April 2000

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April 23, 2000:  Well, I hope that everyone had a terrific Easter.  I spent mine at Rob and Susan's place along with my co-worker Hank.  We had a great time and enjoyed a wonderful meal, great wine and terrific conversation.  Hehehe, just another typical day w/my friends :-)

Big hugs to all of you back on the East coast and out in AZ & NM.  I miss you all dearly :-)

BTW, here is an interesting article written by a friend of Rob and Susan who is had some comments on last weeks stock market plunge.  It's pretty good:

"The soup lines comprised of out-of-work venture capitalists haven't started snaking down Sand Hill Road yet. The Repo Man hasn't been seen scouring Woodside looking for Porsches bought with the promise of lofty stock options. But last week's collapse of high-tech stock prices has begun roiling 
Silicon Valley. 

A good friend of mine told me that he got an e-mail last week from a co-worker asking if he would be interested in taking over the purchase of a home in Los Altos. Seems this engineer, who had joined the company a little over a year ago, wanted to back out of the agreement because he was no 
longer sure he could afford the home. 

His fear, and the fear of many in Silicon Valley, is that just as there seemed to be no end in sight when high-tech stocks climbed higher and higher, there seemed last week to be no end in sight as stock prices tumbled down. Despite Monday's bounceback, last week alone, some $2 trillion in combined stock value evaporated, $7,000 for every man, woman and child in the United States. 

In Silicon Valley, the average per capita losses were much, much higher than that. That's because so many people here have their net worth tied up in the value of their company's stock. And for them, the last few weeks have been their worst nightmare. 

It's one thing to lose 15%, 30%, even 40% of your net worth: "Heh, I'm just back to where I was at the beginning of the year." But when stock prices collapse 60%, 70%, or more, as they did at such fundamentally strong companies as Rambus, Broadvision, Redback, Akamai, and Commerce One, then people start worrying. 

Everyone in the Valley knew that high-tech stocks were overinflated. Everyone knew that they would have to come into alignment with the rest of the market at some point. But when it happens all at once, it's a shock, especially when there is little likelihood that they will bounce back to even higher levels as they have in the past. 

It seems that high-tech stocks have lost their gloss, and are now going to be judged with the same metrics as other stocks. If so, the ramifications are much broader than just a paper loss. 

It means that private companies that are not profitable are going to have a tough time going public, and those unprofitable firms that are public are going to find the road ahead much more difficult. A wave of mergers and acquisitions of these firms, soon to be the walking dead, is sure to follow. 

It means that startups are going to find it tougher to lure talented and experienced people away from established companies, be they technology firms or the Fortune 500, because the payoff on the option packages won't be nearly so high, especially given the risk involved. 

It means that venture-capital firms that have raised record funds in the last year with the promise of easy money, are going to find it much more difficult to give investors even a modest return on their investment. 

It means that the rapid and sometimes mindless restructuring of business driven by inflated stock prices is bound to slow down. Tracking stocks, spin-outs, carve-outs, and the like, of established firms are going to be given a bit more thought before being implemented in the future. 

But there are some things that are not going to change, even with the deflation of stock prices. Most importantly, the revolution in business being driven by technology and the Internet is not going away. The frenetic pace may slow down a bit, which would be healthy for all, but it's not going away. 

As a result, technology companies, especially those that provide the infrastructure for the Internet Revolution (software, semiconductors, communications gear, servers), will continue to grow at a rapid pace. For long-term investors, the leaders in these markets are the stocks to buy now. 

For all the excess of the last few years, it has in the end had a positive effect. The lure of fast money has been fuel on the fire of the Internet revolution. It's accelerated the process by drawing talent into new startups, unleashing innovation and new technology at a rapid pace, and forcing traditional companies to revamp their operations much faster than they otherwise would have. 

Creative destruction. That's the beauty of the capitalist system. 

Carter Williams"

~Penz

April 22, 2000:  Heheheh, ok well once again, it looks like I've been neglecting my journal entries here for a bit.  Time to play catch up :-)  April..... wow.... it's hard to believe that one year ago, I packed up my life back in NH and moved it out to CA.  For me, the past year has been full of excitement, change, challenges and growth, and to be honest, it's been great!  I'd really like to thank all of my friends and family who have morally/mentally supported and stuck by me during this move.  Without you, it would not have been such a positive experience.  So with memory lane in the rear view mirror...

Well, I celebrated my one year anniversary with Quintus.  Heheheh, sucks that our stock took a plunge with the rest of the market over the past few weeks, but I'm confident that it will once more rise again and surpass its old high point. Just gotta be patient, that's all.

Two weeks ago, I was honored to have a visit from Dave "Dacchi" McGullam.  Dave and I have been friends for a long time, but over the past few years, he and I fell out of touch.  Our lives went down two very different paths and we got so busy with everything else that was going on.... well, you can figure it out.  BUT, about 3 weeks ago, Dave happened by a computer and went to my web site and dropped me a line.  Well, within 14 days, he flew his ass from AZ to CA for a weekend visit and we had a stupendous time!  It was really great to do some catching up and re-synching up with each other.  It's going to be nice having him actively back in my life.

And, one week after Dave came out for a visit, Paul "Dubbah" Barnes finally made his way out to CA for a week long visit!  Hehehehehe, needless to say, I was hella psyched to have him finally come out here and hang out for a bit.  He got here on Saturday April 15 and left this morning at 6:30 am.  So, as I enjoyed my first week off this year, here's what I did with it along with Paul:

Saturday:  Paul arrived around noon at San Francisco Int'l Airport.  From there, we headed out to Half Moon Bay where we had lunch at the Main Street Diner and then spent the afternoon kicking around the town and visiting the beach.  That night, we grabbed a quick bit to eat and turned in early.

Sunday:  We were on the road by 6:00 am and after one pit stop in the town of Tray for a cup of coffee, at 9:30 am we arrived at Yosemite National Park.  I'll have my own pictures back in a few days, but check out this site for a great overview of the park.  It was an amazing day.  We saw climbers on El Captain scaling this crazy wall of sheer granite.  Damn, talk about being in good shape.  These people are hanging by their fingers 500' up in the air, clinging to the side of a rock wall.  Hehehe, looks like fun, but give me my couch and a pair of binoculars for this sport :-)  We also got to see many amazing waterfalls, some wildlife (deer & coyote, but no bears...), and all togethe, we had a fantastic time.  That night, we grabbed dinner in the town of Mariposa at the Golden Nugget (great meal!  hey, anyplace that starts you off with a bowl of warm oil w/roasted garlic and hot bread is gonna do fine by us!) and then it was off to catch some Zzzzz's at the Cedar Lodge in El Portal. 

Monday:  Woke up and it was raining pretty hard, so we decided to leave Yosemite and head back towards the coast.  After grabbing a quick bit to eat in El Portal (at the Happy Hamburger.... hehehe, nice white trash diner!), we headed off towards San Francisco.  We arrived around 12:30 pm and the weather was excellent!  First it was over the Golden Gate bridge and up to the the Marin Headlands where we got some excellent views of the city.  Then, we drove up the coast for a few miles, taking in some more spectacular views of the city/ocean, and then headed back into the city.

We went to the Haight/Ashbury district and did a little sight seeing there.  They are really starting the clean that area up, or at least it looks like they are.  There's a large influx of some really trendy stores there, and none of the merchandise could be afforded or probably worn by true hippies.  Alas, any of the old good energy which was there in the 60's, is now long gone.  While in the area, we also took a quick stroll through the Golden Gate Park, but there wasn't too much going on. 

After leaving the Haight district, it was back to the other end of the city to grab a snack at Fisherman's Wharf.  We did a little walking around, grabbed some chowder, did some people watching and then headed up to North Beach for dinner.  After walking around and checking out numerous restaurants, we finally settled down and had a great 6 course meal at this little Italian family restaurant.  Soup, salad, bread, roasted veal, pasta, Neapolitan ice cream, a bottle of chianti and a strong cup of coffee made for a very tasty meal!  We then headed for a little bakery that we found while searching for a place to have dinner and picked up some cannolis, eclairs and Neapolitans for dessert!  Heheheh, no we didn't eat them all that night, but there aren't any left :-)

Tuesday:  Heheheh, well this was a silly day.  We went to see Jimmy Buffett at the Shorline Ampitheatre in Fremont and of course, we got their early expecting an awesome tailgate party.  But noooo, not in CA!  Here, they don't open the gates to the parking lot until 4:00 pm!  THAT SUCKED!! We drove around the area for almost 2 hours looking for other parrot heads, and after getting kicked out of the parking area, we decided to give up and head to Rob and Susan's for a couple of hours.  We then returned around 4:00 where thankfully, the folks began to gather for the pre-party.  We met some really nice people in the parking lot and when 8:00 came, we were on the lawn cheering away!  It was pretty cool as we were joined by my two buddies Mike and Paul, who also had a great time.

Wednesday:  We got up and headed over to Rob and Susan's and were there by 8:30 am.  At 9:00 am a huge stretch limo pulled up and we piled in (left over pastries in hand) and headed off for a day in Napa!  We had a fabulous time!  Our first stop was at the Sterling Vineyard, which is owned by Seagram's.  After being taken around the winery by our tour guide Joan (who did a fantastic job!), right around noon time we ended up in this gorgeous private dining room for lunch!
Here you can see Paul and I just getting ready to dive into this gourmet meal!  Hehehe, oh yeah, if you are counting, there are 4 wine glasses at each of our place settings.  We sampled some of their best Cab. Sav's, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay's  Hehehehe, made for a one hell of a meal (and oh yeah, we made sure all the bottles were empty before we left :-)
The lunch was gourmet and was absolutely fantastic. Click here to see the menu!  As soon as I can dig up my copy of the menu, I'll put it up here.  Here you can see Rob and Susan getting ready to enjoy lunch. 
After wining and dining, we all made a quick stop at the gift shop.  Hehehehe, as you can see, Susan and I did a little shopping and we picked up some really tasty bottles of Sterling's better wines!  Hehehe, as you can tell by the smiles on our faces, we were feeling pretty damn good :)
After visiting Sterling, we headed over to Dean and Deluca (gourmet food store which is based out of NYC) and picked up a couple of things for dinner that night. Mmmm, killer bread and nice produce!  We could have spent the afternoon there but it was back in the limo and off to Mumm for a little VIP champagne tasting.
A Mumm we were greated by Seth Box, who turned out to be another great host.  With him, we sampled 3 different types of champagne and all were quite tasty. Here is a shot of Paul with his glasses of Blanc de Blancs, Brut Prestige and Blanc de Noirs in front of him.  Hehehe, as you might guess, all three were emptied in no time flat as Seth took the time to help us identify some of the sublter flavors that each one had to offer. 

For those of you who are wine buffs, here is the breakdown of these three sparkling wines:: Blanc de Blancs (20% Chardonnay/30% Pinot Gris), Brut Prestige (51% Pinot Noir/46% Chardonnay/2% Pinot Meunier/1% Pinot Gris), Blanc de Noirs (85% Pinot Noir/15% Chardonnay)

And finally, around 3:30 pm, we piled back in the car and we headed back to Rob and Susan's place in Atherton.  Hehehe, all three of us fell asleep on the ride home.  I can't imagine why?? :-)

 That night, Paul did the cooking and with the ingredients that were around, put together a nice chicken scaloppini dinner.  Though he claims it wasn't up to par, the rest of us though it was quite tasty and this fine meal made a great finish to the day.

Thursday:  After sleeping in for a bit, we got up and headed off to Capitola for the day.  It was another beautiful day in the sun and we hit Capitola right around noon.  After strolling through the town, we ended up a the Pirate's Cove restaurant and had some fried calamari (hehehe, Justin, you would have loved it!), and some blackened snapper and ahi tuna sandwiches along with a couple of beers.  Well, the beers were tasting so good as we sat there on the deck over looking the beach, we decided to do more of the same until about 5:00 that afternoon, hanging out with Stumpy, the one legged seagull :-).  Ahhhh, it made for a nice relaxing day in the sun :-)  We headed out around 5:30, stopped by and met up with Chris and Paul in San Jose for a few minutes and then it was back to Atherton for the night (Rob and Susan took off to Yosemite so we we're watching the house for them).  For dinner, we ate some leftovers, watched a movie and then headed off to bed.

Friday:  We had a nice relaxing day.  After heading up the foggy coast, we ended up over the bay in Oakland where we kicked around Jack London Square for a bit before ending up at the Oakland Diner for a light lunch.  I had the crab cake sandwhich and Paul had the fish and chips.  Both were tasty.  That afternoon, we swung by my place in Fremont, gathered up the last of Paul's belongings and then went back to Atherton.  That afternoon, we did some laundry and hung out.  That evening, we were joined by my buddy Vince who went to the Wild Hare over in Menlo Park with us for dinner.  We had a spectacular (and amusing) meal there.  After gorging ourselves, we headed back to Atherton.  After a bit, Vince took off and Paul and I just chilled until we hit the sack around 11:00

Saturday:  Well, here I am typing away and of course, missing Paul as he takes off heading back to NH.  I really enjoyed having him out here this week.  I can't believe it's been a whole year already since I left him and the rest of my 'brothers' back in Nashua.  Though I miss everyone dearly, for now, I'm enjoying my time here in CA and look forward to another fun filled year out here. 

In other news, I heard from Jim "Rico" Hynek this week.  He's doing well and is looking forward to his trip out here at the end of May (as I am too!).  He'll be bringing along his bagpipes and for the first time, I'll get to see someone play these things first hand.  Hehehe, should be interesting :-)

Back in MA, my brother, sister and father are doing well.  Gini is getting ready to finish up college.  God, I can't believe she'll be a Junior next year!  When I spoke with Tim, he was in NYC with a bunch of his friends getting ready to party the weekend away (hehehehe, you can tell we're family!), and Dad is hanging in there back in MA.  His health is fair and pretty stable at this time and his spirits were good when I spoke with him last week.

Both Becky and Lisa are doing well back in Cambridge, MA.  I miss my two girls dearly!!  Bigs XOXOX's to the both of you.

My friend Justin is also getting ready to finish up school at Keene State.  I know that he's really psyched to be finishing up and leaving that place.  In the fall, he'll be out here in CA attending San Jose State University.  I know that he's going to make a great time for himself while he's out here and  I'm looking forward to having him out here as well.

I heard from Lisa Cragan, errr, Reed last week.  She's doing pretty well in MA and he two kids are growing like weeds.  I gotta give her a call this weekend (hehehe, actually, I've got a lot of phone calls to make this weekend) and do some catching up.

Let's see, tomorrow I'm having Easter dinne with Rob and Susan.  I'm bringing along one of my co worker's as well.  I'm sure it will be a good time.

Monday through Wednesday, I'll be attending a Quintus Manager's Conference down in Aptos, CA.  Hehehehe, right on the ocean, only 5 miles away from Capitola.  Hehehe, yep, a nice place to be stuck for a couple of days.

And that, in a tiny little coconut shell, has been what's up here! Drop me a line and let me know how you are doing in your part of the world.  I'm off to wash my car which is in dire need of a bath  :>

All the best to you,

~Penz


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