Archive for the ‘travel’ Tag

I’m in Missouri

what time is it? I don’t have any idea. it’s late.

I am in a hotel in exurban St Louis, like a damn boss. I’m here to do press-check edits (hyphen misplaced? probably) on a book my office is printing. we are printing it here, a few miles down the road. I met the design team that my office farmed this book out to earlier this evening; they are alright dudes from Kentucky who smoke unfiltered cigarettes. we met in the lobby, then commiserated about being in St Louis for work on a Sunday evening while we pumped dollars into a video-golf machine and drank beers at a bar in the mall next to the hotel. it will be a long day of checking negatives tomorrow. but they are, I think, alright dudes.

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I got half-drunk at a hotel bar in Fresno tonight

but only half drunk.

ten hours earlier: I’m flying.

I’m flying as I write, right now, on a connection to Fresno, California. I’m writing this on a half-page Morgan Stanley ad, deep inside in today’s edition of the Washington Post that I bought this morning at the airport terminal in DC. I’ve read through the whole damn edition. and then I got a bug to write, so I busted out a pen and started writing on the only paper (in this case, an actual newspaper) at hand. I’ll type it up later.

I’ll write on anything. I’ve got notes everywhere. and I’m flying to Fresno.

I have never been to Fresno. I’ve shared my travel plans with a dozen or so people in conversation over the past month.

“I’m going to Fresno,” I say. “for work.” and I’ve gotten two responses. they are:

“you’re going to Fresno? In California?” and “dude. Fresno sucks.”

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the fridge

I’m still listening to this Dust album.

no, that’s a lie! a damn lie. only seven words in, and I’m already lying. I’m only listening to a particular song from this Dust album. I happen to think it’s the best track, is all.

that opinion has definitely been affected by an early presentation; I originally heard this tune at a record store a few weeks ago, and I went home and looked it up, and what’s the first thing I found? this video. a dreamer, some savant with a decent amount of time on their hands, took a Dust song and laid it over a scene from Vercingétorix, a French movie about the eponymous historical chieftain who, after leading a Gallic revolt, has to give it up to occupying Roman legions in 52 BC.

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kitchen table

did you have a good Christmas? I had a pretty good one. I did a lot of hanging out at my mom’s house in Valparaiso. below is a typical scene from the kitchen table, late at night. everybody at mom’s house stays up late; grandma the latest. she’s big on solitaire.

play solitaire. drink some coffee.

play a little solitaire. drink a little coffee. read about Wal-Mart.

last evening I went with my mother to the movies. we saw Les Miserables. screen actors Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe belting out the hits! what a world we live in.

and then afterward, I hung out with a couple of buds from high school. we wrapped up the night watching reruns of To Catch a Predator. this is the show where they bait sad, lonely pedophiles into setting up dates with minors online, film them being confronted with their X-rated chat transcripts, and then send in a juiced-up squad of cops for a swarming, physical takedown. this is what passes for entertainment these days! you love it.

it has been a good trip, but it’s time to go. so goodbye for now, Indiana! I have to jet. but I will see you again soon.

ride the rails

I took an overnight train trip from Washington DC to Indiana a few days ago!

there is something to train travel. I want to say that there’s a spirit of camraderie, or something close to it, among passengers taking an outmoded form of transportation. and though that’s definitely bullshit, I like it anyway; there’s always some sort of interesting conversation going on. for instance, consider the partially deaf guy talking to the woman seated next to him: “have you ever been to the nudist camp in Paw Paw (WV)?” or the lady missing most of her teeth who complained to a conductor about one of hs coworker’s alleged behavior: “she hit me, and she called me a pussy, sir.” that’s no way to treat a customer, Amtrak. get wise.

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CO, a day after the election

we had a big day yesterday! did anybody get excited? you can bet I did. if you ask me (and why wouldn’t you), they should make election day a federal holiday. a federal holiday that we should treat like goddamn Super Bowl Sunday. a day for overindulgence, gambling and public drunkenness. but more on that later.

I am writing this from a hotel room in a small town in the middle of Colorado — hello from Colorado! the Topaz Lodge has wifi and cable, and the water tastes funny. I’m here for the weekend for a good friend’s wedding. it is on Saturday in Colorado Springs. so I am here early to take in the scenery a little bit.

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it is raining like a son of a bitch outside right now. my living room window faces west, and that seems to be where the wind’s coming from, and the rain is coming with it. and it is howling.

I walked down the 7-Eleven to stock up on essentials — potato chips, beer, newspapers. it’s only a block or two from here, but I got pretty soaked all the same. I hope that this will be the extent of my hurricane adventure, walking to 7-Eleven. but considering the forecast, I kind of expect to lose power. which would suck. and to think, I drove back into this horseshit on purpose.

I took, ahem, a driving tour of West Virginia this weekend. I had few plans. except I knew I was aiming for a family friend’s home south of Charleston.

this is a hike from DC. there are no straight shots from here to Charleston, and there are many hills. if you get on the interstate and hustle, you can get out there in about six hours. more like seven, though, if you drive like I do. but I’m not exactly on a time frame here for the next week or so, or at least not a terribly strict one. which, I’ll acknowledge, is all just a long way of saying “fuck the interstate.”

yes, fuck it. we’re laying down those kinds of statements here.

the plan was to stay a day or two with the family friend and then wander south, find a state park, and wander around some more. but the weather didn’t cooperate, and now here I am, back in my apartment. I’ve got the shades all the way up, and I’ve killed a pot of coffee. I’m on kung fu movie number two, and I’m listening to 69 Love Songs by the Magnetic Fields. there are a lot of songs on this album, you’re right, but me and the rest of the east coast has the time today. and after all, the power might be out soon. hell, it probably will be. which, I’ll acknowledge, is a convoluted way of saying “I don’t need an excuse, goddamn it.”

the Magnetic Fields play the sun goes down and the world goes dancing

this album came out over a decade ago, but it is news to me. I keep on telling you, I am not hep. I have no idea what the kids like, though I’m pretty sure it was never this album, 69 Love Songs. the lyrics are too ambiguous, but spoken too clearly. this shit is weird. and I like it. even the bad songs are catchy.

I found this in a friend’s CD collection that he passed along to me. two big books of them, a walk through the partial soundtrack to his life. they ride around with me in the truck, and so me and the truck and these books drove into West Virginia.

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I am in San Francisco.

I am in my friends’ apartment, and they are out of town, in Europe, or Asia Minor, on their honeymoon. they got married this weekend! so when they left, I stayed, and I have wandered around the city for the past few days.

I took Spencer’s bike on Monday, and rode it out to the beach and back. his bike is too big for me, but oh I rose to the occasion. I did my best to get up on top of hills and look around. and I gotta say, this is how you should see a new city — with a day or two of free time and a bike. and also: if you like hills, SF does not disappoint. jeeze louise.

on Tuesday I bought a ticket out to Alcatraz and took the self-guided audio tour. pretty slick! very informative, and helps you ignore the swarrms of tourists you’re walking amongst. and the view in any direction was great. lots of great views around here, I’m finding out. big surprise, right?

and then I caught a Giants game on Tuesday evening. I hung out with a Giants fan. we went to a Giants bar. I drank Anchor Steam beer. and then the Giants beat Colorado. I like baseball games, they are growing on me as I get older. I think I’m going to learn how to score a game with a pen.

and then today. today I have opened all of the windows in my friends’ apartment, put up the shades. they live on the third floor, on the side of a hill. it’s sunny out now; it was cloudy out earlier. so this morning I woke up at 8 am, yawned and walked up the hill to a diner that Spencer had told me I would like.

the diner was a countertop semi-circle, kind of a dump. graffiti scratched into the clear plastic of the windows. but quiet and they didn’t give me the boot by my third cup of coffee, and so I sat and wrote out a bunch of postcards. so, Spencer was right: this place was goddamn perfect.

yes, perfect: I am in San Francisco. I leave for Minneapolis and another wedding in three hours. another wedding! dang. go get em, Andrew.

August 2012

I am in Valparaiso, Indiana, and am feeling prone to bouts of nostalgia.

I dug an old bike out of mom’s shed this morning and rode it all over hell today. I went to the bike store to buy a combination lock; to the Valparaiso University bookstore to look for postcards; to Gil Drugs to actually find some postcards; to a coffee shop on Lincolnway staffed by tattooed twentysomethings to drink coffee and write postcards; and then to Dave’s apartment near the high school where we watched independent wrestling promos. when mom got home she showed me where the damn gophers keep digging up the yard. and then we visited my uncle’s house in Portage, where we tooled around in the backyard pool, drank decaf and bitched loudly about education reform. because everybody’s a teacher out here, you see, except me.

more of the same tomorrow, and then for the rest of the week. mom’s got a thousand photos, and a new scanner. all sorts of wonderful things to share.

Covering the Story … A Glimpse of the Press in Action … Ugliness & Failure

from the above book:

The racers were ready at dawn. Fine sunrise over the desert. Very tense. But the race didn’t start until nine, so we had to kill about three long hours in the casino next to the pits, and that’s where the trouble started.

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