Open your wallets, people.

Tired of all the crap? Buy Bonds.

Tired of Republicans talking smack about supporting the troops and then cutting their healthcare benefits? Buy Bonds.

Tired of Tom DeLay, Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, and all the rest of those assholes using the word "liberal" as an epithet? Buy Bonds.

Time to put up or shut up people. I'm in for twenty a month, and I don't even have a job at present--I'll sell my plasma for the money if I have to. Let's do this.

Hey Scalia--I am somebody, fuck you very much.

In his dissent in the most recent Ten Commandments case, Anthony Scalia wrote, and I'm quoting Siva Vaidhyanathan on Altercation here:

With respect to public acknowledgment of religious belief, it is entirely clear from our Nation's historical practices that the Establishment Clause permits this disregard of polytheists and believers in unconcerned deities just as it permits the disregard of devout atheists.

Gee Tony--I'm no Constitutional scholar, but it seems to me that when the 14th Amendment says "No state shall...deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws," that also means that the court, and by extension, the country, can't simply disregard them because they happen to believe in multiple gods, no god, or a god who created the earth as part of his third grade science fair project and then tossed it in the closet and forgot about it.

As Siva also so cogently points out, most of the Founding Fathers, who Scalia claims to have such a hard-on for, were of that third grouping--they were Deists--so if Scalia is really an originalist, there's no way he could have honestly come to the conclusion he did. He's a bigot, pure and simple, and the most activist of activist judges.

A new corollary to Godwin's Law

Godwin's Law is a well known adage about the internet culture that basically says, the longer a thread, the more likely that Hitler or the Nazis will be invoked as a comparison. There's a tradition that says whomever invokes Hitler or the Nazis without a damn good reason loses the argument. I happen to disagree with that tradition, as there are plenty of times where the comparison is an apt one, as when Dick Durbin did it on the floor of the Senate recently.

Well, I've got my own addition to Godwin's Law, and it came to me after watching The Daily Show editors run clips of asswipe Congresspeople invoking the memories of 9/11 victims time and again for the vote on the Constitutional Amendment to prohibit flag desecration--if you claim to be passing legislation for the 9/11 victims that doesn't actually do anything to 1) legitimately improve the security of the country or 2) improve the lot of the surviving members of the victims' families, then you're automatically a douchebag.

And if you invoke their memories to slam a member of the opposition party, then you deserve to be kicked in the nads until dead. Karl Rove--I'm talking to you, motherfucker.

This one's for you, Walrus

There's an interesting discussion over at Brad DeLong's place about Godfather 1 and 2, including stuff about subtext and all other kinds of stuff that a simple fan like myself just doesn't understand.

A new addition to the family

We picked up a new kitten today, an orange and white male we have christened Wallace, in keeping with our literary naming tradition. Our other cat, who is not taking to the new addition particularly well, is named Eliot, after Thomas Stearns. Wallace is named after Wallace Stevens or Wallace Stegner--take your pick. When we told Monkey, she asked if he was named after the Wallace and Gromit character, which would also work, as far as I'm concerned.

One thing for certain--he is definitely not named after former Alabama Governor George Wallace.

Young Yellow Elephants

This story is ancient in blog reckoning, but I still want to comment on it because I think it's imperative to call these people out on their hypocrisy.

Adam Smeltz of Knight-Ridder newspapers wrote a good story on the Young Republican convention going on in New York right now. He talked to a number of convention goers and asked them if they planned on joining the military, since they claim to support the war and the troops so much. Their responses were, let's be kind, enlightening.

"Frankly, I want to be a politician. I'd like to survive to see that," said Vivian Lee, 17, a war supporter visiting the convention from Los Angeles,

Lee said she supports the war but would volunteer only if the United States faced a dire troop shortage or "if there's another Sept. 11."

"As long as there's a steady stream of volunteers, I don't see why I necessarily should volunteer," said Lee, who has a cousin deployed in the Middle East....

I physically probably couldn't do a whole lot" in Iraq, said Tiffanee Hokel, 18, of Webster City, Iowa, who called the war a moral imperative. She knows people posted in Iraq, but she didn't flinch when asked why she wouldn't go.

"I think I could do more here," Hokel said, adding that she's focusing on political action that supports the war and the troops.

"We don't have to be there physically to fight it," she said.

Similarly, 20-year-old Jeff Shafer, a University of Pennsylvania student, said vital work needs to be done in the United States. There are Republican policies to maintain and protect and an economy to sustain, Shafer said.

I could be outraged or condescending toward these kids, but instead, I'll content myself with the hope that they may have just shot whatever hope they had at a political career straight to hell with their comments. Of course, I could be wrong--acknowledging their cowardice doesn't seem to have hurt Tom DeLay or Dick Cheney.

Big Brass Blog has a wonderful photo-essay up--pics from the convention along with quotes from the story.

Credit where due

Senator Man-on-Dog Santorum's office has distanced him from Karl Rove's remarks about liberals. Tapped reports that

Rick Santorum's communications director, Robert Traynham, suggested that the Pennsylvanian had a different reaction. He told me: “Karl Rove speaks for himself. He doesn’t speak for the senator. On 9-11, there was no such thing as a Republican or a Democrat, and that’s what the senator believes.”

The staff of Kay Bailey Hutchinson, the Texas Senator who would lick Georgie's pus-ridden asshole to be the next Governor of Texas, had a slightly different response. No surprise--she agrees with Rove.

While this is a welcome move from Santorum, I feel I must note that it's probably due more to the fact that Pennsylvania is blue and trending bluer, and Santorum's poll numbers are currently deep in the shitter coming into his election next year than to any true fellow feeling for his companions across the aisle.

They get letters

And here's mine, to my Republican Senator Mel Martinez:

I've just recently moved to Florida--within the last month to be exact--but I'd like to go ahead and let you know how I feel about the remarks Karl Rove made last night in New York City to the effect that liberals, by which he means members of the Democratic party, want our troops to die. In my view, those remarks are slanderous at the very least. They're despicable, and since in today's press briefing, White House spokesman Scott McClellan defended Rove's remarks, I can only assume that the White House feels the same way about nearly half the voting public.

My question for you is: do you share those views? Do you feel that half the country is disloyal, is actively hoping for US soldiers, many of whom are members of your own political party, to be killed? Or are you willing to distance yourself from those hateful and slanderous statements? I await your reply.

In case you don't know what I'm talking about, visit Americablog.

The Flag Burning Amendment

It's back in the news, because it's back in the Congress again, which shouldn't be any big surprise. After all, it's not like Congress has been dealing with anything important thus far--they've been too busy with trying to kill the filibuster, demonize Michael Schiavo, and cover for Tom DeLay to get any actual work done--so why not take up an amendment that would "protect" the flag from being burned?

The amendment is stupid--let's just get that out of the way up front. For starters, it's not like there's a rash of flag-burning going on here in the US where law enforcement agents would have jurisdiction--most flag burning is done in countries that already have a low opinion of us (and most times, rightfully so), and I hardly think the FBI will be dispatched to round those people up. Secondly, there's a real benefit to ensuring that flag burning, which many see as the ultimate symbol of dissent againt one's government, continue to be protected speech.

But there is one plus I can see coming out of the flag amendment, should it pass and be ratified. The flag code might actually be enforced. No more flag napkins. No more flag t-shirts with uber-patriotic slogans on them. No more flag toothpicks sticking out of holiday hot dogs, only to be tossed to the ground on their way to the trash can. All that is flag desecration, and would presumably be covered by the flag-burning amendment. The ironic result of this amendment could be that instead of protecting the flag, it could effectively remove the flag from public life.

And would that be such a bad thing?

More from Operation Yellow Elephant

These guys are good.

Because it's clearer than giving them a white feather.

General JC Christian, Patriot has put together a campaign that was a long time in coming--Operation Yellow Elephant. It expresses what I've felt since it became clear to me in early 2002 that we were going to war in Iraq--if you're physically able to serve in the military and you support this war and yet aren't enlisted, then you're a damn coward and ought to be outed as one in public. And don't give me any shit about how what you're doing here in the states is more important than carrying a rifle down the streets of Baghdad--there are plenty of people who opposed this war who can do your sorry little job while you're out shitting yourself in a tent.

Eventually, there will be an image in my sidebar that you'll be welcome to link to, so as not to destroy the General's bandwidth.

Juan Marichal

I promised a picture of the new Juan Marichal statue that's outside the Lefty O'Doul gate of SBC Park in San Francisco, and I'm finally delivering. It's been busy the last couple of weeks--sorry for the delay.

It's even more impressive in person--the kick really is as extreme as it seems in the photograph.

The Art of Movie Quoting

Blagg Blog has a list of 5 films he wishes people would stop quoting from. I've only seen one of the five (Office Space), and I heartily disagree with his description of Will Ferrell as a genius, but he's got a point--far too many people quote movie lines badly. I was one of them, and occasionally still have problems, although not generally the types that Blagg describes.

Here are some general rules for successful movie quoting:

1. Don't go for the obvious. This is the case no matter whether we're talking about setting or situation--Blagg describes Old School quoting in bars or Office Space quoting in the workplace. He's right--it's just isn't funny. Why? Because it's expected. Funny is all about the unexpected, even slapstick. Quoting Sideways at a wine tasting gets you labeled as unoriginal.

2. If it gets used in the trailer, or it becomes a catch-phrase, don't use it. Ever. Because you just don't want to be that guy saying "Do I make you horny baby?"

3. Obscurity can be your friend, as long as you're not an ass about it. The problem with too many quoters is that they're either afraid to go obscure, or if they do, they feel the need to go into a long, tortured discussion about the context of the quote in the film and the surrounding geopolitical landscape. You don't. If you go obscure, and no one gives you a knowing wink or nod, then simply act as though the witticism was original. Trust your fellow conversers. Which brings me to rule 4.

4. Pick your spots. Nothing is more aggravating than the guy who thinks conversation consists of nothing but movie/tv/stand-up comic bits thrown out there in a depserate grasp at relevance. I was one of those people for a while, until my girlfriend, in a moment of frustration, gave me hell for it. After many months where I tried to restrain myself completely, I discovered that I could actually hold a conversation without making a single reference to pop culture. Now when I do it, it's with a purpose, as a tool to steer the conversation in a particular direction rather than to show the room the power of my voluminous memory to hold ridiculous bits of minutiae. Which brings us to the most important rule of all.

5. Make it relevant. Any dumbass can pop off a reference that adds nothing to the conversation. It takes a pro to make a a reference work in the context of the larger conversation without derailing the conversation into a quoting contest, which is always a danger. Nothing kills a group conversation more quickly than two people (usually guys) trying to outdo one another in a contest of "I can recite longer Monty Python passages than you can."

Hope that helps.

Batman Begins

Go see it. Trust me on this. They got it right, more right than any other Batman film, hell, more right than any other comic book film I've seen, and that's a tall order. Just go see it.

Update: Stephanie Zacharek is a moron. Don't listen to her.

The last blog post about the move

Sorry this is so late, but my laptop, on which I have been writing these missives, has been largely without internet access for the last couple of days, so I've been saving up. The quick update is that we're in the place, vastly disordered, and attmepting to set up the wireless network again, with some difficulty. I'm hooked up directly for the moment. My net time will still be limited, since I have to finish unpacking, etc.

So here's the last one:

Monday June 13

It’s done.

Well, almost. The truck is empty and returned, and we slept in our new place for the first time last night. The fun part is really just beginning—the unpacking. There’s shit everywhere of course, and the biggest issue right now seems to be related to the fact that we ditched all of our old shoddy bookshelves in San Francisco. I’d forgotten, not that we have so many books, but that we stacked so much other crap on those shelves, and now we have no place for any of it. I’ve made some progress—the home theater (my 13 inch tv and adjoining stereo) is up and running, although I still haven’t located any of the remotes. I’ve managed to break both a jar of olives and the globe that covers the living room ceiling fan light, and my daughter broke the coffee maker carafe this morning—we replaced that immediately. In short, everything’s going about as expected.

Update: We spent the afternoon at Amy’s parents’ house visiting, and returned home to discover that the power had been cut—we hadn’t changed the lights over into our name soon enough, so tonight, we’re all camped out in one bedroom—Amy, Monkey, Eliot the Cat (and chickenshit Master of the Universe) and me under the wall unit a/c we’ve got hooked up to an extension cord running to the laundry room. We just may stay in here until the lights come on some time tomorrow. Home internet won’t be on until sometime on Friday, I think.

All you need on Downing Street

Go here. It's selected quotes from the two Downing Street memos and links to pdf files of the memos themselves. Read them and judge for yourselves whether or not Bush has been full of shit for the last three years.

Go Howard!

This is why I voted for Dean in California's primary even though Kerry had all but wrapped up the nomination.

"My view is FOX News is a propaganda outlet for the Republican Party and I don't comment on FOX News," Dean said. That was in response to vice president Dick Cheney calling Howard Dean "over the top" on Fox News on Sunday.

Now if we could only get everyone in the Democratic party to do the same, and ideally, stop appearing on Fox News altogether. It's not like CNN or MSNBC are doing much better with their "where the white women at?" coverage, but there is a difference, be it subtle or not, between ignoring the news and shoving Republican propaganda out there as news.

The Last Day

Here's what five days on the road will do to you: when I stopped for gas in Gainesville, I got back on the interstate and headed north instead of south, and it was forty miles before I discovered what I'd done wrong. Tack another hour onto an already excruciatingly long trip. But I'm here and it's good and now there's only the moving in, which will commence this afternoon, and then back to the regular blogging.

Saturday June 11, 1:28 a.m.

Marianna, Florida, and it looks like Arlene is coming right for us. It’s only light rain for now, and I don’t expect it’ll get terribly worse. I picked Monkey up in Bay St. Louis this evening, and we spent most of the next 4+ hours talking as I drove. It’s been really good.

The room looks like it never got out of the seventies, even if you include the modern tv, microwave and hair dryer. Faded beach prints on the wall above the two beds, faded drapes over the window, the bathtub even has those no-fall strips in the bottom—they’re peeling up, of course—and the door to the bathroom has either swollen or was just never hung properly, because it doesn’t close.

We wound up in Marianna because every hotel in Chipley gave us the “we don’t have any coupon rooms left, but we’ll gladly charge you full price” excuse—at 12:45 a.m. Like you’re gonna rent that room for full price—riiiight. I suppose it makes sense to keep the room empty rather than pay for the electricity, pay the maid to clean it up, change the linen, etc, but at least be willing to bargain.

Regardless, this trip will find its end tomorrow. It’s already been a hell of a five days, and I’m exhausted, but I can say I’ve done something relatively few others can lay claim to, and I’m proud of it. Next time, I don’t want to drive a U-Haul, and I want to stop and take pictures.

Friday June 10, Hammond, LA

I crossed into Louisiana early this afternoon after sitting in construction traffic for what seemed like forever in Vidor, close to the border. The drive through Houston and Beaumont was pretty uneventful, and perhaps it’s wishful thinking, but I swear the air felt different when I crossed the Sabine. One thing is different—I don’t think I’ll be needing the chapstick anymore. The air is heavy with water, and I’m reveling in it.

I sat in traffic in Baton Rouge—combine a traffic accident with a place where the highway goes from three lanes to two and you get a parking lot. It took about 45 minutes to go 2 miles, but once it cleared, I flew past the old familiar exits from that time when I would pick up my daughter on the weekends and return to Hammond—Denham Springs, Walker, Satsuma, Holden, Pumpkin Center, Baptist.

It seems appropriate that I should be returning to a hurricane. Arlene is in the gulf, and I’ll be racing her to Pensacola and beyond. After two years of weather that was positively boring if benign, and considering how many times I wished for some interesting weather while living in The City (as the Examiner still refers to it), it’s funny that instead of hauling ass from a hurricane, I find myself heading into one. I tell myself it’s just a baby, not even a real hurricane yet, but tell that to the people of Pensacola who have yet to fully recover from Ivan last year. I guess I’ll get to see just how much I miss the weather around here.

The most incredible part of the drive today is one I’ve done before, numerous times. It’s the Atchafalaya Freeway, a 38 mile stretch of I-10 that runs between Lafayette and Baton Rouge, that runs through the last remaining cypress swamp in the US. It’s a bridge with three or four exits over the span of the 38 miles, but there’s not much in the interior. It’s just beautiful swamp, leafy and green, and on the Lafayette end of it, cypress trees and their knees poking up out of the water. That section is called Henderson Swamp. The best part of it, I think, is that it’s damn near impossible to take pictures of it, because there’s literally nowhere to pull over and get out of traffic, no matter what you’re driving. I know, that sounds strange from someone who gets such joy out of photography, but there is something special about not benig able to capture a moment anywhere but in your memory.

Dinner with the parents

Note:Sorry for three long posts in such quick succession, but you've got to take advantage of the connection when you can.)

I'm in Schulenberg, Texas tonight, a town where I remember stopping for pastries as a child when my parents would drive my sister and me to Helotes (or wherever my grandparents were living at the time) for our regular visits. This was when I was a very small child, since these drives pretty much ended after we moved to Louisiana when I was seven. It's easily the nicest hotel I've stayed in on this trip, though not the most expensive, thank Jeebus--lots of amenities I won't be making use of, although I am making extensive use of, what else? the wireless internet.

I ate dinner with my parents at the Chili's in Boerne (pronounced birney), which is a major event when you consider that we haven't spoken in about two years, which corresponds roughly to my move to California, and my contact on the whole has been limited to a couple of cards that updated me on the doings of the people I once congregated with way back in the day. It seems we struck a bargain of sorts--I hauled ass the 600+ miles from Lordsberg, NM to Boerne, and they skipped the first half of their meeting at the Kingdom Hall to have dinner with me. In all, it seems a fair trade.

Conversation was pretty nondescript--I explained what exactly I'd been doing in San Francisco, they talked about the humdrum everyday things of their lives, of the changes in their lifestyle since they moved from Kokomo, MS to Boerne (it's a pretty massive difference). I caught them up on my daughter; they caught me up on my cousins--apparently another one is a professional musician of sorts, one I haven't met, a second cousin much younger than me. In short, it was wonderful, because there wasn't any uncomfortableness about religion--when it came up, it was in the context of experiences they'd had in field service. There was no accusatory tones, no recriminations, no pleas for me to reconsider my life of sin. Everything I dreded didn't happen, and when we split this time, I told them I'd forward my new contact information and they seemed genuinely pleased. That's a feeling I haven't seen in a long time.

I don't know where I got the idea that west Texas was flat, but it isn't--good lord it isn't. It's hilly as all hell, and right now, it's very green too. It was actually a very pleasant drive, except for the fact that it was too long and too hot. It wasn't overwhelming the way that driving through Utah is; it was just pleasant.

One last thing--I'm never taking bypass loops again. I got turned around so badly in San Antonio tonight that for a while, I was on I-35 south just so I could get back to the city center in hopes of running into I-10. I understand that traffic in Houston sis a stone bitch, and that taking the loop might save me some time, but to hell with that--I'd wind up in Galveston or something, and I don't have that many miles to spare.

Thursday the 9th, 12:54 p.m.

I’m in Van Horn Texas, just across the Central Time Zone line, so I’ve lost an hour in what was already going to be a long day. I’m sitting in the Pilot Truck Stop eating lunch, mainly because my computer told me I had an internet connection here—the airport seems to be getting a strong signal, but nothing comes up when I open a window. Oh well.

I’d always thought west Texas was flat—not so, at least, not completely so. Parts of it, especially close to the New Mexico border are, but since I got out of El Paso, I’ve been surprised by the hilliness. It’s very much like the country I’ve been coming through, only less so. The hills aren’t quite as dramatic, the rock formations, when they appear, are less impressive. For a person coming through the southernmost part of the US for the first time, I definitely recommend going east to west—your wonder will grow with every passing mile.

About twenty miles back, I was a blimp hovering over the valley I was passing through. It was bright and multi-colored, a lot like my first sofa, or the Partridge family bus, and if it had a corporate logo, I didn’t recognize it. Go figure—a blimp in the middle of Nowhere, West Texas.

I’m visiting briefly with my parents tonight—I called them yesterday and let them know I’d be passing through Boerne sometime today and would like to see them. It’ll be a short visit, since they have a meeting at the Kingdom Hall tonight, and I’m not a Witness anymore. It’s not that they’d bar me from going if I wanted, but it would send the wrong message to my parernts, that I might consider coming back, and even though we’ve been on the outs for several years now, I wouldn’t do that to them. It would be cruel, and regardless of what issues I still have with them over our lack of a relationship since I left the church, I still love them and won’t tease them with false hope. Back to the truck—I hope to post these sometime today.

Wed 8th, 10:30 p.m.

The 1-10 Motel in Lordsberg, New Mexico is $31.95 a night, $39.99 after tax, and I imagine they’re making a killing. The room is clean; spare is a pretty good word for it, I’d say. No Wal-Mart framed litho-posters adorn the bright white walls. There’s a bed, a nicked-up dresser with a twenty-inch Magnavox on it—don’t know if they have cable, but they certainly don’t have internet service, wireless or otherwise, and if one of the other hotels nearby has it, I can’t reach it because I’m on the lee side of the motel. There’s not even an alarm clock, much less a coffee maker, both of which I’d come to expect as standard equipment, even for a cheap motel. I suppose I’d be disappointed, except for the fact that all I really want is a shower and a bed.

And the ability to post this right after I’ve written it instead of having to wait for a hot spot. Somehow I’ll get by.

As to the drive. My experience with Los Angeles has been limited to say the least—one trip to the Science museum and todays’ drive, but based on that experience, all I can say is, I don’t get it. It’s dry-hot, the air is for shit, and the roads seem to overwhelm everything, which only adds to the hot, bad air. I was glad to be rid of it. The closer I got to the Arizona border, the more I thought the countryside looked like the Arizona/New Mexico area around I-40, only greener. I don’t know if there’s been more rainfall than usual down there this year, but parts of the area between Palm Springs and Phoenix were almost verdant—green shrubs along the roadside, green stretching all the way to the brown mountains on both sides of me. The air was so dry that I found myself drinking constantly, and rubbing Chapstick on my lips like an eight-year old girl with her first flavored lip gloss, but it looked like it had rained enough to let these plants prosper, at least for the time being.

The winds weren’t so bad today, but the truck still got its tail twisted a couple of times. Perhaps the most interesting driving moment was when some tumbleweed broke loose and got smacked by two eighteen-wheelers directly ahead—the wind caught the remains and flurried it in the air. It was beautiful.

I skirted Joshua Tree National Park and wish I’d had time (and the extra miles) to explore it. I didn’t get to see anything from the highway, but I saw enough saguaro to know that I want to return and hike this place, both Joshua Tree and Saguaro National Parks. I really wanted to take pictures, but there was nowhere really to pull over—that truck is a behemoth, and I wasn’t sure if I could get it completely off the road.

I’ve never seen saguaro before today, and I can only say that pictures don’t do it justice. First of all, it’s bigger than I imagined. Some of the ones I saw today were 12-15 feet tall, with multiple offshoots. One in particular jumped out at me, to the point where I nearly pulled over despite the traffic (which was surprisingly heavy). It was only about 8 feet tall, but instead of the 3 to 3 arms that most had, this one had at least 6, and they weren’t independent—they wrapped around each other like Shiva’s arms, intertwined.

And beyond—at one point, past Tucson, but I’m not exactly sure where, the landscape changed. The hills became less dirty and more rocky, smooth, curved rocks like the kind I used to toss into the ponds around my friends’ houses when I was a kid in Louisiana. Rocks that I found in driveways, that fit the palm of my hand, not flat for skipping, round for hurling as far as I could. Only, you know, bigger. Bigger as if they were gravel for giants, for eighty-foot children throwing them into the Pacific to see what kind of splash they’d make. The sun was setting as I drove through these rocks, and had there been any room at all, I’d certainly have stopped. The contrast of light and shadow was intense. I’m coming back here someday, and sooner rather than later.

This internet thing might be catching on

I'm in Willcox, Arizona, which is, from what I can tell, about a jillion miles from nowhere. I'm sitting in a Pizza Hut that's overrun with a little-league baseball team and I'm guessing every other family in town, and I'm leeching wireless internet from a Best Western hotel I can't even see. Damn, I love technology.

I'm going to try to make Las Cruces, New Mexico tonight, and if it's as wired as Willcox, I'll post another travel report.

Blogging the move, day the first

So it's Tuesday night and I'm in Burbank--left San Francisco around three, didn't really hit traffic until the Dublin/Pleasanton area on I-580, and then again on the early part of I-5.

There's not much traffic on I-5 in that part of California, mainly because there's not much up there, short of eighteen-wheelers and signs that say "It only grows when water flows" or something like that. On the back of one truck, someone had written in the dirt, "Flash the driver, he's bored." So was I. There's not much to look at, not that I could spare much time to glance about.

A fourteen foot U-Haul truck handles like a pregnant water buffalo to begin with--add in gusting winds and little or no room for error and you've got a challenging drive ahead of you. To top it all off, gas in that area is more retarded than most places--I drove the truck until I was down to an eighth of a tank just to avoid paying $2.79 a gallon. I settled for $2.49 when I got desperate, and I'll gladly pay the $2.33 from the gas station across the street from my, ahem, hotel room.

I'm getting ripped tonight, no question, because I didn't plan this part of my trip adequately. I didn't know where I was going to stop, don't know where anything is, so when the woman at the counter told me the price I said "What? Okay," with about all the resistance Rush shows to oxycontin (knew I had to sneak politics in there, didn't you). It's a shitty little room at the Quality Inn--bed, tv, wall-unit a/c. The sign on the door says "Executive Room," as opposed to hourly rate room. I exaggerate--it's not that bad, well, except for the wine cork sitting in the straw basket that holds the coffee makings for the morning. No bottle of wine to be seen, but maybe I'll check beneath the mattress for the hooker just in case.

The one major plus is that they have wireless internet, and it's free, so at least I can bitch and moan about this to everyone out there.

P.S.--remember that moany little blog piece about my ankle? Well, I resprained it yesterday, only much less severely, more of a relapse I suppose, and then had to load the truck, with the help of Amy's cousin Matt and my Steg buddy Jim. Thanks guys--you helped me more than you could ever know.

Moving is a bitch

But it's got to be done, and I'm almost done with the worst part of it--the boxing up of items. I'm at that point in the job where I know I'm going to get to Florida, open up a box and ask myself, "Why the hell did I even pack that?" It'll get tossed in a drawer or a closet and will still be there when I move the next time, because there's always a next time.

I packed my amulet today--a can of blueberry pie filling that I inherited about 8 years ago when I moved out of the frat house and in with Heath, a cook at the Mexican restaurant where I worked as a waiter/bartender. He'd apparently gotten it from Dave, his former roommate, who'd just left to go into the Army. Who knows how long this stuff has actually been in the can, but it lasted through another Louisiana apartment, two Arkansas apartments, one in San Francisco and is now coming to Florida, where I plan to place it in the exact same space it has inhabited for the last two years--atop the refrigerator. If I ever have a fire, I may go back into the burning building to save my blueberry pie filling. it's been good to me, after all.

I got some more pictures developed yesterday--if I have time tomorrow, I'll post a couple of them. Some great ones of the new Juan Marichal statue outside SBC Park.

Quote of the day

From Kagro X over at The Next Hurrah:

Nature abhors a vacuum, and the Bush administration abhors a truce. Not coincidentally, many people think that vacuums and the Bush administration both suck.

Carry on.

It's not even a good photoshop job

I mean, I could do a job that good, and I don't even have the program.

See any similarities?

So this is it

It's my last day of workshop--hopefully ever--but at least at Stanford. My fellowship officially ends after today's class and the end of the year party tonight (which will be pretty tame by comparison to the parties I've been attending lately--one bit of advice; Fernet is not your friend).

I'm sad that it's ending, although not sad that I won't be in workshop anymore. I've been in them almost non-stop for the last seven and a half years, and I've found that I do my best writing when I'm not in them. The workshops here have been by far the best I've ever attended, but still I'm glad they're done.

The folks I came in with have been doing well professionalls. Bruce Snider had his book come out at the same time he came into the Stegner program--it's titled The Year We Studied Women and I recommend it highly. Emily Rosko has been accepted to the PhD program at the University of Missouri--Columbia. Amaud Johnson just won the Dorset Prize from Tupelo Press and his book will be coming out next year, and Sharra Lessley is the winner of the Colgate Fellowship for next year.

And me? I get to reunite with Amy in Florida, where she's been for the last month. I pick up the U-Haul in 6 days. And maybe I can get some writing done.

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