Castlemont is part of the Campbell Union school district and has been noted for it's community like environment over the past few years. Last school year, we moved our youngest daughter there through an interdistrict transfer and she really enjoyed her time. She also had a huge improvement in Star scores we just received last week. Teachers are also motivated to see each student excel and be part of the overall school community. The older students (4/5 grades) have the opportunity to mentor and read to the younger students. One item to note is that the original principle had been moved last year and replaced by the principal of Rosemary elementary. I would have to say that shes a notch or two below the previous principal whom we met the prior year before moving our daughter into the school. She needs to be more involved with the student body and parent functions. At the very least, we hope that she will continue the work of the previous principal at least in the curriculum side of things.
Sierra School appeared to be an ideal school for our oldest who thrives in smaller group environments. In attending for one school year, our opinion was the smallness was the only thing it had. The main problem seems to be the general philosophy of the admins. In order for a student to at least do well, they will have to provide their own discipline and structure. There really isnt any help as a parent when theyre doing the very minimum in class and in the home, we expect them to do more as expected in a more traditional school setting. The teachers are there to help and are supportive, but ultimately don't provide the structured environment of a standard classroom which students need. Tuition is about average at about $10k per year for high school.
After my warranty period ended this year, I have been in a casual search of a new service center. When my check engine light had been going on and off for a couple weeks, this forced me to do some serious research. After finding Rays in the local chapters newsletter, I was able to get my car in the next day. After talking with Rays wife, she speculated it was probably a camshaft sensor failure. Then, Ray and I chatted before about what the possible problem was and the computer confirmed the possibility! So 45 minutes later and $350 lighter, it was done and the light hasnt returned. I was in and out in about an hour and a half (ate lunch and read my Roundel). I cant imagine how long it would have been at the dealership. To top it off, Ray gave me a lovely parting gift: a nice coffee cup and they do have a referral bonus ($10 but its nice though nonetheless. I cant recommend Rays more highly.
Ive brought my car to Claridges/BMW of Fremont for both maintenance and warranty work over the past 3 years. All of the work I had done on my '01 330i, I've been pretty happy with the service. I had a couple oil changes, steering rack retrofit, inspection 1 and window regulator replacement done within the first 3 years at no cost. In each case, all of the work was done in a day and even though it was free, they seemed to do quality work. Even topping the fluids for each service. Scheduling appointments were not a problem to obtain next day or two and they also have an on-line version so you dont have to talk with a person if you dont want to. My only complaint is that they no longer offer free one day rental car which was discontinued at the start of this year.
Stans signature glazed raised is worth the price of admission by itself. Theyre hand rolled and cut, the donuts are at least 2 times the size of Krispy Kremes and better tasting and cheaper. When they are fresh out of the fryer, they melt in your mouth. The only downside is that they only make a limited amount of dough every morning and will close around lunchtime every day, selling out well before that on most days. On Fridays, either place your order the day before or expect a long line out the door and a long wait if you can get any quantity at all. Oh, they also have other donuts as well (cake, bars and my second fave, cinnamon roll).
The Tech museum is a must go that will appeal to all family members. Every age group should be able to find something there to play with. If you have a budding scientist or engineer in the family, they will especially enjoy the Tech. The permanent exhibit highlights are the roller coaster design/simulator, the robots and the human body model. Don't forget the IMAX showings which periodically show first run movies in the IMAX format.
This theater venue is really a nice and cozy environment that seems to have been updated recently. We recently saw Making Tracks (musical) and Avner the Eccentric (mime/clown) this season. All of the lower level seats provide a good view of the stage (we sat in the last row edge of middle section for Avner, row J exact middle for Making Tracks). The acoustics were good overall (Making Tracks, Avner was a clown/mime so that didnt count), but the music was somewhat muffled. We eventually found out that the band was located behind the stage which muffled the music. We're used to the theaters in SF and other venues where the orchestra is at the base of the stage and its is front and center where it should be. Overall, the Rep is a very good theater to see live shows and musicals at a reasonable price. It's also near lots of good restaurants, so park in the parking lot next to the Rep and walk to any restaurant nearby (Spaghetti Factory, Peggy Sues, E&O Trading, Hawg's, Gordon Bierch).
Important Note: The address above is only a mailing address. The actual location is on the corner of Market and San Carlos literally. The entrance is on the Plaza De Cesar Chavez side of the convention center.
Another small, cozy theater environment. We've been there twice to see plays and both were very good. Not top tier actors or performances but very good nonetheless. The pricing is very inexpensive and it's a very casual atmosphere vs. some of the more "serious" venues in San Francisco. If you have never gone to live theater before, this is a good entry point to determine if youll enjoy theater in general.
PW markets is a locally owned, upscale market with a handful of locations in the San Jose area. It's clean, the staff is friendly. They also have a lot of good deals every week on above average produce and meats. If I want a good high quality piece of beef or seafood, I go here. It may cost a bit more but for the increase of quality over the national chain grocery stores, it's worth every bit. Don't forget the free paper on Sunday. Get there early though, they only a have limited supplies.
Weve been to Rooster T's for over 10 years now and we normally go a couple times per year. It the talent is hit and miss most nights. In most of my experiences, at least one of the comics is funny which is good enough for me based on the price you pay. Some just stink and that can be funny in itself. It's a nice small club setting tucked away in Sunnyvale. At $12 per person, its hard to complain about the talent (or lack thereof). Youll also find there are many 2 for 1 coupons floating around (Metro, Eye) to further reduce the admission price. Drinks (2 drink min.) are average price, but not outrageous. My only beef is that they don't have blender based drinks (yeah, minor nitpik).