Mon09222014

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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Fantasy becomes reality as author faces death

Distinguished English author Terry Pratchett looks a bit like a mix of Dr. Andrew Weil and Johnny Cash – with a touch of wizard thrown in (depending on the tilt of his black fedora on any given day). He enjoys a huge fan base, having written in the fantasy genre for both children and adults. In fact, Queen Elizabeth liked him so much that in 2009 she knighted him for services to literature.

Pratchett is best known for his fantasy book series about a place called Discworld, described as a large disc resting on the backs of four giant elephants, all supported by the giant turtle Great A’Tuin, as it swims its way through space. (Are you still with me?)

I must confess, I found this whimsical place very funny to think about. In fact, alone in my office, I laughed out loud for quite some time. Then, as I slowly regained my composure and tried to carry on my serious work, I unexpectedly broke into another fit of hilarity as my subconscious began to ponder, “Then, who’s holding up the turtle?”

That’s what happens when you only dip your toe in the waters of Pratchett-land. To fully appreciate his genius, one must enter the gates fully engaged and ready to believe.

I am not well acquainted (OK, I’m not acquainted at all) with the fantasy/sci-fi genre, but that plotline makes “Star Trek” seem like “Father Knows Best.” In fact, there are Discworld conventions, much like the Trekkies have.

After the initial jolt, however, it is apparent that Pratchett’s Discworld is not as unrelated to our Earth as it would seem at first glance. He cleverly uses his fantasy civilization to parody our own present world situations in war, politics, entertainment and society in general.

In 2009, Pratchett also became known on UK television for an award-winning BBC documentary series on Alzheimer’s disease. He has contracted a rare form of the disease, Posterior Cortical Atrophy, in which areas at the back of the brain begin to shrink and shrivel.

In the April 21 Guardian, a British newspaper, reporter Stephen Moss writes of Pratchett:

“‘It’s not morbid to talk about death,’ he insists. ‘Most people don’t worry about death, they worry about a bad death.’ In Discworld, death is an attractive, sympathetic, sometimes comic figure, a far-from-grim reaper – and Pratchett sees no reason to change his view here in Roundworld.”

I’m just saying … imagination can be a wonderful thing, and I love the way Sir Terry Pratchett is using his to transit many worlds: flat and round, here – and hereafter. We wish him well.

Sharon Lennox-Infante, a contributing editor for Book Buzz, is a Los Altos resident.

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