Archive for November, 2009

2009 Caltrain Holiday Train

Holiday Train 2009This weekend (December 5 & 6) the Caltrain Holiday Train, a special non-passenger train decorated with more than 40,000 lights, will be making stops at nine different Peninsula Caltrain stations; four on Saturday four other stations on Sunday, and begins at the San Francisco station on both days.

This free, family event gives you a chance to sing along with live holiday music (various chorus and bands) and the kids get a chance to meet Santa and Mrs. Claus along with other holiday favorites, including Rudolph and Frosty. Performances at each station begin about 30 minutes before the train’s arrival; see the schedule below.

Visitors are encouraged to bring a new, unwrapped toy or book to drop into toy barrels at the stations for the Marine Corps Reserve’s Toys for Tots program and the Salvation Army’s holiday toy drive.

The Holiday Train’s second stop on Saturday will be in Redwood City. The City has incorporated the Holiday Train into its annual Hometown Holiday’s event beginning 10:00 a.m. The outdoor party includes snow, a parade, fireworks and a late-night holiday movie.

Also, on Saturday at the Menlo Park station the West Bay Model Railroad will be open to visitors from 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. The display, which dates from the mid-century, features HO, S and O model rail cars zipping through tunnels and over bridges.

In addition, on Saturday the Holiday Train will make its final stop of the evening at the Santa Clara station, home of the South Bay Historical Railroad Society. The display in the historic depot, which will be open from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., includes HO- and N-scale model railroad displays depicting various railroad eras.

Entertainers will give a performance at 4:45 p.m. before the Holiday Train departs from the San Francisco station on both days.

Saturday, December 5 (Festivities begin at the times indicated):

Burlingame Caltrain Station – 5:20 p.m.

Redwood City Caltrain Station – 6:00 p.m.

Menlo Park Caltrain Station – 6:55 p.m.

Santa Clara Caltrain Station – 7:20 p.m.

Sunday, December 6 (Festivities begin at the times indicated):

San Bruno Caltrain Station – 5:10 p.m.

San Mateo Caltrain Station – 5:45 p.m.

California Ave. Caltrain Station (Palo Alto) – 7:00 p.m.

Sunnyvale Caltrain Station – 7:35 p.m.

Fall color in San Jose

Is it just me, or is the fall color around here much better this year than most other years?

Seen it on the X

Zanotto's Family Market

Willow Glen Extra (WGx) just reported (well, a couple of days ago—I was away from my computer this weekend) that Zanotto’s Family Markets is committed to opening a new store at the corner of Cherry and Foxworthy in Willow Glen. So despite challenges for the downtown Zanotto’s (which is under a slightly different ownership than Zanotto’s Family Markets), the small grocery chain is prepared to expand, and we’re finally seeing a development Metblogs’ own Joann Landers predicted, or at least hoped for more than two years ago.

Library space images unveiled

I couldn’t make it to the unveiling ceremony I mentioned in a previous post, but I did stop by after work this afternoon to check out the new NASA images on display at the library.

I have to admit I’m underwhelmed. It turns out “mural size” was a slight exaggeration; in fact, a gross exaggeration. The image is about twice the size of the Bob Marley poster I had in my college dorm room.

On the other hand, the image is pretty cool, with different colors representing the view of the universe seen by three different NASA observatories. And the science is pretty interesting too: each of the component images tells us something different about the structure and history of the universe. So stop by and check it out when you’re downtown.

A Christmas Story comes to San Jose Repertory Theatre

A Christmas Story

To the delight of South Bay audiences, the San Jose Repertory Theatre is bringing back the much loved A Christmas Story this winter. They are also offering more ways for families to enjoy the play. A Christmas Story runs from November 21 – December 20, 2009, at the San Jose Repertory Theatre, 101 Paseo de San Antonio in downtown San Jose.

The San Jose Rep is again trying to help everyone afford to see a show this season. Besides their Pay What You Will Tuesdays, their second annual Black Friday Ticket Sales Event will be Friday, November 27. You can save up to 41% on tickets for any of their remaining shows of the 09-10 Season. All Balcony tickets will be $29 each if purchased on Black Friday. They are even waiving the handling fee! Tickets are available for all their remaining shows: A Christmas Story, The Weir, Ain’t Misbehavin’ and Sonia Flew.

To take advantage of San Jose Rep’s Black Friday Event, patrons may purchase tickets by calling the box office at (408) 367-7255 or in person at the San Jose Rep Box Office at 101 Paseo de San Antonio, San Jose, CA 95113. The box office will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

And more! Pay What You Will Tuesday for A Christmas Story is November 24. Family Packs, which include two adult and two youth tickets, are available for A Christmas Story at the affordable rate of $99 and $119. New this year, are Stocking Stuffer Gift Packs for $89 and $69. Live theatre makes the perfect holiday gift – it’s good for the environment and uplifting for the human spirit. The $89 stocking includes two ticket vouchers for any show in the 09-10 Season, a box of assorted chocolates from San Jose’s own Schurra’s Confectioners, and a bottle of champagne. The $69 stocking includes two ticket vouchers for any show in the 09-10 Season. A gift of live theatre at the Rep is creative, hassle-free and green. To order San Jose Rep Stocking Stuffers, call the box office at 408-367-7255.

What Are You Thankful For?

Last year the folks at Epic Change did an amazing job creating a stir about Tweetsgiving and raised over $10,000 to build a classroom in Arusha, Tanzania in just over 48 hours. When I met Stacy Monk and Avi Kaplan at the NTEN Conference I couldn’t help but offer to chip in and help this year to benefit the school, where a dormitory/orphanage, library, school cafeteria and additional classrooms are sorely needed.

This year there will be a fundraiser in over 40 cities around the world to raise funds for the school and one of those events is right here in San Jose at Santana Row’s Rosie McCanns.

Wednesday Nov. 25, 2009
6 PM- 9 PM
Local authors will be signing books including:
Shel Israel – Twitterville
Mitchell Levy 42 Rules for Driving Success with Books
Janet Fouts- Social Media Success!

Donations are recommended, and each donor will get a raffle ticket for some great prizes as well as a drink at the bar (soda, wine, beer or well), plenty of lively conversation and the knowledge that you’ve made a big difference in the lives of these children. Watch this video to see more about where the funds go. Tweetsgiving is for the kids and how you can help.

What are you waiting for? Sign-up and celebrate Thanksgiving twice!

NASA Images Coming to SJ Library

IYA2009 logo
In celebration of the International Year of Astronomy, the San Jose Public Library will be one of only two locations in the bay area, and 150 around the country, to display a new mural-sized image of the Milky Way’s galactic center.

2009 was declared an International Year of Astronomy by the International Astronomical Union and UNESCO, to promote understanding of the importance of astronomy and other basic science in daily life. IYA2009 commemorates the 400th anniversary of Galileo’s first telescopic observations in 1609.

The mural display was developed by NASA to celebrate IYA2009. The images are created by combining images from three of NASA’s “Great Observatories”, each of which views the sky in a different portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. The source images include a near-infrared view from the Hubble Space Telescope, infrared from the Spitzer Space Telescope, and X-ray images from the Chandra Deep Sky Observatory. The combined image shows “the unique science each observatory conducts, [and] also how far astronomy has come since Galileo.”

The mural will be unveiled in a ceremony at noon on Tuesday, November 17, in the Fourth Street lobby of the main library. On Saturday, November 21, the library will host a follow-up day of activities, including lectures, films, educational activities, and night sky viewing. The November 21 activities last from Noon until 7 pm. The mural will remain on display through the end of 2010.

Eclipse Three Features Local Authors

Eclipse Three

Among my take-aways from the recent World Fantasy Convention in San Jose is this excellent fantasy and science fiction story collection from San Francisco publisher Night Shade Books. Not only is the publisher more-or-less local, there are also a few Northern California authors featured among the 15 stories in the anthology.

Karen Joy Fowler (Santa Cruz/Davis) gives us “The Pelican Bar”, about a very difficult path to learning responsibility.

Ellen Klages (San Francisco) wrote “A Practical Girl”, a really sweet story where history, mathematics, and magic intersect.

Finally, Peter S. Beagle (Davis), provided “Sleight of Hand”, a story where there’s (so he says) no magic, but wishes can come true with a little prestedigitation.

I reviewed these stories and the rest of the collection on my personal blog.

Winter Spare the Air Day Alerts 2009-2010

Cord of Wood

Cord of Wood

The times they are a-changin’. It used to be give the chimney a thorough cleaning and order a cord of wood. Nowadays it’s check the website or e-mail alerts before thinking about sitting around a cozy fire.

Winter Spare the Air runs: November 1, 2009 – February 28, 2010

Get Notifications:
* Check the newspaper, radio, and TV
* Check the web for wood burning status.
* Sign up for e-mail or phone alerts.
* If that’s not enough there is a widget.

Report wood smoke concerns (snitch on the neighbors) call 1-877-4NO-BURN (1-877-466-2876).

One way to get that ‘warm cozy’ during “Spare the Air” is to put on a wearable fleece blanket with sleeves (odd looking monk robe), then put in a sold by Amazon Fireplace DVD, or try Comcast.

Comcast On Demand:
TV Entertainment go to Yule Log & More- click on Fireplace – or TV Entertainment scroll down to TV Screensavers.

I can not recommend the 20 minutes of “Island Sunset”. The squawking bird sounds turned thoughts of peaceful, soothing and warm to thoughts of an Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle! – – but that’s another Christmas story.

Follow SpareTheAir on twitter.

New Bike Lanes for Downtown San Jose

I just saw this article on Stretsblog San Francisco, thanks to Jonathan at NNASJ. Basically, if a new bicycle plan passes in City Council on November 17, look forward to some dramatic improvements to bicycle access downtown in the coming years. The city is looking in to some experimental lane configurations (according to CalTrans, although they’re all things that have been done successfully elsewhere) that should make it safer and more convenient to ride major east-west and north-south corridors.

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