high-minded drivel

high-minded (adjective) - refined; cultured; particularly civilized. drivel (noun) - senseless talk; nonsense.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Fievel should have taken his sunglasses

Tonight's post will be the only one for about two weeks, as this weekend I'll be departing for the West along with Divya to spend a week of vacation road tripping across the country, and then likely spending most of the following week trying madly to get caught up at work.  The silver lining is that there should be much to write about by the time there is a free moment to post again.  I suppose I could take Mac the Laptop along for the trip, but he's not much of a hiker.  No legs, you know.  He's also white as can be, so he'd probably get badly sunburned.

We plan to camp at one of the National Parks, so this evening I had my tent out in the backyard, attempting to waterproof the seams.  I'm not sure how effective my waterproofing job will turn out to be (hopefully we won't have reason to find out) because the product I was using was kind of difficult to apply.  It's called SeamSure, and all the popular kids are using it.  It comes in a little squeeze bottle with an applicator brush at the top.  Seems simple, but the liquid just kind of dripped out away from the brush bristles.  Maybe you have to go really, really slow to apply it correctly.  Thing is, I'm just not that patient, especially when I'm getting eaten alive by the apparent infestation of biting insects in our backyard.  I expect that you are supposed to apply it more slowly and carefully than I applied it, but I also expect that it isn't an exact science.  Given my description of the product, you may be thinking that SeamSure is some second-rate cheap-skate waterproofer, but I got it at The Outdoor Source, where all the popular kids shop, so I don't think so.  If there does end up being a downpour, and my SeamSure-sealed seams do fail, then at least we can just jump in the car and sleep there for the night.  We're not backpacking, just camping, so we'll have the luxury of Hotel Camry close at hand if the need arises.

The final destination for the trip is Irvine, California, where Divya will be starting post-doctoral research at UC-Irvine.  Having never been to California, I'm interested to see what it is like.  Irvine is in Orange County, made famous by the fact that the County is literally the color orange.  They say that the orange tinge to the land is the direct result of the tremendous quantities of orange creamsicles that have been consumed in the County.  It's quite warm there, so they melt and drip on the ground.  The warmth also is what causes such a large consumption of creamsicles.  Needless to say, I am totally psyched about getting an orange creamsicle upon reaching Orange County.

When you're going on a road trip, and especially when you're traveling out West, there are a few things you want to make sure that you've packed.  First, a pillow.  This is not for purposes of sleeping in the tent, but rather for purposes of sleeping in the car.  Some may play it extra cautious and only sleep while pulled over, or while occupying the passenger seat, but it's actually been proven in repeated tests that you can cross the entire state of Kansas by simply tying a brick to the gas pedal, reclining your seat, shutting your eyes, and letting the car go.  There are no turns, so you don't need to steer, and there are no stop lights, so you don't need to stop.  There is a slight possibility that you will slam into the back of another vehicle that either can't go as fast as you or has a lighter brick tied to their gas pedal, but this is considered an acceptable risk when considering the alternative of actually watching the state of Kansas go by.  Most people reason that you're going to fall asleep trying to drive through Kansas anyway, so you may as well recline your seat and be farther away from the steering wheel at the moment of impact, if it comes to that.

The second essential item to pack is a handy book of donkey names.  Out west you can do fun activities like riding donkeys down into canyons, and tour guides encourage visitors to name their donkey before setting out.  Women typically pick names like Bessy or Tulip, while men typically pick names like Charger or Meanstreak.  The tour guides make sure that the implied gender of the name matches the actual gender of the donkey, but it wouldn't really matter anyway because the donkey doesn't listen to you calling it by your chosen nickname.  It's too busy trying to navigate down a steep canyon wall without pitching you off so that you don't break your fool neck.  The concentration of the donkeys on their path is remarkable, but it results in them not paying attention to other things, like when and where they shit.  Fortunately, the rider doesn't notice any difference, because they've already shitted themselves many times over thinking that they're going to get pitched off Tulip and break their fool neck.

The third and final essential item to pack is a pair of sunglasses.  Sunglasses are immensely useful.  Whether driving or hiking, sunglasses can be used for the purpose of shielding the eyes from the sun.  However, their usefulness extends to a variety of other settings.  Feel like stopping for a night in Las Vegas?  Sure!  You're all set to keep your shifty eyes hidden at the poker tables.  Want to mingle with the stars and starlets in L.A.?  Go for it!  You'll fit right in wearing sunglasses!  Want to barter with the local Native American tribe in Arizona?  Well, everybody wants a pair of useful sunglasses!  What a great bargaining chip!  These are all great reasons to take a pair of sunglasses on your trip out West.  But the number one reason to keep your shades on you at all times is this: You'll be able to cover up the black eye you received from a friend punching you after you inform them that you half-assed the waterproofing job on the tent and it looks like you're going to have to sleep in the car, because that rain is just pouring in.

From my vast knowledge of how to plan for and execute a successful trip out West, you may be led to believe that I've done this before.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  I've never been west of Arkansas, so this trip will mostly cover new territory for me.  As a result, we'll probably be relying on GPS a bit.  The standard voice on GPS devices is a calm woman's voice, for reasons that have been researched and tested I'm sure, but I've heard that you can also get your GPS to speak in a Darth Vader voice, which sounds like it would never be not funny.  This option got me thinking about other GPS products that could potentially be marketed...

Scenic GPS: This is a pretty straightforward idea, but may be one of the harder ones to program.  The GPS doesn't take you on the shortest route to your destination, but rather on a route that is considered scenic.  Want to make the most of your trip but don't know where the best spots are for sight-seeing?  No problem.  Just plug in Scenic GPS and you have your own built-in tour guide.

Storytelling GPS: Perfect for the long drive.  It's like a book on CD, but you avoid any annoying overlap between the story you're trying to hear and the directions being delivered by your GPS.  The GPS voice tells a story, and only politely interjects a direction when necessary.  "As Mark and Velma walked along the busy city street, they came across a piece of pottery lying on the sidewalk.  Just turn left up here, thanks.  Stooping to pick up the object, Mark glanced sideways at Velma to see if she recognized it."  See how it works?  Doesn't miss a beat.

Sarcastic GPS: This one is for the person seeking to be amused on their drive.  Instead of simply saying "Turn right in 3 miles," this GPS would say something like "You know what you should do?  Turn left in 3 miles.  That would be awesome.  That would clearly be the right decision to make.  Great driving.  Oh sure sure, take your time, no rush, I've got all day."  Dennis Leary's voice would be well-suited for this.

Puzzle GPS: For the driver who wants a challenge.  Puzzle GPS exercises your brain by making you figure out clues to tell you where you should go.  You're driving along the highway, and you know you'll need to exit at some point, but all you know is that your exit is somehow connected with the 19th President of the United States.  Kind of like a crossword, GPS-style.

Kansas GPS: Kansas GPS gives no direction whatsoever, but it does play soothing sounds of water lapping on a beach to help you rest easy.

Football season has started, but that's not why I have this picture of Troy Polamalu here.  It just happened that this picture came up when I searched for "donkey wearing sunglasses eating creamsicle" on Google Images.


  1. Shitted? Shat? I hate conjugation...

    Hope to connect when you get out west- I'll buy the first creamsicle, but no more. I'm on the wagon.

  2. very amusing :)
    i must say every blog is showing off your writing skill.:)