Sat09202014

News

Meet the Mountain View City Council candidates

Meet the Mountain View City Council candidates


Nine candidates have filed to run for three open seats on the Mountain View City Council in the Nov. 4 election – none of them incumbents. The Town Crier asked them to introduce themselves to readers in the following Q&A format. We knew the...

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Schools

LASD committee looks to rank campus improvement projects

LASD committee looks to rank campus improvement projects


Traci Newell/Town Crier
The Los Altos School District’s newly expanded Facilities Advisory Committee met for the first time last week. The 28-member committee’s first task is to prioritize campus improvement projects.

The Los Altos Scho...

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Community

Sports

New-look Lancers find their footing

New-look Lancers find their footing


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Jenna Adams, left, and Carly Deale attempt to bump the ball Friday night. The juniors combined for 28 kills.

This year’s St. Francis High girls volleyball team faintly resembles last season’s squad ...

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Special Sections

MV Whisman teachers cite low pay

MV Whisman teachers cite low pay


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
An estimated 75 supporters of higher teacher pay turned out for the Sept. 4 Mountain View Whisman School District board meeting.

Teachers, trustees and administrators are recovering from a dramatic Mountain View Whism...

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Business

Skin rejuvenation studio joins Rancho

Skin rejuvenation studio joins Rancho


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Esthetician Marjan Kashi showcases one of the treatment rooms at her new studio, Pure Serenity Skincare at Rancho Shopping Center. Kashi provides services including microdermabrasion and various light and heat energy the...

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Books

A woman's perspective on the Greatest Generation

A woman's perspective on the Greatest Generation


During World War II, Virgilia Short Witzel, a young mother and U.S. Navy officer’s wife, grappled on the home front in Menlo Park with wartime rationing, shortages and loneliness. During the ensuing Cold War, she experienced adventure and misadventur...

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People

JERALD (JERRY) NELSON CHRISTIANSEN

JERALD (JERRY) NELSON CHRISTIANSEN

Resident of San Jose and Los Altos, California

July 21, 1931 to August 4, 2014

Born in Arimo, Idaho, to Jerald Emmett and Rebecca Henderson Nelson Christiansen. Raised in Davis and Riverside, California, with summers in Downey, Idaho, and in Loga...

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Travel

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska


Sandy Powell/Special to the Town Crier
Los Altos resident and bird photographer Sandy Powell recently visited Homer, Alaska, to photograph Sandhill cranes, below. While there, Powell also encountered moose, left.

Los Altos resident Sandy Powell, a...

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Stepping Out

Pear puts on a pair of plays

Pear puts on a pair of plays


J. Smith/Special to the Town Crier
Dan Kapler (as Teddy) and Betsy Kruse Craig (Trish) star in Pear Avenue Theatre’s “House.”

The Pear Avenue Theatre production of two interlocking comedies by Alan Ayckbourn – “House&...

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Spiritual Life

Back to Church Sunday offers opportunity to recommit

The children in Los Altos are back to school, and I can still hear parents cheering. Summer is officially over, even if the calendar doesn’t quite think so.

Parents have attended Back to School nights to meet their children’s teachers. B...

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Magazine

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living


Courtesy of Spectrum Interior Design
In place of a more traditional fireplace, this modern living room features a linear-flame firebox that emits heat while offering a sculpturelike design element.

After traveling the world and visiting a host...

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Novel set in Bay Area casts inscrutable shadow


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Reading “Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore” by Robin Sloan (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2012) is like going to an old-fashioned county fair – it’s a lot of fun and there are many surprises along the way. To add to the enjoyment, the book is set in San Francisco and Mountain View, with a stop along the way in New York City.

The main character, Clay Jannon, an unemployed Web designer, is a likable young man who doesn’t seem to possess many marketable skills but is very resourceful. He manages to find a job as night clerk at Mr. Penumbra’s bookstore.

There is a mystery central to the basic plot of what is really going on inside this strange book shop. But once we unveil the answer to that question, more surprises remain in store (no pun intended).

It is no surprise that this book made the list of Bay Area Best-Sellers last month, given the local settings and rollicking pace.

Jannon has two important resources: his own tenacity and drive in pursuit of the truth and his cadre of friends, who assist him by providing money, technological savvy and important contacts.

Initially intrigued by discovering that the bookstore has very few customers and strange, unreadable books, Jannon employs the powerful computer technology at Google headquarters to unlock some of these enigmas. Solving the first puzzle leads to more puzzles, and he discovers that technology alone will not resolve every challenge.

It was a bonus to discover that Sloan mentioned several authors whose books I also enjoy, such as J.R.R. Tolkien, John Steinbeck, Dashiell Hammett and Walter Isaacson. His characters are equally familiar with Internet technologies, such as Facebook groups, Google ads and Hacker News (a social news website about computer hacking and startup companies) current in Silicon Valley.

Sloan’s best writing comes at the end of the book: “There is no immortality that is not built on friendship and work done with care. … Your life must be an open city, with all sorts of ways to wander in.”

If you wander into this book, you won’t be disappointed.

Leslie Ashmore, a longtime Mountain View resident, belongs to two book clubs.

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