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Random pre-diary notes from the FC trip - The online computery journal thingy of a turtle

Jan. 28th, 2007

01:15 am - Random pre-diary notes from the FC trip

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Sunday, Jan. 14
In West Texas, the speed limit is 80. Except it's more complicated than that. The signs say:
SPEED LIMIT 80 / NIGHT 65
TRUCK SPEED LIMIT 70 / NIGHT 65
As the sun set, I noticed most drivers were ignoring the NIGHT 65 part.
The deadbolt in the door at the Motel 6 in Ft. Stockton was acting up. It kept popping out when I didn't want it to, making it hard to close the door from outside! It's at times like these that duct tape comes in handy, except I didn't have duct tape, so I used a bit of packing tape instead.

Monday, Jan. 15
I reset my wristwatch every time I crossed a time zone boundary, but I left the car clock on Houston time because I didn't want to mess with it. This caused dour a moment of confusion and worry when he looked at my car clock!
Although I have already named my car Julia, she is still so new that her odometer only had a two-digit number at the start of this trip. The 1000-mile break-in period was expended mostly by driving through Texas and New Mexico, and ended about when I reached Deming.

Tuesday, Jan. 16
Before leaving Tucson, I bought a bag of McDonald's ice. It was at a combo Chevron/McDonald's, and there was a big yellow M on the plastic bag. It made my drinking water taste a bit odd. Hey McDonald's! Even your ICE sucks!
How come California interstates don't have exit numbers in some places?
The wind farms in the hills near San Bernardino are impressive! Tall thin ultramodern windmills, spinning in the air, lined up along the freeway and ranged along the nearby hills... literally awesome to drive through! I once read a letter to the editor, possibly in the Chronicle, I forget when or by whom, from someone claiming that wind farms are ugly, far more so than oil derricks or offshore drilling rigs. This person makes me sad. He or she reminds me of oil tycoons who call the stench of petrochemicals in the air "the smell of money".
Speaking of which, Buttonwillow, CA smelled odd. Maybe it was just the construction site near the Motel 6, though.

Wednesday, Jan. 17
California highway 152 is a handy shortcut from I-5 to San Jose, but it's scary like a rollercoaster! But at least I drove it in daylight and got a lovely view of the reservoir.
I drove through Gilroy, but it didn't smell like garlic, as far as I noticed.
Mongolian BBQ is yum!
I knew I was supposed to pick up babsbunny and sqrlly at 7:05, but I got the day wrong. I called to see if their plane had landed, and they were still packing! Oops, Thursday, not Wednesday. Oh well, I erred in the least damaging direction!

Thursday, Jan. 18
Lenester and Redfeather (now called Lavacat) asked me to drive them and their two friends to the Greyhound station so they could get refunds for having some kind of Trip From Hell in which their bus fell apart, or something. I drove them there and then helped by standing there looking menacing (I hope) in my windbreaker, wool cap and sunglasses.
I made a table sign for Mr. Fu and his Tabletop Diversions business in the dealer den! He thanked me for my help with a free game.

Friday, Jan. 19
The mystery medium for Iron Artist was Lite Brite. Now I... kinda regret never having had a Lite Brite as a kid. Do they still make them?

Saturday, Jan. 20
At the GOH/Patron luncheon, famous SF author Jerry Pournelle heard about Critterlympics. When someone explained what it was, he said, "That sounds interesting. I'd almost rather be watching that than be here!"
Have you seen my prizewinning marrow? I keep it in my prizewinning barrow, that I bought from a man who lives in Harrow. His store's called Harrow's... Barrows for Marrows.
Taking a bus down to Bognor Regis, because we've heard that they are panda-free. Makes it safe for us to plant cucumbers, and ship them over the sea.

Sunday, Jan. 21
The Furry Night Live show was fun, but my camcorder started glitching. Maybe it's dying. And it's obsolete, so it's not worth getting fixed. I'm going to get a new one.

Monday, Jan. 22
The Doubletree loses points for forgetting that my name was on the room reservation and locking me out at noon after Babs & Squirrelly left! I had to call them (fortunately their flight hadn't left yet) and get Babs to verify me to the desk clerk!
I tricked aatheus into trying to eat a doorstop! In his defense, he was sleepy.

Tuesday, Jan. 23
I ate dinner in the L.A. area, in the most noir-looking Jack in the Box I'd ever seen.
There's a casino in Cabazon called Morongo! Is that where the morons go?
Indio, CA, where I stopped for the night, seems more Arab than Indian.

Wednesday, Jan. 24
Lot of police activity in Tucson that night. I kept hearing sirens. Is that normal?

Thursday, Jan. 25
There was snow on the ground, and on the north side of mountains! Fortunately I didn't get snowed on as I drove.
I stopped being able to make phone posts. In my motel room in El Paso, the first number I dialed played a message: "The subscriber you have dialed is not available, or has wandered outside the calling area." Do LJ phone post servers tend to go on trips?
On this trip, I had been reading "Making Comics" by Scott McCloud, and I finished it. A useful book! Scott teaches the stuff all the other "How to draw" books leave out about making great comics. Perhaps I can use it to improve my con diaries.

Friday, Jan. 26
At the IHOP in Kerrville, TX, I was asked, "Smoking or nonsmoking?" I'm not used to that anymore! Houston went smokefree a year or so ago, and California's been smokefree for years! Clearly I was in UNCIVILIZED TERRITORY.
Phone posts still didn't work. I was getting so desperate I called up all my friends just to yell at them. (Except not really.)

Saturday, Jan. 27
I ate lunch at a combo A&W/Long John Silver's restaurant in San Antonio. It was an odd pairing, but I bet it would have been a lot odder back when LJS was actually pirate-themed.
There's a travel store called Buc-ee's, whose mascot is a cartoon beaver. One of their billboards says, "It's a beaver. Haven't you ever seen one?"
Houston tried to prevent me from getting home by closing the ramp I needed to get from I-10 onto 610 West Loop southbound! Houston, you have a problem.

Comments:

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From:wbwolf
Date:January 28th, 2007 07:31 am (UTC)
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Just FYI, A&W, Long John Silver's, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and KFC are all part of Yum! Foods, the company that was spun off from Pepsi several years ago. It seems that they are trying to convert a lot of their places into dual outlets: A&W/KFC, Taco Bell/Pizza Hut, KFC/Long John Silver's, etc.
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From:octan
Date:January 28th, 2007 03:13 pm (UTC)
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There's a Transformers joke to be made here, I just know it.
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From:kinkyturtle
Date:January 28th, 2007 06:00 pm (UTC)
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Actually, what I'm thinking is, you know those OS-tans that Japanese cartoonists have been drawing? Well, imagine restaurant-tans. Now imagine a series of two-headed restaurant-tan conjoinments...
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From:wbwolf
Date:January 28th, 2007 07:24 pm (UTC)
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Which reminds me... on the recently released Sesame Street DVD, they had an early bit where they were counting to two, and one of the examples was

Two heads?

That made me think of you for some reason....
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From:deckardcanine
Date:January 28th, 2007 08:02 pm (UTC)
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I imagine that The Two-Headed Monster is one of KT's favorite SS characters.

Hadn't heard of those cartoons, even tho I remember seeing mangafied Unix and whatnot. Given the genre, I'd like to know about their OS-tan Powers.
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From:kinkyturtle
Date:January 29th, 2007 01:00 am (UTC)
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I remember that!
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From:jaelyn
Date:January 28th, 2007 07:41 am (UTC)
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California never had numbered exits like every other state (smart huh?). They're just now starting to convert to using numbered exits (finally!). I swear that was the first question I asked my dad when he took me out of state (he used to be a long-haul truck driver and we would go on trips in the summer).
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From:aatheus
Date:January 28th, 2007 08:36 am (UTC)
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I tricked aatheus into trying to eat a doorstop! In his defense, he was sleepy.

Curse you, Kinky Turtle! Curse youuuuu!
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From:thecanuckguy
Date:January 28th, 2007 10:37 pm (UTC)
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> SPEED LIMIT 80 / NIGHT 65
> TRUCK SPEED LIMIT 70 / NIGHT 65
> As the sun set, I noticed most drivers were ignoring the NIGHT 65 part.

Now that makes me wonder, how is "night" defined? How is one supposed to know when the speed limit change-over is? Seems really weird to me. (And vaguely smells like regulating common-sense behaviour. For example, when there's a snowstorm here the speed limits don't change, but you'd be a moron to do 80 km/h on a road in a snowstorm despite what the sign says.)

> Although I have already named my car Julia, she is still so new that her odometer only had a two-digit number at the start of this trip. The 1000-mile break-in period was expended mostly by driving through Texas and New Mexico, and ended about when I reached Deming.

I've always wondered: why Julia?

And did you get a picture of the "odometer rollover"? (Yeah, I know, not nearly as big as rolling over from all 9s to all 0s, but, you take what you can.)

> The wind farms in the hills near San Bernardino are impressive!

The provincial government is touting Manitoba as a wind-farm capital. There's already a few places in rural MB that have windfarms, and one of the things I hear bandied about for the remaking of our main intersection, Portage and Main (billed as "the most famous intersection in Canada") is putting giant wind farm windmills in the median of the roads at the intersection, Portage and Main is also a VERY windy intersection (I should know, the building I work in is there), caused by really tall buildings sticking out of a landscape of not-as-tall buildings, forcing the wind between em.

> The mystery medium for Iron Artist was Lite Brite. Now I... kinda regret never having had a Lite Brite as a kid. Do they still make them?

You lived a depraved childhood, KT. I think isaw LIte Brite recently in stores. I have fond memories of it.

> I tricked aatheus into trying to eat a doorstop! In his defense, he was sleepy.

And I apparently got varro to eat a black bowl. *shrug*, even *I* don't remember the details - so STOP ASKING ME PEOPLE! (OK, no one's asked, but just checking.)

> I ate lunch at a combo A&W/Long John Silver's restaurant in San Antonio. It was an odd pairing, but I bet it would have been a lot odder back when LJS was actually pirate-themed.

It's not any more? I'm ... disillusioned.

Yes, I know this reply is long and disjointed, but so was the post. :)
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From:kinkyturtle
Date:January 29th, 2007 01:07 am (UTC)
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"Now that makes me wonder, how is "night" defined?"
I don't know! It probably says somewhere in the Texas driver's handbook...

"I've always wondered: why Julia?"
Because the tone of some of the passages in the user manual reminded me of Julia Sugarbaker from "Designing Women".

"And did you get a picture of the "odometer rollover"?"
No.

"It's not any more? I'm ... disillusioned."
Nope, LJS is more... "fun family restaurant with yellow & blue color scheme", now.
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From:yakko
Date:January 29th, 2007 07:09 pm (UTC)
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Hopefully "night" is defined the same way it's defined for headlight usage: 30min after sunset.
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From:thecanuckguy
Date:January 29th, 2007 09:06 pm (UTC)
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And "sunset" is defined as ... ?

Hell, I know that there's big discussions debates among leaders in religious communities (ie Islam and Judaism) who start festival days depending on sunrise/set/moonrise/set about when the event actually occurs, and those religions have been around thousands of years before cars ...
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From:mr_fu
Date:January 29th, 2007 01:44 am (UTC)
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Lite Brite, god bless 'em, is still around and dazzling doe-eyed youngsters to this day.

http://www.hasbro.com/litebrite/

Though I think that spinning thing is either a loose light bulb waiting to take your eye out, or better saved for your college-age drug experimentation years.

I miss my Lite Brite. I remember it came with paper pieces you would put over the grid, and it had the lights in the specific colors you were supposed to put in to make specific designs. Like paint-by-numbers but with tiny swallowable pieces!
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From:mr_fu
Date:January 29th, 2007 01:56 am (UTC)
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Also, for future reference:

I know your likelihood of taking a road trip through California is slim from here on out, but if you're ever riding I-5 through the central valley, your pitstop of choice is Kettleman City (Hwy 41).

Only In-N-Out Burger between the Bay Area and Los Angeles.
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From:kinkyturtle
Date:January 29th, 2007 05:06 am (UTC)
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What exit number is that? >:}
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