About TBPD

16 March
Carmel, CA

17 March
Los Angeles, CA

18 March
Las Vegas, NV

19 March
Albuquerque, NM

20 March
Lubbock, TX

21 March
Dallas, TX

22 March
Dallas, TX (still)

24 March
Chattanooga, TN

25 March
Roanoke, VA

27 March
Philadelphia, PA

25 March 2000
Roanoke, VA

I have mixed feelings about Virginia. The good part of the mix is that it's got some beautiful terrain, even along the interstate which is, I've discovered, often the ugliest part of a given state. It reminds me of my stepmother's old model train set which was probably my first exposure to the Cute East Coast Look, with the spires and the green rolling hills and the purple mountain majesties and the white picket fences and red barns and black-and-white cows. And there were tiny, focused thunderstorms here and there that would come out of nowhere, pelt the car with hugely fat drops of loud rain, and then disappear and I'd be back in the sunlight. It was no-nonsense and intense — exactly how I imagined the East Coast would be! Virginia is for lovers!

Also: I'm excited to be living somewhere with actual thunder and lightning again.

The bad part of the mix is that I've seen more cops per square inch than in all the other states I've passed through combined. At first I thought I was just being paranoid, noticing them more since my run-in with the Law yesterday, but then it just started getting ridiculous. Every four minutes I'd see a car hidden behind a bush or a hill (some of them looking suspiciously out of place, geographically, which made me wonder if they were artificial, built specifically for hiding state troopers) or pulling someone over. There were even a smattering of unmarked police cars, with radar guns sticking out of their windows. I don't want to reveal my ugly little secret until tomorrow, but let's just say I wasn't looking to be pulled over again, and so had minor heart attacks every time I saw one, which, as reported, was way too often.

I got further along today than expected, so I think I'll be making the final sprint into Philadelphia tomorrow, just in time to cozy up to Alex and watch the Oscars. I haven't even filled out my prediction sheet yet! Luckily, I'll have a good seven hours or so to think about my choices in the car tomorrow.

So tomorrow I'll be there. This trip went a lot more quickly than expected — not at all the month-long mega-tour that I'd originally planned. Nevertheless, I'm more than ready to be there. I've had my fill of driving, my fill of this purgatorial state, and am ready to get Phase IX of my life started. Yes, I have divided my life thus far into Phases and what of it?

A lot is going to be happening over the next month to get Phase IX underway, and I'm going to have to deal with all these massive changes face-to-face, but the only thing I'm really nervous about is starting my new job. I'm excited about being with Alex full-time, and moving into my new apartment, and living in my new little town, and I'm excited that the Oscars are on at like 8pm or whatever instead of the usual too-early 5 or 6 of the West Coast. But new jobs always give me the willies. One of the things I hate more than anything is being New Boy and not knowing what to do or how things work or who's who, and because of How I Am, it takes forever for me to unwind the tight knots in my personality and get comfortable and it takes forever for people to start understanding when I'm kidding and when I'm not. Even when I started at Webmonkey, which was a group that I think I fit pretty well into, and even had a friend there that I already knew beforehand in the form of Evany, even then it took me a while to relax and feel comfortable and not be a big stressball.

The good news is that my new job is hiring approx. ten million new people these days, so I'll be New Boy for about half an hour. Also, it sounds like everyone is running around crazy and frantic so there probably won't be a whole lot of time for my namby-pamby shyness. I will just have to skip Job Puberty entirely.

I miss my co-workers at Webmonkey. We had a good little group, and I'd be surprised if I ever got to work with such a tight-knit, smart, funny collection of people again. I'm beginning to realize how that is just about as important as the actual work being done (me, caring more about people than the creative output? oh god, what's happening to me?). I heard a soundbite about The Guy Who Invented the Internet, whoever that is, and someone asked him if he was all pissed off because he's not cashing in on the huge dot-com boom, and he said: "You know, fucker [I'm paraphrasing a little], I got to pick who I worked with for the past 40 years, and pick what projects I wanted to work on, and I had a great time doing interesting stuff with interesting people. How many folks can say that? Now screw off and get back to reporting on the Webbys or whatever." That's my idea of professional success, doing interesting stuff with interesting people. I could live with that.

I try not to imitate people's accents when talking to them around here, but it's hard. I keep letting "than-kyew!" pop out.

Today's Lodging:

Country Inns & Suites. They try very hard to create an atmosphere of down-home country quaintness, incl. fireplace in lobby, but there are two enormous obstacles to my happiness. One is a staggering stench of perfume (overambitious potpourri, maybe) in my room and, more seriously, no HBO. I'm flabbergasted. I really thought HBO was standard, esp. in something that bills itself as "Inns & Suites." So, no "Sopranos" for me, and no "Lost and Found," the hilarious Chris Farley-less David Spade movie I was so eager to enjoy. Also, the clock-radio (which not every h/motel provides, I've discovered) is a little over an hour fast. On the other hand, they have provided two peepholes on the door, one for short people and one for tall.

Today's Facial Hair Report:

Eighty percent chance of Grizzly Adams, with a ZZ Top warm front moving in from the south.

Noteworthy Beverages?

Mello Yello. I haven't had this in ages, if ever. I remember I'd turn up a disdainful nose at this beverage when I was little, opting instead for Rondo, a similar Mountain Dewy type drink with a tastefully designed label. Still, I couldn't complain about today's Mello Yello which is like a more lemony Mountain Dew, and equally low in carbonation (thus "mellow").

This has been a presentation of Fireland Text Products.