san jose is hell on earth.
© 1996 Jamie Zawinski <>

San Jose, California is a sickening suburban sprawl of office parks that look like housing complexes, and housing complexes that look like office parks. It is a vast plane, extending to the horizon with these repulsive cancerous growths spreading as far as the eye can see, or at least until the next freeway onramp or noise-barrier wall. One can imagine these complexes being farted out by some kind of huge, floating, infernal machine, drifting across the landscape and stopping once a mile to squirt out another villainous rectangle of prefab hell.

And did I mention the smog? The only good thing there is to say about the air quality in San Jose is that it's not Los Angeles. You don't have to actually chew the air before breathing it, but the sky holds a piss-yellow ring-around-the-horizon.

Mountain View (the home of my beloved employer Netscape, All Praise the Company) is a bit north of San Jose, and it's very nearly as bad. Though, being a smaller city, the air is better and it manages to cloak the prefab people-boxes in greenery. There are 2.4 kids in every driveway.

There is nothing worth eating in Mountain View. All of the restaurants suck. Don't even bother. (Ok, well, there's one decent sushi restaurant, but it's pretty hard to screw up sushi.)

Moving north, we eventually reach Palo Alto, which has one and only one thing to recommend it over Mountain View, which is that there are actually some decent restaurants.

Then come the bedroom communities of the Rest of the Peninsula, and finally, San Francisco. Which is actually a great place to live: it's a real city, where you will encounter random people on the street who have never been to a computer trade show!

And one of the best things about San Francisco is that, no matter where you are, when you get hungry, you can say to your companion, ``why don't we eat there, at that place across the street?'' And when you do so, you will have actually had a decent meal.

The farther south of San Francisco you get, the worse. It's like San Francisco and San Jose are the poles on some weird life-force magnet. Or perhaps it's like the geography in Journey to the Center of the Earth, where the farther north they traveled, the more highly evolved the creatures they encountered were.

I say we take off and nuke the site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

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