Thursday, August 31, 2006

You may be wondering about the Barista status of New Orleans. It was of great concern to me. Are they back at work, are they fairing alright with the huge rent increases, are they cute?
I haven’t actually seen that many and almost all of them are males. I started wondering why. Yesterday at the coffee shop by my house I scoped around and tried to figure out why there was just some skinny guy with overstyled hair as the barista instead of some cute alterna girl.
It was then that I realized that I was hanging out at the gay coffee shop. This place is not subtle or discreet at all. There are pictures of guys in underwear all over the place. There’s a sign that says “Come for the Java, leave with Joe”. So how did I spend three weeks wondering why they didn’t have any cute baristas when I was obviously at the wrong coffee shop for that sort of thing? No idea, I’m just not very functional in the morning and b/c of the heat I don’t drink coffee in the afternoon like I do in Portland.

You know what turns me on? Okay, you get partial credit if you said 1Ls or Baristas, but that’s not what I’m talking about this time.
Class turns me on, the kind of class that led the woman sitting a couple of tables over from me to wear a low rise jeans and a belly shirt that shows off her C-Section scar. That’s what gets me hot.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

In a press conference on Monday I read this quote from The Decider™
“Mississippi removed about 97 percent, 98 percent of its -- what they call dry debris. We're now in the process of getting debris from the water removed. Louisiana is slower in terms of getting debris removed. The money is available to help remove that debris. People can get after it, and I would hope they would.“
I’ve got pictures springing out of my ass of debris on the streets. Maybe money’s available. I don’t know. But the fact of the matter is that Louisiana isn’t just slower, debris removal isn’t happening. They’ve bulldozed some houses in the 9th Ward but the place is still a total mess.

Outside of the 9th most of the houses still aren’t gutted. Some haven't even been moved out of the streets. Houses that don’t need gutting still aren’t occupied so they haven’t been cleaned out.

There’s no regular garbage pickup. For some reason the garbage company won’t pick up my neighbor’s garbage. Their full cans have been there since I’ve moved here. It makes no sense. They pick up our garbage but not theirs. The neighbors joke that the garbage men know they’re black.
The NY Times has had a couple of interesting articles the last couple days but they don’t really convey how the city is and I think it’s really hard for most Americans to understand how dysfunctional the local government is.
Katrina wrecked huge amounts of infrastructure. There are huge sinkholes all over town because the sewage system is falling apart. Telephone poles keep falling over and power goes out about once a week. The post offices are only open a few hours a day. I’ve only found two grocery stores in the entire city.
Recovery isn’t a little slower. It’s barely moving. The city council is actually trying to fix a lot of the problems in the way the government is set up but they’re not getting much help from the mayor. He doesn’t even bother to show up at important meetings.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

I went out last night to try Sazerac. It’s a local drink made with Pernod and rye whiskey. It’s a traditional classic New Orleans drink invented back in the 1880’s by some guy at some hotel. If you’re really that curious google it.
Anyway I had to go to a bar in the quarter to get it. I went to the Carousel Bar on Royal. Do you want to know why it’s called the Carousel Bar? I’m going to tell you anyway.
The bar rotates. I didn’t take a picture b/c it’s a classy place. The bar is circular with the bartenders in the middle serving up drinks. The stools are on a conveyor that rotates around the bartenders.
I only had one Sazerac, and it was pretty refreshing, because the rotating motion was making me kind of car sick. I imagine if I drink four or five whiskeys there and then tried to get up I’d either vomit or fall over. It really doesn’t seem like the best gimmick in the world. It doesn’t even compare to the dollar beers you can get on the street.
It also made me feel kind of like sushi.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

So, I’ve been having a little bit of car trouble. The starter was going out. At first I thought I could just let it slide until I got back to Portland. Then on Sunday it wouldn’t start on me. I got it running and thought I would “just park on a hill” until I could get my starter fixed.
There was only one problem with my plan. New Orleans is built on one of those alluvial fans. There aren’t any hills. You could go nuts with a can of WD-40 but you’ll never lube the axles on your Big Wheel enough to actually coast. So I had to get my starter fixed. The cost set back was not budgeted for and may require a premature return to Portland.

While shooting around town in the hopes of “getting my tourist on” I went out to Chalmette State Park. It’s the site of the Battle of New Orleans. Here’s a little tip from me to you. Before you go anywhere in New Orleans call and make sure they’re open. If you can’t get through ask someone about it.
When I got to the park it was in fact closed. It wasn’t closed in the sense of “Our office hours are 9 to 5 Monday through Saturday”. It was closed in the sense of it just being a big flat field that was mostly wiped out.
So anyway, lesson learned.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

I found out where Johnny Thunders died. It kills me that I have to type this but the kids today have no sense of history. Johnny Thunders played guitar for the New York Dolls. They were a foundational band. Most rock and roll as we know it today can trace its history to them. The Ramones were big fans. DeeDee wrote Chinese Rocks with Johnny Thunders. The Ramones claimed sole writership but it was both of them. If you see the documentary, “Is DeeDee Home” they talk about it a little. The manager of the Dolls later when on to manage the Sex Pistols. Basically all punk rock and heavy metal, glam metal, grunge, etc. trace their roots to that band.
They did one of the most famous covers of Pills. They also did Bad Girl, Just Lookin For a Kiss, and Trash which have been covered by so many bands and so many times I won’t begin to list them here.
Anyway, after the Dolls broke up Johnny Thunders went on to do his own thing. He had the famous hits, Born To Lose and One Track Mind. His record L.A.M.F. is a must listen for any band. He was honored in “Go Go Johnny Thunders” by the Murder City Devils.
So I went to where Johnny Thunders died. The clerk working there didn’t even know who he was. There were no plaques. They’ve got a plaque for everything in the French Quarter. Houses where Edgar Degas didn’t even live have plaques about him. There is jack shit for Johnny Thunders.
This is the St. Peter house. All I got to say is that I never had his poster up on my wall but I still say Go Go, Go Johnny Thunders.

Monday, August 21, 2006

I went out this weekend to get my tourist on. I took a cooking class in the quarter with a bunch of people from Minnesota. It was funny to watch them choke on semi spicy jambalaya. They all looked pretty hung over so it’ll probably help them sweat out the poison.
Anyway, the instructor gave us her opinion on the Latinos coming to New Orleans to do the rebuilding work. It was along the lines of, “If they come to this country they should learn the language.” Usually this doesn’t bother me. I can understand why people think this. Usually they don’t know that Latinos are following the normal trend of three generations of language competency.
But in this instance it is the Latinos who are rebuilding this city. The reason why the few houses that are livable have been repaired is b/c of these Latinos. So when they aren’t busy working 10 to 15 hour days in horrible heat and humidity I guess they are supposed to be taking ESL classes. That would be nice if the fucking contractors and homeowners who they work for would pay them. Then they could maybe afford to take the classes.
So besides that pissing me off, and I won’t even get into how lazy the people who live here are compared to the Latino day laborers, she had just described her family history.

Apparently they were some of the first Acadians to come down to Louisiana. So her family has been down here at least since the late 1700’s. She then talked about how her grandma never learned English and you could tell she thought it was charming. Her ancestors lived here when the Spanish held Louisiana and when the Americans bought it. But they still spoke French. They didn’t learn the language or assimilate to either of the dominant societies.

The obvious dichotomy of standards for her family and the standard for Latinos was what bothered me. Why is it okay for her family to not have learned any of the languages of the nations they lived in except for French? Why, when her grandmother lived here her entire life, should she not learn English but the Latinos who showed up to help rebuild should. She probably would have said this had nothing to do with race but when it comes down to it the new immigrant groups are being held to a completely different standard. The only real difference between these two groups of immigrants is race. The attempts of Latinos to form a better life are held to only be deserved contingent on their ability to first learn a language. Her ancestor’s flight was romantic even though they stubbornly refused to assimilate. Both groups are Catholics, both want to build a better life for their families, and both groups were not proficient in English when they first arrived. What is different about these groups besides race? That the Cajuns were here before the U.S. bought Louisiana doesn’t work if you apply the same standard to the Mexicans who lived in Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, and California. I find it hard to believe that race isn’t the basis for the difference in treatment.

When this happened I was in this class full of tourists. I started to argue with her. Then I stopped and let it lie. I was angry but I swallowed it. My rational was, “Why should I make everyone else feel as uncomfortable as I feel now.” Some may have agreed with her but others might not have. Maybe I should have, these tourists are all going to eat at restaurants that are run behind the scenes by Latinos and stay in hotel rooms that are cleaned by Latinos. They should realize where their privilege comes from. But if they don't stay and spend money or go home and say they had a bad vacation it won't help the people here, and that's why I'm here.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

One of the interesting things I’ve found since I’ve been down here are the back area of some of the bigger houses. They have a set of servant quarters that tend to be skinny. I asked a guy at the National Park Service about them. I thought they were probably slave quarters at one time. He confirmed that and told me that the Spanish and French wouldn’t sleep with the slaves under the same roofline.
There are several different methods of doing the servant’s houses; some of the bigger and wealthier houses have three separate quarters branching off the house. Apparently they kept the kitchens on the bottom floor and the slaves lived on the top floor. It must have been hotter than hell in the summer time.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Yesterday we had a pretty big thunderstorm. As I was driving around looking for a used bookstore, never found it, I discovered a new driving obstacle. There are downed power lines all over the place every time we get a halfway decent storm. So on top of streets with no names, tiger trap sized potholes, non working traffic lights, and cops who just want to harass you, we now add downed electric cables. Sometimes getting around the city feels like a game of Pitfall.

Friday, August 18, 2006

I’ve walked and driven all over New Orleans. I’ve taken pictures of the search and rescue X’s on houses all over the place. I’ve seen police and fire departments from California, Arizona, Texas, and Florida. I’ve seen federal law enforcement agencies like the DEA and ICE. I have not seen a single New Orleans Police Department mark. I’ve talked to locals and they say I’m not going to find one.
I was in the quarter last Friday to check out Bourbon Street. I wanted to see what the big to do was about. Possibly it was about the moderately priced strippers, I’m not sure. After seeing a bunch of wasted frat boys and hearing bad cover bands I cut down to Rue Royal, which is less busy, and started walking home. I passed a cop with his cruiser parked on the sidewalk. When I slid around his car to stay off the street I could clearly see him watching a DVD. The police one block over were busy keeping drunks from getting in fights and this guy was watching a movie.
I saw a sheriff so fat he probably got winded moving the lever on his lazy boy.
A police officer at a demonstration yesterday told someone that they couldn’t hand out fliers on a public sidewalk. That’s about the dumbest thing I ever heard. The cop more than likely swore an oath to uphold the Constitution. I guess he read all the way to the 1st Amendment.
I don’t have a very high opinion of the NOPD. No one else does either. But I went and legal observed, or LOed if you’re hip, at another demonstration against a dump. The police from the 7th Precinct showed up. They were all pretty upstanding and got along with the demonstrators who were mostly normal people from the neighborhood.
I can’t say that all the NOPD are jokes. I have to hand it to these police officers for being professional and interacting in a positive and respectful way with the community. I just wanted to say that because I don’t think it will be long before I shit talk the police again.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

The bar that I’ve adopted is a full service kind of place. Besides getting to drink beer and listen to music they also show movies. They have several lovely bartenders to develop crushes on and a lot of neighborhood people who will explain how things are pronounced or what exactly is wrong with New Orleans, the mayor, Bush, the police, etc.
They don’t serve food, but they have unique amenities to make up for that. My new favorite thing is that on Monday nights I can get a haircut and a shot for $10. It’s a decent haircut too.
I’m not totally sold on sitting in a bar and feeling kind of itchy but I’ve got used to sitting in a bar and sweating non stop so it probably just takes some getting used to. The hair in my shot was a little gross too, but how can you complain when you just got a haircut.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

There’s a saint’s shrine around the corner from where I’m volunteering. It’s in a really pretty cemetery. It’s St. Roch, pronounced Rock with a kind of gagging sound at the end. I looked him up on the Internet and apparently he’s the patron saint of diseased cattle, knee problems, skin rashes, tile makers, dogs, and afflicted persons.
The reason there’s a shrine here is because some time way back when there was an outbreak of yellow fever in New Orleans. A priest decided to pray to St. Roch and people were miraculously cured. So they built him a shrine.
The shrine is pretty cool. There are the 12 Stations of the Cross around the cemetery. The tombs are catholic so they represent German, Irish, and Italian immigrants and they go back to the early 1800s.
There’s also a triptych on the altar and a spooky statue of a dying guy, I’m guessing St. Roch.

In a little room off to the side of the altar there are a bunch of leg braces and prosthetic limbs from people that were cured. I don’t really know how the prosthetic limb people were cured. I kind of doubt they grew back their whole arm, but whatever. There was no holy water there but I might check the chapel on Sunday. So if you’re feeling afflicted let me know and I’ll score you some patented St. Roch’s holy water™, specially blessed for people with knee problems trying to milk diseased cattle.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Driving in New Orleans is an adventure. I went out last night to get some groceries. Driving at night is more fun b/c you can't see the potholes. Some of them can be pretty deep. The city tried to fill some of the potholes with sand. That didn't work to well. Everytime there's a storm, which is every day, the rain flushes the sand out of the pothole. The good thing is whenever you turn down a street covered in sand you know it has potholes. The city also hasn't gotten around to putting street signs up. Generally you have to kind of guess which street you are on. For instance, if you need to turn at St. Claude you get on a kind of busy street that goes east/west and drive a few blocks until you see a street sign or business name that indicates you are on St. Claude. But don't drive too far. If you accidentally go past Canal Street they change all the street names. So Decauter becomes Magazine street suddenly and without warning. It keeps everything fresh. The street lights also don't always work. An interesting set of lights only worked in one direction and were completely out on the crossing streets. So the traffic across the intersection had a green light while I had no light at all! Man, that was a surprise.
So while you scan the street for potholes you also look for street signs to figure out where you are while watching for possible traffic lights that aren't working. I like to also adjust my radio and talk on my cell phone while doing this. I haven't hit anyone yet but I've only been here a week.
To add one more obstacle to your ability to get anywhere the city has reposted all the no turn signs. Once you see that street sign and find out your on the wrong street, swerve past some potholes and dodge some oncoming traffic you realize you can't turn anywhere. Before you know it you're on the other side of Canal Street and totally lost. I usually drive down to the Mississippi river and follow it back to the Quarter and then try again.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Yesterday I saw the fattest sheriff I've ever seen in my life. I kind of wonder if he just shoots people in the back b/c he didn't look like he could catch you if you walked away at a steady saunter. It did reassure me about the food I was getting. There are no grocery stores open in New Orleans. You have to go to Metarie and I haven't felt like it yet. That means I've been eating out a lot. Most of the gas stations and corner stores have some sort of food, gumbo or beans and rice, so that's what I've been eating. I figured if that sheriff was eating the gumbo it can't be that bad.
One thing I'm finding interesting about New Orleans is the number of Latinos. I don't know how many were here before Katrina but I'm pretty sure a lot of them came after. Most of the Contractors license plates are Texas plates. There are Latinos waiting for work on a lot of corners but if you don't get there soon they're almost all gone. One more American city is being built by undocumented Latino labor.
You see some signs of resentment about it. There is some derogatory graffiti here and there. There also T-Shirts at all the tourist shops that say "FEMA Find Every Mexican Available". I've talked to a couple guys who weren't working and they told me there were problems with getting paid. Contractors won't pay them at the end of the day or will threaten to call INS.
I'm trying to get into contact with Legal Aid in New Orleans to see if I can spend some of my volunteer time there to help these guys. It makes you mad.

Bush's plan of giving a big contract to the Halliburton subsidiary KBR has really damaged the local economy so far as I can tell. Instead of the local people being able to come in and do the contracting work for their neighbors and hire local people a bunch of Texans came in with Texas labor or undocumented workers and make a bundle while the locals struggle.
A lot of the local people I talk to say that Texas has made a lot of money off the whole thing and that was Bush's intention all along. I don't know if that's true. It seems like a pretty crafty plot for Bush to think through. It is true that FEMA gave a lot of people money to spend on Texas hotels and at Texas business, helped Texas employers hire the best evacuees at lower wages b/c of the competition between the evacuees, gave the contracts to a Texas company, and didn't do anything comparable in New Orleans.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

There are gigantic cockroaches here. Earlier one ran across the sidewalk in front of me. It was the size of my cat. Sweet Jesus. The good thing about that is you can see them a block away and cross the street before they get to you. My roommate/ common law husband has issues with roaches. Back in the day when we lived in Austin I went to his house, it was more of a shed than an actual house, and his couch was in the front yard.
"I was going to Casino, you want to go?" As I nervously eyed the couch.
"Sure, let me get some shoes." Without making an outward sign that he is aware of the couch.
"So, what's up with your couch?"
"A roach ran under it."
"I can help you move it back in." I thought I understood now.
"Nope, I'm done with that couch."
"You're just going to leave it out in the yard b/c a roach ran under it? Didn't you kill the roach after you moved it?"
"No, never found the roach, it might be in the couch. I'm done with that couch."
And then we went to the Casino. I don't know whatever happened to the couch but it never did go back inside.
Anyway my roommate is much better writer than me and he seems to be updating his blog more often. It's worth checking out.

It’s incredibly muggy. There seems to be a continuous haze in the city. It also might be the fact that my glasses keep fogging up. I’m not really sure.
I also smell terrible. I have not stopped sweating since I had that shower this morning. I need to start taking an afternoon shower. My shirt was soaked in about 4 minutes. Sweet Jesus. Someone told me that you stop sweating once you dehydrate enough, so I have that to look forward to.
I keep seeing spray paint on buildings. I described it as graffiti but a resident told me it wasn’t graffiti, I think that spray paint on the side of a building is only graffiti if a Hispanic youth does it. Very confusing. Anyway the spray paint is in the shape of an X. There is usually a series of initials, a date, and then a number in the different quadrants. In the aftermath of Katrina different groups went through the neighborhoods checking houses. The date is when the house was checked. The initials represent the agency that did the check, usually they’re LSP or CHP. That stands for Louisiana State Police and California Highway Patrol. I’ve also seen initials Dallas Fort Worth and the ASPCA.

The other number represents either pets or people. In my neighborhood the paint is usually on the porch or on the street in front of the house. I saw one that said there was 1 survivor found and I saw some that listed pets. Sometimes with the pets there would be information about where the pets could be found.

There is also a marking that says TFW, Toxic Flood Water. I went to the 9th Ward today. You can see water lines 7 feet high on the houses. The dates are ridiculous too. In my neighborhood most of the houses were checked on 9-11, the hurricane was on 8-29. In the 9th Ward the dates are in November. I also haven't seen a single NOPD spray painted. They apparently didn't do a goddamn thing during the hurricane. You can find T Shirts all over town that say "NOPD, Not Our Problem Dude".

As I was driving around tonight to find handkerchiefs so that I could mop the continuous cascade of sweat off my brow I could see houses where these X’s weren’t on the porch but on the top floors of two story houses. That was kind of chilling.
I’m staying in the Marigny, not pronounced Meringue in case you were inclined to say that in public for some reason, and the area is known as the “sliver by the river” because this neighborhood didn’t flood. The houses are all in pretty good condition. But all you have to do is go 4 blocks north and everything is completely different.
My neighborhood has a lot of people walking around and it’s fairly busy. Outside this neighborhood there will be maybe one house in four or five square blocks with a light on. Most of the city is still pretty empty. The mayor wants people to move back but there's no place for them to live. The trash isn't being picked up and the mail delivery is spotty. The USPS still doesn't deliver mail in most of the neighborhoods. Neither rain, nor sleet, nor gloom of night, just total government incompetence will stop the mail.

Monday, August 07, 2006

I made it to New Orleans last night and began sweating. I stopped sweating shortly while I took a cold shower. That's about all there is to report. I check in at Common Grounds tomorrow. I don't want to hear any hippy jokes. Just b/c I'm involved with a collective does not mean I'm a hippy or an anarcho punk or any of that crap. I eat meat. I bathe.
When I got here my legs needed stretching so I walked around. I live pretty close to the quarter. There's a lot of trash out on the streets. People are remodeling their houses and there's sheet rock scraps and slatting everywhere. There's also a crapload of broken appliances.
When I walked around last night I passed 3 separate voodoo shops. Voodoo is apparently like coffee down here.

The weather was nuts in West Texas. They were evacuating neighborhoods when I left El Paso. I wonder how much worse it is in Juarez b/c they don't have near the infrastructure and all the shacks that people live in could easily be washed away. I imagine there are a lot of broken foundations.
I was walking around last night I found a hipster bar. They were playing Murder City Devils when I passed by so I popped my head in. They had a shot of Jameson's and a Miller High Life for $5. They were also showing Dead Man. That seems like a fortuitous start.

“A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.” Lao Tzu.

“Only generals and postmen enjoy straight roads.” Paraphrasing Richard Flannagan.

“And I’m paraphrasing myself here…” Eric Stoltz in Kicking And Screaming

I don’t think I’m that much fun to go on a road trip with. I like the driving part more than the sight seeing part. I get excited about making good time. I like the straight flat roads of I-10. I made it to San Antonio from El Paso in less than 8 hours. I did that without speeding. The speed limit was raised to 80 MPH in Texas. They did that because the cost of gas went up. I don’t exactly understand the correlation. It’s kind of like, step 1 underpants, step 3 profit. Whatever, I’m not complaining.

I liked driving through New Mexico because the roads were almost empty. Lately when I’ve done any road tripping I’ve been going to California or Seattle on I-5. The roads have seemed more congested. I thought it was just because of where I was driving but I-10, I-15, and I-84 have all been pretty packed.

I’ll be in New Orleans tomorrow. I’m pretty excited. I have a lot of work to do to brush up on the laws and procedures I need to know but I think it will be a good way to spend some down time and I’ll get to meet a circles of people that I would never have met before b/c of geography. I hope I’ll learn to cook a couple of interesting things and eat a whole bunch of interesting things.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

I made it to El Paso. It's raining. I said it's RAINING. In El Paso. It is the "monsoon" season but it's really raining, hard. It's kind of nuts. The town flooded. I'm going to San Antonio tomorrow. I went by Chico's Tacos already. I went to the nice one, the one with indoor bathrooms. There's a Chico's with INDOOR BATHROOMS! I still wouldn't use them, but it is an improvement.
I'm staying with some family. They have a Xbox machine. I would never have graduated from law school with one of those. I may have beaten the Germans back at the Battle of the Bulge, won the NCAA basketball tournament or led my HALO unit to victory, but not law school.
I took some pictures to bring a little more feel of the road to my readers. Unfortunately I don't know where I packed the cable so that I can download them on to my lap top. I know you're saying, "A lousy USB cable is 5 bucks you cheap bastard." You would be right but gas is freaking expensive and I ran out of the cheap untaxed reservation gas so I need to save my pennies.
Maybe when I get to San Antonio tomorrow you will be treated to a picture of me celebrating in Cuba after Castro temporarily handed over power to his brother.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Every region in the country has bad drivers, but they all seem to be bad in different ways. In California they tend to tailgate and drive fast. In Oregon they drive too slow and block the passing lane. In Utah they can’t do 4 way stops. It’s amazing to watch them. They just flat out can’t do it.
I woke up in Salt Lake this morning to a huge torrential storm. It delayed me at least 3 hours. When I finally decided to leave half the power in town was out. That meant that a lot of traffic lights were out. Watching people trying to negotiate an intersection without a working traffic light drove me up the wall. No one knew when to go. People sat there, other people drove out but froze halfway through the intersection. It was madness.
I finally got out of Salt Lake and made it down to lovely Aztec, New Mexico. I actually don’t know if it’s lovely or not. I got here in the dark. The countryside on the way down was greener than I’ve ever seen it before. I used to drive the stretch between Salt Lake City and El Paso a lot. I’ve done it at least 20 times. It’s really bizarre to see everything so green. The rivers are bright red too from all the run off.
I got lost in Monticello. Usually you hang a right at Monticello and get on Highway 666. Everyone calls it the “Triple 6”. I made the turn and found out I was on the 491. It’s been five years since I’ve driven through there so I figured I made a mistake. I flipped the bitch and drove through town a couple times. Monticello is not a big town. I still couldn’t find the Triple 6. I asked at a gas station and they told me that they renamed the Triple 6 the 491 because people were always stealing the signs. It confused the bejeezus out of me. I also got another mosquito bite.
My odometer flipped the 1000 mile mark. I think I have about 1500 miles to go. I should be in El Paso tomorrow afternoon. Maybe I can find an internet connection.

I made the first leg of the New Orleans drive today. I’m spending the night in Salt Lake City. It’s kind of hot and there are bugs. I’ve been in town for two hours and my whole left side looks like mosquito brail.
I would also like to point out that the entirety of I-84 in Idaho stinks. It seems the state has decided to put every cow within its borders along side this highway. The second you cross into Utah the smell goes away. Idaho’s a weird place.
When I got into town I was surprised how much Salt Lake has changed since I lived here in ’93. Fault Line Park near my old house has been renamed Fault Line Gardens. I hate to be the one that points this out but there was really nothing wrong with the “Park” part of the name. It was the “Fault Line” part that was intimidating and should have been changed.
Salt Lake has got light rail, a new highway system, an English style pub by the university, some coffee shops, and a new library. It looks like it wouldn’t be so bad to live here anymore. There’s also a big white mystery building downtown. I’ll try and find out what it is tomorrow. The building is huge but I think people are so used to it that it doesn’t register in their minds. No one I asked knew what building I was talking about. It wasn’t there the last time I was in town, which was like 2001. It’s funny how you can become oblivious to something if you see it everyday. Either that or the whole town’s been hypnotized.