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Dinner with “Daniel”…and Dessert

It is definitely autumn in the Bay Area. I had a dinner arranged with a former coworker (let’s call him “Daniel”, but that is not his name) at a restaurant called St. John’s Grill in Sunnyvale (a popular high-tech “watering hole” and grill). After installing and teaching myself about Drupal today and configuring it, I checked two weather radar pages and convinced myself that the morning rain had left the area. That was enough to convince me to ride the motorcycle to Sunnyvale.

The ride south from Livermore on Highway 84 was sunny and beautiful and the temperarture was about 65 ℉. I had snapped in the insulated lining of the leather jacket, because I knew that I would return in the dark, and that it would be cooler. The ride on 84 reminded me of another purpose of photography, the archiving of things that will never be the same again. Route 84 is called Vallecitos Road south of Livermore, and I knew that it would never look like this or this again. Construction crews are adding a separate roadway for truck traffic on Vallecitos Road. The views that I captured have been forever changed.

(If you are in the Bay Area, drive Highway 84 from Livermore to the Pacific Ocean, or the other way around. It is a beautiful, scenic drive, with hairpin curves in redwoods, “Alice’s Restaurant”, the last part of the original Transcontinental Railroad to be finished [through Niles Canyon], and all the sport bikes that you can dodge.)

The rest of the ride to Sunnyvale was uneventful, since it was in the anti-commute direction at that time of day. Dinner with “Daniel” was enjoyable. I occasionally get together with folks I knew in high tech, and dinner is often better than lunch. Sometimes the work itself steals lunchtime from high-tech workers, but most often, the workers steal it from themselves. Some folks seem to try to fool themselves about their biological nature and the relative importance of their work…and folks who try to fool themselves are the biggest fools of all.

It was fun hearing about conference calls, so similar to the ones I remember, with a “consensus”-management style that is so similar to the way five-year-olds play soccer – moving “huddles” of inexperienced players not yet competent in their sport, but *all* with an overwhelming desire to control the ball. :-)

I judge economic conditions by the size of the crowd at St. John’s Grill and by the traffic to and from Silicon Valley. The traffic jams to and from Sunnyvale did not seem as bad as I remember. Traffic was not as good as during the recession :-) but it was not as bad as during the “dot-com boom”. St. John’s Grill was pretty busy for a Wednesday night (“1/2-price-burger night”), which is a good economic indicator. The decreased traffic might be from all of the off-shoring. :-) As for the business at the Grill, I remember the saying, “When times are good, people drink; when times are bad, people drink.” Just so you don’t get the wrong idea – one of my rules is that alcohol and motorcycling do not mix – it was Dr. Pepper tonight, since they did not have Coke.

The ride back to Livermore was very dark, since it is between a New Moon and First Quarter – I do not recall if the moon had risen for my ride home. Vallecitos Road can be a little tricky in exteme darkness. The “S” curves on ascent and descent of the hills can be challenging to those unfamiliar with them, but they have been made trickier by concrete barriers and signs related to the construction. And something that you motorcyclists can appreciate – there are grooves in the pavement where the lanes have been changed. The plunge into the Livermore Valley was noticeable for the change in air temperature (noticeably cooler). But a good motorcycle ride is like a good airplane landing – any ride/landing that you walk away from is a good one. With freedom, there is always some risk.

I promised you dessert…

Here is a test that I saw on my return – a test for “Left vs Right Brain” dominance, a “Test for creativity or logic”. I wondered which way it would come out with me. I will give away some secrets: I am right-handed, but with a dominant left eye, a “cross-dominance” that means I will likely never be an Olympic-grade pistol shooter. :-) Tests of brain hemispheric dominance that I have taken have shown that I am “bi-hemispheric” (able to use both left and right sides of my brain easily – an intellectual “switch-hitter”). However, when I took this test, I came out with a dominant, “creative”, right brain. I could not even “see it both ways.” See how you do.

I had to update the post, because I got her to spin the other way. Maybe I am tired and my creativity is waning. :-)

-Bill at Cheshire Cat Photo

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