February 6th, 2008

roadkill helper

Notes from the road

alt.polycon in Las Vegas is over; the OH and I spent two days with webmaven and chickenwitch; and I got back on the road. Tonight I'm back in Bakersfield in the same hotel (Springhill Suites) and same room even.

I had plans to go to a restaurant, but I have a thing against going alone to sit-down restaurants. It makes me feel self-conscious and anxious. I considered combating the anxiousness and going anyway, but I didn't have the energy. So I went to Trader Joe's. The Bakersfield Trader Joe's doesn't have any prepared salads or sandwiches the way my local one does, but they had microwave-in-a-bag green beans and carrots, and a new product that I absolutely love, Marinated Three Bean Salad in a can. When I got back to the hotel I realized I didn't have a can opener, but then I realized I did have one on the swiss army knife I carry in my knitting bag. I've never used that kind of can opener before but I figured it out without cutting myself. Go me.

Trader Joe's helps my Buddhist practice because it reinforces the fact of impermanence. That is, they are always introducing some product that I love and then taking it away again just as I start to rely on it. The product I am still pining for is Hot & Sour Soup in a jar. It was perfect and I bought it by the dozen hoping they wouldn't stop selling it, but they did. Now they've introduced the Three Bean Salad and I suppose the same thing will happen. In the meantime I'm enjoying it.

Random thoughts and observations from the road:

I can has cheezburger? Starting a few miles outside of Barstow, CA - the town on the edge of the Mojave that has the first 'services' for many miles (although there are more services between Las Vegas and Barstow than there used to be) - there were multiple billboards for different restaurants and fast food joints, all with virtually identical photos of cheeseburgers. No billboard had a photo of any other kind of food that I can recall.

Wind energy There is a wind farm on the peaks near Tehachapi pass. I think the wind turbines are beautiful and love to see them all spinning.

Trainspotting Somewhere around Tehachapi, paralleling CA route 58, there is a railroad with multiple short tunnels boring through the hills and coming out again. Snaking in and out of those tunnels was the longest freight train I've ever seen. I think it was going through at least four tunnels simultaneously. (Google tells me this railroad is called the Tehachapi Loop and that sometimes the train is so long it even loops back on itself.)

Black gold, Texas tea In a field next to 58 between Tehachapi and Bakersfield there were these machines that looked and acted like gigantic drinking birds. I thought at first they were irrigation pumps, but further investigation tells me they are oil pumps. Kern County oil fields produce ten percent of US oil.