we didn’t know what to expect. Fighter kites? Kite races? Aerial beauty contests?

We did a bit of digging, and it turns out that we weren’t too far off-base. But the kite festival also has so much more to offer. We’re looking forward to the attempts at new world records, the giant creature kite show and the candy drop (i.e. air-bombing a sea of kids with sweet treats). They also promise free admission, free activities and not-so-free food. Oh well, can’t win ‘em all. read more »

For those of you who don’t already know–58,000 gallons of oil spilled into the bay on Wednesday when a cargo ship collided with a tower of the Bay Bridge. The extent of the spill was previously thought to have been minor. Now, people are slowly starting to freak out. City of Berkeley spokeswoman Mary Kay Clunies-Ross declared the weekend closure of the Berkeley Marina yesterday.

Clunies-Ross said boats are not being allowed in or out of the marina and residents and visitors are being warned by the city’s Environmental Health Division that the shoreline is contaminated and they should keep people and pets away from the beaches and the water.

Though Shakira thinks rolling around in black goo is hot, Clunies-Ross says it’s not. It’s not like anyone was going to be frolicking on the marina during this dismally rainy weekend anyway.

Even the Governator is freaking out. On Friday, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger declared yet another a state of emergency. We can’t even count how many of these he’s had to declare in the past year–from the MacArthur Maze meltdown to the Southern California wildfires to Wednesday’s oil spill. OK, so maybe he’s only declared it three times. What’s the fourth going to be, the Big One? Knock on wood.

At times, living in California feels like one big game of Sim City. Someone disable the “disaster” option, please. And while you’re at it, maybe you could turn off the “protests” and “football loss” features, too. Thanks!

Spill forces Berkeley Marina closure [The Examiner]

If this is your first time experiencing a Bay Area summer, you’ll need a little guide to the best fireworks around. The Fourth of July is coming up, and we’re ready to see stuff exploding in the air (and hopefully not in our hands).

The SF Chron asked the people where they find the best watching site in their daily bit Two Cents. Most popular answer? It’s quite lame, we’ll tell you that.

In regards to the top choice, Gerard Cecchettini from San Francisco put it best:

bq. In front of your TV! No traffic problems, no parking problems, safe, relaxing, with goodies to eat at your fingertips, you can drink and not have to be dry because you’re not driving, and you can watch the celebration across the United States with your honey. Can’t beat that!

But the Clog poo-poos that idea. We liked the suggestions of some others, like that of Anh Chu from Oakland. She recommended watching fireworks “on the grass at the Oakland A’s coliseum … after celebrating the A’s with great fans.”

Or how about a typical Berkeley native’s response? Elaine Lee suggested:

bq. Indian Rock in Berkeley. When you climb to the top of it, you get a magnificent, unobstructed view of the Bay Area. Simultaneously you get this remarkable surrealistic sensation of viewing fireworks while sitting on a beautiful huge rhyolite volcanic rock that is over 11 millions years old.

What about our two cents? We say head over to the Berkeley Marina, which, according to the city of Berkeley’s website, will house a giant slide. No mention of any age restriction…

The fireworks start at 9:30 p.m., but show up before 7 p.m. if you’re driving and want a decent parking space. Festivities start at noon.

Or, of course, you could make your own fireworks … in bed.

Two Cents [SF Chron]
4TH OF JULY @ THE BERKELEY MARINA [City of Berkeley Community Calendar]

Yesterday, a body was found in the San Francisco Bay off the Berkeley pier.

A boater first spotted the body at about 9:30 a.m. and notified the U.S. Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard retrieved the body, but the coroner has yet to identify the man or pinpoint the cause of his death.

We except more details to come, but that’s all (and we mean ALL) that the Chron’s reporting right now.

Man’s body recovered from bay near Berkeley pier [SF Chronicle]

Update, 9:00 p.m.: The Daily Cal updated early this afternoon saying that the Homicide Unit is now handling the case, according to Berkeley police Lt. Wesley Hester.bq. “A week prior we had a report of a person seen jumping into the water off the Berkeley Pier,” Hester said. “We went down and investigated and never found the person, we’re not sure if that incident coincides with the body washing up, but it is a possibility.”

The Chron doesn’t have anything else up.

First we had a bad week for bloggers. Now Berkeley’s residents are having an even worse week.

Body Found in Bay Near Berkeley Marina [Daily Cal]