Call me Ishmael phone, Los Gatos library

Call me Ishmael

Call me Ishmael phone, Los Gatos library

“Press any button to hear a story from an anonymous bibliophile about a story they loved.”  This is the sentence you hear when you pick up the receiver of the old pay phone in the Los Gatos library.

Reviews are read from different book lovers. Unfortunately there was no volume button. Some recordings are hard to listen to from the recording quality and the speed of the reader. But the personal account is priceless. Some are short and sweet but most of them are true personal recollections.  

Press 0 and you’ll hear a pitch for ‘Call me Ishmael’ or if you are at home in front of your computer you can watch their YouTube video for their earlier kickstarter project.

Current book selection from Call me Ishmael, Los Gatos library

Currently the book selections are from Sarah Boynton’s Pyjama Time! , a picture book, to classics like Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, to the Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger.

If you like to record your own review you can do this by calling 774.325.0503. On the CMI website you can also listen to featured calls.

Los Gatos library (front entrance)

A fun way of learning about new books! The personal touch of the stories makes it feel like a friend is telling you about a book they loved, and the Los Gatos library is a great place to hang and discover new books.

What book would you review?

Front view of the Eichler X-100

Marvel at the Eichler X-100

X-100 indoor garden and fireplace

Usually I wouldn’t tell you about this house, if I myself hadn’t been inside. For the inside is really the interesting part. But in this case I make an exception. Thanks to the American Institute of Architects San Mateo who generously provided me with images from the inside of the Eichler X-100.

You, who know Eichlers, are aware of the private facade Eichlers display towards the street. So, to be able to look inside this marvel, even just seeing the pictures, is a treat. You can imagine the design ideas of Quincy Jones and Frederick Emmons the main architects of a lot of Eichler homes.

Double oven in the X-100

The San Mateo Highlands are the largest Eichler community with over 700 of the “Modern California” homes. The X-100 is an experimental home with steel instead of wood beams. It shows off its modernity with two interior gardens, but also the kitchen equipment was prototyped and came in 1956 with a black dishwasher, a garbage disposal (“pulverator”), a double oven and a radio and intercom to name a few features.

Heated inlay in the table at the X-100

One of my favorite upgrades is the heated inlay in the kitchen table to keep the food warm.

Since it is occupied, tours are rare, and are by appointment for groups only. Please respect their privacy.

Are you an Eichler fan?

Resources:

https://www.eichlernetwork.com/article/eichler-x-100-house-steel

https://www.realtor.com/news/unique-homes/eichler-x-100-house-steel-available-rent-5500k/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X-100_(house)

http://www.eichlermidcentury.com/index.html

https://www.bungalowjournal.com/eichler-experimental-the-x-100/

Reach & Teach store in San Mateo

Buy something at Reach & Teach

If this is your year to become more sustainable maybe Reach & Teach in San Mateo can help. They were awarded the 2014 Sustainability Awards from Sustainable San Mateo.

Store front of Reach & Teach, San Mateo

This small store has everything from games to books to fairtrade tea. It is a great place for buying a gift. You could even fill out their gift advisor form online. But if you go by the store and need some advice, they are happy to help and might even play some games with you! Most of the games are unique titles that are not usually found in other game stores, teaching the players about peace, equality and sustainable living. One of the games is their very own invention: CIVIO – A civil rights game.

Games you can try out at Reach & Teach, San Mateo

Their slogan is: “transform the world through teachable moments”. Reach & Teach got founded as a subsidiary of Craig Wiesner and Derrick Kikuchi’s award-winning educational consulting company, WKMN Training, LLC. If you like to learn how you can make a difference in this world, best to stop by the store and get some ideas.

How will you be more sustainable in 2019?


Video arcade machines at High Score, Alameda

Get a high score

We went to the Pinball Museum in Alameda before and I was surprised that they also have an Interactive Arcade Museum.

Playing arcade games at High Score, Alameda

High Scores on Park St in Alameda (or B St in Hayward) is another rainy day option. $6 buys you an hour of fun, if you plan to stay longer you might want to invest in a $12 day pass. Teach your kid who is boss in Mortal Kombat II or eat some dots and ghosts in the classic Pac Man. A lot of these games are multiplayer, so, bring a friend or a few kids. You can also celebrate your next birthday or organize a team building event. The atmosphere is loud and crowded, but on our visit there you could always find a machine to try a game.

arcade inspired art

I liked the arcade inspired artwork above the video games and the Donkey Kong photo opp outside.

Pac-Man arcade game at High Score, Alameda

Which one is your all time favorite arcade game?


BAMPFA sign, Berkeley

Explore the Dimensions of art

A rainy Sunday is a great excuse to go to a museum. I convinced my family that the Dimensionism exhibit at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) would be worthwhile.

On the first floor the Harvey Quaytman: Against the Static is on display till January 27th and an excellent beginning of a study of shapes, textures, and colors. There will be a gallery talk on January 24th, at 5:30: Artist John Zurier joins curator Apsara DiQuinzio for a multifaceted look at Harvey Quaytman’s art.

A new exhibit that was not yet open last Sunday still brought me a lot of joy by just peeking at it and I can tell this will be a new highlight. Unfortunately you can’t touch the furry creations of Masako Miki but MATRIX 273 opened January 9th and runs till April 28th, 2019.

All these forms, shapes and colors will introduce you to the next level (on the lower level): Dimensionism: Modern Art in the age of Einstein. The modern artists interest in science, named Dimensionism, includes Kandinsky, Miró and Picasso. I really enjoyed the works of Isamu Noguchi, his sculptures representing the cosmic view with pleasing shapes.

Harold Edgerton’s Milkdrop Coronet was fascinating, not only the image, but the fact that he in 1933 invented the stroboscopic method of taking photographs with stroboscopic light, creating the illusion of freezing an action.

Staircase in the BAMPFA, Berkeley

The blood red stairway up to the Babette Cafe felt like being captured in an Andy Warhol print. But the friendly staff and yummy cake were well worth the transformation!

Thanks to Discover & Go, a service our library offers, we were able to get in for free. Usually adults pay $14, but there are many discounts available. People under 18 are always free. On the first Thursday of the month gallery admission is also free. The museum is open Sunday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 11 am – 7 pm, Friday and Saturday 11 am – 9pm. Since everything can change, it’s best to check online.

What is your favorite Dimension?

Quarry Lakes, Fremont

Hike around a quarry

One of our New Year’s Day traditions is to begin the new year with a short hike. The first time we did this we ended up on quite a hill which had frost on the ground.

This year we went to Fremont and hiked around the Quarry Lakes. ($5 parking fee)

Around the quarry is a moderate hike, I would guess under 4 miles, with a mostly flat path. The view is spectacular with surrounding mountains and always a great view of the water. We even saw an egret. The San Francisco Bay Area is part of the Pacific Flyway and a welcome stopover for many migrating birds.

A word of caution for people depending on wheelchairs, most of the path is gravel and I assume tough to maneuver. The beach area offers beach wheelchairs on a first come basis and the fishing pier and some picnic areas are also accessible. We did see bikers and they did not seem to mind the gravel. In fact the park’s trail network connects with the Alameda Creek Regional Trail. You could hike/bike from Niles Canyon all the way to Coyote Hills and the Don Edwards National Wildlife Refuge.

Quarry Lakes park, Fremont

Besides hiking there are opportunities to swim, fish, and boat. Swimming wasn’t that popular, but maybe we will come back in the summer to check this out.

Do you have a New Year’s Day tradition?

What are your favorite short hikes in the Bay Area?

Happy New Year!

Brilliance in Palo Alto

Change the light with Brilliance

Brilliance artwork in Palo Alto

I admired the six sculptures between the Palo Alto library and the Art Center during the daylight. Just recently I learned that these bulby metal objects with the stanced out metal messages glow in the dark. The design even allows you to change the color by pressing a button.

Brilliance in Palo Alto

Joe O’Connell of Creative Machines,  an artist collective that specializes in interactive exhibits and artworks, and Blessing Hancock created Brilliance. Like my experience with Brilliance, their goal is to create beautiful objects that evolve into a deeper meaning and use.

Button on the Brilliance artwork to change color.

The phrases in multiple languages that you can see on the sculptures got collected from the community. The writings reflect the diversity of Palo Alto and it is fitting for the space between the library and art center to have a community engaged art collection.

Brilliance in Palo Alto

To dive deeper into the experience you can now connect with STQRY an app that gives you background information.





I hope your New Year will be a brilliant enlightenment. Wishing everyone a great start into 2019!

Kid admiring Rudolph on Eucalyptus Street, San Carlos

Admire the lights on Eucalyptus Street

This is the season of lights. There are many neighborhoods in the Bay Area that cherish this tradition in an extraordinary manner.

Santa landing strip, Eucalyptus Street, San Carlos

Eucalyptus Street in San Carlos is two blocks of Holiday Wonderland. Parking is tight but not impossible. There is a park nearby, Burton Park, that might be your best option for parking. If you start on the corner of Orange and Eucalyptus Santa is asked to land there. He might as well stroll up and down to see all the beautiful lights. There are a lot of people and the little ones are plentiful, too.

Kids writing letters to Santa

On my visit on Saturday night I saw a lot of residents having private holiday parties. Nevertheless they made this an event for everyone by having a brass band playing Holiday favorites, a young juggler performing, plenty of photo opps for the instagram or Holiday cards, and of course the lights and moving objects to look at. My favorite attraction was the letter to Santa mailbox. Kids can write letters to Santa, last year they wrote 3217, and Nan Pat and Bumpy personally will deliver the mail.

Eucalyptus Street, San Carlos

This is a nice festive activity. A little boy of maybe two pointed at the moon as if he just saw Santa’s sled. Overall I think they did a great job! Got me into a merry mood.


Merry Christmas!

Happy Holidays everyone!

Relax in the Gamble Garden

Volunteer raking at the Gamble Garden, Palo Alto.

365 days a year you can go over to Old Palo Alto and see what’s in bloom or just chill and soak up the beauty.

The Gamble Garden is open for the public year round, on the grounds of the historic home  where Elizabeth Gamble grew up 100 years ago. The garden became a public park in 1985.

Kids digging and measuring worms at the Gamble Garden, Palo Alto

Every second Saturday they open the doors a bit wider. The next event is January 12th, 2019. A morning (10 am – 11:30 am) for the whole family. They offer tours around the garden, a family nature hunt, and a tour of the first floor of the home.

I enjoyed the Second Saturday in December with some friends. We browsed the seasonal offerings of decorations and the holiday greens sale. It was fun to see all the kids digging for the longest worm.

Water drops on plant at Gamble Garden, Palo Alto.

My friend introduced me to her passion of photographing water droplets on plants; we could find many examples.

Mary our tour guide at the Gamble Garden, Palo Alto.

I was so glad we caught the tour with Mary our tour guide! We started at the new water catching area, a water tank that feeds a little stream with water plants, experienced the wisteria room and its tranquility, and got a lesson in photosynthesis and how to describe plants.

Schola Cantorum chorus at the Gamble Garden, Palo Alto.

It was a festive outing with the holiday carols from the acclaimed Schola Cantorum chorus.

This will be on my holiday to-do list for the upcoming years. A great tradition is born.

If you are interested in visiting the Gamble Garden for the next Second Saturday you should register with them on their website.

Do you have a holiday tradition?

Timewarp to Dickens’ London

Timewarp to Dickens’ London

Dancers at the Dickens Fair, Daly CityHave you ever felt like  you want to escape to a different time or place? Over the next couple of weekends you can visit Victorian London. Dress up in the style of the time period , or whatever dress-up option you prefer, I’ve seen Steampunks besides the Victorian top hats and dresses but mostly just your regular gear. The Dickens Fair at the Cow Palace in Daly City opens its doors every weekend, 10 am – 7 pm, until December 23rd, 2018 for a fairytale like adventure.Performers at the Dickens Fair, Daly City

The atmosphere is a dim-lit street scene. Food and gift shops on either side make it a stroll through the mid 1800s. Check the map to catch lots of performances from singing to dancing, Dickens himself was announced to come by and read!

Of course Dickens’ plays are performed at various stages throughout the exhibit halls. 

Roasted Chestnuts at the Dickens Fair, Daly CityThere are plenty options to sit and watch the crowds moving along. The smell of cinnamon, candied nuts and chestnuts welcome you.

Jewelry made from real roses or self made woven garment are just examples of the unique offerings.  Children can dip their own candles.

Will it teach us the spirit of Christmas? It might.

Man with baby window shopping at the Dickens Fair in Daly CitySo eat, drink, give gifts and be merry! And if you need to escape to a different time to catch the spirit of Christmas Present go to the Dickens Fair.

Where do you escape from/into the Holidays?