Monday, August 29, 2005

Back to School

After a brief 2-year respite from the academic world, I have once again returned. Although this time, it's a little bit different, being that I have just relocated from a barren southwestern desert. I've noticed some differences:

- When driving in the East Coast, don't bother reading signs, because they will only mess you up. There are no such things as straight roads, and sometimes they randomly change names or become one-way. Thus it is impossible to return from a place the same way you got there.

- What's up with the humidity? Why do people put up with this? My skin is rebelling.

- I look more like a mom than a college student. Maybe I should get myself some non-existent shorts or a white skirt and some flip-flops. If only easterners could understand the practicality and comfort of the Chaco sandal.

- The east is only one giant town, the names just change every couple miles. If I drive 2 miles east, I'm in Wilmington. If I drive 2 miles west, I'm in Newark.

- One good thing: no sales tax! If it says $19.99, it IS $19.99!

- On the apartment website, it says you either have a view of woods or the pool. That was a lie. I enjoy the view of a bush and the front of my car.

That's only the start of my unexpected culture shock. Stay tuned . . .

Sunday, August 21, 2005

On the Road

Cookeville, Tennessee - In the past 2 days, I've driven about 1,100 miles. To pass mile after mind-numbing mile, I've been listening to a book on tape and singing along loudly to everything from Seether to the Dixie Chicks. But most interestingly, I've been reading billboards.

There are the standard hotel and restaurant advertisements, but those I barely glance at. What I'm referring to is the astounding number of "vasectomy reversal" boards, as well as those advertising local cowboy-themed attractions. I even saw one saying that we should boycott KFC for doing something bad to chickens (the type was too small for my horrible vision.)

BUT, my favorite so far has to be the God quotes. There are many black and white billboards with quotes claiming to be from God. Here are two great ones:

"Is the road you are on leading you to me? - God"

"As my apprentice, you are never fired. - God"

As to the first one, it was located on the road to Dallas, and I'm pretty sure that's not where God lives. And the second quote only seems to imply that God is a fan of reality shows starring Donald Trump.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

New Pictures

There are a few new pictures up on the picture site - click on "My Pictures" over on the side for the link. Here are two from a recent trip to Guadalupe Mountains National Park in McKittrick Canyon. 6.8 miles roundtrip to the grotto, which is the very cool looking rock formation.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Dates in Heaven

Working at the information desk, I've been asked all sorts of things. Mostly it's just "Where's the bathroom?" or "What time is bat flight?", but on occasion it gets interesting. One person recently even asked me what the meaning of life was.

Yesterday, however, I got a winner. A very old man asked me if I would go on a date with him. 75 years from now. In heaven.

Apparently, this old man (who is traveling with his wife) is going across the country trying to round up 288,000 dates in heaven, 75 years from now. Why this number? Who knows. After all, this man is asking people FOR DATES IN HEAVEN. When his wife came up to the desk, I said to her, "Did you know your husband is asking other women for dates in heaven?" She replied, "Yes," and smiled. I guess she's not planning on being there herself.

As to my answer, I told him that I didn't know what I'll being doing in 75 years, and I'd probably be busy that night.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

The Last Escape

On Friday night I saw the BEST PLAY EVER. Ok, not really. But it was a play that certainly encouraged smoking in the audience. Perhaps I should be more specific: I saw "The Last Escape of Billy the Kid," put on as part of Old Lincoln Days in the tiny village of Lincoln, New Mexico. The town is famous for its role in the old west, mostly because of the 5-day Lincoln County War.

The play (or pageant, as they call it) is shown in an outdoor amphitheater (where it does rain, as we found out) with a very nice elaborate set. There are many actors, however none of them speak during the play, as most of the characters are narrated by the oldest man in the world. The lighting cues are off, there are tell-tale pauses as the script pages are turned, and the donkey usually doesn't want to cooperate, but really, it's worth seeing, if only because its the longest running folk play in the United States. AND, you can smoke while you watch it!

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Are you serious?

I used to think that "jaywalking" thing on the Leno Show was fake, and that they were really just actors pretending to be stupid. Until I started working here.

The other day I was walking through the cave, when I saw two guys standing by a pit with a ladder going down into it. It is an old ladder, falling apart, and is just there for display. It is attatched to the top of the pit with a long metal pole that is embedded in the rock, and the ladder hangs off of that pole. The two guys seemed really fascinated with this metal pole. One says to the other, "Wow, how do you think they got that metal pole stuck in the rock like that?" His friend replies, "Maybe the rock was softer back then."

I've also come to the conclusion that not many people know how far a mile is. (It's 5,280 feet.) On the elevator, people always ask how far the elevator goes, and when I answer "750 feet," they will inevitably ask how many miles that is. One man even attempted to answer that question himself, saying, "Wow, that's like 2 1/2 miles!!"

You can't make this stuff up.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Vegas, Baby, Vegas

To tell the truth, I thought I would hate Las Vegas - hoards of drunken masses, a cacaphony of noises, rampant cigarette smoke. But, I LOVED IT! How great is it to not worry about closing times? Since I'm legendarily cheap, we pretty much did every possible that's free. We saw the inside of almost all of the giant hotels (my favorite was the Bellagio, ironic because I am, as previously stated, cheap.) I observed the volcano go off in front of the Mirage, saw living statues in the Venetian, and watched Bulgarians fly over the casino in the Tropicana. The best, however, were the dancing fountains in front of the Bellagio, which I watched no less than 7 times.

I loved that it was crazy . . . where else can you drink a yard of margarita while strolling past Armani and Channel? Where else do you see women, dressed up to go clubbing, pushing a stroller in front of them at midnight? That all being said, I was glad to go back home to my desert hideway where it is quiet and still.

And finally, I did not gamble, even one cent. And I'm sure I have more money now because of it.
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