This Week's Day-by-Day Picks 

WED 11

"On March 14, 1980, I rolled a VW Bug on a backcountry road and died," Ronn Thomson says. That's right -- says. In the two decades since, Thomson has dealt with epilepsy brought on by his brain injury. But, perhaps more significantly, he has come to "feel my purpose in life is to bring a smile to everyone's heart that I meet, and to radiate the joy that is always present as much as I possibly can." Thomson gives a talk at the monthly meeting of the International Association of Near Death Studies, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting near-death "experiencers" and promoting knowledge and research of the phenomenon. The group meets tonight from 7-9 p.m. at Unity of Berkeley, 2075 Eunice St., and anyone with an interest -- not just those who have looked into the light -- is invited. A $5 donation is suggested. -- Stefanie Kalem

THU 12

Are you all riled up for the Raiders? Or do you think the 49ers are finer? Today is the last day to cast your vote in blood as part of Bay Area blood banks' Battle for Blood. If you're seventeen or older, weigh 110 lbs. or more, and are in generally decent health, you can donate at any area site, including the American Red Cross (800-GIVE-LIFE,, Blood Centers of the Pacific (888-393- GIVE,, and the Stanford Blood Center (888-723-7831,, and specify which team you're donating in honor of. Results are being tracked and announced during KPIX TV news broadcasts, and the team with the most donations made in its honor will be announced during Saturday's cross-bay preseason throw-down. -- Stefanie Kalem

FRI 13

In the dog days of late summer, things can get pretty boring for kids killing time at home before marching back to school. Turn off the TV, unplug the video games, and drag the littl'uns to Frank Bette Center for the Arts in Alameda this afternoon (3:30-5 p.m.) for the first August session of Art Adventures with Jill, a three-week series of Friday creativity workshops for children six to twelve. Certified art educator Jill McLennan helps the students explore drawing, painting, sculpting, and collage techniques -- all built around the center's August theme of "Home & Shelter." Recycled materials are provided for the daily $10 fee, but kids are encouraged to bring things from home -- small toys, boxes, etc. Drop-in attendance is okay, but preregistration is appreciated, at 510-523-6957. 1601 Paru St., -- Kelly Vance

SAT 14

When other indie-style, lo-fi film festivals make a call for entries, they say: "No home movies." Not this one. Home Movie Day actively seeks out people's "Christmas 1979" or "Barbie's Fourth Birthday" stuff, and they're never bored. Well, maybe sometimes. As envisioned by Steve Polta, Oakland coordinator of the worldwide event (his day job is with the SF Cinematheque), Home Movie Day "celebrates and honors the local, the vernacular, and the everyday" as cultural windows into the past, true documentaries of life as it is lived. Want to participate? Dig up that homemade Star Wars sequel or your version of World's Craziest Police Chases -- virtually any amateur film or video -- and take it to 21 Grand in Oakland (449-B 23rd St.) today between 2 and 6 p.m. Their twin mottoes are: "Don't throw your film away!" and "If you bring it, we will show it." Admission is free. -- Kelly Vance

SUN 15

The Yoruba of Nigeria brought the goddess Osun (Oshun) to Brazil and Cuba. She is an avatar of love, sensuality, and the arts (especially dance), patroness of rivers and bloodstreams, and is sometimes portrayed as an old, wise woman, sometimes as a tall, light-brown-skinned hottie. Celebrate all the things Osun is and has been at the Osun Festival Family Day, the culmination of a festival that began Friday. The First Congregational Church of Oakland, 2501 Harrison St., is the place for a children's art exhibit, youth performances, community mural painting, outdoor storytelling by the Evelyn Roth Outdoor Storytellers, and more. The fest concludes with a performance of Egungun masquerades and Osun ritual (led by Osun priestesses and honored visitors from Osogbo, Nigeria). 1-5 p.m., $5 and up donation requested. Info: 510-530-3735. -- Stefanie Kalem

MON 16

If you're between the ages of twelve and sixteen, chances are your Indian Skills need sharpening up. This is for you: In her class, Central California Indian Skills: An Introduction, naturalist Beverly Ortiz has taught teenagers how to make tule mats and how to start a fire. Today, however, the lesson is on Indian games and toys. Ortiz' workshop explains not only the Native American traditional skills involved, but also the role of the spirit of play in indigenous societies. Today's class meets at 2:30 p.m. and runs until 4, at Coyote Hills Regional Park, 8000 Patterson Ranch Rd., Fremont. You'll need to register before you go, though: 510-795-9385. -- Kelly Vance

TUE 17

Hey, Trixie! C'mere, girl ... Trixie! I said come here! Where are you going? You really like that corner these days, doncha sweetie? But you're not gonna -- oh, Trixie!! Don't crap in the ... not again! I just don't know what's gotten into that dog. Since 9/11, she hasn't been the same. Wonder if she's got some kind of four-legged post-traumatic whosiwhatsis ... or maybe dad was right, she's got gender issues. But it could just be gas, right? Screw it. Berkeley's Academy for Psychic Studies is giving a six-week course on how to Learn How to Do Healings on Your Pets, and Trixie deserves that much. Maybe we'll deepen our relationship, become more in tune, and make her feel better! Oh, man, the class starts tonight at 7:30 p.m.! Better call 800-642-9355 and sign up. -- Stefanie Kalem


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