seeking knowledge and laughter, putting a bullseye on inaccuracy

Travel

Thoughts and reflections on trips I have taken, from across the planet to across the state.

Home

I'm back at home after driving 1000 miles in 2 days (with 2 days between them) and flying up from Dallas. Off to shoot a sports banquet for Mac.

East Texas Drivin'

On Thursday morning, I woke up early and headed out to the Dallas/Forth Worth car rental center at the airport. I quickly realized that once again, I did not sufficiently value the marginal few dollars between the more budget rental car places and the better-known national ones. I had a reservation with Advantage Rent a car. My bad. I will not make this mistake again.

I wanted a compact car. They tried to upsell me to a higher car (they all do this) and then ended up putting me in a full-size even after I refused because they had no compact or mid-size cars anyway. But it had no aux jack for my iPod, so I asked for a different car. They offered a 22 mpg SUV which I turned down. I figured if I could not get a proper stereo, I should get an economy car to save on gas.

So I jumped in my Aveo pregnant roller skate and headed back to the airport to check out and hit the road. Drove east toward Lafayette, some 400 miles to the southeast. No iPod - no CDs - no public radio after the first two hours. Lots of Christian radio stations (mostly on FM), a few conservative talk radio stations on AM, and a few radio stations playing the same shit you hear on the radio across the country.

As I drove, I thought it odd that I was heading into an area largely responsible for some of the best music this country has produced and yet could not find a decent thing worth listening to on the radio. (Note to federal regulators, you have DESTROYED radio in this country). As I drove, I wondered if maybe the Louisiana folks created so much great music because there was nothing on the radio.

I turned to "Christian" radio - it sounded more like Republican small-minded radio that included Biblical panders. One of the stations was carrying shows from the American Family Radio network - which was stunning. As I surveyed my radio choices in Western Lousiana and East Texas, I wondered how anyone growing up in this environment would find any alternative information to balance such a narrow minded world view.

One woman called in to comment that Jesus undoubtedly knew many women (hehehehe, knew!) but he chose 12 men to be the disciples. So, clearly, women are not meant to be in positions of leadership. From this the host commented that thought this was an important debate. Were women merely biblically barred from positions of authority in the church, or in wider society as well? Should women be prohibited from running for political office? CEO of companies? These people are still debating this? I guess they'll next start discussing why law should not ban slavery because the Bible is pretty supportive of it.

Another topic centered on the immorality of pornography and how it destroys marriages. As I listened, I could not help but wonder whether the self-loathing inspired by these everything-that-feels-good-must-be-a-sin types has destroyed 100x or 1000x as many marriages as pornography.

The woman caller had married her husband at 18 years old - having never slept with (or, according to her, even kissed) another. After four kids and many years of marriage, she has lost her love for him because he could not kick the porn habit. He (egads!) has visited strip clubs!

To be clear, if you are in a truly committed relationship with someone who is so opposed to porn and strip clubs that you agree not to use them, you should either abide by that or find someone more suited to your desires. This is the fundamental problem with marrying at 18 years old without having ever dated anyone. The absurdity of choosing who to spend the rest of your life before having any idea of the variety among different people is stunning.

In my mind, I was comparing this to playing Russian Roulette with yourself. Sure, it won't always end badly, but that does not make it a good idea!!

Ugh. Supremely depressing. Especially as I would again be stuck listening to some of these same discussions as I drove back from Lafayette to Houston to see Eric and Chanda.

Lafayette was really interesting - a beautiful downtown area surrounded with both students at the local college and run-down houses and businesses. All the lunch places close at 2:00, which meant we did not get to have a full Cajun-style lunch because we started too late. Did have a great sandwich - a Shrimp Poor-Boy Po'Boy - at a local favorite eat-em-up spot. Basically a fried-shrimp sub. Yumm!

Got to Eric and Chanda's around 10:00 PM after driving 700 miles that day. It was a good day - learned a lot and brainstormed on some really good ideas for projects at work to further our mission.

Last SW 06 Photos

I have finally finished posting the photos from the SW '05-06 roadtrip with the last few photos from Arizona.

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700 Miles

Lots of driving today, but I made it! Details to follow...

Last Night at DFW

The conference is ending, I spoke this morning. Once again, I did an okay job on my prepared comments and cleaned up in the Q&A period, where it was more of a targeted, one on one response.

I was part of a panel and we were well received, considering that most folks had already left to catch plans. Mental note: Push to appear on panels that occur in the middle of a conference, not at the beginning or end!

Tomorrow, I'll be getting up early and heading over to rent a car. Then I'll be driving for 6 hours to get to Lafayette, LA, in time for lunch and a number of discussions about the network they are building there. Lafayette will be the largest muni fiber build in the country when it launches later this year.

Then I'll be driving another 4 hours back into Texas to spend a few days with Klink and Klinkette. I'm starting to appreciate the size of Texas. Looking forward to some Texas food with Eric and Chanda as well as some Louisiana food when I meet with folks down thar.

Flying back to MN on Sunday - hoping it will be spring.

TX2

Hanging in Texas at the Hyatt Regency at the Dallas airport. Great showers here! And they have these nice LG LCD HD monitors - but I'm still stuck watching NHL in standard def. It looks wretched. Hockey was meant to be in HD.

The conference was good today again - quickly learning a lot and getting ideas for future publications and projects. Some of these people have said they "track my work." How's that for hot shit? Look out world!

Tonight, I should actually have time to relax. Yesterday was brutal. Up early to travel, then a full day of conference, 2 hours of discussion after so I didn't "stop working" until I grabbed dinner with a friend. We talked for maybe 2 hours and then I got back to work, writing up the days events. Finally fell asleep late - with a horrible headache still. Middle of the night, felt like puking, so I took a few Excedrin Migraine and turned on ESPN to distract me while I tried to fall back asleep.

Woke up a few hours later feeling great and ready for the day. The rest of the day has gone swimmingly. Woohooo! With luck, I may have some time to read something for fun tonight after I prep for my talk tomorrow afternoon.

Texas Nachos

I'm down in Texas. Haven't seen much yet, I'm in a hotel close enough to the air control tower of the DFW airport that, if it fell, I would run away to avoid gettin' squished.

Stuck in the hotel because I don't have a car and there is nothing nearby but highways. The food at the Hyatt Regency sucks. I just had the worst plate of Texas Nachos I have ever had, followed by the worst Caesar salad ever. Just awful.

I have to pay $10 per 24 hours for Internet access. Ridiculous.

But the conference is going well. I've been learning a lot and having lots of great conversations. No complaints there. But I'm tired and sore. My shoulders are really sore and tight - my head has ached for 10 hours (from fatigue, I think) and I'm blogging rather than sleeping ... hmmmm.

I speak on Wed, so I'll put off coming up with a presentation for another night.

Next Week: TX

I'm getting ready to head down to Dallas, Texas, for a conference next week. I'll be speaking about publicly owned networks there on a panel. After that, I'll be driving a ways to Lafayette, Louisiana, to learn more about a network they are building.

On the way back, I'll be stopping by Eric and Chanda's for a few days of catching up and being made fun of. I don't plan on showering to pay them back.

It's a Grand Canyon

More photos from that Southwest roadtrip! I did not take many, but the photos from the Grand Canyon are now posted.

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Home!

Arrived home last night - exhausted. If Michelle hadn't brought those amazing white choco mac nut cookies to the airport, I might not have made it.

Had a great time in North Carolina - was amazed at the Interstate highways there (and I drove on several of them). They appeared to be quite new - with fresh paint and wide paved shoulders. Good signage too. I definitely want to head back to NC for a vacation with Michelle - perhaps in Asheville and Boone. But I think this is the time of year to do it so we'll have to wait at least a year.

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