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!