Sep 23

Unexploded Ordnance and Other Road Hazards

Hey look, it’s back.

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Wait, what did you think I was talking about?
Image credit: Karin Beil

Well, actually it never left. It just hasn’t made a lot of noise recently. That is, until now.

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Jun 18

The Stuffed Pilgrimage

I think my daughter and I solved the Beachy issue from a few days back. Although she wanted me to refer to her by her real name here, her mother vetoed that. Fortunately we’ve come up with a solution which should satisfy everyone. She has agreed to be known here on SB simply as “Σ.” If you like you can call her Sigma. Along those lines, my twin nieces – who are toddlers living in the Portland, Oregon, area – will be henceforth known as “π” and “μ” respectively.

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No, none of us are even remotely Greek. Just work with me here.
Image credit: PHGCOM

This is a fortuitous turn of events, since all three young ladies figure into today’s narrative.

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May 18

That Thermopolis Junket, Part 4

Sunday morning in Riverton, Wyoming. My work here is complete. It’s time to head back to the Command Center and hope I don’t have a full-on feline insurrection on my hands.

But first, a nine-hour drive home awaits. Unlike Friday’s journey, I get to see the rest of western Wyoming in daylight. I’ve been looking forward to this.

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Jackalope museum? Now we’re talking!

My first stop on the return trip was the hamlet of Dubois, unfortunately named for a rabidly anti-Mormon U.S Senator from Idaho after the post office vetoed the preferred local name, the much more entertaining “Never Sweat.” The jackalope museum doubles as a convenience store, offering plenty of swag lampooning the Forest Service, but unfortunately no Oberto Bacon Jerky. Oh well, the A.1. Steak Sauce flavor will have to do. The helpful clerk apparently hadn’t heard of EBT before (hey, I’m a starving artist type), so I dutifully paid cash.

Grand Teton National Park looks much, much better during the day. Even if you’re not particularly impressed by mountain views, you really should check this one out someday. It’s quite stunning. You’re also not going to encounter a herd of bison grazing along the roadside in Center City Philadelphia, that’s for damn sure. Like in the dinosaur museum in Thermopolis, I sent Beachy pictures.

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“Daddy, pet them!” Um … no.

Once in Jackson, I managed to correct the navigational mistake I made on the way out Friday evening. While the Teton Pass offers a more direct return to Idaho, it isn’t all that much quicker than the more circuitous route I inadvertently took Friday night. Being tailed by a Jackson cop all the way to Victor didn’t exactly expedite things either.

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But then again, there’s no speeding through here in a 2004 Ford Focus to begin with.
Image credit: Dana’s Rocky Mountain Excursion

After a quick bite to eat in Idaho Falls (which never seems to be quick enough there), I passed through increasingly familiar territory. Although I drove with the “check engine” light on from Carey onward, the staff car didn’t appear to suffer any ill effects. It’s done that before for no good reason, some sort of cryptic transmission complaint which mysteriously clears itself up after awhile. Anyway, the Pyramid Brothers were particularly glad to see me upon my return.

And thus concludes my Wyoming saga. My next trip of note is scheduled for late July, when Beachy and I head to the Vancouver, Washington, area to see Rush. That’s just as well. Frankly I’m a bit tired of feeling my inner Rick Steves for the time being.

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And no, that’s not a pot reference.
Image credit: Andrew Bossi

Mar 30

Touring the 2T

Being a holiday weekend and all, it was pretty slow around the 2T today. When I lived here, I used to pass the time by driving around town. I figured, why not do that today? It’ll kill some time and perhaps give me some material for the blog. Excellent thought, I must say!

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I’m not the only smartass hailing from here, you know.

So it was settled. I drove around the 2T in search of the weird, wacky and stupid. My camera: the Pantech Jest, tricked out with authentic cat toothmarks. My vehicle: the usual staff car, a 2004 Ford Focus. My music: A Farewell to Kings by Rush. I was ready to find the story out there.

Bask in all its glory, supplicants.

I began with a southbound journey down the main drag, looking for hilarious and/or inane reader board errors. Unfortunately, I was unable to find anything worthy of the FAIL Blog. The closest thing I could find was the recently-opened Chick-fil-A, which is neither worth photographing nor patronizing. A quick jaunt to downtown yielded similar results. I suppose this is a good thing, since it indicates a certain degree of intelligence among the populace.

I found material through other means. Being hours away from any major population center of note, sometimes one finds some unintended mixed messages. The smaller towns around the 2T are good places to look for such things.

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Not an LGBT establishment. At all.

The evening’s unexpected highlight came when I was pulled over by the police. Yeah, I was caught doing 35 in a 25 zone. I couldn’t find my insurance certificate, which is particularly embarrassing since my insurance agent is my father. Fortunately I have all sorts of junk in the staff car, so I was able to find a copy of my current insurance declarations. The kind officer let me off with a warning.

Well, I suppose I achieved what I set out to do. With dusk approaching, I returned to my parents’ house to await the Easter Bunny, or something. Perhaps when I get a chance again I’ll go trolling for people who can’t tell the difference between a plural and a possessive. In the meantime, let’s hope for an uneventful rest of the weekend.

(Note to self: Get a new insurance certificate from Dad ASAP.)

Feb 28

The Costco Slog

Yesterday I broke down and did what I should have done a couple weeks ago. I went to Costco. The Pyramid Brothers were low on food and litter. I didn’t feel like a trip to Albertson’s was enough. I needed to think BIG. Costco is the place for that.

Did you know Costco has a funeral section? Neither did I until today. If I go all I ask is a simple, tangible memorial free of any Thomas Kinkade influence. After that do what the fuck you want to with my remains.

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Not Kinkade, but the same sort of kitsch and revisionist hell.

Anyway, where the hell was I? Oh yes, if you’ve ever been to Costco, you know everything is big. You also know you wind up spending a hell of a lot more than you intended. Cat food and litter obtained, but how about something called “channa masala?” The nice lady offering samples introduced me to it. Damn good actually, and it has garbanzo beans! That’s one of the great terms in the English language. I bought two boxes.

Dr. Pepper? Haven’t had that in a long time. Gatorade? Hell yes! Sadly, it was only after I left I discovered I bought the “low calorie” crap. Well, such is life.

But both the best and the worst purchase of the day was a “Chairmat,” which is one of those large plastic surfaces designed to protect carpet from rolling chairs. Given that the Command Center was obviously flipped as cheaply as possible during the worst of the housing crisis, I’ve needed one for some time.

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Pictured: the result of a half-assed flip.

It’s the best purchase because I’m genuinely concerned I’m going to tear a hole in the carpet. It’s the worst because, well, try fitting something like that in a 2004 Ford Focus. Not pretty. The best part is I had to do it only once.

Ah, but the worst was yet to come. The Command Center is located entirely on the second floor of my building. That means I had to carry all this crap up Astroturf-covered stairs with a still-sore side from my fall. I’m still feeling it. I’m thinking trying a return to the gym next week, but damn. More on that later.

The nice part is I’m well-stocked on needed liquids for the immediate future, as well as cat food and cat litter. I also have enough coffee filters to last me until the heat death of the universe. Like many other things, the best part about going to Costco is when it’s over.

CRACKED.com update: Holy crap! For the first time I made the “Pitches We’re Considering” folder today. That means I’m one step away from snark with at least six figures of hits. I’m not celebrating yet, but I feel good.