Archive for April 2005

DSL Shaft

So I get my new apartment and sign up for speakeasy dsl. Their site and DSLreports both say that I can get 6.0 down. So I sign up for it, the line gets connected ect. When I get it all hooked up and start a download from kernel.org I’m only getting about 2mbit. So I email speakeasy and they email back saying that my actualy distance from the CO is 14k feet not the original 12k feet and at 14k feet the only stable connection I can get is 1.5/384. F that. I have heard that there is a class action lawsuit against pac bell/sbc for doing crap like this.

So much to talk about. Part 1 – The Journey

Some of you know about my recent trek across the country.

I left bloomingdale (NW Chicago) at about 8:30 on tuesday and made it into Des Moines Iowa at about 12:30 AM. It’s very intimidating travelling I-88 during that time. I was a small car travelling in a river of big trucks. I saw thousands of trucks that night and even picked up a tail. About 100 miles before Des Moines I passed a truck. When I did another truck passed the same one I did right behind me. I set my cruise at about 82 and he kept right up, following my every pass. I tested him a few times by slowing down to 78 or so and he stayed right behind me giving up chances to pass. I thought it was odd at first but then decided I could use him. Most exits/rest areas are ok to go 80-85 past even when they have 65 speed limit sighns. I learned this by watching my tail. He would slow down to 70 for some but not others. After watching him fall far behind during one speed zone but none of the others I began to slow down when he did. He helped me make good time to the west side of Des Moines without any tickets. Thanks whoever you are :)

Day 1.5 After tackeling the lovely rolling hills of Iowa I start into the desolate windy hell nothingness that is Nebraska. I fee sorry for every person in this state and would like to take this moment to thank them for living in hell to provide us with corn and beef. If it wasn’t for battling the gusting cross wind I would have fallen asleep multiple times. I did have one thing to look forward to. Cabela’s has a massive store in the Sidney Nebraska. If you ever get a chance to visit it you won’t be disapointed. They have huge aquariums with a variety of sport fish from all over the country. In the back is a mountain display with mounted moose, antelope, fox, squirrels, polar bear, deer, and several other animals. It’s quite impressive.

Sidney also sports a Perkin’s with excelent pot roast. When I went into this Perkins there was a very business looking man sitting at the bar instructing the bartender on the intricacies of martinis. Some of which were wrong but I won’t get tinto that here. It was funny to see that the bar tender and a group of waitresses didn’t know what a martini is. He even accused me of being ‘from the area’ even though I corrected him several times (I was looking a bit scruffy and hickish at the time). I also met a truck driver that after a bit of conversation told me I was making excelent time. :)

Away from Nebraska and into the fine state of Wyoming. I was so happy to see mountains. There is a funky shit smell right before cheyenne that I couldn’t place (It was dark by this time). No matter. When I went to buy gas in Laramie I ran into something I never thought I was see in Wyoming, Idaho, or Montana. Pre. Pay. Gas. I about died. Wyoming is supposed to be full of friendly, trusting, I’ll-kill-you-if-you-cross-me cowboys. The attendant inside was all that I expected. A sweet old lady, very friendly which fit the stereotype. This wasn’t the end of the Wyoming oddness that I encountered. I had planned to spend the night in Rock Springs. I pulled into a econo lodge (I think) at about 1:00 Am, dead tired to get a room. I was informed that they are out of rooms and every other hotel in the town is out of rooms (there are about 7 of them, I checked 3). I went a few miles down the road to Green River; same thing, no rooms. Gah! The next city down the road according to the signs was Lyman.
Don’t ever go there. It’s about 10 miles off the highway and looks like something out of a Stephen King novel. Their “best western” is a run down shack with one of those creepy vacancy signs out front and a note on the door (I didn’t get out to read the note). I gassed up a maverick at the end of town which was the only lit building and got the hell out. Back on the interstate all the way to Evenston before I found a room.

Day 2.5 I breeze through Salt Lake City, UT and buzz past the salt farms, which are giant piles of salt with sprinklers running on them (I assume to disolve the solt from the dirt) and evaporation ponds. Past the great salt lake and into Nevada. I spent a few hours dodging tumble weeds. Hitting a tumble weed can pierce a radiator easily which would not have been fun in the desert. Then into Wendover. Don’t ever goto Chevron in Nevada. They charge on average about $0.25 per gallon more than anyone else in the state for fuel because (I assume) they have locations right off the exist. I snuck up town in Wendover a few block sand found a Pilot station that was selling for $2.20. I noticed the same thing in Elko and Reno. I stopped in Elko for lunch at the Red Lion Inn. I’ve had their prime rib before and it’s the best around. Only this time I found out they don’t serve it until 5:00 (bastards). I settled for a top sirloin instead which was excellent. While eating I started talking to another guy at the bar (I tend to do this wherever I go.) he was planning a move across the country much like the one I did 4 1/2 years ago when I went to chicago. I recommend it to anyone. It’s a good experience moving far away from everything you know. I learned a lot living in Chicago (Gyro’s, Guinness, Martinis, The ‘L’, Drum and Bass Music, Confidence). It really awakend my eyes to the world. Anyway, back to the trip.

At my fathers urging I tried a bit of gambling. If you don’t know I’m incredibly cheap when it comes to certain things. I outright refuse to gamble most of the time. This time I thought, “What the hell, I’m in Nevada.” So I put $5 into a video poker machine and played it for a while. I was up then down then up then out. Out happened when I discovered the bet 5 credits button :) I did keep it going long enough to have a beer and forget about driving for a bit. Back on the road. Driving through north western nevada isn’t as boring as it sounds. It is mostly flat and straight like Nebraska, but unlike Nebraska thousands of people have stopped to write messages using dark rocks on the white sand by the road. There is also a very odd balls on a tree sculpture that stands about 30 feet high. I’m not sure what it is or where it came from.

Up up up into the mountains all the way up to Donner pass. Much like the Donner Party I was unable to cross. Not because I couldn’t make it through the snow but because I hit a chain check station. Something I have never heard of before. It breaks down like this. The vast majority of people that travel through that area fail to put decent snow tires on their cars or learn the basics of driving through snow or controlling a skid. I ran into one of these check stations on I-80 at Donner Pass and decided to boycott it. Fuck that. I grew up in Idaho, have good snow tires on my car and know how to use them. It’s 8:30 at night I have no where to go so… goto the bar :) I met a few interesting people there (once again…) The one that sticks out the most is a guy named Henry. I never got his last name. Henry has a unique life and some unique talents/hobbies. He spends his days maintaining a ranch for some rich guy that only visits a few times per year. He has a cabin powered by a gas generator and spends most of his time refinishing bamboo fly rods and other old fishing gear. By his description most of the finished rods are worth thousands of dollars but he doesn’t sell them. He simply refinishes them and hangs them in his cabin. Every day he comes into “town” on hi snowmobile to buy fuel for his generator then goes back out to hibernate from the rest of the world.

Next morning up bright and early and back on the road. I stop at a gas station to find out if there is anyway around the check stations. The gas station attendant helps me plot a way past lake tahoe and into san jose that doesn’t have any check stations (she called to verify this). So I drive all the way to the south side of lake tahoe only to find a check station on highway 50 to Sacramento. So I continue on 89 south other luther pass to find a cop blocking the road saying that someone slid their truck across the road and no one will be able to pass until a crane can pull him out. Back over Luther Pass I give up and buy a set of chains. Over Echo summit to the other side I find the nearest place to pull over, strip the chains from my front tires and continue. Ten miles down the wet road I see some lady putting chains on her car. A few miles later more people are putting chains on their cars. They don’t realize that they will have to drive 15-20 miles just to get to snow.

End of part 1.

American Cheese Abuse

American cheese pisses me off. How dare it try to take the place of cheddar. Omelettes, breakfast sandwiches. I see this shit cropping up everywhere. American cheese has one place. The grilled cheese sandwich and it’s not all that great there. PLEASE PEOPLE, COMPANIES!! Bring back the cheddar. For me. For everyone.

On a side note, one place where people seem to forget the cheese is salad. A bit-o cheddar shredded with some ranch can really kick up a salad. I will post my famous ranch salad (I even have a classy hard to eat version) recipe one of these days.