The first Google storage server, Stanford

6 Hidden Spots for Geeks and Nerds in Silicon Valley

Silicon Valley houses more geeky nerds, and I mean this as an honorary term. There are some places that might be especially interesting for this group:

  1. The first Google server with a case made with Legos. 

This server is displayed in the basement at the Huang Engineering Building in Stanford. 

While you are there check out the replica of the HP garage.

Huang Engineering Building Stanford

475 Via Ortega, Stanford, CA 94305

https://engineering.stanford.edu/about/visit

  1. Visit Facebook’s first office

The Face Book in Palo Alto is the first office of social media giant Facebook. A sign outside commemorates this place. This is an easier way to get a picture with a thumbs up. 😉

The Face Book - first Facebook office in Palo Alto.

The Face Book

471 Emerson St, Palo Alto, CA 94301

  1. Apple Campus 3 

The spaceship, Apple Park, Apple’s new headquarters in Cupertino is only viewable from afar at the visitor center. A great way to get a closer look of Apple is the Apple Campus 3, AC3 as insiders might call it. 

Apple

222 N Wolfe Rd, Sunnyvale, CA 94085 

https://appleinsider.com/articles/18/03/19/apples-third-large-california-campus-is-already-built

  1. See the latest Android figure

Google celebrates its Android operating system versions by dedicating lawn sculptures. The naming used to be in alphabetical order after deserts and other sweets. The former OS figures can be seen near the visitor center. The latest Android figure is usually displayed at the Googleplex. For Android 11 you can also see it online, to stay with the candy theme, the internal name was Red Velvet Cake, the recipe is ‘taped’ to the sculpture, at least in its virtual version. 

https://www.android.com/android-11-ar-statue/

Google

Android Lawn Sculpture in Mountain View.

Android Lawn Sculptures

1981 Landings Dr, Mountain View, CA 94043

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Android_lawn_statues

  1. Tour Roblox headquarters 

See your favorite characters at the Roblox headquarters. Due to COVID-19 the 60 minute tours will be awarded in a lottery. Sign up at:

https://behindtheblox.splashthat.com/

Roblox

970 Park Pl, San Mateo, CA 94403

  1. Santa Clara NVIDIA Building

NVIDIA, inventors of the GPU, set themselves a building fitting for the creative potential. It is unique in how it used triangles, representing the building blocks for computer graphics.

NVIDIA

NVIDIA office in Santa Clara.

2788 San Tomas Expressway Santa Clara, CA. 95050

https://blogs.nvidia.com/blog/2013/02/20/nvidia-to-build-a-new-home-20-years-after-our-founding/

Do you have any tips on hidden spots for geeks and nerds?

In my 50 things to do series I usually have ideas for nerdy fun.

Masked fisherman sculpture at Half Moon Bay.

Masks on Sculptures

The unfortunate fashion accessory of 2020, a facial covering, can also be spotted on various sculptures throughout the Bay Area.

Right now the smoke from the Santa Cruz and San Mateo wildfires have reached our city and exploring is on hold. I hope everyone is safe out there, especially because the heat wave isn’t over yet either!

Anyway, along the way I have started to photograph some sculptures with masks on. Thank you whoever thought this would be an additional statement.

Surfer sculpture on Cliff Dr. in Santa Cruz.

The surfer on Santa Cruz cliff walk for example can be usually spotted wearing some protective gear – until the no-maskers demonstrated in front of the sculpture. I wonder if there is a correlation?

Gay Liberation a sculpture of four all white painted people from George Segal at Stanford.

The ‘Gay Liberation’ sculpture from George Segal at Stanford was responsible covering up, because they have a hard time social distancing.

Biker sculpture by James Moore, at the Bay Trail in Palo Alto.

Another masked artwork I found was the biker at the Bay Trail in Palo Alto. This work is called ‘Bliss in the Moment’ by James Moore. I love Moore’s statement about his art: “I want my artwork to add something positive to the world. By exploring themes of hope, strength, and playful possibility, my sculpture conveys a positive message of what I feel it means to be human.”

We are all in this together!

Have you taken photos of masked sculptures?

Do you want to explore more sculptures in Stanford? I recommend checking out my page on 50 things to do in Stanford.

Black Lives Matter Mural on Hamilton St. in Palo Alto.

Drive by the BLM Art

While one California city (Redwood City) is in the news for removing their Black Lives Matter street mural, Palo Alto has blocked off the middle of the road for their colorful artwork.

City Hall in Palo Alto with the BLM letter's E and S.

Palo Alto’s BLM mural is in front of City Hall on Hamilton St. The public art commission hired 16  artist teams, each of them designing a letter. 

When I photographed each letter I noticed some cars slowing down and the drivers admiring the artwork. There were also some kids enjoying the letters.

Letter E of BLM mural in Palo Alto picturing Assata Shakur.

A controversy arose about one of the E’s picturing Assata Shakur, a Black Liberation Army fugitive and FBI most wanted. To my knowledge the mayor, Adrian Fine, declared the mural will stay as is. (see NBC News from July 16th, 2020 https://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/fugitive-the-source-of-debate-over-black-lives-matter-mural-in-palo-alto/2327624/)

There is a petition out on change.org (http://chng.it/nsVCBzPvhC) to provide protection for the mural, to make this a lasting piece of art in Palo Alto.

What is your stand on the BLM in Palo Alto?

Appreciate the MLK Legacy

Appreciate the MLK Legacy

I have spent numerous hours on Stanford’s campus and found 50 things to do. Recently I came across the Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute in an article by the Mercury News. The nation’s most comprehensive collection of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s writings were entrusted by his widow, Coretta Scott King, in 1985 to Prof. Clayborne Carlson, who is Professor of American History at the university.

Front door of the Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute, Stanford.

Sadly the institute, founded in 2005, is underfunded and still housed in its temporary place. Dr. Carlson, the director, will retire this August and so far no replacement to head the institute has been called. 

Why funding of MLK’s heritage is important might be answered by King’s speech “The other America” he gave 1967 at Stanford and, thanks to the Institute, can be watched on YouTube. It still rings true today with America divided in two nations, with different experiences depending on the color of your skin. Amazingly he also talks about the idea of a base income for all people.

Besides its temporary location the center has hosted a remarkable list of guests which includes the Dalai Lama and Jesse Jackson. In early June students came together and founded the #StandWithKing initiative to raise money for the institute. You can sign their petition on change.org or check out the website: bit.ly/StandWithKing  and donate some money to the cause.

Picture of Martin Luther King Jr. at the Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute, Stanford.

To learn more about Martin Luther King Jr. the institute put together two online exhibits on the Google Arts & Culture site: https://artsandculture.google.com/partner/martin-luther-king-jr-research-education-institute

Would you support the Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute?

Resources:

https://thesixfifty.com/watch-martin-luther-king-jr-s-speech-at-stanford-university-about-the-other-america-523e7e05df7

Wind Wave with art in the park sign at Byxbee Park, Palo Alto.

Enjoy Some Art at Byxbee Park

A few years ago I wrote about The Pole Field at Byxbee Park in Palo Alto (Walk the trails between Bay and posts). Since my radius of wandering is limited right now, I recently went back there. Speaking of limited, parking is only allowed in the lots, no street parking. But this was no issue in the middle of the day on a weekday.

There were only a few people walking and running. The most interesting method of movement was presented by three motorized unicyclists in full gear on a hot day.

 Foraging Islands by Watershed Sculpture at Byxbee Park in Palo Alto.

I did come for the art and the joy of exercise. Foraging Islands by Watershed Sculpture was installed in 2018 and is an ecological sculpture absolutely fitting for the Byxbee Park and its idea of intersecting nature and culture. With the help of a multitude of volunteers gathering nearby materials, they established a dam-like temporary public art installation, a perfect habitat for insects and rodents.

Wind Wave by Peter Richads, Michael Oppenheimer and George Hargreve & Associates at Byxbee Park in Palo Alto.

Across from the Foraging Island is the Wind Wave which is part of the permanent art displayed together with The Pole Field and The Chevrons, a collaboration of artists Peter Richards, Michael Oppenheimer and the landscape design and architects George Hargreaves and Associates

Have you ever enjoyed a walk of nature and art at Byxbee Park?

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?

If you are taking a break sometimes you can find fun ways to look up your bike, for example in Los Altos.

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!

I also found some virtual nature tours to enjoy!

Map of the Stanford Dish loop.

Run Around the Stanford Dish

It is vital these days to exercise.  A lot of public parks and open space preserves have been closed off, due to the excessive use and therefore people not being able to keep the 6ft required distance. 

We were lucky two weeks ago when my son and I decided to hike the Stanford Dish it was still open. As of April 3rd, they closed access to the Dish. 

The Stanford Dish

I have to confess I put the Stanford Dish hike in my 50 things to do in Stanford without ever being on the path. I am glad I did this hike before it got closed off. The path is concrete, which allows for wheelchairs and strollers, but keep in mind the alleviation changes dramatically – my health app said I climbed 22 floors that day!

Old radio telescope, Stanford Dish hike.

I always wanted to do this 3.8 mile loop passing the old radio telescope visible from 280. I was surprised that there are actually two radio telescopes! We parked at the Stanford parking lot, which is free. Be sure not to park in the residential area, because they will ticket.

The Dish is (usually) open from sunrise to sunset. No dogs, accept service dogs, or bicycles are allowed.

Stanford Dish

Have you hiked the Dish loop before?

Do you know of any hikes that are still open?

Timeline for Seeing Picasso at the Pace Gallery, Palo Alto.

See Picasso

Seeing Picasso is the title of an exquisite exhibit at the Pace Gallery in Palo Alto. I urge every art lover to drop by and see the collection. 

Front window of the Pace Gallery in Palo Alto.

Currently the windows are covered up at the Pace Gallery. Only the front door is announcing the opening hours. It feels like some mysterious, secretive place.

iPad for the audio tour at Pace Gallery, Palo Alto.

When you enter you are greeted by the friendly staff. If you like, you can borrow an iPad and a headset to enjoy an audio tour for a “chronological survey of Picasso” led by Alexander Nemerov.

The audio tour was fun and informative. The poetic explanations definitely point you in new directions while admiring the artwork. 

My favorite painting was The Dead Casagemas (1901) which is considered to be the start of Picasso’s Blue Period. Casagemas, Picasso’s best friend killed himself; he obviously left Picasso in sorrow. 

After seeing a huge Picasso exhibit once in Berlin I highly recommend taking your toddler. Mine, at the time, had a blast and sometimes a better access to the art. 

Timeline for Seeing Picasso, Pace Gallery, Palo Alto.

I liked the timeline in the foyer, starting with Picasso’s birth (1881) till his death (1973). Picasso’s milestones are interspersed with inventions and other important events at that time, putting Picasso in the context of his generation. 

Seeing Picasso will be shown till February 16th, 2020 at the Pace Gallery, 229 Hamilton Ave, Palo Alto. Admission is free.

Have you seen Picasso?

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