Well, a good chunk of time has passed again. The last few weeks have been rather busy. The company I work at has publicly announced major layoffs (10% to 15% of our workforce). The dust hasn’t settled yet and everyone is kind of anxious to know what’s going to happen. Hey, 1’000 people in a 6,000+ company means you necessarily know someone who’ll get riffed (that’s short for Reduction In Force) – if not yourself. More on that later, hopefully by the end of the month.

More generally, The stream of layoffs announced over the last few months has seemed endless at times. Every day, at least a couple large companies have announced plans to reduce their staff by figures in the thousands – and that’s in addition to all the dot-coms going bust. Add to this rising oil and electricity prices, and the valley isn’t the place it used to be. Not that it’s a surprise to anybody as it just seemed there had to be a slowdown of some sort. It even has some positive side-effects: rents and housing prices are on the way down, and traffic seems just a little more manageable – although driving over a bridge into San Francisco at pretty much any time of the day is still not a pleasant experience… On a more positive note, life here certainly can be good. Rain season being over, temperatures are now set around 80F – we’ve even had a peak at 90F+ a few days ago.

Nature in general is surprisingly resilient. While you would expect it to have given up to Man’s unstoppable industrialization efforts, there is actually an amazing number of birds, butterflies, trees, flowers and other miscellaneous little mamals all around the place. Magnificant coastlines are also just a few miles away. Even the place where we live shields us completely from the surrounding roads and highways. Besides kids playing, the loudest sounds that make it through an open window are those of birds singing and water dripping in a nearby fountain.

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