Sunday, October 09, 2011
Silicon Valley Death Trip
Brian Barneclo's 600 x 40 foot "Systems Mural" has been finished in a more minimalist three-color palette and design than originally proposed. It works beautifully on this huge scale, providing a mysterious backdrop for arrivals and departures to and from San Francisco and the Silicon Valley.
The atmosphere in the Valley last week was shadowed by very public death dramas that couldn't have been more different from each other yet felt connected through time and place.
The most heart-tugging demise was that of "Broadway Bound," a sea lion who had been shot in the face by someone, and who then pulled herself out of San Francisco Bay and somehow crossed eight lanes of traffic on Highway 101 in Burlingame. (Click here for an article by Carolyn Jones.) At the end of the week, she was euthanized and the possible feel-good story turned into a sad tale.
Later in the week and further down the highway in the Cupertino/Sunnyvale area of Silicon Valley, a middle-aged black quarry worker named Shareef Allman went insane at a 4AM work meeting on Wednesday, and proceeded to shoot close to a dozen of his mostly Hispanic co-workers, murdering three of them. He managed to escape through the suburbs on foot like a trapped animal for the next 24 hours before being killed in a barrage of bullets in a stranger's driveway by three deputies who stumbled across him.
On the same Wednesday, there was the announcement of the death of Saint Steve Jobs the Evangelist in Palo Alto, which brought forth a huge outpouring of public grief and testimonials to his greatness. Part of the intensity of that reaction was because Jobs had been dying publicly from pancreatic cancer for the better part of a decade, and watching his health ebb and flow had become something of a morbid global spectacle. I am glad for his sake that it is over, and that he managed to accomplish what he was put on this planet to do.