The Bay Area response to foreclosure

I spotted this article a little while ago, discussing how one man responded to having his house foreclosed.

The front yard of Williams’ home is strewn with boxes, furniture and trash cans. There’s even some of the home’s air conditioning duct work lying on the lawn. That’s not the only part of the property left in shambles. The inside of the house is just as messy.

And just in case anyone needed an explanation for his actions, Williams also allegedly left the bank a big note –– using spray paint. The words painted on a wall near the front door are hard to make out but it appears to declare: “Brought to you by Deutsche Bank… Eat it.”

My favourite part though was the response from (who I’ve declared my amusement of here, here, and here):

Makes sense. Milpitas isn’t in the Real Bay Area. Full of savages. I hear they’re starting to eat babies because house prices are so low. 


I love data – part 3

I noticed tonight that the GPS error on my running watch means that when I look at the data in aggregate, it creates quite a nice heat map of my favourite runs.

I might try and figure out a way to show this over time.  The Palo Alto/Mountain View runs build up during winter, and then during Summer I do far more runs by the bay (when I don’t need street lights to run after work).

American food is killing me

I’m completely addicted now.  In-n-out.  Krispy Kreme.  Sibby’s Cupcakes.  Fred steaks.  And tonight’s indulgence?  Chicago style deep-dish pizza from Patxi’s.

We ordered a 12″, which weighs nearly 2kg (it is 2″ deep).  It takes 30 minutes to bake (compared to the usual 6 minutes or so for a thin crust pizza).  The pizza actually consists of two layers.  Ingredients are placed on a bottom layer of dough, another layer is added on top of that, and then the sauce is placed on top.  We actually ordered the “low fat” version originally, but the kindly gentleman who took our order swiftly talked us out of that.

Paxti's original pizza


Silicon Valley pictures

Some photos from around the Silicon Valley area.  Apologies for the quality, but they’re all from the iPhone.

The Computer History Museum presents – the original Utah teapot:

Utah Teapot

The Crittendon end of the Google campus – you can see NASA Ames in the background (and Hangar One):

Crittendon Google and NASA Ames

Check out the numberplate:

Ethernt numberplate

This one is a little harder to see, but it was taken near Google:

Writely numberplate.

(it says “WRITELY”)

Bay Area housing

Columns gone crazyAnother sterling post from

WOW! Everything looks so much classier when you have columns! It’s like the whitehouse – it’s classy because it has columns! Man, this totally blows the last columned house on Burbed out of the water!

If you don’t believe me that columns make any property better, check out this testimonial that was featured on national broadcast TV!

I think the most amazing part of this is that the house costs $800,000. After a while you become desensitized somewhat to the Bay Area prices, but I still love imagining what a million dollar house looks like here compared to anywhere else in the world.

As an example of the craziness, a house that sold in Mountain View for $395,000 in 1996 will sell for $1.8 million now.

When geeks bite back

Very interesting article on about Sarah Lacy’s interview of Mark Zuckerberg, from Facebook. I’ve seen some pretty atrocious interviews, keynotes, panels and presentations in my time, but this is right up there when you think of the scope. Interviewing the world’s youngest self-made billionaire (is that title accurate?) at a conference like SXSW…well, I can’t but help think she was a little blase about it all, even by her own self admission in a post-interview discussion with Valleywag.

Edit: Found the interview in question. Suspicions confirmed! Sometimes the arrogance in the Silicon Valley can get a bit much… Haha and Mark’s rising inflection at the end of almost every sentence is kind of irritating.

Edit 2:  Jeff Jarvis has a great post going into detail what went wrong in a far more insightful manner than what I could muster.

Bay Area Gossip

Valleywag has become one of my new guilty pleasures.  While I can’t but help laugh at the hapless participants, I do feel twinges of sympathy for them as well.  Whether it’s Jimmy Wales meeting and breaking up with his girlfriend on Wikipedia (wow they really seem to dislike old Jim), or the continuous articles on the rules for picking up escorts in the Silicon Valley (link not really safe for work), it’s a constant source of entertainment.  Actually, some of its best moments play out in the comments.  Maybe it’s like Burbed though, where it’s that much funnier if you live in the Bay Area.

One of the latest articles did strike a chord with me though was reading about poor old Brandee Barker had to announce to the press  that she wasn’t getting the vice president position, because it’s her job to.  Particularly in a company like Facebook where the billionaire CEO is just 23, you know experience isn’t really a factor (although they did just hire Sheryl Sandberg from Google).

Bay Area Economics

Since moving to the Bay Area I’ve realised there are a whole different set of different rules for pricing and economics here. Salaries, real estate, and commodities are all distinct from the rest of the US. With that said there is one site that I love that perfectly sums up the idiosyncracies here –

Are they f’ing kidding me? The local economy isn’t generating jobs? Hello, Apple/Google/Facebook are still hiring like crazy. Even Yahoo is hiring (srsly). Most of the In-n-out’s are hiring too.

I don’t know what evil nefarious agenda Shea Homes has, but clearly they hate the Real Bay Area and are acting as economic terrorists. A cynic would have to wonder if they’re doing this to get concessions from the City of Mountain View.