Plastic droids and evil Care Bears: the (less nostalgic) story of Kenner’s Star Wars toys.

Stanford Design Professor Bill Burnett recounts his time at Kenner (and how Star Wars ruined the toy industry) By Charles Russo Partial disintegration: a couple bounty hunters short of a collection. (Photo by Charles Russo) I still have my childhood Star Wars lunchbox. It’s the same one I took to my first day of pre-school…a long time ago, in a galaxy far far away (which is to say — about 40 years ago in northern New Jersey). My lunchbox ...

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How Devil’s Canyon became the Bay Area’s friendliest beer maker

Chris Garrett’s San Carlos brewery follows a community-minded mantra — aficionados, families and neighbors have noticed. By Nicole Ruiz Hudson Devil’s Canyon founder Chris Garrett pulls a pint at his San Carlos taproom. (Photo by Charles Russo) Chris Garrett needed an antidote to life in the tech world. Back during the first dot-com boom, Garrett’s work monitoring chat rooms for places like RealNames and Disney left him — predictably, perhaps — a little soul weary. As a result, he began looking for ...

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The Secret Life of a Silicon Valley Airport

The secret life of a Silicon Valley airport In San Carlos, SQL is code for an aviation ‘cult’ that flies organ donations and rescued pets By Kali Shiloh Photos by Philip Wartena The San Carlos Airport, also known as SQL, is one of about 20 small airports in the Bay Area. (Photo by Philip Wartena) Bennett Taber steers his small aircraft toward the San Francisco Peninsula at 25,000 feet in the air, keenly aware that he is flying between tragedy ...

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Our guide to celebrating Filoli’s 100th year (amid lots of holiday cheer)

Seasonal celebrations for the centennial of a Peninsula landmark By Laura Ness The meticulously manicured gardens of the Filoli Estate. (Image courtesy of Gretchine Nievarez/Filoli) This year marks the 100th anniversary for the Filoli Estate, the beloved local landmark in Woodside. While many of the official centennial celebrations have already been held and chronicled, the holiday season provides a unique opportunity to pay a visit and toast the existence and persistence of this historic ...

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Five of the best dog-friendly hikes on the Peninsula

Perfect outdoor spots entirely conducive to your canine By Juliette Spirson Like small children, bonsai trees and just about any surfer, dogs are simply happier if they get proper outside time. It’s a simple equation really, though one that can ultimately require a bit of know-now for navigating dog-friendly locations around the region. Luckily for Peninsula residents, the area contains some spectacular spots for man’s — and less face it already, woman’s — best friend. From beaches to hillsides to ...

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An afternoon within the City of the Dead

The deceased greatly outnumber the living in the Necropolis of Colma By Charles Russo The huge sprawling graveyard of Cypress Lawn Cemetery. (Photo by Charles Russo) The ravens wanted me out of the graveyard. Indignant to my presence, they protested with shrill shouts and sharp squawks, fluttering about in agitation from headstone to tree limb. The cemetery was massive, and I struggled to find my destination. Passing by a pair of weathered old tombs, I tried to assess ...

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Strangers with Candy: Reverse trick-or-treating in Silicon Valley

What happens when you go to Redwood City’s scariest Halloween houses to give THEM candy? You make some very interesting new friends… Stay off my lawn! Scary skeletors menace one and all on this Redwood City street. (Photo by Justin Smith) Traipsing down the dark cul-de-sac, I hear a frictious screech that resembles a haunted version of my favorite childhood playground structure. Sure enough, drawing near, I see a nightmarish seesaw with demented, bloody riders ...

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Cowboys and Crow Hoppers: Scenes from the Grand National Rodeo

Cowboys and Crow Hoppers: Scenes from the 2017 Grand National Rodeo The Cow Palace’s mainstay classic is rowdy, dangerous, and a much-welcomed alternative to staring at your phone all weekend. By Jason Backrak and Amar Dillon Your Majesty: A cow awaits its turn to be judged in one of the many livestock competitions happening at the Grand National Rodeo. It is — after all — named the Cow Palace for a reason. Sure, there has been a half-century of epic concerts there, from Neil ...

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For the Peninsula’s ice cream guru, life after Facebook is soft and sweet

At Tin Pot Creamery’s newest location, owner Becky Sunseri showcases flavors that have been decades in the making. By Kate Bradshaw Yes, please: Tin Pot’s newest location brings Becky Sunseri’s unique flavors to Bay Meadows in San Mateo. (Photo by Charles Russo) Mootella. Blackberry Jamble. Salted Butterscotch. The mastermind behind these clever — and goshdern delectable — flavors, Becky Sunseri, has been sweet on ice cream since her girlhood days. Back then, growing up in Bloomington, Illinois, little Becky had a habit of ...

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The heavyweight showdown of the two ton pumpkins

Half Moon Bay nearly broke the scales this year with the biggest gourd ever grown in the U.S. By Charles Russo Let’s Get Ready to Rumble: Last year’s weigh-off champ Cindy Tobeck (right) stands atop her pumpkin (“The Death Star”) after clocking in at 2002 pounds. Yet her competition was formidable — six time weigh-off champ Joel Holland showed up with the largest pumpkin ever grown in America. (Photos by Charles Russo) “It’s the biggest prize money in ...

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