"Your Mom is So Berkeley" started out as a joke at work. We thought it was funny so I wrote a note for some friends on facebook. They thought it was funny so I made a facebook group. The "Your Mom is so Berkeley" facebook group now has over 2,500 members so I've decided to bring it out to a wider audience. I hope you like it.

Contact us: yourmomissoberkeley@gmail.com
Follow us on Twitter: @yourmomissoberk

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Your Street is So Berkeley

YMISB she drew spider legs on all the old gum on the sidewalk

Today we're going to depart a little from our usual format. We've been having some fun over on the Facebook page with a quiz that was recently posted by the Daily Cal. The quiz purports to tell you what Berkeley street best fits your character.

There were some claims that the results are random. Louise said, "YMISB she took the 'quiz' several times keeping her answers the same each time but alternating which Daily Cal button she pushed. "See kids, these internet things are just a ruse . . ." The implication is that the only driver of difference was which Daily Cal button you choose. Anne claimed the issues ran even deeper, "I've taken it 3 times. Each time I picked the same answers (even the same "Daily Cal"), and each time it gave me a different street (Telegraph, College, and Cedar)."Of course, since most Cal students are not Berkeley natives the response from YMISBers was mixed at best. Some people were happy with what the quiz spat out. Others claimed that a "real" Berkeley quiz wouldn't include a reference to Starbucks rather than Peet's. Could it be that the Starbucks question was intended to ID transplants? Who knows. Whatever the case the comments section was soon flooded with street/personality descriptions that were important to native or long time Berkeley folks.

I've listed some of the comments below. It gets pretty deep into esoteric Berkeley cartography so even you natives may need to fire up Google Maps to get every one of them.

     "You are Frontage Road. You're smelly at low tide and a bit sketchy/possibly dangerous. Same goes for the people who associate with you."

     "You are Panoramic. You are high and have expensive tastes. You somehow manage to intersect yourself. You confuse everyone except those close to you."

      "You are Marin Ave. People find you to be either a struggle or a thrill. You intimidate posers with your depth and contours. Every once in a while people roll pumpkins down you."

     "You are King St. People are a little afraid of you and no one is surprised that you are on the way to Alcatraz. Many think you are actually from Oakland."

     "You are Dohr St. You are short and oddly fragmented. Even though you've been around a long time most people in your community have never heard of you. You're like that person who shows up at reunion and everyone thinks you're a crasher from a different class."

     "You are Dwight Crescent. Your very existence is a bit puzzling as you seem to serve no purpose other than to confuse otherwise mundane situations. People take you for granted and would only notice you if you disappeared. But even then they would say, "Whatever happened to that one um...you know, the..the person who we...gosh, what was the name? Anyway, it was easier when they were here, but I guess it's not super important." Then they would realize a slight down tick in local accidents."

     "You are Cedar St. You're useful and nondescript. Like you're fine and everything but you're basically just a longer version of Rose and people often confuse you two."

     "You are Hopkins. You get all your hook ups from Sacramento. When you meet people they usually know you because, "Oh yeah! you live over by the pool right?" Yup, that's you alright, everybody loves the pool. Respect."

     "You are Josephine. You are my girlfriend from Jr year. WHY DID YOU DO THAT TO ME??!!!! I mean, um, you're a street. Just a regular street that I have never thought of since high school. (Good save Berto. Yeah. Good save)"

     "You are Bonar. You really like the color red. You have a really nice side, and a side that's kind of dangerous and brings down the value of those around you. Even with your well deserved reputation the people closest to you love you intensely and stick up for you when outsiders talk trash. Just, y'know, please keep them babies out the street."

     "You are Henry. People are always making lame candy bar jokes about your name. You always claim that you hate it, but deep down you know it's better than being ignored."

     "You are Grizzly Peak. You can be aloof in a way that some people find pretentious. Part of it is that you spend a lot of your day in a fog. You engender some resentment, but though you keep your inner circle small and hard to penetrate you do welcome visitors to come and play. Those who take that opportunity are happier for having done it."

     "Vine St: you are mostly unnoticed between your more popular siblings Rose and Cedar, but prone to fits of rage at 8am when you are shortcutting to work. All that gourmet food has gone to your head."

     "You are Oxford. Sure, there were some twists and turns early on, but then you straightened out. So we were all pretty surprised when you suddenly decided you were "Fulton." I mean, we accept it, but if I'm totally honest it was a little disorienting at first."

And finally: "YMISB she got Hopkins; the Himilayan Ghetto."       

So, what would you add? Let us know in the comments.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Your Move is So Berkeley

So every time we get an influx of new members we get a bunch of the standard jokes that reemerge because they're the first ones people think of. Any member who's been around more than a few weeks will recognize the all time #1 most posted YMISB joke: YMISB...she calls it Grove St. Other common jokes have to do with body hair and PCITD (Post Carob Induced Trauma Disorder)

One of the other common types of jokes is about where your mom moved to because that place is either now more Berkeley than Berkeley, or it's just more affordable. A while back I compiled some of the place your mom has gone. Because your mom gets around.

Examples from members include:


...she is debating selling the house and moving to Oregon or Maine cause Berkeley has become "so fucking precious".

...she moved to Covelo.

...she moved to Sonoma about 1982.

...she moved to Oakland 30 years before it was cool.

...she moved to the South during the civil rights movement to be a part of it. In 1966, back when her maiden name was Jamieson, she was the first white woman to attend Grambling as part of an NAACP integration strategy. Afterwards, her and my dad chose to move to tolerant Berkeley to start our interracial family, and I was born in 1970. (Ed. Note: This is way too much info for this format, but your mom seems pretty cool.)

...she moved to Albany cuz Berkeley was getting too yuppie!

 ...she moved to oakland, which is realer than berkeley.

...she moved to oakland! Couldn't afford the rent

... the cost of living in Berkeley is making her consider a move to *gasp* Albany

...she moved to Bolinas

...she moved to SEBASTOPOL

...she had to move to eugene

...she moved to Santa Cruz...and leads Goddess rituals

...she moved to west oakland

...she moved to some other place that's cooler or even more Berkeley. Like um, Takoma Park, MD. Or (Your city here). The dream of the 60's is alive in Portland (ME)!
(Ed. Note: No. It's not.)

...she refused a profitable opportunity to move to Kensington because in her memory "that's where all the Feds always lived." (Ed. Note: Thank you!)

Friday, March 20, 2015

More from Lyrics Born

Nice reaction to the Lyrics Born post, and honestly, I wanted to include more than 10 in the first go-round. So here's 10 more from the very funny Bay Area legend.

Happy 4,000 everyone!

Your mom is so Berkeley...

...she thought Portlandia was too right-wing.

...she named her cat "Anna Purr-na"

...she only checks "Other", then adds "-Worldly".

...she has an e-subscription to STREET SPIRIT.

...she had her first baby @ 58.

...she considers a chenille cape, a cotton kimono, hammer pants & a pair of Merrells awesome formal wear.

...she took her Prius in to get a Chi alignment & it's Chakras balanced.

...she's in total denial about her Conservative Radicalism.

...she brought "Rare!" as her date/co-chaperone to your prom.

...she looks like the Mr T of ethnic craft-fair jewelry.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Celebrating 4000 With One of the Best of All Time

Damn, has it really been 3 years since my last post? Yikes. I really let the Facebook group kind of stay the course as I navigated my grad program. Things have calmed down a bit over the last few years, in as much as you can call becoming a stay at home dad and having a third home birthed baby "calmed down." I keep meaning to gather the gems and post them here, but it keeps not happening. When we hit 3000 members in December of 2013 I celebrated by going all the way back through the Facebook page to find the best jokes and bring them to the front. This time I decided to just bring you the best of one of the all time great YMISBers.

For about two years hip hop legend Lyrics Born joined the group and displayed the wit that helped make his brand. Wikipedia describes his mom as "an Italian/Jewish-American union organizer," which is pretty damn Berkeley. We're hoping to some day get an interview with him. But until then, please enjoy the best of Lyrics Born, and happy 4000!


...she thinks Kensington is a Red State.

...she thinks Atheists are "too religious".

...she thinks the Occupy movement is too corporate.

...her whole wardrobe consists of crushed velvet & REI polar fleece.

...she uses Yiddish slang & she's Tibetan.

...she thinks the Ashby Flea Mkt is elitist.

...you played naked @ Totland park until you were 14.

...she grinds her own Maize.

...you were conceived in a drum circle.

...she was her own doula.

Monday, August 8, 2011

DJ Dave Wittman, Is He "Berkeley Enough?"

Image: Baltimore Sun

Last week we brought you our interview with YMISB member "Revenge of the Black Prius."  Of course within seconds of setting that up we thought, "Man, we should see if we can track down the first guy and see if he'll talk to us."  What we didn't know at first was that the creator of the original WFPL video is also a YMISB member.  David "DJ Dave" Wittman joined YMISB back in the early days and we were happy to have a chance to catch up with him.

Your Mom is so Berkeley: For starters, can you tell us a little bit about yourself, were you went to school, what you've been doing since you left Berkeley and a little about Fog and Smog?

David Wittman: Okay.  I went to UCLA and studied economics, but always played music.  I've played music with Sam Dorman who went to BHS, back about 10 years ago, and our families/moms are both from Berkeley and I'm marrying a girl from Berkeley, too.  Rebecca.

YMISB: When you were in Berkeley what music projects were you involved with (BHS jazz ensemble, Bay Are Wind Symphony, Souls of Mischief, etc)

DW: BHS Jazz was a big part of my life, Charles Hamilton etc.  I also made some friends in the Bay Area Wind Symphony on trips to both Japan and Australia in the early '90s.  I think I did a show with "mystic journeymen" back before they were really formed, but I'm not sure.  Love Heiro, but have never been affiliated directly.  My other music projects (commercial/film work) are mostly on davidwittman.com.

YMISB: What are your favorite spots in Berkeley?  Where do you have to go when you visit?

DW: I love Cancun Taqueria.  I used to go there back when it was on the OTHER side of the street!!!  (Like, '90ish).

YMISB: Can you tell us about your parents?  What's your mom like, does she fit the YMISB vibe?

DW: My mom and dad still live in North Berkeley, my mom is the greatest Berkeley mom!!!!  She's not really in that category I see on your group so much, although she has rocked Birkenstocks at various points.  But she's not like, big on Subaru Outbacks or other stylistically hippie stuff.  You can catch her stopping to smell flowers on her way up to the French Hotel to get an extra foamy latte from Angel and being an active member of many communities!!!  She's a pillar of the community I do believe and is the greatest Berkeley mom!!!  Just dunno if she hits all the "touch points" you guys have, but hey, I think she defines her own category.  Oh, and she hates attention...eek!  Anyway...

YMISB: Yeah.  I hope this doesn’t get you in trouble with mom.  I think your description of her highlights an important point, that there’s a lot of ways to be a Berkeley mom.  I don’t think any one mom out there really possess all the qualities or quirks we talk about on YMISB but even having just one or two helps people identify with that “Berkeley mom” thing.

OK, back to you.  You graduated from BHS in 1992.  Were you ever shot down by self proclaimed “drama geek” Rebecca Romijn?

Rebecca R., no.  Never shot down, didn't know her, but my sister I think was friends with her sister or something?  And I guess she (Rebecca) did date a guy I played in some band in the mid-90's with named Zack...but I don't remember any details.  I am going to marry
a girl named Rebecca from BHS however, in November...but she's shy so I'll leave her last name out!

YMISB:  Right on.  Congratulations on the marriage.  It looks like Fog & Smog was put together for the Whole Foods video, is that the case or was it already in the works and this just happened to be the first project?

DW: Fog & Smog as far as the name/website was created around the production and release of the WFPL vid but the group of friends existed before that so, it's sort of hard to say exactly.  More like it solidified around that?  Yeah.

YMISB: Do you plan on doing more work as Fog & Smog?  What can we look forward to?

DW: The follow up. Well, yeah...got a bunch of different material, just trying to feel out the best way to move through the next couple projects.

YMISB: Most musicians I know are doing three or four things at the same time.  Advertising and movies keep you in kambucha and Whole Foods made you a YouTube sensation, what else you got going on?

DW: Yes you're right, for me, different irons in the fire.  Steady commercial work, may do the score for a new documentary, have done a few movies of the past 2 years...working on more stuff for myself and Fog and Smog, fielding weird offers like casting agents calling from various networks, etc.  And of course planning the wedding in November.  Actually coming to the bay pretty soon for a visit!

YMISB: What’s up with the offers?  You know every knucklehead with a video camera wants to become a hit on YouTube in the hopes of being “discovered.”  On the other hand you actually have a pedigree and talent and now that you got the exposure what kinds of offers are you getting?

DW: Yeah, I have thought about that in terms of like, this isn't just some random YouTube vid with somebody tickling a cat.  There's part of me that just wants to do more creative fun stuff, another part that's interested in production opportunities for the crew, another part that's excited to be contacted by casting people! Random.  I just say, keep the feet moving, keep doing creative work.

YMISB: There was a response video to “Whole Foods Parking Lot” called “Revenge of the Black Prius,” have you seen it?  What did you think?  Is it flattering to have someone feel inspired to make a response or do you think it’s biting?  Do you know Delia Brown at all?

DW: Yes, did see Black Prius.  Thought it was okay, def. flattering.  Funny that she put old guys in our shot...but then, she's kinda old, so that was weird.  I'd give it a B-.  Sort of a diss, but also an homage, like, her own version.  I'd like to see either a totally different take on it, (own version) or a FULL DISS, like, getting AFTER us.  She was sweet. Wrote me on FB, all that.  Nice person.  We have a mutual friend from Berkeley actually. But I told her you gotta go harder with your disses, and sent her a history of great rap battles to study. :)

YMISB: What’s it like dealing with the kind of notoriety that comes with being internet famous?  Do you get recognized at Whole Foods now?

DW: Not as much recognition at WF as you'd think.  I think I'd need to wear the clippers hat!  But recently I had a really nice check out with some guys who recognized me and were super cool.  It's fun, cuz it's where I'm at all the time anyway.  So it's like, very honest and feels homegrown.  I wanna do a duet with that guy LaeCharles.

(YMISB: Oh hey kids, here it is.)

YMISB: Yeah, what’s up with the Clippers cap?  Wasn’t growing up with the Warriors bad enough?

DW: Haha...well, as for the Clippers, hey...you gotta go with a familiar feeling, right?

YMISB: For sure.  Right on, well it’s been great chatting with you, it’s always great to see Berkeley, and especially Berkeley High, people doing well.  Thanks for taking the time.

DW: Thanks so much for your interest! And thanks for your kind words about the video.

David posted a couple times way back a couple years ago.  Here’s what he had to say about you mom:

Your mom is so Berkeley…

…that she still calls "Fatapples" "Fat Alberts."

…she stops and smells flowers sometimes when we walk up Rose street on our way to get an extra foamy Latte from Angel at the French Hotel.

And just in case you haven’t seen it yet here’s the Whole Foods Parking Lot video that inspired a nation:

PS Dave: Your mom is so Berkeley…she stopped Delroy Lindo’s assault in the WFPL with simple shaming.