Archive for the ‘Outdoors’ Category

Santa Cruz Longboard Surf Contest

Longboarders from across California take over Steamer Lane each Memorial Day weekend, as nearly 200 contestants compete for top honors in divisions from youngsters to surfing legends 70 years of age and over.

The competition May 24-25 begins at 7 a.m. Saturday with heats running through 5 p.m.

Spectators are invited to watch the surfing and enjoy commentary, music, refreshments, T-shirts and raffle drawings.  The awards ceremony follows the last heat Sunday. You need not be present to win at the raffle, but you must be able to pick up your prizes in Santa Cruz. Raffle drawings go on throughout the weekend.

The Santa Cruz Longboard Surf Contest is the longest-running longboard surf contest on the West Coast.

Santa Cruz Longboard Surf Contest
West Cliff Drive & Pelton Avenue
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Saturday, May 24, 2014 | 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday, May 25, 2014 | 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Free to watch from the shore

BLM Mustang Auction and Tack Sale May 3

Sorrel Mustang

“The Bureau of Land Management protects, manages, and controls wild horses and burros under the authority of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 to ensure that healthy herds thrive on healthy rangelands. The BLM manages these living symbols of the Western spirit as part of its multiple-use mission under the 1976 Federal Land Policy and Management Act .”

One of the BLM’s key responsibilities under the 1971 law is to determine the “appropriate management level” (AML) of wild horses and burros on the public rangelands. These animals have virtually no natural predators and their herd sizes can double about every four years. As a result, about 31,000 wild horses and burros roam BLM-managed lands in 10 Western states, a population that exceeds by about 3,500 the number that can exist in balance with other public rangeland resources and uses.

To help restore the balance, the BLM gathers some wild horses and burros and offers them for adoption or sale to those individuals and groups willing and able to provide humane, long-term care.

On May 3rd, 2014 you can see some of these wild horses up for adoption, and maybe even take one home from the Santa Clara County Horsemen’s Association. 20350 McKean Road, San Jose, Ca. 95120. The SCCHA Juniors will be holding a flea market sale on the same day, in case you need some new tack for that adopted horse!

If you can’t make it to the adoption at the SCCHA, you can see a list of adoption events here, or visit  the Litchfield or Ridgecrest Corrals Monday through Friday during business hours.   It’s a good idea to download and fill out your adoption application prior to arrival.  You can also fill out the adoption form at the SCCHA adoption event.

IMPORTANT NOTE:   Adoptions are open from 8 am to 5 pm on the day of the adoption.   For all adoptions, after the silent bidding has concluded, any remaining animals will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.

The Realities of California’s Drought In Santa Clara County

calero creek fish loss

We’ve all heard the stories and seen the photos on the news about just how bad the drought is in California and other states. But today, as I left my neighborhood of green lawns and gardens and drove out into the country I noticed new evidence that took my breath away. Along one of my favorite riding trails runs Calero creek, an area full of wildlife. Fish, crayfish, birds and of course raccoons, skunks, opossum and the occasional bobcat rely on the daily releases from the reservoir to keep the creek flowing. So do the farmers and homes who use wells and creeks for watering their livestock.

As of yesterday the creek is no longer flowing. The banks are dry, and although there are some areas that still hold a small amount of water, those will dry up soon too.

In a 100 yard section of creek bed I saw scores of fish dead or dying. The remaining pools of water are getting smaller and the wildlife trapped in them will die as well.

Unless we get significant rain, there will be few or no releases of water from the reservoir in the near future and the death toll in the creek is heartbreaking.

According to a resource at the Santa Clara Water District offices, all of the reservoirs that use imported water (pumped in from the California Aquaduct for example) are significantly reducing or completely stopping outflow to the creeks. This includes Calero, and Almaden reservoirs.

According to the water district staff person I spoke with, the California department of fish and wildlife (CDFW) is working with the Water District and tough calls have to be made.

The CDFW has closed several streams to fishing until they determine water flows are adequate. You can find a partial list here. Other streams deemed not as important because there aren’t steelhead present, are simply being “turned off”.

What can you do?
It’s time to take our heads out of the sand folks. Take a look at this photo of what is left of the wildlife in Calero creek and ask yourself if you really need to keep your grass green or take a 15 minute shower. Start thinking about how you can conserve.

The  Santa Clara Valley Water District is asking for a 10% reduction in water use. To meet the reduction goal, the water district will double rebates paid to people who conserve water, promote water conservation laws in cities and use technology to convert the county’s wastewater into drinkable water within five years. But that’s in 5 years. We must conserve now.

Learn more about the California Water Action Plan, which will guide state efforts to enhance water supply reliability, restore damaged and destroyed ecosystems and improve the resilience of our infrastructure.

And while you’re at it. Pray for rain!


Evergreen Tree Tour

Our City Forest’s guides lead you on a free tour to discover fascinating evergreen trees at the San Jose State University main campus. From familiar Bay Area trees to the rarest oddities.

Tours are Saturdays January 25, February 1 and 8 at 2:00 PM.

Meet at 9th Street Plaza, near the Art Building. RSVP by emailing or by calling 408-998-7337 x 108.

Dress appropriately for the weather, tours are rain or shine.
Limited free parking available on South 10th Street. VTA (bus routes 63, 64, 72, 73, and 81; light rail lines 901 and 902).

Our City Forest mission statement: The mission of Our City Forest is to cultivate a green and healthy San Jose metropolis by engaging community members in the appreciation, protection, growth and maintenance of our urban ecosystem, especially our urban forest.

Our City Forest is a 501(c)3 organization.

San Jose State University
January 25, 2014
February 1 and 8, 2014
2:00 PM
Admission: Free ($5.00 donations suggested)
Remember to RSVP 408-998-7337 x 108

Downtown Ice San Jose

Downtown Ice is located in San Jose’s the Circle of Palms from November 15, 2013 thru January 12, 2014.

You can show off or get embarrassed; of corse, all in fun.

Note: food or drink are not allowed (except water), no in and out privileges (not even to visit the restroom), no lockers or secure storage on site, children 13 and under must be supervised at all times by a parent or guardian.

Hours /Admission and Directions /Parking

Downtown Ice — Circle of Palms
120 S. Market St.
San Jose, CA 95113
(408) 291-0525

A Busy Summer for 2012: Ready, Set, CALENDAR!

Thought you’d have the summer off from theater, music and performance this year? HAH! This summer is shaping up to be the most busy and FUN summer in recent history.  Here are just a few items which you can plan for.  Metblogs should be at all these events, so if you can’t make it we’ll tell you about the fun you missed!  Don’t let it come to that… Put these events on your calendars now!


Roxanne (Jessica Wortham) and Jake (Craig Marker) inspect Harry's (Gabriel Marin) equity card in The Understudy. Photo: Kevin Berne


The Understudy
Now through June 3
San Jose Repertory


Time is running out to see this show that Kathleen Normington, Professor of Theatre at SJSU, called “brilliant and achingly touching”.  Metblogs sadly had to miss this show, but all the reviews have been raving.



Opera SJ

Summer Concert Series
Opera San Jose

One need never live without opera in San Jose.  OSJ has posted their Summer Concert Series schedule on their Facebook page, and if you haven’t clicked LIKE yet, you’re missing a lot of great deals.





Bill W. and Dr. Bob

Bill W. and Dr. Bob
San Jose Repertory
June 21 through July 15


This quick-witted and honest docu-drama follows two dynamic and dedicated men who, in the midst of their battle with acute and debilitating alcoholism, formed a formidable and historic alliance to help others combat the same addiction. Bill Wilson, a stockbroker who crashed with the stock market, finds himself in a bar. He could have pursued any number of distractions–a game of solitaire, reading a book–instead he chose to make a phone call. Through an astonishing series of events and bitter humor comes the inspiring, true story of the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous and their wives.

The Odyssey

The Odyssey on Angel Island State Park
We Players
Now through July 1


A couple years ago the We Players put on an amazing live Hamlet at Alcatraz. This summer it’s a live action The Odyssey on Angel Island.  Metblogs will be there June 16 and this is one of the shows we’re most excited about.  Missing the Alcatraz Hamlet show is something I’ll regret forever, I’ll not make the same mistake twice!  We’re so excited we’re going to read The Odyssey one more time before we go!






July 11 – July 22


It’s like Cirque du Soleil with horses!  Go to the website and check out the videos.  I can’t imagine a more beautiful show.  We’ve checked out the word on animal treatment and they appear to get the highest marks possible, so you can have a guilt free enjoyment of some of the most beautiful horses in the world.  Some packages even allow for a tour of the stables after the show!  Tickets go on sale June 3.


"One ring to bind them!" Charles Ross in One-Man Lord of the Rings™



One-Man Lord of the Rings™
July 24 through July 29
San Jose Repertory


Last summer at San Jose Rep, Ross kept audiences laughing with his solo take on the Star Wars trilogy. This time in One-Man Lord of the Rings™, Ross shoehorns 11 hours and 23 minutes of Peter Jackson’s epic films into a 70-minute show packed with 42 characters, theme music, and sound effects. 

Metblogs was there last summer and it was the most frenetic 90 minutes we’d ever lived through.  We wouldn’t miss this show for the world and you shouldn’t either.

Magic Hour at Montalvo Arts Center

The Montalvo Villa. Photo by Ron Leckie

I was recently invited to a Smash Mouth Concert and Social Media Party at the beautiful Montalvo Arts Center (previously known as Villa Montalvo) in Saratoga. Also featuring Drake Bell and The Relay Company.

It was my first concert at Montalvo and what better way to experience the grounds and outdoor concert venue than with other Social Media Geeks, wine, cheese, and Psycho Donuts! If you haven’t tried Psycho Donuts, I highly recommend indulging in these creative treats. Locations in Campbell and Downtown San Jose.


I was having so much fun during the Social Media Party making new friends and taking pictures with Smash Mouth and the other performers before the concert that I forgot I was there FOR a concert. As soon as we walked out toward our seats I was blown away by the beauty around me. It was dusk so the sky was a bright, welcoming blue. Add live music, flashy pink and purple lights for the stage, and seats full of people having fun in an intimate setting, and I was experiencing the perfect magic hour.

Drake Bell wooing the audience. Photo by Kerry Smith

The concert was a blast! I got to hear The Relay Company and Drake Bell for the first time and I really enjoyed them. I got to relive my college years with Smash Mouth who were totally cool. When they were performing, kids from the audience got up on stage and sang and danced with the band. It was hilarious! Then, the lead singer, Steve Harwell, came and sang in the stands. He was right in front of us! So awesome!!

Towards the end of the concert I took a moment to look up at the beautiful night sky full of stars and saw the Little Dipper. I love being in the moment like that. Music, good company, beautiful surroundings; I was in heaven. Thanks Montalvo! And thanks to Nathan Zanon, Montalvo Arts’ Interactive Media Manager, and all the gracious volunteers for your wonderful hospitality.

Montalvo Arts Center has served the community for over 75 years as a center for creativity, offering art courses, performing arts events, gallery exhibitions, educational opportunities, artist residencies and more. Today, Montalvo and its arts programs serve nearly 200,000 visitors each year. Montalvo will be celebrating their Centennial next year when the Villa turns one hundred.

Upcoming Concerts:

Upcoming Events:

Montalvo Arts Center
15400 Montalvo Rd
Saratoga, CA 95071


Twitter @montalvoarts

“Like” Montalvo Arts on Facebook



Opera San Jose: Summer Concert Series

Jillian Boye and Krassen Karagiozov as the tumultuous lovers Musetta and Marcello in Opera San José’s La bohème. (2010-2011) Photo by Robert Shomler

Whether the fat lady sings or not, the music is never over at Opera San Jose.  This Sunday, July 10, join Opera San Jose for an evening of opera al fresco, as their Resident Artists perform a concert of popular arias and ensembles at the Redwood City Courthouse Square. Bring a lawn chair and a picnic or your favorite treats, and consider making reservations to enjoy one of the nearby restaurants before or after the performance!

Featuring selections from the most famous opera composers in history, the free one-hour performance will take place on the square, across from the Fox Theatre. You’ll get a peek at their 2011-2012 season (Mozart’s dramatic masterpiece Idomeneo, Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci paired with Poulenc’s La voix humaine, Verdi’s beloved La traviata, and Gounod’s thriller Faust), plus a special selection of arias and duets.



Opera San Jose: Summer Concert Series
Sunday, July 10 · 6:00pm – 7:30pm
Redwood City Courthouse Square
2200 Broadway Street
Redwood City, CA

Follow Opera San Jose on Facebook!

Northside neighborhood celebrates restored bocce courts

Bocce court

Two of three bocce courts at Backesto Park have been restored.

The Northside Neighborhood Association celebrated recent improvements to the bocce courts at Backesto Park with a bocce lunch party yesterday. Unfortunately the event was scheduled before the US made it in to the World Cup round of 16, playing at exactly the same time, which might partly explain the modest attendance.

The Luna Park Business District, composed of businesses located along North Thirteenth Street in the Northside, held a mixer event at the bocce courts on Friday. The Luna Park businesses, especially Chiaramonte’s Deli, have made significant contributions to recent work on the courts, and have volunteered to help with future maintenance. Chiaramonte’s also provided lunch for the NNA event yesterday.

After the courts were threatened with removal due to underuse, as we reported in April, a group of volunteers from the Northside got together to restore the courts and make them playable again. Two of the court surfaces were cleaned up with a new layer of crushed oyster shells, and sun shades were erected over the two ends of one of the three courts. All in all, NNA president Chuck Hagenmeier estimates over 100 volunteer hours went into the project.

The results are impressive. Courts that had been weedy, cracked, and flaking are now as smooth as a slate pool table, and eye-searingly white and clean. New users such as a Special Olympics group are coming forward, and the improved court surface should make the courts more appealing to casual pick-up players. The courts are available for use by the public at no charge. The keys to the courts and a set of balls can be borrowed from the nearby Bronco’s Mexican Restaurant or Chiaramonte’s Deli, with the deposit of a drivers license or credit card, during regular business hours.

Silicon Valley Execs Look to the South for R&R

BRIGHT RANCH's Photos - Spring Horsemanship Seminar-April 18, 2010Silicon Valley can be a very high pressure place sometimes, where even the coffee shop is filled with people huddled over their laptops surfing social networks or churning out code and presentations before tight deadlines. One of the joys of living in the valley is it’s proximity to the great outdoors, and Silicon Valley executives looking to steal a little quiet time can go just 30 minutes south of San Jose and find an oasis of calm in tiny San Martin Ca. There’s the amazing Golf course and resort at Corde Valle and just around the corner is Bright Ranch, a riding academy with a long history of teaching children and adults alike how to care about horses “the Bright Ranch Way”.

Just ask the executive from the top security firm who comes to the ranch to spend some time with the horses and relax. He takes riding lessons here with other high-tech refugees; a regional director of a national non-profit, lawyers, doctors, teachers and local horse-owners needing a “tune up” of their riding skills.

This is where they come to unwind and connect with their dream of riding a horse, many for the first time. Some had horses years ago and always meant to get back to it but never found the time. Trainer and instructor Dennis Bright and his family have created a haven where students come to learn at all levels.

At Bright Ranch Horsemanship Academy lessons are about a lot more than technique. Instructors focus on safety, understanding of the way horses think and respond, the learning process and the comfort level of the students. Students learn at their own pace in a safe and positive environment.

“Over the years I learned I had the ability to help others pursue their dreams through horsemanship education. Not only did my clients become better horsepersons, they also experienced incredible growth in their personal lives.”– Dennis Bright

To hear more from Bright Ranch students and Dennis Bright, view the Vimeo channel for Bright Ranch or head down to the ranch for their Summer Celebration and open house on Sunday June 27. It’s a free event with fun for the whole family.

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