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[personal profile] duncandahusky

And now, one final post to cap off The Great Western Road Trip. After 24 days on the road through 3 provinces and 13 states, what did I learn? Well, I learned a lot of things.



  • I need to work on my trip scheduling.

    When I laid out my itinerary my thinking was, I get into town in the afternoon/evening, I have a day in a city, and I leave the next morning. Three days, right? Wrong. I didn’t account for the distances out west. Mornings had me on the road by 7 AM and with few exceptions I arrived at my destination after 5 PM. After that much driving in a day, the idea of jumping back in the car to explore a city is unpalatable at best. Next time, I either need to limit the number of stops I make and allow better for distances between stops, or I need to take more time for the trip.

  • Renting a car was a good idea

    That was 6,400 miles I didn’t put on my 2012 Subaru Outback. I would have made the trip like a trooper, but I’d rather put all that on someone else’s car. (Rental car guy: “Wow. In all the time I’ve run this place I’ve never had someone turn in a car after putting that many miles on it!”) Side note: If you’re in the northwest Chicago suburbs, Mo at the Avis/Budget office in Lake Zurich is a fantastic guy to work with. Friendly and incredibly helpful! (Also he gave me the hookup for the satellite radio for the duration of the rental)

  • The Ford Mustang is a fun car

    Oh my goodness, yes. For mountain driving, for having to speed up quickly to pass someone, for a smooth ride, Mustangs are a blast. I don’t think I would ever own one – it’s a bit impractical for me – I sure as hell plan to rent one again if needed.

  • Convertibles are fun, up to a point

    I had visions of driving everywhere with the top down, feeling the wind around me, luxuriating in the scenery. Well, I didn’t account for the fact that after a while driving at highway speeds you can get a headache from the wind all around you. It can be difficult to hear spoken word stuff, like NPR or audiobooks. And then there’s the sun. Even so, though, I wouldn’t have traded it for the world. Driving with the top down on cool mornings, through Glacier National Park and the California mountains, along the California coast – all of these were definitely worth it.

  • Sunburns suck

    Sure, you can apply sunscreen. But you have to reapply it. And you stink of sunscreen, and so do your clothes. I got sunburned a few times early in the trip before I got better at managing things, but that was no fun.

  • Rocks to the windshield suck

    Yeah, I got hit with a rock that created cracks that traveled across the windshield. Twice. The replacement windshield and installation cost about US$500 each time. The good news is that I have full coverage via my Chase Sapphire card, with no deductible.

  • Interstates out west are far more fun to drive.

    I generally maintained a limit of speed limit + 5 mph. This made me slower than the speed demons but faster than that slowpokes, and that was just fine by me. But once you get out west, the speed limits go up, from 70 mph on rural roads in Montana to 80 mph on interstates in Nevada and Utah. That is a whole lot more fun! And yes, I did take the Mustang up to 130 mph on a long, straight section of interstate with no one around and good sight distances to see cops ahead. I could have gone faster, but at those speeds, the car has a bit of float to it and it was getting past the point where I felt safe.

  • Canadians don’t celebrate Canada Day very long

    This amused me greatly. I saw this in both Winnipeg and Regina. Canada Day (their 150th anniversary, so a really big deal) fell on a Saturday. Most people had the following Monday off. In the US, this would be cause for big 3- or 4-day festivals. What I saw was a huge to-do on Saturday, with concerts, fireworks, and big festivities. And by Sunday morning? Gone. The only thing left is some scaffolding around the stages, the rest of it all packed up and everyone has gone home. It’s admirably efficient, if nothing else.

  • There are only two bridges between Vancouver, Washington and Portland, Oregon

    Good lord, what a mess. Portland and Vancouver are separated by the Columbia River, which is huge. There are two bridges: Interstates 5 and 205. That’s it. The next closest bridges in either direction are both 40 miles away. Vancouver is a huge suburb, so you can imagine that traffic can be a nightmare. And yet, I’d still say it’s worth it.

  • I love exploring places that are new to me

    I need to go back to Glacier National Park. And Portland. And Winnipeg. And Regina. And Yosemite National Park. And Denver. I didn’t have enough time to explore these places as much as I would have liked, and I found them and the people there to be wonderful. On the bright side, I now have added to my list of future travel destinations!

  • Salads are a good thing

    Man, being on the road for three weeks is murder on how you eat. I tried to keep things light, but it wasn’t always easy and in the end I still gained 8 pounds. Too much sitting, not enough moving. I was able to find a lot of great salads along the way though, and that helped.

  • Beer is a good thing

    Antithetical to the previous observation, isn’t it? And yet I love trying new beers from different breweries. All told, I entered 60 new beers into Untappd on this trip, which include a good number of flights. A nice side-effect is that I also met a lot of really nice bartenders and brewery employees who were friendly and enjoyed chatting.

  • I need dogs in my life (Jasper, Zoey, Kiska, Nathan, and the other Zoe)

    I missed Charlie and Nora so much on this trip. I’m glad I didn’t take them with me because that would have been a level of complexity that would be quite difficult, but I sure wish I could have. Happily, I got to meet, pet, and play with my friends’ dogs: Jasper and Zoey, Kiska, Nathan, and Zoe. Wonderful pups, all!

  • Very few people in this world get me the way that Ford Shepherd does.

    We drifted apart for a while but now he is back in my life, and for this I am very grateful. Us gay Southern boys need to stick together!

  • Sometimes I need to be alone.

    My itinerary included 14 stops. In 11 of those I met up with friends, something for which I was grateful. Even so, the few stops where I didn’t meet anyone were a nice break. I needed the downtime, even though I spent 125+ hours alone by myself on the road. Sometimes socializing can be exhausting.

  • Death is an awkward subject.

    I want to stress that I am not criticizing anyone I met on this trip. I understand, I really do. For most people, Dan’s passing was an event – it is something that happened, and that was it. For those of us who knew him intimately it is a process, one that continues and will continue for quite a long time. Dan did not come up in many conversations on this trip and initially I wondered at this, but then I realized that death is something that we are just not equipped to discuss. It’s awkward, it’s depressing, and we don’t want to trigger any bad reactions. And that’s OK. I realized that the best things my friends can do for me is to just be there.


Out of all of this the best lesson that I learned, though, is that I have SO MANY wonderful friends. To all of you who were able to join me even for a few hours on this trip, thank you so much. You brought home that for all that I have lost, I am never alone. I cannot begin to express my gratitude for this. Thanks to Kellic, Cyn, Mwako, Charles, Lego, Plonq, Atara, Lydia, Andrew, Wolfish, Silver, Tiggs, Thallanor, Tina, Thumper, Hegdish, Drake, Ford, Brophey, Karwood, Partran, Luagha, Baja, Didge, Tyco, Tango, Rooth, Whiteyfawks, Orthrus, Adjacent, Rama, and K. I cannot wait to see you all again sometime soon!


For all that I thought my skills at meeting new people have gotten rusty, it was a nice surprise to be proven wrong. It was great to meet Chris, Jason, Kalypso, Beancat, River Pup, some of the great BLFC staff, and Iberian. Part of the joy of making a trip like this is making new friends, and I was fortunate to do so.


Also, thank you to everyone who followed along on this trip, on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, or Dreamwidth. Your comments and kind words have kept me company even if you couldn’t join me on the road.


During this trip I posted a song for each day, which a good friend collected into a Spotify playlist and an Apple playlist. These reflected my moods, my feelings about the trip, the landscape, and the people I met as I drove. I leave you with one last song, then: “No One Is Alone” from Into the Woods.


Sometimes people leave you.

Halfway through the wood…

But no one is alone.



 

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[personal profile] duncandahusky

Current Location: Volo, Illinois


Today’s Song: 65daysofstatic – Supermoon


Something about this song describes the scenery of this entire trip to me – starting off slow through the Canadian Prairie Provinces, then into the mountains and the coast and returning over the mountains, and back to the plains.


For the final leg of the road trip, I made the short (this constitutes “short” now!) drive from St. Louis, Missouri to Volo, Illinois. I was intent on getting home, so drove it as quickly as possible, with only a stop in Dwight, Illinois, for lunch. Continuing my attempts to stick to local places, I went to Dwight Pizza, which had a 4.5 star rating on Yelp. It was…OK. The owner was friendly, possibly overly so, but it was a welcome break from the road.


I got home and unloaded the car, put stuff away, and started a load of laundry, then went to pick up Charlie and Nora from Ma’s. To say they were happy to see me was an understatement.






Thus ends the Great Western Road Trip. The final totals:


6,409 miles traveled


126 hours and 10 minutes of driving


I’ll have a final post with my overall thoughts in a day or so, but to answer the biggest questions I get from friends and co-workers:


Was it worth it? Absolutely.


Would I do it again? In a heartbeat. I might rearrange the scheduling a bit, but that was one of the best vacations of my life.


Stay tuned for the wrap-up!

Great Western Road Trip, Day 23

Jul. 23rd, 2017 02:02 pm
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[personal profile] duncandahusky

Current Location: Florissant, Missouri


Today’s Song: Lazlo Bane – Superman (Theme from Scrubs)


I need you here with me

Cause love is all we need

Just take a hold of the hand that breaks the fall

Well I know what I’ve been told

Gotta break free to break the mold

But I can’t do this all on my own

I’m no superman


Yeah. I think too much sometimes.


This is the penultimate day of this road trip. I started the day on the outskirts of Kansas City. Through he power of Yelp (which is really served me remarkably well on this trip) I found a wonderful little bakery/restaurant in Overland Park called McClain’s Market. I fueled up with a granola parfait and an Americano (ever since I left Canada I’ve been hooked on Americanos – go figure).




Then it was an uneventful drive across Missouri. It scares me that at this point anything less than six hours constitutes a “short” drive. If you do this long enough, I guess that’s what happens. Along the way I finished my second audiobook of the trip, this one also be T.J. Klune (The first was The Lightning-Struck Heart). This one was Wolfsong, which I have read before. It is an intensely emotional book and had me crying several times as I traced the relationship between Joe and Ox to mine and Dan’s. A tough listen, but so, so worth it.


I met up with Rama and K at Sugarfire Smoke House in St. Charles, Missouri for lunch. It’s a fun, quirky place with great BBQ sauces. After that we went back to their place and…didn’t do much. Rama and I sat around and talked convention stuff and watched some TV. It was lovely, and considering that it was 105 F outside it was a great alternative to venturing out. A big plus was that I got to pet Zoe, their 90-pound Great Dane puppy!






For dinner we went to Ferguson Brewing Company where I enjoyed my last beer flight of the trip, which had some unusually generous pours!




After a stop for frozen custard on the way home (because St. Louis), I quickly crashed for the night and slept quite well, with the exception of being woken up a couple of times by some very loud thunderstorms.


Tomorrow: HOME!


Miles Driven Today: 257 miles


Time Driving Today: 4:05


Total Miles Driven: 6,075 miles


Total Time Driving: 120:12

Great Western Road Trip, Day 22

Jul. 22nd, 2017 02:31 am
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[personal profile] duncandahusky

Current Location: Lenexa, Kansas


Today’s Song: Mark Knopfler – Guide My Sword (from The Princess Bride Soundtrack)


A contemplative piece from one of my favorite soundtracks. I’ve been thinking a lot during this trip, and this matches up to my mood.


It was another early start today – up at 5:15 AM. After packing up, rearranging my luggage, cleaning the car, and checking out, I was able to walk to the coffee shop just across the street right as they opened at 6:30 AM.




Today was going to be a very long leg of driving, and not much to see or do along the way. Dring out of Denver was slow going.




The only saving grace was that the air conditioning in the Mustang was in excellent working order, which is good because today was a day when it was absolutely necessary!




I made very few stops, pushing ahead as quickly as I can. After three weeks of glorious scenery and being excited to see more, I’ve reached the point where I’m ready to get on my way home. Kansas wasn’t as boring as expected (there’s a lot more trees than I thought there would be) but it wasn’t particularly visually stimulating either. Fortunately between my audiobook and NPR I was able to make the time pass pretty quickly.


For dinner, I met up with Orthrus and Adjacent at a restaurant nearby. I first met Orthrus many, many years ago over the net. This was the first time that I met him face to face, and got to meet his husband as well. They’re both great, fun guys and the evening’s conversation was wide-ranging and enjoyable.


Tomorrow, the penultimate day of my road trip: a short 4-hour jaunt across Missouri to St. Louis.


Miles Driven Today: 614 miles


Time Driving Today: 8:52


Total Miles Driven: 4,815 miles


Total Time Driving: 98:07

Great Western Road Trip, Day 21

Jul. 21st, 2017 11:01 pm
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[personal profile] duncandahusky

Current Location: Denver, Colorado


Today’s Song: Fairport Convention – Meet on the Ledge


Meet on the ledge, we’re gonna meet on the ledge

When my time is up I’m gonna see all my friends

Meet on the ledge, we’re gonna meet on the ledge

If you really mean it, it all comes round again


I like the idea that, in the end, we see all of our friends and loved ones again. It’s a lovely thought.


Today was a day off the road, and a welcome one at that! I was slow to get started, but after getting some breakfast at the coffee shop across the way (it was…meh) I went back to the room and caught up on all of my work emails and tried to gauge what crap-bombs have been dropped in my absence. It appears that I’ll be walking into a bit of a hornet’s next on Monday, but it’ll be manageable. Then it was over to the auto glass place to have them replace the windshield on the rental car (AGAIN). At least it was quick and painless.


Having heard some entertaining things about them on the podcast Kevin and Ursula Eat Cheap (specifically Episode 250, “Giraffe Snuff Film”), I drove up to Boulder to check out Decadent Saint/Wild Cider. The ciders were…OK. Nothing that particularly excited me, though the Lemon Basil Cider was pretty good. The Decadent Saint products were far more interesting, though. They are a wine-based spiced concentrate that is made to be mixed with cocktails or diluted and consumed on its own. Apparently they have had a hard time marketing this since there were two different variations of labels for the four products, all with different names. Currently they are calling them “sangrias” although it’s a bit odd to call something that looks like chocolate milk a sangria.






After tasting a flight of them, I picked up bottles of the Passionfruit, Raspberry, and Dark Chocolate. Quite tasty, and I look forward to experimenting with them!


I had checked with Troy, an old friend from college who is well-familiar with Boulder, on places that I should check out. It boiled down to “Go to Pearl Street, park, and walk.” My first stop was at Pizza Locale, where I was instructed to ask for Alex. It turns out that he and Troy are old friends, and Alex was incredibly sweet. We chatted as he worked the bar, and he was very kind when I mentioned why I was taking this road trip. It was a lovely visit, and I left feeling like I’d made a new friend. (Also, he’s damned cute!)


I walked down Pearl Street (and Pearl Street Mall), stopping at a few places that Troy had suggested and finding some of my own. I had to check out Mountain Sun Pub and Brewery and enjoyed a Belgian tripel there. My last stop in Boulder was Hazel’s, a liquor store similar in size to a large Binny’s in Chicago. I picked up some specifically local items that I know I can’t get in Illinois.


I finished up just in time to get on the road for Evergreen, Colorado, where I had been invited to Tango and Iberian’s place for dinner. Evergreen is a good ways out into the mountains – barely a Denver suburb, but manageable. At first I wondered why they would live so far out but as I drove and admired the scenery I began to understand. They have a lovely home there, and I’m sure it’s very cozy and comfortable in the wintertime. We were joined by Rooth and Whiteyfawks, and we had a delicious dinner while catching up on each other’s lives and geeking about various conventions.  It was 10 PM when we wrapped up, and I was pleasantly surprised just how short the drive was back to my hotel – just a hair over 30 minutes. That’s perfectly accessible – heck, they can get to Denver faster than I can get to Chicago from my place!


Tomorrow: The long, long drive across Kansas.


Miles Driven Today: 103 miles


Time Driving Today: 3:27


Total Miles Driven: 4,201 miles


Total Time Driving: 89:15


(There seems to be a large discrepancy between the mileage and time driven recorded by Automatic and the readings on the Mustang. I need to look into this and may revise this tomorrow.)

typographer: Me on a car in the middle of nowhere, eastern Colorado, age four (Default)
[personal profile] typographer
It's Friday. July is flying by. We've had 34 consecutive days without rain, which isn't a record, but would surprise some people about Seattle. We have to go at least 18 more days before we'll tie the existing record. After the wettest winter in the recorded weather history, it would be appropriate if we broke the rainless summer record, too.

This week has been another of very long hours at work, so the links round-up may be small.

Anyway, here are the links I found interesting this week, sorted into categories.

Links of the Week



Creation and consumption.

Why every office should scrap its clean desk policy.

This Week in Economic News



The Cost of a Hot Economy in California: A Severe Housing Crisis.

This week in awful people



Fact Check: Does Oregon CPS "Err" On Believing Kids Who Allege Abuse?

Parents Who “Gifted” Underage Daughters to “Prophet of God” Will Go To Prison.

News for queers and our allies:



"American Gods" Super-Producer Bryan Fuller Reveals How TV Studios Kept De-Gaying His Characters.

Queer Geek News Roundup: July 16, 2017.

Bosom Friends: The Gay Anne of Green Gables Scandal.

5 Canadian Queer Beach Reads.

Science!



Six-Legged Giant Finds Secret Hideaway, Hides For 80 Years.

Dinosaur that looked like a massive bird discovered in Canada.

Science Fiction, Fantasy and Speculation!



One of the greatest science fiction magazines is now available for free online.

Sleeps With Monsters: Stop Erasing Women’s Presence in SFF .

Before 'Valerian,' 'The Fifth Element' Subverted Sci-Fi Movies.

This Week in History



Local Japanese Americans remember their imprisonment during WWII.

This Week in Tech



Apple previews new emoji coming later this year.

Apple’s risky balancing act with the next iPhone.

Culture war news:



Why I’m Leaving the Southern Baptist Convention .

Rev. Barber: An open letter to clergy who prayed with Donald Trump - The Scripture cautions us to lay hands on no man suddenly, lest we become a party to his sins.

This Week Regarding the Lying Liar:



The Late, Great Jimmy Breslin's columns on Donald Trump.

A breakdown of the latest New York Times Trump interview.

News about the Fascist Regime:



Pope’s Confidantes Pen Blistering Critique Of Steve Bannon’s View of Christianity.

Why did Don Jr.'s emails surface? Because Robert Mueller is already changing Washington's lying ways.

The GOP failure on health care is just a hint of what’s to come.

Vulnerable Republicans Just Showed Why Fighting For Trans Rights Is A Political Winner.

This week in Politics:



Colorado to require advanced post-election audits.

Why isn’t voter suppression considered political corruption?

Farewells:



Martin Landau Dead at 89: Oscar-Winning Actor in Ed Wood, Mission: Impossible.

George Romero, 'Night Of The Living Dead' Director, Dies At 77.

Things I wrote:



Being reactionary – bad rules and good expectations.

Definitions matter, except when they don’t — more adventures in dictionaries.

Videos!



Christopher Marlowe was a Gay Atheist Spy (Yes, really.):



(If embedding doesn't work, click here.)

Caught On Video: Bison On The Loose In Gilford, New Hampshire:

Can't embed, so, click here.
typographer: Me on a car in the middle of nowhere, eastern Colorado, age four (Default)
[personal profile] typographer
I’m a word nerd, obviously, and there have been many times that I have based an argument upon the definition of a word. Sometimes, though, that is a disingenuous tactic—the person citing the definition is choosing one that sidesteps or distracts from the main issue at hand, rather than to engage in a genuine discussion. The argument becomes a matter of nitpicking and source citing and burying your opponent in a flurry of trivialities. It is a way to appear to win when all you’ve really done is, in essence, shouted the other person down...

(This post that actually about a sex scandal, abusers, and similar topics is at FontFolly.Net.)

Great Western Road Trip, Day 20

Jul. 20th, 2017 07:00 pm
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[personal profile] duncandahusky

Current Location: Lakewood, Colorado


Today’s Song: Carbon Leaf – 1 Wolf, 2 Wolf, 2 Wolf, 4


This one is all about the wide open spaces of the west, and driving miles and miles before seeing another person. A nice, contemplative piece, I think.


I started the day super-early in Salt Lake City, Utah. It took some doing, but I finally found one of the few coffee shops open at 6 AM in downtown SLC. Then it was on the road on Interstate 80 eastbound. Just as I was passing through a construction zone on the outskirts of town, I heard a *THOK* and looked over to find…




Sure enough, the crack started traveling across the windshield. This is my second cracked windshield of the trip, but at least now I know the routine – get it fixed myself, Budget doesn’t have to know about it, get reimbursed through my Chase Sapphire card (by the way, this card is AMAZING – automatic trip and rental car insurance for anything that you charge with the card. This has saved me thousands of dollars.)


That unpleasantness aside, it was a pleasant and uncrowded drive northeast up into Wyoming, where I stopped for a breakfast bagel.




Next stop: Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area. The drive just to get there was pretty in its own right.




I loved the fact that as you drove through the surrounding area the geology was on full display, and Utah helped with this by posting signs along the road explaining different features.




There was a ton of twisty-turns mountain driving, which is so much fun in a Mustang! It helps that there weren’t that many people on the road on a weekday morning so I could pretty much set my own speed, within reason. The views, though. Simply spectacular!




I was originally going to go over the Flaming Gorge Dam and take Browns Park Road overland. It’s an intriguing route, 30+ miles of unpaved road through the middle of nowhere. I had to drop the idea due to 1. Nearby forest fires making it a very real possibility that the road could be closed, and 2. I really didn’t want to possibly damage the dang car any further! Instead, I skipped the dam and went south through Vernal, Utah, where I stopped for a tasty lunch and to make geeky dad jokes.




Then it was a long, long drive to Denver. I didn’t make any stops because it was frequently pouring down rain (the first time in this entire trip, amazingly enough!). The drive down I-70 is always amazing though – beautiful views and very cool road engineering. I finally pulled into my destination, the Hyatt House in Lakewood, Colorado, a suburb of Denver, at 7 PM, 12 hours after I left downtown Salt Lake City. This was the longest I’ve driven in one day on this whole trip and I’m glad I won’t have to do that again!


I really like the Hyatt House brand – they have some great room designs.




For dinner I walked across the street to Brodo, an Italian place. The service was very lacking initially, but once the dinner rush died down it got better. I had a delicious steak salad, and got into a great conversation with the bartender about tonic syrups, gins, and aperitifs. It was a great evening.


Tomorrow I’ll be hanging around Denver to get the windshield fixed, then exploring Boulder, Colorado, and enjoying dinner with friends.


Miles Driven Today: 556 miles


Time Driving Today: 10:13


Total Miles Driven: 4,098 miles


Total Time Driving: 85:48

typographer: Me on a car in the middle of nowhere, eastern Colorado, age four (Default)
[personal profile] typographer
I was reminded this week of the Dumbest Password Policy Ever™....

(The rest of this post about human nature among other things is at FontFolly.Net.)

Great Western Road Trip, Day 19

Jul. 19th, 2017 02:01 am
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[personal profile] duncandahusky

 


Current Location: Salt Lake City, Utah


Today’s Song: This Will Destroy You – They Move On Tracks of Never-Ending Light


This song makes me think of the miles and miles of desert I drove through today, with the promise of mountains in all directions. I expected it to be a little monotonous, but it was actually a beautiful landscape surrounded by the Toiyabe Range and the Ruby Mountains. The contrast between the dry salt flats and the snow-capped mountains just beyond was stunning.


The drive out of Reno was quite lovely this morning, winding up through the foothills.




I put on the 20-hour audiobook for T. J. Klune’s Wolfsong (which I have read before and I know it is absolutely amazing) and this helped the miles fly by. The only downside is that the book will put you through the emotional wringer, and had me crying several times during the drive. I made a couple of stops along the way to admire the landscape.






I stopped in Winnemucca, Nevada for a quick breakfast/lunch at a lovely little diner. Once again, Yelp steers me to good places. As long as you know that you can’t really rely on the ratings for any place with less than a couple of dozen reviews, it’s a fantastic resource.




I rolled into Salt Lake City at 4:30 PM and checked into my hotel for the night, a Hyatt House. I’ve never stayed in one of these before and it’s a nice step up from a Hyatt Place, geared to those spending several nights in one place.


Dinner was at Red Rock Brewery, an easy walk from the hotel. Their beers are quite good, and the warm goat cheese salad really hit the spot.


Tomorrow the trip continues. This will be an interesting leg, SLC to Denver but clipping the southwestern corner of Wyoming then driving into the Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area, then overland across northwestern Colorado. I expect this is going to be a long one, so I’m going to try to get on the road as early as possible.


Miles Driven Today: 513 miles


Time Driving Today: 7:19


Total Miles Driven: 3,542 miles


Total Time Driving: 75:35

Great Western Road Trip, Day 18

Jul. 18th, 2017 01:59 pm
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[personal profile] duncandahusky

Current Location: Reno, Nevada


Today’s Song: Kathleen Edwards – Goodnight California


This is such a great song that sets up a nice groove. This is another case where the emphasis is less on the song lyrics and more evocative of the feeling of driving through the Central Valley and up into the Sierra Nevadas.


I started the day in Manteca, California, heading out north on California 99 to Carson Pass Highway. It’s a good hour just to get to the mountains, but the loom ahead of you the entire time and provide a lovely backdrop and contrast to the flat farmlands all around you.


Then it was into the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and wow, that is just spectacular. The road goes up, up, up from the valley to Carson Pass.




The geology of the area is quite unique, as my friend Neowolf pointed out. It provided a nice place to take a break and enjoy the view.




There are some interesting-looking resorts up there, and I am sure that the skiing is pretty impressive as well…providing you can get to the resorts. I saw a lot of “Chains Required” signs waiting to be used and Ford mentioned that the drive can get quite exciting, what with the avalanche risk and all.


After the hours of mountain driving, it was time for a stop in South Lake Tahoe for lunch and an opportunity to enjoy the local brews.




The trip out of the mountains from there was surprisingly quick, though the views were quite impressive descending down the eastward slopes.




I checked into my hotel in Reno (a Hyatt Place, the first of a long line of Hyatts this week – all free! ????). On my friend Ricky’s advice, I sought out one of the local breweries before dinner to check out their offerings. They were all quite good!




Then it was off to meet Tyco and a bunch of other staff from Biggest Little Fur Con, a convention that started just a few years ago here and quickly blew up into 5,000 or more attendees.




Dinner was lovely and the opportunity to chat with these good folks was welcome. They’re a damn smart bunch, and the convention has a good organization behind it. After dinner Tyco was kind enough to provide a tour of the Grand Sierra Resort’s convention facilities with some background on how the space is used and the convention’s relationship with the hotel. After seeing all of this I am not remotely surprised the convention has grown as quickly as it has. The GSR is an ideal venue for a furry convention! I definitely hope to attend next year.


Tomorrow it’s back on the road for the long drive to Salt Lake City, Utah. This is a part of the country I have never seen before so I look forward to seeing some new terrain.


Miles Driven Today: 215 miles


Time Driving Today: 5:11


Total Miles Driven: 3,029 miles


Total Time Driving: 68:16

Great Western Road Trip, Day 17

Jul. 17th, 2017 11:37 pm
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[personal profile] duncandahusky

Current Location: Manteca, California


Today’s Song: Kate Wolf – Pacheco/Red-Tailed Hawk


An iconic California song for me, originally by Robin Williamson. Although I didn’t go through Pacheco Pass I did go over the Diablo Range, the same set of mountains, as I headed east out of the San Francisco Bay Area. This to me is summer in California:


Purple clouds turn scarlet in the setting sun

Where sagebrush turns to alive oak and the white tail run

The air is cool as music when the day is gone

And God paints the sky above Pacheco




This morning had me getting up bright and early to hit the road. I was pleased that I was able to find a nearby location of one of my favorite coffee places in the area, Philz Coffee.




I made it to Chris (Didge) and Brian (Baja)’s place a little before 9 AM. The temperature was already in the upper 80s on its way to a high for the day of 107 F. We quickly packed everything up and started the long drive to our destination for the day, Yosemite National Park. It took three hours each way, but it was very much worth it! (Also, it was about 25 degrees cooler!)


Our first stop was at Bridalveil Falls, where I got some hint of just how crowded the park would be as it took about 10 minutes to find a parking space.




Still, it was worth it to get a chance to clamber up the rocks and stand in the fine mist of the falls.




The views all around were simply stunning – the park was definitely everything that I have heard it was. We parked the car where we could and walked over to Yosemite Falls, where we enjoyed the spectacular views and got up-close and personal with the local wildlife.






Chris and Brian were wonderful travel companions, and we had a great time walking around the park!




On the way back we stopped at a Mexican restaurant near their house with a bizarre Christmas-themed menu (“We think they bought it a few years ago and never figured out how to change it.”) but delicious food and a great salsa bar. After that it was back to the house where we watched the last part of Kung Fu Hustle and all of Doctor Strange. The latter was a pretty good movie, but I learned that ambulance and hospital scenes still cause me intense discomfort, and the scene of someone dying on the operating table reduced me to tears. The scars run deep, unfortunately.


No mileage today since Chris was kind enough to drive us in his SUV and I was content to be a passenger. It was nice to see a good bit of country and not have to drive! Day 18 will take me even further east, up and over the Sierra Nevada mountains to Reno, Nevada.


Miles Driven Today: 0 miles


Time Driving Today: 0:00


Total Miles Driven: 2,814 miles


Total Time Driving: 63:05

Great Western Road Trip, Day 16

Jul. 17th, 2017 03:56 am
duncandahusky: (Default)
[personal profile] duncandahusky

Current Location: Sunnyvale, California


Today’s Song: Eastmountainsouth – You Dance


Another day of not doing much, and that’s OK. It was a lovely, lazy day that was simply perfect.  I hung out at Ford’s all morning, getting an excellent therapeutic massage from River Pup. He is truly outstanding, for all that he is still in school. If you are in the Bay Area, I can highly recommend him – he’s damn good, and I’m heck of a nice guy. Funny thing: we actually hung out together at Mephit Furmeet in 2000 or so 🙂


Lunch was a wonderful get-together with Brophey, Karwood, Partran, and Luagha. it was so great to see these guys again!




The afternoon was spent cooking (well, Ford was cooking, I was assisting and providing company!). Dinner was a delicious pork tenderloin Wellington, roasted Brussels sprouts, and blueberry pie. After that a low-key evening of sitting around chatting in the cool breeze out by the pool. I needed this time, and I needed time with wonderfully dear friends. I’m sad I have to leave Ford and Sunnyvale, but the trip must continue. This trip has been a reminder of the incredible number of close friends I am blessed with, and all of the places that I need to revisit again soon.


Next up: the Central Valley doubling as the fifth circle of hell, and Yosemite National Park!


Miles Driven Today: 0 miles


Time Driving Today: 0:00


Total Miles Driven: 2,814 miles


Total Time Driving: 63:05

Work Venting

Jul. 16th, 2017 09:09 pm
rebelsheart: Text: Experience is the name we give our past mistakes. (Experience)
[personal profile] rebelsheart
So Friday at work, an hour and a half after I'd intended to leave, I finally finished everything that had to be done by Monday. So did FTE coworker H. So of course, we spent 30 minutes chatting about our manager having been a bit of a jerk earlier that day and then doing math that I can basically describe as stress validation.

During a call with our manager, H started to complain that we had a lot of work to get done, and was cut off by the manager, who asked if we thought if teams in the other divisions (notably, he referred to what used to be his only team, in South). We were both put off by this, and we weren't trying to compare our workload in relation to other divisions, only to the other two regions in our division.

While there is a restructure in progress on a national level, it's not expected to be done until sometime in the first quarter of 2018. In fact ,the last divisional team to incorporate into the national restructure will be ours.

We looked at active directory and tried to get an idea of how many users each regional team in our division had. H and I make up two thirds of field IT in the Mountain region, with contractor C in Salt Lake City being the other.

Mountain has 370 users and three field techs across three states.

California has 260 users and three field techs and a supervisor. Somewhat obviously, it is only one state.

Northwest has 168 users and three field techs and a supervisor across two states.

Apparently, back before H had a horrible car accident and missed a year of work, there were three field techs, a supervisor, and the divisional manager in Mountain. There was not a supervisor when I started in May 2016. The divisional manager left in march 2017 and his position was eliminated as part of the restructure.

The math we did was users per tech. We did the math two ways, as the supervisors do pick up tickets in addition to escalations.

Mountain: 123 users per tech.
California 65 per tech (87 if you ignore the supervisor).
Northwest has 42 users per tech (56 if you ignore the supervisor.)

That math alone validates our frustrations in our opinion, and I kind of wish we'd gone into the call with the manager with this knowledge.

Now here's the iffy math. Mountain is 3 states: Colorado, Utah, and New Mexico. H and I are the primary support for all but 2 (extremely remote) users in Colorado. C, based from Salt Lake City, handles those 2, as well as all of Utah and New Mexico as his primary users.

C has maybe 70 users for whom he is primary support. I'm guessing half of those are in Salt Lake City. Our AD doesn't break users down that far in OUs, and we didn't really want to count.

Colorado has 4 outlying offices with maybe 30 people between them, and it might be as low as 20. The downtown Denver office has 70, half of whom will be moving to the largest office in the state at the end of August. That office hosts all of operations for the division, and serves as the base for several national teams.

Now you get the idea of just how stressed and frustrated H and I are.

And I can safely say that the stress is impacting my personal life as well. I rarely spend time in front of any sort of computer system anymore to relax. Guild Wars 2 I log in to for mostly missions. I didn't touch the Wii U for probably 2 months, having spent 6-8 hours a weekend playing Breath of the Wild since it launched. I don't even play the games on my phone often, other than to occasionally distract me from work when there's a moment or two to do so.

Once again, I'm burning out, and I don't know how much longer I can last. I've been a contractor ever since I moved to Colorado, and that will be 3 years in August. I started my first job here on October 20, 2014.

I'm looking forward not only to the Disney world trip in October, but the convention in December as well. And I'm barely two weeks back from the last one.

Great Western Road Trip, Day 15

Jul. 15th, 2017 10:22 pm
duncandahusky: (Default)
[personal profile] duncandahusky

Current Location: Sunnyvale, California


Today’s Song: Dougie MacLean – Restless Fool


The lyrics to this song aren’t particularly relavent, but the general mood matches mine perfectly these days. Plus, Dougie MacLean is an excellent musician.


On Day 15, I rested. I spent the day mostly hanging out by the backyard pool with Ford and catching up. It was, quite frankly, delightful and one of the highlights of the trip.


In the evening, we met up with Latte, Dax, Smackjackal, Shyhoof, and Izzy for dinner at SoFA Market in San Jose, California. It was wonderful to catch up with these folks and enjoy a delicious spicy tune poke bowl.




After dinner we wandered over to Haberdasher for some craft cocktails. All in all it was a wonderful day!


Miles Driven Today: 0 miles


Time Driving Today: 0:00


Total Miles Driven: 2,814 miles


Total Time Driving: 63:05

Great Western Road Trip, Day 14

Jul. 14th, 2017 04:37 pm
duncandahusky: (Default)
[personal profile] duncandahusky

Current Location: Sunnyvale, California


Today’s Song: Bruce Cockburn – Train in the Rain


This is a great traveling song, and one that makes me think of making steady progress down the road, which is what yesterday was all about. Incidentally, my friend Five-Toed Sloth Bear is collecting these songs as they are posted into a Spotify playlist:



(Also, there is an Apple Music playlist available as well.)


I started the day in cold, gray Crescent City, California. Breakfast was a tasty ham, Swiss, and egg sandwich.


[tweet https://twitter.com/DuncanDaHusky/status/885506524503724032]

This was a good start but the coffee was kind of weak. It got me through to Arcata, California, which is a highly entertaining town. I first heard of Arcata from graduates of Humboldt State University there, and it did not disappoint. It is pretty much the epitome of the Northern California hippie town, but I liked the vibe. I first stopped by a coffee house that was entertaing primarily because the (tattooed, pierced, and awesomely friendly) barista identified the artist and vendor of my current favorite T-shirt that I was wearing. I adjourned across the street for what was supposed to be a light snack, but it was great anyway.


[tweet https://twitter.com/DuncanDaHusky/status/885542667970527232]

It was a straight shot down to San Francisco from there, where I got to experience the fun of rush hour traffic on the Golden Gate Bridge.


[tweet https://twitter.com/DuncanDaHusky/status/885642721297285120]

Getting through downtown San Francisco at rush hour was everything I expected it to be, but 2 hours later I made it to Ford’s place in Sunnyvale. After chatting for a bit we swung over to his boyfriend Bramble’s and picked up him and his roommate Umbral and went out for a wonderful sushi dinner.


Today will be a pretty relaxing day, hanging out at Ford’s then meeting up with friends for dinner. Having a couple of days off the road is going to be a wonderful thing!


Miles Driven Today: 395 miles


Time Driving Today: 8:15


Total Miles Driven: 2,814 miles


Total Time Driving: 63:05

typographer: Me on a car in the middle of nowhere, eastern Colorado, age four (Default)
[personal profile] typographer
It's Friday. It's the second Friday in July!

This week's round up is a bit smaller than usual. Still trying to figure out how much time I should put into this.

Anyway, here are the links I found interesting this week, sorted into categories.

Links of the Week



How This Year's Pride Gave Me Hope .

Digging in the Trash — THE BITTER SOUTHERNER.

Education: The Great Leveler and the Great Divider.

Happy News!



Disneyland’s Captain America talking to a guest in sign-language will make you happy cry.

This week in awful people



'Valuable' Clues Uncovered in Case of 4 Young Men Missing in Bucks County, Pennsylvania; Person of Interest Arrested.

Captain Awkward #992: “My husband is dating my mom.”.

Minuteman co-founder gets 19½ years for sexually abusing 5-year-old. All 3 of his daughters say they're also victims.

Fate of disgraced Joe Arpaio, who once said 'nobody's higher than me,' now in judge's hands.

News for queers and our allies:



Fraternity Brothers Say ‘I Do’ After 10-Year Romance.

The church’s trans epiphany will ease the way for others like me.

Rugby player at Pride parade sends crowds into frenzy with marriage proposal.

Small town, big pride: Erie, Pennsylvania.

This hero dad has become an advocate for his trans son.

Scott Frantz, offensive lineman for Kansas State, comes out as gay.

Science!



Super Gonorrhea Is About to Get the Trump Bump.

Science Fiction, Fantasy and Speculation!



Seattle Review of Books - Future Alternative Past: Dividing past the dividing lines.

Ship's Log: 12 Queer SFF Books with Upcoming Sequels .

Franchise Addiction, Movie Studio Dealers, Series Re-Visits, and Why We Need New (better) Drugs.

Friday Five: 5 SF/F Books that Ace the Bechdel Test.

This Week in Love Conquers...



A Widow’s Rage Defense of Patton Oswalt’s Engagement.

This Week in Tech



SoundCloud sinks as leaks say layoffs buy little time .

This Week in Covering the News



After obtaining his contact information through its accidental exposure by the Washington Post, a high school reporter contacted Secretary of Defense James Mattis for an interview - and it's a good, solid interview:.

This Week in Police Problems



Lawsuit Accuses Baton Rouge Police Of Excessive Force During Protests Over Alton Sterling’s Death.

Culture war news:



A massive pilot study demonstrates the subtle ways LGBTQ people are disadvantaged when seeking housing.

This Week in Fighting Back in the Culture War:



For the Second Year in a Row, Anti-Trans Activists Fail to Turn in Signatures for Their Ballot Measure.

This Week in the Resistance:



LGBTQ Rights Group Launches Massive Anti-Trump Effort For 2018.

This Week Regarding the Lying Liar:



The Trump-Russia Conspiracy Is Now Very Simple.

U.S., Russia Offer Conflicting Accounts of Trump-Putin Meeting .

News about the Fascist Regime:



The GOP health bill would cut benefits for very poor households by an average of $2,500 a year, economists say.

Republican Lawmakers Buy Health Insurance Stocks as Repeal Effort Moves Forward.

This week in Politics:



In Defense of Talking About Misogyny In a City That Hasn’t Had a Female Mayor in 92 Years.

Things I wrote:



Weekend Update 7/8/2017: Scandals and Schadenfreude.

We need to take the victories when we get them.

We’re living in the future, but a lot of people don’t get it.

Confessions of a gift-guilty packrat.

Zen, Bradbury, and the Hugo Awards – more of why I love sf/f.

Videos!



Kesha - Woman (Official Video) ft. The Dap-Kings Horns:



(If embedding doesn't work, click here.)

Selena Gomez - Fetish (Audio) ft. Gucci Mane:



(If embedding doesn't work, click here.)

HAIM - Want You Back (Official Video):



(If embedding doesn't work, click here.)
typographer: Me on a car in the middle of nowhere, eastern Colorado, age four (Default)
[personal profile] typographer
Recently someone posted these images of a couple of paragraphs out of Ray Bradbury’s book Zen and the Art of Writing which is only one of the times he told this story. At the age of nine Bradbury fell in love with the Buck Rogers comic strip in his local newspaper, and began cutting out and saving the strips and so forth. His classmates at school teased him for loving such a ridiculous and unlikely story. The teasing eventually drove him to tear up with collection of carefully cut out comic strips. And he was miserable for some time afterward. The bit I found most profound in this version of the story was his realization that the classmates who made fun of the stories he loved weren’t his friends, they were his enemies. It was a realization that resonated deeply...

(The rest of this post, including my current Hugo ballot, is at FontFolly.Net.)

Great Western Road Trip, Day 13

Jul. 13th, 2017 02:03 pm
duncandahusky: (Default)
[personal profile] duncandahusky

Current Location: Crescent City, CA


Today’s Song: Colin Hay – I Just Don’t Think I’ll Ever Get Over You


Portland, Oregon was such a wonderful town I hated to leave it, but the road trip must go on! And so I jumped in the car bright and early, hit the road, and…sat in traffic.



Portland is connected to Vancouver, Washington (a large suburb) and many other suburbs by only two bridges, Interstate 5 and Interstate 205. The next closest bridges over the Columbia River are an hour in either direction. This produces traffic chaos like clockwork, unfortunately (and that doesn’t even take into account that I-5 is also an active drawbridge!).


After a pit stop in Salem, Oregon, for gas and a small bite for breakfast (and coffee, of course), it was onward to the coast.



Well, almost. 5 minutes from the coast I stopped in the tiny town of Toledo, Oregon, for an early lunch. I didn’t realize the name of the place until I saw the sign on the door, but it seemed simply perfect for me! I ordered the “Working Man’s Breakfast” which was potatoes, onions, green peppers, and scrambled eggs, covered in sausage gravy. It tasted a lot better than it looked!




Then it was back on the road, and the Pacific Ocean quickly put in its appearance.




(The pedants of Twitter immediately chimed in with all of the locations in the US that are further west than where I was. I ignored them. Protip: If you are about to tweet something that could easily be prefaced with, “Well, actually…” delete it and sit on your hands until the urge to post passes.)


Then it was the long down the coast on US Highway 101, which will eventually carry me to San Francisco. I stopped at numerous beautiful locations along the way, including the spectacular Cape Perpetua, waaaaay up over the shoreline.




Oh, and there were other sights too!]



South of Florence, Oregon I decided it was time to make up some time so no more stops after that. I rolled in to The Lighthouse Inn in Crescent City, California, at a little after 7 PM. With stops, that was about 12 hours of travel and pretty exhausting! I decided to reward myself with a tasty dinner:





Then it was back to my hotel room, which despite its questionable design choices was clean, comfortable, and quiet. I’m glad I sleep with a white noise generator though because there was a lot of incidental noise from the hallway and upstairs.



I drove a lot in silence down the coast, doing some of that Deep Thinking I knew was part of this trip. I got pretty down because I kept thinking that, despite all of the hours in the car, Dan would have loved this trip – seeing old friends, visiting beautiful locations, and just experiencing the adventure of it all. His smile and laughter are with me always. I’ll need to think more about how how all of this makes me feel beyond “sad”, because it is of course it’s much more complex than that.


One good cry and a sound night’s sleep later, I am up and ready to hit the road. Today will take me down US 101 through Redwood Country and then to Sunnyvale, California, where I’m staying with my old friend Ford Shepherd. I’m looking forward to seeing him again!


Miles Driven Today: 384 miles


Time Driving Today: 8:52


Total Miles Driven: 2,419 miles


Total Time Driving: 54:50

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