August 4, 2007

in silicon valley, millionaires who don’t feel rich

Wow, this NY Times story really says it all about life here in Silly Valley.

Mr. Kremen estimated his net worth at $10 million. That puts him firmly in the top half of 1 percent among Americans, according to wealth data from the Federal Reserve, but barely in the top echelons in affluent towns like Palo Alto, Menlo Park and Atherton. So he logs 60- to 80-hour workweeks because, he said, he does not think he has nearly enough money to ease up.

“You’re nobody here at $10 million,” Mr. Kremen said earnestly over a glass of pinot noir at an upscale wine bar here.

Well that's a bit overwrought in my book, but there is a lot of money here, and a lot of overt materialism. It is very hard sometimes, not to fall into the trap of measuring your personal success in terms of flash cars, enormous homes, VC deals, and the number of staff you have managing your lush life.

BTW, it was interesting to see former HP colleague Celeste Baranski profiled in the article...hey Celeste, we're neighbors -- drop me a line and we can talk story sometime when we both aren't chained to our desks ;-)

Posted by Gene at 2:42 PM | TrackBack

July 29, 2007

san jose grand prix



We were guests of the RSports racing team at the San Jose Grand Prix, and it was an amazing weekend. RSports driver Justin Wilson ran a blistering qualifier on Saturday to win the pole position, but sadly both Justin and teammate Alex Tagliani experienced car trouble during the race on Sunday and lost several laps in the pits.

It was startling to see downtown SJ blocked off and turned into a racecourse; there must have been four or five miles of concrete barriers and fencing trucked in, to say nothing of all the Champ Cars, classic stock cars, drift cars, and all of their mega-trailers of equipment and crew.
Strange to think that this movable micro-city came and went in less than a week, and would be re-established many times in different cities along the international racing circuit. Racing people are just crazy I guess ;-)

Extensive Flickr set here.

Posted by Gene at 11:08 PM

March 16, 2007

beer: the best beverage in the world!

Now THIS should be a great PARC Forum talk:


Beer: The Best Beverage in the World
Charlie Bamforth, Ph.D., D.Sc., University of California, Davis

Brewing is the original biotechnology. For 6-8,000 years it has been a delight in the diet, resulting from a tremendously consistent process founded on intricate understanding of the underpinning science. It is an industry that informed all modern day fermentation processes. Beer looks good, it tastes good - and it does you good. This talk will explain all this and much more.

March 22, 2007, 4:00 p.m., George E. Pake Auditorium at PARC, 3333 Coyote Hill Rd, Palo Alto, CA , USA

Posted by Gene at 3:01 PM | TrackBack

February 2, 2007

stolen: magnum of 1959 Chateau Petrus, life

From today's New York Times comes the story of a big wine heist in Atherton, not far from the fredshouse estate.

ATHERTON, Calif. — It was perhaps the most Californian of crimes. Behind the electronic gates and freshly clipped hedges of an exclusive cul-de-sac, the thieves worked in the dead of night, ignoring watches, laptops and other ho-hum booty to cart away the ultimate prize: 450 bottles of wine, including a rare $11,000 1959 magnum from the Château Pétrus in Bordeaux, France.

Thus began what the police in this Silicon Valley town, one of the country’s most affluent ZIP codes, refer to as “the big wine caper” — a $100,000 theft, still under investigation, whose audacity has inspired Agatha Christie-like fascination among sophisticated oenophiles in the Bay Area.

Yes, it's a very intriguing story reminiscent of romanticized high-class criminal escapades like The Thomas Crown Affair. Mansions, wine cellars, selective thieves (Petrus for gods sake, ai!) But the real twist of the knife comes at the end of the article:

The case has lingering overtones for Sergeant Wade, who also was working on a case in nearby East Palo Alto, a city that has long wrestled with high crime rates.

“An 18-year-old girl was shot point-blank in the head and I received no calls about it,” he said. “The wine theft? A gazillion. It kind of shows you where people’s values lie.”

That's the real story here, although it doesn't sell papers -- an enclave of wealth and privilege at the heart of self-absorbed Silicon Valley, wringing their hands over spilt wine while just across the freeway a more precious fluid is being spilled, violently.

Posted by Gene at 8:00 AM | TrackBack

October 30, 2006

bobcat sighting

I saw my first bobcat today, crossing the road on Junipero Serra above Stanford around 8:20am. Broad daylight, a fair amount of traffic, and it wasn't really in much of a hurry. I got a good look at it from about 15 feet away, and there was really no question what it was. No camera at hand though, too bad.

Funny, my dad and I were busily watching for bobcat in the remote Adirondack wilderness last week, but we never saw any sign.

Posted by Gene at 11:43 AM | TrackBack

August 12, 2006

survival research labs opens san jose lablet




Images cannot convey the monstrosity of last night's
Ghostly Scenes of Infernal Desecration
, an SRL End of Days Production by Survival Research Labs at the ISEA 2006 / ZeroOne San Jose festival. Thunderous, inflammatory, primal, tender and beautiful. Scott at Laughing Squid has superb photos of the cataclysm.

Posted by Gene at 10:15 AM | TrackBack

August 3, 2006

something to do if you're bored in San Francisco

Are you bored? Are you in San Francisco? Is it still the summer of 2006? I have the perfect thing for you.

1. Go to SFMOMA.

2. Ask the info desk to let you take the Janet Cardiff video walking tour, "The Telephone Call". "It's like a really cheap form of virtual reality," she said.

3. Go up to the 4th floor and wander around the Matthew Barney installation, "Drawing Restraint". Maybe get the podcast before you go.

4. Are you inspired yet? Or at least baffled, the first step on the journey to inspiration?

Posted by Gene at 9:02 AM | TrackBack

March 26, 2006

fundraising auction at WPS

If you're feeling charitable, consider dropping by the Woodside Priory Online Auction and spending a few coins. My son goes there, and it's a worthy school run by talented and devoted educators. It starts tomorrow 3/27, and I know for a fact there will be some great 2nd row center tickets to the San Francisco Ballet on April 9th ;-)

Posted by Gene at 12:59 AM