August 18th, 2011

This morning I head on the radio that studies have shown that a certain percentage of women are overweight because they spend so much time and money getting their hair styled and then they don’t want to mess it up by working out. I wonder how much university funding went into the surgeon general officially saying what I’ve known since the day my mom explained to me that she doesn’t work out because sweating is “gross”.

Similarly, in the last year science has discovered that it’s bad for your long-term health to get hit in the head repeatedly. A career in professional football, it turns out, might be hazardous and those who have played might suffer consequences in later life. Maybe I’m wrong, but I thought we all pretty much instinctively understood that getting hit in the head is not good. I would go, even, a step further and say that what we like about watching professional athletes is their willingness to use their bodies in ways that we are, well, unwilling to because it’s too dangerous. And now we’re supposed to act surprised and horrified to learn that these men leave football broken? Not that it isn’t sad and not that these men don’t deserve care and recognition, but did that really, truly need to be studied?

In any case, football season has arrived. For those of you who haven’t turned away since you learned that it’s violent, we’ll be, as always, serving all your favorite stadium food, hamburgers and hotdogs that is, every Monday night until 8, all season long. Complimentary, of course, cuz that’s how we roll.

August 18th, 2011

This month I have a story for you about something one can do if one is independently wealthy. 25 years ago a developer named Steve Oliver, who had previously declared himself to be one of the people who “doesn’t get” art, had a revelation. Suddenly he liked art a lot. So much, in fact, that he decided to convert the Napa Valley sheep farm he had bought for his daughter into a sculpture ranch, commissioning some of the biggest names in contemporary art to make work that is both specific to the landscape and unmovable and, so, out of the normal system of valuation. Bruce Nauman wound a concrete staircase up and over the hills. Richard Serra used a set of giant, copper blocks to turn a small field into sacred space.

The thing, though, about Steve Oliver and his magnificent sculpture garden, is that he doesn’t need you or your money. He is only somewhat willing, then, to allow visitors to share what has been built, essentially, for him. There are only two times a year, in fact, when he gives tours, one in the spring and one in the fall. That means that one is fast approaching, and if this is interesting to you, it’s time to take action. It is not possible to just show up. It’s not even as easy as going online and booking a spot. Mr. Steve Oliver accepts groups that have given a donation to a charity that he finds acceptable. Individuals can buy into the charitable offering of another group. Details can be found on their website. I’m pretty sure you don’t have to provide a blood sample. It’s truly complicated, I know, but, and I will not lie to you because I have nothing to gain, the magic of the place is unparalleled. If you don’t go now, keep it in mind for that future date when you really deserve something special. It’s called Oliver Ranch.

August 18th, 2011

Do any of you like to play Boggle? You know, the word game where you shake a plastic cube full of letters, let them settle into a grid in random order and then find as many words in that grid as possible? Well, this month it’s a little bit like someone picked up our little hotel and shook it like a Boggle game and wherever people landed, those are their jobs for the next few weeks. Chaos makes life more fun!

What actually happened is that Jerry went on leave for a month and a half and someone needed to do his job. Jazz was the obvious choice for interim Director of Sales and Marketing, since he seems to want to hold every position in this hotel at least for a few weeks and he always does a good job so there’s no reason to stop him. But then there was a hole in reservations. Steady, reliable Matt, our rock behind the front desk, would no doubt be just as easy and constant upstairs as he is down, so he took Jazz’s seat. And who did we bring into the Monday-Friday first thing in the morning front desk shift? Well, Sunshine, of course! I don’t know how Matt’s going to get his old post back now that the brilliance of having literal Sunshine there to greet you first thing in the morning has occurred to our dear general manager. But that’s weeks away! In the meantime everyone’s got to get busy learning their new jobs, hopefully before it’s time to give them back.

August 18th, 2011

It’s possibly a complete waste of my time, your time and this space to tell you about a place to go for breakfast. Our morning buffet, after all, is fresh and bountiful. Not to mention free! Still, if a group of your coworkers who, for some reason, were not guests of ours, wanted to meet for breakfast, you might, rightly, feel like it was inappropriate to invite them all to come dine at our place. What then?

The answer, as I see it, is Stacks in Campbell. Now, let’s be clear, this is not a story about the greatest breakfast spot you or I have ever been to. If anything, it’s more to say that the Silicon Valley has been blessed in many ways, but no place can be perfect and we do not yet have a place to go for a truly, truly great weekend brunch. As we discussed, though, sometimes life demands breakfast out and now, thanks to me, you’ll have a place to go around here. And it’s not that it’s bad; they’ve got decent omelets, nice people work there, they aren’t stingy with the coffee. It’s a pleasant place to be. It’s just too bad that being not bad is as good as it gets in these parts.

I’m sorry if this seems like a blatant advertisement for our own comparatively stellar breakfast buffet. I swear it wasn’t my intention, but, yeah, as I get to the end of this, I’m remembering the lushness of our daily spread. Lucky us!

August 18th, 2011

All of the wineries that I write to you about are local. The exalted Napa Valley is, relatively speaking, in our neighborhood and nothing would be easier on a day off than renting a car and driving up for a day of wine tasting. Well, almost nothing. It turns out we’ve got a winery not just nearby relative to, say, Chicago, but actually in our real neighborhood. It’s called the Ridge Winery and it’s right here in Cupertino. You could stop in after work for a taste of the wine that won the Judgment of Paris, the event that was meant to put California wine in its place, and failed.

It’s an interesting place, too, the Ridge Winery. A physician built it in the 1880s. Its next owner was a theologian. Now a man who holds a degree in philosophy is in charge of day-to-day operations. And, to top it off, a Japanese pharmaceutical company owns it now. What can this all mean? What kind of experiment is this winery running? Spiritual? Pharmacological? How, really, did they convince a panel of French judges to rank it at the top? What manner of intoxication does a bottle of Ridge wine provide? Well, if you’d prefer to know the answer to these questions before venturing to its source, we’re pouring Ridge wines every night in our bar.