Even at this advanced age I do not know better. Driving an hour in the Los Angeles sun has burned me to an angry salmon color. I'm suffused with regret and self-reproach. My face is spared, thank God - three kinds of foundation will do that for you - but my neck and forearms are medium rare. Welcome back, California says - that'll teach you to leave me for four years.
Our journey here was magic: a cab pulled right up to the stoop as we walked out in a light rain, security was as empty as I've ever seen it, we strolled onto the plane through an empty lounge (apparently they're boarding more than 40 minutes before takeoff now!) and were seated next to no annoying people. Except for the fact that parking costs a thousand dollars - okay, everything here costs a thousand dollars - nothing bad has happened yet, other than the great burnination of 2013.
This is not the California I lived in, but the similarities are enough to fill me with nostalgia. Succulents, pedestrians having right of way once they enter the crosswalk, golden hills and crumbling cliffs with eucalyptus and poppies clinging to the side, jammed highways, palm trees, healthy fresh veggie-friendly food everywhere, Priuses, jasmine wafting by, a California red from the central coast and an almost-constant harshly chilly breeze in the air no matter what the temperature is.
It's strange to think that everyone in this restaurant who's having a glass of wine or beer is going to get into a car and drive somewhere - New York has made the concept of inebriated motor vehicle manipulation weird. Be careful, tipsy Angelenos! I felt a comparable concern for all the surfers parked along Highway 1, their copper skin popping against the black of their wetsuits. Hope you're not genetically inclined towards melanomas, cute surfer boys! I tell you, it is exhausting being this worried about everyone.
The lights flicker occasionally - brownouts. This is unique to LA, I think, unless the Bay Area has acquired a similar energy problem since I left.
The one benefit of sunburn, as I've noted before, is finally being warm. It is clear and 67 here and while I'd usually be shivering outside I'm so toasty it seems like I should be glowing. With this - and everything else - being back on the left coast feels good and right.
- Dad: "I'm spending your inheritance!"
- me: "I don't think it's my inheritance until you're dead, Dad."
- me: "What are you spending it on?"
- Dad: "A pig."
Here is an iPhone application I want someone to make: the "which neighborhood am I in" app. It would be completely New York City-centric (like my narrow little life now) and would do one thing well: I tap the button, it tells me which neighborhood I'm in (ok, and maybe the borders, for educational purposes). Mostly I need this for the squirrelly bits below 14th - I've never walked through Midtown East and needed to inform anyone as to whether the Bay I was in was in Kip's or Turtle - but it would also be useful for the rare occasion that I leave Manhattan and want to know my Williamsburg from my Bushwick (so I can turn around). If all areas were perfectly aligned on the cardinal grid, it would be as easy as taking GPS coordinates and iterating through the upper and lower latitude and then eastern and western longitude. But squirrelly bits! And so into computational geometry and ray casting algorithms you go. (You, not me. Make my app, math nerd!)
Github is a service that hosts repositories managed by Git, which is a versioning system for code, which an automated way of making sure the developer sitting next to you can't overwrite your for loop on line 948 when you're both working on the same file, which is important in keeping the developer next to you from being smacked upside the head with a keyboard. Github Archive is a site that records the public goings-on of Github, and they have a nightly email (nightly! the novelty of receiving an email at this time) that links to the most popular and upcoming repos, which is how I got interested in the OpenCV library for Python.
(At this point, we need to take a break and talk about how Python was created by a Dutch grad student named Guido in 1986. On his Christmas break. He named it after Monty Python's Flying Circus. If you're not impressed yet, Google uses Python for its spiders and search engines, Industrial Light and Magic and Disney use it in their animation production, and NASA and the National Weather Service use it for mission planning and forecasting. For comparison, last Christmas break I paid 1000 Chilean pesos to have my picture taken with a llama wearing a tiny straw hat.)
Oh, my God, are you still here and not bored out of your teeth yet? I feel like as long as I'm alienating I should just mention that I'm also trying to buy the perfect taupe/khaki suede boot for summer - the toe is nearly impossible to get right, I'm finding - and that I'm so determined that I may end up going to Brooklyn. And that you should check out a band called Haim. Actually now that I think about it I have to go look for those boots. Besides, OpenCV and computer vision should be a post unto itself, and I need to think of a way to explain Haar cascades without anyone's eyes glazing over in the first five seconds, anyway.