Monday, June 05, 2006


What I Learned This Weekend

- A small car seems ever-so-much smaller when a family of four is stuck in it for most of two days.

- Some things never change. Northern Town was gray (check), rainy (check), and unseasonably cold (check).

- Cheap hotels make up the difference on towels (I think it was a 40 grit), toiletries (BYOT, apparently), and television reception (the worst I’ve seen since the pre-cable days of the 70's).

- Over the Hedge is a better movie than you’d think.

- The street grid of Northern Town has changed so little in 20 years that I can still navigate it pretty well.

- Tim Horton’s donuts has invaded the United States. I foresee a skirmish with Krispy Kreme and Dunkin Donuts. This is all to the good. For my money, Krispy Kreme has the best donuts, Tim Horton’s the best coffee, and Dunkin Donuts the best locations. Of course, this may require more investigation. Can’t rush to judgment. More data needed. I may pick up some data on the way to work today...

- Apparently, “making change” is no longer used as an example in high school math classes. One cashier was utterly defeated by trying to make change when I paid a $4.88 tab with a $5 bill.

- If you go more than a mile off the highway, and you’re more than 20 miles from the nearest ‘city,’ you see a side of America you don’t usually see. Damn. I mean, Damn.

- Although “Cracker Barrel” is a fairly retro place, props/snaps/kudos for having a changing table in the men’s room. You’d be surprised how many places still don’t.

- After three days of hamburgers, fast food, and assorted junk, I actually crave vegetables.

- If you watch a major-league game on a high-def tv, you can actually pick out blades of grass on the field, faces in the stands, and the exact moment the shortstop boots an easy grounder.

- My pensive, wry, and ironic attitude towards human failings hardens into animal rage when, a half-hour from home, some missing evolutionary link in front of me in a Suburban decides to go ten miles under the speed limit, indefinitely, for no particular reason. Some fairly un-deanly language gets used.

- After three days of close-quarters, incessant togetherness, I am one surly so-and-so. The introvert goes on overload. The whole ‘fortress of solitude’ thing suddenly starts to make sense...

- Good health news about one parent can be quickly counterbalanced by worrying health news about the other.

- The Boy is hungry every minute of the day, except at meals. I have no idea how this is possible.

- Walkers come with wheels, brakes, seats, and storage compartments.

- Certain public parks feature lots of cars parked, with people sitting in them and engines running. I choose not to devote too much thought to this.

- Nothing is more interesting to The Girl, at any given moment, than whatever The Boy is playing with at that moment. It loses its mysterious appeal when he hands it over.

- As cute as The Girl is when she sleeps, she’s even cuter when she sleeps on my Dad’s lap.

A bud of mine has a gigantic high-definition television, and he loves sports. Lemme tellya, it can be a mixed blessing. Why? Because modern TV directors feel the need to use extreme closeups on players, especially pitchers.

Does America really need to see every pore and pockmark on Esteban Loaiza's sweaty face? I say no. Fine pitcher. Ugly man. A high-resolution picture of him, four feet tall, is enough to induce long-term trauma to fans.

Let's not even discuss Randy Johnson.

Man, they need to lay off the closeups with hi-def. Tight shots on Joe Torre's face still haunt my nightmares. Giant Torre Heads chase me through the streets...
I'm with you on the admiration for Tim's brewing skills. Heck, they even wrangled in this tea drinker with their steeped tea (infinitely superior to the drek we can get at the university caf). And sympathies on the needing alone time. I went into my office, hoping for such, only to have the complete array of lawn care buzzing tools convene outside my office window for two and a half hours.

I learned almost all that as well, but it was nearly a couple decades ago. I hope you took lots of photos--in a surprisingly short period of time all the frustrations will have evaporated, and you'll only remember what a great trip it was.

I suppose I'm ready to become a grandparent.
I'm curious about that "Damn" regarding rural areas. I think I'm too desensitized to rurality by an Iowan upbringing to get what you mean. It sounds like a good story, either way.
Apparently, “making change” is no longer used as an example in high school math classes. One cashier was utterly defeated by trying to make change when I paid a $4.88 tab with a $5 bill.

I bet. Trying giving them $5.03 and you'll see the true face of defeat...
"Ditto" on Over the Hedge. I resisted seeing it, based on the previews, but the Little Joggers dragged me to it this last week, and it was really not too bad.
Up in New England, acceptance has been slow for Tim Horton's. The regional preference for coffee from any of a number of regional chains dies hard. I can vouch for good coffee and doughnuts from TH on the Detroit-London-Niagara route.
*diabolical laughter*

Another captive taken in the Tim Horton bid for world domination...

(I swear, they must put crack in their coffee. I don't know why else it would be so friggin' addictive.)
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