Road Trip Day 12 - 2007-07-31

Check out a map of my journey today here:,+AR&daddr=Amarillo,+TX&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=42.901912,82.617188&ie=UTF8&ll=35.698495,-97.996665&spn=11.036641,20.654297&z=6&om=1

Check out pictures from today here:

This brings my time in Fayetteville to a close. Justin whipped up some good blueberry pancakes for Nikki and I. Then he played a bit with Blue on the table, which was adorable (see pictures). After saying our goodbyes, I hit the road.

Not too much to report on the drive, it was long and pretty dull. Yet again, though, the sky looked fantastic, so you can look forward to a bunch of sky-while-driving pictures. I saved the best for last, so hang in there!

I needed to stop for lunch and decided that I would try to go local rather than stop at some chain. I punched in "food" in my GPS and saw a place called Oscar's Sandwich House in Bristow, Oklahoma. Oscar's adjoined this Chinese place, which I assumed shared the parking lot that I pulled into, because the sign said "Restaurant Parking Only". As I walked away from my car, this belligerent Chinese woman berated me for parking where I shouldn't in broken English. Then she informed me that I was also not parked in a spot: I was parked on a handicap ramp. Now, that might seem like a really odd thing to do, but the ramp was maybe 4 inches high and 2 feet long. No yellow paint, no handicap sign, nothing! Just white lines on either side like a normal spot. I thought about telling her why it was confusing, but thought better of it.

I got a nice warmed turkey sandwich from Oscars. The person making my sandwich was quite nice. She asked if I'd be eating while driving and then informed me that she had packed my sandwich to make it easier to eat and give me plenty of napkins. Not bad!

I drove for a few more hours and was out in the middle of nowhere about 50 miles from Amarillo before I noticed that my tank was almost empty. I could probably get another 20-30 miles or so. I checked the GPS, and there were no gas stations listed on my route for another 50 miles! The closest ones were 20 miles away, but were perpendicular to the direction I was traveling. I did not want to go 45 minutes out of my way to get gas, so I just kept driving and hoped that the GPS was wrong. Sure enough, I found a Texaco about 10 miles down the road. I was sure sweating though! That would have been awful to get stuck in the middle of Texas during summer with no gas.

At around 6:30, I checked into my hotel: a La Quinta. It isn't bad at all, nice and clean with WiFi and such. I grabbed some Taco Bell for dinner because I didn't really feel like eating anything that would take too long. Since then, I've just been taking it easy and working on this blog! I hate it when I get behind like this.

Road Trip Day 11 - 2007-07-30

Check out pictures from today here:

Bonus day in Fayetteville! I was enjoying my time here so much, that I just couldn't leave. Justin had today off, so I decided to stick around and hang out with him. First, Justin, Nikki, and I had a nice breakfast of Cheerio's and bananas, prepared by yours truly. Next Justin and I went over to Theresa's house to help out with her lawn, which was quite overgrown.

Not just a little overgrown: it was about 2 feet high and quite thick! Justin went to work with the weedwhacker, while I used Theresa's internet connection to mail in my resume to BU. Theresa mentioned that her computer was acting odd because of some spyware, so I took a look at it for her. It had some software on it that was causing random popups to occur whenever you clicked a link! Quite annoying. I ran a full Adaware scan and went out to help Justin.

He made quite a bit of progress with the wheedwhacker, but there was still about 3/4 of it left to be done. He had switched over to using a mower. Unfortunately, the grass was so tall he had to tilt it up as high as it would go, and push it at that angle. Quite tiring! I worked a bit with the wheedwhacker and then we went in for lunch.

Theresa whipped up some homemade tuna salad, which Justin and I ate while watching some homestar runner. I must say, I'm not a huge fan. Some of it was pretty funny, but it seems like the same kinda odd humor that I don't like about Aquateen (not that I've watched much of that).

I checked the Adaware scan, and it found and removed some malware. I rebooted, but the problem was still happening! I started to run the same scan in safe mode, since maybe it had a mechanism which reinstalled it if you tried to remove it. Justin and I had to go though, so I never did see if it worked. I'm not very optimistic, but who knows?

Justin and I headed back to his house to check in on Nikki and the baby. Then we headed on to West Fork of the White River to swim. It looked like it was going to rain, but we were going to get wet anyways swimming, so who cares? It was nice, the water was decently warm, though the air was a bit too chilly for my taste. We skipped a bunch of stones. I think my technique has improved! The trick is getting a nice rock and then really throwing it fast with a bit of a snap to your wrist. We jumped off the bluffs once, and then just kinda drifted around in the rain. There was a bit of lightning, but it was way off in the distance.

We went back to Nikki and Justin's place to have dinner with some of Nikki's family. Before the family got here, Justin showed me how to whip up some delicious spring rolls! They turned out quite well, though we needed some work on our sauce.

Nikki's step-mother brought over some Dorito Casserole! It was quite tasty, thought it could have used some more Dorito's. After that, we went to help Steph move some more. Justin and I made two trips before we had to head home for bed. Justin did a ridiculous job of packing stuff into Steph's car. I had no idea we'd be able to fit that much stuff in there!

Road Trip Day 10 - 2007-07-29

Check out pictures from today here:

Justin cooked a great breakfast for Nikki, Steph, Theresa, and I this morning. We had fried eggs, sausage, toast, and smoothies! After that, Steph headed out to do some more packing and Nikki went with Theresa to do some shopping, so Justin and I went over to the creek at West Fork to go swimming. It was pretty busy there, but we found a good spot up the river a ways that wasn't as bad. There were bluffs running all along the river, which were great for climbing up and jumping off of. Sorry, no pictures since I didn't want my camera getting wet/stolen.

Justin challenged me to a stone skipping contest, which I failed at miserably. He beat me again in a rematch: clearly this is not my forte. I need to spend some more time practicing before I can compete at his level.

On our way back, we stopped by Hoghous, one of Justin's favorite bars in the area. We ordered some beers, and were fortunate enough to be served by a somewhat flamboyant waiter that Justin knew was particularly generous. Sure enough, he brought us some free shots that were his own concoction. They were pretty gross (coffee flavored beer plus amaretto or something), but you can't beat the price. Then Justin asked for him to suggest something affordable and tasty, so he whipped up some cocktail that he made up on the spot. I don't remember what was in it, other than some rasberry liquor, but it was pink and didn't taste bad at all. How much did it cost us in total? 5 bucks each (plus a generous tip)! I was quite impressed.

Next we headed over to Theresa's house to borrow her wok for this evening's meal and then we headed back over to Nikki and Justin's house. Justin proceeded to instruct me on how to prepare a great chinese stir fry dish with chicken and lots of vegetables. I don't really remember much of it, but I might be able to wing it if the need arises.

After we finished dinner, Justin and I picked up Steph on our way to the Boom Boom Room (what a name!) to play some air hockey. It turns out that I suck at air hockey. I beat Justin once, but he beat me once and Steph beat me twice. Steph and Justin were pretty evenly matched.

As I mentioned a few days ago, Justin has been teaching me to drive a standard transmission, so I've taken every chance I could get to drive his car whenever we're going anywhere together. I'm definitely getting the hang of it! I'm not stalling getting out of first anymore, and was able to back uphill out of his driveway and such without too much of a problem. Justin even showed me how you can coast around a turn in 2nd gear. Thanks Justin!

After air hockey, we played a bit of pool. We played a game of cutthroat followed by some 8-ball doubles against these really good folks who were hanging out at the bar. We held our own, to some degree. We even won the last game, but it was because they sunk the eight ball accidently. I need to practice more.

I should get going, since Justin is out weedwhacking Theresa's lawn by himself. I'm going to go help him.

Road Trip Day 9 - 2007-07-28

Check out pictures from today here:

Today Steph, Nikki, Justin, Nikki's mother Theresa, and I met up at Little Bread Company for breakfast. Steph and I split a very tasty cinnamon roll, we think it was the almond extract in the frosting that made it so good. After that, we all headed over to Steph's place to help her move. Theresa brought her minivan, which we used for the big pieces of furniture. After packing for a while, I was starting to get hungry. Eventually, I managed to persuade everyone that I needed food, so we headed out for lunch.

Justin wanted to go to this japanese place called Wasabi, but unfortunately it was closed for lunch. So, we went to Rice Village instead. I was walking ahead of the group to check to make sure the place was open, and carrying Nikki's baby-bag with me. When I walked in, after requesting a table for 5, one of the waiters looked at me and asked "what is that?". Clearly he thought I was carrying a purse of some sort. I told him it was for a baby, and he thought that was acceptable.

Much to Justin's dismay, the restaurant had recently lost thier liquor licence due to an oversight on the part of the management regarding when the renewal application was due. Furthermore, three of us ordered sushi that was supposed to have cucumber in it, but there was no cucumber! This was particularly unfortunate for Steph, who ordered something that just had shrimp and cucumber in it, so now it was just a rice and shrimp roll. On Justin's recommendation, I tried the seaweed salad, which was quite good.

After we refueled, we headed out to continue packing. We took several loads of stuff out to her new place before calling it quits for the day. Justin had to go to work for a few hours, so the rest of us just hung out. I did a bit of laundry while Nikki and Blue were taking a nap.

After Justin got off work, he cooked a fantastic meal for Nikki, Steph, and I. Marinated ribeye, homemade creamed corn, french fries, and green beans. I had never had homemade creamed corn before, but it was ridiculously good. The steak was also done to perfection and very flavorful.

After dinner, I got to hold the baby for the first time, which was really cute. (See photos) I got one great photo of Justin holding the baby with her looking right back at him and smiling. I haven't seen all the photos taken of her, but I bet this is among the best! We ate a bit of ice cream and then Steph and I went to watch another episode of It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia.

Road Trip Day 8 - 2007-07-27

Here's a map of my trip on day 8:,+TN&daddr=Fayetteville,+AR&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=42.901912,82.617188&ie=UTF8&z=8&om=1

Check out pictures from today here:

I headed out of Memphis this morning at around 9:30 for Fayetteville, Arkansas to visit my friend from Middlebury, Justin, his wife Nikki, and their new baby Blue. The drive was by far my shortest, around 5 hours, which was a nice change from the long trips I'd been doing before. I arrived around 3:30.

It was pretty easy to find Justin's house, because it still had a big sign that read It's A Girl! in front of it. It was great seeing Justin and Nikki for the first time since graduation (3 years). The baby, as expected, was absolutely adorable! I'll be sure to put up some pictures tomorrow, I didn't get any today.

After Justin gave me the tour, we headed out to Hoghous for some drinks and appetizers before he headed off to work at 7:00. We had some great spinach and artichoke dip and enjoyed the patio on Hoghous which overlooked the main street in Fayetteville.

After that, we still had a bit of time, so Justin decided that it was about time that I learned how to drive a stick. Fortunately, he is driving a car that it on its last legs anyways, so there was not quite as much pressure as learning on my Mom's new Mini, for example. We found a nice big parking lot and drove around for a good 20 minutes or so, practicing getting into first and shifting up through the gears.

Justin was a great teacher! He also suggested that I learn how to get the car into reverse without shaking the bejesus out of everybody in the car, which was quite worthwhile. After I had the basics relatively down, we took to the streets. Perhaps a little too soon, though! We were at what Justin says is the busiest intersection in town and I managed to stall the car twice during a left turn, blocking incoming traffic. It was somewhat harrowing, but a good experience. The weird thing: nobody honked! If you did that in Boston, you'd be hearing about it in about 1/100th of a second.

I finally managed to get it into gear and we pulled into a gas station. I practiced getting into first a few times, then we gave it another shot. This time went much better, and I managed to get back to Justin's neighborhood without further incident. There were some good hills to practice starting on near his house, so he had me practice starting uphill and starting in reverse uphill. I could definitely use some more practice, but I think I was getting the hang of it.

So we headed back to Justin's house and Justin headed out for work. Since Justin was working, he thought it would be fun to set me up with a good friend of Nikki's from school who they were both quite close to named Steph. We had a great night: we went to get some food at Pesto Cafe, had some mint chocolate chip gelato at a cute family-owned gelateria named Carpino's, and then watched a few episodes of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Overall, a very enjoyable evening!

Road Trip Day 7 - 2007-07-26

Check out pictures from today here:

Today I slept in till 1:00 again. At least this time I had an excuse, since we stayed up till 4:00 last night. I met Jacob for lunch at Central BBQ, which was awesome. Though we got absolutely drenched in the rain though just walking 10 steps to our car, it was raining so hard. Luckily it cleared up later in the afternoon.

I came back to Jacob's place, put the buttons on the sweater, and steamed it into the correct shape. Photos tomorrow when I give it to Justin's baby! I hung out for a bit and played some Wii until Jacob got off work.

We decided to meet up with Lesley, a good friend of mine from high school, for dinner. We've stayed in touch, but haven't actually seen each other in something like 7 years, so it was cool to see her again. I also got to meet her boyfriend, Morgan, who I've heard quite a bit about.

We went out to dinner at Huey's, a family owned chain around the Memphis area. I got a Philly cheese steak, which was quite tasty. Customers there have a tradition of shooting tier toothpicks at the ceiling by using their straws as a blowgun. Quite eager not to fail at this task, I took a practice shot at my hand. That wasn't such a good idea, it didn't break the skin, but it hurt a bit. Morgan and I both got one to stick up there, which was quite satisfying. It will take all my restraint not to do this at every opportunity that presents itself.

Jacob and I returned to his place to play some Mario Party.

Road Trip Day 6 - 2007-07-25

Check out pictures from today here:

Since Jacob was working and I didn't have much else that needed to be done, I slept until 1:00 today. I wasn't quite planning to sleep that late, but that's just the way it worked out. It was probably for the best, considering that we stayed up till 4:00 tonight.

After waking up, I grabbed some KFC and headed out to Germantown in hopes that the Hobby Lobby there was in business. I found some nice blue buttons for the sweater, though it took me forever to find the right section. Even when I got to the right area, I ended up staring at this wall of clasps and other random stuff vainly searching for the buttons. After about 10 minutes of this, I finally noticed a big rotating button display right next to me.

When I got back to my car, it was quite hot, which tends to exacerbate this problem I've been having with the rear view mirror: there isn't much friction holding it in place, so it tilts down after every bump I go over. I had looked at fixing this before, but couldn't come up with a way to do so.

I had complained to Jacob about this earlier, and he pointed that there was a round rubber plug in the back of the mirror that probably covered up the screw. We were driving at the moment, so I didn't have a chance to fix it then. I took a look at it now and sure enough, there was a screw that did the trick. I am greatly relieved, you have no idea how annoying that is!

Next, I went by my old house on Lennox Cove, which was looking pretty much the same as it always did, except the trees were a bit bigger. It looked like our former neighbors, the Simonovsky's were selling tier house.

After that, I came back to Jacob's house to help him and the rest of the band get things packed up for the show tonight. I had forgotten how much of a pain it was to load all that stuff into cars. After we were done, we headed over to the Double Deuce on Beale Street for Jacob's CD release party.

The night went well, lots of good music and such. You should all definitely check out Jacob's new CD at

After we lugged all the equipment back to Jacob's house, we decided to grab some food at The Pancake Shop. That sure hit the spot after a long night!

Road Trip Day 5 - 2007-07-24

Here's a map of my journey on Day 5:,+NC&daddr=Memphis,+TN&sll=37.30364,-79.970215&sspn=5.408469,10.327148&ie=UTF8&ll=35.675147,-86.297607&spn=5.522979,10.327148&z=7&om=1

Check out pictures of today's trip here:

Today I made the drive from Asheville, NC to Memphis to meet up with Jacob. I woke up around 8:30, ate some breakfast with my grandmother, and then hit the road. The drive went ok, though it sprinkled now and then. It was quite a long drive, and I was eager for it to be over. I started an audio book version of The World is Flat, which kept me busy for most of the trip. It is a book about how globalization is changing everything. I'm not quite sure how they can stretch it out for 25 hours, but we'll see!

When I got to Memphis, it was about 5:40, so I decided to go by Hobby Lobby to pick up some buttons for the sweater I'm knitting, since Jacob wasn't out of work yet. I ended up driving about 20 minutes out of my way only to find out the store had gone out of business! That was delightful, I'll have to track some down later this week so I can finish up.

After I got to Jacob's I decided that I needed to fix my computer. When my computer isn't working, it leaves me in a state of distress. I had fiddled with it for about an hour and a half last night, running diagnostics and rebooting in a number of different ways. For some reason, it was booting successfully into safe mode, but if I tried to boot into safe mode with networking or normal mode, it would start to load windows but then only show the wallpaper. No icons, no toolbar, so I couldn't do anything!

I called Dell tech support from Jacob's house, but they were pretty useless. They had me run some diagnostics and then they decided that I needed to reinstall windows. Fat chance! I got to thinking that if I could track down an XP CD, I would be able to use the Repair option to fix the problem. Jacob said that we might be able to find one at his office, so we drove over there. No luck! Then he remembered that there was one at the Young Avenue Sound Studio, where he also works, so we went over there too. Jackpot! It took a little searching, but Jacob found it.

When I looked at the CD, I realized that I had XP Pro, and this CD was for XP Home. Either way, we decided to give it a shot. On our way back, we grabbed some burgers at Backyard Burger, which were quite tasty. That is definitely my favorite burger joint around (yes, even above In-and-Out Burger). I tried to use the CD, but unfortunately it didn't work. I figured as a last ditch effort, I would try disabling all the network devices in the Device Manager, because I knew the issue was network-related. Lo-and-behold, that did the trick! That was sure a relief.

I helped Jacob pack up some stuff for his CD release party tomorrow, and we played some Wii Sports. I have further confirmed that I kick ass at Wii Tennis, though my Bowling could use a little work.

Road Trip Day 4 - 2007-07-23

Here's a map of my journey on Day 4:,+VA&daddr=Asheville,+NC&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=49.844639,79.101563&ie=UTF8&z=7&om=1

Check out pictures of today's trip here:

Today I drove from Reston, VA where Rob lived over to Asheville, NC where my grandmother lives. The drive was pleasant enough for most of the trip, though I did hit some rain coming into North Carolina.

I had to fill up my tank, which gave me the opportunity to check out the fuel efficiency of the Infiniti I'm driving. It was 28 MPG on the highway, quite a bit better than the 18 MPG I'd get on my Jeep. I will be driving approximately 8000 miles, so assuming gas is around $3/gallon, this will save me $476 ($1333 vs $857). Not a bad deal!

I finished the audio book How to Win Friends and Influence People today. It was pretty good, and not as creepy as it sounds. Basically, it tells you to be nice and try to empathize with people's point of view. Here is a summary of the key points from this site ( For more details check out that site.

Building Personal Relationships
1) Never criticize, condemn or complain.
2) Become genuinely interested in other people.
3) Talk in terms of the other person's interests.
4) Be a good listener.
5) Make the other person feel important.
6) Use Names whenever possible.
7) Smile.

Selling your Ideas: Establish a Space for Cooperation
1) Avoid arguments: you can only lose.
2) Begin in a friendly way.
3) Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.
4) Be sympathetic.
5) Respect others’ opinions. Never say, "You're wrong."
6) If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.
7) Try honestly to see things from the other person's point of view.
8) Frame requests in terms of what others find motivating.

Selling your Ideas: Closing the Deal
1) Get the other person saying "yes, yes" as soon as possible.
2) Dramatize your ideas.
3) Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers.
4) Appeal to the nobler motives.
5) Throw down a challenge.

Leadership: Giving Criticism & Driving Improvement
1) Begin with praise and honest appreciation.
2) Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.
3) Call attention to people's errors indirectly.
4) Let the other person save face.
5) Make the fault seem easy to correct. Use encouragement.
6) Praise the slightest improvement and every improvement.
7) Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.

Leadership: Motivating Others
1) Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.
2) Try to make the other person happy about doing things you suggest.

Step by Step Guide to motivating others to do tasks:
1. Be Sincere. Don't promise what you can't do or deliver.
2. Know precisely what it is you want the other person to do.
3. Be Empathetic. Try to understand what others want.
4. Focus on any benefits the other person might receive.
5. Explain how those benefits match the other person's wants.
6. Frame requests to communicate that the other person will personally benefit.

I arrived at my grandmother's house around 4:30. We picked up some pizza and brought it back to the house to eat it. For those of you who haven't met her, she is not in the best health and even struggles to get a fork up to her mouth. It is impressive to watch her determination when she eats. I can tell where I get my persistence/stubbornness from!

We sat out on the porch after dinner where I showed her the sweater I'm working on for Justin's new baby, Blue. We talked for a while and then she got a bit sleepy, so she went to take a nap. I stayed out on the porch and continued working on the sweater until it was dark. I finished up the button border and most of the seaming, which is a real pain. It is difficult to see exactly which part of the stitch you need to stick your needle through to make the seam look nice. It seems to be turning out pretty well though, if I do say so myself!

Unfortunately, I didn't get any photos of my grandmother today, but hopefully I'll get some tomorrow morning and post them in tomorrow's update.

(This post is a bit late due to computer problems: I couldn't get it to boot! See tomorrow for the exciting conclusion.)

Road Trip Day 3 - 2007-07-22

Check out pictures from today here:

I slept in a bit today again, getting up around 11:30. For lunch, Rob and I headed out to Potbelly's for some sandwiches. I had a meatball sandwich which was quite good.

We decided that it would be fun to go kayaking on the Potomac River, so off we went to Thomson Boat Club. Annoyingly, they had meters in the parking lot that were active on Sundays, and we had no quarters. We had to get some quarters from the cashier at the boat club, but she'd only give us a dollar's worth because 'they don't stock quarters for that'. Well, they should: that is absurd.

Also, they were out of kayaks, so we got a canoe instead. That was fine, except the seat was unpadded metal and I have an extremely bony butt. I kind of had to slouch over in a manner that allowed the more padded part of my posterior to cushion me, which was a bit uncomfortable.

Other than that, it was a beautiful day with nice big fluffy clouds floating by (see pictures) and a gentle breeze. First we paddled downstream to the Arlington Memorial Bridge, where we discovered why the boat club folks told us not to go past this bridge: that is where the no-wake zone ends and a bunch of motor boats are careening around the river. We decided to go no further to avoid being swamped.

After that, we crossed the river, paddled upstream and found a tributary that we could paddle up. There were some hostile looking geese on either side of the mouth of the tributary, but Rob the goose-whisperer managed to calm them down.

After that, we headed up to the Francis Scott Key Bridge, where Rob told me who the hell Francis Scott Key was: he evidently wrote our national anthem. There were a ton of boats anchored upstream of this bridge. We heard what sounded like a waterfall, so we went to go explore that, but it was pretty disappointing. It was extremely stinky, so perhaps it was some sort of pollution being dumped into the river or something.

Tired, we paddled back to the boat club where we headed back to the car. Fortunately, even though the evil boat club people would only give us enough quarters for an hour and twenty minunutes, we didn't get a ticket in the three hours we were parked there.

It is at this point that Rob discovered that his phone was showing some signs of moisture damage (some fogging on the screen and odd behavior). We have no idea how it got wet, since it was in a plastic bag the whole time. Either way, we needed to get him a new phone so we went by Verizon and used his new-every-two plan to get him an LG VX8300 for free. Not a bad deal for a nice looking new phone.

We headed back to Rob's place and played some Wii Tennis. Next, we went out to dinner at Carrabba's Italian Grill, which was tasty. I had a Caesar salad and the chicken parmesan, both of which were quite good. After that, we went home and played a bit more Wii Tennis and a game of Mario Party 8. Good times!

That brings me to the end of my time here with Rob. In the morning I will head out to see my grandmother in Asheville, NC!

Road Trip Day 2 - 2007-07-21

Check out pictures from today here:

Rob and I had a good day today, we got to sleep in pretty late (11ish) and then went over to Chipotle in Arlington to have some lunch with his friends Mike and Brad. It was quite tasty, though I must admit that it isn't quite as good as Anna's Taqueria. I got a burrito, which was tasty.

Next, we went over to Upton Hill Park to play some mini-golf. Brad played a consistently good game to pull out the win. I had a rocky start at the beginning but got 3 hole-in-one's in the back 9 for a solid 2nd. It was a good course, the type with rolling green, water traps, rocks, and such. None of those big windmills or dinosaurs which makes for a somewhat more pure game.

As we were walking away from the mini golf-place, I spotted a Dippin' Dots sign. I love Dippin' Dots! Rob, Brad, and I got some, but Mike wasn't too interested at first. After my explanation of how the manufacturing process makes for particularly creamy and rich taste, he decided he had to get some too. Yes, I am a big Dippin' Dots fan.

Rested up, we hit the batting cages. We tried medium-speed baseball, which was somewhat unsatisfying because I only got one really solid hit after 16 pitches. Slow-pitch softball was a bit more our speed: it is quite satisfying to be able to really smack it. Mike observed that slow-pitch softball was probably the only type of baseball we would be playing at this point in our lives, so it is probably the best thing for us to be practicing anyways.

Brad had to head out, but the rest of us went back to Rob's place for some chinese food from Pei Wei and some Wii. We played 2 games of Mario Party 8, I won one and Mike won one, much to Rob's dismay. He wanted me to mention his frustration by the fact that I am consistently kicking his ass at everything on the Wii.

Overall a good day, lots of games and stuff which is always fun. Also, I just got word from Justin Berenguel that he and his wife are now the proud parents of a beautiful baby girl! Check out Justin's facebook page for some adorable pictures. I can't wait to meet her next weekend!

Road Trip Day 1 - 2007-07-20

Here's a map of my journey on Day 1:,+prides+crossing,+ma&daddr=30+Tilquist+Rd,+Oxford,+Connecticut+06478+to:11+River+Rd,+Wilton,+CT+06897+to:Reston,+VA&mrcr=1,2&mra=ps&sll=41.422134,-72.053833&sspn=11.16625,19.182129&ie=UTF8&z=6&om=1

Check out pictures of today's trip here:

It was a bit rainy when I left (7:00AM), but it cleared up after an hour or so. My first stop (9:45AM) was to visit my former co-worker, Joe, and his wife Beth to see thier new baby. It was adorable! I held her for a little while and she stretched and wiggled around in my arms, which was really cute. I haven't seen a baby that young in a while (<2 weeks old) and had forgotten how tiny they are! I talked to Joe a bit about my plans, and he suggested that I check out Zion national park if I am near it in my travels.

Second stop (11:45AM) was to see folks at Cannondale: it was Rob Osher's birthday and I wanted to kill some time before I continued on to Rob Hoxies's apartment near DC, so he'd be off work when I arrived. (Little did I realize how long it was going to take me to get there!) Anyways, it was great seeing everybody again and having one last chicken crust club sandwich from Tom-e-toes.

After Cannondale (1:30PM), I tried to make my way down to visit Rob near Washington, DC. Unfortunately, I hit a ton of traffic approaching the George Washington Bridge. You'd think I would know better than to try to take that route after living in the area for 3 years, but oh well! It was particularly frustrating because I knew that after whatever time I spent in traffic, I had another 4 hour drive in front of me. Luckily I had an audio version of How to Win Friends and Influence People to keep me occupied.

After 3 hours, I finally got through the traffic. I took the NJ Turnpike south, and when I finally got near my destination (about 1 hour away) it was around 9:00. I was in Maryland on Route 895 in the lefthand lane, and noticed that the person in front of me was braking hard, so I did the same. I noticed that there was a cop by the side of the road. After I went by, he pulled out, came up behind me, and put his lights on, Great! I pulled over to the side of the road and waited (10 minutes!) for him to get out of his car and come talk to me. He said he clocked me at 82 in a 65 zone and asked for my license and registration. Very business-like, none of that 'do you know how fast you were going?' stuff, which gave me little opportunity to try to get out of it. After another 10 minutes, he comes back to my car with a $165 ticket. Hopefully that is the last of them for this trip, but we'll see. What bothers me the most is that this will probably scare me into driving slowly, which will be annoying.

I finally arrived at Rob's at 10:00, we went out to an irish pub nearby that was still serving food, had a few drinks, and then we went back to his place and played some Wii. Overall a pretty good day, aside from the traffic and the tickets.