Archive for October, 2010

High School Robotics Competition – CalGames 2010

This Friday and Saturday, October 22-23, students from thirty-six Northern California high school Robotics teams compete at the Western Region Robotics Forum’s CalGames 2010 Robotics Competition held at Lynbrook High School in San Jose.

The CalGames 2010 Robotics Competition is a contest between 36 teams of high school students to build full-sized robots each weighing up to 140 lbs and are capable of going over 15 feet per second that attempt to score goals with soccer balls while maneuvering over bumps and through tunnels.

The Western Region Robotics Forum (WRRF) is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the use of robotics and providing support for the Bay Area FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) robotics teams. WRRF recently conducted a series of workshops for FIRST teams covering a wide range of subjects, including team management, electronics, machine vision, computer animation, drive train design, and software development. Students discover the value of education and careers in science, technology, and math.

Lynbrook High School
1280 Johnson Avenue
San Jose, 95129

Friday, October 22, 2010
6:00 pm to 7:15 pm: Qualifying

Saturday, October 23, 2010
8:00 am to 1:00 pm: Qualifying
2:00 pm to 6:00 pm: Playoffs & Awards

Admission: Free

Half Moon Bay Art and Pumpkin Festival 2010

This weekend, October 16-17, is the 40th Annual Half Moon Bay Art and Pumpkin Festival featuring enormous champion pumpkins, live music, a haunted barn, harvest-inspired crafts, home-style foods, pumpkin carvers, pie-eating contests, costume contests, parade, along with many other events and activities.

The festival includes thousands of handcrafted items in booths covering several city blocks; featuring original work in sculpture, paintings, photography, glass, ceramics, textiles, jewelry, leather, wood, metal, and mixed media. Hand-blown glass pumpkins, vases, flatware, clocks, dishes, wall and table decorations, paperweights, stained and beveled glass, etchings, sculptures, photography, oil and watercolor paintings, beadwork, gold and silver jewelry, vests, handbags, hats, wallets, footwear, wind chimes, and waterfalls are among the one-of-a-kind items available.

Food items available include pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin cake rolls, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin smoothies, pumpkin churros and chicken pumpkin sausages. I think there is a theme here. Non-pumpkin items include hamburgers, grilled corn on the cob, garlic fries, corn dogs, and Brussels sprouts in a zesty marinara sauce. Yes, Brussels sprouts.

The Haunted Johnston Barn features live actors from The Coastside Young Actors Workshop alongside audio-animatronic figures, projected and transparent ghosts, intense lighting, sound, and fog effects, and unexpectedly dropping and swooping objects caused by unseen forces. Some scenes include Pirates trading’ cannon fire with a Ghost Ship along with sword fighting and walking the plank. Children under 5 may find the experience too intense. The Johnston Barn is located behind the Historic Jail, at 505 Johnston Street. Admission is $5 per person; proceeds benefit the non-profit children’s theater group.

Great Pumpkin Parade is Saturday at noon on Main Street. The parade features marching bands, classic cars, floats, and an assortment of costumed ghouls, gargoyles, ghosts, not to mention SpongeBob SquarePants and Diego.

Parking is at the south end of Main Street near Highway, Half Moon Bay High School (Main St. just north of Hwy. 92), and at the Community Center/Shoreline Station complex, located just north of Kelly Avenue on Highway 1. Local non-profit groups who charge a nominal parking fee operate many of these parking areas. There is also limited free parking on several side streets. Police will be citing for illegal parking, so read signs carefully. There will be specially marked handicapped parking on Purissima St. between Correas St. and Kelly Avenue.

The best alternate route is to take Highway 1 both days of the festival.

No Pets!


10:00 am – Costume Contest, HMB Library Parking Lot, 620 Correas St.

12:00 pm – Great Pumpkin Parade

Saturday & Sunday

7:00 am – Pancake Breakfast, Mac Dutra Park, Main St. @ Kelly Ave.

9:00 am – Festival Opens

2:00 pm – Pie Eating Contest, Family Fun Zone (age 11 and under)

2:15 pm – Pie Eating Contest, Family Fun Zone (age 12 and over)

5:00 pm – Festival Closes

Half Moon Bay Art and Pumpkin Festival 2010
On Main Street
between Miramontes and Spruce Streets

Half Moon Bay, 94019

Saturday & Sunday, October 16-17, 2010
9:00 am to 5:00 pm

Admission: free
Haunted Barn: $5.00
Charges for various items


Waffle crisis averted

But if your prefer to get your radio news in Vietnamese, you could be facing trouble.

Yesterday afternoon as I walked home from a friend’s house, I saw smoke rising into the air immediately above my house. Luckily as I got closer it was clear the fire was about a mile away. The Mercury is reporting the fire was in a field at 475 Eggo Way. The fire consumed the transmitter of Vietnamese-language radio station KSJX, but spared the nearby Kellog’s factory.

The lack of damage to the Kellog’s plant denies Metblogs and other local press another opportunity to mention that Eggo waffles were invented by Frank Dorsa and his brothers in the 1930’s right here in San Jose (did you notice what I did there?). But it also means no extension of a nationwide name-brand frozen waffle shortage, caused by flooding at an Atlanta, Georgia, Eggo factory late last year, and hurrying waffle-eaters will be able to get their favorite breakfast treats.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons user Editor at Large, CC-BY-SA.

San Jose Fire Department Open House Oct 9 & 17

Select San Jose Fire Department stations will have open house on October 9 and 17, 2010 from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm.

These open houses are an opportunity for the public to meet their local firefighters, to ask questions and pick up educational materials. The San Jose Fire Department not only provides information on fire safety, they provide information covering other emergencies along with child safety. Kids will receive stickers and can have their picture taken next to a fire engine.

This is a rare opportunity to interact with the fire department as budget cuts have eliminated some community outreach activities including station tours, along with fire safety and prevention presentations.

If you are unable to attend or are interested in addition education materials, you will find these online here. Information includes Child Car Seat Safety, Senior Fire and Fall Prevention, Senior Earthquake Preparedness, various Emergency Safety Tips (power outage, earthquake, etc.), Fire Safety – how to get your family safely out of the house in case of a fire, information about the installation and care of Smoke Detectors, Safe Surrender Baby Law, and other important information.

Visit your local fire station on the date indicated (some stations open both days):

October 9, 2010 –

98 Martha Street, 95112
800 Emory Street, 95126
3410 Ross Avenue, 95124
1201 San Tomas Aquino Road, 95117
2001 South King Road, 95122
4430 South Monterey Road, 95111
6461 Bose Lane, 95120
1771 Via Cinco de Mayo, 95132
1525 Wilson Way, 95002
3100 Ruby Avenue, 95135

October 17, 2010 –

1386 Cherry Avenue, 95125
800 Emory Street, 95126
1248 Blaney Avenue, 95129
2001 South King Road, 95122
5170 Coniston Way, 95118
1771 Via Cinco de Mayo, 95132
1525 Wilson Way, 95002
454 Auzerais, 95126
3100 Ruby Avenue, 95135
135 Poughkeepsie Road, 95123

Steampunk + Shakespeare? Just might work!

If this were played upon a stage now, I could condemn it as an improbable fiction.
Twelfth Night, 3. 4

Fantastic news coming out of the San Jose State University theatre department!  Fans of the steampunk genre and scholars of Shakespeare will unite under one roof when Twelfth Night premieres on November 12.  Director Kathleen Normington, SJSU Theatre faculty since 1999, is bringing a new vision to the play in the hopes of introducing Shakespeare to a wider audience, reaching both students and the population at large.

Twelfth Night is one of Shakespeare’s most well known and oft produced dramas, focusing on themes of illusion and reality.  Steampunk is a popular sub-genre of science fiction, usually set in an historical time period featuring futuristic technology.  While Shakespeare and steampunk may seem to have nothing in common, the melding of steampunk visuals with Shakespeare’s written words will consummate into a beautiful rendition of the play that might actually help bring across the themes of Twelfth Night in unexpected ways.

The intention is to use the steampunk aesthetic to style the production and to highlight some of the themes of disguise and gender ambiguity within the play.  All signs are pointing to a visually striking production, and Kathleen notes that “especially at a university where our audience is young and fearful of Shakespeare, […] we need to capture them visually and then hope that the language and character will keep them involved.”

But Shakespeare purists have nothing to fear as Dr. Adrienne Eastwood from the SJSU English department has been brought in as dramaturge.  Dr. Eastwood has a Ph.D. from UC San Diego and recently published “Between Wedding and Bedding: The Epithalamic Sub-genre in Shakespeare’s Comedies” in Exemplaria: A Journal of Theory in Medieval and Renaissance Studies.   She is excited to help in assuring that aside from the exciting visual aspects, the direction of the production will remain true to the themes and messages that Twelfth Night should be sending.  Both current and previous students will agree that this show will only shine with Dr. Eastwood involved.

Having these two great scholars come together to integrate these two fascinating ideas might be one of the most exciting things to happen to the SJSU Theatre Department.  The play will open on November 12, and you should all mark your calendars now as this electrifying play has already been generating a lot of buzz.  You will not want to miss out on your chance to see this unique production!

Twelfth Night
San Jose State University Theatre
November 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20 at 7pm
Students/Seniors $10
General admission $20
Tickets Available Online, or call 408 924-4555.

Ruffled Feathers Eatery

This Monday we decided to try someplace really new downtown, and Ruffled Feathers sounded great.

Located at 200 South 1st Street where the old Askew Grill used to be, Ruffled Feathers is in a prime place to draw a lot of customers.  With the promise of fresh, locally grown produce whenever possible, the draw should be an easy one.

Eatery Pitza

Sadly, there were no other customers in sight the entire time we were there.  Happily, we did have great service and pretty good food as well.

Free range and hormone free!

We ordered our food at the counter and were given a number.  We found a nice table next to a window and enjoyed our drinks (soda bar, lemonade and ice tea) and it wasn’t long before our appetizer of pita chips and hummus arrived.

We were won over right away with this dish.  The hummus had just the right hint of garlic, and the baked pita chips were perfectly baked without being too brown.  We could have happily eaten our entire dinner of just pita and hummus.

Our dinners arrived soon after.  My guest had the Taco Salad:  Grilled, smoked BBQ chicken, fresh chopped Romaine lettuce, green onions, kidney beans, fresh house-made guacamole, crunchy pita chips and a taco dressing.  The dressing was a little too sugary for my guest, but the salad was fresh and she devoured it.

Asian Pita

I had the Basic Pita: A wrap containing grilled chicken breast, chopped tomato, herbed Jack and Mozzarella cheese, and topped with their signature garlic tomatillo sauce.  I had my choice of whole wheat or white pita and I chose wheat.  It was fresh, the sauce was delicious, and I ate the whole thing.  It also came with a couple baked chips and a dollop of that delicious hummus.

Besides rotisserie chicken, they serve a variety of salads, pitas, pita pizzas, pasta and side dishes, and have a separate dessert bar as well.  On September 15 the country band Steel Magnolia entertained customers, and I think the place just needs some time and more events like that to introduce people to this new eatery.

Recommendation:  3 out of 5 stars.  We had a very pleasant time and would definitely head back there for lunch or a light dinner, and it will be a very handy place to have around when Cinequest arrives again in March.  The average meal price is $6.99 so it is very easy to order some extra sides and/or dessert without breaking the bank.

Michael Moore: “In the Souls of the People”

Love him or hate him, Michael Moore is headed to San Jose to receive the Steinbeck Award.

Photo credit: Geoffrey Vail Brown

Academy Award-Winning Filmmaker and Social Activist Michael Moore will receive the John Steinbeck Award “In the Souls of the People” from noted author and son of John Steinbeck, Thomas Steinbeck.  Moore will be in conversation with Dan Pulcrano, Executive Editor of Metro.  It should be a fascinating evening for anyone interested in Michael Moore’s thoughts and ideas.  The event is hosted by Thomas Steinbeck and Catherine Busalacchi of the SJSU Student Union, and it benefits the Center for Steinbeck Studies.

October 14, 2010
Starts 7:00 PM, doors open 6:00 PM.
Morris Dailey Auditorium on the SJSU campus
For more information, contact the Center: 408-808-2067
or email:
Tickets: SJSU’s Ticketmaster.

ONE NIGHT STAND: Exhibit and Art Sale of Mills College MFA Students

Help support emerging artists from the Mills Studio Arts Program class of 2011!  Proceeds will be used towards the final MFA exhibition at the Mills College Art Museum opening April 30, 2011.

It will be a great day for purchasing art from up and coming artists and the best part is all artworks for sale will be priced under $50!!

Participating artists are: Alexa Alexander, Sholeh Asgary, Sohyung Choi, Hilary Galian, Sarah Hirneisen, Amy M. Ho, Emily Hoyt, David Johnson, Danielle Lawrence, Chelsea Pegram, David Sleeth & Alexander Treu.

Also on view will be artworks from the incoming first year graduate students.

One night only!! Friday, October 8th 6-10pm
Branch Gallery
455 17th St. Suite #301
1/2 block from 19th St. BART Station

October show round-up

Metblogs has a very busy month of shows ahead and we hope you will join us!  These are some of the shows we are hoping to review for you this month.  If you’re looking for some fun nights out before the busy holidays arrive, or if Halloween parties just aren’t your thing, take a look at just four of the great shows headed our way this month:

Secret Order

San Jose Repertory Company
Secret Order
Corporate greed and the politics of science collide in this biomedical thriller.
When Dr. Shumway, a relatively obscure and naive cancer researcher, is thrust into the high stakes world of science, the notion of noble “truth-seeking” is dissected with a scalpel’s precision. Shumway is in over his head when he and a young student researcher get swept up in the dangerous world of political maneuvering, corporate loyalty and scientific ethics. But it’s Dr. Brock, the chief administrator at a famous research institute, who will stop at nothing in his pursuit to find a cure for cancer. Responsible science hangs in the balance in the race to be first to trial, first to publish and first to find a cure in this brilliant exploration of the business of science.
October 14 – November 7

Dial M for Murder

Hillbarn Theatre
Dial M for Murder
Tony Wendice has married his wife, Margot, for her money and now plans to murder her for the same reason.  He arranges the perfect murder; he blackmails a scoundrel he used to know into strangling her for a fee of one thousand pounds, and arranges a brilliant alibi for himself.  But who murders whom and does the real villain come to justice?
October 21 – November 7

Giselle protects Albrecht

Ballet San Jose
The tale of a peasant girl named Giselle who falls in love with Albrecht, a nobleman from a neighboring land who disguises himself as a villager to win her heart – and the betrayal that leads to her death.  Driven by his own guilt to mourn at Giselle’s graveside, Albrecht encounters the Wilis – beautiful, but deadly spirits who force men to dance to their deaths.  Only Giselle can protect him… if she can find it in her heart to forgive him.
October 22 – October 24

Photo credit: Joan Marcus

Broadway San Jose
Rain: A Tribute to the Beatles
FROM ED SULLIVAN TO ABBEY ROAD! – They look like them and they sound just like them! All the music and vocals are performed totally live! RAIN covers the Fab Four from the earliest beginnings through the psychedelic late 60s and their long-haired hippie, hard-rocking rooftop days. A multi-media, multi-dimensional experience…a fusion of historical footage and hilarious television commercials from the 1960s lights up video screens and live cameras zoom in for close-ups.
October 26 – October 31

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