Tue07292014

News

LASD, BCS boards finalize 5-year agreement

Bullis Charter School board members unanimously approved a five-year agreement with the Los Altos School District just before midnight Monday. The agreement, also unanimously approved by LASD trustees earlier in the evening, outlines facilities uses ...

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Schools

MVLA rolls out laptop integration this fall

MVLA rolls out laptop integration this fall


Town Crier File Photo
Starting in the fall, daily use of laptops in the classroom will be standard operating procedure for students at Los Altos and Mountain View high schools as the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District launches a pil...

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Community

Generations blend behind the scenes at 'Wizard of Oz'

Generations blend behind the scenes at 'Wizard of Oz'


Altos Youth Theatre and Los Altos Stage Company rehearse a scene from “The Wizard of Oz.” ELIZA RIDGEWAY/ TOWN CRIER

A massive troupe of young people and grownups gathered in Los Altos this summer to stage the latest iteration of a childhood sta...

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Sports

Football in July

Football in July


Town Crier file photo
Mountain View High’s Anthony Avery is among the nine local players slated to play in tonight’s Silicon Valley Youth Classic.

Tonight’s 40th annual Silicon Valley Youth Classic – also known as the Charlie...

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Comment

Pools should be included: Editorial

Los Altos residents should be receiving calls this week from city representatives conducting a survey to determine priorities for a revamped Hillview Community Center.

Notice that we did not say “civic center” – chastened by a lack of public support...

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Special Sections

Looking for life without lows, local diabetic tests artificial pancreas

Looking for life without lows, local diabetic tests artificial pancreas


Photo by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Dr. Trang Ly, left, reviews blood sugar readings on a smartphone with Los Altos resident Tia Geri, right, and fellow participant Noa Simon during a closed-loop artificial pancreas study for Type 1 diabetics.
...

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Business

Palo Alto law firm coming to 400 Main

Palo Alto law firm coming to 400 Main


Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Longtime Palo Alto law firm Thoits, Love, Hershberger & McClean plans to open an office at 400 Main St. in Los Altos after construction is complete in November.

A longtime Palo Alto law firm plans to expand int...

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Books

"Frozen in Time" chronicles harrowing WWII rescue attempts


Many readers can’t resist a true-life adventure story, especially those that shine a spotlight on people who exhibit supreme courage in the face of adversity and end up surviving – or not – against the odds.

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People

RICHARD PATRICK BRENNAN

RICHARD PATRICK BRENNAN

Resident of Palo Alto

Richard Patrick Brennan, journalist, editor, author, adventurer, died at his Palo Alto home on July 4, 2014 at age 92. He led a full life, professionally and personally. He was born and raised in San Francisco, joined the Arm...

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Travel

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway


Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton
The Ritz-Carlton in Lake Tahoe offers fall getaway packages that include spa treatments and yoga classes.

Fall in North Lake Tahoe boasts crisp mornings and opportunities to spend quality time in the mountains. Specially ...

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Stepping Out

PYT stages 'Shrek'

PYT stages 'Shrek'


Lyn Healy/Spotlight Moments Photography
Dana Cullinane plays Fiona in Peninsula Youth Theatre’s “Shrek The Musical.”

Peninsula Youth Theatre presents “Shrek The Musical” Saturday through Aug. 3 at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts...

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Spiritual Life

Foothills Congregational: 100 years and counting

Foothills Congregational: 100 years and counting


Courtesy of Carolyn Barnes
The newly built Los Altos church in 1914 featured a bell tower and an arched front window. Both continue as elements of the building as it stands today.

Foothills Congregational Church – the oldest church building in L...

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Magazine

Festival features fun for everyone

Festival features fun for everyone


TOWN CRIER FILE PHOTO
The Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival boasts more than 375 craft and arts booths.

This weekend’s 35th annual Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival promises to be jam-packed with fun activities for just about everyone. The eve...

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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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