Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Jiggity Jig

So I am frequently asked by all my faithful reader, and by frequently I mean never, "The Travel Slob, when you are not traveling, where do you hang your hat at night?" Well you're in luck, true believers, as today I show off where I live! Also, if you plan to burglarize my apartment, please notify me so I can prepare.

Here we have Command Central, right next to the Captain's Quarters. Here is where I receive orders from Travel HQ, and also where I relay said instructions. Nearby is the large view screen where I can scout out potential places to visit. Sorry, Boston, Massachusetts, but after watching the visual report "Fringe", I can safely say I'll be avoiding your strange city.

Here we have the Navigator and Gunnery stations. Nearby you'll see the quarters of my crew members, First Mate Freddie and Security Chief Nazgh├╗l, the World's Most Evil Parakeet.

Here is the entrance to the bridge, which is conveniently located near the dining deck. The glow in the viewport to the right is most likely a sign of nuclear winter. I waited a while before exiting.

Here we have the Galley, which is small enough for one. On the table I've left some Black Red Vines. Most likely I'm taking them out later as they've gone bad.

Here are my many visual security briefings. To the left is the weapons locker for hand-to-hand combat. To the right is the door where the hazardous environment suits are kept.

Another view of the galley. At the end is the access port to Maintenance Bay One. The galley seems to be in a bit of disorder since last mess. I'll need to speak to the one in charge of cleaning here.

Here is the Captain's Quarters. You get a rare treat today! Most often my quarters are closed to the public.

Now we move on to the War Room, where we store more briefings and scale models to plan combat operations.

Here's a sample of the combat troop models. They need a little work,still.

More combat and intelligence briefings. I've gathered quite a few. The boxes in the previous pictures contain more, I'm afraid. We simply haven't the storage to display them all.

And last, here's the Observation Deck. We've not had the budget to add more amenities for the crew, but we're hoping that soon more will be added.

Well, faithful reader, I hope you enjoyed the tour of the ship! Until the next time I can be bothered to actually post.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


It’s been twenty years since I’ve graduated from High School, a thought which sends shivers down my spine like when my last girlfriend used to kiss me. Officially, I’ve been alive longer than it’s taken me to earn a High School Diploma (which, I would like to note, my mother refused to believe I’d received until she saw the physical document). For some people this is depressing, but for me – not so much. The more space I put between me and my embarrassing adolescence, the better!

Sure, some people like to dream and fantasize about, “if I could go back and do it all again, knowing what I know now …” Despite being a head-in-the-clouds type of guy who still fantasizes about being a superhero someday (it could happen), I don’t fantasize about that. Apparently the teenage brain works different than an adult brain: at that age we have very poor risk assessment. Even knowing all the consequences of all my stupidity, I’d probably do the same things because my brain would be going, “Sure, last time you did this you got hurt, but this time you know what’s coming!” Then I’d do the same thing and bam! Broken shoulder all over again or whatever. The great thing about being an adult is that I can look at a large pile of boxes and go, “If I climbed that, I would fall off and break something.”

That said I still have a small adventurous streak. The easiest way to get to Portland from Santa Rosa is to take the Redwood Highway down to I-80, then get to I-5 from that and just drive north. Boring! This time, since I was driving, I decided to try something new. I took highway 29 over the mountain, from there went to 53, went over highway 20, and then on to I-5. No, I couldn’t escape I-5. Not this time, alas. Still, I recommend this way a lot more than the ‘fast’ way. Sure, I don’t save much on time, but the views are gorgeous. If I had planned ahead better, I would have taken pictures and annoyed people on the road because I’d keep pulling over the side to whip out my camera. My camera.

On a side note, Highway 29 is very exciting when you drive it at night. Successive hairpin turns for the win!

I had missed my ten year reunion. My official story is that I was uninvited to the ten year. I received a postcard asking if I was interested. I sent that back with my contact information saying why yes, I was. I received nothing else. I suppose I was just too good-looking and thus threatening to my former classmates. Yes. I like this story. I shall keep it.

The other great thing about being twenty years older is that I can now complain about money and prices and just sound curmudgeonly rather than oddly frugal for such a young man. The price to celebrate this reunion was just over one hundred dollars for me, not counting travel costs. So of course, I got there as soon as I could and stayed the whole night because dadgummit, I’d paid that much money I’m going to get my money’s worth and why do I need pay extra for my Rob Roys? I revel in my new-found tight-fisted policy.

There were plenty of people of whom I barely remember, mostly because I was painfully shy in high school. Now I’m just painful. I reconnected with a few of my old theater friends which was great. I reconnected with people I never connected with, so I guess I connected with people I was only slightly acquainted with back in the day. Of course there was a lot of, “Hi,” a look down at my badge, “Doug! How are you?” That’s to be expected. Next time, I’m putting my badge somewhere different so I can watch as people search as to whom the heck I am.

I won an award! This was a pleasant surprise because I don’t win a lot of awards. I’m pretty sure I stole my last trophy.

(Me with my trophy for "Best Stolen Trophy")

However, being unmarried, without children, and with a job yielded me the award for “Most Available”. That’s right, ladies. I have a job. What are you waiting for already?

I’m amused that every time I go up north, I manage to get some tabletop game-time in my schedule. I shouldn’t be surprised. I enjoy my computer games, but my favorite type of game still uses dice and guys and gals sitting around a table, enjoying each other’s company as well as a good hobby. Sunday I managed to get to my best friend Brent’s house for a game of D&D. Monday night I drove up to my friend Rob’s house for some Warhammer Fantasy Battles. I’m a huge nerd, but I love it. Everyone needs a hobby. Mine is just terribly nerdy.

I probably annoyed people for using my laser pointer at Rob’s so much. My excuse is that my self-control was whittled down by late hours and Vodka. It’s not a good excuse. On the other hand, Rob entertained the cat with my laser pointer! Annoying fellow gamers and cat entertainment: two more activities for my laser pointer! The possibilities are endless!

After Sunday’s game, my best friends Brent and Jer and I got in a long conversation in Brent’s driveway. One of the things we discussed quite a bit was our memories of Camp Tadmor. If you’ve seen any of my sister’s postings, you’d know Tadmor to be a horrible place with snakes, spiders, and the evil wilderness seeking to swallow hapless children whole. By the conversation my best friends and I had, we knew it to be a great place where we did crazy things and found new ways to get into trouble. We particularly enjoyed the Night Games, which for young teens involved lots of screaming and running from threats in the dark. For fun, sis. For fun. I even worked there one year. I had a blast, and overall Tadmor will hold fond memories in my life.

A part of me is a bit disappointed that I only got to Portland several times this year, but it’s a small part. I’ve many connections up there still, and I’m glad I took extra time this vacation to visit as many as possible. My one regret is that I didn’t save time for my brothers and sisters that make up Meadow Springs Community Church. Next time I go up, I need to make more time for them.

Monday, August 2, 2010

... With a Frickin' Laser Beam ...

I am now the proud owner of a laser pointer. I'm sure I will find many uses for this throughout daily life.

1. Giving directions:

Hapless Traveler: "Which way to 3rd Street?"
The Travel Slob: "See that sign with a red dot? That's where you want to go."

2. Crisis Management:

Hapless Bassers-By: "Oh no! Bank robbers are holding people hostage!"
The Travel Slob: "No worries! I'll make them think there's a SWAT-team that has their sights set on the robbers, and we'll negotiate from there." (Note: This may backfire.)

3. Yeti Distraction:

Hapless Sherpa: "Look out! Yeti attack!"
The Travel Slob: "I'll distract them with a shiny red dot on the ground they can chase curiously. You get the hikers and supplies out of here, quickly!"

4. Dot Creation:

Hapless Piece of Paper: "..."
The Travel Slob: "Fear not! I can't make you speak, but I can put a red dot on you."

The possibilities are endless.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

From my last trip. Airport instructions:

Step 1: FLEE! Flee from Carazzagua the Demon Auto!

Step 2: Only by making an offering to the Faceless One do you even have a chance to save yourself from the Demon Auto.

Step 3: Should your offering be refused, Carazzagua will devour you alive. Your next of kin will be notified.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Earlier, in Our Last Episode

My faithful readers (all three) will note there has not been a travelogue in some time, despite having traveled merely one month ago. The answer as to why is because here at Slob Industries, we've been moving our home office from its old location (my office computer during lunch break) to its new and more spacious location here in my California apartment. There have been many advantages to this move, for example the ability to drink vodka & tonics while I write and the ability not to get reprimanded for using my office computer for recreational activities. We are now settled in and ready to go, so thank you readers for bearing with us! My editor informs me that in the move, we've doubled our readership! That's six! It makes me all teary-eyed.

Last month, I'd traveled once again to the Portland area. It seems this will be the popular location for the Travel Slob this year. In less than a month I plan to fly up once more for my twenty-year high school reunion. I think the theme is going to be, "Dear Lord in Heaven are We this Old Already?" Perhaps it won't be. I'm not planning it. My current story is that I was officially uninvited to the last reunion (a story which remains as totally unverified), so it'll be interesting to see everyone again.

June I traveled to celebrate the retirement of my dad. This wasn't originally in my plans, but my mom called up and requested I go, and how she wanted all three of their children to show. Cleverly, she called and got confirmations from my older sister and I before calling my younger brother to ask if he would go with the additional bonus that she could say, "also, your older siblings will be here." Though normally immune to even the most weighty of guilt-trips, my brother relented. All of us would be there for Dad.

Mom sweetened the deal by offering to pay for air fare. This seemed a great idea. She later contacted me asking if I'd drive over to my sister's place so that I could fly with her. It's cheaper. This is verifiable. Though Santa Rosa officially has an airport, it is cheaper, including gas and car maintenance costs, for me to drive to Sacramento and fly up to Portland from there. Since she was paying, I again relented, forgetting to mention ideal departure times for the trip home. Oops. We were scheduled to return to Sacramento around 9:30pm. Driving back to my sister's place would take another half hour or so. Driving from Sacramento to Santa Rosa would get me home around twelve midnight or one am.

The other bonus part to this trip was that it was a "surprise" for my dad. It was a surprise in that in theory he didn't know we were coming. It is in quotes because it took mere days after planning for clues about what was happening to fall on the floor like so many Cheez-Its falling from a box held by a toddler. Also, the rug is probably white. I'm losing the metaphor, I think. Anyways, remember this. It was a "surprise."

Traveling with another is fairly new to me, as a single man (that's right ladies, I'm single -- wait, my editor just informed me that no single women actually read this blog -- carry on). So it was nice to have the company of my sister, henceforth known as my Erstwhile Traveling Companion. We arrived at the Sac airport without a hitch. Hungry, we had a bit to eat beforehand. For some reason, while ordering I felt the need to wave my hand. Was I engaging in some sort of Jedi Mind Trick?

"I'll take the Buffalo Wings," he said as he waved his hand.

"You'll take the Buffalo Wings," she repeated. "Would you like ranch or bleu cheese dip with that?"

"Bleu Cheese, please," he responded, again waving his hand.

"Bleu cheese," she repeated.

The wings were a tad undercooked, and with not very much by way of spice. That'll teach me to misuse my Jedi powers.

My Erstwhile Traveling Companion inherited a tendency towards motion sickness, as well as harboring a general dislike of travel. To ease possible pains of flight, she took a Dramamine during our snack and allowed it to take effect. It was already working its magic when we moved to the gate to wait our flight's arrival. She then pulled out a book of Sudoku to occupy her time.

For those of you who have been frozen in carbonite and served as decoration in Jabba's lair for the past decade, Sudoku is a sort of crossword meets numbers game that every book will declare as a "SMASH CRAZE!" or some-such descriptors with gratuitous caps and exclamation points. I've mostly avoided it as it involves putting numbers in boxes, which is more or less my job and it just seems excessive to make that my hobby as well. The real fun is watching someone else put numbers in boxes -- when they are on Dramamine.

Yes, at one point my Erstwhile Traveling Companion pauses and goes, "Uh oh." I look up and she continues, "Do you see what's wrong?"

I glance and I do note that she's placed a "4" in a box where apparently there was a 4 nearby. By crazy Sudoku rules, this cannot happen. Thus she stares at it, then finally erases it. She stares at the empty spot and continues, "that has to be a 4 ..." and starts to write in the same number. This happened at least three times, I'm sure. I'd never exaggerate for comedic effect. You can trust me dear readers.

Finally, after much giggling about errant fours, we board the plane and discover, Hurrah! Sky Mall! Few things are as fun as browsing this magazine on the plane. While there are some decent things in there, you get real gems like the world's only underwater pogo stick! I'm serious. It's real! Just look at link! There's even more that's fun and exciting! Want a creepy face to put on your tree? They have one! Need zombies to crawl out of your rose garden? Look no more!

By far my favorite remains the underwater pogo stick. Someone had to say, "I love to swim, and I love to bounce around a lot. There has to be a way to combine these two activities in one!" My brother later commented that clearly we should put our heads together and come up with an amphibious pogo stick. He's on to something there!

Speaking of brother, did I mention that his flight was scheduled to arrive around midnight, while my Erstwhile Traveling Companion arrived at 10pm? Did I also mention that his plane was delayed an hour? Remember, we were still operating on the theory of: this is a surprise! So of course, we had to wait for him to arrive so we could all "surprise" Dad together. Dad did his part well, he acted very surprised. Bless him.

Our rental car was some Mazda model that looked as if an SUV had mated with a station wagon. This mule of a vehicle was quite functional, though oddly the driver's side seat couldn't be moved back more than an inch from starting position, which was apparently set for "The Lollipop Guild". We're a tall family, and my Erstwhile Traveling Companion barely fit. Fortunately, the driver's side seat could be raised or lowered with a lever that gave her room. Also, she was entertained by raising the seat, then lowering it, then raising it, then lowering it. She did that at least five times, perhaps more, before we even left the rental car lot. Honestly, I can't blame her. I tried it too. It's a lot of fun.

That's all for now, dear readers. I'll be back with more. My editors inform me of a first: I've lost no readers in this posting. Congratulations me! Wait -- oops. My editors inform me that we've lost no readers because two-thirds have fallen asleep while reading this. They are submitting the numbers to accounting to figure out what this means.

Until later then!

New Places to Go

Somehow I'm always the last in the family to go to these sites and begin something anew. Who cares?

So, this is now my Travelogue. Sometimes I will travel and will report on my adventures overseas ... or overlands. Whatever. The rest of the time, I'll just post whatever I'm thinking about presently. Like right now, I'm thinking about donuts.

O_O .oO(Donuts!)

Oh boy! The adventure begins!