01-12-2021 8:47am pst

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'Computer Chips and Potato Chips'

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"Still 1-10.

'Gray. We do not discern. Out there? Smoke, animals, future. In here? Smoke. A little. Depression. Flame. Remember 'Ignition'? It is gone, but here we are yet again. About to ignite. Many things are gone now. Look for them. We have arrived at the future of the moment, and the moment has left us lacking.'

After our adventure rolling around the bay yesterday, I am at a loss. I saw both too much and too little. More and more the landscape changes with nary an emotion. Uncaring progress, just like in every other aspect of life. No one cares about the past or what it meant. No one. Cruising into the first parking lot showed me that the old ways are leaving the world and making way for the new, icy-cold and detached methods. And then walking into the store floored me completely. A full third was cordoned off and empty other than store materials and shelving. Blocked from sight. The remainder had been compressed to the point of appearing as a mere fraction of the once-wondrous empire. I fell down, picked up a ream of paper, and exited. Not good. Every connection I had in that area is going away, slowly and sadly. We drove.

The next stop proved advantageous for both. We accomplished the plan and a little more. I began to fall again and simply HAD to see the second big store. The third had to remain out of the morning. If anything is changing there, it will break my heart. I passed on the fleeting thought to visit all three, instead heading straight to the big cheese. Again, empty parking lot. I think I counted twelve cars in the huge space. We entered after a few minutes and the same image slapped me. Damned-near half the store was cut off. Like the first, the remaining space had changed so much that the image struck me upside the head like God's fucking hammer. Compressed, cold, and full of useless crap. All of the excitement of that place disappeared. We strolled around some as I tried to convey the images of the past; where things were located, the player piano (now a lonely Steinway grand just sitting there behind ropes), the mood inside the store as the keys resonated throughout, and the atmosphere of excitement as people wandered and marveled at all of the high technology. Well, no more. Quiet, piped-in music filled the room, the once very advanced listening rooms blocked off, and reams of huge, beautiful photograph enlargements around the perimeter showing off the many developments and stirring history of the valley. They remain overhead just like twenty-four years ago when the massive store first opened, although seem lonely up there as people don't even notice. The mood of fun and discovery has been replaced with a generic, icy feel of nothing more than merchandise which no one wants any longer.

Those two stores represent an era which is disappearing only to be replaced with progress in a horrible direction. My life was in those places. I don't know what to do anymore. The glaring upside is one of our favorite lunch places bending the rules so we could sit in the outdoor area for a meal and drinks. It was comfortable yet strange being the only people there dining. Kind of funny, too. Slowly the sadness left as I found distraction in the conversation and delightful atmosphere. Upon reaching home, the slide resumed and before long I ended up an unsociable, babbling and pissy wreck. Even my physical being suffered due to becoming so upset with nary an ounce of resolution. After gleaning the barren years, I really didn't need any more 'down', but did it anyway. Now I'm buried in it. Ugh... Fucking pause.

Damn it, images of the interior of the San Jose location just kill me. That was the closest store to my home when my buddy and I built our first computers to play games. We were in there at least twice a week to marvel at all of the technology and to research components we needed for assembling the machines. Software and hardware was plentiful then, too. That store was a gigantic dreamland of electronic toys and pretty much everything else that interested us, most notably some very large, expensive computer monitors and the emergence of the big listening rooms for two-channel and multi-channel audio. Everything was amazing and continued to advance and evolve as we visited. Upon completion of our respective desktop computers, the visits continued to seek software which looked fascinating. There were plenty of games and other programs available. Each occasion of walking through the doors and seeing all that exotic theming made the hair on my forearms stand on end. It was like an eight-year-old being led into Disneyland for the first time. I recall the feeling as if it was just days ago. But alas, everything slowly changed and the amazement has disappeared. Now when I see that entrance? Sadness.

Almost time to get up and accomplish a few things before heading over and working on the bathroom. We'll have the football in the background, I'm thinking, and begin the process of changing the vanity top. Other than that piece of business, I'll be back here to care for Sunday things and sit with this for a while. Stop.



san jose



1-11.

Sunday business went fine, I cooked a nice Italian dinner, and then sat to eat and could not taste anything. Fuck me, if there is not something out there in the world making me pay for my past, I don't know what to think anymore. A force against my life or actions. This is pissing me off. One of the most important parts of life and the top level of my enjoyment these days is good food. Losing it means I will equally lose my shit immediately. I really do not understand. Right now I am fine, yesterday at lunch I was fine, but after spending two hours in the kitchen making pasta sauce from scratch, I had been really looking forward to the fruits of my efforts. Nope... Not me. Remember that movie from months back which really fucked me up? After watching key scenes I said 'never me'. Well, here we go again. This is different, yet still a desire. I guess I am just not meant to enjoy myself anymore. Forfeited.

I can already see today is going to be one of those in which I am fine until not busy. No, I'm not worried about four because I can deal with it, just as the last week. What I am referring to is the manner in which I have been mired in the past and worried that nothing will ever be as fulfilling again. The trip all over the south bay two days ago demonstrated my weakness when recalling those two periods of time. I literally fell down and the goddess had to reason with me over and over on the drive back north to get me out of the hole, even for a little while. By the time we reached one of our favorite lunch destinations, I was a little better. And then they bent the rules and let us seat in the outdoor area. Very nice. That was the clincher which got me through the rest of the day without falling on my fucking face again. Well, for the most part, anyway. I never really recovered from the whole thing, and aside from a period of ethereal floating yesterday, I am the same. If someone were to ask 'how are you?' right now, I could not answer. I just don't know what to do about this. Combined with missing out on my lovely dinner last night, this is not a good morning at all.

After searching for some images to include here, I learned that my favorite places are indeed threatened by developers drooling over the large properties. There is no doubt all of the most important places in the world to me are going to disappear. I clearly have no reason to be hopeful. Every time I try, something else comes along to step on my feelings. Even the fucking Sea is disappearing, although that is a radically different situation. The stores were a part of my life for many years, also the most exciting. The Sea is full of emotion... Mostly sadness. But it is still a loss, either way. Maybe remaining inside this house with zero view of the outside world is the only way I can survive. It seems every time I step out to do something, another yesterday has disappeared with nary a care for anyone's feelings. Remember when I cursed and berated progress over the theatres? Well, that was only the beginning. Everything has run together now. All those periods. The glow, too. All bad. I need to gather images before even those go away.

Tough, this shit.

I suppose today will be nice. I have the house to myself, don't need to drive unless I decide to go to the market for a few things, and I have my usual routine which generally brings me a sense of control and comfort. Very important, those two. After perusing the Internet for more images of things that are slowly going away, I am in mind to remain here for a while and gush. This is all just so bad. Some time ago I placed an image of the Milk Farm here, but that is so far detached now. I miss it, although we were only there on a handful of occasions during the seventies, while the recent places disappearing are much more cutting as they involve those periods I hold most dear. I am going to need to head down to San Jose and into the big Maya-themed store just to see it one more time. I fear very soon the four remaining locations will go away in favor of massive development. Very sad, that thought. I already despise many facets of progress, so seeing those memories bulldozed will slice my heart to ribbons. The memories are stark and very important to me.

I was talking about today, right? Ugh... My thoughts keep returning to seeing such huge spaces blocked off in two stores. After reading that the company made a statement regarding changing the business model to consignment, I know they are not long for this world. The online shopping and pandemic have ruined any possible future. Anyway, today is peaceful so far. I will eventually get away from this down space and move around in an effort to keep the pace. My routine is top of the list.



sunnyvale



There had better not be commercials during this fucking film. I'll lose my shit again.

One of the yesterdays was actually yesterday. Dreamy, wondrous feelings combined with imagery of the type which I picture very often. One moment I am looking at the work, and the next I am on cloud nine for a little while. The importance of said feelings is enough to drive a full entry regarding the same. I need to spout a bit, although this space cannot hold such wording lest it fall into the wrong hands. As for the morning in question, it solidified one of my most cherished situations which had eluded me for a very long time. I became lost in the moments, just like many years ago coming out of Ashleys bathroom to see the most beautiful sight imaginable. She was wonderful.

The work was partially completed, and honestly we went further than what had been planned for the day. I am feeling proud of the effort and more accomplished than I have since heading into the attic a while back and finishing my fan project. That was good. A bit of lunch and conversation, and then I headed back here to care for the Sunday business. All the while those images of blocked sections and empty shelves -- along with a radically different and saddening inventory -- stayed just behind my eyelids. I could not help but lament everything from those shining, golden periods of the past.

Where in the fuck do I go from here? Print photos and frame them to hang on the walls? No... That would be ridiculous. Nice, but ridiculous. I am already halfway into the basement over Jolene, Jamie (yep, her), Brooke the first and Goddamned Grace with her half-evil grin. Damn it, I just can't extend my deviant delusions to include retail stores no matter what they mean to me. I have no direction. Focusing upon moving away from this and working around the house for a while might help. The routine is relaxing. Pause.

And the routine is now in full swing. The only task left is a bit of organization while washing clothes. Very good. In spite of such a mass of downward thoughts, I still have the satisfaction of accomplishing my daily work. The stores are still hanging there, and after writing some very graphic words regarding the issues (absolutely none of which will show up here), my mood is all over the map. I have the show in the background and decided to take a break and sit with this for a while. A friend just contacted me regarding his failing water heater, so either tomorrow or Wednesday I plan to replace it for him. I'll have to get some tools from the home of the goddess, though. I don't mind helping for a bit of cash.

Writing about my feelings for those stores is rather up and down. Every now and then I will smile when recalling a trip or our wondrous eyes when searching for those components necessary to complete the gaming machines, but most of the time I am just sad. Yes, we were very excited to build something for both entertainment and connecting to the outside world, like America Online back then. The games may have been the biggest draw at the time, though. One of the key connections between the stores, my work, and building our computers was the fact that I passed many of the main software and hardware companies while driving to and from our customers' facilities for equipment pickup and delivery. Many of the huge names in the industry were sprinkled all over the north end of the Valley and I saw most of them daily. That was really exciting in itself, let alone my feeling like a part of something wonderful during such an emerging era. Our business was only slightly related to Silicon Valley as the primary client base was defense electronics. Still, we did have some contact with smaller outfits from time to time. The mere inclusion of our little business within the fold of that powerful area brought a brightness to my eyes. The two stores were right in the middle of everything. I am definitely going to visit the third in a few days. That may be my last chance to see the wonder which once drove much of my being.

When my parents made the decision to purchase the calibration lab and assets, my buddy and I were deep into the research and assembly of our computers. My dad hired me and pulled my ass out of the glass plant to help them get things going (which eventually led to my actually performing calibration and meeting the Phase Lock girl), and that led to me building computers for their office. Those tasks led to many trips to the main store in Sunnyvale where I first saw some of the advancing technology and software. My dad and I were at that store twice a week at the least. In ninety-eight when it moved down the street, we again visited the new, huge space for shopping more often. I loved it. The store in Sunnyvale eventually became my favorite due to being there so often for work. My mom used to laugh in the mornings when I needed something and my dad would announce, 'well, I guess we have to go to the store again'. And she knew we were going to browse and not remain focused upon parts for work. The listening rooms, video department, and all that software were just too much of a draw. Honestly, my store of choice at the outset of our business was the big temple in North San Jose, but it was just too long of a drive during business hours. We had to get the work done first before going out to the 'electronics Disneyland'. Heh.

As recently as nineteen I was in the temple to pick up a few things. The store was unchanged and just as magical as two decades earlier. Now? As I said before... Sadness.



san jose interior

The Maya theme permeated their San Jose location



Otherwise? There is no wonder left in the world whatsoever. Fuck. Stop.

1-12. Wow, more than thirty-eight thousand lines last year alone. Unbelievable.

Coffee and the show, like always. Cats fed, table cleared, and Christmas still all over the room. My colored lamps have been alternating red and green since just after Thanksgiving. The old new year is in three days and that's when the theme changes. I noticed that many of the houses in our neighborhood still have lights and decorations up for the holidays. Usually by this point they are all but gone, and I believe people are stretching the season just like in November in the interest of hope. The world is so fucked up now that any positive or uplifting gestures are embraced almost universally. Wow.

This is Tuesday. Meaningless, really. Every day is the same unless something dramatic occurs. Like yesterday, I will be here a while, take care of the routine (I have an idea for one of my projects, too), and probably return to this here and there throughout the hours. I haven't had auctions going for some days, so perhaps heading in that direction again might help keep my head up during these difficult times. I don't know, but it sounds reasonable. I have to look toward different ideas and directions if I am to come out the other side of this shit alive.

Eh... I almost forgot I told my friend I would work at replacing his water heater today. Crap.

Damn, Cirroc ended up really tall as he headed toward twenty years of age. Lucky. I always wanted to be taller and there is nothing I can do about it other than gravitating toward people shorter than me for the illusion. Well, that is ridiculous. I am not around others anyway. Whatever.

I've been preoccupied with something I viewed last year and it has nothing to do with this entry. Sometimes I can't get it out of my head, though. Not necessarily threatening, just stirring to a point. I tried to analyze the feelings and maybe learn of the genesis, and I have come to the conclusion that those reckless words nearly forty years ago had a big hand in the ways I view other people. Some in person, some on television, and still others just out there somewhere that come to mind for any number of reasons. Referenced by another person (specifically a woman) becomes an exercise in false confidence and a later fall off those few high points I can reach these days, although those occasions are very few anymore. I have not spoken to another living soul about any of this. I just can't. All I need is a single fucking syllable in the wrong direction and what little remains of my insides will collapse. I only mentioned it because something up on the screen this morning reminded me of the imagery. None of it has anything to do with me, honestly, but for whatever reason that fact does not matter. I can't turn off anything lately.

Ugh... Almost time for me to get up and prepare all her stuff. At least I'll have the house to myself again.

And... Done. All alone until the afternoon, but what to do? I have options now and this type of morning shows me that I can do anything. The routine will kick off soon, after which I will scour for things to sell. Letta's big, beautiful eyes again. She is adorable beyond words. Anyway, today appears bright and available to me for whatever comes to mind. This will remain for a while, and then off to the races. All the while those three big, wondrous places are resting in the back of my mind. I just can't stop picturing how different they look.

Ugh again... All over the map. My subject is wavering. And in case you are wondering, the title refers directly to a tag line when the stores first changed from groceries to electronics. They still carried many grocery items, though. The tag line pointed to the fact that they carried 'everything for the working engineer' in Silicon Valley, meaning high-tech supplies as well as lunch. Heh.



sunnyvale

When business was in full swing



I have to get all the shit out of my head this morning. Between seeing the sad state of my favorite stores and the subsequent slicing of my heart and that Goddamned imagery which will not leave me sometimes, this day is becoming troublesome. I can get out of the slump -- if only temporarily -- but the upward feeling does not seem to last as long these days as it did in the past. 'Trying don't get it done, dude'.

Honestly, I don't even know how I made it this far. The glow keeps tugging at me, the difficulties in my physical self continue to cause pain and heartache, and watching my past disappear at what feels an alarming rate are simply unchangeable now. I cannot do a fucking thing about any of it. The idea that those little enjoyments keep me going seems to be shrinking along with my world. A circle, as it were, drawing ever closer to me and threatening my very existence. No joy equals no reason to do anything. Something has to happen, and if the truth is that I have to MAKE that 'something' happen, I may be inadequate to the task. So sad. And oy... That word.

For the time being I will continue as I have since the outset of the health crisis. Not many choices these days, anyway. The chips are shredding my memories to ribbons, too. Not helping.

I guess I'll move around and do what is expected of me."



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