I know one should never read the comments after a news article as it is on a very rare occasion that they aren't inane or full of asinine vitriol. Unfortunately, as the comments are usually displayed directly beneath the article, I frequently read a few of them.

Today one of those accidentally read comments (as spite-filled as one would expect about a sad story about death due to poor planning) came in really useful.

The article in question reported the death of a man who had gone off-roading in the snow with his girlfriend in his new jeep somewhere in the Sierras. They got mired, and he went to find help. She later followed, crawling past his body on her attempt to reach the highway. She was hospitalized and survived what was intended to be an afternoon jaunt.

One of the top comments went on at length about how idiots like that are better off dead and really, it isn't that hard to unstick oneself from a snow bank if one just keeps a few towels in trunk.

Today, while coming out of Sequoia National park we passed a SUV floundered in the snow bank at the side of the road. True enough, a towel tucked under each of the dug-in wheels had the vehicle backed out of the bank with only a tiny bit of pushing.

Admittedly, the towels I had packed solely in anticipation of the Travertine hot springs are now filthy and soaked, but I am inordinately pleased with myself for being able to help.
Some historic places you really have to visit to understand; Fort Sumpter is not one of those. That being said, I had to actually go to find that out and think I am going to make it a goal for the next year to visit a lot more National Parks and Monuments. (Seeing dolphins in the harbor on the way back was a nice bonus).

Some people have a night out and come back to their room with something inadvisable that keeps them up half the night. I do this too, but my impulsively chosen nocturnal companions have page counts rather than pulses. Usually it is sci-fi or fantasy novel, but this time I ended up with cookbooks. The same store that mugged me, took my wallet and left me with those also left me with Microwave Spicy BBQ Pork Rind Pellets. I am appalled that these things exist (but really need to inflict them on others).

Got into Chicago this morning and hopefully my normally beloved boss will be in an improved mindset now that we are here, but I have my doubts.
So, in addition to my luggage wheel breaking, my camera finally got dropped one too many times and won't turn on, and (without being dropped) my phone's touch-screen cracked and the phone's functionality has been severely mitigated.*

My boss was compiling a list of things I have broken this trip (so far only the above <knocking on wood>), but when reminded that I spilled hot coffee in his lap, has expanded the list to include all of my disasters. This list is getting long enough to be humorous (only because I am usually the victim and the coffee incident was both the worst incident and no actual injuries occurred).

In any case, the phone is getting replaced by Sprint tonight (and yay! I only have to put up with the craptastic device that is the Palm Pre till September when I can upgrade for free!) As the local indie camera store (in business since 1899!) didn't have a comparable replacement camera in stock, I have been trying to avoid the temptation to splurge and get a Canon S90 overnight delivery from Amazon. Really, that is about $150 more than I can justify spending on a camera.
I am at Chicago O'Hare waiting for a very late connection to Charleston (crap, now cancelled). A week there, followed by a week in Chicago.

Less than a day into this trip and my boss is already teasing me about my mad skills at destruction: one of the axels of my new carry-on luggage melted the wheel casing and dislodged on my way to BART. Then, this afternoon I chipped a molar while eating a carrot.

Despite today's auspiciousness, I don't have that sense of foreboding that this is going to be gig of doom. (Yes, I did just knock on wood).
Normally by the end of an out-of-town work gig I am close to climbing the walls and wanting to be home. I think that most of this is work induced alienation: the lack of comfort of connecting with friends as a balm for a long day conflated with returning to a hotel room which is very much not home. This was not the case with this last gig and I find myself a tiny bit regretful that I didn't get to stay in NYC a bit longer.

While the hotel room itself was no more homey than than others, city noises are comforting to me, and on the nights I didn't get out I would unwind by sitting in the dark, listening to the city, and enjoying my pretty damn awesome view.. On the nights I did get out, I had good company and perfect mellow types of adventures ([livejournal.com profile] adularia invited me to a steampunk book reading, there were board games with Adam, and conversation filled wanders through a variety of neighborhoods).

Even the obscene heat wasn't enough to bother me. It was in the 90's on Wednesday, and had only dropped to the mid-eighties by the time we left the fortunately air conditioned workplace at 11pm. I remembered that I spent most of my three summers in upstate trying to be nocturnal; somehow anything over 75 is misery inducing on a sunny day but I can find even 80s pleasant at night. It isn't weather I would want to go on a vigorous bike ride in, but it was still enjoyable.

In fact, the most unfortunate event outside of normal work chaos was learning that China Mievelle is gay. My internal perception switch from ridiculously unlikely (a sweet spot for fantasies) to absolutely unattainable (fantasy death knell) was crushing in that "oh, drat" sorta way. (Not that I don't think guys having sex is hot, it just isn't a fantasy I put myself in).

My tiny regret aside, I am very happy to be back. A full night of sleep in my own bed, familiar neighborhood graffiti, and perfect weather for riding my bike. This morning I had a spur of the moment breakfast at Brown Sugar Kitchen with [livejournal.com profile] kest (alas, I only noticed that they now have beignets as I asked for the check), and a brief visit with my parents before heading to work at the little colo.
Long work days starting before 7am? Not so much...

But I am enjoying what little of my NYC free time I have managed. A handful of truncated thoughts:

New York is as much of a bike town as SF with bike lanes everywhere. Oddly there are few bike racks, so it seems like there isn't a street sign or parking meeter within a block radius of any popular destination that doesn't have a bike or two locked up to it.

Meeting new friends of friends FTW.

Food here is more expensive than even the bay area. That being said, the Green Tea Grand Mariner Cake was strange but delicious.

I think some of what makes the NY subway so much more effective than BART and Muni is that it is so much older. There are a whole lot of things that stations don't have to accomplish due to existing before the relevant regulations (Wheelchair accessibility and platform safety come to mind) that clearly are a huge fiscal overhead for newer transit systems..

So many people in such a small space! This probably explains the dearth of non-Starbucks cafe's that are good for sitting with a book for an hour. (Though SoHo does have a higher winebar per block number than even Palo Alto, tea is preferable when I am slightly sleep deprived)

While I do notice graffiti in my neighborhood, I hadn't realized how much I had retained of the omnipresent illegible tags as I keep having mild flashes of something not being quite right when I look at otherwise identical structures such as mailboxes and the back of stop-signs.
With the caveats that it is not summer and that I have only been out and about in the historical end of the downtown district wandering for a few hours, I find myself not minding being in Dallas. I am a bit frustrated that everyone who I ask about what their city has to offer says "Well, there is the grassy knoll... and the Sixth Floor Museum." The city is larger than San Francisco and Oakland combined... this many people must have something worth sharing beyond a murdered president and good barbecue, but no one I talk to seems to know what that is.

Some of that makes sense as generally, in any city, an out of towner asking what to do is referred to a set of things tourists favor. Dallas is not a get-away type destination and doesn't seem to civically promote specific attractions as unique to Dallas (the only postcard of Dallas I could find that was about the city advertises it's light rail system). The internet informs me that Deep Ellum is the warehouse arts district and has some pretty phenomenal graffiti and murals; if work ends at a reasonable hour tonight, I may try and wander over that way. Also, there is a new Audubon Center with short hikes into a restored river/forest area that I hope to make it to if I have Friday afternoon free.

I did enjoy my wander downtown. Dallas seems to have steadily grown through the last century such that the business district buildings are an even mix of beautiful old brick and granites, shiny skyscrapers from the last two decades, and incredibly ugly steel monstrosities from the sixties and seventies. Many of these buildings and their ground floor storefronts are standing empty, probably due to the bum economy, but there were folks out and about, eating at the restaurants and walking their dogs (there were an awful lot of dog owners out and about). Also, cheerful friendliness runs rampant. I think of the Bay Area as relatively friendly, but I am not so sure that is accurate. Here if I make eye contact and smile, I generally get an immediate return smile and possibly a greeting, where at home there is usually a very brief flash of confusion and sometimes suspicion before returning the smile; a small thing that I hadn't noticed before.
Last night was the first time I have had my own hotel room.

I find it amusing that it was larger than my apartment.

So odd.
Last night was the first time I have had my own hotel room.

I find it amusing that it was larger than my apartment.

So odd.



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