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January 3, 2006

The Nielsen Haydens Break Into F&SF!
Posted by Patrick at 02:19 PM *

Unfortunately, as walk-on characters in a Paul Di Filippo story.

Comments on The Nielsen Haydens Break Into F&SF!:
#1 ::: Richard Anderson ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2006, 03:35 PM:

When did San Francisco become the capital of Silicon Valley? (Yes, I know this is a piece of fiction, but there's a basic issue of geographical accuracy....)

#2 ::: Robert L ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2006, 03:38 PM:

Why "unfortunately"? I, for one, am honored to be a spear carrier in a Jack Womack story.

#3 ::: Dave Kuzminski ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2006, 03:47 PM:

Hmmm, I do need some more names for my current work in progress.

Smile, everyone, you just might see yourselves in a novel. :)

#4 ::: Michael Walsh ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2006, 04:16 PM:

..and in a Diane Duane Star Trek novel I had a walk on as the Captain of the Starship Constellation.

Captain Michael J. Walsh

#5 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2006, 04:39 PM:

Evidently, Richard, in this particular future after the "total, irretrievable collapse of the Internet in a chaos of viruses, worms, spam, terrorism and busts by the FBI anti-porn squad", Santa Clara County has returned to being a largely agricultural area (prunes, anyone?) with The City regaining its God given position as capital of the entire Bay Area.

I wonder, will Milpitas even exist in this world? Fry's, of course, will return to being a chain of supermarkets. The drive to Santa Cruz will be wonderful, though.

#6 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2006, 04:44 PM:

...and in a Diane Duane Star Trek novel I had a walk on as the Captain of the Starship Constellation.

Ah, you're Mike the Greek!

#7 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2006, 04:49 PM:

Hey, nothing wrong with being in a DiFi story. We are all honored and like that.

#8 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2006, 05:06 PM:

Of course, in the Bay Area (and CA) context, DiFi - Dianne Feinstein.

And, as it stands today, Silicon Valley has no capital - that would be too organized. The city, however, functions mainly as a Valley bedroom community.

#9 ::: Steve Eley ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2006, 05:26 PM:

I thought DiFi was how non-natural blondes checked their e-mail.

("Your roots are showing! Better apply the latest security patch!")

#10 ::: Cat Eldridge ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2006, 07:39 PM:

There's an ethnomusicologist named Cat Eldridge in Jane Yolen's The One-Armed Queen. It was in exchange for a favor.

#11 ::: sdn ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2006, 07:45 PM:

that story made me sad.

#12 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2006, 07:56 PM:

In an Internetless world, might not APAs and non-computer play-by-mail multiplayer wargames see a resurgence?

#13 ::: Keith Kisser ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2006, 10:48 PM:

I could see play-by-mail having a resurgance after the collapse of the Internet. Letter writing may catch on again, too. Broadsides would be fun as a sort of instant literature.

But having a journal no one else reads? That's practically Victorian!

#14 ::: Luthe ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2006, 11:42 PM:

In the age after the Internet, people will once again play roleplaying games. With dice.

Freeform games will be written in collaborative journals, not LiveJournal comments, and LARPing will replace MMORPGs.

What brave new world is this, that has such people* in it?

*people being those sentient carbon-based lifeforms you encounter when you step away from the internet. Currently, they are just a rumor, but when the Net falls, they will emerge again.

#15 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2006, 01:56 AM:

Larry Brennan writes: The city, however, functions mainly as a Valley bedroom community.

Oh, now that is just not true.

Silicon Valley could lay down tank traps and land mines all along the San Mateo county line and San Francisco would hardly dry up and blow away. Silicon Valley has a "capitol"— it's San Jose. That's where Silicon Valley builds its museums and keeps its cultural artifacts in long-term storage.

p.s. I work in Cupertino, and I live in SFO— so, maybe I'm sensitive about this topic, but I contend it's true: there's an awful lot of San Francisco that just doesn't think about Silicon Valley much. It's one of the things I like about the place.

#16 ::: amysue ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2006, 07:47 AM:

Hmm...My only brush with the printed page (other than the occasional acknowledgement) was as a monster named: amysue grue. Seems undignified somehow.

#17 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2006, 09:37 AM:

I'd be tempted to say that, if Leigh Brackett were still around, I'd want her tuckerize me into a Mars story because of Eric John Stark. Except that right now I'm reading her collection Sea-kings of Mars and I realized that her heroes, at least in the oldest stories, are more likely to be short guys like Alan Ladd instead of Clint Eastwood. On the other hand, her heroines seem to tend toward the Keira Knightley types so I guess that'd be worth losing a few inches of my verticality.

#18 ::: Richard Anderson ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2006, 10:27 AM:

I always figured the capital of Silicon Valley was Sand Hill Road.

But hey, the late '90s Internet bubble caused a number of startups to launch in San Francisco, and these startups in turn brought in thousands of young folk for staff, which led to the construction of housing (mostly lofts) in previously industrial or otherwise ungentrified neighborhoods and the concurrent launch of hip new restaurants, clubs, and the like. When boom turned to bust, many of these firms and their employees effectively vanished, and restaurants and clubs went dark as well. San Francisco -- or, to be more precise, certain neighborhoods (e.g., South Park) -- might be viewed as having been frontier outposts of Internet-focused venture capitalists, but when conditions on the frontier changed, these outposts lacked sustainability and disappeared, too.

The more intriguing issue, seems to me, is the extent to which (non VC) tech businesses in Silicon Valley were entwined with the Internet startups in San Francisco. I don't know what the answer is, but one could perhaps make the argument that there was less connection or coevolution between the two than commonly believed.

#19 ::: rams ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2006, 11:14 AM:

...and instead of Comments there will be graffiti.

#20 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2006, 01:57 PM:

jh woodyatt: I used to work in Cupertino and live in SF, too (Noe Valley). The slog made me move to Burlingame - I just couldn't move all the way to the Valley.

As far as SF being a bedroom community for the Valley goes, from the Valley perspective it is, as are places like Tracy and Antioch.

The city, of course, thinks differently.

#21 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2006, 02:17 PM:

I recall reading, at the height of the tech boom, an article in the SF Chron that described the difficulties of Bay Area tour companies.

They naturally wanted to satisfy the desire of folks who wanted to see the highlights of Silicon Valley . . . but really, what was there to see?

Sand Hill Road is occupied by a bunch of office parks. Apple and Oracle's office campuses are really pretty, but you can't go inside, and if you could all you'd see would be a bunch of folks in cubicles. Palo Alto has some nice neighborhoods, but they're hardly the fodder for a "homes of the stars" style tour.

When I showed visitors around, I took them to the big Fry's in Santa Clara, dropped by the Pulgas Water Temple, and showed them what I could of the Oracle campus. I told them the now-dated joke about shaking trees in Palo Alto.

#22 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2006, 02:25 PM:

What was the the now-dated joke about shaking trees in Palo Alto, Stefan?

#23 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2006, 02:31 PM:

Stefan: It sounds like they need a 'tourist' electronics plant (not that the tourists are likely to have a clue what they're seeing). Maybe something with lots of big machines and flashing lights all over the place? (I worked in Silicon Valley for several years in the 70s. We didn't have anything that looked like tourist-bait then either.)

#24 ::: Bryan ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2006, 02:36 PM:

I couldn't help but wonder what you have against Paul Di Filippo

#25 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2006, 02:42 PM:

Do the Nielsen Haydens sodomize any dinosaurs?

#26 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2006, 03:06 PM:

"What was the the now-dated joke about shaking trees in Palo Alto, Stefan?"

The Silicon Valley Business Cycle

You get an idea for a neat high-tech item or business.

You get together with a bunch of friends and decide to start a business.

Everyone quits their current jobs. Whoever has the biggest garage has the honor of living in the new company HQ.

You work up a business plan, drive to Palo Alto, and start shaking trees until a venture capitalist falls out. While he's still dazed, you explain your idea.

Repeat until you get some funding.

After a year or so of 80 hour work weeks, squabbles, late-night nerf battles, and an all-pizza diet, your product / service is ready to go.

You put on a demo at a trade show. You take orders.

After a year or so of struggling along as a startup, you either get an offer to sell the company or get told by the accountants that it is time for an IPO.

You're bored, so you go for it.

You take the money, drive to Palo Alto, climb a tree, and wait.

#27 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2006, 03:13 PM:

PJ Evans - Well, there's the Tech Museum where you can see bits and pieces of factory equipment. I really don't like it as a museum, though, because it's more about how than why, and it's pretty content-light in the how department.

Stefan - I'd usually add lunch at Il Fornaio in Palo Alto or Buck's in Woodside to the tour, as well as a quick drive through Cupertino's Bubb Rd. startup ghetto.

Terror concerns have made the Pulgas Water Temple more or less off-limits (unless something has changed in the last 8 months), but you can still visit the Crystal Springs Dam.

#28 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2006, 03:26 PM:

Hmm... How has that joke been made obsolete, Stefan? Somebody cut all of Palo Alto's trees down?

#29 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2006, 03:30 PM:

The VCs no longer grow on trees?

You'd probably have to make prior arrangements to see SLAC, assuming it's still allowed. (Look! We're going under the 280 freeway!)

#30 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2006, 03:41 PM:

What Larry Said about the Tech Museum. Lots of pretty, empty lobby space and a few field-trip-friendly exhibits.

You know, I lived just a mile or so up the Avenue of the Fleas from Woodside, but I could never find Buck's.

I'm bummed about the Water Temple being off-limits. It was fun to walk there on Sundays, when the road along the reservoir was turned into a bicycle path.

#31 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2006, 03:46 PM:

I don't know, PJ. The joke is saying that VCs evolve into tree-dwelling creatures, not that they grew there. Maybe they mutate into some eldritch lovecraftian fungi-things that parasite trees until ripe.

One good thing to come out of the dotcom craze is that it made San Francisco's South of Market better to look at, at least the Third Street section between the Moscone Center and the ballpark. But I hated that the building with that giant portrait of Uncle Sam got torn down in the process.

#32 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2006, 04:01 PM:

Serge: I don't know that building. I do remember the old train station on Townsend, a block east of the current station (I think that makes it 3rd St). Of course, I also remember the Embarcadero Freeway (not a loss as far as esthetics go).

VCs - that makes sense. I think. Of course, most companies never get big, they just stay smallish and maybe change locations occasionally. Or change products - the one I started with is, astonishingly enough, still around thirty years later. It just isn't in the same part of the field.

#33 ::: Sandy ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2006, 04:16 PM:

"In the age after the Internet, people will once again play roleplaying games. With dice. "

Bah. Bah, I say.

#34 ::: A.R.Yngve ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2006, 04:44 PM:

It's an amusing little story, full of satirical in-jokes - but wasn't the Internet designed to survive nuclear war?

What probably WILL happen is that the Next Big Thing in communications makes the Internet obsolete.

(Picture a story with aging, cranky bloggers in a retirement home, who refuse to get plugged into the global NeuralNet...)

#35 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2006, 05:22 PM:

PJ, that building was on Third near Townsend, across from where that big RV park used to be. The mural could only be seen from Townsend itself, between two buildings that were on that street.

#36 ::: cd ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2006, 05:29 PM:

Sandy: some of us still do. And use the Internet to communicate with roleplayers all over the world. (E g the RPG.net web forums.)

#37 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2006, 05:29 PM:

Sort of like the 'Lawrence' building in Pasadena was? It was a ten or twelve story brick building on Green Street, and painted on the top two or three floors on the north side, visible from the 210 freeway, was the sign '"My people are the people of the dessert," said T E Lawrence, picking up his fork.' I don't know if the building is still there, but there was this earthquake .... (The top two or three floors lost a lot of the bricks and had to be rebuilt. Sign gone.)

The RV park sounds like it might have been where the old train station was. I haven't been in that area for some years.

#38 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2006, 05:35 PM:

Speaking of eyesores like the old Embarcadero Freeway, PJ... Next time I go to my employer's new offices near the end of SF's Market Street, I'll have to go and see if that godawful Vaillancourt Fountain is still around. The best description I ever heard of it was a turd squeezed out of a dog with square intestines.

#39 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2006, 05:51 PM:

Serge: that's good! I usually see it a a mess of box girders leftover from building something-or-other in the neighborhood. (It's been ugly from the start.)

#40 ::: oliviacw ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2006, 06:11 PM:

SLAC tours are still available, though offered infrequently.

http://www-group.slac.stanford.edu/com/tour/default.htm

#41 ::: Robert L ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2006, 06:15 PM:

...And, hey, look at the bright side--if you had appeared in a James Ellroy novel, it would be as a couple of dead prostitutes.

#42 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2006, 06:17 PM:

I wish I had thought of that description for the Fountain, PJ. The darn thing really was not a pretty sight when I went by, years ago, with rust streaks and all that.

While on the subject of SF's landmarks... Did you know that there is a troll within the underside of the Bay Bridge? In 1990(?) the Chronicle put up a photo of a metal troll that someone had welded in there. Unfortunately, I think it's somewhere in the span that'll be replaced when they're done putting up the new span. On the other hand, that means the troll should be around until about 2099.

#43 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2006, 06:30 PM:

Unfortunately, I think it's somewhere in the span that'll be replaced when they're done putting up the new span. On the other hand, that means the troll should be around until about 2099.

Earthquake permitting? I hadn't realized construction was moving that slowly. On the other hand, I don't hit CalTrans District 4's site as often as I'd like (it's much more fun that the one for LA).

#44 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2006, 06:56 PM:

Actually, PJ, work on the Bay Bridge's new span seems to be going reasonably well. But there have been cost overruns. And Arnold Shwarzenegger had all work stop for a few months in 2005. Let me tell you, it's quite an impressive sight to look at those structures from the old span's top deck, especially when you're in a Greyhound bus that's crawling thru traffic...

#45 ::: Richard Anderson ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2006, 07:01 PM:

Serge, I'm pretty sure the "big RV park" down near Third and Townsend was swallowed by SBC Park -- or new construction of some sort -- back during the dotcom bubble. It was basically land laying fallow....

#46 ::: Allen Baum ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2006, 07:16 PM:

Stefan
.... at the height of the tech boom,...Bay Area tour companies...wanted to satisfy the desire of folks who wanted to see the highlights of Silicon Valley . . . but really, what was there to see?

...Apple and Oracle's office campuses are really pretty, but you can't go inside, and if you could all you'd see would be a bunch of folks in cubicles.

I'll get all huffy here and say that no, they're in private offices for the most part (says someone who is currently sitting in a standard Intel 8x10 cube)

.... I told them the now-dated joke about shaking trees in Palo Alto.

I live in Palo Alto and don't know the joke. I assume VCs fall out, but don't clog my gutters?

#47 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2006, 07:29 PM:

Don't feel sorry for yourself. I worked for Oracle and was in a cube for two of my three years there.

Friends who did QA for Apple tell me that they *shared* cubicles.

#48 ::: Madeline F ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2006, 07:44 PM:

Another tech-thing to see in the South Bay: apparently the NASA Ames Research Center has a museum full of cool stuff. I know Ames as "the place that has that bigass hangar, the one that's visible from the hills of Milpitas, all the way across the Bay". I've never been there, though I was very tempted to go see the competition a couple months back for robots that could climb a cord like the cars of the space elevator.

Non-tech thing to see in San Jose: The Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum. They built it to look like an Egyptian temple! It's got the most neat Egyptian stuff I've seen since the British Museum! It's run by the odd Rosicrucians!

#49 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2006, 07:47 PM:

Wasn't that big Ames hangar built for zeppelins, Madeline I've been inside the one in Oregon's Tillamook (yeah, the town the cheese comes from) and those things are HUGE.

#50 ::: Lisa Goldstein ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2006, 08:19 PM:

I can't believe no one mentioned the Winchester Mystery House yet.

#51 ::: Quasipsyco ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2006, 08:49 PM:

On a side tangent:
Anyone recall the post about Atlanta Nights by Travis Tea?

Well, Preditors and Editors is doing a poll and that book is listed for voting in the "Other Novels" of 2005 section.

http://www.critters.org/predpoll/novel.shtml

#52 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2006, 08:54 PM:

"One good thing to come out of the dotcom craze is that it made San Francisco's South of Market better to look at, at least the Third Street section between the Moscone Center and the ballpark"

That plan was well underway when I moved into the City in the early 1990's. If anything, the dotcom phenomenon probably slowed it down, because it raised the political stakes of all kinds of little issues related to redevelopment right in the middle of their execution.

#53 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2006, 11:08 PM:

SF's South of Market was in the process of being prettified before the dotcom sillines, JH? It didn't look too good while I was working there, across that train station, and that was until the end of 1993. Maybe I was so unhappy with my job there that I didn't notice the good stuff being done.

#54 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2006, 12:47 AM:

"...And, hey, look at the bright side--if you had appeared in a James Ellroy novel, it would be as a couple of dead prostitutes."

Hey. Well do I remember those Little Magazine editorial meetings of the late 1980s, in which James Ellroy regaled us nigh unto unconsciousness with tales of dead prostitutes, authentic and not. You haven't lived until you've listened to James Ellroy concoct a tale of corpsical authenticity while Chip Delany orders another round of Clams Casino.

(Why, yes, we have in fact lived an interesting life, thanks for asking.)

Anyway, I'm sure it's almost as interesting as appearing as a pair of doomed redshirts ("Ensign Nielsen" and "Ensign Hayden") in deeply deniable slash fiction by J**n* R*ss.

#55 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2006, 11:30 AM:

Lisa, as a kid I used to live quite near the Winchester Mystery House. Don't think my folks let me go there, though. Pretty sure we did see the Rosicrucian Museum.

Way upthread, someone mentioned Santa Clara reverting to prunes. Now that roused some nostalgia even in this fading memory! Maybe as late as the Sixties, when we drove from Oakland back to SJ to see my grandmother in springtime we passed lots of flowering orchards near the highway. The strip malls and oleander borders came much later.

#56 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2006, 11:54 AM:

Fading memory? C'mon, Faren... You're no more ancient than I am. You want old? My wife's 93-year-old granny was telling us the other day that she remembers attending an actual John Philip Sousa concert.. By the way, if you had your choice to be tuckerized, who would you like to do it, even if that author isn't among us anymore?

#57 ::: Richard Anderson ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2006, 12:09 PM:

Before Santa Clara County started sprouting subdivisions and silicon chips, it was known as "the Valley of Heart's Delight" because of the numerous orchards and farms there. By the mid-seventies, though, the city planners I knew were using the term ironically.

#58 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2006, 12:27 PM:

I think the last vestige of "the Valley of Heart's Delight" was the giant can of fruit cocktail in Sunnyvale. (For those who never saw it: it was a water tower with a really spectacular paint job, at the Libby's cannery.) There were also tomato canneries (Contadina was a big one, in San Jose.)

And, back upthread, Hanger One at Moffett Field was built to house the dirigible Macon. One of my acquaintances went to an air show: the static displays were in one end of the hanger, and the hot-air balloon rides were in the other end. Inside the hanger.

#59 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2006, 12:31 PM:

Isn't San Jose where Steinbeck's The Red Pony was set?

#60 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2006, 12:51 PM:

While visiting California a few years back, I stayed on the Marine Corps Air Station at Tustin. There are two wooden hangars there, built to hold six blimps each. The Good Year blimp was there one day when I peeped in, moored over in one corner, looking lost in that huge space.

#61 ::: DENISE ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2006, 01:28 PM:

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#62 ::: Serge - got spam here ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2006, 01:33 PM:

I think this thread just got spammed.

#63 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2006, 01:54 PM:

"Isn't San Jose where Steinbeck's The Red Pony was set?"

Steinbeck's novels were generally set further south, around Carmel, Monterey, and Salinas.

* * *

That is not so much spam as someone with One Big Idea.

#64 ::: Vera Nazarian ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2006, 02:01 PM:

Oh my, that story was just hilarious, thank you, thank you! I needed a laugh, a real not an LOL kind of laugh. ;-)

#65 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2006, 02:05 PM:

I think Denise posted in the wrong thread.

The correct link, BTW, is http://www.sinceslicedbread.com/node/23129

#66 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2006, 02:08 PM:

"It didn't look too good while I was working there"

I was living in a corporate arcology beneath the Bay Bridge span at the same time. Commuting down the peninsula to Redwood City.

The redevelopment effort that produced SBC Park and the surrounding gentrification had already been through the bulk of the political infighting at the planning commission by then. The apartments I was living in a Brannan and Embarcadero were built under the redevelopment regime. One of the reasons the dot.com weirdos moved into the area in such numbers is that the City was deliberately giving building owners incentives to help gentrify the area, since redevelopment was in the early execution stages and property values were still depressed.

Take a drive through there some afternoon and marvel at all the buildings that look like they were designed and built in the late 1980's. They were.

If you want to see what the area looked like before it was gentrified, drive over the Lefty O'Doul bridge and go down Third Street for awhile until you come to the real Port of San Francisco. They're planning to gentrify that area next, but they haven't really gotten very far yet.

#67 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2006, 02:22 PM:

Ah, walking down San Francisco's Third Street... I did that a lot, although never as far south as where the ballpark now is, but I could definitely see the real SF from there. (And it's where the MythBusters's HQ is, I think.) Anyway, Third Street has had one landmark since 1990 of the kind not likely to make it into guide books. Back then, somebody dropped a pizza-sized gob of orange paint on the sidewalk across the street from the Moscone Center. It's still there. A bit worn out, but still there.

#68 ::: Richard Anderson ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2006, 03:40 PM:

I lived on Guy Place, an alley just off First Street btwn Harrison and Folsom, during the mid- to late-nineties. Many of the lofts built south of Market at that time occurred not through City redevelopment efforts, but through (as I recollect) creative interpretation of the zoning code, which controls land uses. Basically, several developers showed that outmoded industrial buildings renovated into residential loft space -- allowed by the zoning code, although perhaps as a conditional use -- could be financially successful (e.g., the Clocktower on Second Street). When the dotcom boom hit, the pace of loft development ramped up considerably, the majority of it (again, as I recollect) no longer consisting of renovated industrial buildings, but rather new construction which, on close inspection, was often done on the cheap. Many of these buildings are gonna look like crap in a decade or two -- if they aren't doing so already.

That said, there is a very strong argument to be made for placing high-density housing near a city's central business district, and my old nabe, Rincon Hill, has apparently transformed itself from a funky collection of old, low-rise industrial buildings, with walk-ups scattered among 'em, to a node of residential towers and lofts. I can't say the area is now worse off, but I do wish a number of the buildings had been better designed...

#70 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2006, 01:52 PM:

PJ Evans: I think the last vestige of "the Valley of Heart's Delight" was the giant can of fruit cocktail in Sunnyvale.

A recently lost bit of the old Valley was the Olsens cherry stand at El Camino and Mathilda(?) in Sunnyvale and it's vestigial orchardette. It's now condos and a strip mall.

#71 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2006, 01:56 PM:

Back when I had my own business, we were in an old industrial building at Third St and 24th St. It was a neat space and the area was gentrifying rapidly, as was the nearby Dogpatch neighborhood.

There were lots of neat little places to eat (if you were willing to walk a few blocks) and the whole area had a feeling of unrealized potential.

Once the light rail opens, all bets are off for that whole strip.

#72 ::: oliviacw ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2006, 04:34 PM:

The orchardette is gone, but actually, there is still an Olsen's cherry stand (now upgraded to a fully-enclosed building) on the same site on El Camino in Sunnyvale.

#73 ::: Robert L ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2006, 12:51 PM:

Patrick, I would dearly have loved to have been at one of those dinners. Seems like I saw you guys waiting around once or twice at Chelsea House, but at the time, of course, Ellroy's name would have meant nothing to me. I'm now a big fan; even if he is sometimes a self-parody, he's always entertaining.

The reason I wrote my original comment: I had read what was at the time Ellroy's newest novel, and had discovered the name of a certain writer of your and my acquaintance, who once dated Ellroy, in it. The next time I saw her, our conversation went something like this:

Me: Hey, ___, did you know you're Tuckerized in the latest James Ellroy novel?

Her (slightly annoyed, it would seem): Am I a dead prostitute?

Me: Er...um...Yes.

Her: (even more annoyed): He does that to all his ex-girlfriends!

#74 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2006, 10:41 PM:

Patrick wrote:

> Anyway, I'm sure it's almost as interesting as appearing as a pair of doomed redshirts ("Ensign Nielsen" and "Ensign Hayden") in deeply deniable slash fiction by J**n* R*ss.

My brain keeps trying to read that name as "J**nn* R*ss", who I know is not unfriendly to slash.

Does my brain have a case, or is it sadly mistaken?

#75 ::: Colleen Lindsay ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2006, 03:12 AM:

LOVED this story, by the way. Couldn't stop laughing. :-)

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Making Light copyright 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 by Patrick & Teresa Nielsen Hayden. All rights reserved.