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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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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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.

Images of the Week (Oct 29-31 2013).

South of Market, Halloween morning.
Hulked out ruins from the previous millennium.
Hulked out ruins from the previous millennium.
East San Jose
East San Jose
Sweet decal. Oakland.
Sweet decal. Oakland.


Diamond & Bosworth in SF.
Diamond & Bosworth in SF.

After surfacing at Glen Park BART, I managed to snap a shot of this road machine before it rolled through the intersection on four stout tires, purring contentedly. The inadvertent photographing of the yellow light and the left turn in progress of the six-wheel flatbed going through the crosswalk nicely captures the fluidity of the moment.

MIssion Street, Halloween Afternoon 2013.
MIssion Street, Halloween Afternoon 2013.