Bliss in the moment by James Moore on the Bay Trail, Palo Alto.

Take advantage of your bike

May is National Bike month. If I could name one thing that shelter-in-place has a positive impact on is the streets are emptier and therefore easier to ride a bike.

A lot of first time riders, with their parents are confident enough to ride on the streets these days. There are also multiple levels of bike trails around.

To spice things up you could challenge someone, friends or family, to an interesting goal. How about: Burn 6 tacos in a week? Or: Ride 100 miles in May. Record your trips and register with https://www.lovetoride.net/usa/signups/new, you even will have a chance to win attractive prizes, e.g. a new bike!

Suggestions on bike trails:

Bay Trail

Bay Trail near Palo Alto.

The San Francisco Bay Trail is a 500 miles walking and cycling path that spans all nine Bay Area counties. 

East Bay

The Bay Bridge Trail is a 4.4 mile round trip from Oakland to Yerba Buena Island over the Bay Bridge.

https://www.baybridgeinfo.org/path

North Bay

Lime bike at South San Francisco.

The Paradise Loop is a more challenging ride, this 38 miles loop starts in Tiburon.

https://bayarearides.com/rides/tiburonloop/

Peninsula

On Sundays, between 9 am and 3 pm, a 3.8 mile stretch on Cañada Road in Woodside is closed off for non-motorized activities.

https://parks.smcgov.org/bicycle-sunday

Marin

Bike in Santa Cruz.

The Tennessee Valley might be closed right now. Please check before you go.

https://www.nps.gov/goga/planyourvisit/tennessee_valley.htm

Do you have a favorite bike ride?

Trees behind a fence

Go on a virtual nature tour

Last week I gave you a collection of virtual art. This week, with John Muir’s birthday on April 21st and Earth Day April 22nd, it is natural to talk about nature in the Bay Area.

Screenshot of the Oakland Zoo grizzly bear cam.

If you are looking for animals the Oakland Zoo has some webcams for bears and elephants. On my latest visit I did not see any animals, but this might be a virtual hunt (https://www.oaklandzoo.org/webcams)? 

Screenshot of jellyfish at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

I was luckier at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the otters were frolicking around (https://www.montereybayaquarium.org/animals/live-cams/sea-otter-cam), the jelly cam mesmerized me with some minimalistic sounds and the slow movement of the jellyfish (https://www.montereybayaquarium.org/animals/live-cams/jelly-cam). 

If your love for animals is on a smaller scale, you can watch a few YouTube videos of insects by the Essig Museum of Entomology (https://essig.berkeley.edu/bugged/). 

To explore interesting articles by Bay Area Nature magazine (https://baynature.org/category/explore/) is always a great pastime.

How about a virtual garden tour? Bringing back the Natives Garden Tour (https://www.bringingbackthenatives.net/2020-virtual-tour) will zoom you to native gardens in the Bay Area the next  three Sundays from 10 am – 3 pm, registration is required, donations are appreciated.

A virtual park experience is promised by the East Bay Regional Park District (https://www.ebparks.org/activities/digital_learning/default.htm). Park Naturalists tell you everything from how to dissect a flower to why you should count worms in your soil.

Participate in the City Nature Challenge, April 24th – 27th, 2020! You’ll have to download the free iNaturalist app and upload your findings (https://citynaturechallenge.org/).

Or how about playing a nature bingo? (https://drive.google.com/file/d/121rcsGxlSuXQ7ekmkKzEO-h9H-4xqova/view)

On May 6th you can join the live streamed walk of the Los Gator Creek, RSVP required (https://www.savedbynature.org/event-info/creek-tales-nature-walk). Saved By Nature is an amazing organization whose goal is to bring nature to the people that can’t physically go and see it themselves. In the old times this meant persons by illnesses bound to their beds. 

Screenshot of the parktracks website.

For a calming 12 minute listening experience I recommend ParkTracks, a compilation of nature sounds (https://findyourpark.com/about/news/parktracks).

There are many resources out for you to explore. Let’s all enjoy nature close to home right now, so we can flatten the curve. 

Happy Earth Day!

Judy Chicago interviewed in 2018 at the Stanford University.

Go on a virtual tour

Week five for shelter-in-place for the Bay Area has me going a bit stir crazy and longing for some art. I do get my daily art fix from Google’s arts & culture app. I really like the art projector where you can really zoom in on a masterpiece, for example, Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring.

If you’d like to explore the local art scene without using up gas in your car (yeah we are really doing something for the climate now) here are some links to virtual tours.

Rosie Lee Thompkins crazy quilt at the BAMPFA, Berkeley.

Larry Rinder, BAMPFA Director and Chief Curator, walks us through Rosie Lee Tompkins: A Retrospective. Rosie Lee Tompkins was a quilter in a wider sense, and I am really thankful for Mr. Rinder’s explanations of her works. My favorite quilt was the crazy quilt, a style where different shapes are combined. (1 h 12 min, https://bampfa.org/rosie-lee-tompkins-slideshow#rlt-video) I recommend clicking on the link and watching it in full screen on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=232&v=T8NL3KAA8wQ&feature=emb_title).

The Hearst Museum of Anthropology has a few links to keep you busy, from online exhibits, over recorded lectures, to the sound and light archive. (https://hearstmuseum.berkeley.edu/hearst-from-home/).

The Oakland Museum of California (https://museumca.org/omca-at-home) and the Cantor Arts Center (https://museum.stanford.edu/museums-home) have an ‘explore from home’ section.

Time-laps installation of Sonya Rapport biorhythm at the San Jose Museum of Art.

If you want a look behind the scenes of an art museum you should click on the link for the San Jose Museum of Art (https://sjmusart.org/we-are-listening).

MACLA is bringing you Stories from La Sala (https://maclaarte.org/stories-from-la-sala/) your daily dose of contemporary LatineX art.

The NUMU invites you to take a virtual spin through their exhibitions (https://www.numulosgatos.org/virtual).

And the Palo Alto Art Center teaches virtual art classes (https://www.cityofpaloalto.org/gov/depts/csd/artcenter/news/displaynews.asp?NewsID=4878).

While virtual tours cannot replace seeing artwork in person, kind of like looking at a cookbook doesn’t satisfy the need to eat, it helps in times when we are all housebound to get our minds off things.

I hope everyone is safe and healthy!

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?

Kids playing computer games at the Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment (MADE) in Oakland

Study the history of digital games

I know it sounds contradictory to try to get my teenager away from electronics by going to a digital game museum. But it’s all about being able to experience and not just consume. That was my motivation.

The Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment (MADE) in Oakland has an impressive collection of over 5,300 playable games. Your $10 entrance fee buys you a whole day of playing every game imaginable.

They start historically with pong and the old astroid games, but they have all consoles and a ton of games. To preserve the game cartridges you have to ask the staff to switch the games for you. You lounge in comfortable sofas or for the PC games on office chairs.

Star Trek Phaser Battle box, MADE in OaklandI liked the old pong-clone consoles, the colorful boxes, and was amazed at the different controllers they used to have. Some games were hard to figure out, but I can imagine the older child coming here and recreating their childhood from the 80s.

Guitar hero band set up, at the MADE in OaklandI wish I were more adventurous, I would have tried the drums for guitar hero. Yes, they have the whole band setup!

This place attracts mostly boys, but there were also some girls holding their ground. The mothers enjoyed the free WiFi to check their phones. Seating was plenty and comfortable.

 

A great place to teach kids about digital games and play some old favorites.

Have you been to the MADE?  

 

Chabot Space Center in Oakland

Expand your universe

While the eclipse was a great way to get your children interested in space, planets, and safety goggles, you should use this excitement to your advantage to teach them more about the universe. The Chabot Space Center in Oakland is one of the places you can go to learn about space, see movies in a planetarium, tour the telescopes, crawl into a black hole, and much more. They even had volunteers explaining a pinhole to see the storms on the sun (we saw three storms the size of earth!) and another volunteer was tracking the sun’s movement.

Art and Science of Pinball exhibit at the Chabot Space Center in OaklandThe exhibit that convinced my family to go is their current Art and Science of Pinball exhibit, through September 27th, 2017. Of course they let you play a variety of pinball machines. But they also explain the mechanics and help you understand it by singling out the technique and making you press a button to see it.

Art and Science of Pinball exhibit at the Chabot Space Center in OaklandI loved the two pinball machines that were all see through!  One digital, one mechanical, they both allowed you to see the moving parts while someone else played. It made us go back and find the examples in the exhibit.

Bean Sprouts Cafe at the Chabot Space Center in Oakland

Also two thumbs up for the Bean Sprouts Cafe with a lot of healthy and fun food options.

 

Where do you expand your universe?

Women's History Month

Claim Women’s History month

I hope you all celebrated the International Women’s Day. Just one day? you thought. No, women get a whole month! [insert sarcastic comments here]

Nevertheless I think it is important to celebrate the diverse and beautiful females all around us. I have compiled some options for you.

 

Raging GranniesA Woman’s Fight – exhibit of 100+ years history of The Women’s International League For Peace and Freedom (WILPF) and its Palo Alto Chapter, and a tribute to the Raging Grannies. Ends March 24th.

The California History Center at De Anza College

Tuesday-Thursday, 9:30 a.m. to noon, 1:00-4:00 p.m. and Friday by appointment.

Free

 

Sheroes! – A powerful poster exhibit focuses on female heroes.

Foothill College, Campus Center Dining Room (Room 2201)

Free

 

Women’s History Tour

March 25th, 10 a.m.

Free tour by the Mountain View Cemetery

5000 Piedmont Avenue

Oakland, CA 94611

(510) 658-2588

 

Edit-a-thon – edit, update and add articles on Wikipedia

Less than 10% of contributors of Wikipedia are females, here is when this changes.

 

March 11th, 10am – 4:30pm

Bowes Art & Architecture Library, Stanford University

 

March 13th, 11 am – 2 pm

MLK Library, San Jose, CA

 

March 21, 1pm – 6pm

UC Berkeley

 

Are you going to any Women’s History events in the Bay Area?

 

Hoover Tower in Stanford

Presidential digs

view from the hoover towerStanford’s most iconic structure is the Hoover tower. The observation platform on the 14th floor is a nice place to comfortably see the whole campus and beyond, even for someone who is afraid of heights.

The entrance hall showcases the careers of Herbert  Hoover, 31st President of the US, on one side, and his wife, Lou Henry Hoover, on the other. Both were alumni of Stanford. The entrance fee is $3. For more information you can visit the Stanford site: http://visit.stanford.edu/plan/guides/hoover.html

 

docking for the USS PotomacAnother presidential dig is a bit harder to spot since it is a floating fully functional ship. The Potomac used to be called the floating White House for President Roosevelt. He apparently hated flying and used this accommodation quite often. Like I mentioned it is still in service, you can rent it or take a cruise, so it wasn’t available on my recent visit to Oakland. To check availability, visit their website: http://www.usspotomac.org

 

Do you know of other presidential digs in the Bay Area?