Thursday, January 18, 2007

Suburban San Jose & Panic! At The Disco Is NOT Indie!!

Listening to: The Postal Service - We Will Become Silhouettes (yes, you can download it)


Four days staying in San Jose now, the heart of Silicon Valley. It used to be bustling in the 90s, thanks to the dotcom boom and the mAsses buying up stock in unfeasible companies; like or some dotcom startup that would print your crap for a fee and have ‘em delivered to you via bike messenger. Then the bears attacked suddenly in 2000, leaving only hardened companies like Yahoo! and eBay behind. The rest had their stock price drop to zero. The luckier ones had to consolidate/merge or risk annihilation.

Things are getting better now since the Great Dot Bomb Of 2000, 'though much gray-space still remains; vacant one to two floor office/research-lab buildings that once housed tech companies. Many commercial buildings in this suburban city rarely exceed four floors, except those downtown. And like suburban America, there’s the occasional mall, strip-mall, drive-thru McDonalds/Jack In The Box/Carl’s Jr./A&W and business hotels here and there.

I’m holed up in one of those Best Western’s, which would be my home for the next month.

And there’s another of those darned shopping malls just outside my room window…

Levi's jeans for U$25 per pair inside...

This would be my second business trip to San Jose, on another project with X Incorporated. I’ve also been here before while I was still studying in Wisconsin, to visit my cousin. Lucky guy now works at Intel, owns the latest Camry and lives in a U$400K townhouse. Back in Malaysia, average engineers like me are struggling to pay off the loan on our Proton Shitmobile.

Driving In California

Can I still vote Democrat?

Unlike the Midwest, folks here drive fast. If the speed limit is 65 (105 kph), people here will do 75 (120kph). But they drive predictably; less of that weaving in-n-out, Xtreme tailgating, and sudden turns that we Malaysian (Correction: YOU fellow Malaysian) drivers are infamous for.

Night however becomes much more hazardous for driving. Many streets are poorly lit at night, even at highway intersections and onramps. They’re more dangerously designed than what’s at home. Imagine, you’re taking the Calaveras Exit offramp from the 680 in your pickup at 55 (90kph). Its night, and the exit road is pitch black with no street lighting. Suddenly, your headlights detail a sharp right curve through the darkness. And its only tens of feet away… Bang! Meet Mr.Thompson’s Sausage Creature! And also say hello to tons of mail from lawyers for the next week or so as they try to persuade you to sue anyone from the maker of your car to the California State Government. That’s if you survive…

But in Malaysia, even with idiot-proof highways, our accident rate’s worse than what fellow Yankees have to put up with. Again, it boils down to attitude.

Did I tell you they drive on the other side of the road?


Most Malaysians, I hear, go shopping for branded clothing and shoes while in a Western country. CDs and DVDs? Nah! They prefer to buy ‘em pirated.

Not me…

And there will be more…

Oh yea, can you actually believe they filed that stupid "Panic! At The Disco" under the "Alternative/Indie" section? I could accept it perhaps if this was some chain CD store like Tower Records or Borders, but c'mon... Streetlight Record's supposed to be the premier music store this side of San Jose!

Well, that’s all for now. Gotta catch some sleep. Its about 6 Celsius outside.

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