Wednesday, October 28, 2009

So when last I left off I had barely gotten any sleep in 2 days and I was freezing my ass off at a truck stop...

October 3, 2009 630 AM

After fueling up I set my sights on Arches National Park in Moab Utah a short 59 miles away. Onward, upward and without a last look at Green River I was on my way. Arriving at Arches around 710am I was able to fully enjoy the sunrise over what can only be described as a slice of the best that America has to offer. After a drive around the park for some incredible picture opportunities I stop at the fiery furnace for a 9am tour. By now the air had warmed up considerably and it was now in the low 80s. The tour was incredible, it was a mix between some hiking and easy rock climbing. Our park ranger/tour guide was awesome, she was able to answer everyone's questions and gave us a lot of really cool information about the park and Utah. I met lots of interesting people from all over the western US. Around 1230pm the tour finished and I set out on my own for another hour or so. I would have liked to have explored further, but I was getting tired and it was getting hot and I still had a significant amount of driving to do. Around 130pm I started off for South Rim Grand Canyon Arizona. My Route was 191S to 163S into Arizona, 161W to 89S and finally 64W into Grand Canyon Park, my final destination is Mather Campground. I was feeling quite awake when I set off and I made frequent stops to the fun whole in the wall tourist traps, including Wilson Arch, Hole-in-the-wall Utah, Mexican Hat the San Juan River, San Juan County Navajo Reservation, Monument Valley State Park and Kayenta Arizona. Around Tuba City Arizona I started to get not sleepy, but physically exhausted, plus I was extremely jealous of all the motorcycles on the road. I was very excited when I saw the sign for Grand Canyon Park 25 miles ahead. I saw the most incredible sunset soon after turning onto 64W. After passing the sign for Grand Canyon National Park I began to look for Mather Campground, except all I saw was Desert View Campground. I figured Mather just had to be a bit further down the road, silly me. Another 25 miles later I reach the actual Park and the campground is still at the end of the park. By this time its 830pm (1130pm my time) and I can barely keep my eyes open to see the raccoon, road runner and mountain lion that have crossed the road. WTF!!! A friggin mountain lion? I didn't even know those were out there. I fully expected deer and coyotes, but never a mountain lion. Made me think of how brilliant I was for wanting to camp outside. I finally arrive at the station and thanks to my brilliant planning (or lack there of) I don't have to pay for parking, but the campsite office is closed, what the hell I'll just got to my campsite and check in inthe morning. There was a full moon out which was fantastic, I didn'y even need a flashlight to put the tent together or to cook up food. I had planned to get up early to watch the sunrise over the canyon, but the forecast showed it would cloudy, for my own sanity I just planned for extra sleep. I finally crashed around 930pm and then slept like the dead for 11hrs straight. The coma sleep was so deep that I didn't even here the wind or the feel the tent shift all night. Needless to say when I awoke the next morning to a quarter inch of sand and dust covering EVERYTHING I was surprised. More to come...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Southwest Road Trip

As many of you know I recently set forth on a classic American tradition known as the roadtrip. My plan was to fly into Vegas, pick up my rental car, drive through to Maob Utah, then hit up the four corners monument, move on to Grand Canyon South in Arizona and finally end up back in Arizona. I planned the trip for four days and timed everything out to cram as much as possible into the short time I had. First off I was an idiot. Yeah I gave myself four days but that was including the travel time from Boston to Vegas and back again so it was really only three days. Also I didn't count on the many things that could (and did) go wrong when your driving through the vastness known as the southwest. I'll take your through each day and add pics. I will also say that if I could sum up my trip in one word it would "exhausting".

Day 1 October 2, 2009 5:00 AM

I awoke at 5:00 AM to catch the bus and T to Logan airport. Unfortunately my roommate and I planned trips simultaneously so I was unable to get a ride to the sirport from her. Arriving at Logan at 645 AM I have a lovely around the corner line to wait on to check my frame pack in. When I finally get to the counter the pleasant so helpful (insert sarcasm here) attendant tells me I need to put a bag around my pack. She says "it's down there" waving here hand in the general direction of the entire airport. When I try to ask for more specific directions she suddenly no longer speaks english just gossip to her follow attendant. After wandering for about 10 minutes I fianlly locate the stupid bags and grab one for my pack. Meanwhile the next guy online has shoved aside my stuff and taken over the counter. So I wait politely until he is done and then check my bag with the native of gossipland, who informs me I must start the process all over because the right tags didn't print, whatever, I get out of there finally. The plane ride to LAX was uneventful mostly because I slept the entire time. I did wake up to see a view of the Colorado rockies and then again as we descended into california to see the Hollywood sign. After a quick switch of planes I am now off to Vegas. When we were leaving California I got to see the pacific ocean and the beaches, very nice. Finally landing in Vegas I get my rental car, hmmm more like a rental can on wheels, whoever thought the KIA Rio was a good idea for a car had a great sense of humor. Next stop is Walmart for supplies (fuel and food) everything those stuffed shirts at the FAA wont let you bring on board a plane (haha J/K). Oh and a quick stop at the liquor store since I am not keen on drinking Utah beer. Finall get on the road at 430 pm. Originally I thought I would be ont the road by 330 pm giving me almost 3 hours of daylight driving for the longest leg of my journey Vegas to Moab. Its friday and I'm stuck in traffic, WTF? Everyone should be headed into Vegas for the weekend not out to Utah. Very odd. Anyways I layout a plan of action to drive straight until its gets dark and then to stop for dinner and gas. I'm hoping to atleast get into Utah by the time the sun has set. My route starts at I-15N through Nevada then a bit of Arizona and then into St George Utah. My plan is to stop in Cedar City Utah before the switch to I-70E. I didn't even make it into Arizona. The sun sets and I'm only in Mesquite Nevada. I decide to stop every 2 hours for gas and a stretch, but the mroe I drive it becomes every 1 1/2 and then every hour and finally I start stopping at every rest stop just to stretch. I keep thinking the KIA's engine is going to burn out since its starts whining every time I hit 70, btw the speed limit is 75mph. I am straining just to get it to go 80. Also it has terrible gas mileage, I was burning through a quarter of tank every 50 min. After I hit I-70E I start getting really tired. I'd only gotten maybe 3 hours of sleep the previous night and I only got 4 hours the night before that since I had to drive Elsa and Andy to the airport at 5am. The towns have gotten further and further apart and I realize I'm not going to make it to the campsite tonight. As I pass Salina Utah Around 12am my time 10pm local time I decide to pull into the next rest stop and sleep for a few hours. This is a common occurence out west that you'll see many cars pulled into a truck rest stop sleeping. However the next rest stop I see is quite literally in the middle of nowhere. For saftey sake it seems a good idea to stay at a rest stop in a town. Of course little did I know Salina is the last town on I-70 until Gren River 115miles away. So 2 hours later I finally pull into Green River which consists of a truck stop, gas station and train depot. I crawl into the back seat for a snooze with a sleeping bag and pass out. about an hour later I wake up cramped up in the back seat of the tiny KIA Rio which is small for me, to give you an idea, I toss for a while and the temperature gets lower and lower and at one point int the night hits 32 degrees. Well I'm in a 0 degree Mummy bag so I think I'm all set, except that in order to fit in the back seat I have my feet up against the glas soaking up all the freezing cold air until my body actually starts shaking form cold. Around 615AM I give up and continue my drive to Moab Utah. More to come...

Friday, June 12, 2009

Surviving the Apocalypse

I have been sick all week, but I felt bad about not being able to take my sister to the grocery store. Yesterday, after work, I dragged my sick ass to Market Basket with her. Boy am I glad I did.
Step up ladies and Gentlemen while I tell the secrets of surviving the apocalypse. You must have plenty of food stocked, for the Apocalypse could be any number of disasters. Nuclear, disease epidemic, global warming, Canada's rise to power, or the good old fasioned we are all going to hell. First off if we are leaning by way of disease epidemic then a good way to start is to create a panic. 1. get the WHO to call it a pandemic when less people die of it then the average flu. 2. Yell out loud in grocery store "Mel, do you have Swine flu? Maybe I shouldn't be near you." That will make everyone within 25 ft of you stare and run 50 ft away from you. Although when you are shopping at the ever crowded somerville Market Basket it could actually work in your favor. 3. While your sister slowly collapses from exhaustion after having worked 10 hrs and running a fever of 100.7 all day, be sure to shop as slow as possible. This will give her the chance to realize there are no benches to sit on and she will contemplate sitting in the carriage baby style with the safety belt. Now after you have created your panic, I am sorry to say that you won't survive after all since we are all going to die from the swine flu. I would like to thank CNN, NBC and various other media outlets for enlightening me on the situation. Nuclear disaster is always a tricky one. First off you'll need food. If you would like to know what kind of food to purchase lets look at last nights list. You'll need pasta (about 10 boxes), what's pasta without sauce so be sure to get 7 cans of tomato sauce. Mini bags of popcorn, cans of olives, 5 bottles of vinaigrette and tuna fish are all necessities to living out the next 40 years until it will be safe to go outside again. Shelter could be an issue, unless you live in a home similar to mine where the layers of lead paint will keep us safe for many years. Of course if you have an old lead lined refridgerator that will keep you safe, but only if your name is Indiana Jones, anyone else who tries it is screwed. If its Global warming, I recommened you go out and buy yourself a boat. Here are a few things you will need for Canada's rise to power, 1. a french-english dictionary 2. Canadian Bacon on DVD 3. Best of Celine Dion on CD 4. Memorize O' Canada 5. Hockey Jersey with an oak leaf 6. On the double priced objects you should look and the Canadian pricing now. One thing you can look forward to is being able to smoke some cubans (which are fabulous). If the Apocalypse is because we are all going to hell, well then I recommend you sit back and relax because its suppsed to take 7 years, so you can fit in a lot of living in that time. I wouldn't bother trying to change because apparently only 144,00 will be saved so there is no point in trying to compete for one of those spots. Thank you Ladies and Germs for listening to what amounts to our grocery store conversation last night, good night and good luck!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Terminator Salvation

Someone just pointed out to me that I have not actually reviewed anything as yet, so here it goes. Last Thursday night I saw Terminator Salvation with Christian Bale. (Spoiler Alert!) Opening sequence begins in a Jail, Marcus Wright (played by Sam Worthington) is sitting in a cell conversing with Dr. Serena Kogan (Helena Bonham Carter). First off I know I've seen better acting out of Helena. I was very disappointed to see this cold character. It wasn't even in that cold calculating way that can be intriguing. It was as if Helena was just putting in the hours to take home the check. However, Sam, hit it right out off the bat. Immediately you feel a connection through the hints in the conversation that he is a haunted man. Don't worry I'll try not to go into too much detail. Next scene opens up in the future with (drum roll please) John Connor (Christian Bale). First off the cinematography is amazing. They have rolled out a scene in the desert that looks straight out of Resident Evil 3. As the Helicopter lands, boom, it crushes an older model terminator. John hops down and casually shoots it in the head (old hat for him by now). John and his recon team scale down the shaft to a blah blah boring same old underground tunnel one would see in any movie. I mean come on, the tunnel in Blade 2 was cooler looking then that. Apparently in the future no one (including the machines) know how to build a truly dank looking base. This is a recurring complaint of mine through out the movie. The back ground sets for the so called military bases all look like a cross between a shelled out stalingrad during WW II, leftovers from the first Matrix and some bad Steven Segal movie. But I digress. While in the tunnel they see people caged and a few chained up The camera sweeps by for an instant to show you Marcus is one of those chained apparently dead. While making a sweep of the computer system John stumbles across data on the T-800 (Arnold Schwartzenagger's recurring character). Skipping through... after a close call with death John heads out back to base. Then just when you wonder where the Marcus connection is, he climbs out of the wreckage covered in oil and debris and screams. That would be my reaction too. What the hell? So he just happend to "wake up" in time, alright I'll buy it for now. There is a brief altercation between John and the military higher ups in this conglomeration of various world factions that are the resistance. The whole point of this is for two peices of info, 1 the machines are hunting down "some civilian" Kyle Reese ( played by Anton Yelchin) and 2 they have supposedly developed a sound which disables the machines (kinda like a dog whistle). I realize I am going way too indepth so I'll try and wrap it up. Bottom line is Marcus ends up being have human half machine and he is the only one who can save not just John, but also his father Kyle. And by loose definition humanity as well. I think what they are trying to go for is the same irony mentioned in the Matrix, while we are fighting the machines, we actually cannot live with out them. What is likable in this movie besides all the eye candy (thats for both guys and girls) is the conflict in John that is set up through out all 4 movies. He hates machines, but he also owes them his very life. It was very nice to see the throw backs to the original two movies via recycled one-liners, I'll be back and come with me if you want to live. They biggest surprise that I enjoyed I will not spoil, go to the movie and see for yourself. My predictions for the future are an end to the Terminator series, they are going out with a bang so to speak, and we are just seeing the beginings of Anton Yelchin (He is also in the other big blockbuster known as Star Trek) and Sam Worthington. My biggest complaint were the dreary non too realistic backdrops of the military bases (both sides) and the random ending to Marcus's life. For whatever reason it didn't mesh with me. Any way out of 5 stars I gave it a 3.75, well done!

Imagine

Think back for a moment. Picture yourself back in college, sitting in the dorm or hanging out around your house. Perhaps you may even of had a beer in your hands (this is especially true for my fellow Umass grads). When you saw yourself in the future, did youever think this is how things would turn out? If you did then your life was either boring or predictable (sorry, but its the harsh truth). So much can change in a moment, a day, a month, a year. I was just struck by how much we don't see coming. I for one never would have imagined myself in this line of work. I am glad I did, but who would of guessed. Despite all the set backs, changes and people that have come in and out of my life I have to say I'm glad it all happened. Mostly because it brought me to where I am today, but also because I am richer for the experience. Have a great day!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

President Obama

Just finished watching President Obama at the pen signing to honor President Reagan's 100th birthday. I have to say it was nice to watch. I could feel myself listening to Obama's words. He is one of those rare cases where when he talks to you it feels as if he's talking only to you and not the millions of others watching. I can best compare it to Morgan Freedman's ability to narrate a story (ie Shawshank redemption) in a kind soothing voice. The other thing that struck me is that Obama seems like one of those genuninely nice guys. It was nice to see him and his wife take a night to themselves and enjoy a date. Despite critics bashing the moment I was warmed to see a happily married couple take a break from what I can only imagine is the most stressful job in the world and spend quality time together. It gives the romantic in me hope!

Todays Tidbit

I just started this blog today, congrats to me. Generally this will be about whatever is on my mind. I do intend to review many books and movies, its your perogative if you listen or not. Let me know if there is something you want me to see or read to review for the public. Thanks!