Monday, November 2, 2009

(The Sometimes) Friday Five

The Excuse

I’m typing this on Thursday but I’m no declaring victory quite yet…

The above was typed on 22Oct. I hadn’t quite finished up my posting, figuring I would get it posted when I got home. Well, when I got home the urge to install Windows 7 overtook me. I figured I’d finish/post it on Sunday. Then I realized on the plane that I didn’t have this posting on the newly installed OS. And then I came to find that much of my hardware wasn’t working correctly. So that took all my time earlier this week when I would have been finishing this and posting it.

The end result is I’ll be posting a two week update.

The Week

This week Last week was a bit of an odd one for me scheduling wise. Usually I’m gone for a collective 5 days, but this week it was just a quick two day trip to Boise, ID. This meant that I was able to spend Saturday (most of it) and Sunday doing what I love to do on fall weekends – sitting on my couch watching football. It was everything I thought it would be and more.

The one exception to my football watching was on Saturday when Karin, Donna and I went to see Toy Story 1 and 2 in 3D. I have to say that my first 3D experience since the 1980’s didn’t leave me with any greater “wow” feeling than it did 20+ years ago. It may just be me, but I have a pretty strong inclination that this will befall the same fate as it did before.

Being home on Monday night also meant being able to go out with friends to watch the game at San Diego Brewing. Little things like that are certainly what I miss the most while on the road. Unfortunately, of course, the game didn’t turn out quite the way I would have have liked. I may do a blog posting on the Chargers season (and future beyond that) later, but right now my emotions are still a bit raw.

The trip, like I mentioned, was to Boise. I’ve mentioned many times before that I love Boise, and this trip helped solidify it. I described it to Abram earlier this week as “Burlington, only with a lot less hippies.” If I were to ever consider moving back to a small town that had seasons Boise would certainly be at the top of the list.

Speaking of small towns, one thing I don’t often think of is the price difference between a larger metropolis like San Diego and a much smaller one like Boise. On Wednesday night I took a trip to Famous Dave’s (have I mentioned I love Famous Dave’s?), settled in at the bar and was informed that it was happy hour and all drafts were $2. Not crap beers were $2 – all drafts. And they had about 15 to choose from, including a fantastic local IPA. $2 for a pint. You just don’t see that elsewhere. San Diego Brewing, for instance, will do $3.50 pints of their own brews, but not of others. At $2 a pint it becomes about on par (if not cheaper) than buying (good) beer in a store.

The trip also reminded me how much I miss fall. I miss the crisp air, leaves turning, and the memories that type of weather brings back. I have talked to more than a small handful of people who have moved away from San Diego because they miss the seasons, and I do understand that. San Diego doesn’t really have seasons. More of just a summer to spring and back again. I’ve had a couple of people try to convince me that the seasons are just more “subtle.” Nah – there just aren’t really seasons.

That was last week, when I thought I was in a small town. Boy was I wrong. This week I was in Altus, OK. If you’re not sure where Altus, OK is, well, you’re probably normal. But in case you’re curious, it’s in the middle of nowhere, or as Abram put it, it’s the city of Nowhere, in the county of Nowhere, in the state of Nowhere. You can see it on a map here.

Altus is a town of about 20,000 people, and was chosen by the Air Force for a base specifically because it’s in the middle of nowhere. It’s the training base for large aircraft.

Needless to say, I didn’t find very much to do during the week. In fact, when I asked my students about where to go for dinner I was met with a blank stare for a good 10 seconds until someone said, “Well, um, there’s an Applebees”. Not really the answer I was looking for. In any event, I did find a couple of places to eat, one which I really loved (see below), and another that was just OK.

One thing about travelling to more conservative states is the bizarre alcohol laws they have. Because I had a mini-fridge in my room I decided to stock it with a six pack. Stopped by a liquor store and found that they had no beer fridge. After settling on a six pack I asked the clerk if they had any cold beer. I was then informed that because they sold beer stronger than 3.2 they weren’t allowed to have cold beer. I also learned that if you buy 3.2 beer in a grocery or convenience store that it must be in a bag, but not in a liquor store. Really – who makes these laws, and what good do they think it does? Although Oklahoma does have a 21 and up law when it comes to sitting at the bar which I do appreciate.

The Exercise

Ron asked about this when I posted a picture of dinner to Facebook. Does working through a few ribs count?

But again – that was last week. This week I managed to get in a couple days worth of exercise. Journey of a thousand miles and all that…

The Restaurant

One restaurant that my students did recommend was Tommy Joe’s BBQ (not Tommy John’s, that’s something completely different). Apparently the story behind the restaurant is Tommy Joe had a trailer that he made and sold BBQ out of, before making enough money to buy up a building. I had a three-meat combo which included ribs, brisket and turkey. All of which were outstanding, even if the ribs were a bit too salty. The sauce they had was fantastic, with a heat that wasn’t overpowering but really built up to let you know that it’s there. Next time you’re in Altus, OK…..

The Travel Note

I guess you should be clear in the type of room you ask for. I apparently forgot to ask for the non-leaking room. When I was in Altus a pretty good storm came rolling through. I slept through the storm up to the point where I started getting splashed on. A leak had formed through the smoke detector in my room. I’m here to tell you that packing up your room at 2a to move to another room is not fun.

The Five

I’ve got travel on the brain lately, so here’s the five places I want to visit most:

  1. Japan – Anywhere in the Orient, really. The area, culture, history all fascinate me.
  2. Ireland – For obvious reasons.
  3. New Zealand – With a little luck we’ll be headed out there next year (if Karin says “yes”).
  4. Hawaii – Can’t figure out how we haven’t made it over there yet.
  5. Vancouver – I’m not sure how I’ve never managed to take the quick jaunt up there considering the number of times I’ve been to Seattle.