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January 10, 2007

8:23 AM
In 1994 I moved to Berkeley. In fact, I lived illegally in a UC BERKELEY student co-op on Haste Street. Damn, I can't remember the name, but it ran perpendicular to Telegraph and was a 90 second walk to Amoeba Records. My rent was $100 a month, I had no job, and walked around campus looking at pretty girls, but of course too scared to talk to them. At the time I was playing full time in Skankin' Pickle and our small pay was enough to get me by at the time. My days were spent wandering the streets of the east bay trying to soak in all that the area had to offer. I remember Lint(or Tim Armstrong as he likes to be called now) was a guaranteed run in as he seemed to live on Telegraph. He looked like such a drifter, walking aimlessly with the same Operation Ivy leather jacket that I still think he sports nowadays.

My days consisted of trying to meet people at all the different restaurants in order to get free food and wishing I could somehow use the student facilities and in particular the basketball courts. But I did meet some good people and scored the following connections:
Sue(She was so nice and I wanted to ask her out, but was scared. Saw her at Fugazi in 1998, but that's the last time I saw her)-Noahs Bagels(Free sandwiches and more)
Andrew(He sang for a promising band called Screw 32 and I'm not sure what happened or why they broke up, but they did)-Cafe Intermezzo(Free Salads)
Jamie(He once played guitar for the Dance Hall Crashers and I have no idea where he is now. I randomly ran into him at a show about 4 years ago, but he smelt bad...ridden with alcohol and something else that didn't mix well)-SOME cafe(He hooked up the juice)
-Those were the constants. Whenever they were working I hit them up and they were happy to oblige. I have always mastered the art of getting free stuff, but it seems to have lost it allure or I'm just losing my touch.

I eventually got the idea of finding a random Asian male who would sell me his student body card. What loss would it be for them? I would give him an extra $10 of what it would cost to buy a new card and all would be happy. So then I started sizing up all the Asian students. Hundreds and hundreds would pass me daily as I ventured on to the UC BERKELEY campus. But I was too scared to hatch my idea. I finally broke down and got this guy named GENE ARAI to agree. He even had a mole above his lip though it was on the opposite side of mine. And suddenly I had all the amenities college life had to offer. Amazing!! Playing basketball with other students, talking about the Jason Kidd led NCAA tourney bound Cal Bears... Blah blah blah. And that was the strange life I led. It was very enjoyable.

And now 13 years later, I am running with the same idea. An intern at Asian Man Records goes to San Jose State, is Asian, and gave me his student body card.

I will use it solely to go to SJSU MENS BASKETBALL games for free. Saving me $7 a game. I aim to use it at least 5 times. $35 savings. What's the big deal? I have no idea to be honest, but I'm a strange one. I will try it out tomorrow for the first time. I will flash it to the ticket taker like so.... and hopefully it works.

Be well.
Mike Park