Archive for December, 2009

31
Dec
09

Have You Lost A Pet Bunny?

On a kinder and gentler note for year-end, some Montclarions began spotting a domesticated bunny around the Merriewood area yesterday.

The bunny rabbit was friendly and well-acculturated to humans.  One neighbor even had sufficient time to take a picture this afternoon – and you can see the cutie comes from central casting.

So we believe that someone nearby has lost their bunny!  At this point, there’s been a missive placed on Craigslist, but some additional bull-horning might help the cause:

This little guy showed up in our front yard about a half hour ago.  The bunny is very friendly and calm, and ate a carrot and had some water.  If it’s yours, or if you know who it belongs to, please let us know. We live in the Merriewood area of Montclair.

Email:  comm-rhm73-1532341094@craigslist.org

We hope this bunny finds its way back home, for the New Year.

January 3rd Update:  The bunny alert has worked!  Two friendly bunnies were found and taken into foster care, on Merriewood and Nottingham.  The owner of the bunnies was identified, and lives on Valley View.  We believe that foster parents are connecting with said owner this afternoon.  All is well in the world.

30
Dec
09

What East Bay Winter Looks Like

Today, we were walking in the hills and experienced the post-rain mists and smells.

There’s special beauty in the East Bay winter, a sparse and somewhat dormant period before full greenery bursts forth.  We noticed a few fall-like colors and, if you suspend reality, some winter-like whites.

This afternoon, we actually found trees with yellow, orange and red leaves!  While this was year-end, the colors screamed fall foliage – though you did have to search for these deciduous trees.

The winter-whites were everywhere, including reedy plants strutting their stuff.  By squinting hard, these feathery plants almost seemed like cast-offs from colossal birds which had migrated overhead.

White brush was plentiful in the hills, too.  When some winds picked up, this brush even looked like a snowstorm in progress.  (Remember, we’re suspending reality here.)

We also discovered a bereft, architectural plant and cast it as our “under-the-microscope” snowflake.  Hey, that’s the best we could do without the real stuff outside.

So today’s winter walk in the hills, around Leona Canyon, boiled down to the little stuff which caught our eye.  The cold, wet and tamped-down environment was beautiful – all courtesy of Ma Nature.

30
Dec
09

Montclarions’ Entertainment Picks, Survey Here

Let’s have a little fun here, and capture the cultural zeitgeist in Montclair.

Help us discover your favorite singers, actors, flicks, reads, sites and more.  Who or what tops your list this year, this past decade or all time?  Please take this survey.

After you answer these questions, we promise to share results quickly.  You only need to divulge your top entertainment picks, not too tough.  Also we threw in questions about top local eats as well as the years gone by.

Here’s some unsolicited advice to survey-takers.  First remember to respond quickly, because that’s easiest and gets to your heart first.  And also answer honestly:  we think you aren’t telling the truth by listing Foreign Policy as your favorite mag.  Cheers!

29
Dec
09

The Crystal Ball Wasn’t Too Clear

Exactly 365 days ago, we made official predictions for the coming year.  Apparently the crystal ball we were using wasn’t too clear, especially when looking at Mother Nature’s plans for the Oakland Hills.  We’re happy to report that only three out of ten predictions were sorta true.

Recapping Official Hills Predictions

10 – We experience three 5.0+ quakes but avoid the Big One next year.  While these lesser quakes get covered by CNN, no one mentions them around here.

:-) No dice.  Let’s not tempt the fates, since the Hayward Fault’s well past its 140-year “Big One” date.

9 – Major rainstorms produce at least ten big mudslides on Skyline Blvd, and ten new palaces are built on the land.

:-) No dice.  We’re excited the hillsides remain intact, as that’s not a foregone conclusion.  New palaces, built for any reason, are few and far between.

8 – Locals establish “private” public schools, going well beyond funding school libraries and other resources…to paying all teachers too.

:-) No dice.  As usual, our grade schools get plenty of local support – and the kids are testing very well.

7 – One fast food chain tries to lease space on Park Blvd, but its franchisee slinks away after Glenview neighbors organize a high-profile march to protest the move.

:-) No dice.  However, Glenview is looking good these days in the restaurant department.

6 – Another fine chocolate shop opens in Montclair, setting up a three-way competition that creates serious strife but no reduced prices at Le Bonbon or XOX Truffles.

:-| No dice.  We’re still happy with having the two chocolate shop options, here in the village.

5 – Just 25% of empty nesters see their kids return home.

:-( Score. The economy’s so bad that all the college grads returned to their nests, trying desperately to find something to do!

4 – Only one percent of us follows the Oakland A’s and Raiders, down from two percent because three players move away from the Hills.

:-( Score. It’s a been quite a year for the hometown teams, whether we’re following their performance or not.  We would miss the Oakland A’s if they actually moved, though.

3 – We arrange a sit-in at Oakland City Hall, inviting a crew of Berkeley professors to occupy the place until there’s a budget and real contingency plans.

:-| No dice.  Yet there’s much hand-wringing and online/blog coverage over shortfalls.  Oaklanders are pinning their hopes on the new police chief and upcoming mayoral election.

2 – The Diablo winds fuel massive fires, which decimate the Hiller area.  Unlike 1991, everyone gives up and donates their ruined properties to the East Bay Regional Park District.

:-) No dice.  Hey, we’re still here and pleased to report the mellow fire season.  We did keep our fingers crossed on the Orinda fire which was quickly snuffed out.

1 – Zero homicides take place in the Hills, again.

:-) Score.  This outcome is pretty much a given, but we’ll take a point for our prescience.

27
Dec
09

Oakland’s Old College Try

Check out this anti-graffiti message, elegantly placed on a Montclair Village light-pole.  It’s one of many similar prohibitions by the City of Oakland, placed on poles that are otherwise clean and green.

Oakland Public Works is giving things the old college try, by declaring:  Signs and graffiti prohibited.  Violators will be prosecuted.  OMC Section 5.06.020.

While this warning won’t scare off all the nefarious spray-painters, like our “SNS tagger,” it might be a deterrent for other decorators.  At least I would think twice when confronted with this message, and even pause to consider the consequences.

But I’m not speaking directly for the vandals, armed with aerosol cans.

26
Dec
09

Rugby Played In Oakland, Too

Did you see Invictus yet?  In this Golden-Globe nominated flick, rugby becomes the healing metaphor for post-apartheid South Africa.  As Nelson Mandela and his fellow countrymen cheer for their losing team, the players start winning and erase their color lines.  It’s a real upper, actually!

While hardly on the same grand scale, rugby is also a sport-with-promise in Oakland these days.  Local boys in grades 8-12 have an opportunity to join the Oakland Warthogs, which was founded only two years ago.   This club team practices and plays matches in the Bay Area youth league.

“High school is the perfect age because they are very open to learning things and have the physical tools – size and speed – to implement your instructions,” explained Mike Spencer, one of the Warthog coaches.  “The great challenge in rugby is getting a team to talk and work together on the field.  Smarter teams beat teams with more brawn and physical gifts all the time.”

Several times weekly, the coaches lead players in core skills like passing, running onto the ball, and setting the ball so it stays with their team.  Since communications are key, the high schoolers are encouraged to cooperate and work closely with each other on the field.

Rugby’s an amazing game, based on moxie.  Coach Spencer declared that “if you are not willing to tackle that guy who outweighs you by 100 pounds, [you have] no business playing rugby.  The great teams play with heart and for each other.  Once the whistle blows, it is up to the players.  It’s like high-speed, full contact chess.”

We’ve watched rugby players and believe their camaraderie can’t be beat.  In Oakland, high schoolers have a special chance to learn the ropes and then play at a competitive level.  However the rugby club is a start-up, which still needs sponsors to equip players, pay league memberships, and find places to practice.  It’s time for us to help them.

More info:  Visit the Warthogs’ site and see their schedule.  To play or support the club, reach Mike at hirepimike-at-gmail.com.

25
Dec
09

Happy Holidays In Bloom

Especially as we sat and listened to the rest of the country’s weather woes, complete with white-outs and travel disasters, we’re very appreciative of this glorious Christmas Day.

We wandered around outside and generally basked in our amazing weather today.  The skies were blue and windless, without any real nip in the air.

Looking a little more closely, the winter flowers were starting to emerge.  Today, we noticed the flowering camellias for the first time.  Here’s a bunch that already bloomed.

Meanwhile, the citrus were doing a-okay.  We thought the fruit might not make it, due to freezing weather this month.  But the citrus didn’t appear to suffer.

There’s no climate complaining here.  Yet it’s too bad that wood-burning fires were verboten, courtesy of today’s Spare The Air Day.  We just checked out the classic Yule Log TV, on KOFY 20, for a good laugh instead.

Anyway, we hope you had a great holiday in bloom.




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Welcome to Montclair, Oakland

We live in the city yet are invaded by nature - or perhaps it's the other way around. Stop by often, and find out what's interesting to 94611 denizens.


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