RE: [NYTimes] Austin, we have a problem

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From: Meltsner, Kenneth (
Date: Sun Aug 20 2000 - 08:14:03 PDT

Oh come on, that's Silicon Valley for you. The Bay Area also include the
grotty and lovely bits of Oakland, Berkeley, El Cerrito, Albany, etc., as
well as all of San Francisco. Parts of which have strip malls and other
parts of which have walkable downtowns and public transportation that
(mostly) works.

And in San Francisco, you have to pay extra if you want a house or apartment
that's not submerged in fog much of the day.

It's a really big area with great variations -- everything from the
outlandish architecture in East Oakland/Piedmont (where a fire performed
instant suburban renewal) to old Arts and Crafts houses in Berkeley and
"painted lady" Victorians in SF to suburban tract housing in Vallejo.

Take an hour drive (not counting traffic) and you'll be in a different
world. Not the *real* world, but certainly not soul killing and turbo
business geek.

And stop by Everett and Jones on San Pablo Ave and University, and have a
rack of ribs for me.

Ken Meltsner
(who grew up in Albany and El Cerrito an astonishingly large number of years

-----Original Message-----
From: Adam L. Beberg []
Sent: Sunday, August 20, 2000 5:23 AM
To: Jeff Bone
Cc: Adam Rifkin; FoRK@XeNT.CoM
Subject: Re: [NYTimes] Austin, we have a problem

On Sat, 19 Aug 2000, Jeff Bone wrote:

> Impressions of the Bay Area, circa 1989-1992: suburban hellhole.
> Totally homogeneous. Pre-packaged. Synthetic. Isomorphic.
> Pretensious. Weirdly provencial. Surprisingly racist, under a
> veneer of hypercorrectness. Inflated sense of its own importance.
> Land of Strip Malls. Overengineered. Gang-raped by franchises.
> Crowded. Single-themed. The opposite of laid back. Dry. Car
> fetishistic. Not user friendly. Hyperexpensive. Basically totally
> uninteresting. Utter alpha male turbo business geek culture, and
> *nothing at all but that.* Soul killing.

You ain't kidding, and you left you the bad parts!

I just moved out here, and from the adventuring out I have done I'd
preaty much have to classify this as around a 6 on the 9 planes of hell
scale. Too good for a mass murderer, but about right for say your run of
the mill single murder.

Everything is at least twice as expensive as anywhere in the real world.
Roads change names and direction at random, with only one name on any
map. "Valley" north is apparently what the rest of the universe calls
west, but south isn't alwasy east. European cars that cost more then a
house are all over the place, but seem to all be parked on the sholder
of the highways. Just try to park an extended cab truck anywhere. Taxes
are all higher of course. And when the heck will there be clouds, or
rain, or ANYTHING, this sunlight thing is downright painful (that's what
I get for being nocturnal or underground for the last 8 years). The
water tastes wierd, and I'm not sure where it's coming from. Everyone
seems to be in denial that there is a thing called reality, and when you
point this out they just ignore you and talk about their new idea that's
ancient but hypeable. It's downright scary how disconnected people are.
Is there a site for cities, cause this place
needs to be on the list...

My hard-core realist, low profile living self just doesn't get it. But
now my atoms are in the valley, I feel so special.

- Adam L. Beberg
  Mithral Communications & Design, Inc.
  The Cosm Project - -

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