Archive for April, 2010

DooF at the Berkeley Farmers’ Market

The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors voted (3 to 2) to ban the toys which are included in fast-food kid meals. I doubt that the measure, presented by Supervisor Ken Yeager, will keep children from becoming obese. There are many other reasons why a child might become overweight. Turning off a child’s want of fast food by denial will not solve the problem. Education is the solution for learning good eating habits, and that is where DooF can help.

DooF (F-o-o-d spelled backwards) is a program designed to help kids make healthful food choices. Kids learn by preparing some of their own meals and snacks while having fun. Parents take the responsibility for setting the food budget, buying ingredients, and supervising the younger chefs.

I attended two DooF-a-Palooza events held at Google in 2007 and 2008. Cooking stations were set up where kids could experience hands on food preparation. Oh, the joy on their faces – and without a toy!

DooF-on-Wheels will be at the Berkeley Farmers’ Market – Look for a Creme Brulee – colored bio-diesel Mercedes with DooF on the side. There will be kids and a film crew near by. A citrus grower, Didar Sing, will ask questions like, “Do citrus fruits really have superpowers?”

Berkeley Farmers’ Market
Center Street @ M. L. King, Jr. Way
(510) 548-3333
Saturday, May 1
10:00 AM to 3:00 PM
DooF-on-Wheels there Noon to 3:00 PM

DooF will be visiting other locations throughout the Bay Area.

DooF the Blog
DooF on facebook
FoodBackwards on twitter

Kids Free Fishing Days in Campbell 2010

The 19th Annual Kids Free Fishing Days is this weekend at the Campbell Percolation Ponds, Los Gatos Creek Park.

Kids 17-years-old and younger fish free and adults are welcome to attend. Bring your own rod, reel, and bait. The ponds are stocked with trout. Kids who catch specially marked fish will be awarded prizes.

Even though the fishing is for the kids, the whole family can enjoy the event. Bring a picnic lunch; there will be hot dogs and sodas available to purchase.

Los Gatos Creek County Park
1250 Dell Ave, Campbell

Saturday and Sunday, May 1 – 2, 2010
Begins at sun up and ends at sundown

Los Gatos Creek Park Parking (Vehicle Entry Fee): $6.00

Genghis Khan (the exhibition) Conquers San Jose

"Genghis Khan the Exhibition" Contortionist

Peter Friess (The Tech Museum) and Daniel N. Fenton (Team San Jose) announced that “Genghis Khan” will be the next blockbuster exhibition coming to San Jose.

“Genghis Khan’s brutality is well known, but less visible is the man whose natural leadership formed the first united Mongol nation – no small feat,” said Peter Friess, president of The Tech Museum. “Inasmuch as we carry the dark images of Genghis Khan the warlord, there is also the man who brought us passports, the pony express, printed money, hamburgers* and even pants.”

Much can be discovered about Genghis Khan (1167-1227) the ’emperor of all emperors’ who united nomadic tribes of northeast Asia and founded the Mongol Empire and Mongolia with a visit to The Tech Museum.

More than 200 13th century artifacts from Genghis’ reign will be on display including:

Live Cultural Performers: Mongolian singers, contortionists and musicians.

Live weaponry demonstrations are featured in the exhibition.

Paiza – passports.
Large Siege Weaponry – Large crossbow and tools to conquer walled cities and castles.
Ancient Mongolian Artifacts.
Ger – A traditional nomadic dwelling – Note: One-third of the people in modern Mongolia live in a Ger.
Shaman’s Robe – Ritual dress used to channel spirits. Genghis Khan practiced shamanism and believed in supernatural powers.
Jewelry – Treasures from the ancient Mongolian capital of Karakorum.
Mongolian Noble Woman Mummy – Mummy and coffin treasures including silk and leather robes, jewelry, comb and bowl.
Mongol Weapons – Swords, leather and metal armor, mace-heads, bows and arrows, and an early firearm.
Buddhist Relics – books, statue, and artwork. Note: The Mongolian capital of Karakorum was religiously diverse.
Clothing and Adornments – Silk garments and jewelry from Karakorum and Kublai Khan’s palace.
Musical Instruments – Strings made of horse hair.

Genghis Khan The Exhibition” – Opens May 22 (Limited Engagement)

The Tech Museum – 201 South Market Street
San Jose, CA 95113-2008
(408) 294-8324

Special Exhibit Hours:
Monday – Wednesday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Thursday – Sunday: 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM

Children ages 3 to 17 ~ $15
Adults ~ $25
Special prices for seniors and college students.
Admission includes access to all the regular museum galleries.

*It is amusing that hamburgers, the name coming from the German port of Hamburg, originated in the time of Khan. The fierce Mongol horsemen (the Golden Horde) were so busy conquering the world that having to stop to light fires and eat got in their way. Raw lamb or mutton was formed into flat patties and then placed under their saddles. The horsemen could easily grab some ‘hamburger’ at any time.

Modern day Mongolia (see U.S. Department of State) lies in central Asia between Siberia on the north and China on the south and is slightly larger than Alaska.

Ger/Yurt –  The burning of soft coal by some of the individual homes or “Ger” (yurt in Russian) adds to the polluted air.

Micky Rourke will star in a film about the Mongol ruler. He says: Genghis Khan Biopic ‘Not Your Stereotypical Blood and Swords’

Genghis Khan: at The Tech flickr set.

TeamSanJose on twitter

Fate of Backesto Park bocce courts up in the air

Bocce courts in Backesto Park

Bocce courts in Backesto Park have become overgrown and dilapidated.

The fate of three bocce courts in the Northside’s Backesto Park came up for discussion this evening as part of ongoing discussions of improvements to the park. The courts were renovated a little over 10 years ago, with a traditional natural oyster shell surface. At the time these were the only free public bocce courts in San Jose, although courts have been added in a couple of other city parks since then. The courts were initially tended by a dedicated group of players in the Northside Bocce Club, but after a few years several of the players dropped out due to advancing age, and the courts were not maintained. Now weeds and moss grow from the cracked and uneven courts, and few players come to use them.

Now the city has some hundreds of thousands of dollars to spend on capital improvements to Backesto Park (but barely a dime for maintenance) and with the bocce courts fallen into disuse, the possibility of replacing them with some other amenity that would benefit more users had come up for consideration.

At tonight’s meeting, hosted by District 3 councilman Sam Liccardo and his staff, close to two dozen bocce players and enthusiasts came to show support for retaining the bocce courts, possibly with some improvements. The diversity of the participants was encouraging: There were parishioners from the nearby Holy Cross church, a representative from an Italian-American heritage organization, and a coach/educator connected to Special Olympics, among others all interested in using the courts.

The bulk of the discussion revolved around making the courts more accessible. Currently the key to the locked gate to the courts (and a set of bocce balls) can be borrowed from one of two local businesses, Bronco’s Restaurant or Chiaramonte’s Deli, but there’s no signs saying so, and you’d only know how to get the key if you already know how to get the key. Many participants suggested opening the gates during the day and locking them each night, but nobody proposed who would actually do the locking and unlocking, and nobody volunteered to take the job themselves.

Liccardo earned my respect at the end of the meeting when he pointed out that whatever improvements are made with the available capital money, maintenance will only be possible with volunteer help, and that real commitments from individuals or organizations for that maintenance will be needed before investing in refurbishing the courts makes sense.

Take a chance in love: La Rondine at Opera San Jose

Magda in La Rondine

Opera San Jose recently invited us to attend opening night of Puccini’s La Rondine, and as I have a few friends who are crazy about opera, I decided to give it a go.  The result was that I loved La Rondine and cannot wait to attend more shows at Opera San Jose.  I also think that everyone would love this show whether you think you would like opera or not.  The problem in which I find myself now is that I realize I have no real knowledge of opera, so this review is going to be written from a strictly layperson’s point of view.

But perhaps this is a good thing.  Because I went into this show with an open mind and came out a huge fan, and I am a little disappointed to realize I have missed a lot of opera productions over the years.   But perhaps I can encourage some readers to give it a try with my novice’s take on the delightful show.

Cancan Dancers!

First, the opera productions are held in the beautiful California Theatre, and really I’ll take any excuse to attend an event at the Cal Theatre.  Second, the audience is dressed to the nines.  If you’d like an excuse to dress like a movie star, you’ll fit right in at the opera!  On the other hand, I wore black slacks and a nice blouse and my friend wore a dress with boots and we felt fine.  I do not recommend jeans.

Second, there are subtitles!  That’s right, subtitles at a live opera production!  There is a long screen hanging from the top of the stage where the subtitles are broadcast.  This puts it completely out of the way for anyone who wants no part of this technology, but is 100% helpful for those of us opera newbies.   So there is nothing to not understand, it is right there in front of you. (more…)

Silicon Valley Open Studios 2010

EaselThe 24th annual Silicon Valley Open Studios event where visitors are welcomed into artist’s studios and workspaces begins this weekend.

During this free event, you will view diverse one-of-a-kind works of art, including painting, mixed media, photography, sculpture, jewelry, calligraphy, ceramics, fiber arts, pottery, mosaics, metal work, glass, drawing, printmaking, watercolor, woodworking and more. You will be able to meet with the artists and purchase artworks directly.

Silicon Valley artists open their studios to the public during the first three weekends in May by location. Please visit the artists/locations only on the appropriate weekend between 11:00 am and 5:00 pm.

Weekend One, May 1 – 2
Campbell, Cupertino, Gilroy, Los Gatos, Milpitas, Monte Sereno, Morgan Hill, San Jose, Saratoga

Weekend Two, May 8 – 9
Atherton, Belmont, Hillsborough, Menlo Park, Portola Valley, Redwood City, San Carlos, San Mateo, Woodside

Weekend Three, May 15 – 16
East Palo Alto, Ladera, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Loyola, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale

The free Artist Directory and Map Guide have fabulous pullout maps that you can take with you. Locations to pick up a free copy here.

A list of all artists with icons depicting their specialty here.

Silicon Valley Open Studios
Saturday and Sunday, the first three weekends in May
11:00 am – 5:00 pm

Note: some artists may be in the studio all three weekends, call ahead.

Naglee Park Home Tour

Yesterday’s Naglee Park Home Tour turned out very well. There weren’t the huge crowds that the Santa Clara tour gets or even last year’s Hanchett Park Home Tour. But it made for a much nicer experience walking around a beautiful neighborhood in beautiful weather without having to stand in line, or push through crowds to see the homes. That might be a disappointment in terms of fundraising, but I had a ticket numbered around 500, so they still likely collected over $10,000, to be used for improvements to the San Jose Woman’s Club clubhouse.

The show highlighted homes built by the prolific architecture firm of Wolfe and McKenzie (with one by McKenzie alone, after the partnership split up). According to local architectural historian George Espinola, who lectured near mid-day, the firm designed over 1000 (2000? I need to write these things down) local buildings, including many residences, and were one of the main direction-setters in San Jose’s residential architecture in the early 20th century. Their homes can be seen in Naglee Park, Willow Glen, Hanchett Park, and scattered around the rest of Northern California as well. Espinola’s book, Cottages, Flats, Buildings & Bungalows, reprints a design catalog published by Wolfe and McKenzie in 1907, with additional notes on where the buildings were actually built.

27th Annual Cherry Blossom Festival

The 27th annual Cherry Blossom Festival honoring Cupertino’s sister city relationship with Toyokawa, Japan will take place at Memorial Park on April 24 – 25. The festival offers a wide selection of Japanese food and beverages, entertainment, cultural exhibits, demonstrations, art, and crafts. A special children’s section will feature activities, hands-on arts & crafts, and a petting zoo.

A series of indoor cultural displays and demonstrations featured in the Quinlan Community Center. The cultural exhibits and demonstrations include Bonsai (minature trees/plants), Hachimaki (headband design and stamping), Ikebana (flower arranging), Kirigami (fold and cut paper), Nihon Shishu (traditional embroidery), Suiseki (scenic rocks), Sumi-e (brush painting), Origami (hands-on and paper folding demonstration), along with various Japanese dolls and doll making demonstrations.

All-day outdoor entertainment takes place in the park amphitheater. Among the scheduled events are Taiko groups, Japanese dancers, various martial arts, and musical performances.

The 200 cherry trees and the two traditional lanterns at the park were gifts to the City of Cupertino from Toyokawa.

The festival supports local nonprofit organizations that provide services for disadvantaged youth.

Memorial Park
10185 North Stelling Road, Cupertino

Saturday and Sunday, April 24 – 25, 2010
10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Parking at nearby De Anza College ($2.00)

Festival Program Schedule

22nd Annual Children’s Faire

The San Jose Children’s Faire this Saturday, April 24 is a free outdoor festival designed to link parents and caregivers of young children (ages 2 to 12) with community organizations that serve their needs.

The festival includes family-oriented stage entertainment (throughout the day), activity booths offering hands-on activities for children, in addition to information about education, childcare, health and safety resources, creative arts and recreational programs. Some of the special attractions include Día de los Ninos Storytime, A Schmahl Science Workshop, Rock climbing wall, San Jose Library InfoBus, San Jose Fire Department, plus over 40 activity booths. Booths are staffed by local non-profits, community organizations, local government services, and business which provide services for families with young children.

The event features:

Dillon, Storyteller/Singer at 11:30 am; winner of the National Parent’s Choice Approval Award and a recipient of the Best Newcomer Award by nationally syndicated children’s music critic Deborah Moore.

Welcoming remarks at noon, Vice Mayor Judy Chirco.

Jerome Soto, Park Ranger, with Jeckyll the Crow at 1:30 pm.

San Jose Children’s Faire
Discovery Meadow
West San Carlos Street and Woz Way

Saturday, April 24
10:30 am – 3:00 pm

Parking near the Children’s Discovery Museum
Use of public transit is strongly encouraged.

TapToTalk has an App

TapToTalk App

I heard from Silicon Valley author and entrepreneur, Phil Bookman, about a new app. Phil is CEO of Assistyx LLC the makers of TapToTalk.

TapToTalk turns a Nintendo DS, iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch into a portable communications (AAC) device. It’s designed for non-verbal children with Autism and other developmental delays. TapToTalk is affordable and fun to use.

TapToTalk apps are free with subscription.

This post is not intended as a commercial for TapToTalk. I’m hoping to get the word out to families about this service and the new apps.

TapToTalk ~ site.

TapToTalk ~ Blog

TapToTalk ~ facebook

TapToTalk ~ YouTube

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