Archive for March, 2008

See The Birdies 2008

peregrn4.jpgIn 2007 a pair of peregrine falcons José and Clara settled into a nest box atop City Hall to start a family. We were able to observe via Falcon Cam as they cared for their three young falcons. Eventually the young birds were ready to venture out on their own.

Unfortunately José has not been seen since last July. Clara, along with her new partner named Carlos, has returned to the nest box. At last count two eggs have been spotted.

Falcon Cam

When you see me fly away without you
Shadow on the things you know
Feathers fall around you
And show you the way to go

–Neil Young

Candlelight Vigil for Animals

Charlie, one of Carol's beloved cats.I lost my dog several years ago, and it was the first time I had to go through such a devastating loss. Since then, in honor of his memory, I’ve fostered kittens and rescued cats from the streets. I’ve volunteered with large shelters and with small rescue groups, and have seen way too many things I wish I hadn’t seen: kittens being abandoned at a dumpster, animals being shoved in a box and left at the parking lot of a shelter, the aftermath of abuse.

But I have also met a lot of wonderful people who will never stop fighting on behalf of these animals, and a lot of these folks will be in front of San Jose City Hall (200 East Santa Clara Street) on Tuesday March 18th for a rally and candlelight vigil. The rally is to honor animal rescuers, animal control officers, shelter staff and volunteers for their dedication and service to animals. It is also to bring attention to low cost spay/neuter programs and to honor animals that have died and will die in shelters because there is not enough space, or homes to place them in. (Please keep in mind this is not a pro-AB1634 mandatory spay/neuter, or pro-TNR rally.)

The rally will begin at 6:30pm and the candlelight vigil will begin at 7:15pm. Folks are asked to bring a candle, a photo of a deceased pet, a poem, a song, or a story they’d like to share.

Please come on out to meet some of these wonderful people and to share your stories and memories of that special animal that changed your life.


By the way, do any of you recognize the black and white kitty in the photo above? That’s Charlie, one of Carol Chapman’s beloved kitties.

Put On Your High-Heel Sneakers

The 6th Annual “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” will be held Wednesday, April 9th @ 4:00 p.m. Real men will dig out their high-heels to walk the walk and call awareness to the problem of sexual assault.

This year join:
Rob Davis, Police Chief, San Jose Police Department
Darryl Von Raesfeld, Fire Chief, San Jose Fire Department
Wayne Davis, Santa Clara County Director of Operations for AMR
Russ Hancock, President/CEO, Joint Venture Silicon Valley
Chris Johnson, Photographer
Dan Fenton, Chairman of the Board, Team San Jose – President and CEO, San Jose Convention & Visitors Bureau
And the man next door.

Everyone has a good time at this event .  Women are welcome to walk with their men to lend support,  or Band-Aids®

2008 Walk a Mile in Her Shoes:
Registration and shoe selection open, Plaza de Cesar Chavez, 4:00 p.m.

Walk a Mile in Her Shoes® walk to bring awareness, 5:00 p.m.
Post walk reception at the California Theatre in downtown San Jose,
5:45 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Benefiting the YWCA’s Rape Crisis Center.

Sign Up Here  (Let them know if you need some new heels)

Little Saigon debacle over… for now…

San Jose City Hall

According to this morning’s edition of the San Jose Mercury News, San Jose’s City Hall is now at peace after the “Little Saigon” fiasco. With that resolved, it also brings Ly Tong’s fasting to an end.

What happened? Apparently Vice Mayor Cortese’s earlier recommendation of private funding for signs along the area was heeded by councilman Sam Liccardo, along with Mayor Chuck Reed (Yay Dave! — I live in his district). What doesn’t appear to be clear from the article was whether Councilwoman Madison Nguyen was involved in drafting the proposal.

For now, it appears the city will be distancing itself from the issue.

The approach makes sense — why this was not done before things got out of control is a bit curious. Gauging various stories on the issue, most link the issue’s escalation to a lack of leadership by Mayor Chuck Reed. Whether that’s true or not is not for me to say… but something went wrong.

The path that the supporters of “Little Saigon” took is still a bit puzzling to me. The only thing I can think of is the emotions representative of a people who were displaced from their homes due to Communism led them to this path. There were those who strongly opposed any formal discussion of renaming this section of Silicon Valley real estate, while there were also those who were willing to pursue some recognition and preservation of their culture in a country they now call their home. I think this might be key to the whole thing. Yes… despite what naysayers may think, this is their home, just as the Italians, Irish, Chinese, Japanese and a countless number of immigrants made the good old U S of A their home. I think it’s probably fair to say that the same criticisms of the Vietnamese community can be equally extended to every immigrant group in American history.

Was this necessarily the right path? While it all seems a bit extreme, only time and history will tell. Also, despite the seeming polarization of the community, not to mention anyone who had something to say about the issue, I think we should consider what this means for everyone, not just the Vietnamese community.

What does this all mean? Well, thanks to some great professors I had in college many moons ago, and my involvement in my own community, I learned that mono-cultures breed fear and intolerance towards anyone that doesn’t blend in. In food speak, the reality is that our country is not a melting pot (I like to say fondue), it’s really a nice stew, where almost every ingredient is still recognizable. While not as refined as a fondue, each ingredient in it’s lumpy goodness is bathed in a thick gravy that suspends each ingredient uniquely, but in a single recipe to create a stew. That’s pretty much America – each culture is still uniquely identified but each is American.

What have we learned from this? In the end, probably nothing as politics goes.

However, as citizens, I think it’s easy to forget that we create the communities we live in… not some bureaucrat that said the right things to get voted into office. Maybe we should all create a little passion of our own to build the communities and the homes we want…

As my wife told me a long time ago, home is where we live, love and play… and that could be anywhere.

Who Knew Beard Papa’s – San Jose

Do you know about Beard Papa’s? And if you do, why didn’t you tell me? What is it all about? Fresh’n natural cream puffs to die for, that’s what it is all about.

I first heard about Beard Papa’s on flickr where they have their own group. They looked so good in the pictures I just had to try some. I found a Beard Papa’s store across the street from the new Cupertino Square (formerly Vallco) near an Elephant Bar restaurant.

I purchased a 6-piece box of 3 vanillas and 3 strawberries. They don’t make the Mango Ice Shower drink at this store, and I knew that all six cream puffs wouldn’t make it home, so I settled for a coffee. My bill was just over $14.

Yes, they were worth every penny.

Beard Papa’s

19748 Stevens Creek Boulevard
Cupertino, CA 95014
(408) 996-2300

Oakridge Mall
925 Blossom Hill Road
San Jose, CA 95123

Soon in town: 116 Paseo de San Antonio, SJ

Flickr  Beard Papa’s

Tech Museum Free This Saturday

KDFCThis Saturday, March 15 is free admission to The Tech Museum of Innovation courtesy of Classical music station KDFC.See a live radio broadcast, and meet the KDFC on-air hosts from10:00 am to1:00 pm. Then at 1:00 pm enjoy the10-piece KDFC Classical Invasion Orchestra concert in New Venture Hall.

Of course, there are the many interactive exhibits to check out while you are there.

For your free admission just say, “I listen to KDFC,” when you arrive at the ticket counter.

Tech Museum of Innovation
201 South Market Street
Saturday, March 15
10:00 am – 5:00 pm

More info here.

What Are They Building?

Have you wondered what they are building on the southeast corner of Sand Hill Road and Interstate 280?  Well I have and since they didn’t put up a big sign announcing their plans, I had to go look for myself.

“Who’da thunk it?”  Stanford University is in the hotel business. Rosewood Hotels will operate the 120-room hotel, restaurant, ballroom, spa, and office space. It should be completed by 2009.

Circus for the 21st Century

That’s the feeling I came out with when I ultimately managed to catch Kooza by Cirque du Soleil. I watched a full-fledged circus show about 20 years ago and comparatively, this seemed dressed up and spruced up for the new century.



Sugar, Spice & Everything Nice

SamoasComing from Canada, I’m use to seeing Girl Guide cookies every year. Heck, I use to be one (a Girl Guide, not a cookie) and always made my mom purchase them from me. We had two, count ’em, two kinds to sell: Classic cookies (vanilla and chocolate, they come mixed in a box) in the summer and Chocolately Mint Cookies in the winter. Good times.

Well all this week, the Girl Scouts of Northern California are selling their cookies so look for them at your friendly neighbourhood hang out spots. They seem to go for about $3.50 a box.

I am completely overwhelmed by the choices, and need help deciding which one to buy. Thin Mints? Shortbread? Samo-wha???  I have no idea why we need so many different kinds here south of the border.

Which is your favorite Girl Scout cookie, and how do you like to eat them?

All Good Things…Cinequest

It has been said; all good things must come to an end. Today the Hotels will empty out, and taxicabs will be on demand for runs to the airport. The curtain has come down on Cinequest 18, and all that’s left to say is thanks for the memories…
* I learned that one of Bobby Moresco’s (Crash, Million Dollar Baby) newest works would profile the trials and tribulations of Susan McDougal. She spent over 20 months in prison when she refused to implicate Bill Clinton on scandal charges. – The Woman Who wouldn’t Talk, biography – drama.

* Paco Chierici, screenwriter and fighter pilot, convinced the fairly liberal woman director Peyton Wilson to do a film about U. S. Navy fighter pilots. She followed two young pilots through their demanding training program. Though the film is not about the war, it culminates with deployment to Iraq. I asked Capt. John “Buckethead” Cole if the pilots were still flying. The filmmakers all agreed that we needed to see the film for the rest of the story. – ‘Speed and Angels’

* Danny Glover (pictured) took over the small Hotel Montgomery press room with not only his powerful 6′ 3½” frame, but with his mind. It was as if he wanted us to share his every thought. I may not agree with his political view or its delivery, but I found that I admire his compassion, and his ability to make positive change in the world. While attending San Francisco State he was involved with one of the longest student strikes in history, the result of which was the first school of Ethnic Studies. Danny mentioned a project using the music of those times. Had me humming the 1964 “Dancing in the Street”.

After the press conference as Mr. Glover was making his way to the California Theatre to accept the Maverick Spirit Award, I doggedly pursued him up First Street like a paparazzo after Britney. The light at San Carlos turned red and I had him. I motioned to my camera and he replied with a nod. I only had time for one picture and a thank you. Instead of stepping off the curb when the light turned green, Mr. Glover held out his hand. Yes, it was one warm handshake.

* I managed to get into the Repertory Theatre lobby ahead of the crowd that was gathering to see Glory Boy Days. There I chatted with Alejandro Adams Director – Around the Bay and Katherine Celio. As Daisy, Katherine held my attention. Her ability made me care about the young woman who was yearning for connection in this uncomfortably issued take on life.

* Glory Boy Days lets mom and dad in just enough to see what their kids are up to. Not all is bad, but it left me wishing that more was good. The matter-of-fact way in which drug use was portrayed concerns me. I know, I know it’s just a movie. But, it is a movie that will be seen.

I’ll miss the energy of the Cinequest audience, their laughter and their tears. I’ll miss the passion in the hearts of the filmmakers, and their desire to please us.

A big thanks to Jens Hussey and the Cinequest staff for meeting our needs.

Bring on Cinequest 19!

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