Sunday, June 24, 2007

Hotel Days

When I stayed with my parents last weekend, I remarked on how nice it was to be saying goodbye to hotel living for the next 8 weeks. Life has come back to taunt me, however, as the sewage system has backed up at the place we are renting. Around 10 pm last night, with the plumber's snake stuck in the sewage pipe, we decided to check into a hotel. Today, plumbers are out excavating the front yard. When they said that they thought the pipe was broken, I extended our stay for another day.

Still, I can't complain about the free breakfast.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Cross-Country: Days 4 & 5

Well, my web site is finally back up, so I can publish my last tracks from the journey. The detour to see Ham the Astrochimp's grave allowed me to avoid having the GPS route me through El Paso. Instead, I saw parts of southern New Mexico that I had never been through. It was really pretty -- sort of like Arizona, but greener.

Connecting up with I-10, I tried to stop at a cafe in Las Cruces I had picked out. Apparently the recommendations I had read had some basis -- the place was packed at 1:30. Too packed to leave Teddy in the hot car while I got some takeout. Instead, I continued on to Deming, NM where I search the GPS for "taco" and ended up at Tacos Mirasol. Tasty.

Then I continued on to my parents', where I had dinner and spent a nice Father's Day. Sunday, I headed out again. I was sick of being on the road, so I didn't plan any stops. So now I've got the summer in La Jolla. Less travel, more relaxation, hopefully.

Saturday, June 16, 2007


Greetings from Alamogordo, NM, where I just paid my respects to the world's first astrochimp.

Faces in the Crowd

Long-time readers of this blog will know that I enjoy visiting the web sites of conferences I've been to in order to see if I've been captured in photographs during the conference. Since I'm rarely aware of the pictures being taken, I'm always amused to see what I'm actually doing.

The organizers of last month's conference in Finland have posted some pictures. Since they haven't posted them publicly, I won't link to them here. Rather, I've cropped out the other conference-goers.

You can see me reading news taking careful notes during a lecture and sitting by the window at the conference dinner.

Cross-Country: Day 3

Here's the map from Day 3. "Giant Head" on the map is the aforementioned Giant Bo Pilgrim Head. The little check mark at the end of the day was my Escape from Texas. The second time I drove across the country, it took 2 or 3 days to get through Texas. (OK, the fact that Ben and I went to two amusement parks and a preseason football game probably had something to do with it.) Texas seems to go on forever, so anything I could do to cut some of it off made sense. The last little bit was actually fairly pleasant, as I got off the Interstate and into the lonely, desolate territory that I enjoy in the West. A little less desolate is Carlsbad, NM, from which I write this.

Cross-Country: Day 2

On the second day of my trip, I made it from Knoxville, TN almost all the way to fact, all the way to Texarkana, AR.

My one stop of the day was, appropriately enough, the "One Stop Cafe" in Franklin, TN. I had two delicious pork bbq sandwiches from there.

Big Goofy Head

Big Goofy Head
Originally uploaded by jongrantham
In a special sequel to last year's Big Head Trilogy, here's a picture of me next to the Giant Bo Pilgrim Head in Pittsburg, Texas this morning.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Jeep liberty

23.27 mpg...much better than I expected.

Al Gore invented the interstate?!

(For what it's worth, his son never claimed to invent the Internet.)

Back In

That was quick. The desk clerk got "instructions" on how to get the door to work. Now I just have to see if I can carry all the stuff down in one go.

Locked Out

Greetings from the Super 8 Knoxville, where I'm locked out of my room. I got up, took a shower, and was enjoying a Vanilla Coke Zero while transferring some music from Christina's computer to mine when Teddy started to stir. I took him out, moved the car closer to the room, and tried to go back in. My card key didn't work.

At this point, I had to put Teddy back in the car. He was getting sick of the stairs, so I decided to get a new card key, pack up, and go. Unfortunately, the new card key didn't work. Neither did the desk clerk's master key. She's been very nice about all this, but I'm starting to get antsy. Teddy is in the car in a shady spot with plenty of water, and someone is supposed to be here in 5 minutes...

Cross-Country: Day 1

Greetings from Knoxville, TN. I'm too tired to post the pictures from today's trip, but here's the path I took. "Anawalt" is a town in West Virginia, named for my great-grandmother's cousin (or possibly uncle). I figured I wouldn't be within 200 miles of it again any time soon, so I drove through. I forgot how much I hate mountain driving.