We Corner People - A documentary about building a bridge in Nepal, Friday, Sept 11

Press Release

Posted by on Mon, September 7, 2015


The Half Moon Bay Film Society presents We Corner People, a documentary about building a bridge in Nepal.

Near Nepal’s border with China sits a small village that is breathtakingly beautiful, but oh so isolated. The inhabitants call themselves the “Corner People”, living as they do with their backs up against a mountain without benefit of electricity, roads, a doctor’s office, or even a single store. They are proud of their 3-room school, but that just goes up to 3rd grade. The nearest town with a store, customers to sell their bamboo weavings to, or a school for older children is a 4-hour, round-trip hike away.

The path to the stores and customers crosses a river that can be easily leapt in a single bound during the dry season but grows to a raging torrent during monsoon season. Everyone in town mourns the loss of at least one individual who slipped and drowned while attempting to cross the angry river.

Now the local government has raised the money to build a bridge over the river and sent supplies and an engineer to supervise the construction. No power tools have been provided to string the heavy metal cables across the river gorge or to lay deep bridge foundations. Large gangs of locals must work together in harmony to do this hard work.

“This subtle, multi-dimensional film tells the story of a bridge, not as a monumental or heroic achievement of development, but as an event that occurs within a local social history… The portrait is holistic ….a story of a participatory development, told entirely without romance, false egalitarianism, or teleological overtones.” Dr. Stacy Pigg, Simon Fraser University

Friday, Sept 11 @ 7:30
Coastside Sr. Housing/Sr. Coastsiders
925 Main Street, Half Moon Bay, CA
Donation $5.00 adults— $3:00 for kids —Donations for Nepalese earthquake victims will also be collected

Letter: LED Lights update - Please attend and speak up at MCC, Weds, Sept 9


Posted by on Mon, September 7, 2015

Useful light and light pollution from a typical pole-mounted outdoor luminaire. Note the glare zone beyond the zone of useful light.

The LED lights project for the Coastside is still in process and will be discussed at the MCC meeting next Wednesday.  While the county seems to be leaning towards the amber colored lights they have not agreed to diffusing covers or shields to prevent overflow to adjacent homes and yards.  The proposed solution for the overflow and glare into homes and yards is to hand manufacture and install shields after the fact, when requested,  despite availability for factory installation.  There will be no diffusing covers to soften the glare.

A couple of MCC members support the existing lights. Others do not.  Many comments and letters to Don Horsley or on the county comment web page have stated that the existing lights are too bright and glaring.  They are noticeably emitting more glare than the existing lights due to the lack of covers.  The MCC has informally requested a dimmer sample light be put up and considered as a mitigation for the glare.  The county has not responded to this request.  The MCC will be discussing a formal letter on this issue.

The County is claiming there is little public interest in this issue.  Despite the request for public input,  letters to DH have not been acknowledged by his office and there is no way of knowing they were received or read.  I received no reply to a long letter I sent early this year until I inquired weeks later.  While comments made on the County website are on the mcc website, there has been no comprehensive gathering of all public comment.  I know several people who wrote directly to Supervisor Horsley and did not comment on the county webpage which required a multistep registration and was problematic.

To influence this decision It is critical that we have speakers at the MCC meeting next week at the GSD office.  Please come and speak up for dark sky and soft light in our rural community.  I personally have a light next to my home and yard that will pollute my night sky views unless it has a shield. The current fixture has a bulb that directs the light away from the property.  Anyone else near a fixture will be impacted by this.  Also while the County asked for public input,  the numerous complaints about the glare have not responded to with an effective solution.

Please let me know if you have any questions and whether you will be at the meeting.

Deborah Lardie

NASA says west coast sea levels could be poised to rise


Posted by on Fri, August 28, 2015

KQED reports that the west coast has gotten off easy on sea level rise so far, but that may be about to change.

“In the next five or ten years, I think the west coast of the United States is going to catch up,” says Josh Willis, a climate scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena. He says a major ocean phase known as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation is in the midst of a big shift.

For about the past two decades, the PDO, which Willis describes as “El Niño’s bigger, slower, brother,” was “piling up” warmer water on the far side of the ocean, exacerbating sea rise there. When water warms, it expands.

“So we’ve actually seen a slight drop in sea levels off of our coastline because of the rearrangement of heat within the oceans,” Willis explains.

That rearrangement could mean an acceleration in the rate that seas rise long the West Coast, eventually overtaking the pace of sea level rise on the East Coast and elsewhere.


Testing LED lights on the Midcoast


Posted by on Fri, July 24, 2015

Barry Parr
LED from 100 ft north, same side of street
Barry Parr
Existing light from 100 feet west, same side of street
Barry Parr
LED from 100 ft west, opposite side of street (sorry about the focus)

At 10:25 on Tuesday, July 21, I took a look at the amber LED light at 6th and Main in Montara.  Dave Olson of the MCC went out independently and we compared notes.  Our observations were strikingly similar, although I don’t think Dave agrees with my conclusions. 

One caveat: I’m not sure we have a common definition of glare. I think it can either mean “unpleasant brightness” in the case of the LED’s or it can mean “too much scattered light” in the case of the existing lights with diffusers.

My observations:

1. The LED lights are much less unpleasant from across the street than they are when you’re on the street itself. When you’re on the axis of the street, the lights are much brighter and IMO very unpleasant. 

2. It matters if you are uphill or downhill from the light. If you’re downhill, the light is much brighter. 6th and Main is a difficult light to judge because you’re downhill in both directions, but the angle is less steep from the north. However, the brightness from lower angles is important, because most of the streets on the Midcoast are on hills.

3. Some of the existing (sodium vapor?) lights in Montara have diffusers and some don’t.  The diffusers are mostly large globes and they scatter a ton of light, which is a problem. I think the existing lights without diffusers are not that unpleasant.

4. I compared the LED at 6th and Main to the existing light at 6th and Farallone, which does not appear to have a diffuser. I observed the LED from 100 ft north on Main St and the existing light from 100 ft west on 6th. From each of these positions, I was slightly downhill from the lights. I’ve attached some photos I took with my iphone. I think the difference is a fair representation of my experience, although I couldn’t control the exposure, so it’s not definitive.

5. I thought there was a lot more glare from the LED light than a non-diffused existing light viewed from 100 ft at roughly the same angle. The LED’s are really unpleasant even at 100 ft. I suspect the range of unpleasantness is wider, but I was unable to check this because a tree obscured the view beyond 100 ft.

6. I found the existing lights look about the same from any angle as the LED lights do from across the street at 100ft. That is, unobjectionable. I don’t think the LED’s illuminated any more street than the existing lights.

My Conclusion:  PG&E is not giving us any real options, so I have no idea whether there are better alternatives to this particular LED fixture. This is not even a Hobson’s Choice, since “nothing” is not a possible option. The manufacturers, PG&E, and the county have no incentive to get this right. I think the LED’s we’re being shown are too damn bright if you’re within 100 to 150 feet of them and on the same side of the street. I suspect they’d benefit from operating at a lower brightness without damaging visibility on the street. An external diffuser would mitigate this, but it would probably result in a lot more scattered light, which is not desirable.

Sharks of San Francisco Bay

Posted by on Mon, July 20, 2015

A leopard shark at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

There are more sharks than you might think in San Francisco Bay.

When most people look out on the muddy waters of the San Francisco Bay they don’t think of what lies underneath. They notice the large ferries, yachts, and cargo ships that crisscross its waters every single day, but nothing else. Those brown, turbid waters hold many secrets and many amazing animals.

Among these amazing animals are sharks. No, not the giant, toothy menaces that everyone conjures up when the word “shark” is mentioned. I am talking about the more common, uncharismatic species that inhabit the San Francisco Bay. While it is true that large, oceanic species (such as the Great White Shark (Carcharodon carcharias)) have been found swimming inside the Bay, they usually don’t stay long or venture far inside. The sharks that reside in the Bay are usually harmless, smaller species. One such species is the North Pacific Spiny Dogfish (Squalus suckleyi). These slender, brown sharks reach a maximum length of 4 feet and are found inside the Bay mostly in the winter months. During this time, they can form very large schools, usually consisting of a single sex. Interestingly, Spiny Dogfish possess a curved, mildly poisonous spine in front of each dorsal fin, which is used for defense from larger predators.

One of the larger sharks that regularly inhabits the San Francisco Bay is the Broadnose Sevengill Shark (Notorynchus cepedianus), which can reach lengths of about 10 feet! Sevengills are found in our waters mostly during the spring and summer months. During these warmer months there is an increase in the abundance of large, pregnant females, leading scientists to believe that they come to San Francisco to give birth. Sevengills eat mostly fish (including other smaller sharks), but larger ones will eat marine mammals as well. Sevengills also appear to come into the Bay in pursuit of smaller prey species of sharks, such as the Brown Smoothhound (Mustelus henlei), a species that is common in the early spring. Interestingly, it has been shown that the coloration of the Sevengills in San Francisco differs from other locations in California, leading to the possibility of subspecies in Californian waters.

Probably the most abundant shark in the San Francisco Bay is the Leopard Shark (Triakis semifasciata). This medium-sized shark, which can grow up to 5 feet long, feeds on worms, crabs, clams, and small fish in shallow water. The Leopard Shark can move large distances (some move down to Southern California), but the ones in the Bay seem to be mostly residents. San Francisco is a vital nursery area for these sharks, as newborns of the species are commonly found in the safety of the shallow waters found here.

Jesus Christ Superstar at Coastal Rep – July 24 to August 16

Press Release

Posted by on Sun, July 19, 2015

Coastal Rep

The final days of Jesus Christ leading up to his crucifixion are seen through the eyes of his betrayor, Judas, in Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s dazzling masterpiece. This revolutionary and timely rock opera addresses contemporary themes of how fame and popularity can deceive and corrupt.  Produced by the Coastal Rep team that brought you Rent, Hair, and Sweeney Todd, this beloved rock opera is guaranteed to deliver an amazing and unforgettable experience!

Buy tickets from the Coastal Rep.

Film Society screens 3 Silent Chaplin comedies with live music


Posted by on Sun, August 24, 2014

Fri is Silent Film Night in HMB

Fri. Aug. 29, 7:30 pm
Coastside Senior Housing/Senior Coastsiders

925 Main Street, Half Moon Bay
$8.00 adults, $4.00 children

Time for another Silent Film Festival sponsored by the Coastside Film Society. This year’s program features the comedic genius of the great Charlie Chaplin with live piano accompaniment by Shauna Pickett-Gordon.

These are all madcap films that the whole family will love, especially because we screen them with live musical accompaniment. Once again we have asked Montara’s own Shauna Pickett-Gordon to write a score for our silent film night & to play live during our screening. 

The program includes:

A Dogs Life (1918).

Chaplin’s Little Tramp shambles around the cold, cruel world with his partner Scraps the dog. They pull off brilliantly coordinated food heists and befriend a lonely and lovely dance hostess. But things still look pretty desperate until Scraps discovers the hidden loot from a bank heist.  Of course the crooks want it back.

The Idle Class (1921)

The tramp sneaks into an upper class resort where he is mistaken for an inebriated millionaire. The millionaire’s neglected and lonely wife is thrilled at her husband’s transformation and spirited hi-jinx ensue.  The tramp remains the tramp, but the opulent interiors and costumes contrast richly with the grunginess of the first film.

Pay Day (1922)

Here Chaplin plays a construction worker who loves his job but is especially looking forward to getting paid at the end of the day and enjoying a night out with his pals.  His penny pinching wife has other ideas.  This gleeful romp showcases Chaplin in an extended choreography of expert brick-catching and an overactive elevator that catches everybody unaware.  Arriving home at daybreak, Chaplin is getting ready for bed when the alarm clock rings, waking his wife. Another day at work begins.

For more information and directions to the new venue see: www.HMBFilm.org

Directions: This venue is new and Google and GPS systems may not be able to find it. Check the Film Society website for better directions.


A student show curated by a student, Saturday


Posted by on Fri, August 8, 2014

Devin Atsatt
Devin Atsatt, 19, is a student home schooled in Half Moon Bay, currently attending Foothill College

Join us this Saturday for a new show at the Darin Boville Gallery—photographs by three local graduating high school students curated by Nicole Collins, also a Half Moon Bay High School student. Nicole, and the photographers she selected, are on their way to college but before they go we’re holding a show of their work.

The informal opening will run 12:00 to 4:00, Saturday, August 9, and we’ll have light refreshments.

The student works will be for sale at very reasonable prices—the gallery will donate mat board and matting and framing services and all of the proceeds will go to the students.

It’s our way of encouraging young people to think more seriously about art. Stop by for a few minutes and show your support!

The Darin Boville Gallery is located in Half Moon Bay on Route 92, just inside the city limits. Look for the red dinosaurs and pull in.

Rotary Club of Half Moon Bay Raises $1,340 at Relay for Life Half Moon Bay


Posted by on Mon, August 4, 2014

Rotary Club of Half Moon Bay Relay for Life Team 2014
Liz Schuck
Liz in her camper at Relay for Life Half Moon Bay 2014

The Rotary Club of Half Moon Bay sponsored a team at this year’s Relay for Life Half Moon Bay on August 2-3 to support the American Cancer Society’s cancer research efforts.

Led by Rotarian Liz Schuck, the team reached well over its $1,000 goal with over $1,340 raised to date.  Members walked the track, participated in the opening and luminaria ceremony, and hosted visitors in the Rotary Club hospitality tent.  Intrepid Liz camped at Hatch Elementary School overnight with other teams for the 24-hour event.  As usual, it was a cool Half Moon Bay August weekend, but what a great and rewarding community event!

Friday is film night in HMB: Demolishing culture in modern China

Press release

Posted by on Thu, July 31, 2014


Missing Home is a documentary that explores the affects of modernization on the people of China- specifically its effects on the culture & lives of people living in Hutongs, Beijing’s ancient sprawling alleys.

Feature: MISSING HOME - the Last Days of Beijing Hutongs
Fri, Aug 1st at 7:30
Coastside Senior Housing/Senior Coastsiders facility
925 Main Street, Half Moon Bay, CA
Admission: $5

Hutongs, which date to the Yuan Dynasty (1206-1341), have long been regarded as the heart and soul of Beijing. They are chock-a-block with family homes and crammed with countless small shops and restaurants, but are now disappearing at a prodigious rate as Beijing modernizes. It is estimated that 80% of these revered ancient alleyways have been plowed under in the last decade, displacing close to 580,000 souls. Few of the displaced residents have reaped the prosperity that was promised to accompany modernization – most face more economic struggles than ever before.

Although the loss of the historic architecture is significant, it is perhaps more important to note the loss of an ancient social network of neighbors and friends, of spirit & culture that have defined the way of life in Beijing for centuries of generations. A collective way of life is being edged out by sterile high-rises, which are rapidly inundating the spaces Hutongs once filled. This displacement & replacement stands at the heart of an increasingly controversial dialogue about progress and modernization in China: How can the China of the future balance the preservation of culturally & historically significant traditions & sites, while building a global city?

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