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Driving in San Jose vs Portland

Sorry I haven’t been able to post lately. I was hoping to get a backlog of posts ready, but my house sold in that period so I had to get everything packed up in Portland, then drive down to San Jose, unpack everything, and then get it put away.

Since I’ve been doing a lot of driving lately, I thought I might comment on the differences between driving in San Jose and Portland. In Portland, the freeways go over lots of hills, especially as you head in to downtown from the West Side. Because of this, you find yourself changing your speed a lot (if you drive stick, you change gears a lot, too). It makes driving a more conscious activity. In the Bay Area, the freeways are pretty flat. I found myself using cruise control for the first time in many years. Also, since the speed limit in the Bay Area tends to be 65 mph instead of the 50 mph in Portland, you don’t have to worry as much about speeding. Also, now that many of the freeways have been widened to at least 4 lanes (in the past 15 years that I’ve been away), traffic seems to flow pretty well.

What this all adds up to is a more reflective driving experience in the Bay Area. Once you have cruise control on, and you have your 2+ car lengths in front, and you have your 4 lanes of straight flat highway in front of you, there isn’t all that much to do but think (particularly if you turn off the radio).

Rino’s Freeway Thoughts

I find that I go through the same set of topics whenever I drive in the Bay Area. I often think about traffic as water flowing through a tube. I wonder if anyone’s tried to model this using the Navier-Stokes equations. I wonder if you can compute a Reynolds number for traffic and what turbulence means.

I’ll look at street signs and remember what I thought about them when I was growing up. I still don’t know if the Tennyson Rd exit was named after the poet or if the Jackson exit was named after the general. The exit for “A street downtown” still brings a chuckle.

After this, I start thinking about things I’m working on. I used to think about homework. Now, I think about how to build my company. Now that I’m starting to get settled in San Jose, I need to start putting some of those thoughts into action! I’ll keep you posted 🙂


Sorry I haven’t posted for 2 weeks…

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I was going to publish something by Sunday at midnight each week. I was on track up until we had to do our final push to get our house on the market this past week. It’s been over two solid weeks of packing, cleaning, and doing various home improvements. After 2+ years of sitting at a desk and writing software, it was quite a shock to my system—at least I’ve gotten stronger 🙂 In order to maintain my blogging regimen, I needed to have a 3 month supply of generic posts ready to go. I’ll try to get some of that in place this week.

My wife and kids have already moved down to San Jose. I’ll be up in Portland by myself until the house sells. We just had an Open House today, which, our realtor says, is mainly for neighbors to walk through your house so they can tell their friends/sons/daughters about a house in the neighborhood. I guess that’s what happened. We had 12 sets of neighbors come through. However, we also had 3 sets of potential buyers as well.

I miss my family. The house is too quiet. It feels like I’m in a cell sometimes…kind of like this:

On Metolius - small.png

Hopefully, we can get our house sold quickly (and at the right price). If you’re curious, you can see it on RMLS.

Hope to have a more interesting post next week!

Speed Racer: The Great Plan

A couple of months ago, my 7 year old son’s school had a library book sale. We picked up a copy of “Speed Racer: The Great Plan” for my 4 year old. It wasn’t a book he could read, but it had pictures on practically every page. Perfect.

Go Speed Racer, Go!

I remember the theme song from Speed Racer as a kid, but I don’t remember any of the storylines very well. I think it’s because it was playing right before school in the morning, so I probably only saw the first part of each episode. I think it was showing on KBHK 44 (remember how awesome that station when it was independent?). It’s funny how the UHF frequencies are now being used for digital TV.

When I was a kid, I related to Speed’s character the most (obviously). Now, I relate more to Speed’s father, “Pops” (especially since my 4 year old identifies with Speed).

The Great Plan

This is a fun episode because it tells the story of how the Mach 5’s engine came to be. It also captures the feeling that every entrepreneur has when they work for another company and realize that it’s time to move on.

There’s a scene where Pops (the entrepreneur) is pitching his idea for a radically advanced engine (the invention). The management team (the status quo) says “No thank you” in that rude cartoon way (think scoffing, yelling, and finger-pointing), and Pops quits because he knows his invention is revolutionary and can change the world.

Still have 46 pages to go

It was interesting to see some echoes in the story of my company and my invention. We’re not done yet, but we’re more than half way there. I’m not sure what will happen next, but I know it will have a happy ending. “Speed” agrees. 🙂

Where I first saw Star Wars isn’t there anymore

I suppose it’s technically still there. It’s just a Target now. I went there today (visiting family in the Bay Area). It’s much cleaner and brighter than it was in the 70s. I remember where I sat. I could reconstruct the whole thing in my mind. I was sitting in the aisle because there was no room. Lots of kids were in the aisles: my brother, some cousins, a couple of friends. Totally unsafe, but utterly memorable, even though I was too little to understand the story. This morning, I walked over into that space where the movie had played over 30 years ago and could almost see the Tie Fighters and hear the popcorn dialogue.

“I sense something…a presence I haven’t felt since…”

I left the Bay Area in 1994. Since then, I’ve been down every couple of years or so to visit family and friends. It’s always felt a little foreign to me—I think the booming economy and rapid growth never quite fit my memory of growing up here.

This visit feels different. With the economy tanking, state government struggling, water rationing looming, it feels like…home. Music is getting grittier again. People are wearing their hair longer. It’s a weird Proustian flashback that wasn’t triggered by a cookie, but by the whole environment. Kind of like I’m the cookie and the world is having the flashback. 🙂

“California, here we come…right back where we started from”

As I’ve posted before, it’s taken longer than I thought to get to a v1.0 of our product. We’re there now, but we’ve run out of ramp to stay in Portland. We’ll need to sell the house and move back to the Bay Area to keep going. My family has been mentally preparing for the transition, but it will be hard to leave the great friends we’ve made and all the things we love about Portland.

On the plus side, it really does feel like we’re coming home. It will be good to spend more time with our families—something we haven’t been able to do over the past 15 years. It will be good to be in a technology center, a place where things are always happening and the innovative energy is extremely high. I just visited a friend who works at Google (and grew up in Portland) and was amazed at how much he loved being here and how energized he was by the people and the South Bay. I’m looking forward to being a part of this again.

Something I will regret in moving back, though, is having crystal clear childhood memories overlaid and muddied by the new ones of being here. I think I’ll have lost something special that first time I drive by and see only Target and Starbucks instead of Festival Cinemas and Doggie Diner.

It is sunnier, though 🙂

Doggie Diner