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Showing posts from March, 2009

Knives in the Library!

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I spent the weekend in Cupertino. So much has changed over the past twenty years that the town doesn’t look familiar – not the buildings, as the structures are the same, but the names on the tombstones lining the streets. Some familiar names remain, but most I just didn’t recognize. Who would have guessed Apple would have taken over so much of the city, and who would have guessed that so little from the glory days of Tandem would remain. Kind of depressing, after a fashion.

It was a cold weekend and snow had fallen on the ridgeline of the mountains to the east of Silicon Valley. The blustery conditions only seemed to amplify the gloominess of the place and as I slowly drove down Vallco Parkway I noticed no security fence blocking the eastern entrance to Building 3, so I pulled into the rear parking lot. With no guards visible, I walked through the rear gates and onto the basketball court adjacent to the swimming pool, behind the canteen of Building 2.

The picture at the top of the page,…

The Great Divide!

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This past weekend I was in Boulder, and the weather in Colorado was getting warmer. Not by Southern California standards, of course, but I did pull the dust cover off the car and took it for a quick run across the front ranges, and the picture above is of me framed against the Colorado Rockies – with views of the front ranges as well as of the snow-capped great “continental” divide that rises behind them.

When I moved to Boulder, my initial preference was for a home high in the front ranges and looking down on the plains as they stretched to the horizon. But battling winter conditions and driving up treacherous back-roads quickly highlighted the value of living on the plains and looking up at the mountains instead. And truthfully, the views I now enjoy of the mountains are a lot better than anything I had before.

I came to the US in the late ‘80s, and joined Tandem Computers. It was 1988 and the company had just celebrated its Billion Dollar Year. The marquee tents had been taken away…

Advice? Focus on your goals!

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This past weekend saw me back at the race track where my driver education continues. Before I left for the track, I took the car back to our tuning shop for a quick check of the engine programming. I had detected when in top gear, and under load, some “engine knock” – something I didn’t think occurred with today’s modern engines. “There’s been some poor fuel over the winter,” remarked Andy of A&A Corvette Performance, “and my advice is to boost the octane level of the fuel” The picture at the top of this page is of the Corvette outside of Andy’s shop. After adding a few gallons of 100 octane gas, the problem didn’t reoccur!

This is the second year of my participation in the High Performance Driver Education (HPDE) program conducted by the National Auto Sports Association (NASA) and the one constant throughout the experience has been the steady stream of advice I have received. Perhaps the most technical part of driving any track is working out the “racing line”, and there’s no form…

Tough Neighborhood!

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Last week I had to drive from Simi Valley, Ventura County, across Los Angeles to Irvine, Orange County. Kicked-back, and enjoying a coffee at my neighborhood Starbux very early that morning, a mate of mine, Brian stopped by and then looked at me with some concern and asked what I was thinking. “If you have to be there by 10:30 you should be leaving in about 15 minutes,” he told me.

Three hours to drive the 80 miles? Surely not! But I finished my coffee and headed for the car. It was close to 7:00 when I joined the morning traffic heading east along State Route 118 – the Ronald Reagan Freeway. The picture above is of me, many hours later, inching slowly back to LA. And it had taken me three hours to get there with just the one quick stop at MacDonalds!

The drive took me past some pretty bad areas, and some of the backstreets visible from the freeway could have even been a part of a movie studio’s back lot. These were the kind of tough neighborhoods, frequently described in popular crime …