May 23-29, 2007

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Silicon Alleys - Gary Singh

Silicon Alleys

Anti-Man About Town Redux

By Gary Singh

LAST WEEK I shelled out some fluid jargon about the "Anti–Man About Town." Since I subsequently went through the miserable and infuriating experience of losing my wallet last week, anti-man hit the pavement yet again, this time in search of where the hell I could possibly have left the blasted thing. I had worn a ratty pair of jeans that day, with a huge hole in the back pocket, where I usually stash my wallet, and the thing had apparently fallen out somewhere. Damn. As much as I ridicule all these dudes for wearing chain-wallets, now I wish I had one. I guess there's a lesson there somewhere.

Here was the rest of that week: Five calls to credit card companies to cancel cards. Five more calls to get my frequent fliers cards replaced. Then I wound up at the Mervyn's on Blossom Hill to buy a new wallet. Yes, there still exists a Mervyn's in San Jose. I grew up going to that store. We used to buy Boy Scouts crap there all the time.

And then I made an appointment and dive-bombed upon the DMV to get a new temporary driver's license. The best sign at the DMV is the one that says it is unlawful to threaten a state employee, something we've all done at the DMV. But they are indeed better than they used to be, I swear.

The other plan was to scope out more neighborhoods to carve out a niche in. If I'm waiting to get my freakin' identification back, I should at least go on the prowl yet again. My target this time: Princeton Plaza, since I was at Mervyn's anyway. It is a classic old-school shopping mall on Blossom Hill Road. Some local band should do a tune about Princeton Plaza. There used to be a great hamburger joint there years ago called Wimpy's, themed after J. Wellington Wimpy from the Popeye cartoons. You just wanted to waltz in there and say the famous line, "I'll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today."

And behind the mall, across Kooser, sits Chuck E. Cheese's, which used to be called Pizza Time Theater. The first one was in Town & Country Village where Santana Row is now. Nothing in Santana Row could possibly compare to Chuck E. Cheese's, and I'm not just saying that because I had a crush on a girl in high school who used to work at both of those Chuck E. Cheese's. I never really knew her that well, but I Googled her and found out she's now a doctor in St. Louis—and she would never remember me now, but it was hysterical to think about. Anyway, original Chuck E. Cheese's tokens are now apparently major collectors' items, and in high school I actually knew someone who walked around in the rat costume. I always wanted to do that myself.

After those morbid exploits, I found myself back at the WORKS/San Jose art gallery for the finale of this adventure. I blew off some steam and grieved over losing my wallet while chilling at an exhibition called Preflight, a three–day–only show, showcasing SJSU's gradating BFA class in Graphic Design. The students all stood at their respective tables with business cards and curriculum vitaes in pure schmoozing fashion. And yes, this absolutely was an instance of the journalist being too lazy to cover something more than walking distance from his office, but SJSU is the story this year, as its 150th anniversary propaganda has infiltrated every nook and cranny imaginable. It was great to see students exhibiting their stuff in local galleries, as this was a rockin' show.

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