Saturday, September 22, 2012

Independence Day Parade

San Jose, CA

July 4, 2012

The nearby city streets were alive with the annual parade. I only had to walk a block from home to see the proceedings. I originally sent this out as an email photo essay to friends. Many suggested afterwards that I post it to this blog.

Aging well at home, yep that's happening here in my house.
Mireya (my wife) tells me to speak for myself!

In the South Bay.

Pretty close to the Cisco Campus and San Jose airport.

Is our neighborhood. Many of you have visited the Valley Fair Mall and Santa Row. We can drive to those malls and park within 10 minutes of leaving home.

The Alameda was the original main street in San Jose linking Santa Clara Mission (A) to the Cathedral downtown (B) about 4 miles away. For the parade photos, I was standing a point C on the map. The actual parade route (red dots) started at the local high school marked by the lower watermelon slice and ended at the top watermelon slice where the retail businesses take over from the mansions.

The Alameda is part of El Camino Real, which is the old aboriginal foot path that ran from modern day San Francisco to San Diego, mostly covered today by the 101 from South San Jose to Los Angeles and then the I-5 south to San Diego and onwards down the Mexican Rte 1 into Baja California. Every mile of the El Camino is marked by an ornamental mission bell.

Here are all the people waiting for the parade to start. The Mercury News reported that 25,000 people lined the route.
In San Jose, the Alameda was also one of the first collection of mansions that have now either been torn down or turned into professional businesses.

Majestic palm trees in front of an old mansion.

The gathering crowd…

Some in their summer best…

Others appeared in their jammies. Well, it was relatively early in the day for a holiday Wednesday.

At about 10:30, the parade began.

Elvis! Nice jammies on him too. Was there someone impersonating Elvis's mom in the pink Cadillac? I couldn't tell.

These folks live across the street from us. Andy's Pet Shop. That is a paper parrot on top. They have an old neon sign that they usually put in the truck's bed.

There were lots of great cars: Vintage cars and hot rods were the highlight of the parade. I have hundreds of interesting car photos from the parade and it was miserably hard to edit this down to something that anyone would want to read.

Isn't this fun?

The pinwheels are a nice touch. I'm not sure about that guy's t-shirt in the background.

Who else but California beavers would carve surf boards out of tree stumps?

George, your engraving on the one dollar bill doesn't do you justice.

Stayin' Alive. Cleveland Night Fever is an in-joke with the local high school. I don't get it.I feel so foreign, so Canadian.

Hot rods...

Cold rod.

The council member's car died just about in front of where I was standing. 3 men from the audience then stepped up to help push the car for the final 5 blocks of the parade.


The ZZ Top Car's cousin, the ZZ Top Taxi was there.
Modified '32 Ford (Little Deuce Coupe) Full of sharp-dressed men wearing cheap sun glasses.


This one's a real hum-dinger.

Followed by a real ding Hummer.
Who would ride in such a ding?

"I won the coin toss: I get to sit in the front seat!"

"Where's the hot tub? I was expecting a hot tub back here."

Finally a band. True story: the trumpet player yelled out to us, "Wanna hear some good music? Well, we're going to play something anyway." Castro Valley is on the East Bay north of San Jose. Don't they have a July 4th parade too? Maybe, this year, we swapped community bands with them.

The perennially hot, SJ Sharky from the National Hockey League's San Jose Sharks.

SJ Sharky's posse! A real working fire truck. 

Nice thing about having the Sharks in San Jose: if they were in San Francisco, they would be 3rd in line to the Giants and 49er's for people's attention. Here in San Jose, the hockey team is the undisputed top major sports team, the second major team is Major League Soccer's Earthquakes. How Canadian is that? Things will get interesting when the 49ers move to neighboring Santa Clara in 2014.

The Grand Marshal, Dan Ashley. Local TV personality. Interesting Egyptian-style "vessel." Well conserved.

Speaking of conservation, the world famous owl conservation and restaurant group, "Hooters" were there. They invite you to help them set their hot wings free for $3.99.

"Please let that be marijuana!" That's what the mature lady standing next to me said.

Not a big investment made in floats. As I said earlier, the highlight of this parade is the vintage cars and hot rods.

I'm feeling a farm theme here. Not getting many suggestions of a message…

The same vague message in balloons? OK, I didn't notice that there was a sign on the back until I uploaded the photo.

Great vintage fire trucks.

Arena football's San Jose Sabre Cats and Sabre Kittens. Her sabre teeth are a nice touch.

I'm assuming that this group isn't big on Kindles. But, what if they were? Wouldn't that be cool?

Likely, neither is this group. From the July 5th Mercury News, the lady in the foreground is Janna Standridge representing the Greater Bay Area Costumers Guild.

25 years from now, will this be how we see tablet users?

What goes well with hot rods? How about real life hula dancers, like the ones you see on so many dash boards.

"Hey, hey, we're the Monkees!" Go ask your grandparents. Stephen Colbert joked about the Monkees last week, so maybe not as obscure as I think.

Hizzonner (say that out loud). No problem keeping his engine running.

Many small beetles. Here, representing Paul and Ringo.

And big beetles.

Pink beetles. Where there are beetles, the girls will follow.

And restoratin-in-progress beetles. Ain't she cute?

The romance of horse riding on a city street…

And the reality. Hey kid, wanna be in a parade? Come-on it'll be fun! You'll pick up many memories.

Electric cars. Silent. Will they require comfort noise? (We put comfort noise on our phones so that users don't think the call has dropped when nobody is speaking.)
A good friend who is an engineer contributed:
To answer your question, yes electric cars WILL require comfort noise. My Nissan Leaf not only generates via speaker an artificial "whir" up to ~30MPH, it even has a warning light if the noise malfunctions (not sure how that works ... maybe it actually has a microphone listening to the speaker?). Although unlike in the case of a phone, the comfort noise is not for the comfort of the user ... it's for the comfort of pedestrians (as it's not very comforting to get hit by a car when you're not paying attention).
  Thanks, Danny

Meanwhile, the roller skating club initiation rites continued at full tilt.

There was some military participation. Some were civilians who collect military vehicles.

Here, a focus on the families who are serving.

Afterwards most of the parade cars were parked nearby.

This car's doors are designed for easier access for those who use wheelchairs. 
See how the front door opens upwards? An electric switch inside closes it.

Every teenage girl's father's worst nightmare. "Dad, my prom date's here."

"But dad, he's an engineering major." See the light emitting diodes (LEDs) in the skull's eyes?

Very creative and well done.

Everything you need for taking the Highway to Hell. The coffin floor mats are a nice touch.

I get the dolls, not sure about the hand cuffs. Do they keep your hands on the wheel while your eyes are on the road?

The food trucks were out in full force. 

 Again, according to today's paper, the local population of food trucks has grown enormously in the past few years. Used to be for distributing pre-cooked food from restaurants, now they are restaurants unto themselves starting with raw ingredients and cooking to order. Careful, they are not as well inspected and regulated as brick and mortar restaurants. I'd expect that to change for the better very soon. Also, a lot of it is a skewer or meat over a bed of starch. I'd rather cook at home, thank you. Although, once we took home an order of Asian noodles and chopped some veggies and two barbecued chicken breast into it as a pan fried noodle dish. That was yummy.

BTW: one of our favorite discoveries of the past 10 years is home-made fried rice, left over rice cooked with steamed veggies and meat plus an egg. Last trip to the UK, I had bubble and squeak which is the same idea but with reheated mashed potatoes instead of rice. Don't knock it till you've tried it. I don't think the Brits add an egg, though.

The Treatbot truck. Karaoke and Ice Cream. We've all had to sing for our supper, do we now have to sing for our dessert?

Volunteers with their "May the fourth be with you" tees. Actually, they borrowed that slogan from the International Star Wars Day, May the 4th (be with you).

The hula dancers posing.

This lady did a solo dance on the street near the fair. Isn't she lovely!

The dancers were sponsored by a real estate agent and gave me that agent's card. I sent 30 photos of the hula troupe to the agent.

Hope you had a fun and safe July 4th.