Locklin on science

On Leaving the Bay Area

Posted in fun by Scott Locklin on September 12, 2020

I left the Bay Area a couple of years ago.  I originally ended up in the Bad Area via misadventure, stayed because I had rent control and academic/business connections, and left the second or third time I had an opportunity which made sense.  I moved to New Hampshire because it was culturally similar to where I grew up, close to family, yet not ruled over by an imbecile viper pit like Boston.  Since the  urban professional class is the root of most problems in America today, I wanted to get as far away from such people as possible, their tax collectors, camp followers and Karens. Mind you Boston is vastly better than, say, San Francisco in almost every way.

The good about moving away:

Assuming you don’t move to some other urban hellscape like NYC, your life will immediately be better in obvious ways. There are no  rivers of human feces on the sidewalk of any other American  metropolis I know of. Virtually any place in America has fewer tent cities. Most of the country (now barring the PNW which has apparently imported California forestry practices) has breathable air 365.24 days of the year. Unless you’re poor or living in NYC, you will pay  lower taxes after you leave; assuming the FTB doesn’t come after you. You will also pay less in terms of rent or real estate than in the Bay Area. You’d have to work hard to find 3 million dollar shitty bungaloes with bars on the windows any place else.

Driving in NH is actually pleasant; better than 90s era Bay Area. The roads and infrastructure function more or less as they were designed to.  Speaking of roads, the Bay Area basically doesn’t have weather, meaning the simple governmental function of road maintenance should be trivial, but somehow the roads are awful. New Hampshire has torrents, huge temperature differentials, ice and snowstorms and somehow the roads are vastly better. Building new lanes or new stretches of highway takes months instead of decades. Of course, cross the border to Massholio and the roads are absolute shit again; kind of makes you think. 

There is no pollution to speak of in NH. There aren’t vast seasonal forest fires in NH because the state isn’t run by lunatics preventing normal forestry management practices. Don’t give me that shit about “muh they’re developing near forests” -literally every house in NH is near a forest.  Nature is generally pleasant in a place like NH; lovely forests, beaches, mountains, lakes and rivers within an hour of the urban areas. In California when visiting the convenient parts of nature, you may have some pleasant vistas, but you’re usually only a few yards behind some asshole burbling about his stock options and green commuter package.

10am in Oakland, Sept 9

My roof in Manchester on a random day in September

The architecture of New Hampshire is a vast improvement over the filth of the Bay Area. Houses and buildings can be hundreds of  years old and still in service. You can stay in 240 year old Inns; houses of this vintage are on the market, in good repair and are dirt cheap compared to anything in the Bay Area. Living in a house made with traditional materials and designed for the local climate is a joy. While the Bay Area had some Victorian and Art Deco housing stock and a few remaining googie buildings, most of it is disgusting postwar stuff made of drywall and paste. Being surrounded by and living in ugly and ill functioning architecture is demoralizing and a drain on your over all well being. NH is a huge win here. Even the new buildings are mostly constructed of adequate materials, and brick looks a lot nicer than plate glass and concrete.

Claremont: NH

Claremont CA

The streets of New Hampshire are safe despite (or because of) the fact that any non-felon can legally walk around with a  gun in their pocket. In the years I’ve spent in NH, there have been no pitched street battles over … people saying things … in the entire state; a regular fall occurrence in “home of the Free Speech Movement” Berkeley. Despite the existence of copwatch in places like Berkeley, and the lack thereof in NH, somehow NH police are not insane stormtroopers. My couple of encounters with police in NH have been entirely satisfactory; like something from Green Acres. It isn’t just me: there was some BLM guy on NPR saying more or less the same thing about NH cops. Oh yeah: it took me 20 minutes to get a NH drivers license and register a car; something that would be tortures of the damned in the California DMV. This is across the board my experience with NH state and city employees versus California. The NH public servants have universally been competent, pleasant, helpful and even forgiving when one makes a mistake. With one exception in 1996, my encounters with public servants in California have been  less satisfactory than my encounters with the local schizophrenic homeless population shitting on my doorstep. California public servants are often malicious or insane, and when they aren’t, they’re incompetent, unpleasant and will always chose malevolence over benevolence. Hell, even the post office in New Hampshire is a vastly better experience. Overall, NH civil servants act like, you know, civil servants rather than hostile occupying Gauleiters who are eager to send you to the gulag.

Google search results on “happy NH police”; they gave this girl a kitten because hers died

Google search results on “happy Berkeley police” -they threatened to quit unless allowed to go to some idiot exercise for murdering “extremists”

 The government of New Hampshire, what there is of it, seems to be run with Prussian efficiency. There is no income tax, so the money is generally collected near where it will be used. The lower house of representatives in NH has 400 members, so each member represents about 3000 people. They’re paid $200 a term and are only allowed to meet a few months a year; as a result, “NH politician” is not the scam it is in other states, and people rarely serve more than one or two terms. By contrast, in California, the State Assembly has 80 members, and each of these assclowns represents 450,000 people and is paid a six figure salary; they only recently enacted 12 year term limits. The results of all of this are predictable. New Hampshire is run like a pleasant and civilized democracy; more or less an American version of Switzerland. California is a banana republic ruled by Google dipshits and almond oligarchs rather than the United Fruit Company.

The people of the Bay Area are, taken on average, some of the lowest I’ve encountered in Western civilization, albeit with a high standard deviation. There are some very ambitious and hard working people there who may or may not be interesting or talented, but at least they keep the economy turning over: Steve Jobs, Alice Waters, Mitch Kapor, Larry Ellison are exemplars of the type.  There’s also a layer of interesting and or talented people there who work on difficult problems or are pleasant bohemian non-conformists; this group of people is who everyone in the Bay Area wants to see themselves as; John Perry Barlow, Wavy Gravy, Andy Grove, Elon Musk. There is a much larger layer of homeless scum who make life intolerable for normal people. Worse than that, most of the rest of the population consists of degenerate NPC and Karen types; vermin who will defend the right of the bum to shit on your doorstep or burn your house down. I don’t think such people deserve to live, let alone live near me. You’ll notice the missing ingredient which makes life impossible in the Bay Area; sensible working to middle class people who shut down the NPC and Karen types and roust the bums before they shit on the petunias. NH people: a normal distribution of social classes where the local aristocracy are taverners or dentists all the way down to a virtuous yeomanry of snow plow operators.

The average NH resident is something like a no-helmet motorcycle boomer who has a job as a construction worker. His ex wife is a nurse who has too many tattoos, and he takes his kids hunting and fishing. The eigen Bay Area resident has a trust fund, several mental illnesses they’re happy to tell you about, has extreme difficulty making it through a normal day even with the assistance of a half dozen brain-melting pharmaceuticals, but feels entitled to lecture you about how to live your life because they have a diploma in novel pronoun construction. 

The bad about moving away from the Bay Area:

The main downside is network effects: the Bay Area, for mostly historical reasons, has attracted a lot of talented and ambitious people. While I find NH people vastly more likeable on average, there are arguably not as many talented or ambitious ones per capita.  There are talented and interesting people around; Dean Kamen lives in Manchester, Dyn and Alumni ventures is based there, and there are a lot of old money people around who have good brains and who do interesting things. They’re just a lot harder to meet, and the overall density of talent is lower. This is in part because the population density is lower, but NH people, as peoples of the cold North, are also more reticent and less gregarious. America’s version of Norwegians. 

The lower density means there are fewer cafes and restaurants, so  you might have to drive a little farther for Ethiopian or whatever. If this is your criteria for living in a place, you should probably consider suicide. Covidiots have made this mostly irrelevant in any case.

Weather: you’ll have to get used to seasons and weather which might kill you. You probably will want a garage if you live in a winter climate. You’ll also need different clothes. Vitamin D deficiency and seasonal affective disorder are real,  but are fairly easy to deal with. It’s worth it for keeping out the weak, scurrying pustules who ruined the Bad Area. 

That’s it; that’s the extent of the downsides. If you have a remote job anyway, and you’re not a scumbag, consider living in a place like NH.  If you want to live in a less shitty version of the Bay Area, consider Austin or Seattle. Also, seekers of alternate Bay Areas: fuck off, we’re full: the last thing any functioning society needs is your contributions. If you want a genuine lifestyle upgrade and can accept that New Hampshire is better precisely because and to the extent it doesn’t resemble the Bay Area, you’re very welcome: I might even help you to move.

Nothing works in California; it is “failed state” tier. It is also a preview of the national dystopia to come if California isn’t sawed off and left to drift off to sea in a Calexit. It is either that, give it back to Mexico, or a war of extermination -nothing less will save us from the nightmarish California Dream. The Bay Area has nice weather, and some interesting people live there out of what I assume is inertia and provincialism, but there is no worse place to live in North America today. It’s a physical paradise made into dystopian hellscape by the people who live in it. 

I remember sitting in an early internet cafe on Haight street called “The Horseshoe.” It was 1996, so “internet cafe” meant you’d stick quarters into an IBM PC with 9600 baud dialup to check your email on the VMS machine at work. There was a pile of ‘zines’ there; back then, zines were the voice of the people rather than whatever corporate  panopticon twitwaffle horror is supposed represent people’s voice now. Inside this zine was Jim Goad’s essay “Bay Aryan Resistance” which is still the best essay on what is wrong with the majority of people who congregate in that wretched place. Now you’ve got natural disasters, urban riots, sinister panopticon lizard companies and a government which is completely insane to go along with it. Good luck with that. As Jim put it:

“Tony Bennet left his heart, I took a dump: I’d tell you to go to hell but you already live there.”

49 Responses

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  1. letsflykite said, on September 12, 2020 at 1:21 pm

    Nice reading. I am thinking about an escape place. Does New Hampshire have rent control? I did a research . It is under democratic control now. But I think it is no worse than sf Bay Area.


    • Scott Locklin said, on September 12, 2020 at 2:55 pm

      New Hampshire democrats aren’t the demonrats who run the Bay Area. They’re mostly fine. They should be watched though; too many Massholes getting through.

      I’m sure there’s some libertarian argument for why NH housing is affordable because of lack of rent control. I doubt I’d buy it, but anyway, you can find plenty of inexpensive housing there. You can buy a functioning house in the $150k ballpark, and a nice one for $200k.

  2. Ronin said, on September 12, 2020 at 2:50 pm

    They are moving to Nevada.

  3. Jack said, on September 12, 2020 at 7:11 pm

    I recently moved from SF/Oakland, where I was similarly stuck due to work, to a small town in Oregon, and I immediately felt a wave of relief come over me. Aside from Portland, Oregon is decent option for West Coasters. I haven’t put in roots yet though, so NH sounds intriguing.

    > The lower density means there are fewer cafes and restaurants, so you might have to drive a little farther for Ethiopian or whatever. If this is your criteria for living in a place, you should probably consider suicide.


    • Scott Locklin said, on September 13, 2020 at 1:54 am

      The feelings of relief are palpable. No insane neighbors. You can even depend on the electricity staying on.

  4. John said, on September 12, 2020 at 10:43 pm

    Your Bay Area diatribe has me in stitches. As a native Chicagoan who recently moved to the Bay for grad school, I think that I’ve already met quite a few people completely described by your Bay Area eigenperson. Absolutely hilarious. If you ever plan on giving up tech for comedy, I think the critics would liken you to George Carlin.

    In any case, I’m curious: despite the horrible taxocracy run by kleptocratic, brainless boobs that Chicago has grown into, what do you think of the people there? I don’t have the largest sample size over here, but I feel like they’re fundamentally different from Bay Area residents. Maybe it’s just that I’m missing the usual student milieu in the midst of campus quarantine, but people in the Bay just seem unfriendly, self-absorbed, and kind of mean (and largely uninteresting, though competent, etc., as you note) on the whole. I’m not sure if this is my Midwestern roots showing, or if the Seattle Freeze has come down from Washington since the early aughts.

    • Scott Locklin said, on September 13, 2020 at 1:56 am

      Hmmm. Maybe combining Wall Street with Staten Island, Yonkers and the Bronx. NYC without the midtown pretensions. I’m a fan of the Capitol of the Republic of Meat. I know a very good quant recruiter from there; the only one I can say is fully human.

  5. George W. said, on September 13, 2020 at 1:00 am

    Appalchian(ish) Kentuckyian here. We have somewhat reasonable laws and regulations. Our forests aren’t managed by pyromanics and the environment provides fresh air and water as its supposed to, though my neighbors burn trash. The culture in the southern states is somewhat repulsive, what you would expect for a population that elected McConnell. Fundamentalist creationism reigns supreme. There are very few if any ambitious types in rural places, and they’re hard to meet outside of churches. When I get a VPS & blog, I’ll jog down some more complete thoughts.

    The western U.S. wins out over the southern states in a lot of ways (less so in California and Portland). As does some of the north east. Idaho and Vermont are on top of my radar if I ever move somewhere within the U.S.

    **I made a comment on rent control on a previous post. Let me clarify. I’m 3 months away from a B.A. in economics. The field is full of bullshitters. It’s sociology for republicans who pretend to know math but in their spare time fail to grasp the concept of p-values and spurious relations. Anyhow, I retract that comment. Real estate is complex. And macro economists are shady used car salesmen who don’t know what they are talking about, except that printing too much money is bad. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NdfmMB1E_qk

    • Scott Locklin said, on September 13, 2020 at 2:05 am

      The nice thing about Kentucky, as I recall; you have plenty of live oaks to hang traitors on. I drove through once. Otherwise no opinion; I’m a yankee and the south isn’t for me. On the other hand, no “fundamentalist creationist” ever did me a bad turn, which is more than I can say for Bay Aryans.

      • George W. said, on September 13, 2020 at 4:10 am

        Here’s a benefit to rural Ky: small businesses can be cheap to start and highly profitable, if you’re competent.

        A few years ago, I witnessed a church service (date w/ girl) try to cure a kid with down syndrome by yelling in tongues to “ward off evil spirits.” Snake handling occurs in some areas. It’s also common for preachers to scream and yell. Obviously there are some good ones but you have to be careful if you choose to go.

        The Christians in liberal areas are normal. Anyone can relate to them. Likewise, the first (and last) time I went to SF, a homeless man with a skull staff asked me if I’d like to learn about the church of Satan.

    • Rickey said, on September 13, 2020 at 6:16 pm

      Have you ever lived in the South GW? I was reared in northeast Ohio and your saying the culture in the southern states is somewhat repulsive, is like me saying everyone from West Virginia and Kentucky is a toothless, inbred hillbilly. I was in the military for ten years and lived is various parts of the country and overseas and was stationed in southern Mississippi for my last tour. I was dreading it since I believed every stereotype about the place. I was surprised to discover there are very few actual racists (probably a lower percentage than other parts of the country) since since many of the working class Whites personally know and work alongside Blacks and Hispanics. I have seen more interracial couples here than anywhere else. Not everyone is a Southern Baptist and I thought I do not have to drive 50 miles to attend the nearest Catholic church. I have some Jewish friends who have no trouble finding a local Synagogue. The various denominations get along and even cooperate in joint ventures like food banks. The cost of living here is very inexpensive. I’ll admit the infrastructure could be better but that is mostly due to the lower tax base and not because the state government is blowing billions on “green” projects or super trains. There is also more trash alongside the roads since the Sonic and Whataburger cups and wrappers blow from the pickup truck beds but I’ll take that any day over human excrement. The heat is oppressive from July through September and we have to worry about hurricanes but the climate for the rest of the year is very tolerable. I like to ride my bicycle for exercise and the two times I had a blown tire, I only had to push my bicycle for five or ten minutes tops before a good old boy in his pickup truck would offer me a ride back home. Say what you want about “redneck” culture but we do not have to worry about riots and looting since most homes are armed and a jury would never convict someone defending himself or his property. As a matter of fact, please keep perpetuating Southern stereotypes since it will keep the “woke” persons from moving here.

      • George W. said, on September 15, 2020 at 1:53 am

        Good for you, Rickey. I’m glad we have different preferences for states. Diversity helps to keep our country balanced. Peace be with you.

        • Rickey said, on September 15, 2020 at 7:39 pm

          And also with you.

  6. William O. B'Livion said, on September 13, 2020 at 3:53 am

    And when you leave California please don’t be fucking stupid enough to continue to vote for the same utter bullshit in your new location or you’ll wind up fucking that up too.

    • Moderator said, on September 13, 2020 at 5:30 am

      As a Texan, for the time being, I second that emotion.

  7. William O. B'Livion said, on September 13, 2020 at 4:30 am

    > It is also a preview of the national dystopia to come if California isn’t sawed off and left to drift off to sea in a Calexit.

    I used to say we ought to offer China a trade–we give them San Francisco and we get Hong Kong.

    Maybe we sweeten the deal by offering them LA County too?

    • Scott Locklin said, on September 14, 2020 at 7:49 am

      Allowing the Chinese to deal with California baizuo using their reeducation camps is awfully tempting. Just tell them there will be Uighur food; they’ll be lining up to go.

      • William O. B'Livion said, on September 18, 2020 at 6:50 pm

        To serve man…

  8. Kagami Taiga said, on September 13, 2020 at 6:33 am

    On a tangential note, I’d love to hear your thoughts on Elon Musk. He runs a couple of companies that actually, you know build stuff as opposed to maintaining dopamine rat mazes (as you put it) like FB. But at times he comes across as a plutocrat (his twitter shenanigans with Tesla’s stock, and I heard Solar City was some kind of scam). Not to mention I think he brazenly overruled the stay at home orders during Covid to resume production at Tesla, and I’m not sure he faced the consequences for it.

    • Scott Locklin said, on September 14, 2020 at 12:03 am

      He’s 21st century Howard Huges, with all the good and bad that implies. I wish him well, but fear the worst.

    • William O. B'Livion said, on September 18, 2020 at 6:52 pm

      > Not to mention I think he brazenly overruled the stay at home orders during Covid to resume
      > production at Tesla, and I’m not sure he faced the consequences for it.

      So basically you’re upset that he called the bluff of some weenie mandarins to keep people employed–and thus paid, and thus able to make their mortgages, buy food etc.

      I’m pretty ok with that.

  9. gbell12 said, on September 13, 2020 at 11:58 am

    Oh wow, this is fantastic. Hilarious writing that reminds me of the early days of the internet.

    I wish I had read this before a had similar instincts and f-ed off out of CA for Australia in 2004 – a logistically much more challenging move! So I’m half jealous that you found NH, and half smug that your excellent writing is post-rationalizing my rash decision.

  10. Ping O'Reilly said, on September 13, 2020 at 1:35 pm

    I get nervous when I see ads for my state, but we might be safe as long as coastal urbanites stay convinced that we’re a bunch of hicks and Anarcho-capitalists.

  11. John Baker said, on September 13, 2020 at 4:06 pm

    As Homer Simpson would say, “It’s funny because it’s true!” The coastal idiots have voted for this mess and they are getting it good and hard. I keep hoping they will smarten up but just like the market can stay crazy long after you run out of money people can remain nutters long after the point of diminishing returns. Here in Idaho we are currently inhaling California and Oregon forest fire smoke. Our skies are not quite the Blade Runner’esque hue of the coast but they’re not Rocky Mountain blue either. I just heard the dimwitted Oregon governor tell us that we have to “really address” climate change to fix the fire issue. OK, I’ll play along, let’s assume we immediately fix our emission problems and go to zero immediately. How long will it take for zero emissions to reduce fire frequency in Oregon? Here’s a clue, it might take decades to notice. What the five, (the Oregon governor is not very attractive – call the sexist police on me), is really saying. “This is not my fault and anything I could do, like require proper fire breaks, run constant campaigns advising imbeciles not to start fires, and jail arsonists without mercy – well I’m a liberal coastal idiot and would rather watch the place burn because Orange Man Bad!”

  12. M.M. said, on September 14, 2020 at 2:20 am

    California feels like a different country from the rest of the US. I’ve even mistakenly called it that and confused Californians. But it was an honest mistake because it’s geographically isolated and culturally it’s pretty distinct. I still feel they’re as different from the rest of us as Montreal or Mexico is despite being the same country. They give off an arrogance that comes with being the capital of the Western Left.
    My run ins with Californians were also similar to having cultural misunderstandings with people from different, far away places. There’s an almost weekly if not daily updated roster of blacklisted companies and people you must express sufficient disdain for or potentially risk also being blacklisted yourself. Oh, and the term “blacklist” is also verboten.
    I’d like to think they are a temporary problem that self corrects after a while but I don’t think it will anymore. The ones who are exiting, because I guess something has driven them out, are changing the states they move to. Idaho, a destination for California refugees opened a Bloomberg campaign office in the last year in Idaho. Bernie Sanders also campaigned there of all places, the guy most popular in California. What’s going on in Idaho?
    Calexit won’t happen. The rest of the country isn’t so powerful that it forces California to secede in order for them to feel safe from the rest of us. What’s more likely is we all become Californians as they migrate and then control all the electoral votes. They steamrolled the old guard left institutions of the East Coast who previously controlled us. Wall Street has been replaced with SV, NYT with Twitter, DC with maybe Berkeley or SF, the Iveys with Stanford, UC Berkeley, USC, UCLA, and Caltech.
    It’s all too bad. It’s a place with a minority of enormously successful people, vicious NPCs, and insane and malicious bureaucrats who somehow all approve of each other.

    • glaucous noise said, on September 14, 2020 at 3:51 pm

      This seems overly grim. For starters, prior to the exodus, about a third of Californians were Republicans. Secondly, one should not conflate the dystopian hellscapes of LA and the Bay Area with the rest of California; there are quite a few relatively centrist people with some ambient leftism, but not necessarily the mental incontinence you’re referring to.

      Finally I’m baffled by the statement that say, the Ivy’s have been replaced with California schools; they’re still alive and kicking. The DC metro area is a hive of scum and villainy rivaled by Berkeley and SF, but it certainly surpasses them. Twitter is often maligned for its Soviet censors, but remains a vehicle for grass roots independent (and often these days anti-left) journalism and conservative/new right/whatever media outlets.

      There’s hope yet.

      • M.M. said, on September 14, 2020 at 5:59 pm

        I’m surprised you’re “baffled” by that.
        The academic center of the US is moving westward which will have consequences as the elite of the country will take on the character of their surroundings.
        It’s happening because people who used to be able to get into Ivies are not going into the same world where those schools provided a singular benefit. It used to be that an aspiring, young, talented, ambitious person would go to those schools so they could get into top Wall Street firms or DC. They might become a lawyer or a journalist or political consultant and work for the east coast firms or the great NYT.
        The schools are still there, they’re alive and well, but as VC money in SV has eclipsed Wall Street, Twitter has eclipsed the NYT, and the Bay Area has generally become a hub for the left, an ambitious young person might see the California schools as a superior alternative. They might want to be a tech manager/climber, a tech ‘founder’, or start a VC firm which is the analog to starting a hedge fund out of your Ivy dorm room now. Or maybe they wanted to become actual scientists/academics in which case the California schools are dominating the science rankings. Even if it’s just a few that’s enough to begin to deplete the cachet the Ivies have which is derived in part from a rejection rate, partly also from what grads are doing as the money and power are shifting to the Bay Area now.
        It can be stopped, it’s been a long, slow process and California could trip itself up, tech companies could leave which would make the area overall less appealing, but somehow, it’s all working right now. People like Musk at Tesla, Google, etc. tolerate the regulations and homeless, and even applaud them, in return for whatever I guess. The fact that happens is why it’s grim. It’s apparently a symbiotic relationship.
        Eventually, the influence should wain but who knows when. I certainly wouldn’t predict soon.
        I’ll also say that I don’t think Twitter is a net win. Maybe a few independent new journalists here or there who are perpetually only a hair away from being banned in return for the BLM anarchist militia that built itself up on a cesspool of lies (“hands up, don’t shoot!”) is a Pyrrhic victory. Not to mention you can’t even sue Jack for creating a doxxing, slandering, and violent left wing mob generating tool.
        I wish it were different but I will remain grim until California is diminished.

    • Walt said, on September 15, 2020 at 5:46 pm

      The greater SF bay area – the area within 90 minutes of SF each way – is a modern day Sodom and its denizens are working on normalizing pedophilia now. Its sin is very grave and has reached the ears of the Almighty. The high-noon darkness it is experiencing now from the fires are a warning to repent that will go unheeded until something worse happens.

      I lived within an hour and can tell you everything Scott says is true. Other parts of California are a lot more normal. Mostly, anyone who wanted to have kids had to move out of the state and the native sons were replaced with Latin Americans who tend to pull the lever for D. I think the LatAms are starting to figure out that the Sodomites aren’t good representatives, but maybe not.

      Anyway, what can’t go on forever won’t. God is patient but He is also just.

  13. digits said, on September 14, 2020 at 6:18 am

    BTW, California already tried implementing an “exit tax” in 2008, but failed. https://taxfoundation.org/california-activist-proposes-wealth-tax-and-probably-unconstitutional-exit-tax/

    Is 2nd time a charm?

  14. Wayne R McKinney said, on September 15, 2020 at 8:31 pm

    I still like the Bay Area after 33 years. I have no nostalgia whatever for my East Coast creche. Guns, deer hunting, ignorance, fundamentalist religion, poor hygiene, white trash, shacks race hate, hypocritical, and mindless Trumpers, not to mention much higher property taxes. AT least CA is trying. I have not the slightest interest in living whether everyone is carrying a firearm. Such places creep me out.

    • Scott Locklin said, on September 15, 2020 at 9:36 pm

      California is trying what? Suicide?

      FWIIW: since I moved away I’ve experienced approximately 30 seconds without electricity; and we have real weather in NH. Funny how all them enlightened geniuses in California can’t keep the electricity on better than Namibia.

    • William O. B'Livion said, on September 18, 2020 at 6:56 pm

      > , ignorance, fundamentalist religion, poor hygiene, white trash, shacks race hate, hypocritical, and mindless Trumpers,

      Bigot much?

      • Walt said, on September 20, 2020 at 2:04 am

        This is exactly how they are in the Bay Area. They’re totally blind to how they come off to normies. To the extent that people like this are widespread now, there is no way to hold the social compact together with these people. They need to be in a separate country from us.

        • Scott Locklin said, on September 20, 2020 at 9:58 am

          Wayne’s my old boss at LBNL, and I’m sure he doesn’t mean anything by it. He’s actually a really good guy in every way that matters, and his expressions of shitlibbery are probably residual Calvinism or denial of his redneck heritage or something. It’s funny, of all the people I know who should be all, “furriners took our jerbs,” he really should be.

          I remember some years after working for him, listening to Michael Savage on the viagra channel (my hoopty at the time only got AM) and hearing Wayne calling in and mixing it up with Savage. He didn’t do well, but it seemed like he and Michael Savage had a long working relationship. Who knows; maybe he’s having us on -he’s pretty smart: I think his Ph.D. thesis only required 2 photons.

  15. Chiral3 said, on September 16, 2020 at 4:20 am


    NH may be a brilliant latitude during COVID. It’s far enough north that the caravans of Manhattan assholes will not make it. I have family in the Hudson valley. There was always the wackyness of Woodstock – it’s important to be Buddhist, vegan, comment incessantly on your personal energy usage (in complete violation of thermodynamics), etc. As I mentioned once to my sister while driving painfully slow down Main Street, Woodstock, “it takes a lot of money to renounce money”. We were going slower than usual because there was a man on stilts dressed as a wizard walking down the street. Save for the wizard, there’s a lot of financial independence in that area. Just outside of that area and things are fine again. Across the river, where my sister and her husband work, it gets bad again, but writing this I can’t help but realize that electron cloud of assholia surrounds a college known for it’s own exclusion principles. Hmmm.

    They were few and far between. The usual denizens don’t have the cash to raze the mountainside and put up a modern post-and-beam. You meet them and they are nice enough, she has a job in media and the kids day schools are in Manhattan, close to the commute from Brooklyn Heights to the office, and his law firm means he can work anywhere most days, so he stays upstate where his only legal work is blowing through as many local laws and ordinances as possible related to the building of the country house as cheaply and quickly as possible, although it’s never quite done. The kids are allergic to everything and the dog looks expensive and is on psychotropics to control the effects from some hand-me-down trauma. Apart from these groups occasionally appearing life was good. Then COVID came. The only happy people are local real estate people who, prior to COVID, had never heard of all cash sales 30% above asking three hours before the open house, no inspections needed. Overheard in the grocery store “can’t the locals do their shopping during the week so that we don’t get sick waiting on these lines?” Answer: no, they have jobs and kids. It doesn’t take long for them to get comfy. Basic disagreements that Northerners and New Englanders ended with speech are now possible determined by lawsuits (I can’t help but think of “use your words”). Local food, basic public safety, an oak tree that needs to come down, public works, like water, vaccinations all become life-and-death discussions between perpetually shocked and offended people. They deal with the irony of staunch anti-vaxxers that haven’t left their basements since March and call to try and get other parents to form home schooling cults that serve food they’ve grown for lunches.

    Anyway, good call on NH. Live Free or Die. I spent a ton of time climbing the Whites, Cannon, and the twin jewels of North Conway, Whitehorse and Cathedral. I seem to recall an old OoB ski club called “Ski to Die”. Fatalistic and binary (in the right way). An old math professor retired to Manchester to pass on recently. Every now and then I’ll pick up a math book and see his name. Most recently, maybe a couple years ago, a book on Riemann Hypothesis. He never talked about it but it seems he was prolific. Enjoy living free and thanks for the story.

  16. Martling said, on September 16, 2020 at 2:54 pm

    I am all for people trying to escape hell, but how do we keep hell from following us? If they can turn Austin into an up-and-coming Bay Area disaster, then why can’t they (affluent overlords) turn any place into SF? Are we all just destined to die to the parasites?

    When are average folk gonna rise up and say “Enough is Enough”, grow a pair, and preserve their way of life?

  17. Mr Dadjeans said, on September 16, 2020 at 9:48 pm

    Bravo Scott! No one has put it better, or more hilariously.

    California is a place where people don’t belong. There was no major civilization here. There are good reasons for that. There were people who could pick up and leave when the Great Valley would flood and Sacramento was 15 ft under water (https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/atmospheric-rivers-california-megaflood-lessons-from-forgotten-catastrophe/.)

    The native plants are adapted to a fire ecosystem. Everything is supposed to burn frequently and much bigger fires that this year often occurred. We aren’t supposed to have insane species like eucalyptus here or “control” fire. Redwoods like frequent fires; their bark is resistant to fires and it destroys other plants that consume the water of its shallow root system. The indigenous people in Oakland planted oaks and set fires all the time. We aren’t supposed to have this many trees. Forget forest management; that is idiotic here and won’t work. Of course, if you have a house in the woods, cut a very wide firebreak and your house might survive the inevitable fire.

    California defines extreme distribution. Not only with the huge atmospheric rivers already mentioned, but in the last 100 years we’ve had 10 year droughts, in the last 1000 years we’ve had 100 year droughts, and in the last 10,000 year there have been 1000 year droughts. Build all the dams you want, it ain’t gonna help. And you will get events like the mass die off of pines anyway (though global warming sure helped.) Someday we will have to install desalination plants and pay exorbitant fees for water.

    But no one seemed to pay any attention.

    Death to the evil alien eucalyptus!

    • Scott Locklin said, on September 17, 2020 at 10:27 am

      The megaflood thing is insane, and as with many other things I first learned from you.

      I actually liked 90s era SF to a certain extent. It has a lot of the same cultural problems from being populated by psychedelic victims and men from nowhere, but it felt like it had about half the people in it. I could get from Berkeley to nightclubs in San Francisco in a few minutes, and from SOMA to Ocean Beach for night bonfires afterwords. You could get a decent job plugging in ethernet cables for the rising companies, and a lot of my weirdo pals in the goth/industrial scene were doing well with that sort of thing. Reminded me a bit of that Quentin Tarrantino movie about 1969 LA. You could at least see the remaining outlines of that culture. Must have been good times. I mean, California still had a republican governor back then; it’s only fairly recently it’s all woke all the time.

      Here’s to cutting down the weeds, even if more sprout up again.

      • Mr Dadjeans said, on September 17, 2020 at 5:27 pm

        Damn eucalyptus are hard to kill; you have to poison them after you cut them down. If you are worried about the toxic pollution, compare that to the toxic pollution emitted when a house and all its synthetic materials burn down, or the PVC coming out of the exploding transformers (https://apnews.com/63a27bae9f3e1ebd3745ac8abccdfee6.)

        I remember the deep freeze of 1972-73 in Berkeley when Ludwig’s fountain was frozen over for days. Many of the eucalyptus died, but the roots survived and they regrew in profusion. We missed a chance to poison them then… Yes, many of those eucalyptuses in the hills are only 47 years old. The stately grove on campus managed to survive. Must be a hardier subspecies.

      • gbell12 said, on September 17, 2020 at 11:39 pm

        We have a few spare koalas we can send you so you can put those to good use. Plus, think of the tourism opportunities!

    • Mr Dadjeans said, on September 17, 2020 at 5:18 pm

      Quick edit: “extreme distribution” was supposed to be “extreme value distribution”. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generalized_extreme_value_distribution or the book by Embrechts et al referenced there.

  18. Mr Dadjeans said, on September 16, 2020 at 11:02 pm

    I can’t help piling on… I have a particular gripe with the “new Silicon Valley.” It is not the Silicon Valley I knew that made real products that people used. Businesses were run the old fashioned way – you were expected to make money. When people complain about liberal Silicon Valley, it doesn’t jibe with history. It used to be quite conservative. Take T. J. Rodgers, founder of Cypress Semiconductor, a Reagan Republican.

    The new Silicon Valley is more centered on San Francisco. It started with the dotcom times, and accelerated beyond belief in the last 20 years. Sociopaths who used to work on Wall Street discovered that they could become billionaires much more easily here by stealing people’s private information (particularly when you make them addicted to your product and they give it away willingly.)

    Machine learning, such as it is in the new Silicon Valley, is degraded to selling people shit they don’t need.

    Covid’s WFH has been the worst thing; it has magnified these companies into mega-evildom.

    I wish we could cut them down along with the eucalyptus.

  19. anon said, on September 18, 2020 at 3:05 am

    wrote this elsewhere, seems topical:

    I lived in southern California for a time. It was an eerie place. The state holds a fatal attraction to me as an engineer, because of the history of science and technology developed there – but I suspect all that is gone now in reality. It grew in a climate of freedom that no longer exists.

    Unnerving thing #1: The state economy is some sort of palace-economy: The people who make things work, the working class, have lives that are falling apart. They can’t pay the rent, or the taxes, or the utilities. I was part of an artificial sort of pseudo-middle-class as an engineer working for a large company. Something is very wrong with any place where the people whose work sustains it can’t afford to live there. There are ultra-rich landed property owners, then there are serfs living in squalor in megacities. That desperation is a ticking time bomb that hasn’t gone off yet.

    Unnerving thing #2: California’s “perfect climate” is an *artifact*. The state is naturally an arid southwestern desert. What made their unnaturally productive farms and orchards possible was water infrastructure built by a culture of engineers, who essentially terraformed the state. That infrastructure is now being destroyed by a culture of clueless mandarins. If you drive north along the coast, you’ll pass mile after mile after mile of dessicated farms and dead orchards – the work of decades ruined by the exploit that Los Angeles can vote themselves more water. When they’re done with it, these environmental paragons dump their greywater into the ocean. They don’t even attempt to treat it and pipe it back up to the dead farm country as irrigation water. That would require forethought over and above some immediate political-incentive-gradient. I had the choice of two communists for state senator when I voted there: Commie A was somewhat clued into the need to keep the farms alive and wanted to preserve the aqueducts. Commie B wanted to destroy them as an affront to Gaia, and divert the remainder of the water to the megacities. Commie B won in a landslide.

    It’s sort of offensive, seeing what a bygone generation was able to do in terms of geo-engineering being destroyed by savages who don’t understand what they’re breaking, even as they suffer the degradation of the environment. Not producing enough power, rolling blackouts, and water rationing are getting worse since I left.

    Unnerving thing #3: You’ll never own property there. It doesn’t matter how cushy your pet-pseudo-middle-class position is, it won’t lead to you being able to afford a house. If you go to heroic lengths, you can sort of afford a mortgage on two incomes, that you will never pay off. Nevermind real land or decent property – it doesn’t exist for the likes of you if you work for a living. How are you supposed to put down roots or build a future in a place that will never be yours?

    Anyway, the state is an apocalyptic disaster waiting to happen. No matter what happens with politics, at some point the accumulated infrastructural train-wreck will leave cities of 10 million people starving and dying of thirst in the dark. The relief when I left was palpable.

    • Walt said, on September 18, 2020 at 5:28 pm

      I was born in SoCal as was my father to my grandparents who stayed after WWII. Both were engineers, as am I. My father and grandfather were in sheet metal mfg together for awhile until onerous regulations and costs caused them to sell. The remaining mfg was burned-out in the Rodney King riots.

      Everything you said is true. All the financial incentives are to drive up property values to keep tax revenues high. The latest scam is nonprofits buying houses and hotels and filling them with vagrants. Typically, they buy single family homes for twice the going rate and fill them with 10-15 guys while collecting rent directly from the government. Then there are the CHinese investors. A couple from Shanhai bought a house on my street and rented it to drug dealers.

      I’m close to paying off my mortgage but I also need to pay for private school now, which is another mortgage, so the further I advance the behinder I get. I have no expectation that my kids will be able to live here, so I don’t think the family line will last beyond my generation here.

      California is where peoples go to die. It’s the Levant of North America. The remaining business culture is being euthanized by the COVID restrictions imposed by our Sodomite governor.

      • William O. B'Livion said, on September 18, 2020 at 6:49 pm

        > I’m close to paying off my mortgage but I also need to pay for private school now, which is another mortgage,

        Sell the house, move to Texas or Colorado and buy something about the same size. Use the one time exemption in taxes and save the money for retirement or the kids college.

        Just remember WHY you had to do that and vote accordingly.

      • chiral3 said, on September 19, 2020 at 2:22 pm

        “I’m close to paying off my mortgage but I also need to pay for private school now, which is another mortgage,…”

        Separate conversation brother, but I hear thee. In the middle of my personal “WTF happened to my kid’s education” crisis I at least took solace that they were going back. It’s not fair, I know, but a campus like Hogwarts, littered with esteemed faculty (forget for a second that I am having serious issues with the curriculum, or lack thereof), and at least I/they have that. I sent that latest tuition check two months overdue, waiting for the bleeding edge of the eleventh hour and, I swear, the day they cashed it they pushed reopening citing covid.

        Watching my kid’s curriculum evolve through the years I can’t help but see the old chestnut from grad school – “shut up and calculate” – in new light. Shut up and read, …, write, …. ,calculate, …., work… we can have all the inquiry we want later after we’ve amassed the tools and ideas to work with.

        “I lived in southern California for a time. It was an eerie place. The state holds a fatal attraction to me as an engineer, because of the history of science and technology developed there – but I suspect all that is gone now in reality. ”

        I never *really* lived in Cali. In 90’s before I started doctoral work I did a bunch on grant-supported research with some left coast people. I was born on the east coast and was at Princeton at the time, but got an apartment in SoCal and lived there for maybe six months. I kept the apartment for another six months or so flying out occasionally to meet with some of the other researchers. I left for Cali dreading it but I had a great time out there, although I would never want to live there. My first week out there I saw a wall of stormtrooper riot police making spicy air for a small group of demonstrators. Not sure what their cause was. I very quickly encountered another group of demonstrators on a SoCal campus and I still laugh today when I think about them. They were trying to “save the ferrets”. Apparently, someone wrote down a differential equation that related the brain’s perception of the vestibular apparatus of the inner ear to eye movements attempting to find some center. The eye, having a dipole moment, could be measured and analyzed by crucifying ferrets to a disc rotating with some angular frequency (the eye becomes a simple pendulum or something). I never saw it but apparently there was some lab with this sprawling grid of dizzy, nauseous ferrets spinning with some frequency, omega, and the kids were livid. Viva el huron! Contrast that memory of SoCal with my others of climbing and hiking at all the usual spots, spots that I was too young at the time to realize were already ruined, but that are certainly ruined now. Who wants to go to Josh or Yosemite now? Strangely but predictably my body can’t do those things anymore and now when I am in California I rarely land commercial, I get whisked off to some restaurant in Sonoma or Napa only to be sacked out a few hours later for the return. I arguably haven’t experienced California in years, at least in any real way, assuming there’s anything real left to experience. But back to being young and doing research: I recall Scott mentioning, years ago, the amazing book Ignite – after maybe a month or two in and around LA, back when I lived there, I found it hard to imagine the Golden age of Cali science; and, just like walking around Yosemite today, it’s impossible to imagine the days of Camp 4. It is all very hyperreal. I am not sure if Baudrillard says this, or if it was subsequent readers of Baudrillard,…, but the idea that it takes a generation to normalize the simulation. It all sounds very Marxist to me today, but it’s probably the one thing its adherents got right: the worker on the assembly line that was horrified and left empty because he didn’t know what he was building… it only took a generation for that to be normalized and for the newest horror to be that the part was assembled oversees. There’s a certain entropy and irreversibility to these processes and it’s hard to see California coming back from where it is at.

    • William O. B'Livion said, on September 18, 2020 at 6:47 pm

      I had an interview for a remote position with an interviewer based out of San Jose.

      I told him that I had no interest in moving back to California as I had a 2000 square foot house with almost a 1/4 acre of land in a place where I could see snowcapped mountains 9 months of the year from the road behind my house (the trees block the view from the front).

      I didn’t have the heart to tell him that we could afford this house on *my* salary alone.

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