Homestead Talent Show

On March 1, 2001, I attended Homestead’s talent show held at the Cubberley Community Center in Palo Alto. I witnessed a group of Internet dot-commers enjoying a moment away from work, sharing their “other” interests in life. Afterwards, a great discussion with Randy and Jeff on the business and philosophy of life in the cold on the streets of Mountain View. (Photos taken with a Canon D30 with 50 mm and 17-35 mm lenses)

I remember being in a talent show in elementary school; back then, it was more like show and tell with my fellow classmates, where we brought our stuffed animals and toys for all to see. I quite don’t remember what I actually did back then, but I certainly remember not singing like Britney Spears nor reciting any poetry! However, at the Homestead Talent Show, held at the Cubberley Community Center in Palo Alto, there certainly was that and more! My friend, Randy, currently works at Homestead, and it was he who invited me to come over to the talent show.

The show started at 7:00 pm. At 8:00 pm, I was just getting ready to leave the office in Santa Clara. As I was driving home, I debated whether or not to attend; after all, I was tired from a long day at work, and I wanted to give the injured right arm some more rest. Friendship prevailed, however, and I continued driving past the usual exit on my way to Palo Alto. I arrived near the tail end of the Talent Show, but I was still able to see Randy and his co-workers do an excellent rendition of, what I figure was either an N’Sync or Backstreet Boys music video parody. That wasn’t the end of it, as Randy topped it all with his excellent Britney Spears’ lip syncing skills. Personally, I would have rather he have sung, Lucky, but you can’t win them all, right?

I tested oout my new lens, the Canon 50 mm f/1.4, at the show, as well as at the Kobe restaurant with my co-workers this afternoon in Santa Clara. The verdict is that it’s a very sharp prime lens, but a bit finicky, especially in low-light situations. Without the comfort of a zoom lens, one really has to concentrate about composition and positioning when taking photos with this lens! It’s difficult, but a good exercise for any photographer to undertake! The lens can make some tack sharp photos, but you’ve got to have a steady hand. At 80 mm effective length (due to the 1.6x focal length multiplication factor), you’ve got to be steady in those low-light situations!

In a relatively small company, talent shows can be an excellent way for a company to bond. In larger companies, talent shows or fairs are often ignored by much of the company’s employees. So, I must admit that it was nice to see a group of young professionals getting together and seemingly forgetting about work for at least one evening. Like at my workgroups’ holiday party last month, these types of events are excellent opportunities to know the other side of people, the one beyond the work plane.


Small, furry, and chewy does a body good, right? It must have been an inside joke between these Homesteaders, because when I saw the MC whip out a big and plump spider for someone to eat, there were collective groans and laughs emanating from the crowd. Man, I did not want to be one of the two guys standing on stage, waiting to see who would be the one to eat the spider for a princely sum of $70! One of them eventually did, and it certainly didn’t seem to go well with his stomach; it looked like a scene straight out of an episode of Survivor!

On second thought, it this were Survivor, the spider would have been a giant tarantula, crunchy, hairy, and too big for just one delectable bite!

Life Philosophy Over Pho

After the talent show, Randy and our friend, Jeff Li, went over to my current favorite restaurant on Castro Street, Pho Hoa. This place is next to the ever “rocking” Lime Light Club in Mountain View and is open until 2:00 am every night! For late night food, it can’t be beat, though its prices have risen in recent times to a level slightly higher than what the food is truly worth, in my opinion. As usual, I ordered #45, large, with no cilantro.

Jeff, Randy, and I discussed Jeff’s recent travels around the world, centering primarily on his jaunts over to South and Central America over the past 10 months. It’s an fascinating decision to drop everything that one has in order to travel, experience, and live for an extended period of time. It’s a very appealing question and choice that we probably all, at one point in our lives, have face: what do we really want to do with our lives? Do we work, work, work… work for what??? Is there something beyond the daily grind, the disappointments and achievements in the workplace? Is there something else deep in our souls that gnaws and urges us to go beyond the fast cars, the dollars of dot-coms and technology, something that drives us to explore, experience, and live?

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