Elisa's Blog
Thursday, July 28, 2005
Late afternoon, summer, Half Moon Bay.

The fog has already rolled in, by 7, bright and hot in the South Bay, but here the sky has already darkened, and the air is damp. Approaching the beach from the cliffs, the saturated green from plants growing abruptly off the sand, broken once or twice by the surprising lone yellow summer flower in a bed of verdure, looking down, the shore too far below to jump.

I make my way down the trodden path around the cliffs, descending carefully, side-stepping the sandstone formations that exactly mimic the driftwood on the beach, blackened and charred by a long-extinguished fire. As I approach the ocean, the smell, different from the one in the tropics of Mexico, which is salty, and fresh, and caresses you with the cool breeze, hits me: here it smells more like dead crab, salty, yes, but colder, more damp, more sultry, as if it hugged you and enveloped you in a blanket (ironically!), a lot more like a winter.

The sand, screeching acutely with my steps, the ocean: green tourmaline. Waves constantly changing and churning up white spray, the water frigid enough to numb the feeling in my toes and send a chill up my spine that makes my neck hairs stand on end.

I walk some more, after playing in a sand dune running up and sliding down, alone, for it is late now, 8 p.m., and it is a Wednesday, people are busy enjoying the summer elsewhere, somewhere warmer for sure, going home after work, maybe getting drinks in the city, and I......can't see another person here for miles, and I pretend I'm in a desert island, and that this island is mine, and what would I do, would I build a shack under that cave over there, and what would I hunt for dinner, and is that a crab I see under that rock, no, it is someone's old red flannel shirt that has been soaked and twisted ackwardly by the surf and it destroys the illusion.

I head back to my car, but not before sitting again alone in a piece of driftwood to (and note how muffled now is the sound of the waves!) beat the sand off the creases of my jeans, gritty briny stuff stuck in my molars and tasting on my lips. It takes so little, to turn a Wednesday into a Sunday.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005
Today I remembered a Schultz Peanuts cartoon from long ago.

Charlie Brown is leaning on that wall facing us (the reader), talking to Linus. The school year has just ended or someone from the gang is moving away or something rather melancholy like that has just happened. They discuss this for a bit, how goodbyes are so sad and so on, and on the last panel Charlie Brown says: "I need more hellos."

When three people you like leave within the span of 2 weeks, you tend to remember such things. And it is always easier, isn't it, when you do the leaving...

Sunday, July 24, 2005
{sigh} I need more weekends.

Friday, July 22, 2005
The bane of the algorithms engineer: befriending someone who contradicts themselves an odd number of times within the same sentence.

Thursday, July 21, 2005
The other day I thought that, curiously enough, one of the things I miss most about Mexico is the sound of the church bells in the evening.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005
So today as I was walking down the street one of those microscopic baby Chihuahua rat dogs (which was being walked at the moment by its owner) suddenly charged at me as I went past. Now, I'm not a very big person, but nevertheless I must've been at least 10 times the size of that dog, since it's snout barely reached at about the level of my ankles. Even so, the audacity, the unexpectedness, and surprise of the attack was enough to make me quickly hop out of the way and nearly made my legs buckle over.

There's a life lesson in all of this, I'm sure. I just can't quite put my finger on it at the moment....

Oh, and then, still walking back to the office soon afterwards, cutting across one of the parking lots, I espied one of those gargantuan, obnoxious, showy pitch black 4x4 trucks which was parked in such a way as to occupy 4 full parking spots at once quite unnecessarily.

I'm sure there's also a meaningful philosophical life lesson in this one, somehow. For some reason though, today my brain just can't pin these kinds of things down. Weird, huh?

Sunday, July 17, 2005
With my apologies for those PG-13 types who read this blog, I request that if you're easily offended, to please skip this post. I suppose instead of making this request I could, you know, just not post this, but since this whole platform was supposed to be a forum for expressing random thoughts, any form of censorship would defeat the purpose, no? And, for those of you who are not PG-13 and are not easily offended, but who think of me of a nice sweet girl who would never think these things that follow, well, I don't, everything you see written next is just a figment of your imagination.

So anyway, you've been dutifully warned, so I declare myself absolved of any responsibility for any kind of damage, crumbling of pedestals, melting of pure and innocent colorful images, and so on and so forth...

Today I thought: "Fucking hell."

Friday, July 15, 2005
The cool thing about the Harry Potter books is that, even though they're books supposedly written for children, there is not one character that is purely good or purely evil. Rowling does a superb job of showing a veritable rainbow of colors, shading, and subtleties in between the oversimplified black and white of the traditional children's book character's motivations. The hero of the series himself turned into a whiny, unlikeable, silly adolescent by book 5, and undoubtedly one of the most attractive characters in the book is a vindictive, capricious, self-centered school professor.

Before this finishes sounding like one of those old Jr. High School book reports, I'll cut this off here and come out already with what I really wanted to say, though I'm embarassed, because it sounds a bit childish, even in spite of the above paragraph of disclaimers, but oh well.

Today I thought: "Only 12 more hours until Harry Potter!"

Wednesday, July 13, 2005
And then your eyes laughed, and your lips parted in a muted smile, as if saying "what a strange thought", but you were silent for a while, immobile, your eyes meandering along an artery of memories, I could almost see you taste them, all those varietals one by one in turn, and old German Riesling here, perhaps, maybe a Sauvignon Blanc of once many years ago now, or a Pinot Gris from that small hidden winery, now something else entirely, I don't know, as you again inhaled deeply with your nose against the wind the smell of moistened earth, grin transforming slowly from amusement to delight.

"Yes," you said, after a long time.

Monday, July 11, 2005
As always, the weather changes as soon as you cross the San Mateo county line. Sunnyvale's always sunny, says a friend, but in San Mateo that Friday, a faint drizzle and darkened skies enveloped the smell of wet asphalt.

I waited for you inside, and when you arrived, barely in time to complete a brief greeting, I grabbed you by the hand and led you outside, still puzzled at my unexpected and purposeful steps, not saying anything, your eyes questioning when I said to you: "Smell this."

And as you turned to face the wind, cold and a bit too fast for summer, "Smells like rain, right?" said I. You tilted your face sideways and nodded, still wondering why this remark of mine had seemed so urgent.

And then I turned to look straight into your eyes, and grinned, and said to you: "I want to find a wine, that smells like this."

Friday, July 08, 2005
Debugging someone else's old code is a software engineer's worst nightmare.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005
Did we ever spend one 4th of July together?

Yes. In Boston, remember? The fireworks were so thick, refulgence and smoke illuminating the sky in white, just like daylight, the buildings of that old college reflected on the river.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005
Why is it that people always seem to want anything but what they already have?

Friday, July 01, 2005
So I was walking along the parking lot of the company across the street from ours. It was close to lunchtime, which means that I presently heard the loud car horn trumpeting the arrival of one of that company's food trucks. Now, this horn is polyphonic, it actually belts out a melody, a bit like the kid's ice cream tucks, but which was, in this case, a shortened version of the popular Mexican song: "La Cucaracha".

This made me think that the food truck guys needed a quick and short lesson in basic marketing:

Marketing axiom #452:

"Cucarachas and food don't mix very well."

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