Archive for October, 2012

Welcome to “the 669”

It’s finally come to pass. Thirty years ago when “Ma Bell” was broken up to form the regional Bell operating companies, my step-dad claimed it was only a matter of time until we’d need to dial 11 digits to call someone at the other end of the block. Starting today (October 20, 2012), South Bay residents in the 408 area code are required to dial 11 digits (1 plus 408 plus a phone number) to reach other 408 phone numbers. We’ve come a long way from asking the operator for “CYpress 7 1234”.

The new dialing procedure is being enforced to make way for a new area code, 669, which will cover the exact same geographic region as 408. This “overlay” was approved by the California Public Utilities Commission one year ago, when it was predicted that 408 would run out of new phone numbers by January, 2013.

Phone service providers will begin to issue new 669 phone numbers starting on November 20.

Two-wheel tour of San Jose’s Art Boxes

One of the great activities at last month’s Luna Park Chalk Art Festival was a bike tour of 24 of the “art boxes” recently created around San Jose. The art boxes are city-owned utility boxes that have been painted by local artists, each in the artist’s individual style. Decorating the boxes has turned these eyesores into public art, and is also expected to deter graffiti (and in case it doesn’t, each box is triple-coated with an anti-graffiti coating).

The bike ride was led by San Jose Bike Clinic, and was originally planned as a one-time event. But Art Box project leader Tina Morrill has shared the route with us, and it’s now available on Box in two parts: a map with directions and a list of boxes and artists.

The ride is 15 miles long and passes 19 of the project’s 34 or so completed boxes in the Northside, Japantown, the Alameda, and Willow Glen. An optional 8-mile extension covers five additional boxes in the Berryessa area. The directions are given for starting and ending at Backesto Park in the Northside, but it would be easy to start anywhere along the route and complete the loop.

Given San Jose’s flat geography, the ride should be reasonable for most people or families to do in an afternoon, but as always you should keep your personal fitness level in mind when planning to ride. Also be sure to ride safely, wear a helmet, and obey the rules of the road.

New Sweet Treats in JTown

Since early August, there’s a new place to satisfy your sweet tooth in Japantown. Jimbo’s is selling Marianne’s ice cream in cups and cones, as well as Bubbie’s mochi ice cream from Hawaii. On one visit I tried Marianne’s “10-20” ice cream, with caramel ice cream, fudge swirl, and oreos, and it was fantastic.

In addition to ice cream, they have several bakery items including cookies and rice krispie treats (the matcha rice krispie treat is intriguing, but I haven’t tried it yet).

Or, if you’re not ready for sweets, they have hot dogs, or rice bowls topped with hot dogs in several flavors. And you can wash it down with a beer or a soda. Today I tried the teri rice bowl, with a teriyaki hot dog and cucumber and radish pickles, and it was a great light lunch.

Welcome to Japantown, Jimbo’s!

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