Monday, May 02, 2005

Notes after arriving in L.A.

1) I guess I really did miss the weather down here. Damn. Maybe that means I was just getting conditioned to Seattle even though I outwardly denied it? Nah. One thing I didn't miss? Road Rage. Considering it was my first time driving a trailer, especially in the four lanes of packed traffic that is the 405 (L.A.'s version, not Seattle's, though similar), I'm surprised I wasn't shot at. Although I did get a "Please don't shoot me" wave from a middle-aged white woman driving a Lexus RX300 who cut me off on a steep incline about 60 miles north of L.A. and then noticed that I hadn't shaved in several days.

2) If you have ever wondered whether or not cops really are out in force at the beginning and end of every month to meet quota, know that it is definitely the case in Oregon, through which I passed on Saturday evening (4/30) en route from Seattle down to L.A. I counted 12 cops, beginning about a half hour south of Portland and continuing all the way down to Ashland (the border). Didn't see a single Washington trooper or California Highway Patrolman in my drives through those states. Well, aside from the CHIP at Wendy's.

3) No matter how often I go to Oregon, I still can't get over the fact that they don't trust normal people to fill their own gas. Perhaps the abundance of hippies will result in myriad freak post-Orange-mocha-frappucino-gasoline-fight accidents? So anyway, they have full time professional hippies come out and fill your gas for you. Several years ago, I caved and tipped the hippies. Now, I know better. They'll just spend it on weed anyway.

4) As much shit as people like to talk about the roads down South, try driving around the Bay Area sometime. Once you get off I-5 (I was on 505, 80, 680, and 880, in addition to a couple state Highways), those roads will make you consider every possible method by which your mattress could wind up on top of your $3k+ big screen TV, which you naturally forgot to pad on top before locking up.

5) Know how you're used to seeing McD's and Taco Bells and Dairy Queens off interstate exits when you're in the middle of nowhere? Well, there's a Taste of India in Buttonwillow, California, proud owner of one interstate exit. No I didn't try it.

6) I know I linked to the Yahoo map for Buttonwillow, but you really should use Google maps (I don't know how to link to specific maps yet, since the URL didn't change when I pulled up Buttonwillow). You can actually use keyboard arrows to navigate the maps AND if you do driving directions, you can actually see the SATELLITE picture of the driving directions. Seriously. Try it. It'll superimpose the blue line showing your route over the actual highway in the satellite pic. I thought you could just do still shots of the satellite, which was cool enough, but actually seeing every turn you have to make when it says "Bear Right at XXX freeway for 0.1 mi" you'll know exactly what it means. These are the sorts of things that make me have to change my underpants.

7) Yes, that was a shameless Google plug but only because I like that map function. I did get to tour the Google offices with Mayumi. Honestly, they rock the hell out of Microsoft's, which are quite dreary on the inside despite the outward appearance of happy soccer fields and Lake Sammammish et al. I still can't believe this company (Google, that is) was FOUNDED in 1998.

8) If you have Cingular, you will have a strong cell signal the entire length of I-5.

9) The new 6GB iPod mini which advertises an 18-hour battery life is certainly as good as advertised. I charged it almost fully before I left, and had it on virtually the entire drive (1175 miles or so, about 18 hours of driving time). It still has some charge left. I read some reviews which told of its ability to play for 26 hours straight (without the battery drains caused by stopping and restarting it or turning on the backlight to change songs), and I believe those entirely.


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