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Mistaken ID; Cruising Santa Cruz Sans Wi-Fi, Es Verdad?

April 26th, 2010 · Tags:Cities · Satire · Wi-Fi

Pinging Santa Cruz

I think it may be considered a bad thing when someone approaches you at your hotel, and asks, “Do you work here?,” based on how you are dressed. I am pretty sure a lady assumed that the black uniform pants and pressed collared shirt of my Dirty Gigs work clothes meant that I was the hotel maintenance professional. Ha! I guess it could be worse, I could have been mistaken for the cabana boy out beside the pool.

In a way, I was working. Just taking a moment away from my disaster recover gig to call up on the guest computers in the lobby.

Is it so wrong that I call up my own Web site to promote my favorite cause? In the days when I attended COMDEX electronics trade show, I used to set hundreds of computers to my sight. Then I would hide behind a potted plant and watch as hundreds of computer geeks systematically logged off the site, without reading, to play on-line kill games. Nice guerilla marketing ploy on my part, ay? I digress.

Anyway, it is interesting to put that “carrot” out in front of computer enthusiasts and see how they react. I would wager some of my “consumer behavior” research has been infinitely more valuable than some of the thousands and thousands of dollars I have seen spent in the marketing world.

Sweet Rental

Today, I did some more field testing of the PingWi-Fi concept in downtown Santa Cruz. What a great little enclave of chic retail meets street musicians and mixed-race Rastafarian couples. A funky little way to pass the day, people watch and grab a quick hit of Wi-Fi.

But this day, I left the computer in the Tony SopranoMobile — the sleek, long, black rental four-door sedan — and just headed out with the camera. I like people shots, but I do try to avoid offending or violating anyone’s airspace. So, I passed on shooting what would have been the shot of the day.

Yes, we have all seen street musicians. And in Santa Cruz I think there must have been one about every 30 yards or so. The ones I heard were actually quite accomplished too. Only halfway serious, I pondered whether or not any city has every “juried” the street performers — like they do artists at an arts festival — to ensure that only the best get permits. The pondering continued. Wouldn’t it be funny if all these street musicians were unionized … with designated lengths of sets, number of songs before breaks, etc. Can’t you just see them all stopping at once, setting down their banjos and saxophones at once, and stopping to smoke a cigarette in front of the doors of buildings.

Balloon Dude

Balloon Dude

Oh, right … About that photo of the day that I should have shot — it was of a young couple strolling down the sidewalk, as the dude serenaded the dudess on his ukulele. When was the last time you saw someone pitching woo with their ukulele, I ask you?


Although I didn’t get online, I did make mental notes that there were about as many coffee shops and ice cream shops as there were street musicians … so I will be back to check out the battle between corporate giant Starbucks and the homegrown coffee shop directly across the street (where the elder-and-hip had taken roast … I mean roost).

Look Closely

Look Closely

Know what I saying?