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J's Visit Pt. 2: Redemption in the Desert

by Izzy Thu Aug 5th, 2010 at 12:55:57 AM EST

...so where was I?  Oh, right -- collapsed in front of the tv, exhausted and sunburned, after traipsing all over Los Angeles for 3 days with Jerome, and still not packed or ready for our drive to the Netroots Nation convention in Las Vegas, facing what would undoubtedly be some sort of ungodly early start commenced with a hellish amount of ambition.

I think my last entry probably gave you an inkling about my feelings in regards to 1. sun;  2. walking;  3. the outdoors and nature in general;  and 4.  backseat drivers.  Given this, could any good come of Jerome and I taking a road trip in a convertible through the desert in July?  Could it possibly end well?  And the biggest questions -- who would drive?  And would the iPhone end up in a shallow grave?  

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You might remember that, having obtained his rental car, Jerome was off on his own, staying the night with friends who lived at the beach.  Here, I will repeat for emphasis something I just mentioned that I'd left out of the last post -- he rented a convertible.  A convertible, people!  For a desert road trip!  

So not only were all my fears about the sun/heat/outdoors bubbling up, but they were being given depth and texture -- didn't Jerome know that convertibles in the desert carried connotations?  Had he never read Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas?  Had he never seen Thelma and Louise?  

We were going to be driving through Mojave!  

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I thought he was supposed to be the sensible one?  Did he have a death wish?  Was he expecting me to over-inflate the tires and fill the trunk with drugs?  Was he going to try to goad me into driving off a cliff into an arroyo?  I already know his feelings about the American Dream -- did he see this as a savage journey?

So the first hint I had that Jerome does indeed have survival instincts, is that he called right before his bedtime and suggested we not have an early start.  I was taken aback.  Suspicious, I ask his definition of 'not early.'  Turns out it's reasonable.  Surprisingly pleasant even.  He thinks we should hit the road around 11.

So I get a good night's sleep and Jerome rolls up to the house in the late morning as promised.  He's all relaxed and has had a nice time with his friends.  I'd even managed to pack before he got there!  And I'd had enough coffee!  And cigarettes!  

Brimming with goodwill and generosity, I don't even ASK who was driving and docilely buckle myself into the passenger's seat.  There's some minor quibbling over whether the top will or will not be down, but I'm merely going through the expected motions -- my heart's not in it.  Let him have his fun -- we'll soon be entering a clime where top-down driving is impossible.  And with my summer buzz-cut, it's not like I have to worry about my hair.  

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Plus, we live in the northeast corner of the city, so for once, I'm not worrying about traffic and perhaps having some passenger-related PTSD incident.  There's not much between where we are and open desert, except a train or two...

(this was actually way out in the desert, but I thought it made a good spot for the obligatory ET train blogging)

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Not much, that is, except about an hour and a half of more city.  I'd sort of forgotten any of this was even out here.  It was like visiting my city's attic, like, "so THAT'S where the trailer parks went!!" and "oh, look!  I haven't thought about Yucaipa in ages! "

Jerome didn't seem to mind, though, and started to get really happy when we went through this wind farm outside of San Bernardino -- I think it's San Gorgonio Pass.

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(I don't even know wtf this sign means -- I asked J if he thought it meant the recession would be over quickly, or that the convicted would be in jail for ages, or that no one would be convicted.  He took the dimmest view...)

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Adding to J's happiness was the fact that I hadn't said a peep about the route, leaving it all up to him and his iPhone.  I mean, what did I care how we got to Vegas?  We'd get there.

And, honestly, how much of a tour guide could I be?  I had zero interest in this part of the journey -- I hate the desert.  As far as I'm concerned, the whole thing is just some vast nothing-to-see-here-move-along obstacle between my city and other cities.  I'd have opinions when we got back to L.A.

Plus, I'd heard that some people, especially Europeans, love the desert.  I had trouble believing this.  I mean, when I first proposed a Vegas road trip, lo these many years ago, I was joking!  Obviously.  Clearly, my descriptions of desert delights were dripping with sarcasm -- I included a photo of an egg frying on a rock!  How much clearer did I need to be?

But in the comments of that very thread, Migeru was already talking up Amboy Crater.  And now, for weeks, he'd been enthusing all over my IM about the Mojave in general and Joshua Tree in particular.

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So when Jerome and his iPhone mapped out a route through all this, I had no objections.  And I'm so glad we went!  Watching a Parisian see the desert is a sight to behold!  Look how happy he is!

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Plus, even he knew I couldn't hike on those rocks with my cane, so there was no arguing!  And I'm pretty sure he had a good time running up and down the rocks:

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And, while the Amboy Crater didn't really do anything for me, I was delighted by the googie motel and the post office:

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It was truly a lovely day.  We didn't fight at all.  Well, except for that one time when I said it was time to put the car top up and he kept sailing past stops, delaying it.  But we even agreed on the music in the car!  He vetoed The Damned ("I do not care for thees </oblig. French reminder>) and I drew the line at The Cocteau Twins (so inappropriate for a road trip), but we happily listened to Depeche Mode and The Stranglers!  And he was even sorta singing along to Social Distortion!

And so what I started the trip as a pale redhead and ended it as a sunburnt blonde?    My visitor was finally happy:

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As the sun set, we made our way to the bright lights of Vegas -- the convention awaits....

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(stay tuned for part 3 - The Show Down!)

Display:
Ok, maybe pt. 3 won't be called The Show Down.  I'm also considering calling it "What happens in Vegas does NOT stay in Vegas" or... perhaps something short, like "Steamrolled!" or "Hijacked!"  Your suggestions are welcomed!

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Aug 5th, 2010 at 12:58:58 AM EST
I'm too busy laughing at your commentary to think of a title for Part 3. Nice photos. But sheesh, Jerome, you really are freaking insane for driving in the desert in the afternoon in a convertible.
by lychee on Thu Aug 5th, 2010 at 02:01:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
He did close the top during 'peak sun' so to speak.  In other words, about 45 minutes after I told him I couldn't stand it any more!  I had super-duper sunblock, but I'm STILL all suntanned!

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Aug 5th, 2010 at 02:16:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
we had the top down for the first 15mn out of LA (Izzy was unable to give a satisfactory definition of what "LA" is, thus some disagreement on how long the top was down) and for the last hour or so in the evening, when the sun was setting or close.

Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Aug 5th, 2010 at 05:05:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Jerome a Paris:
Izzy was unable to give a satisfactory definition of what "LA" is
It's like defining Europe.

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Aug 5th, 2010 at 05:12:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
that looks like a very appropriate comparison!

Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Aug 5th, 2010 at 06:03:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
LA is everything from the California/Arizonastan border to the ocean.  Everything between New Orleans and LA is Texas.

/east coast bias ftw!

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Aug 5th, 2010 at 06:19:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's actually how it kind of really is....

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Aug 5th, 2010 at 06:46:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Except for New Mexico, a finer State by far than it's Eastern and Western neighbors (Texas and Arizona).
by US Blues on Fri Aug 6th, 2010 at 09:57:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Damn straight.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Fri Aug 6th, 2010 at 03:08:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed.  I just wanted to get a rise out of you. ;)

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Aug 6th, 2010 at 06:32:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Redheads are particularly sensitive to sun exposure -- I am married to one. A history of a single serious sunburn produces a statistically significant increase in the probability of skin cancer, especially for redheads, or so I recall. A man who was a mentor to me as a teenager had auburn hair, grew up in New Mexico, and, even though when I knew him he was the "night pumper" for Kewanee Oil in Osage County, OK., died an early death from melanoma.

But I cannot be too critical. For years I denied the effects my smoking could have on my wife and child. I was wrong!

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Aug 5th, 2010 at 02:15:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
we had the top down for the first 15mn out of LA (Izzy was unable to give a satisfactory definition of what "LA" is, thus some disagreement on how long the top was down)

See?  This is what I'm talking about!  There was NO disagreement about how long the top was down, only whether it should be described as "two fucking hours" or "15 minutes out of L.A."  This argument was indulged for 40 more minutes (bringing the total to over two and a half fucking hours)!  While flying past stops in the baking sun!  You were the only one dragging in what the definition of L.A. was!  It wasn't pertinent - it was spin!

and for the last hour or so in the evening, when the sun was setting or close.

Kelso.  The Kelso Depot.  Approx. 90 miles from Las Vegas.  That's where the top went back down.  We arrived in Vegas before the sun set.

Now quit arguing -- do NOT make me regret saying it was a lovely day!

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Aug 5th, 2010 at 02:20:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Having driven half that route back to LA in a classic Mustang coupé - during the late day - after shooting a commercial in the desert, I can attest to the foolhardiness of the task. Especially if the classic engine is pushing great waves of heat back.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Aug 5th, 2010 at 02:33:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
either technology has improved, or the day was cooler, but it was definitely not an unpleasant drive - and no heat waves from the engine.

Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Aug 5th, 2010 at 03:39:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It was frikkin' hot that day. And the dust from the crew truck ahead was not pleasant. But I've driven that route in several different hardtops (I once did my turns at driving the whole of Route 66 from Chicago in a Rent-a Wreck Chicago-style: a Chevy Brookwood estate), and I was enthusiastic about the desert as you. 66 runs south of Las Vegas but through the Mojave (as I recall).

The space and the scenery is exotic for a European.

BTW Coke bottles left in the sand turn purple after 10 years. But they have to be older bottles that had magnesium in the glass.

Did Izzy mention the irradiation to you?

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Aug 5th, 2010 at 04:00:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Did Izzy mention the irradiation to you?

Shhhhh!

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Aug 6th, 2010 at 04:00:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If the Interstate narrows down to two lanes, you are definitely outside of "LA".

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu Aug 5th, 2010 at 06:04:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Agreed!  I told J that the answer didn't really matter because 1. it was beside the point, but also 2. the answer depends on who's asking, where they're from, and why they're asking.  J doesn't like 'there is no definite answer' answers though.  

Besides, I didn't want to spend a lot of time on the question, since it was only getting in the way of pulling over and putting the top up, which was my only goal.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Aug 5th, 2010 at 06:46:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But isn't the whole point of ET to spend lots of time arguing to avoid having to do anything?

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Aug 5th, 2010 at 07:07:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is interesting to contemplate the climate of the European country that (at least in the past) built lots of convertibles, i.e., England, to the climate of the country that typically built hardtops, i.e., Italy.

Convertibles are best in October, when the air is cool and dry. You put the top down and the heater on, and keep doing it until you get up one morning to find the car filled with snow. Then it's winter.

by asdf on Thu Aug 5th, 2010 at 09:47:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Years ago I used to drive into Northampton to work, and every day would pass a bloke in a golf convertible going in the opposite direction with the top down. Whatever the weather the top would be down,during winter the uniform was scarf, flat cap and padded jacket over tweed.

I was also offered a WW2 german jeep equivalent. (Unfortunately I was £200 short on the ammount offered) but the petrol powered heater in that was designed for the Russian winter and would have been ideal for top down driving.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Aug 8th, 2010 at 09:19:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I told ya Joshua Tree was a winner...

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Aug 5th, 2010 at 02:11:22 AM EST
Omg, you were soooo right!  And, I confess, even I found some of the scenery interesting:

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...other times, though, the conversation went like this:

Jerome:  Take a picture!
Izzy:  Of WHAT?!?
Jerome:  The open space!


Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Aug 5th, 2010 at 02:20:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the Joshua Tree park was really nice.

Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Aug 5th, 2010 at 05:07:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Another almost obligatory trip for a tourist to LA is to Vasquez Rocks, between LA and Palmdale. Once you have seen them you will keep seeing them in movies, TV programs and adverts. The rocks are visible from Hwy 14, which is one way to Vegas, via Pearblossom Hwy to I-15, perhaps recongizable from the David Hockney art piece.

On the south side of Hwy 14 near Vasquez Rocks is Placerita Cnyn, where gold was first discovered in California, and The Oak of the Golden Dream, which is along side the stream that flows out of the Angeles Crest Mountains, among the roots of which the first placer gold was found in 1846, IIRCC. And then there is Leo Carillo State Beach on the Coast Highway, which can be followed, though someplaces merged with Hwy 101, all the way to Big Sur, Pfeiffer State Park, and, with the right connections and purse, the Eselen Institute, Carmel, Monterrey, Santa Cruz, Half Moon Bay and on to San Francisco and the Golden Gate, with Marin County and Mendacino further north.

And these only start to touch the many wonders of The Golden State. Plenty left to see and do on return trips.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Aug 5th, 2010 at 02:35:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Too bad that wasn't a church sign:



By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Aug 5th, 2010 at 02:37:19 AM EST
Izzy:
(I don't even know wtf this sign means -- I asked J if he thought it meant the recession would be over quickly, or that the convicted would be in jail for ages, or that no one would be convicted.  He took the dimmest view...)
I think it means "don't bother getting angry and trying to prosecute the bastards that ruined your economy - by the time you get anywhere they'll have succeeded in giving you some more crumbs and you'll have forgotten why you wanted to lynch them".

Especially considering who's behind the billboards...

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Aug 5th, 2010 at 02:58:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think it means "don't bother getting angry and trying to prosecute the bastards that ruined your economy - by the time you get anywhere they'll have succeeded in giving you some more crumbs and you'll have forgotten why you wanted to lynch them".

There are Baptists that have a pretty good take on what is happening and take a pretty dim view of the whole spectacle. The American Baptists go back to Roger Williams in Massachusetts Bay Colony under Governor Bradford, who had Roger tied up to a post and whipped for his dissenting views. The Baptists have always had a very strong belief that no good could come from any dalliance between church and state. Jesse's Café Américain not infrequently features interviews by Tim Neptune on FirstBaptistMarco's Channel on economic subjects. Many of these are of Steve Meyers, a midwest grain trade based economist who has a history of calling things pretty accurately.

But perhaps there are those who, on principle, refuse to follow the dictum "The enemy of my enemy is my friend." My experience is that even Baptists can understand market behavior rather clearly and that they should be a natural ally of any who want to end the current corrupt system. Purity is the plague of the left. Just because I would ally with Baptists on matters of economic reform does not mean that I could not go out and dance in public, were I so inclined. (American Baptists don't dance.)

I see the spread of such signs as very good signs, and your link to "who was behind" the billboards was inconclusive, unless I missed something.
 

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Aug 5th, 2010 at 08:10:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I made the sign using an online "church sign generator". You can make Scientology or Hillsborough Baptist signs, too...

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Aug 6th, 2010 at 03:06:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Speaking of Scientology, I'm surprised J hasn't mentioned yet how prevalent it is in LA.  He seemed 'impressed.'  We drove by L. Ron Hubbard street at one point, and they're all over Hollywood Blvd.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Aug 6th, 2010 at 03:35:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Their headquarters is imposing.

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Aug 6th, 2010 at 04:15:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]


By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Aug 6th, 2010 at 04:22:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Cool...



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Aug 6th, 2010 at 03:56:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Did I say Hillsborough? Should be Westboro, of course...



By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Aug 6th, 2010 at 05:06:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And we mustn't forget that God Hates Shrimp.

by Gag Halfrunt on Sat Aug 7th, 2010 at 06:25:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Uhh, but when I clicked on the OAAA link I was less impressed. The sum total of the adds seems to be the equivalent of Valium. But I still think that many of the chruches have a much deeper concern, which is good, but still is no guarantee of success. If even the American Baptist Convention, let alone the Southern Baptists, adopted and pushed the sorts of attitudes expressed by Tim Neptune and Steve Meyers it could be bad news, especially for Republicans. But to be effective at least one new party is needed.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Aug 5th, 2010 at 10:01:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Propaganda from the author of Freakonomics!

Recession 101: Everything You Need to Know - ABC News

In a recession there are certain things you can do to protect your assets and plan for the future. "Good Morning America" financial contributor Mellody Hobson and Stephen Dubner, co-author of the best-selling book "Freakonomics," give you a quick course in knowing and understanding recessions and what they mean to you.
Now listen closely, this is not a depression:
We've had only one depression and since World War II, we've had 10 recessions.
Wrong, there have been two US depressions. The first depression was 1873-96 and was called at the time "the Great Depression", until the deeper 1930's depression came along and the old one was renamed "the Long Depression". Sorta like how The Great War, also called the War to End All Wars was followed and dwarfed by WWII.
A depression is huge and that's when you're talking shanty. We're not close to something like that, she added.

Recessions are part of the economic cycle, Hobson said. The longest one over the past 60 years was about 15 months. We would probably not even see anything like that today. Even though the United States is a driver of the world economy, we now have some major buffers like China and India that are also growing very fast.

According to NBER the current recession started in December 2007 and hasn't ended yet. That's 32 months.

The only recessions that were longer were:

  • August 1929 to March 1933 (43 months)
  • March 1882 to May 1885 (38 months)
  • October 1873 - March 1879 (65 months)
All of these were during depressions.

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Aug 6th, 2010 at 06:24:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ha! Next they will be calling what we are now experiencing "The Long Great Recession"!

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Aug 6th, 2010 at 12:27:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This will be the Denial Depression.

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Aug 7th, 2010 at 04:21:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ARGeezer:
Uhh, but when I clicked on the OAAA link I was less impressed. The sum total of the adds seems to be the equivalent of Valium.

This sounds a lot like a similar Spanish campaign: EstoSoloLoArreglamosEntreTodos.org (we can only fix this together). The linked page claims the idea occurred to a marketing professional, who then gathered corporate sponsorship. It is unclear whether the campaign was actually originated by the chambers of commerce, and even the right-wing opposition has claimed it's actually astroturfing by the government.

Claiming "an anonymous donor" originated the campaign is getting old as a cover for astroturfing...

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Aug 6th, 2010 at 06:34:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
WTF?

No, really - WTF?

This proganda isn't so much with the happy-clappy as the insultingly darkly and ironic.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Aug 6th, 2010 at 07:04:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
(And my Mac keyboard needs new batteries - propaganda.)
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Aug 6th, 2010 at 07:05:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Every time you worry about the recession, God kills a kitten.

Think of the kittens.

We need a Recession 101 billboard generator...

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Aug 6th, 2010 at 10:02:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What a great picture of Jerome driving the car!
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Aug 5th, 2010 at 03:10:20 AM EST
I know, right?!?  Thanks!

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Aug 5th, 2010 at 03:18:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
He's even wearing his baseball cap backwards! And smiling!

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Aug 5th, 2010 at 04:23:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, right!  That's his Pantry cap he got at the restaurant!  I also have pics of him eating a corn dog and a Krispy Kreme donut, but I promised not to post those.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Aug 5th, 2010 at 04:53:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yikes, corn dogs...

Did you take him to Chuck-E-Cheese, too?

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Aug 5th, 2010 at 05:12:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Did you take him to Chuck-E-Cheese, too?

Of course not!  I'm not a sadist!

And corn dogs weren't exactly on my to-do list, but when one is being 'efficient' and only stopping places where fuel for both the humans and the vehicle can be obtained, then there's only so many gas station mini-mart food options.  

I TOLD him we should stop somewhere independent with lots of trucks in the parking lot, particularly if there was some sort of giant animal on the roof -- chicken, pig, cow, I wasn't picky -- but he doesn't listen.  Sampling the corn dog was his small concession.  I should've thought to get a couple of root beers...

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Aug 5th, 2010 at 01:57:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As the old Sicilian Proverb puts it, "Revenge is a lukewarm pizza with manky cheese and imitation meat made from soy beans served in a ambiance of annoying animatronic and music that makes yours ears bleed and your brain fall out your nose."

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Thu Aug 5th, 2010 at 02:29:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There is a place on the way to Joshua Tree that sells awesome root beer floats...

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Aug 5th, 2010 at 04:58:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You'd better be careful, Mig -- liking root beer?  People will start wondering if you're an actual real European!  (email me the location of these awesome floats)...

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Aug 5th, 2010 at 05:37:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If I had remembered the location I wouldn't have said "there is a place on the way..."

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Aug 6th, 2010 at 03:03:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Doing a little google-mapping, it might be the "A&W All-American Food" restaurant in Cabazon, CA. It looks like an old barn house. But I'm sure you don't have to go far from where you live to find A&W...

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Aug 6th, 2010 at 05:03:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Aug 5th, 2010 at 05:03:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
for the emotional wreckage you left behind...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Aug 5th, 2010 at 07:17:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How is the back of your neck and scalp, Izzy? Or were you able to keep a bonnet tied in place. What was the air temperature during the hours in the sun? Were you wearing long sleeves and gloves?

I am glad that you can take a tan, per your description above, but I have seen light complected women in their 50s who would be even more beautiful were it not for sun damaged skin. Convertibles can be a glorious way to drive through the desert -- preferably at night on moonless, cloudless nights, at dawn or when the air temps are below 30C.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Aug 5th, 2010 at 08:21:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You're so sweet to be concerned for me, AR!  I was ok -- I had a linen shirt and 2 hats, as well as a thick layer of SPF 30 water- and sweat-proof sunblock which I applied even to the backs of my ears!  I think I started bitching when the temps got into the 90s.  We had the top up before the triple digits.

I have been burnt badly before, as a kid, so I take it seriously (I have blister scars on my shoulders!).  I only ended up acquiring a sorta "healthy-looking glow" (can't wait till THAT wears off) and... ok, admittedly I'm irritated that my hair is now gold, but it's nothing Clairol can't fix.  Or if I procrastinate, it'll be back to normal in a month - it's just that short.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Aug 5th, 2010 at 09:04:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You should have used a niqab:



"Ce qui vient au monde pour ne rien troubler ne mérite ni égards ni patience." René Char

by Melanchthon on Fri Aug 6th, 2010 at 02:25:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Or an Izzygab?

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Aug 7th, 2010 at 08:07:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have to admit I have never understood the attraction of the desert.  Ok, the Sahara, sure, but the interstate/tumbleweeds/rock formations/nothingness/pretty sure this is where they filmed that serial killer movie deserts in America?  Give me panic attacks.  Creeps me out.  (If I had to do that road trip, I would be listening to the Natural Born Killers soundtrack.)

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Thu Aug 5th, 2010 at 12:10:31 PM EST
The attraction of the desert is that it's dry. Your car doesn't rust. Your books don't get mouldy. Your roof doesn't leak. You don't have to have a raincoat.

Also, it's cool at night and sunny and warm and not depressingly cloudy in the day.

by asdf on Thu Aug 5th, 2010 at 09:49:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I had a professor at the U of Arizona in Tuscon who got his PhD at Harvard and loved the ocean. He had been concerned about going to the desert, especially given that he was far from any ocean, when a mentor told him:

 "In the desert the sky is your ocean."

Given that one has 50-100 mile visibility as the norm, from any high point one has a very big sky. And when there are clouds in the sky, let alone thunderstorms, the sky at sunset can be glorious. If or when you are above about 2500' elevation in Arizona you are into the "high desert", so called because, between the mesquite trees, the palo verde trees, the ocatillo and the saguaro cacti the desert vegetation rises 15-30'. In springs with sufficient precipitation the desert is glorious from March to May.

The saguaro and other species are specific to the Sonoran Desert and the Joshua Tree is specific to the Mojave. On the eastern side of the continental divide from Mexico up into New Mexico and Texas we have the Chihuahuan Desert and south of the Mojave is the Colorado Desert, a low elevation desert with the Algodones Dunes and many places below sea level. I have loved the desert since my first visit to my newly relocated family in Tuscon during Christmas break in 1960. Snow on the desert is especially beautiful.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Aug 6th, 2010 at 08:01:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think my first visit to Tuscon preceded my reading of A Canticle for Leibowitz by a few months and undoubtedly enhanced my appreciation of the book.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Aug 6th, 2010 at 08:14:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I love the open desert. Absolutely love it. The huge wide open spaces, the beautiful landscapes, the long vistas, the larger-than-life formations and flora. I've always been a big fan.

I'm thinking I probably should have just flown down to LA Wednesday morning and headed out to Vegas with you guys. That would have been a great trip.

Some notes:

Yes, the wind turbines are at San Gorgonio Pass. They were developed in the early 1980s with strong support from then-Governor Jerry Brown, who is of course running for a third term this year. I've told his campaign that they would do well to have one of their TV ads be of Jerry standing by one of these wind turbines and saying "I helped build these 30 years ago. We can do it again." (or something to that effect.)

The tracks you encountered are the BNSF Southern Transcon, their main route from the port of Los Angeles-Long Beach to the rest of the country, and therefore a very busy corridor.

And of course, Amboy itself is on the old Route 66, which was bypassed sometime in the 1960s by Interstate 40.

The Mojave Desert is huge, simply enormous. It's also a lot of fun to drive through, though I haven't done it in 7 or 8 years.

And the world will live as one

by Montereyan (robert at calitics dot com) on Thu Aug 5th, 2010 at 01:29:25 PM EST
I also love the open desert, although I've never been in it.  I have a slightly alternative road trip in the pipeline for when I have the time and money to go and visit.  It will be so exciting!
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Aug 5th, 2010 at 02:33:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm thinking I probably should have just flown down to LA Wednesday morning and headed out to Vegas with you guys. That would have been a great trip.

Now, see?  When I read this, I was about to blurt "oh, that would've been great!  You could've flown into Burbank!"  Which is EXACTLY the sort of optimistic enthusiasm that got me into this in the first place!  (although I'm sure it would've been fun!)

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Aug 5th, 2010 at 11:26:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I was there then.

The day after a famous press syndicate sent an article about my proposal for offshore windpower around the world, I got a call from Jerry Brown. He asked me to come to Sacramento to meet with his wind head at California Energy Commission (Bob Thomas).  I did.

We decided the most important thing missing was money. Brown said the tax credits we created had to be taken up by Wall Street. We decided to host a conference about wind finance, world's first.

It was held in Palm Springs. There were only experimental turbines at that point. The conference was hosted by Alcoa, who were bringing a Darrieus turbine to market.

I came to the fancy hotel a day early, in my first suit. I was greeted by Paul Vosburgh, head of Alcoa. He was getting drunk, as the Southern California Edison test turbine from Alcoa had self-destructed earlier that day, aluminum digging through the desert floor on video.  It became known as the first "variable axis" turbine in history.

The conference was successful anyway, partly because Vosburgh was so forthright in saying he wouldn't be deterred.  There were many bankers there, partly because they wanted a chance to golf in the desert with Frank Sinatra.  The wind industry got built from that conference, partly because Wall Street smelled blood regarding the tax credits, and also partly because there were Danish companies ready to take up the challenge of actually shipping windmills which more or less worked.

I can't quite remember if that was 18 or 19 eighty. Palm Springs, though, fer sure.  I still have a silver Kachina pin i found with my bare feet (stepped on) in the desert floor, while searching for the windiest parts to build a project.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin

by Crazy Horse on Sun Aug 8th, 2010 at 09:18:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I particularly like the photos of J up on the rocks acting like a mountain goat.  He seems so happy.  Or maybe it was a delirium brought on by the desert heat.

The thing about a desert trip is that no sane person in the car can threaten to either (a) get OUT of the car or (b) kick the other person out of the car, in the event of a big argument.  This is why I've never agreed to drive across a desert with anyone.  

by Maryb2004 on Thu Aug 5th, 2010 at 02:49:58 PM EST
Omg - you have no idea how on point you are.  Wait till I get to part 3 where I actually get out of the car!

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Aug 5th, 2010 at 02:58:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
in part 4?

Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Aug 5th, 2010 at 03:38:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not sure I can stretch the convention part into its own post -- all I really did was sleep and hang out at the LGBT parties.  Plus, remember I lost my camera?  This is a photo series!

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Aug 5th, 2010 at 04:02:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Your word pictures are doing just fine...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Aug 5th, 2010 at 07:21:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I started the day on Redondo Beach (one of the beaches to the South of LA), and the car said it was 62°F (17°C). When I picked Izzy in the Northeastern reaches of LA, we were at around 80°F (around 27°C). We steadily went up and reached close to 105°F in the desert (around 40°C).

When we arrived in Vegas, it was closer to 9095°F (below 35°C).

So, quite a range, but nothing extravagant.


Wind power

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Aug 5th, 2010 at 03:44:22 PM EST
As I told you, and stated in the last post, the LA gods were smiling on you -- you had a miraculously easy time of things, including the freakishly mild desert weather.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Aug 5th, 2010 at 03:57:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I did not want an "easy time" in the desert!

Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Aug 5th, 2010 at 04:57:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Your wants are beside the point and not at issue here!  

The real concern is that you not take away the wrong conclusions from your experience -- if you go around telling people that LA has polite drivers and not-bad traffic, and that the Mojave isn't that hot, you'll ruin your credibility.

That said, isn't it nice you had a nice time? :)

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Aug 5th, 2010 at 05:26:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, I've been to the Mojave with my family, en route to the Death Valley, then back to Barstow, Mojave, Bakersfield an the I-5 to Northern Cal.

And yes, it isn't that hot: barely in the low 70s (that's 21-22° in Euro-speak) and the night at the inn was downright chilly.

OK, it was in January: I wouldn't recommend doing the same in July :)

by Bernard on Fri Aug 6th, 2010 at 04:17:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
104oF = 40oC. 40oC is the upper limit of the specified operating range for many commercial electronic devices, though they will usually keep working, if not as long as if they were kept at, say 20oC.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Aug 5th, 2010 at 08:32:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
85°C for automotive electronics and 125°C for powertrain and other "under the hood" devices.
by Bernard on Fri Aug 6th, 2010 at 04:19:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
that's cool for that stretch of road, and that time of year.
by wu ming on Sun Aug 8th, 2010 at 01:49:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Good job train blogging both the BNSF and UP!

Those big wings on 7439, a GE ES44AC, are to hold the big radiators needed to support the low pollution 4400 horsepower engine. It's a brand new locomotive, only built last summer. Here it is fresh from the factory:

by asdf on Thu Aug 5th, 2010 at 09:56:10 PM EST
Here it is fresh from the factory:

After having been quality checked by our new friend Mentatmark...

"Ce qui vient au monde pour ne rien troubler ne mérite ni égards ni patience." René Char

by Melanchthon on Fri Aug 6th, 2010 at 01:49:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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