March 17, 2005

This, That, The Other

This is basically a post so the blog isn't an empty page. Meaning: Consider yourself warned. You're getting quantity, not quality.

  • I don't know why it works out this way, but so far, every time a grandparent of mine dies, my father and I end up driving a car back home. It's always a spur of the moment decision, and it's always on a tight schedule, and it always involves canceling a flight. The internet is great, no matter what anyone tells you, because this time we were able to reserve rooms in our destination city, as opposed to last time. Now, last time my father and I drove a car back to Dallas was 1995, when his dad died. We meant to stop in southern Pennsylvania, after leaving mid-state NY about 4:00 p.m., but it was autumn, and the rooms everywhere--from the dinkiest town to the biggest city--were full up. Reason given? "People come from everywhere to see the leaves." What leaves? The leaves on the trees. The fall colors. Yes, turns out there are people who will book a tour, a trip, a flight, a cruise, just to see what all y'all four-season-havin' folk take for granted: Leaves changing color. I KNOW. I couldn't believe it either. It was the same way through Virginia, with the added remark that for many of the colleges, it was parent visitation weekend. Great--so have the parents stay in the dorms. Wouldn't that learn 'em?

    So that trip 10 years ago, we didn't stop until 2:00 a.m., when we finally got a room in downtown Roanoke. I don't mean to pick on Virginia, but, Virginia?--Downtown Roanoke NEEDS WORK. My dad paid $200 a night, each, for two rooms that stank of mold. That is just un-American. Also, I stand firm in my belief that any town with more than one Waffle House is desperately crying for help. HELP ROANOKE, VIRGINIA, RECOVER ITS LOST DIGNITY. Please. Thank you.

  • This time, thanks to Expedia, we had rooms reserved in a La Quinta (Spanish for "Next to Denny's!" I will so kill anyone who leaves that as a comment! I've heard that joke at least 30 times! I make it myself in weak moments! This one was next to a Harley Davidson dealership; what's the Spanish for that, I ask you?) in Pueblo, Colorado. Do you know how far Pueblo, Colorado is from Dallas, Texas? ABOUT 14 HOURS IF YOU KEEP TO A TIGHT SCHEDULE. THAT'S HOW FAR. Also, you never eat any place outside a truck stop or a drive-thru, and you pee on a timer. Also, my hatred for Oklahoma endures.* And also, my father and I nearly killed each other towards the end of it, except it seemed like such an in-bad-taste thing to do right after a funeral. You know, so tacky. Though, I do want to see this close up sometime. Shame I drove through it AT 1:30 IN THE MORNING.

  • My best friend from high school sent me a photo collection, or rather, a link to a photo collection he'd posted online. Twenty years worth of photographs, 1984-2004. I do not appear in a single one of them, nor is there a single photo from his first trip out of these United States. That would be the trip he took to London. That would be the trip he took with me. The Ozarks are represented. Los Angeles is represented. New York is represented. Washington, D.C. is represented. London, however, we seem to have suffered amnesia about. I shared a bed with this guy, damnit. He was the first guy to report to me that I snored. Granted, he was and remains divinely gay, but still, does he not know how much I treasure having been warned ahead of time that I snore? Have the memories evaporated entirely? Seriously, now. Does anyone know the etiquette for this sort of situation? Because otherwise, I am tempted to remind him that high school was a long time ago, and that he is beginning--nay, continuing--to give me a real pain in the ass. Thanks for the 84 photographs! Thanks for purging me from all of them! Now fuck off! By the way, in that photo of you with Belinda Carlisle in Detroit?--She looks so uncomfortable.

  • You never get the whole enchilada. I considered writing about this today, but chores called. All I can offer is two quotes. I'll leave it to you to decide if they mean anything:

    I am going to open a new restaurant and call it, "Your Place."

    And the menu will just be a blank piece of paper that says, "Order Whatever The Hell You Want" across the top.


    The Food Whore


    As far as the mass of the people go, the extraordinary swings of opinion which occur nowadays, the emotions which can be turned on and off like a tap, are the result of newspaper and radio hypnosis. In the intelligentsia I should say they result rather from money and mere physical safety. At a given moment they may be "pro-war" or "anti-war," but in either case they have no realistic picture of war in their minds. When they enthused over the Spanish war they knew, of course, that people were being killed and that to be killed is unpleasant, but they did feel that for a soldier in the Spanish Republican army the experience of war was somehow not degrading. Somehow the latrines stank less, discipline was less irksome. . . . We have become too civilised to grasp the obvious. For the truth is very simple. To survive you often have to fight, and to fight you have to dirty yourself. War is evil, and it is often the lesser evil.

    George Orwell, "Looking Back on the Spanish War."

    The two quotes are unrelated because I get told two unrelated things whenever I categorize myself as in the middle politically: First, I get told that I want to be able to special order everything, to have a leader who guarantees I shall have it my way--"because that is what people do, anyway." Well, no. I am adult enough to grasp the necessity and usefulness of compromise. Also? I can read a menu, and I recognize that you do not substitute shrimp for chicken and pay the same price.

    The second thing I get told is that by disagreeing with the Republican party, the party I supported in both 2000 and 2004, I am somehow wobbly. I am not to be counted on. I am not trustworthy. I am creeping towards anti-Americanism; I am selling my country short; at worst, I am lowering the morale of our soldiers. Well, again, no. And again, I am adult enough to grasp the necessity and usefulness of compromise. But really, that doesn't mean I won't occasionally complain about it. (If you think webloggers do much beyond complain about things, well, you probably read Powerline and believe every word--in which case, goodbye and good riddance.)

  • I owe thank-yous to everyone who sent condolence emails. This list would include, but not be limited to, Rob, Meryl, Liv, Margi, Jim, Ith, Roxanne, Michele, Hubris, and others to whom I'll write a proper thank-you tomorrow (as well as all linked above. No, really, I will do this.) I read every note. Thank you.

    *Because I know someone will mention it: "Wait, you mean you took I-40 from Amarillo to Oklahoma City instead of taking 287 from Amarillo to D/FW?" Yes. Yes, that is exactly what I mean. And do you know why? Because I drove from Albuquerque to Dallas once, and on the advice of more than one--what's the word I want here? JACKASS, yes--I tried taking 287. And I am here to witness before you that 287 is a deep, dark, Satanic lie. The 287 is a way for all the two-bit towns from Amarillo to Dallas--and have you seen how many of those there are? Because it's a goodly number--to make some spare change by dropping the speed limit first to 50, then to 35, then to 15. That is not a typographical error. 15. School zones in Dallas are 20 miles per hour, but that ain't good enough for the towns off 287; they need slower. They need 15 miles per hour. That's 15. FIFTEEN. I gave up counting the towns along 287 that did this after I got into double digits. FIFTEEN. MILES PER HOUR. Ilyka does a lot of different speeds willingly, but 15 miles per hour is not one of them.

    Posted by Ilyka at March 17, 2005 09:59 AM in i don't know you tell me
  • Comments

    This one was next to a Harley Davidson dealership; what's the Spanish for that, I ask you?

    "Gatito moto", I think.

    Posted by: Jim at March 17, 2005 10:46 AM

    It's really good to see you back.

    You're right on about Waffle House, but I would patronize them if they started accepting Camel Cash. I don't know why no one recognizes the cross-promotion opportunity there.

    Posted by: Hubris at March 17, 2005 02:35 PM

    Welcome back, lady.

    Posted by: Lauren at March 17, 2005 06:45 PM

    I don't know why no one recognizes the cross-promotion opportunity there.

    There would be lines out the door! Restaurant reviewers might have to actually set foot in one. Oh, my. You need a marketing department, Hubris.

    Posted by: ilyka at March 17, 2005 07:11 PM

    "Gatito moto", I think.

    It says everything about how bad my Spanish is that I'm totally reading that as "Little cat mutates."

    Posted by: ilyka at March 17, 2005 07:12 PM

    Welcome home! I'd never heard the La Quinta/Denny's joke, so it made me laugh :)

    Posted by: Ith at March 17, 2005 08:29 PM

    I didn't know the joke, either. It was not in vain. Glad to have you back.

    Posted by: Rob at March 17, 2005 09:10 PM

    I was gonna say "why didn't you take US287?"

    We make the drive from Dallas (well, Plano) to Denver in 14 hours using the 287 route (last summer we made it to Colorado Springs in 13). That's with three young kids, so we make regular stops (every 2-3 hours) for gas, food, and bathroom. Sure, you need to slow down for the towns, but you make up time between them due to shorter absolute distance and less traffic. Plus, the scenery -- while less than breath-taking (especially on the ride home from Colorado) -- is a lot more interesting than the interstate highways.

    If you would rather deal with the brain-deadening scenery of the interstate highway system and Oklahoma's toll roads, go right ahead. That's one less driver on my preferred route. ;-)

    Posted by: JohnL at March 17, 2005 09:51 PM

    Welcome back, Ilyka, good to see ya

    Posted by: francisthegreat at March 17, 2005 10:29 PM

    Glad to have you back, darlin'.

    Now that I'm far, far away I can admit to having a semi-fond feeling for the state of Oklahoma. In the way that you adore a sibling that is, well, a little slow.


    Posted by: Margi at March 17, 2005 10:37 PM