Skeletons dancing in Redwood City.

Celebrate the dead

Usually I try to tell you about things that you can do after reading this. For this post you have to make a note and make sure you will check this out next year. 

Stage in front of the Courthouse in Redwood City.

The Dia de los Muertos Festival in Redwood City is an annual celebration of the Mexican holiday, also known in English as the Day of the Dead. For the ninth time last Sunday, the Casa Circulo Cultural, a Redwood City Hispanic cultural organization, in collaboration with the San Mateo History Museum, the Friends of the Library, and Redwood City Parks and Arts Foundation  organize one of the largest festivals of Hispanic culture in the Bay Area.

Skeleton in front of the courthouse in Redwood City.

The Dia de los Muertos was made popular outside of Mexico by the Pixar/Disney movie Coco. One of the performances at the festival sang a Coco song.

Women in traditional outfits, Redwood City.

Largely celebrated in Mexico, and by Mexicans in the US, the festivities span for three days. It is a lively event that remembers the dead and believes that in this window of time you can spend time with lost ones. 

On altars they put a picture of the ones who have passed and their favorite things and food items. The marigold seems to be the predominant flower of this day. People also wear ‘skulls’ as face paint and traditional clothing.

Altar displayed at the courthouse, Redwood City.

The Dia de los Muertos Festival has altar displays, traditional music and dances. There were food stands and  lots of gift items for sale. Each year the event seems to grow in popularity. We waited in line almost 45 minutes to see the altars in the Courthouse building!

I love this tradition for remembering the dead. 

How do you remember the dead in your life?

Resources:

http://diadelosmuertos.nationalhispaniccenter.org/

Sun shining through the trees, Huddart Park, Woodside.

Hike in a forest

With all the wildfires going on, (I hope everyone is safe! ) I felt the need to visit a forest. I thought the air might be purer, which it was, and I would find some serenity, which I did. I decided to do a short hike at Huddart Park in Woodside. I was aware of the $6 parking fee, which I paid.

Entrance sign to Huddart Park, Woodside.

I passed several bikers going up the hills.  I was surprised how high in elevation Huddart Park actually is.

Douglas Fir signpost at Huddart Park, Woodside.

The Redwood Trail I picked for my forest adventure is a 0.7 mile hike, a short loop with minimal elevation changes. I liked the markers that point out shrubs and trees – yes, the Redwood Trail has more to offer than just redwoods! I saw big leaf maples, douglas fir and sword ferns to name a few. I very much appreciated the poison oak sign, always confused on where it might lurk and what it looks like.

It looks like a bark puzzle, Huddart Park, Woodside.

I also enjoyed the different shapes of the tree barks. One was a puzzle with pieces lying on the floor to complete. The mostly wood trail makes for a nice shady hike. 

Bridge at Huddart Park, Woodside.

I crossed a few bridges which would hold a stream in the winter time. Overall, it was nice to be out in the woods.

Where do you go to hike a forest?


Tesla statue, Palo Alto

Surf for free

You might find some public art objectionable. If part of the art is providing free Wi-Fi, will you still object?

Tesla statue, 260 Sheridan Ave, Palo Alto.

Since December 2013 there is a Tesla statue providing free Wi-Fi in Palo Alto with a time capsule to be opened in 2043, 100 years after Tesla died. 


A successful kickstarter campaign was held for the sculpture and free Wi-Fi. It also has it’s own website: https://www.teslastatue.com/ and can be counted as a true Silicon Valley experience.You can also support this artwork and the Wi-Fi by buying a small replica on Amazon (this is the final year of sale).

Tesla statue, 260 Sheridan Ave, Palo Alto.

Dorian Porter of Northern Imagination LLC ran this successful campaign and Harold Hohbach a landowner provides a place in front of one of his office buildings, 260 Sheridan Ave, Palo Alto. 

Yes, your local coffee shop provides Wi-Fi, but I still love the art created by Terry Geyer.

Where do you go to surf for free?

Resources:

https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/nikola-tesla-statue

https://www.paloaltoonline.com/news/2013/12/06/nikola-tesla-statue-to-be-unveiled-in-palo-alto


Fabric samples at FabMo, Mountain View.

Shop for creativity

I don’t know about you, but for me when the weather gets cooler my urge to be creative, especially for handmade things gets larger. For example, I don’t like to knit when it is warm, but now I can see myself with some wool and needles.

Fabric samples at FabMo, Mountain View.

If you are into sewing or have other creative ideas for fabric and on the hunt for reasonable priced fabric, FabMo might be a great place to shop. Born out of the idea of rescuing designer samples, FabMo is an all volunteer organization in Mountain View. They are open once a month for three days in their Selection Event. The next Selection Event is November 7th – 9th, 2019. Check the event calendar for the schedule and other exciting workshops and events.

Spools of yarn at FabMo, Mountain View.

Besides fabric FabMo also offers patterns, carpet samples, and also tiles and other designer samples.

If you are not inclined to be crafty yourself but appreciate handiwork, you might find the annual fair an interesting opportunity. On October 26th, 2019 from 10 am to 4 pm you can shop at the FabMo Arts Boutique at the First Congregational Church, 1985 Louis Road, Palo Alto. 

FabMo is a great place to volunteer and help reduce landfill. There are many ways to help out: sort fabrics, work in the store,  be a blogger or social media influencer.

Are you a maker or a shopper for crafty things?

Vasper cooling machines, Moffett Field

Streamline your exercise

It felt good the other day at the doctors. When she asked me about exercise I could give her a tip on how to get stronger muscles. 

View out the Vasper door towards the hanger, Moffett Field

Vasper is based on three scientifically proven principles – compression technology, cooling and interval training. Scientific experiments also show the reduction of stress hormones. 

Vasper bike at Moffett Field.

What is Vasper? A workout on a bike (or a rower unit or an elliptical unit), with added cooling. I do a 21 minute bike workout where I sit on a cold pad, the feet are bare and also cooled, and cooling compressions are added to the upper legs and arms. It’s perfect for a morning workout since sweat is little, you feel invigorated afterwards, and have a 1 ½ hour routine compressed into 30 minutes (there is a 10 minute cool-down period recommended). You can try out three sessions for free!

Vasper sign with the hanger, Moffett Field.

An added bonus is Vasper is located at Moffett Field in Mountain View. Bring an ID to enter and be close to the airship hangers you always see from the 101.

How do you exercise?

Semaphore, Almaden Tower in San Jose.

Crack the code

Have you ever noticed the four round lights on top of the Adobe Almaden Tower in San José? They look like cat eyes turning to a rhythm.  Every 7.2 seconds they change their position. 

Adobe Almaden Tower's semaphore, San Jose.

This is a semaphore – in the early days a semaphore was the person holding two flags to send messages by changing the arm positions. In computer terms it is a variable used for multitasking operations. This semaphore has four wheels each of them can change into four different positions. Enabling it to have a 256 item vocabulary. It is transmitting a code that you can spend weeks to crack. 

Ben Rubin was chosen as the media artist to install this artwork in 2006. By 2007 Bob Mayo and Mark Snesrud cracked it. It took them 3 weeks to find out the semaphore was spelling out Thomas Pynchon’s Crying of Lot 49.

Adobe Almaden Tower's semaphore, San Jose.

The code has been solved twice now. The most recent update was in October 2012. 

You can spend hours in front of the building or check out Adobe’s website to study the pattern. If you are successful in deciphering the code you can submit it to Adobe and they will award you bragging rights and a year’s subscription for the Adobe Creative Cloud. In 2017 the Tennessee math teacher, Jimmy Waters figured out that the code at that time was a sound file voicing Neil Amstrong’s famous sentence: “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”.

A true Silicon Valley experience. 

Have you ever cracked a semaphore code?

Resources: 

https://www.adobe.com/aboutadobe/philanthropy/sjsemaphore/
https://sf.curbed.com/2017/3/13/14913006/adobe-semaphore-code-cracked-tennessee


View from ground level at the Kaiser Center rooftop garden, Oakland.

Chill on a rooftop garden

I had heard of the Kaiser Center rooftop garden on top of a parking garage in Oakland, near Lake Merritt. Naturally intrigued I went to check it out.

Entrance to 300 Lakeside Garage, Oakland.

You can see greenery from the street level on 21st St. I thought it was a bit tricky to get up to the 4th floor. I went around the parking garage and turned right into a side alley. The stairs there advertised the rooftop garden. As a bonus exercise I took the stairs. 

Lake of the Kaiser Center rooftop garden, Oakland.

When I arrived at the destination I was blown away. There is a little lake with some fountains and a bridge that crosses the lake. A lot of people used the garden as an after lunch walk. Some were just chilling on the shady benches that are plentiful. 

Rooftop garden at the Kaiser Center, Oakland.

A nice size walk that I bet brings joy into a lot of people’s daily lives. 

Have you been to the rooftop garden?

Sandwich board advertising Los Altos First Friday.

Dance on the sidewalk

Many cities in the Bay Area have a First Friday established. San Jose, Oakland, Campbell and Santa Cruz, to name a few.

Band playing in front of Linden Tree bookstore, Los Altos.

I always wanted to go to one, so two weeks ago Friday was my first. Since I did 50 things to do in Los Altos, but missed out on the First Friday, this was my time.

I was early and most of the musicians were still setting up at 6 pm. But by 6:30 pm every corner of downtown was filling the air with music. All different styles are present from polka to rock and folk.

Band playing on State and Main, First Friday, Los Altos.

Livin la vida loca was the opener from a band that played on one of the larger stages on the corner of State and Main. To the side were the girls from the dance school, nervously awaiting their turn; around the picnic tables, people feasting on carry out; an elderly group enjoying wine and tapas; a couple dancing. Los Altos knows how to party!

Drummer of the Ruse, First Friday, Los Altos.

I liked the Ruse, a trio of high schoolers that played next to the Tasting Room. Ready to rock, they were constricted by someone who thought the drums were too loud. They made the best of it while waiting for a damper. I’m sure they will play a lot of First Fridays, and who knows, eventually stand on a large stage. 

View into Viewpoint Gallery, Los Altos.

First Fridays are, of course, happening on the first Friday of the month in Los Altos from 6 to 8pm. Some stores might be open longer and the two galleries in town usually have receptions. 

What a great way to invite you to linger downtown. 

Do you like to dance on the sidewalk?


Front facade of the art and art history at San Jose State University.

Regard the future of art

Announcement for the Natalie and James Thompson Art Gallery.
Excerpt for (inter) Facing - Fall 2019 Digital Media Art Faculty Exhibition.

The current exhibit held by the faculty of the department of art and art history at San Jose State University is called: (Inter) Facing. This digital media art exhibit runs until September 20th, 2019 at The Natalie and James Thompson Art Gallery. Virtual reality drawings and an opera with video game imaging are some of the highlights. With six annual exhibits the Natalie and James Thompson Art Gallery is worth visiting often.

Announcement board for the Student Art Galleries at San Jose State University.
Announcement and excerpt of the O Belcher Gallery.

Across this gallery is the O Belcher Gallery that also has a digital media installation with some techno music. 

Outline hanging on the wall for Not a Straight Line, SJSU.
Peak into the exhibit: How not to draw a Straight Line, SJSU.

While wandering the hallway I found two more galleries. I really liked that it wasn’t just art ‘presented’, but one could feel that a lot of thought went into how it got presented. Not a straight line, for example, had the outline of the exhibit on six papers on the wall.

Notepads to record your critiques, SJSU.

Every gallery had a notepad for you to write and critique the exhibit.

You could feel that art in its myriad forms was present throughout SJSU.

During the academic year the galleries are open Monday – Friday 10 am – 4 pm. Tuesday evenings 6 pm – 7:30 pm. Admission is free.

Where do you feel the future of art?


Haoyun Erin Zhao art work for the 50|50 show at the Sanchez Art Center, Pacifica

Get your instant art gratification

View from the main gallery hallway exhibit of 50|50, Sanchez Art Center in Pacifica.

50 artworks created in 50 days by more than 60 artists. Now in its eleventh year the 50|50 show held by the Sanchez Art Center in Pacifica is a great success. Artists challenge themselves to create 50 pieces of artwork each on a small canvas in 50 days. 

Main gallery with some of the 50|50 artwork, Sanchez Center, Pacifica.

The work is arranged in 7 x 7 grid and the 50th piece on the side. Everything was for sale, right there. You can be the owner of some special creation and take it home right away. I’ve seen price ranges from $45 to $150. Some artists give a discount if you buy 2 or more. 

Single image viewers, Sanchez Art Center, Pacifica.

If you get overwhelmed by the mass of images you can grab yourself a single image viewer to experience only part of the collection.

Part of Kimberley D’Adamo Green's 50|50 artwork, Sanchez Art Center, Pacifica.

Opening night was August 30th, 2019. We visited on Sunday there were a lot of missing images. Some artists put up a photo of the whole project, so you could identify both what was sold and how the whole collection looked. 

Gallery hours are Fridays to Sundays from 1 pm – 5 pm. The exhibit runs until September 22. 

Have you been to the 50|50 art show in Pacifica?