Isn't modern science wonderful? Instead of checking moss on trees and fussing with azimuths, sun position, and map coordinates, outdoor wanderers can now take along their GPS receivers and never get lost -- or at least know exactly where they are when they do get lost. Tuesday evening (7 p.m.) at REI Berkeley (1338 San Pablo Ave.), adventure guide Steve Wood teaches GPS navigation basics for free. You can also learn about geocaching, the Internet-based hide-and-seek game. Pretend you're in a spy movie. It's free and open to the public. For more info: 510-527-4140. -- Kelly Vance
To Skin or Not to Skin?
That is the question at Livermore's Aqua Challenge
Hot as it may get in Livermore this time of year, you can bet Saturday's Aqua Challenge will be a cold splash of water for all contestants -- the water temperature at Lake Del Valle is expected to be 72 F, more or less. On Your Mark Events' open-water swim competition, the seventh annual, has three distances -- two-mile, mile, and half-mile -- for a variety of age and gender classifications, with both Wet Suit and Non-Wet-Suit categories. Certified lifeguards will monitor all races. Top finishers in wet suits get engraved medals; non-wet-suits, carved glass trophies. So be bold, go for the medal and take the "skins" plunge. The Aqua Challenge starts at 8:30 a.m. with the half-mile race (check-in at 7) at the lake, 7000 Del Valle Rd. (off Mines Road), Livermore.
Entry fees are $25 in advance (from OnYourMarkEvents.com or 209-795-7832), $30 on race day. Kelly Vance
Quakes Thrive on Shaky Ground
Plenty of "if onlys" in the air around the San Jose Earthquakes this season. In the wake of the disappointing departure of star forward Landon Donovan, club president and general manager Alexi Lalas packed up and left to assume the same post with the New York/New Jersey MetroStars. And did we mention that the team is expected to be sold this season? Despite everything, the Quakes -- supported by a small but rabid fan base at San Jo's Spartan Stadium -- are hanging in there in the MLS West, chasing FC Dallas and holding off the LA Galaxy with the help of defensive stars like goalkeeper Pat Onstad and defenders Eddie Robinson and Danny Califf. Lalas' MetroStars visit the Quakes Saturday evening (7 p.m.). For tickets and info, visit SJEarthquakes.com -- Kelly Vance
What the Fork - October 20, 3:19 PM
Culture Spy - October 20, 2:22 PM
Culture Spy - October 19, 5:10 PM
Culture Spy - October 18, 2:55 PM
What the Fork - October 18, 1:45 PM