May 8, 2005


No matter how you try to slice it, 36 hours of driving is a heck of a lot of driving. I made really good time on the drive home, putting in two 14-hour days of driving to cut down on the amount of time I’d need to drive on the last day, when I knew I’d be completely burned out.

After formulating some serious strategery in a Pizza Hut dining room, I spent the first night at a campground just outside of Helena, Montana. I had driven through some heavy rainstorms from Idaho to Missoula, and I was pretty sure those storms would catch up to me that night and give my tent a good soaking. My tent is about seven years old now, and the nylon soaks up water like cotton socks. It’s rather lovely, as my friend Hank can attest to from our backpacking trip to Oregon back in March 2003.

Anyways, at Helena I decided to gamble against the weather and spend the night camping out. All in all it rained for a total of ten minutes, though in the morning my tent was covered in frozen drops of condensation.

I was massively pissed off for most of the Dakotas. The road was under construction for half the time, and the other half it should have been under construction. The cracks and frost heaves were rough and horrible, and every so often the frequency of the bumps in the road would match the frequency of my car and trailer, maximizing each other into a kidney-rattling gauntlet of misery. I would shout and yell and complain but no one could hear me, as it would be an hour before I would see another car.

Man, there’s a lot of country in this country.

I spent the second night at a campground just outside of Aberdeen, South Dakota. I snuck into the campground just after 10:00 and left just after 5:30 the next morning, to avoid confrontation with anyone who thought I should need to pay for the night. Aside from me and a really freaky-sounding animal that growled next to my campsite the entire night, the place was completely deserted.

I had to stop in Darwin, Minnesota on the way home, just to see the World’s Largest Ball of Twine. It was truly a thing of beauty, a landmark to the infinite capabilities of mankind, and I called all my friends back in Oregon just to let them know what they were missing. Also in Darwin, I couldn’t stop laughing when I saw a sign for the Darwin Rod and Gun Club. There’s gotta be some material for a Darwin Award in there, somewhere.

I reached my hometown shortly thereafter, and I am proud to say that I am now living about 1,500 miles closer to the World’s Largest Ball of Twine than I was a week ago. It’s still a two-hour drive from here, however. I’m totally jealous of one of my friends from high school, who now teaches in a school mere minutes from the Twine Ball.

So what next? I scrubbed all the bugs off the Subaru this morning, gave her a nice wax job, dropped off the trailer, and I’ve been busy stashing my gear into every little nook and cranny I can find. I’ve got two weeks before I start my certification courses for camp, which gives me more than enough time to dig through all these boxes and pick out the junk I’m going to need for the summer.

This is finals week at UMD, so I’ll be truckin’ up there late this week to party with friends and get down with my bad self at a Trampled by Turtles concert. Also, yesterday I scouted out launch spots for kiteboarding at Lake Waconia, so as soon as we get a good day for wind I’m gonna have to jam out there and get a taste, midwest style.

One last thing. Updates will be haphazard and infrequent for the next couple weeks, and will all but cease to happen when summer rolls around. I mean geez, I’m gonna be living in the woods, people, and the last time I checked most of those jack pines aren’t broadcasting 802.11g. As for the here and now, I just don’t like this room. It’s my old Nintendo room, and aside from high-speed internet it hasn’t changed much in twelve years.

Not only does this room kinda creep me out, it’s cold, in the basement and lit with fluorescent lights. Plus, this monitor only runs at 60Hz, which gives me an awful headache, and this keyboard has a spacebar that’s been split in half and partially converted into backspace button. It’s one of the most annoying and useless features I’ve ever seen, right up there with car stereo remotes.

Speaking of annoying and useless, I’ve all but had it with Windows. If I’m still using a computer come September, I’m switching over to a Mac. Seriously. I’m sick and tired of dealing with a dead operating system, that since 1995 hasn’t seen any advancement and innovation beyond security holes and bug fixes. Windows XP has been dead so long it stinks up the entire house, and I feel like I need to bathe after using it. The scope of Longhorn has been scaled back so many times, that at this point it can’t possibly be much more than a skin upgrade for XP. From what I’ve seen so far, all they’ve done is flay XP, turn it inside out, and stitch it back together with dental floss.

No. As far as I’m concerned, Apple has trounced the competition as far as attractive, secure and usable operating systems go. I’m switching over. It’s not a matter of if, but when. Their computers are damn expensive, however, and I’ll need to reinvest in a bunch of software, so if this is indeed a mistake, at least it will be an extremely expensive mistake.

As I always say, if you think you’re gonna screw something up, you might as well make every effort to screw it up beyond all recognition. Never forget that life is all about calculated risks, long drives and red-hot lovin’.

Well, we got all the sailboats into the lick this weekend, so when you recover from driving hell, you should drop me a line. We can play some high-stakes wind tag. We can take turns running each other down with the sail boat, and your windsurfer. Whoever dies last wins.

Dude, it’s a deal. I think you should figure out a way to drive multiple sailboats at the same time, and I’ll try to wrap a cat’s cradle around all the masts with my kite lines.
I’ll shackle into the kite so there’s no way for me to escape in case of emergency or death. Just think what it would look like to see a dead body attached to a kite, skimming across the water at high speeds.
As an added bonus, we should hire a flesh-eating zombie to navigate my windsurfing equipment and chase us down. Last one to be turned into a zombie wins.

me, a PowerBook G4 12″ monitor.
I bought a refurb from and i have had no problems at all.
just wish my hard drive was bigger.
have a great summer.

Hey guys, thanks for the advice!
I’ve been looking at the Mini, but the base price version (the one that goes for an agreeable $499) doesn’t quite have the juice I need. I’ll be using the Mac for work so I need something with a bigger hard drive (at least 80GB, preferably 100-200GB) and more RAM (1GB or so). One I get those updates in there, along with wireless internet support, I’m looking at nearly $1000 for a Mini.
A straight-up G5 would be nice, but a huge tower computer would put me in the same position I’m in now; heavy, poor and miserable. Still, it’s the best way to get the speed and capacity I want, at a decent price. The cheapest configuration I’d be comfortable running with would be $1900.
Ultimately, I’m leaning very strongly towards a 15” PowerBook. That way I can kill two birds with one stone. I get myself a laptop (which is something I’ve never had before and makes me giddy with excitement just thinking about it), that I can also dock with a full-sized keyboard, mouse and monitor at work.
The configuration I’m looking at (single-slot 1GB SO-DIMM, 100GB drive) runs about $2400. I can shave a couple hundred bucks off that by not getting my RAM upgrade pre-installed through Apple, and instead grabbing a stick off NewEgg.
Finally, I have a friend who may be willing to part with a G4 tower, tricked out with 1.5GB of RAM and everything. That won’t get me the mobility of a laptop (unless I want to string it around my neck and carry a car battery around with me) but at least it gets me on the Mac platform at a trick price.
Ahh, so many options. I could really go for an extra dry martini right now.

when you come up we should speak on the apple purchasing idears… gotta say that my mac nerdness has left me with a couple of insights.
as for coming up – glad to hear you’ll be here for ‘turtles’. it’s been awhile since i’ve been able to stomp my bluegrassian feet in your vicinity.
and can i volunteer to be the flesh-eating zombie? just watched ‘shaun of the dead’ the other day and i’ve been practicing my role with relish ever since…