[Best of Silicon Valley 1999]

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[whitespace] In Fine Form Under The Big Top

Stars of the Readers' Survey circus

Thoughtfully assembled by Traci Hukill

Counting survey responses is something we anticipate each and every year with the innocence of wide-eyed children yearning for Christmastide. We laugh and cry as we read your heartfelt answers to our sincere questions about burritos and pizza--NOT! Counting survey responses is a mind-numbing hell, a purgatory of fried synapses and pounding headaches brought on by vision strain while we struggle to decode your, the readers', cryptograms that pass for printed words. Friends, there is only one thing that eases the pain: interesting responses. Interesting in any way at all--whether thoughtful, grumpy, funny, festooned with drawings of daisies and moons, or indicative of a particularly sunny or sullen disposition. This year we formalized the routine and awarded the extraordinary surveys with movie passes and gift certificates as tokens of our appreciation. Thanks to everyone who participated in our little trifle.

Most Amusing

"Lilia," who mistakenly fancies that we want to send her junk mail in the future, wouldn't give us her address. But she won us over with a volley of zingers in her survey anyway. Best Sports Team: "The Lasers. Oh, wait, they got screwed over by the league with more funding and deeper closets. Silly me." Best Nursery: "Valley Medical--they're sooo cute when they're all red and squirmy and rodent-like." Best Gay-Friendly Bar: "Friendly? I don't care if they're friendly. Screw friendly--give me a good homo pouring drinks and a bouncer to beat the hets up at the door if they try to come in!!" What a card. And for her pains, Lilia, if she ever answers our email, will soon be enjoying a fine meal for two. Or two fine meals for one, or--oh, forget it. From now on we're leaving the serious business of humor to sharp minds like Lilia's.

Savviest Consumer

Rafael Leyva went the extra mile on his ballot, letting us in on all kinds of deals from his mental catalog of bargains. Best Place to Buy Music? "Wherehouse on El Camino and Fair Oaks. They have a good return/refund/exchange policy." Best Place to Buy Produce? "Pak 'n' Save. Only place where tomatoes cost less than a dollar a pound." Oh, the secrets harbored in a thrifty soul! And when confronted with Best Chinese Restaurant, Mr. Leyva simply could not refrain from blurting out a host of reasons to patronize his favorite. "Wok's on Express. For $3.25 righteous bucks, you get two items, one of which is either rice, chow mein or veggie fried rice, and their chicken with green beans is to die for. They do not use msg either." Thanks for the tips.

Best Word-of-Mouth Source

If Michael Underwood is not gainfully employed at an advertising agency, he has surely missed his calling. How about this lyrical recommendation for Best Burrito? "Super Taqueria, 10th and Williams--The high quality steak and tender beans meld together with the tortilla to create something really special." Wow! Is it even legal to print stuff like that where kids can read it? How about Best Martini: "The BackBeat--A classic. Did someone whisper Vermouth in the next room?" Pure poetry. And what charms lie in the Fish Market on Blossom Hill when Mr. Underwood's doing the talking! "Have a seat at the oyster bar and let the chef whip you up something special. Usually with butter and garlic." Sir, are you and your silver pen for hire?

Most Sycophantic--Er, Sensible

Robert Emmett and Kirsten McGlynn must be good, sensible folk. Not only did they fill out every single category on our ballot, but they did so with great care and wisdom. Consider their response to Most Annoying News: "Failure of major media to cover issues or give information, thanks to the Metro for letting us know what's going on in our neighborhood!" What intelligent, discerning people! And their vote for Best Male Athlete? Richard von Busack, of course, Metro's very own film critic: "He's a treasure, and if you can't give him an award, give him a raise!" Flattery and conscientious vote-casting, not to mention petitions on behalf of the staff, goes a long way with our crew.


After hours of squinting at bad handwriting on pulp, our vote-counters sometimes start to wonder how any of our readers got out of third grade. Then along comes a survey like Christine Larimer's, a tidy thing of beauty free of blotches or cross-outs. Small letters, all caps, regularly spaced and generally representative of esthetic functionality. Ms. Larimer's penmanship is truly a sight for sore eyes.

Saddest Sack

The pathos. The grief! So dispirited and heartbroken was this winner that she couldn't even bear to write her name down--just, "I don't want a silly present. Just be nice 2 me. I'm going thru a break-up and I'm sad." And then she made a little weepy face next to it. It gets worse. Best Street for All Your Dining and Entertainment Needs--"Anywhere w/ Aaron." Best Angel Investor: "Aaron--my dark angel." Come forward, dear. Aaron may have dumped you, but even a fool like him can't resist a free ticket to the movies.


Wendi Geisler was REALLY happy to share her opinions with us! And she showed it in her punctuation!! Her enthusiasm was so infectious and her responses so thorough and sincere, we found ourselves uplifted after just reading her survey!!! Good attitudes have to be rewarded sometime, don't they?!

Disenfranchised Youth Award

Steve Rosen is a plucky guy, but not necessarily a happy one. And why should he be? He's sporting all the features of an underemployed, underaged Gen-Xer! "Downhill Skateboarding" is his best Adrenaline Rush. He's bummed out about "Really crappy buses," adding, "you need a car to go anywhere." And in the eyes of our angry young man, the Worst Politician is Most Politicians, or "The jackasses who shut down all the all-ages concert venues." Buys his pants at OSH, uses the computer to shop for longboards, loves Boy Kicks Girl! ... what a demographic! Mr. Rosen, are you for sale?


Tsk, tsk! John Meyer, you are a Grumpy Gus! And yet your responses to our survey were sincere. Here's how our Surliest Ballot winner answered Best Sign of Conspicuous Consumption: "All the yuppie fuckheads who drive around in their Sport Utility Vehicles." Best Use of the Internet? "Dr. Laura's nude photos." Best Burgers? "Don't eat meat. It kills three things. The planet, the animal you're eating and your heart." Mr. Meyer reserved some spleen for local bands, as well: "Oooooohh there's so many to choose from. You'd have to go back 10 years." Take these dinner passes, Mr. Meyer. A good meal will surely help to dilute all that bile!

Most Congenial

For sheer pleasantness, Ben and Diane Tripousis' ballot takes the prize. Nothing showy or cynical about their responses--just good, wholesome opinions utterly free of irony. And they filled out almost every category. Now here's a couple whose taste can be trusted.

Most Beautiful

Ellen Kruger has quite a way with a doodle. Her readers' survey, cheerfully accented with stars, flowers, happy stick people and peaceful maritime scenes, made us stop and say, "Awww ..." Plus her answers were thoughtful and respectful. A+, Ms. Kruger. This one's going on the refrigerator at Metro Central.

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From the September 30-October 6, 1999 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 1999 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

For more information about the San Jose/Silicon Valley area, visit sanjose.com.

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