Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Since I'm doing pictures

Miss Marple
Originally uploaded by Daisyj.
I finally managed to ambush my cat. She may never trust me again.
(Note the tasteful disarray of obects on the table- intentional, of course.)

More car

Originally uploaded by Daisyj.
Here's the interior. At some point I'm going to learn how to put two pictures into one post.

The Car

Originally uploaded by Daisyj.
Here it is, the car I am about to be spending my next month in, more or less. Pretty nice, huh?

Friday, March 25, 2005

Things To Do After I Leave

I've been thinking about things I want to do on this trip, and I thought I would post some of them as a list here. Because it's just not a vacation without bullet points.

- Gamble in Las Vegas
- Eat at a buffet in same
- Hike in the Grand Canyon
- Look at (but don't take anything from) the petrified forest
- Eat sopapillas in New Mexico
- Buy a cheesy alien souvenier in Roswell
- Wander around in the Carlsbad Caverns
- Eat barbecue in Texas
- Eat everything in New Orleans
- Walk on a beach in northwest Florida
- get scuba certified in Key West
- pretend to be hip in Miami

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Things To Do Before I Leave

There are a few things I have to do to get ready for this trip. Here are the ones I can remember at the moment:

1. Get maps
2. Find sleeping bags for my brother and his friend
3. Clean the litterbox
4. Clean the birdcage
5. Practice driving the car, at least once
6. My taxes
7. Remember all of the other things I need to do (ideally before I actually pull out of the driveway)

Heck, I've got a week.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

I'll figure this out soon

Got it! (see sidebar)

Ridiculous Expenditures

I've been preparing for this trip in the way I prepare for (or recover from) pretty much anything: by shopping. For the most part it's nothing too exciting- some warm-weather clothing, an expandable bag for things I pick up on the way. And then I bought a swimsuit. Well, you say, that doesn't sound too extravagent; you are going to places with water. Ah, I tell you, that's what you think. You see, swimsuits have become expensive. I'm not sure why, they just are. Like, a hundred dollars apiece expensive.
Anyway, like any sane woman, I hate trying on bathing suits, and it's been at least four years since I bought one. So it was that when I found one that actually didn't make me hate myself (a two-piece!) (okay, a tankini), I went a bit crazy. I bought the top, both bottoms (one with a skirt attatched, one without) and the matching wrap, for a grand total expenditure of a bit over two hundred dollars(!). I should point out that my mom, who was abetting, advised against the skirt bottom, pointing out that skirts are hard to swim in, but at that point I wasn't listening. I figured that it might come in handy for days of self-esteem fluctuation. (I should also point out that she brought me a bikini to try on, but I didn't get it. Maybe another ten pounds from now.)
So that was the first thing. Okay, you say, so that's a little over the top, but at least it was something you needed. Nothing to beat yourself up over. After you say this, I will just laugh. You thought that was it?
If you are reading this, you probably know me. And if you know me, you know that I'm something of an A's fan. So I was kind of dissappointed to be missing the first month of the season- not enough to miss the trip, but still. Then people started talking about satellite radio, and I started thinking. It just so happens that XM will be broadcasting all MLB games this season. Plus there's lots of cool music. Plus I kind of wanted one anyway. So I bought a satellite radio. And a year of service. I mean, what the hell, right? I just spent two hundred dollars on a swimsuit didn't I?
This would be so much less funny if I had a job.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005


It's t-minus eleven days and I think I have a general idea of what my schedule is going to be. Some of it is kind of ambiguous; for days when I'm in transit between stops I plan to just spend the night wherever I fid a motel that doesn't look like it would attract too many axe murderers. Barring that, here's the plan:

April 2: Leave home
2-3: Driving to Vegas
3-4: Vegas! (Stratosphere)
4: En route to Grand Canyon
5: Grand Canyon
5 (late)-7: Grand Canyon to Santa Fe
7-9: Santa Fe
9: Santa Fe to Carlsbad (through Roswell! (lunch))
10: Carlsbad Caverns
10 (late)-12: El Paso
12-13: El Paso to Austin
13-15: Austin
15-17: Austin to New Orleans
17-21: New Orleans
21-24 (approx): New Orleans to Key West
24 (approx.)-?: Key West
?-?+2: Miami
?+2-?+3: Fort Meyers
?+3: Fly home. Resolve to never go anywhere ever again.

Monday, March 21, 2005


I just realized that I'm leaving on this trip in less than two weeks. I feel like I should be doing something about that.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Things are shaping up

Woohoo! The car issue is finally settled. Not only does my brother want to drive it back, he wants to use his car (a giant, cushy boat of a Mercury Grand Marquis, if you can believe it. He's twenty-one). There was a brief moment of uncertainty when it seemed that he wanted to leave from New York, but the issue of parking got over that. (The car will be living with our grandfather in Fort Meyers for the two and a half months between when I end my trip and he starts his).
I also have my first hotel reservations, in Las Vegas and New Orleans, and I'll probably be making a few more in the next couple of days. I know it kind of flys in the face of this being a free-form sort of trip but, on the other hand, I can get better deals doing this in advance. I'm not going to schedule every night though- that's just asking for unnecessary stress.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Some Bad

I'm not totally surprised, but a bit dissapointed. No one is coming with me to Vegas (cue violins). It's too expensive, it's bad timing and, obviously, nobody likes me. Sigh. So sad.

On the plus side, I'll save a lot of money just staying there one night.

Some Good

It seems like this trip is finally starting to take shape. The car thing still isn't quite settled (I know, I know) but now it looks like my mom is going to meet me in New Orleans. I think we'll have a lot of fun and it'll be nice to have some company after a couple of weeks alone on the road.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

More Car Musings

It's looking more likely that I may end up taking my mom's jeep on this trip, but there are still a few issues. One is that my grandfather, though residing in an appropriate place, may not actually have an available parking space for me to use. So figure on paying to park it somewhere- probably about fifty dollars a month. The other thing is the gas milage. It has always been maintained that the Jeep gets very bad milage, but with little idea of exactly how bad. So when we went on a trip up north for my grandmother's birthday this weekend, we kept track. I'll spare you the math, but the upshot is that it gets about 21 miles to the gallon on the freeway. Which actually isn't all that bad. I figure the kind of car I was thinking about buying would probably give me about 30 mpg (possibly more, but I'm being conservative) (don't let the other people in Berkeley know). So, assuming gas prices are going to average about $2 a gallon for my 3000 mile trip... let's see... carry the two... That's about $100 more to take the jeep. That plus the parking costs (theoretical) still adds up to less than the $500 that I would lose buying here and selling there. Of course, there's still the problem of getting it back here...

Friday, March 04, 2005

A Positive Development

My brother, who turned 21 yesterday, is now apparently considering doing the drive back. He's still resisting the idea of taking his car, though.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

There has to be a better way to do this

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An Idea

This is off-topic, but I doubt there is anyone who cares.
While I was at Left Coast Crime this weekend I had an idea. (Actually, I had a couple, including 'I'm not going to pay ten dollars for a crummy taco and some iced tea,' but that's not really relevant.) I was thinking about this panel I was going to be on, on short stories. (Which I thought was pretty funny, inasmuch as I have published exactly two stories, earning me a grand total of thirty-five dollars. I suspect that they may have been having some trouble finding panelists.) (I wonder if it's possible to write an entire post in parentheticals). Anyway, what I was thinking about was the basic problems with online fiction, which are that most people don't want to read it, and those that do don't want to pay for it. And I'll admit that I'm with the majority on this one. I find reading things on a computer screen to much less engaging and more tiresome than reading them on paper, plus you can't take it into the tub. On the other hand, downloadable audio files have turned out to be fairly popular, and thanks to iTunes people are even getting in the habit of paying for them. So why not have a website that sells mp3s of short stories? I'm thinking you'd maybe do a trial run with a couple for free, to see if people are into the idea, and then start charging one to two dollars a story. Maybe I'm just hopelessly optimistic, but I think it could work.
I mention the idea to one of the other members of the panel, Tim Wolforth, who liked it enough to bring it up at the panel, where it got a surprisingly positive response, and on the short mystery fiction e-list, where a couple of people with websites said they were already planning on doing it. Which just goes to show that there really are no original ideas. So I was all excited about going ahead and recording one of my stories and seeing if anyone wanted to take it when I caught this lousy head cold and lost my voice. I'm sure somebody up there thinks that's funny.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

No wonder they hate us

So, since I recently travelled by plane (twice!) it should come as absolutely no surprise that I have acquired a lovely head cold. My brain function having been reduced to essentially zero, I've been spending the day watching more travel programs from my Tivo, including one on the Paris hotel in Las Vegas. And I have to say, if an hour of promotional material, complete with stock footage from the hotel itself, can't make your property look appealling, you might have a problem. Even the announcer seemed kind of unimpressed. Apparently, Paris is a quaint, tidy little city populated entirely by street performers and attractive waitresses and constructed largely from plastic. Also, it's indoors. With establishments like 'Le Car Rental'. As one of the patrons said, "It really reminds me of Paris. I mean, I've never been there, but this really makes me feel like I have."

Man, I must be grumpy today.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

This could be a problem

I think I may have identified a problem with doing this travel-blog thing: I don't seem to be too interested in writing in it when I'm travelling. I just got back from Left Coast Crime in El Paso, a city not particularly noted for its ocean frontage. I had a very nice time, even if I did end up getting another look at a storm that had already hit me back home. On the plus side, I felt a lot less like a geek at a junior high school dance than I did last year (not that I'd have any idea what that's like). But, to get back on topic for a second here, even though I was able to successfully use the wireless internet in the hotel lobby, I felt no impulse to write regular bulletins on my thoughts and feelings to share with the world. I am going to have to work on getting a lot more self-involved if I want this blogging thing to work.