Bring your own fork

August 26, 2006 - Saturday

 The View From Hillbilly Country

I took me a little tour of hillbilly country this week. First up was a client in West Jefferson, NC, where the dominant industry is Christmas tree farming. That made for an interesting landscape, actually — it’s really pretty country up there, with scattered lots of pine trees growing in neat rows on the hillsides. It must be beautiful up there when the snow falls. I also saw quite the unique sight while I was up there: at the side of the road, framed by tree-covered mountains on all sides, hundreds of miles from the nearest ocean, parked on a wooden frame with no trailer in sight, was a 25-foot sailboat with a For Sale sign propped against it. Wacky.

Of course I didn’t get any pictures of any of that. But I did get pictures at my hotel in nearby Boone, NC.

Boone, NC

Boone, NC

Following North Carolina, I was set to work with some clients in Kentucky, but they cancelled, so I got to come home early. I still had to go to Kentucky, though, because it was cheaper to go home early from there than from North Carolina, so I flew to Louisville and spent the night in a complete dump of a hotel — it was so bad that the cab driver warned me to “Watch yourself’ on the ride over from the airport. Nice. I stayed here for about five hours, then caught the first flight out for Los Angeles at 6:40 a.m. — and then went into the office until about 4:00, which made for a roughly 18 hour day. Nice.

Here’s the room:

Louisville, KY

And here’s the view:

Louisville, KY

Trust me when I tell you that there’s a high likelihood that hookers and drug dealers are somewhere in the background — in both pictures.


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August 16, 2006 - Wednesday

 The View From Springdale, AR

Greetings from Springdale, AR. I decided to switch it up this time and I’m staying in a Doubletree Club Hotel rather than my standard Hampton Inn. Same great Hilton parent, better amenities — and, surprisingly, at a lower rate. Woo.

I got here much earlier than I expected — 2:45 rather than 6:00 — because I wrapped up very early in Fort Smith. The woman I was training was… How to put this delicately? A pain in the ass. She very much didn’t want to be trained on the new software and wasn’t shy about showing it, was bitchy and unpleasant to me in general, and periodically would just turn away from me in mid-sentence to check her email and make phone calls. Plus, she had a lazy eye, so I couldn’t quite tell if she was paying attention to me or staring at the ceiling. Given her poor attitude, my money’s on the ceiling. And I think she thought I was gay — she got this sour lemon type expression when she noticed the earring in my right ear, so I made a point of camping it up after that — lots of pointing at things on the screen with my pinkie and flamboyant gestures and much talk of “and this is a fabulous feature…” By the time I left I started thinking I was gay.

Anyway, she was a PITA and kept me cooling my heels for an hour this morning when she was late, so she was trained accordingly: high speed, high level, sorry if you didn’t catch that let’s move on. I was out of there by 12:45. Seeeee ya!

And now I’m in Springdale. And I’m wondering what the hurry was. Check it out, see if you can find a reason I hurried:

Springdale, AR

Springdale, AR


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August 15, 2006 - Tuesday

 The View From Dog Vomit — aka Fort Smith, AR

As a dog returns to its own vomit, so too do I seem to keep coming back to places I’ve already been. I’m in Fort Smith, AR this time — again.

I was here three years ago, in September of ’03, when I was here for nearly two soul-sucking weeks. It was one of the first entries (#5) in my world-famous View From Here series, and also the site of the not-quite-as-world-famous Flickr photo set A Visit to Waffle House. I stayed in this very hotel, too. In a different room, but same hotel. And down the road at Waffle House, where I had dinner Monday night, Sam is still working the grill. I found that somehow comforting … and sad for Sam. This time, mercifully, I’m only here for three days. Sam’s been on the grill for three years. Damn.

I hadn’t started doing pictures of the room yet last time I was here, so I don’t have anything to compare this room’s picture to, but trust me when I say this room’s better. It has a flat-screen TV and a fridge and microwave, and most importantly: high-speed internet now — last time it was a slow dial-up connection. Progress is good.

Fort Smith, AR

The view has improved too. Last time I had a great view of the parking lot out back, this time I have a great view of the Fridays’ parking lot across the street.

Fort Smith, AR

I’ll be checking out in the morning and then heading north to Springdale, AR in the afternoon. Watch for another exciting View From Here entry from, well, there.


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August 10, 2006 - Thursday

 The View From Dayton and Cincinnati and Phoenix and Dallas

I’ve been a traveling mofo the last couple of weeks and I’ve been remiss in posting my View From Here pix, so here’s a whole bunch of them all at once.

First I was in Dayton, Ohio. My favorite part about Dayton was the Hooters restaurant you can see in the view from my room. Unfortunately, I never got to enjoy the waitresses wings there — instead, I had wings at Frickers, which were pretty frickin’ good.

Dayton, OH
Dayton, OH

Then I drove an hour south to Cincinnati where I had neither wings nor Hooters, but I did go see Miami Vice while I was there — and slept through half of it.

Cincinnati, OH
Cincinnati, OH

I came home for the weekend, then turned right back around and spent one day in Phoenix. Phoenix offered me only the hot, not the wings, so their equation of finger food excellence was seriously flawed.

Chandler, AZ
Chandler, AZ

Finally, I jetted off to Dallas to stay at my favorite Hampton Inn hotel in Richardson. I’ve been here twice before; it’s notable for me being the creepy lurking photographer of bikini-clad blonde poolside hotties. This time I’m looking directly down at the pool, which is sadly hottie free this trip.

Richardson, TX
Richardson, TX

I get to come home tomorrow — assuming, of course, that I can fight my way through the massive clot of stupidity that the air travel industry has become in the last two days. It’s going to be wall-to-wall idiocy as minimum-wage TSA employees — with absolutely no manners, brains, or common sense, and only the most rudimentary command of the spoken word — will try to interpret and “enforce” a collection of “security measures” that will keep no-one safe and serve only to inconvenience everyone and bring smiles to the faces of the “terrorists” who enjoy making us jump through stupid hoops. It’s important that we all be forced to throw away our deodorant and sunscreen before boarding a flight — the planes must be kept safe from the threat of passengers who don’t stink and have nice suntans.

I’m reminded of a comedian who joked that one terrorist bet another that “I bet I can make them all take their shoes off” and then paid a mental defective to try to light his shoes on fire while on a plane. And now here we are a few years later, all of us taking our shoes off as we go through “security screening” for absolutely no good reason. Pretty soon, they’re going to restrict travel so much that they’re going to ban passengers on the planes — maybe then we’ll be “safe.” Or maybe all the unscreened mail and shipping cargo sitting in the belly of the plane will finally get some attention.

But I’ll just keep my feelings about the TSA to myself. I don’t really have all that much experience with them, after all…


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Former Solid Gold dancer gone bad.

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