Picks of the Week: Birds do it, bees do it and the Bay will do it

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Happy Monday, Berkeley.

Olivia’s still off jaunting through Paris, so this is Ketki filling in. A little bit about me: I’m the managing editor at The Daily Californian, I like animals, and I know hardly anything about the arts — kind of like Olivia herself, when she first started at the Daily Cal.

Call me a journalism nerd, but a fun way to kick off the week would be the Commonwealth Club’s “Week to Week” political roundtable at its San Francisco headquarters, including local journalists Dan Borenstein, Melissa Caen and C.W. Nevius. If that’s not enough of a draw for you, the club has also promised wine, snacks and lively conversation at the pre-event social. Tickets cost $8 for students, and the fun starts at 5:30 p.m. Monday.

Maybe you want something a little more artsy. If you see the point in needlepoint, you’re in luck: Monday happens to be World Embroidery Day. Head over to the San Francisco School of Needlework & Design, which will be launching its attempt to stitch the world’s longest band sampler. Admission is free, and don’t worry if you’re running late — the school will be continuing the project for the foreseeable future.

On Tuesday, wake up early and head across the bay to Novato, where nature guides will be hosting a bird-watching tour at Olompali State Historic Park. The tour starts promptly at 9 a.m. and lasts 2 1/2 hours, so be sure to pack a snack (and binoculars, of course).

If that nature walk leaves you wanting to explore even more, drive down to Point Reyes National Seashore, stock up on sandwiches in Inverness, and hike the Tomales Point Trail. This 9.4-mile round trip will take you to the tip of the peninsula, providing spectacular views of the California coast. If you’re lucky, you might even see some tule elk — August marks the beginning of their mating season, so they’ll surely be active.

If that sounds like too much activity for one day, check out Chimney Rock instead. It’s a short walk from the parking lot there to the Elephant Seal Overlook, where you can often watch these marine mammals swimming, fighting and raising their young.

Driving past all the cattle ranches on the way there always puts me in the mood for cheese — finish off your tour of the North Bay in the town of Point Reyes Station, where you can visit Cowgirl Creamery’s original location and pick up some of the creamery’s products for yourself.

On Wednesday, sleep in — you’ve earned it. There’s only a couple weeks left until school is back in session, so spend the day exploring the side of Berkeley you don’t have time to see during the school year. Maybe that means a trip to Indian Rock Park — bring some lemonade and a Cheese Board Collective pizza up there, and watch the sunset with your best friends.

Then, on Thursday, take an excursion to the Berkeley Public Library, which recently stopped charging daily fines for overdue teen and adult books. (But try to still return them on time, if you can.) On my to-read list is Robin Sloan’s “Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore.” With its exploration of technology, literature and secrets, it seems like the perfect book with which to detox from Netflix. If you’re more of a nonfiction fan, you can’t go wrong with anything by Mary Roach, the East Bay’s own acclaimed popular science writer.

Finally, if you’re 21 or older, end the week back in San Francisco at HellaFunny Fridays, brought to you by Bay Area Comedy Collective. The event brings together local stand-up comedians for a night of hilarity, along with a full bar and kitchen. Tickets are free with an RSVP. Otherwise, they’re $10 at the door.

Of course, I wouldn’t leave you without a recommendation for something to read while you’re waiting for the comedians’ sets to start. Take a peek at LGBTQ+ media beat reporter Alex Jiménez’s piece on Oakland’s “poptronic princess” Ah Mer Ah Su, a rapper who exudes social commentary and self-love in her music. While you’re reading, listen to “Perfect” off Ah Mer Ah Su’s new album Star.

Until next time.

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Ketki Samel is the managing editor. Contact her at [email protected].