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News

LA Council race adds 3 new faces to city politics

LA Council race adds 3 new faces to city politics


The Town Crier chronicled the first election of Los Altos City Council incumbent Jarrett Fishpaw in 2010 and documented the Los Altos candidacy of Jean Mordo, who volunteered as a longtime public servant in Los Altos Hills before moving to the flat...

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Schools

St. Simon launches web-based learning management system

St. Simon launches web-based learning management system


Courtesy of St. Simon Parish School
St. Simon fifth-grader Matthew Cummins uses a laptop in class last week. The school’s cloud-based Schoology system boosts organization and collaboration.

Families at St. Simon Parish School in Los Altos laun...

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Community

Los Altos to celebrate 100 years of library use with 'Centennial Faire'

Los Altos to celebrate 100 years of library use with 'Centennial Faire'


Town Crier File Photo
The Los Altos main library is among the more popular branches in the county library district system, set to celebrate 100 years.

In 1914, Babe Ruth made his debut with the Boston Red Sox, wages hit $5 per day, the first ste...

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Sports

Eagles eye another stellar season

Eagles eye another stellar season


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Los Altos High outside hitter Carmen Annevelink, right, goes for the kill Thursday against Palo Alto, as teammates Sarah Tritschler, left, and Lulu Kishton prepare to play defense. The Eagles won the match in straight ga...

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Comment

Torok, Walter, Dave for MVLA board: Editorial

There’s really nothing major you can criticize about the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District. It offers a diverse array of effective programs for all types of students. Its instructors, with few exceptions, are outstanding.

Howe...

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Special Sections

'Funabout' Fiat

'Funabout' Fiat


Photos courtesy of Fiat
The 2014 Fiat 500e uses 29 kilowatt-hours per 100 miles, which the engineers claim is the equivalent of 116 mpg of gas use. It has a sticker price of $33,095.

If you believe in climate change, would love to see alternat...

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Business

App developer eyes First Friday as testing ground

App developer eyes First Friday as testing ground


Ted Fagenson

An East Bay app developer is testing his newest creation in downtown Los Altos.

Ted Fagenson, co-founder of Skrownge (pronounced “scrounge”), told the Town Crier that he’s beta testing his mobile gaming app this week ...

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Books

From story to bookstore: Local journey highlights Halloween

From story to bookstore: Local journey highlights Halloween


Courtesy of Dee Ellmann
Jenny Hurwick self-published her picture book last month after decades of storytelling.

During her years working as a teacher and a Los Altos mom, Jenny Hurwick loved to tell stories. One tale she crafted for her son just se...

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People

VINCENT (TIM) MURPHY JR.

VINCENT (TIM) MURPHY JR.

July 27, 1953 – August 12, 2014

Native Los Altan died Medford, OR. Graduated Bellarmine Prep. Married Josephine Domino, 1950. Licensed Auto Mechanic, Private Pilot, skilled Computer Scientist. Tim “could fix anything”. Afflicted with cancer 2001. ...

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Travel

Taking a Turkey trek: Winging it during the World Cup

Taking a Turkey trek: Winging it during the World Cup


Rich Robertson/Special to the Town Crier
The sun sets over the Aegean Sea in Bodrum, Turkey, left.

Tours that whisk you from Istanbul to Bodrum in 11 days are as plentiful as souvenir hawkers in Turkey, but traveling from the Blue Mosque to Topkapi ...

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Stepping Out

'Gypsy' on its way out

'Gypsy' on its way out


Chris Berger/Special to the Town Crier
Alison Koch of Los Altos plays Dainty June in “Gypsy.”

This is the final weekend to catch the Sunnyvale Community Players production of “Gypsy” at the Sunnyvale Theatre. The musical is slated to close Sund...

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Spiritual Life

Ugandan pastor visits U.S. to raise support for children's ministry

Ugandan pastor visits U.S. to raise support for children's ministry


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Herman Lukwago educates children in Uganda.

Imagine life if your father had 25 children and you were raised in poverty in rural Uganda.

Now imagine that you and your siblings were orphaned at an early age and you ass...

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Magazine

Local events add color to autumn calendar

Local events add color to autumn calendar


Van Houtte/town crier Visitors make their way through the Children’s Alley.

As Los Altos’ signature Chinese Pistache trees exchange their summer green for vibrant hues of yellow, orange and red in the fall, an abundance of local events also ad...

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Brat Packer packs his bags: Traveling helps actor find himself, settle down


Photo By: Eren Gknar/Special to the Town Crier
Photo Eren Gknar/Special To The Town Crier

Actor and author Andrew McCarthy shares how travel changed his life at the Bay Area Travel and Adventure Show. His new book, “The Longest Way Home,” chronicles his adventures.

Travel transformed actor and director Andrew McCarthy from someone who wandered his entire life into a man who embraced family life and a new career.

Previously divorced and engaged to his fiancee for four years, McCarthy was unable to fully commit when he set off on multiple trips, including one to Patagonia. His wife-to-be remarked, “I’ll see you at the altar, I guess.”

He had an excuse – he was on assignment for National Geographic Traveler magazine. He also wanted to confront his inner demons. McCarthy’s lifelong struggle became the focus of a book, “The Longest Way Home: One Man’s Quest for the Courage to Settle Down” (Free Press, 2012).

McCarthy found himself at a crossroads, “trying to come to terms with getting married, one foot in and one foot out,” he told a standing-room-only audience at last month’s Bay Area Travel and Adventure Show in Santa Clara. “Travel is about intimacy and separation, it’s about sitting in the back of the room.”

Many in the audience probably remembered McCarthy from his days starring opposite Molly Ringwald in “Pretty in Pink” and in 1980s Brat Pack movies like “The Breakfast Club” and “St. Elmo’s Fire.”

Now 50, McCarthy still projects amiability and retains his boyish good looks. Solitary by nature, he credits travel with helping him break out of his shell.

“It makes you vulnerable,” he said. “You go someplace, you get lost and you’re forced to ask someone, ‘Please, can you help me?’”

As a writer, he also needs to get quotes for his stories, so he has to engage the bartender or whoever is around for more information.

He hopes to persuade travelers to set off on solo trips.

“That’s the quickest way to find out who you are,” he said.

He confesses, however, that beach vacations make him panic.

“I always say I need a vacation after that, because a change is better than a rest,” he said.

McCarthy, like most of us, occasionally likes the “mai tai” trip, but “I don’t do all-inclusive, big-walled resorts, because … experiential travel is about getting beyond the walls.”

For example, he said, seeing the Trevi Fountain in Rome for the first time: “Now that’s insane – that brings about the sense of discovery, kind of like we see things only once as children.”

A life-changing trip

McCarthy read “Off the Road: A Modern-Day Walk Down the Pilgrim’s Route into Spain” (Simon & Schuster, 1994) by Jack Hitt and wanted to do that trip.

He set off on the 500-mile walk and soon found he was miserable, suffering from bleeding blisters.

“One day, I’m sobbing, saying all the things that were against my Catholic upbringing, and at the end of my tantrum, my bus/limo doesn’t come to pick me up,” he said.

Amazingly, the next morning, McCarthy said he woke up “without the fear that had consumed me my whole life, which was such a shock to me that I skipped across Spain.”

When he returned home, he wrote down scenes from his travels and called magazine editors to sell them destinations.

“Travel changed my life and it will change yours – I drank that Kool-Aid,” he told the audience.

Only 30 percent of Americans have passports, according to McCarthy.

“If Americans traveled more, we would loose our preconceived notions,” he said.

A woman in the audience raised concerns about solo travel as a woman.

“The world is a much safer place than we believe,” he said.

McCarthy recently traveled to Namibia – “a really spiritual place,” he said – and recommends catching the glaciers of Argentina as well as Johannesburg, South Africa.

“Travel is not an indulgence – it’s an imperative,” he said.

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