Dead mall

When I first moved to Silly Valley, I spent a lot of time at the Vallco Fashion Mall in Cupertino. It had a couple of half-decent bookstores, a food court, an arcade, a place to buy software, a Radio Shack (for emergencies), an optometrist, various places to buy clothing and shoes, and so on. What more could a young bachelor want?

Now, Vallco is very depressing. All of the bookstores are gone, there was an infestation of lower price shops (“shooz for $1!”), and now even the cut-rate shops are bailing. My guess is that at least 50 percent of the spaces are boarded-up. According to the dictionary at, Valco is a second class (“high vacacancy rate, non-traditional occupancy”) or third class (“areas or entire mall sealed from public”) dead mall.

The Merc reports that a developer is interested in bringing the mall back, somehow. Details are missing. My guess is that it’s going to turn into a chinese-oriented mall (something that the developer protests he won’t do), but it would make a lot of sense, and there’s probably a need for it.

Bad Pen Day

I’ve been under a lot of stress lately. This will sound silly, but the number of pens in my pocket is a fair indicator of how much stress I’m under. I think that I grab something to write with, stick it in my pocket, and just keep doing that. Two pens: good. Three: bad. Four: very bad. Five: I need a walk!

Today I had the first ever catastrophic failure of a fountain pen; it left a large inky blotch on my shirt front, so I guess that shirt is now rags. That’s a new ratchet point for me.

The Philosopher Chef

The philosopher chef who made my sandwich at lunch today remarked (in passing, regarding another employee’s quality of work):

“Never be more exacting than the situation demands.”

This was regarding the slicing of onions. However, it applies to software, too. Does the fact that this chef works at Microsoft have anything to do with it?


Essentially a multiple-round muzzle loader, Metal Storm is an interesting way to fire lots of bullets at something.

The FAQ is amusing. The entry for “With all those rounds stacked up in a barrel, doesn’t the muzzle velocity change with each successive firing?” contains the answer –

“… tailoring of muzzle velocities can be that a projectile stack can be specifically loaded with calculated propellant volumes such that when fired at a predetermined rate and range, a beneficial concentration of kinetic energy can be delivered to a target.”

I guess that only a defense contractor type could use the word “beneficial” in association with a weapon like this….