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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.