Random thoughts from my time in Silicon Valley

I have seen a lot of discussion lately, post the fall of SVB, about how Silicon Valley is as a place. Whether or not the people there deserves a bailout. How it’s a land of techbros and the ultra woke.

Well, I am in the fortunate position that I spent a decade and change working in Silicon Valley. I figured I would give some random thoughts I have on the place. Maybe it’ll give the congregation another way of thinking about it.

Or maybe not. Who knows. Fuck it.

First off, some of what is said is always going to have a semblance of truth to one degree or another. Plenty of tech bros. I have worked with them so I know. I worked with a guy once who would yell out loud in the conference room “Man, I gotta go to the bank” and then disappear for 2 hours. Found out he went to strip clubs and stuff during the day.

Plenty of “woke” people. Lot of people talking about shaman blessings, Monsanto hate, and a limited experience of outside the confines of the SJ/SV exchange.

But this is definitely not the whole story at all. This is just the part of the story they shove on TV to make an easy to digest soundbite.

I think of Silicon Valley as the Island of Misfit Toys. Those who have no where else to go, end up there.

I know that is how I ended up there. I had no where else to go in the world. And, I wanted to be at the frontier. For better or worse, Silicon Valley is the frontier of too many things. Its where the next pain in the ass app you have to deal with will come from. So, I went there.

But that in and of itself doesn’t bring techbros. What it brings is everything. There is a corner of the world for everyone. And they all kind of make it their own. Like I remember going to this fucking awesome Afghani food store just to buy good spices and shit. Or Little Moldova in the far east of the east bay.

That’s another thing about the place. It sort of feels like the first place that gets built after the zombie apocalypse. Like you have this image in your head of like Apple’s HQ and you think that is what its going to be like. That is most definitely NOT what it is going to be like.

Its an amalgamation of the most high tech building you have ever seen built right next to the fucking shittiest, 60’s era California strip mall with half the Spanish tile missing.

You know what silicon valley actually is? It’s places like this:

That joint is a German-style cafeteria. Has something stupid like 200 types of beer. Fucking awesome just roasts, potatoes and shit.

Was there before they even stamped the first semiconductor out there. Will be there long after the fall of SVB.

And that’s sort of what I am getting at. It’s a place like any other place. Living there is to see the birth, life, and death of a thousand ideas. Ideas that make places that give people a paycheck. Then those die, and those people have to hunt again.

I don’t feel bad for the tech infrastructure getting all fucked up because of this. I feel bad for the people. People who are just trying to do their goddamn jobs and go home at the end of the day. They aren’t chilling at cougar night (also not woke). They are living in a place they love.

Truthfully, part of me will always stay in Silicon Valley. There are parts I miss. There are plenty of parts I don’t (see the aforementioned).

I guess all that to say, don’t paint the area with broad strokes. It’s all just people. Some are assholes, and some aren’t.

No different than everywhere else. Cut them some slack. And then fix how shitty Silicon Valley innovations have made the world. But more on that another day.

Thoughts from the AMEN Pew #65

Getting through life should come with prizes.

This week, I definitely feel age hitting me. Neck has been fucking sore all week. Can’t get a decent night’s sleep. General anxiety over trying to make it through this life.

Really I suppose its more of the same, but it just felt….extra heavy this week.

Nothing a little liquor won’t cure. Better enjoy that before the slow march of time takes that away.

Slow Train Comin…

This one is an odd duck. I spent time in Silicon Valley, so this is one I didn’t expect. Everybody out there banked with SVB. In my time there, I saw the birth, life, and death of a thousand startups… SVB was there through all of it. Never did I think they would shut their doors, let alone the government take them over. Never thought of them as a place taking on a bunch of risk.

Now the word of the day for those who follow the latest in the fall of the republic is contagion. Is this going to spread to other banks.

I doubt it just by sheer force of scale, but we live in odd times. Maybe you get some cash and tuck it away. Maybe you eat that new vacation you just booked.

Who knows. Keep watching the skies. Cause for sure this is one I did not see coming.

I finished the Genesis run. Other than my praise for one of their records, I got three big takeaways.

  • That band needed P Gabes. Once he left, man that band went through some shit. It isn’t like Mr. Gabriel wrote all their tunes, but like any band dynamic, without one, they were missing something. And it was a big something in Genesis’ case. With an odd exception, you can skip anything after he l left.
  • Maybe I was too hard on Mr. Dylan. Cause his lowest lows do NOT fucking compete with Genesis’ lowest lows (see below). Woof.
  • It was all totally worth it. I got some new albums that mean the world to me. And I got some fucking big flava songs that more people should cover.

Expect more of these in the future. Hopefully without 6-8+ albums of pure shame.

In a rare turn before jumping to a gif and the next topic, look at this music video. Holy fucking shit. What the hell were they thinking.

Hey, you guys remember when Snoop pulled all the fucking death row albums off of streaming cause they were going to be NFTs and shit. Yeah, he realized thats not how reality works and has put everything back where it was.

Look. I love Snoop. I don’t care he appears on the worst album of all time. But whoever convinced him what an NFT can do and can’t is an idiot.

I agree he should have been paid more back in the day. This is the nature of the terrible game that is played with artists. I hope he gets his bag, but NFTs. That ain’t it.

Liquor is kicking in boys. Ooo shit.

Look, I have a ton to say about Diablo IV. It’s a game I am going to spend some time with. Expect a post in the future, but lets put that aside for now.

I love shame. Everyone knows it. And boy did Blizzard give me a good one. I wonder what the conversation was at Blizzard when they were thinking this up. “What is something those fucking PC nerds like to do that we could use to promote our game…. EAT! Those fat fucks love the fucking food. Get us some food sponsorship.”

In a way, well done. You are high in the running for shame earner of the year. Well done.

[Editor’s Note: Twitter fucked me on a direct embed. Click the link to see the Diablo IV shame.]

And on that note, I am out to enjoy this fucking liquor and the rest of my friday.

Hope you enjoy yours. See you next week.

Foxtrot – A Retrospective

So, as previously discussed, I have been going through Genesis‘ discography. Prior to this adventure, I never gave Genesis its real due. I think the only time I had heard Lamb was when I was on my big tearing through lists project. At that time, I enjoyed it, but it didn’t stick with me like some of the other records.

Not sure why. I was listening to a ton of different stuff doing that, so maybe it blended in a bit for some reason.

Cut to today. Going through Genesis beginning to end seemed like a really good idea. And, my feelings leading up to this record confirmed that. I had enjoyed what I was hearing and got a few personal favorites out of the thing. Then I get to this record…

This experience is becoming rarer and rarer the older I get, but you know that feeling when you hear something really revolutionary for the first time. As recently brought to my attention, it’s like that scene in SLC Punk. You hear something for the first time and it just blows you away. It’s new.

That’s how I felt about the first track on Foxtrot.

It’s just like an immediate, “What the fuck is that?” Total hook. With context, I can now say, I think Genesis needed time to form. Needed time to figure out what they wanted to do. And it all culminated with this album. I think The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway is the sound of art going in a new direction (totally not surprising Peter Gabriel left after that). Foxtrot, in my opinion, is the sound of a band gelling.

This is going to be a controversial statement. This album made me realize how good of a drummer Phil Collins is. Holy shit the music on this thing. This is that prog shit done real well. Multiple movements. Complex ass layers. It is something special.

As far as lyrical content, are we ever in fucking prog territory. You know that old saying about listening to the artists that inspired the artists you like. For as much Rush as I listened to, you would have thought this record would be in the conversation for the big inspirations for 2112, Farwell to Kings, etc.

Prog rock city. All dystopian all the time. And not necessarily put together. I think what I love about a track like Get Em Out By Friday is that you don’t necessarily need to explain it all in the song. Leave that for the nerds who read the liner notes. The band was smart enough to focus on the composition and the emotional impact they wanted to leave in the listener.

And, lets journey to the big track here.

Genesis’ Dark Star. And I think this is better than that track. In a way, this is the top of the mountain for this type of work for the band. Like sure, there are a million ways to argue that Lamb is a better record. And I think some of the songs on lamb are better.

But this to me. This is something fucking special. They broke something here. Like I feel like they touched their golden ring. This has the best the band has to offer in one track. The best composition. The best organ work, drumming, lyricism, execution. It’s all one package. Hell this could have been its own record.

It’s ethereal but not unapproachable. They managed to do something every fucking prog rock band tries to do and fails. That most damnable word. Immersion. It is easy to get lost in the world of this song. And you don’t need drugs to do it.

Overall, I am shocked…fucking shocked this isn’t in that conversation of greatest albums of all time. Like it may not be yours, but I am surprised this isn’t as highly regarded. Like when I went through the Rolling Stone 500, you know what was on there. Fucking Don Henley’s End of Innocence. And I fucking hated that album. I still think its the worst record on there. You know what WASN’T on there? A single Genesis record. Fuck you.

4/4 – This joins that rare category of albums that I wish I could wipe my mind and hear for the first time all over again. It’s that fucking great. Check it out.

© Church of the Holy Flava 2016 - 2021