Thursday, August 30, 2007

Dead laptop

I'm typing this on Christina's laptop. My laptop, which had been displaying signs of sickness since the weekend, suddenly started giving an error message instead of booting up. Sigh. I suspect it's a busted hard drive. I really hope I'm correct since a) it's not nearly as expensive as buying a new laptop and b) I just bought a new hard drive on eBay today.

We bought two Dell laptops in the past two years. This is the second hard drive failure. If the new hard drive doesn't fix things, I will not be replacing it with another Dell. Maybe a Mac?

Anyway, many thanks to Christina for lending me the laptop. I think she just wants to be able to hear from me when I go to Europe next week. :-) There's a chance the new hard drive will arrive by Saturday, but I shouldn't get my hopes up.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Teddy enjoys a treat on his 15th birthday

Teddy's 15 today! Here we see him carefully inspecting the remains of a treat. 15 years is a long time for a dog, particularly one of his size, so we're proud dog owners today. He's been treated very well -- at least for the past 10.5 years -- and shows every sign of looking forward to 16.

Monday, August 27, 2007

It's Not About the Numbers

One of my latest amusements has been geocaching, which I've previously written about. I've only found 18 geocaches, but I've amused myself learning about the culture of the "sport". One aspect of this culture is denying the importance of statistical accomplishments (in simplest terms, who has found the most geocaches), while at the same time tracking these statistics obsessively.

In that spirit is the web site It's Not About the Numbers, which allows geocachers to slice and dice their statistics in a number of amusing ways. To see my full array of stats, go to that site and enter my geocaching handle (pseudoprime).

I am particularly fond of the maps, in particular the by-county map.

This map shows San Diego County (where we spent the summer), Santa Barbara County (where I went last week), two counties in Maryland (Prince George's and Montgomery), as well as a county each in Wyoming and Utah. I hit the latter two during one day on my cross-country drive. I like this map because it shows some progress, but there will almost always be a little more I could add to it...I could visit caches in several different Maryland counties without too much trouble, for example.

I'm off to England and Austria next week, so I hope to find some caches there. I bought a handful of "geocoins" this month. These are trackable items. I plan to release them in Europe with the mission to get back to Maryland and see how long it takes for them to get back here.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Santa Barbara

I think they're afraid of getting sued by tsunami victims. They made conference attendees sign a waiver about the beach bbq and pickup soccer game.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Go Skins

They're up 7-0, but Campbell and Washington got hurt.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Re-Cross Country

I tried to post Day 3 from Champaign, but the Internet crapped out right as I was about to post it. I wasn't thrilled with that motel in general. I think I've developed a new rule: never pay less than $50 for a hotel room.

Also: never try to drive across the country in four days. I'm exhausted, but home (for a couple more days).

I detoured about an hour out of my way to go through Champaign. I didn't want to drive through Chicagoland again...a) I've done it, b) traffic is ugly and c) Champaign seemed like a better place to find a hotel room. But it was a pretty boring drive. I look forward to a more leisurely road trip the next time I hit the highways.

Thursday, August 16, 2007


I feel like I'm almost home.

Skyline chili

I was driving and thought...ooh, I'm in Ohio. I should go to that chili place...what was it called? Oh yeah , Skyline. But first I had to get gas. Fortunately, there was a Skyline next to the BP.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Re-Cross Country: Day 2

Well, today was a little bit of a boring I-80 day. I did manage to get in a little geocaching, and I learned an important lesson: don't buy cheeseburgers from truck stops. I've driven about 2 hours more than I did 2 years ago in 3 days, so I've been packing a lot in. But I'm halfway home! Tomorrow should be's my shortest day of driving, and I don't lose an hour to a time zone.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


My first time in Wyoming. Sadly the timing didn't work for me to stay here tonight, so I can't cross it off my list.

Pony Express

I pulled off I80 and saw that I am on the trail of the Pony Express.

Re-Cross Country: Day 1

Well, I'm on my way back East. I can't stand to take exactly the same route twice, so this time it's mostly I-80. Today, however, was mostly I-15. I am planning to make this trip in 4 days (a record for me), so I only allowed myself about a 3 hour deviation from Google Maps' claim of the shortest route. Today this took me to the Microtel Salt Lake City. Microtel has won all sort of awards in the budget category, so I thought I'd give them a try. The room seems nice. Teddy's zonked out on the floor.

Other observations (with accompanying cell phone camera pictures)...

  • Utah has a proper welcome center, unlike California and Nevada

  • Every time I see Vegas, they've built something new. This time it's "THEHotel".
  • Without rain, Southern California really misses out on rainbows. I had forgotten how much I missed them.

Monday, August 13, 2007

In Nevada

The welcome center is in an abandoned Mexican restaurant.

Hopefully I'm attaching pictures correctly now.


In California, rest stops are in malls. Weird. Off to find lunch.