September 26th, 2010

snark maiden

Sunny for September

We drove down Big Sur today, to enjoy the sun; between other people having the same idea and a game at Carmel high school and a horsey event at one of the state parks there was plenty of traffic but when we got to Nepenthe (just in time for brunch at Cafe Kevah - the kitchen now closes at 3.30 though you can get coffee and pastries till 4, and upstairs is open through the evening) it was scorching. Even the ravens were panting and any whales were staying in cool deep water as much as possible - we hardly saw three spouts all day; the scrub jay seemed perkier and we saw two migrating monarch butterflies.
Big Sur in September 006The water was the usual amazing blue and we walked on the purple sand at Pfeiffer beach. It was cold for paddling - it felt like my toes had an ice cream headache - so we took photos and sat on the sand and then drove back up the coast and stopped at one last beach to watch the sunset (it plummets into the distant fog bank at speed).

I haven't been taking photos for a while; I'm a bit daunted by how many photos I have to extract and upload from the last year, because I usually end up working rather than dealing with them in the evenings, so they build up. I haven't posted photos from our Hawaii trip last summer yet... But I'm really pleased with some of the shots I got at Pfeiffer beach. I used the fast exposure to shoot through a natural arch and get the kelp on the stack beyond and the surf pounding through and it gave me lovely bright shots with the dark rock making a great mask vignette (and only a couple of shots have chromatic aberration gross enough to notice). Pfeiffer State Beach, Big Sur 035
And it got some shots of spray and foam that I'm loving; this isn't spray on the lens - I think I caught the spray forming globules! Pfeiffer State Beach, Big Sur 035 
that's not water on the lens; that's the fast exposure catching the sea spray in globules

I'll get to the dozens of sunset shots some time, and to the pictures from the famer's market...

To catch up quickly, we flew in a couple of weeks ago, rode BART (always makes me feel we're in SF), recuperated in Samovar for the afternoon, spent a week cramming ourselves with information at IDF, Intel AppUp and the IE9 beta launch, fitting in dinner at Annabel's when a Star Wars artcar parked outside, a boat ride to the Craneyard to play Pong on original machines and have Will Wheaton admire Simon's NTK Elite shirt, dinner at Green Papaya (a yummy vietnamese around the corner from Moscone and much work. Last saturday we picked up a rental car for the weekend and stopped at the farmer's market on the way out of San Francisco and took photos of amazing coloured produce and buy lunch and taste Chinese dates (tastes like a date but woolly in texture) and ripening banana dates (yellow, not wrinkled, tasting like dates but not as deep a flavour or as soft a texture). and some amazing fresh coriander chutney and other nibbles from the Indian stall. Lunch consisted of dried plums (still pink), artichoke hummus (amazing!), garlic pita chips, garlic jersey milk cheese curds from Petaluma, strawberries, freshly squeezed pomegranate juice and a raspberry mango pastry of deliciousness to eat with coffee from what I still think of as Fog City Coffee in Pacifica (now Chit Chat with a barbecue stand). We lounged around on the picnic tables at Pacifica, drove down to meet saffronrose (unload car, change ends, drive back to SF) and park on Valencia and buy cute hats and taste saffron ginger ice cream and go to Seana McGuire's book signing party and musical interlude at Borderlands (I don't remember where I heard the Alligator song before and the Salad of Doom-nom-nom was definitely new to me and the Lost Girls song made me want to write something where Wendy coming home to London to grow up is a blow for feminism rather than caving to societal norms because there are some pretty rockin' things about growing up (that I won't go into in case pre-school toys have made it this far down the nested parentheses)). I also found a sequel to Francesca Lia Block's Weetzie Bat sequence; it's about what happens when Weetzie and Secret Agent Lover Man have grown up...

Saturday night I slept 13 hours and I remember brunch at Hobees and buying the new Jennifer Crusie and heading to the Nvidia conference in San Jose and discovering dinner was at, yay!, Original Joes (and Il Fornaio the next night and after finding that the beer is the edible thing at Godron Biersch we went to Original Joes again - the steak restaurant in the San Jose Marriot also does an awesome NY strip steak and killer truffled mac and cheese re-inforced with wild mushrooms and broccoli). This more than made up for having what was essentially the same sandwich for lunch at the conference every day - and we go for the info rather than the food! I'm hugely impressed by the renaissance in parallel programming and basic computing and AI (in the broadest sense) research going on as a result of the accessible power of GPU computing. The GPU has turned into a general purpose co-processor that so much software is going to take advantage of. Am also hugely relieved to have the analytical bits of my brain returning after the bronchitis; I can concentrate again and I'm hoping memory will go from fuzzy to sharp again. After reading Chandler's Simple Art of Murder I found myself coming up with one liners; if in doubt, have a man come through the door and pick up the gun Chekhov left there the day before...

The work/weekend/work cycle continues for next week and most of the week after; we're pondering what to do next sunday for our anniversary ;-)