locations and establishments mentioned frequently

work/the base/Moffett Field/Ames
The NASA-Ames Research Center, is part of historic Moffett Field, located between San Francisco and San Jose, adjacent to the towns of Mountain View and Sunnyvale. The huge building is "Hangar 1," built to house the Navy's airships -- click it to see a broader view of the base, from a different perspective. The lab building where I work is visible in this picture, just behind the hangar.
El Camino (Real) and the 101
"The royal road" -- another trail with the same name ran between Mexico City and Santa Fe, but this one connected the California missions. Now it's the main drag through my part of Silicon Valley; I live close by. Up here el Camino stretches between South San Francisco and north San Jose; down in LA the name's attached to a bit of the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) in Redondo Beach. These bell signs can also be spotted along US highway 101 in central California. Up here the 101 runs right past Moffett Field and eventually goes over the Bridge; at the other end in LA, passing through The Stack, it's the Hollywood Freeway.
Stanford Theater
Grand old renovated cinema with a balcony, in downtown Palo Alto. Doesn't show new movies; instead it's a repertory house featuring classic films, usually in excellent condition and part of a themed festival. In keeping with its timeless nature, "Lost Horizon" was the first I saw there. Live organ music nightly as the mighty Wurlitzer rises up out of the stage before & after the 7:30 show!
Coffee chain way better than Starbucks. The one I'm seen at (daily) is in Los Altos -- it's where I harvest the newsprint I read in the sauna at the gym. Occasionally I go to their other nearby branch in Palo Alto. Although they've had Northern California operations since 1966, until recently they stayed local. Now they're expanding -- I've been to branches in Portland and Manhattan Beach (where the prices are lower).
Trader Joes
A food and beverage store once peculiar to SoCal. I go for the nuts, best dairy values, and frozen chicken, among many other things. Great variey of cookies -- and check their breakfast cereal selection!
Yaohan and Ranch 99
Japanese and Chinese supermarket chains. They each have in-house eateries off to the side. Don't know how widespread Ranch 99 is, only seen 'em in California; Yaohan was once common in Japan (although their Home Islands operation went bankrupt) and they not only have stores out here, they've even established a beachhead in New Jersey. More Yaohan details can be found in this entry.
UPDATE: Yaohan's now out of business in the US, too -- the local store (and perhaps the rest in the domestic chain) is basically unchanged except for a new name, Mitsuwa.
West Coast "big-box" electronics chain. Loved for the wide selection, low prices, and goofy themed decor; but also despised for their legendary poor customer relations.
Amoeba, Tower
Record stores I frequent. The former is only in the City and Berkeley; but there's a branch of the latter in my neighborhood.
the City
San Francisco the Bridge the Golden Gate. Less enlightened folk make fun of those who call it The City (especially San Jose boosters, who correctly point out how their metropolitan area now has a higher population) -- these people are often a subset of the great unwashed who use the derogatory, offensive term "Frisco." We are not amused, and now you know better.
Castro Street
The main 'downtown' avenue of Mountain View, now lined with restaurants and a few bookstores -- it runs between el Camino and the 101. There's another one up in San Francisco, which runs south near the end of Market Street, through the district with the same name.
Mountain View
one of the older communities in the Valley of Heart's Delight. I live here, real close to the borders of neighboring Los Altos and Palo Alto.
Mountain View Library Dial-a-Story: 650-903-6771
the Valley of Heart's Delight
Archaic name for Silicon Valley.
the bikepath
I ride to work at least once a week, and there's a great stretch of my commute where I can use the Stevens Creek Bike Path. This entry has details, including pictures.
DC/"inside the Beltway"/home
I am from Washington, a D.C. native (born in Georgetown), and friends and family still live back there.
Biltmore Street
Where I was roomies with Tim in the 1980's -- it's in Adams-Morgan, just north of Dupont Circle in downtown DC, near Rock Creek Park.
College Park
(Maryland) -- location of my school, the U of M; my parents and Wunderland live nearby. Kendall called the intersection of Knox Road and Route 1 "the Great Magnet."
Nags Head, the Outer Banks
...of North Carolina, where my god-daughter lives; also known for the Lost Colony, Wright Bros, Cape Hatteras, Brew Thru & etc.
NoCal / SoCal
Northern California / Southern California. (The folks up North put on airs about how their part of the state is superior to the Southland, or so they think. Nice trees up here, definitely.)
The Void