Archive for the ‘Santa Clara Street’ Category

Around the Bay in a Day

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010


Last November I took a bus ride up El Camino Real from San Jose to San Francisco and blogged my impressions and observations. To avoid giving myself whiplash, that day I only looked out the right side of the bus at the eastern side of the street and doggedly ignored the left side so the job was only half done. Last Friday, September 3, 2010, I completed the task, taking the reverse bus trip from San Francisco down to San Jose, observing the west side. Back in November I scribbled all my notes on the bus by hand in a notebook and ended up taking four months to type them all up. It’s not that I’m a slow typist, it’s just that the scope of the project was much larger than I anticipated. For the second trip I found a more efficient way: I live-tweeted my journey.

If you’re unfamiliar with tweeting, it means I used my cell phone on the road to type and send text messages to the Twitter service. Twitter messages, or “tweets,” are limited to 140 characters each so it enforces brevity. A great advantage is that every message was timestamped and geocoded by GPS so I have a complete record of what I saw, when I saw it, and where I was. I tried to live in the moment and just write what was on my mind which means whatever happened to catch my eye out the bus window. I know it’s a pretty pedestrian read (irony intended) but I hope I conveyed a sense of El Camino’s diverse profile.

Follow allcamino on Twitter

Below are my 167 tweets from that day from my brand new @allcamino twitter account. It took some effort to extract them all from Twitter’s web site. There are web apps that do this but they didn’t work for me because they rely on Twitter’s search engine which failed me, returning only six tweets (?!). I wrote a Perl script to convert their HTML to the format I wanted for the blog. To improve the readability I put each time stamp and location stamp against the right margin above each tweet. You can click the location links to open a Google map. My live-tweeting strategy worked great. Last year it took me four months to finish the writeup. Here I’ve done it in less than four days.

I cleaned the text up, fixing obvious two-left-thumb typos and grammar issues, but the content is largely raw and uncut. I’ve put a few editor notes in [square] brackets and added hyperlinks for your reference. I’ve written broader post-trip comments in between tweets in italics. You’ll see a bunch of the photos I took, many from the windows of the buses. Please excuse their quality. (more…)

Bike Party Loves El Camino

Friday, August 20th, 2010


San Jose Bike Party is tonight and once again they are taking it to The Street, El Camino Real. To finish out the route the riders will be hopping on El Camino in Santa Clara at Los Padres Blvd and following it all the way down through The Alameda into downtown San Jose, ending at City Hall. The theme Hot August Lights is a play on Reno’s Hot August Nights so there will be bikes tricked out in their finest regalia and sporting plenty of lights (a sly way to promote bike safety). If that’s not El Camino love, I don’t know what is.

Indeed the ride starts tonight at San Jose City Hall, located at East Santa Clara Street and South Fourth. The food trucks will be there in force to send them off fully fueled: MoGo BBQ, QuickDog, Kalbi BBQ, and The Louisiana Territory. Treatbot would be there but sadly they’re having vehicle trouble. One commenter on Facebook quipped they should find some bicycles to tow the truck; there will be no shortage of pedal power tonight!

In addition there will be something special at the kick-off (roll-off?): a performance by Japanese drum troupe San Jose Taiko. They are promoting their Rhythm Spirit 2010 Concert, coming September 10-11 to the Campbell Heritage Theatre. Ei ja nai ka!

Bike Party. For those about to roll, we salute you!

Starlight Cinema

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

My wife went out of town for an overnight business trip. When that happens, my son and I usually find a way to get into a little he-man mischief. Last night we threw a couple camp chars and blankets in the car, grabbed a nutritious meal from Jack-in-the-Box, and headed to San Pedro Square to watch “The Goonies” outdoors in a big Downtown San Jose block party. Don’t tell my wife that we stayed up way past our bedtimes.


The San Jose Downtown Association has been putting on these Wednesday night “Starlight Cinema” events all summer long in three different locations: San Pedro Square at Santa Clara Street, the Historic District on Post Street between First and Market, and SoFA District at South First and William. This week’s “The Goonies” was the last showing at San Pedro Square this summer, but the other two locations still have upcoming features:

  • August 18, 2010 — “Creature from the Black Lagoon in 3-D”, Historic District
  • August 25, 2010 — “Zombieland”, SoFA

Believe it or not my son and I had never seen “The Goonies.” You: “You’ve never seen ‘The Goonies?!?'” Me: “Yeah, I know, right?” What’s more I didn’t know anything about it. I heard of it and I knew it was about kids and I remember confusing it with “Gremlins” when it came out, but that was it. I didn’t know the plot or who was in it. I acknowledge this is pretty strange because I was a kid when it came out, the same age as some of the actors in the movie. I saw many of its similar contemporaries like “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” and “The Lost Boys” but somehow “The Goonies” never made it on my to-do queue.

One thing I did know is that people my age love this movie. Our friends at wrote a moving tribute to its timeless appeal on the occasion of its 25th anniversary this year on June 7. The town of Astoria, Oregon, where it was filmed, hosted a special celebration with a red carpet screening, a bus tour of film locations, a meet & greet with the cast, and a picnic.

CIMG1427San Jose didn’t go quite that far but last night was a lot of fun. We got to San Pedro Square about 8:00 PM, parking in the $3 flat-rate city garage there. The crowd was already sizable but we managed to find a couple spots on the curb for our chairs. A little to the left we would have been behind a lamp post and a little to the right we would have been a safety hazard obstructing the sidewalk, so we did alright though our view was partially blocked by an especially high-backed folding chair in front of us. It was a little hard to hear the sound system but it got better once the movie started and the audience quieted down. There were a couple tables on the opposite curb promoting the Downtown Association, Broadway San Jose, and selling movie snacks and drinks. My son opted for Milk Duds. I prefer Red Vines myself, but I respect his choices.

There was some pre-show entertainment. Fans participated in a treasure hunt where they had to collect clues at various local restaurants. If they found a key they got a chance to try opening a treasure chest live in front of the crowd. The winner found Broadway San Jose tickets inside; the losers won various raffle prizes. Then the organizers held a trivia contest with additional goodies, but my son and I tried to ignore the questions in case there were spoilers. They showed four shorts produced by local filmmakers participating in the Cinequest/Adobe Youth Voices program, then around 9:00 PM the feature presentation began.

It was a good adventure flick. I didn’t love it; it was a bit too contrived and there was way too much screaming for my grownup sensibilities (“WAAAUUUGGGHHH…!!!”). The characters were crazy fun though, and the kid actors delivered some great performances. I had no idea Sean Astin and Josh Brolin were in this movie and I didn’t even recognize them. My son’s favorite character was Sloth and football fan that he is, was delighted to learn John Matuszak played for the Raiders.

I did get goosebumps as the Goonies unlocked the secrets of One-Eyed Willie’s  treasure map and its Spanish legend. Corny as it sounds it reminded me of my own map quests, poring over high-res scans of sepia parchments trying to decipher centuries-old Spanish. And I understood what drove Mikey on. It wasn’t gold, it was the feeling that there was something out there to discover that would unlock something inside. He found his, and the deeper I dig into El Camino Real, the closer I get to mine.


Starlight Cinemas

Free Summer Outdoor Movies
Every 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Wednesday of the month