San Lorenzo (5 photos).

Sam's Drive Thru. Burgers, tacos, and espresso.
Sam’s Drive Thru. Burgers, tacos, and bad coffee. Just the kind of place where Jim Rockford would eat.
Usher Inn, San Lorenzo.
Usher Inn, Timeless San Lorenzo.
Another look at the Usher Inn.
Another look at the Usher Inn. That’s the moon, top center.
Clyde's Corner, technically in San Leandro, but spiritually in San Lorenzo.
Clyde’s Corner, technically in San Leandro, but emotionally in San Lorenzo.
Clyde's Corner. Serving the area's consumer electronic needs since 1954.
Clyde’s Corner. Serving the area’s consumer electronic needs for 60 years.

 

 

 

 

Peninsula, Holiday Week 2013-2014 (8 images).

Interstate 280 just south of San Francisco. When you're doing the Peninsula route, you take your food where you can get it. I used to hit this place for breakfast, lunch, or dinner
Interstate 280 just south of San Francisco. When you’re doing the Peninsula route, you take your food where you can get it. I used to hit this place for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
The Hearst house, Santa Inez St. When Patricia Hearst was kidnapped, news reporters set up a media camp here outside the gate.
The Hearst house, Santa Inez St. When Patricia Hearst was kidnapped, news reporters set up a media camp here outside the gate. Some say it was the first in television history.
Church of All Russian Saints. Burlingame.
Church of All Russian Saints. Burlingame.
The city of San Mateo up by the 280 is perhaps the best Eichler House neighborhood in the world. But I think this fortress-like Eichler is down around Sunnyvale.
The city of San Mateo up by the 280 is perhaps the best neighborhood for Eichler Houses in the world. But I think this fortress-like Eichler is down around Sunnyvale.
El Camino Real. Running for 25 miles across the entire length of the Peninsula and hitting over a dozen cities , the stretch of El Camino Real known as Route 82 is more reminiscent of L.A. than any other Bay Area road, and by L.A. I mean 1970s Glendale.
El Camino Real. Running for 25 miles across the entire length of the Peninsula and hitting over a dozen cities , the stretch of El Camino Real known as Route 82 is more reminiscent of L.A. than any other Bay Area road, and by L.A. I mean 1970s Glendale.
El Camino Real restaurant sign.
El Camino Real restaurant sign.
El Camino Real Apartment Buildings
El Camino Real apartments

Peninsula House 1Peninsula House 2

Corner house. San Mateo, near 280.
Corner house. San Mateo, near 280.

 

 

 

 

 

Oakland Idyll, Dec. 23, 2013 (4 Photos).

FAIL
Out of order parking meter reads "FAIL." Looking forward to seeing one that says "pwned."
Out of order parking meter reads “FAIL.” Looking forward to seeing one that says “pwned” next time.

 

The Buena Vista Social Club Pays a Visit

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If you're going to park on the front lawn, always try to block the walkway.
If you’re going to park on the front lawn, always try to block the walkway.

 

A SCANNER DARKLY.

Philip K. Dick, longtime Oakland resident, would understand.
Philip K. Dick, longtime Oakland resident, would understand all too well.

Look closely below the right tail-light. You’re starting to see these new square bar codes everywhere. Their design makes them easier to capture with a portable scanner, such as a smart phone. It only makes sense that they would now show up on vehicles.

Think about how old-school it is for cops to have to pull up close enough to read off a license plate into the radio Adam-12 style: “Alpha Charlie Diamond, One, Four, Six. Tags are current. Copy?” when instead they could convey all the information with a quick scan of the bar code.

Expect to see these on vehicles everywhere, sooner than you think.

Lotto Fever. Dec. 17, 2013.

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The last time I bought a lottery ticket this year was in April, but when I was driving in East San Jose yesterday afternoon and heard that the Mega Millions jackpot was up over $600 million, I decided it was time to buy in. Not because I thought I had any chance of winning, but because a jackpot like this is a social event that takes on a life of its own. The whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts, and I wanted to do my part.

A dollar won’t even buy you a donut in most strip malls anymore. So if that same buck can get you a pull on the one-armed bandit that will give somebody somewhere a $600 million payout (actually less than half that in a lump sum payout), why not?

There was no chance to pull off the road until I got out of East San Jose and into South San Jose and completed my last stop of the day. The sun was setting as I slid into a diagonal parking space in a strip mall alongside Interstate 85 that had a Safeway and an official lottery retailer.

It turned out to be a very dramatic sunset, which was nice because 2013 hasn’t been a great year for sunsets so far.

Red tail lights waiting to get on the 85.
Red tail lights waiting to get on the 85.

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I was not really surprised to learn that one of the two winning tickets for the Mega Million jackpot was sold in a strip mall in East San Jose. It’s one of the few good towns left for working class optimists.

I still haven’t checked my numbers, and I doubt I will. Having been in East San Jose hours before the lucky numbers were picked there is as close to winning the thing as I’ll ever come.

What I did manage to accomplish in East San Jose that afternoon was getting my first up-close gander at a biodiesel pump in a mainstream gas station.

 

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R.I.P. Harold Camping. Before the Mayans got all the glory, this Alameda resident predicted that the world would end on Oct. 21, 2011.

One of the great things about visiting Alameda is knowing that an old-school doomsday preacher like Harold Camping was going about his busy day on the very same island.

Sometimes I would even drive real slow by his house (pictured above) just to bask in his eminence and remind myself that the quiet, suburban tree-lined streets are often populated by people whose minds run deeper and wilder than we could possibly imagine.

The last time I drove past his house was on Wednesday, Nov. 27, the day before Thanksgiving, at 2:42 PM. That is when this photo was taken. He died 18 days later.

R.I.P. Good Reverend. I know that the world really did end on October 21, 2011, no matter what the others say.

THE WEEK THAT WAS. DECEMBER 10-13, 2013.

The Palm Tree and the Pine.

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A uniquely Californian pairing. I photograph them together every chance I get.

Easter Island Style

At this strip mall on the edge of East San Jose, I looked up at these trees and realized I was looking at the gangsta lean silhouette of the mysterious Easter Island statues.

 

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Note the white pinprick of the half-moon (top-center).

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East San Jose Lavanderia.

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Lake Merritt

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Alameda

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Magic Hour in San Jose.

As the entire street was engulfed in deepening shadows, this one house on the end seemed to light up.
As the entire street was engulfed in deepening shadows, this one house on the end seemed to light up.

Ford Falcon Ranchero. San Jose.

This was my last stop of the day on Thursday. I had never seen anything like this Falcon Ranchero before. It was good light for photography, but the old guys on the block were all gathered at the corner. I knew they would be watching me, so I settled for these two furtive shots from across the street.

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The Mission.

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It's good to see that parts of the Mission don't change.
It’s good to see that parts of the Mission don’t change.

Trees of San Leandro/San Lorenzo

 

 

 

 

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This thing is pruned to look like a Fram oil filter.
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Me and the tree.