Archive for August, 2008

Roller Derby Action in Silicon Valley

Last night I attended the first bout for the Silicon Valley Roller Girls (SVRG), our very own roller derby team here in the south bay! It was an action-packed game and close score the last half — but our girls demolished Port City Roller Girls! SVRG won their first game! Go girls!

Roller Derby in action!

Established in 2007, SVRG is an all-female flat track roller derby league. Their dedication, while not only to kick major you-know-what during the games, is to empower their skaters to improve their skating ability through training and teamwork and help Silicon Valley by participating in various community services.

It was my first game, any kind of roller derby exposure I had before last night only came from television programs or movies. Before the game started they had a few players from each team do a pretend round while the announcer explained the game.

In brief, you have 5 members of each team on the floor. You have 1 Pivot, 3 Blockers, 1 Jammer. Pivots are at the front and they set the pace. Blockers are behind and they cannot go infront of the Pivots and their job is to keep the opposing team’s jammer from passing. One whistle is blown, the Pivots and Blockers start off — a second whistle for the jammers to start. When the first jammer breaks through the pack, they’re the Point Jammer and get points for every time they pass an opposing team member. Jams last 2 minutes or when the jammer declares they’re over (by placing their hands on their hips.) This is all a very quick way to describe it – learn more about it here.

Jammer about to be shoved

Roller derby is an awesome sport and a great way to spend your time and money! Go out and support these girls.

Upcoming Games:
Saturday, Sept. 20th – SVRG vs. Bakersfield Rollergirls @ Bakersfield, CA
Saturday, Oct 25th – SVRG HOME BOUT @ SAN JOSE SKATE
Saturday, Nov 15th – SVRG vs. Sonoma County Roller Derby @ Rohnert Park, CA

Find out more about the team at:
www.svrollergirls.com
www.myspace.com/svrollergirls

Exhibits at the library

Traces of Time Past by Kay Duffy -- Collage & Watermedia
“Traces of Time Past” by Kay Duffy — Collage & Watermedia

I hate being the one to discover something really cool just as it is ending, but in the Martin Luther King Library, they have an excellent exhibit called “Black and White and Read All Over.” The Allied Artists West organization of professional local artists has put on a tremendous and impactful show on the second floor of the library, but it’s only on display until Aug. 31 (that’s right, tomorrow. I am so up to date).

The idea: Each artist takes a news clipping and responds visually.

The moving piece at the left is called “Traces of Time Past” by Kay Duffy, in response to the news that excavators were digging in San Jose to discover a hidden Chinatown. (Read the article here.)
According to Kay:

The Mercury/News of March 16th, 2008 reported on “Digging for traces of a lost China town” – “Traces of time past” inspired me to create a layered painting starting with the natural and native Indian culture up through the layers of time to the present.

To see more of what is available, in case you don’t have enough time to manically drive to 4th and San Fernando tonight or tomorrow, you can check it out here.
There’s actually yet another interesting exhibit, one that involves teens and digital photography called My World, My Community Digital Photography Exhibit, and the reception is going on right now as I speak. And since I’m typing this from the library, let me see if I can crash the visual party.

Left Turn Accident in Willow Glen


Just after nine this morning on my way to the bank, I could see fire Engine 6 up ahead at the intersection of Pine and Hicks. Paramedics were working on someone down on the ground.

A gentleman walking with his wife (in pink) was hit in the crosswalk, when a woman driving a white Toyota made a left turn from Hicks on to Pine. The gentleman, bleeding profusely from a head wound, was taken to the hospital via ambulance.

Tapestry Arts Festival 2008

A quick reminder: The annual Tapestry Arts Festival returns to downtown for Labor Day weekend, as it has since practically the dawn of time. The festival is open from 10 am to 6 pm on Saturday and Sunday, and from 10 to 5 on Monday. Events include arts and crafts booths, music and performing arts on four stages, and hands-on art activities for kids. You’ll find it downtown on Almaden Boulevard, Park Avenue, and San Fernando Street. Proceeds benefit Tapestry Arts’ elementary school art education programs. Admission is free.

Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Sforza Horse’ in San Jose

The glorious 24-foot bronze horse that was never completed stands at The Tech.*

Leon Battista Alberti (1404–72), said that “a man can do all things if he will.” Leonardo da Vinci, the quintessential Renaissance man, gave it his all.

Leonardo the scientist experimented with anatomy, zoology, botany, geology, optics, aerodynamics, and hydrodynamics. Leonardo the inventor used levers and gears in many of his inventions, and recognized water as a source of power. His study of light and shadow, plus his knowledge of anatomy gave reality and depth to his art. Leonardo found time to compose music too.

* Ludovico Sforza commissioned Leonardo to make a four times larger than life bronze statue of the late Duke of Milan on horseback. Unfortunately It took Leonardo so many years to study horses (and then to perfect a casting technique) that all was lost when France invaded Italy. The bronze that had been set aside for the project was instead turned into weapons of mass destruction – in those days cannons!

Note: The statue at The Tech is constructed of steel and Fiberglass. It will be on display through January 4, 2009.

The works of Leonardo da Vinci and his contemporaries: Leonardo – ‘500 Years into the Future’ the exhibit – will give visitors a rare opportunity to see what is possible.

The Tech Museum of Innovation – ‘500 Years into the Future’

September 27, 2008 – January 4, 2009 (This will be the only U.S. showing)

Near-downtown Whole Foods Market delayed and downsized

Tip of the hat to Rick at NNASJ who pointed out that Silicon Valley Business Journal is reporting changes to Whole Foods Markets’ plans for San Jose. The chain has been planning a new store on the Alameda at Stockton Street, and already demolished the warehouse previously on the site. Now, the planned size of the store has been reduced from 44,000 to 34,000 square feet, and it’s not expected to open until 2010.

Many downtown residents have been eagerly awaiting the opening of a new gourmet grocery, but it looks like Whole Foods hasn’t been able keep up its expansion pace as the national economic climate has turned against the chain also known as “Whole Paycheck” Markets. Whole Foods is in a whole lotta trouble financially, so I’m guessing there’s still room for this story to get worse for downtowners who can’t live without organic free-trade coffe and locally made non-BGH brie.

The Simpsons in San Jose

D’oh! Actually, Matt Groening, creator of The Simpsons will be in town at the Le Petit Trianon this September.

He will be in conversation with Lakshmi Pratury discussing the inspiration behind the series and the impact that the Simpsons has made on pop culture. A Q&A session and book signing is scheduled to follow the discussion.

More information here.

Le Petit Trianon
72 N. Fifth Street, San Jose

Friday, September 12
6:30 pm Check-In; 7:00 pm Program

Admission:
$25 General (purchased by September 4th)
$45 General (purchased after September 4th)
Check website for other pricing

New SJSU president starts blogging experiment

Image courtesy sjsu.edu

SJSU President Whitmore -- Image courtesy sjsu.edu

In a bid to find out more about his new job, newly-crowned SJSU President Jon Whitmore says he will be job-shadowing different workers in various departments across the San Jose State campus during his first 100 days — and will be blogging about his experiences here.

Says he:

I’ve decided to work shoulder-to-shoulder for an hour with different staff in various departments and around campus, to experience first-hand how this university functions, and to absorb the collective wisdom I know I’ll find there. I’m thinking of this as a “Day in the Life of SJSU,” and I’ll tell you about my experiences in my blog.

The “blog” (or rather, frequently-updated web page) will run from now until Homecoming on October 12. I put blog in quotes because it doesn’t have an embedded method of feedback, which is part of the point of blogging. Seeing other people’s comments gives readers more scope and provides more context in any campaign of openness.  But you can stil give feedback via email and cross your fingers to see if your comment appears in a future blog.

I for one appreciate the attempts at transparency, and if done well could be a huge benefit for the public to find out exactly how the university works (or doesn’t work). But how much can a president learn within an hour of job shadowing, how much detail can he (or his assistant) have time to type up, and how much criticism would he be allowed in a public forum such as this?

Well, in any case, it’s a step in the right direction, and I will wait until the blog gets going before I get going on the blog.

Music in the Meadow

Symphony Silicon Valley, led by Bruce Hangen, former Principal Guest Conductor of the Boston Pops, will perform a live concert for the family to enjoy featuring music by Bernstein, Mendelssohn, Bizet, Beethoven and more. Bring a picnic and come early as the first 700 children receive a free recorder and instruction how to play it beginning at 2:15 pm.

Discovery Meadow Park
Woz Way and San Carlos Street, San Jose

Sunday, August 24
Beginning 3:00 pm

Admission: Free

Northside development

The owner of this house wants to demolish it and four other units on the property to build new houses.

The owner of this house wants to demolish it and four other units on the property to build new houses.

A proposed property development at the corner of N 15th St and Berryessa Rd has caught the attention of nnasj, and was also a discussion topic at tonight’s 13th Street Neighborhood Advisory Committee (NAC) meeting. The property owner wants to demolish five homes, currently rental units, and build in their place four new detached homes.

The property currently contains two Spanish-style bungalows, one of which has three attached apartments. The courtyard between the two buildings is paved and used for parking. The three apartments look to be incredibly small, maybe only one or two rooms each, and built with minimal architectural detail at minimum cost. The two bungalows, though, presumably are considerably older, and have the kind of style that would make them terrifically desirable if they were only freshly painted and located in Willow Glen.

The owner wants to knock all of that down and replace it with four contemporary two-story houses. In a neighborhood dominated by bungalows, the planning department have somehow concluded that the impact of this change on the “existing visual character or quality of the site and its surroundings” would be “less than significant”, which is at least a highly debatable conclusion.
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