Be blessed by Our Lady of Peace

Be blessed by Our Lady of Peace

Even is you are not a catholic, you might be drawn toward the giant Madonna sculpture in Santa Clara off of the 101. The 32 foot tall shiny sculpture with her arms out and a peaceful look on her face has many admirer who bring her flowers or perch on the nearby bench. The sculpture is part of the Our Lady of Peace parish and was erected in 1982.

The small park that she oversees is a great place to contemplate.

One station of the cross, Santa ClaraThe Stations of the Cross that frame the park I found surprisingly simple. Wooden structures that house white plastered scenes depicting Christ on the day of his crucifixion.  

Sculpture of Pope John Paul II, Santa ClaraAcross from Mary is a sculpture of Pope John Paul II in memory of his visit. He is lifting his arm and it seems like he is waving and smiling at Mary.

They also have a gift shop filled with religious paraphernalia.

Where do you go to contemplate?

Geek out with computer artifacts

Geek out with computer artifacts

Have you ever visited the ‘Birthplace of Silicon Valley”? The HP garage is a national landmark, at 367 Addison Ave, in Palo Alto. Unfortunately it does not offer a public tour.

Replica of the HP garage and workbench, StanfordIf you really wonder what it was like to work in the garage you should go visit Stanford’s Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center. On what they call the terrace level, I would refer to as the basement, is a replica of the HP garage and workbench. This replication illustrates the size of the workplace and feels like a homage to the first tech-founders out of Stanford. The chairs and the table inside weren’t part of the garage, but they are a great way to collaborate with fellow students and let your creativity flow, like Hewlett and Packard did back in their days.

Other artifacts in the Engineering Center include Yahoo’s motherboard, the geometric engine chip (necessary to render 3D graphics), the Intel 4004 (the first microprocessor) and NVIDIA’s first GPU (the GeForce 256). All on the first floor.

The first Google storage server, StanfordMy personal favorite is the first Google storage server (on the terrace level). The case is made out of Lego’s and it is said that Google’s affinity for primary colors came from the building blocks color scheme.

All these exhibits remind us that Stanford’s engineering department has a longstanding history of enabling successful companies.

Stanford Engineering HerosYou can pick up a copy of the Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center self-guided tour at the computer kiosk located at the first floor lobby or in suite 135. One hour tours of the Engineering Quad are offered 3-4 times a week and require reservations (https://visit.stanford.edu/calendar/index.html)

 

 

What is your favorite computer artifact?

Can horses fly?

Can horses fly?

Photographer Eadweard Muybridge got commissioned by Leland Stanford to prove that horses can fly.

The horse in motion, statue at Stanford EquestrianTo find an answer to the question if horses are, while galloping, have all four legs off the ground, Eadweard Muybridge performed a gait analysis. In 1878 he came up with a construction of 24 cameras that were along a track. He proved that on one instance the horses legs were all aflot.

Muybridge used these images in his zoopraxiscope, an early device for projecting rotating pictures and perfect for the sequential motions captured. The Horse in Motion, also known as Sallie Gardner at a Gallop, is sometimes credited as the first silent movie.

I went to see pictures of Muybridge at the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts, but to my astonishment, although they have a collection of almost 500 photos, they don’t have a regular display. The only clue for this extraordinary invention and proof is the statue of The Horse in Motion at the Red Barn.

The horse in motion, information board at Stanford EquestrianStanford Equestrian has a plaque to commemorate Muybridge’s role. The tribute acknowledges The horse in motion as the  first academic study of Stanford. There is also an information board explaining the history in a bit more detail.

Have you seen proof about flying horses before?

Delect the poems at Poetry Walk

Delect the poems at Poetry Walk

One of my first stops on a recent visit to Berkeley was Poetry Walk on Addison Street, between Shattuck Ave and Milvia Street. I love public art and curious things out of the ordinary. Putting poems on a sidewalk counts in my book as a creative showstopper.

Moment poem at Poetry Walk, BerkeleyIn 2003 the city of Berkeley installed more than 120 individual cast iron plates with porcelain enameled text on Addison Street. Robert Hass, former US Poet Laureate and a Professor at the University of California at Berkeley, selected the poems that represent the history of Berkeley. The whole project was really a team effort, that got rewarded with multiple awards. (https://www.cityofberkeley.info/uploadedFiles/City_Manager/Level_3_-_Civic_Arts/PoetryWalkEssays.pdf)

Make Art, brick artwork, at Poetry Walk, BerkeleyThe first thing I noticed was that I was the only one admiring and stopping to read the prose. Some scaffolding prevented me from seeing them all.

From the Cold Mountain poems by Han-shan, Poetry Walk, BerkeleyA person cleaning the sidewalk got interested in one of Han-shan’s Cold Mountain poems after I told him I just recently learned about him. “He was a real person?” He asked. “Yes” I said and he looked again closer, reading the poem.

 

 

I also stepped into the tourist information center on Addison, and came out with lots of material about Berkeley to cover.

What poem would you like to see on this walk?

Resources:

Berkeley Installs Three Tons of Poetry in the Downtown Arts District

Berkeley Poetry Walk Receives Downtown Berkeley Association’s President’s Award

 

Get in the Christmas spirit

Get in the Christmas spirit

The whole street is lined with little Christmas trees. The street lights are tinted red. Almost every house on the block is decorated. People walking up and down, pointing and oh-ing, ah-ing. Cars slowing so drivers can catch a glimpse. Here and there you can hear Christmas songs. In front of one house you can listen to “Twas the night before Christmas”. Twas the night before Christmas scene on Christmas Tree Lane in Palo Alto

 

Decorated house on Fulton Street, Palo AltoThis is ‘Christmas Tree Lane’ in Palo Alto. Every year since 1940 Fulton Street off Embarcadero lights up for the whole neighborhood to enjoy. Exceptions of this tradition were in 1942 because of the blackouts during World War II, “Dimmed but not silenced” and in 1973 during the Energy Crisis, the trees were decorated with shining red plastic bows.

 

This year you can enjoy the lights and the atmosphere of Christmas Tree Lane from December 16th to December 31st, 2017 each night from 5pm to 11pm. It is best admired if you park your car in the neighborhood and stroll down Fulton. The architecture of the houses complements the fairy tale look. Whimsical figures are placed everywhere, a Santa on the roof, characters from Dr Seuss on the lawn, the whole crew of the peanuts. Residents of Fulton Street made sure you will have a magical time. Santa on the roof, on Christmas Tree Lane in Palo Alto

 

Happy Holidays!

 

Have you been to Christmas Tree Lane?

Celebrate Christmas in the Park

Celebrate Christmas in the Park

One thing I miss during Christmas season, besides my family, are the Weihnachtsmarkets in Germany. Always a true sign that Christmas is coming, a great place to buy local gifts and drink some Gluehwein.

Every blood donation "counts" treeA surprising ‘christmassy’ event is Christmas in the Park in San Jose. This year they broke the world record for most decorated Christmas trees!  600 decorated trees can be seen on Cesar Chavez Plaza.

Some trees are decorated in memory of lost ones, there is a Grinch, and a Dracula advertising the mobile blood drive December 22nd from 12 pm to 5 pm, at Cesar Chavez Plaza.

 

 

LED ornament

My favorite trees were the Mentor Trees, showcasing the mentorship program between some colleges and elementary, middle and high schools in the area with some LED ornaments that glowed in different colors and patterns and the Washington Elementary Glasses Club Tree, which has some inspiring reasons why to wear glasses!

Washington Elementary Glasses Club Tree

 

The 40 animated displays is probably the reason why there were so many babies and young children during the day.

Caribbean Christmas animationThe one that made me smile the most was the Caribbean Christmas, a bunch of frogs playing a Christmas song in Caribbean tunes.

 

There is also a community stage and you can go see Santa.

This tradition is open through January 7th, 2018 and free with donations.

How are you decorating your tree?

See the light throughout the tunnel

See the light throughout the tunnel

This time of the year, when it gets dark early, it is a joy to see all the light installations, private and public.

Sonic runway, San JoseSan Jose partnered with Burning Man in an initiative called ‘Playa to Paseo’ to bring more engaging art downtown. The first of these, the Sonic Runway, is in front of the City Hall on Santa Clara Street from Fourth to Sixth. Everyday from 5pm to 12am thru mid January 2018 the Sonic Runway “is a corridor of lights that visualizes the speed of sound”, according to the official website. I recommend going both ways through the tunnel; one way the sound is coming at you the other way you are in sync with lights and sound.

 

When I visited, the early visitors were enjoying a stroll thru the tunnel, in both directions. I saw families with kids, but also couples on their way to a night out in town.

A short while later the skaters used a newspaper box as a ramp to perform some jumps and slides inside the tunnel.Skater in the Sonic Runway, San Jose

I had the feeling the only ones not so thrilled about it are the city hall employees trying to go home at 5pm.

 

The other light installations in the ‘Illuminating Downtown’ program are:

(http://www.mercurynews.com/2016/03/22/map-interactive-light-displays-downtown-san-jose/)

  • ‘Show Your Stripes’ – Second and San Fernando

You can use a phone code to change the patterns and colors of lights on the building

  • ‘Sensing You’ and ‘Sensing Water’ – Highway 87 underpasses at Santa Clara and San Fernando

Lights responding to movements of passers-by

Crack the code, an interactive game

  • ‘San Carlos Lantern Relay’ – South side of San Carlos, between Fourth and Market

Eight boxes on poles flash an interactive light show

  • ‘Voxel Cloud’ – Pierce Ave at Market St.

3-D light sculpture on top of the apartment building

 

Have you setup your own Holiday light installation? If you have post a photo on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/untilsuburbia/.

Shop for homeless

Shop for homeless

It’s the time of the year again when we might soon exchange gifts. I am always on the lookout for something meaningful. Gift giving can be joyful, especially when helping others.

If you are in the same situation, looking for gifts, and find yourself near Santa Cruz, you should stop by the Homeless Garden Project pop-up stores, either in downtown Santa Cruz or Capitola.

The Homeless Garden Project operates a farm, which is on Shaffer Rd in Santa Cruz. This is a great spot to visit in spring and summer, when you can either pick your own vegetables or buy from the farm stand. The 3 acre organic farm provides the materials for the retail goods.

homeless garden project store, Santa Cruz

As examples of the bounty you will find in the stores: they offer wreaths uniquely created from dried flowers of the farm, organic jams and baking mixes, bath and body products.

homeless garden project store, Santa CruzCurrently they reside in two locations: one near the MAH, 110 Cooper St, Suite 100G, in the Cooperhouse Breezeway; open daily from 10 am to 8 pm, the other in Capitola on the Esplanade, 222 Esplanade; open Thursday – Saturday 11 am – 7 pm, Sunday 11 am – 4 pm. Both locations are open until 12/24/17.

 

They are even online, so no more excuses: http://www.homelessgardenproject.org

This is a great project that provides job training, transitional employment, and support services for people who are homeless.

Do you know of other great gifting opportunities?

Unearth Confucius

Unearth Confucius

On a recent trip to San Jose I decided to check out the Overfelt Gardens. Within this local park is the Chinese Cultural Garden, a piece of land gifted by Frank and Pauline Lowe in 1971, to bring Chinese culture closer to the American people.

 

Confucius in the Overfelt Gardens, San JoseIt is a very peaceful place with a couple of ponds and the geese population greatly exceeds the human park dwellers. I followed the path to the Chinese Cultural Gardens and was greeted by Confucius himself! I am sure he was meant to be surrounded by water, but the absence of it did not take away from his greatness.

 

Roof of Memorial Hall at the Chinese Cultural Garden, San JoseA few more Chinese structures are in the park, but overall it is just a great place to unwind, walk around in some greenery and surround yourself with peacefulness.

 

Other features of the park are the Amphitheatre, a palm garden and the California garden.

 

What are your favorite places to unwind?

Feed the chickens

Feed the chickens

Soon we will celebrate Thanksgiving and I thought it is appropriate to talk about a local farm.

Emma Prusch donated a substantial piece of land to the city of San Jose to be kept as farmland as the way the Valley of Hearts Delight used to be.

 

Rooster at Emma Prusch Farm, San JoseWhen I first entered the farm it was amazing to me that they have chickens roam around freely in the whole area. In the back there is an animal area where they sell chicken feed for 25 cents. So, make sure you have some quarters if you are entertaining young children. The animal area also has a pot belly pig, bunnies, goats and other fowl. Chicken at Emma Prusch Farm, San Jose

 

On Saturday and Sunday the farm offers pony rides ($10 for 10 minutes). Overall this is a great place for little children, with a playground, the animal area, and lots of space to run around.

 

Emma's kitchen garden at Emma Prusch Farm, San JoseThe true farm experience is offered every first Saturday. The associated Veggielution is a community farm with the mission of connecting people through food and farming. Here you can help farming, cook or just stop by and buy the produce from the farmstand.

 

Everyone is welcome every Saturday and Wednesday morning to garden at Emma’s Kitchen Garden.

 

Have you helped on a farm before?

Happy Thanksgiving!