"And so castles made of sand fall in the sea, eventually." Dude, that is so heavy. Yet like so many other hippie-era odes to the impermanent and cyclical nature of men and their accomplishments, Jimi Hendrix's words ring true (even without the benefit of pot): Whatever we build will someday cease to exist.
The humble sand castle is the perfect embodiment of this precept. No matter how grandiose, sturdy, or aesthetically pleasing the structure, its place in the canon of history can only last until the moon turns the tides. It is, we imagine, with resigned acceptance of this fleeting concept of beauty that the City of Alameda presents the 37th annual Sand Castle/Sand Sculpture Contest. The competition's categories are simple, and seem to have been created to discourage the professionals of the genre (yes, they really exist) in favor of kids: ages 12 and under, ages 13 and over, and "family." Fortunately for those pros, there aren't any guidelines as to what constitutes a family. The rules are basic, too: Stick to your allotted area and use only natural items found on the beach today, like wood, rocks, and shells. Shovels and other basic implements are permitted, but I-beams and rebar are notallowed -- such vanities only further the illusion of solidity. The event begins at 9 a.m. at Robert Crown Memorial State Beach, Westline & Otis, Alameda. Admission is free; call (510) 748-4565 or visit www.ci.alameda.ca.us/arpd/events.html.
-- Kevin Chanel
They Got Game
The NBA is for wusses; the hard-core action is on the playgrounds. Witness the AND 1 Mix Tape© Tour, a 33-city showcase of the country's best streetballers. ESPN addicts and die-hard fans of AND 1's series of basketball videos and DVDs are probably already familiar with hotshots like Skip to My Lou, Hot Sauce, Main Event, and Alimoe. The rest of us will be happy to make their acquaintance at today's event, which starts with an open run and expo from 4 to 6:30 p.m. The tournament begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Oakland Arena, 7000 Coliseum, Oakland. Tickets are $15.75-31.50; call (510) 762-2277 or visit www.and1.com/ mixtape.
-- Lisa Hom
Survivoraficionados can vouch for the fact that the great outdoors and romance go hand in hand. Maybe it's the fresh air; maybe it's the proximity to our animal roots. Whatever it is, there's nothing like alfresco adventures to get folks in the mood -- and the Outdoor Survival Workshop should do the trick. Mix and mingle while receiving personalized instruction in wilderness survival skills like how to build a fire by hand or how to set up an emergency shelter. Even if you don't find true love, you'll know what to do in case you're ever stranded in the Amazon. The event begins at 10 a.m. at the Big Trees Trail, Joaquin Miller Park, Oakland. Tickets are $40-50; visit www.bayarea.matchlive.com.
-- Lisa Hom
Blues in the Redwoods
In the early 1960s, a site north of Stinson Beach was scheduled for development, but it was not to be. Instead, the Bolinas Lagoon Preserve was created in 1962, for use by the great blue herons, snowy egrets, and great egrets that roost majestically in the very tops of the redwood trees. It's rare for humans to be able to see the big birds' nests -- and right now maybe even chicks -- but the area's terraced topography makes it easier. Enjoy hiker-friendly trails and other amenities from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 4900 Highway 1, Bolinas. Admission is free; call 868-9244 or visit www.egret.org.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser