Archive for November, 2011

Tree Lighting Celebrations 2011

San José – Friday, November 25

Christmas in the Park is located at the Plaza de Cesar Chavez in Downtown San José on Market Street between San Carlos and San Fernando; tree lighting at approximately 6:00 pm. Check the Christmas in the Park site for other events.

Half Moon Bay – Friday, December 2

Night of Lights will begin with a tree-lighting ceremony at Mac Dutra Park on the corner of Main Street and Kelly Avenue at 6:00 pm. The Parade of Lights begins at 7:00 pm, along with floats and an old-fashioned fire truck. Other events include roasted chestnuts on an open fire, strolling carolers, and harpists.

Mountain View – Monday, December 5

The Mountain View Tree Lighting Celebration beginning at 5:30 pm includes live holiday music, refreshments, lights and the arrival of Santa Claus. Children can visit and have their picture taken with Santa at the free event. The Community Tree Lighting Celebration located at Civic Center Plaza, 500 Castro Street.

Setting up Christmas in the Park

As I walked through downtown this morning, hundreds of volunteers and what looked like a few professionals were out in the Plaza de Cesar Chavez setting up this year’s Christmas in the Park display.

Some of the volunteers were wearing t-shirts or sweatshirts from their high school or sorority/fraternity. This group was from the Harker School:

It’s great to see that Christmas in the Park will be back this year, and its great to see so many people getting together to make it happen.

Big Game Week in the South Bay

A 119-year-old tradition continues this week as Cal and Stanford’s football teams face off in the annual Big Game. The two teams will play for The Axe, awarded as the trophy of the game since 1933 (and exchanged between the schools by more nefarious means since 1899).

For Cal fans and alums like me, this is not the most promising year. Stanford has only lost once so far this year and is ranked in the top 10 nationally. Their quarterback, Andrew Luck, is a contender for the Heisman trophy. And they will be looking to recover strongly from their defeat by Oregon last week. Cal on the other hand has achieved a bowl-qualifying 6-4 record so far this year, but hasn’t shown any evidence of being able to punch above its weight when facing the strongest teams.

However, this is the Big Game, where anything can happen. The band may get into the play. The fans may get into the play. “The most amazing, sensational, dramatic, heartrending, exciting, thrilling” things can happen in the Big Game.

Of course, beyond football there are other sports options. Water polo’s Big Splash (at Stanford’s Avery Aquatic Center, Saturday at 5:15 pm) features two top-10-ranked teams, with Stanford at #4 and Cal at #3. This year’s Big Spike isn’t being held during Big Game week, but next Wednesday’s game (7 pm, at Stanford) is another strong match-up between Cal’s #4 and Stanford’s #5-ranked volleyball squads.

I’ll be hoping for “anything” to happen at Stanford Stadium on Saturday, and also rooting for Cal’s water polo and volleyball teams as they represent the Blue and Gold against Stanford in the next week.

  • What: Cal-Stanford Big Game
  • When: Saturday, November 19, 7:15 pm
  • Where: Stanford Stadium or televised on ESPN
  • How Much: If you have to ask…

Photo: ©HairOfTheBear, CC-BY-NC-ND

4th Annual West Coast Cue Show

Play The Game T-Shirts by, 'Baby Frank'

This weekend The California Billiard Club will host a show featuring cues, and cue makers. This will be fun for all pool enthusiasts, and cue collectors.

Enjoy watching the 8-Ball Barbox Tournament.

Also, a good time to pick up a ‘Play The Game’ T-Shirt by, Frank ‘Baby Frank’ Nordmann.

The 4th Annual West Coast Cue Show

Where: The California Billiard Club
881 E. El Camino Real, Mountain View, CA
Telephone: (650) 965-3100

When: Saturday, November 12th – 12 to 6pm and Sunday, November 13th – 12 to 4

The Show is Admission Free

Veterans Day Parade 11/11/11

American FlagFriday November 11 is Veterans Day. There will be a memorial ceremony and a parade in downtown San Jose; also, in honor of Veterans Day, entrance fees waived at National Parks.

The Parade’s Opening Ceremony begins on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month (when World War I officially ended in 1918) with a memorial ceremony at Plaza de Cesar Chavez on Market Street.

The 93rd Annual Veterans Day Parade begins at noon from Delmas Street (near HP Pavilion) and travels east along Santa Clara to Market Street. The Parade then proceeds south on Market Street and ends at San Carlos Street.

Brigadier General Gary Medvigy is this year’s Grand Marshal.

In addition, entrance fees waived Veterans Day weekend (November 11-13) in the National Parks.

Veterans Day
Friday, November 11, 2011

11:00 am – Opening Ceremony
12:00 pm – Parade

National Alert to be Broadcasted in San Jose

Wednesday – November 10 at 11am: Don’t ya panic if you are driving around Silicon Valley listening to KQED (88.5), Oldies (103.7), or home watching “The Young And The Restless” on CBS 5 and the programming is interrupted.

This will be the first ever nation wide test of the Emergency Alert System conducted by the FCC and FEMA. We are told that the test should last approximately three-and-a-half-minutes or 30 seconds (?). The test will be seen on all local cable and satellite TV stations, and heard on the radio as well. Officials want to make sure that if a national alert is ever needed the system will work as planned.

If you have Xfinity and the test lasts for more than five minutes, please do not call the doctor.

* Power-cycle your cable box by unplugging the power cord from the outlet.
* Wait thirty seconds and then plug it back in.

Note: DVR recordings during the test will be interrupted and may even be lost.

HOMELAND – Polygraph Van in San Francisco

Have you seen Homeland on Showtime? If you were a fan of 24 I’m betting you will also be a fan of Homeland.

The show stars Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison, a, high-strung bi-polar, CIA officer who is very much “Jack Bauer”.

Carrie seems to be the only one at CIA operations who can see the security risk that an American Marine (Sergeant Brody) who was once held captive now poses.

In last nights episode Carrie, others at the CIA, and Sergeant Brody were asked to take polygraph tests. Sergeant Brody was able to pass the test without even one spike on the machine even though Carrie had first hand knowledge that he was not telling the truth.

Bay Area fans of Homeland can test their ability to pass a polygraph today and tomorrow…

San Francisco:

Monday, November 7: Ghirardelli Square, West Plaza (1 p.m. – 6 p.m.)
Tuesday, November 8: Fisherman’s Wharf, the intersection of Beach Street & the Embarcadero/Powell (12 p.m. – 5 p.m.)


Oakland Museum Free First Sundays 2011-2012

John Muir

Explore and learn more about California’s environment, history, art and people at The Oakland Museum of California free first Sundays.

The museum has permanent Art, History, and Natural Sciences Galleries along with special exhibits. Note that the Natural Sciences Gallery is currently under renovation and will reopen Spring 2012.

The Art Collection features over 70,000 works from the early 1800s to the present that are by California artists. The collection includes California landscape paintings from the 1850s to the 1880s; Gold Rush era artwork; furniture and decorative arts from the Arts and Crafts period; figurative painting and sculpture; California ceramics and jewelry.

The new Gallery of California Art includes one of the largest and most comprehensive holdings of California art in the world. The upgraded lighting and wall systems create brighter, more welcoming, flexible spaces. Color is a new element in the Gallery; artworks are dramatically emphasized on walls of various hues.

The History Department’s collections are in photography; California native baskets and other material; Gold Rush era artifacts; and material that relates to California technology, agriculture, business and labor, domestic life, and significant events. For nearly forty years, the Museum’s Gallery of California History has enabled generations of visitors to explore major events and trends that have shaped California history.

Explore the legacy of John Muir’s life and how he continues to influence our relationship with the natural world in the first-ever museum exhibition of its kind, A Walk in the Wild: Continuing John Muir’s Journey.

Told through collections of art, history, and natural science, interactive digital technology, and select loans-journals, manuscripts, and original drawings. Through interactive, multisensory displays and digital mash-ups, A Walk in the Wild: Continuing John Muir’s Journey simulates many of Muir’s explorations including his trek from Yosemite to Mount Whitney, and even his night spent in a hollow giant sequoia as the forest burned around him.

The exhibit, A Walk in the Wild: Continuing John Muir’s Journey, runs through January 22, 2012.

In the afternoon tour the building with members of the Museum’s Council on Architecture at 1:00, take docent-led tours of the Art Gallery at 2:00 and the History Gallery at 3:00.

Arrive early, admission is free; however, tickets are required (first come first served basis). Free First Sundays are open to all Bay Area visitors.

Parking: enter the Museum garage entrance on Oak Street between 10th and 12th streets. Parking fees are $2.50/hour for the public, $1/hour for Museum visitors with validation. Bring your ticket to the Ticketing booth on Level 2 for validation.

The Museum is located one block from the Lake Merritt BART station (between 8th and 9th streets at Oak Street).

Oakland Museum of California
1000 Oak Street, 94607

First Sunday of the month
11:00 am to 5:00 pm

Closed Monday and Tuesday; also, closed New Year’s Day, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.

San Jose! Wanna go on a Dishcrawl?


If you’ve never been on a Dishcrawl yet, let me explain. Think of it as a Flash mob for foodies. You know you’re going to be visiting a particular area near you and you’re going to eat some great food  within walking distance of your starting point, but you don’t know who you’ll be with, what the restaurants will be, or what kind of food it will be until the morning of the event. Ahh the suspense! All that and an affordable price to boot.

I love this concept. Traveling around San Jose’s SOFA district with a bunch of people who all love food and adventure, eating at restaurants that we might not have uncovered by ourselves and food carts roll up and offer up gourmet tacos or ice cream and Karaoke? I’m hooked.

Tracy Lee ( @ladyleet on Twitter) is a natural community builder and this girl SERIOUSLY loves food. She and her team have taken a fun idea of roving dining to cities ranging from our own fair city to Ottawa, New York, Portland, Campbell, Willow Glen, and Palo Alto to name a few. Each city tour has it’s own flavor and style and the trend has taken off like wildfire. The team makes extra effort to make sure everyone is having fun and quite often you’ll hear from the owner or chef about what really sets their food apart.

Now, in addition to the traditional crawls, Dishcrawl is offering an even more personal way to explore dining and meet new people. Eat Your City events are small group dinners at local restaurants for 8-10 people at a time. At each restaurant you’ll get the focused attention of the owner and so far most of these restaurants have participated in a larger dishcrawl event so the players are familiar, almost family friends by now.

All in all the idea behind Dishcrawl is rock solid. Connect people who love food and have a sense of adventure with great food and company and a1qqllow restaurateurs to connect one-on-one with their market. We’ve been to a few of these now and we look forward to many more.

Want to see what the fuss is all about? Visit the Dishcrawl web site for information and don’t forget to check out the list of restaurants hosting the family size dinners too. Bon Apetit!

Time to Fall Back 2011

Profile of Time - Salvador Dali

Profile of Time - Salvador Dali

This weekend we turn our clocks back an hour as we return to Standard Time, Sunday morning November 6 at 2:00 am.

Does this mean we get to spend an extra hour at our favorite bar? No, bars actually stop serving alcohol at 1:59 am, one minute before the clocks are set back one hour.

This is also a good time to change the batteries in your smoke detectors.

For those who like to plan ahead, see the chart below.

Year Spring Forward Fall Back
2011 November 6
2012 March 11 November 4
2013 March 10 November 3
2014 March 9 November 2
2015 March 8 November 1
2016 March 13 November 6
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