Jumping over the lazy dog

or, taking the bull by the horns.

Go West, young [wo]man…

No, I’m not here to debate the origin of this quotation, but rather to start a new list! For a few weeks now I’ve been talking to my friend (here come a slew of nicknames), Dinosaur, about joining him on an epic roadtrip across the US.  He’s actually already completed two cross-country roadtrips, but this is the first trip where I will be accompanying him.  We will be joined by my very good friend Eero (who is, in fact, neither Finnish nor male) and possibly Dino, Jr. (aka Dinosaur’s brother, who I do not know very well and so will most likely get a more appropriate nickname post-roadtrip).

Look at that natural light!

Look at that natural light!

We’re starting in Seattle, since that’s where Dinosaur is working this summer.  What makes this even more fantastic is that my brother is currently in Seattle, also working for the summer, so I’m going to be arriving a few days early to hang out with the little guy (not so litte – he’s taller than me, though that’s not saying much, since I’m only five-oh) and to, get this, see a Barcelona game!  And I’m sure I’ll also be visiting sights around the city, including the Seattle Public Library (which sounds like a strange place to visit until I tell you I have a thing for REM Koolhaas and used SPL as a case study in my thesis…) and the usual Pike Place Market/Starbucks-y stuff before we head back  home.

Dinosaur suggested a trip down through California and across Nevada, hitting up places in the SW, which I’m very excited about because the furthest west I’ve been is Chicago, and that was when I was probably eight or nine. I’ve booked my ticket and we (Eero and I) leave Roanoke at the break of day on August 4th.  Here’s a running list of cool things I’d like to see on our roadtrip back to Blacksburg.  They’re a bit scattered, and I doubt we’ll be able to hit all of them, but even a handful would make my week!  And feel free to leave suggestions, we’re happy to take them!

  1. Seattle
  2. Sequoia National Forest
  3. San Francisco
  4. Sonoma Valley
  5. Las Vegas
  6. Sedona
  7. Grand Canyon National Park + Skywalk
  8. The Thing
  9. Santa Fe
  10. The Alamo
  11. Austin
  12. New Orleans
  13. The World’s Largest Chair
  14. A Bunch of Small Buildings
  15. A Really Big Peanut
  16. Savannah
  17. Biltmore Estates
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Oh the places I will go!

Specialists at the Travel Channel have identified my genre of Travel Bug and offered suggestions for treatment. They say my symptoms are characteristic of the Explorer subset, that my travel-persona is a “mind-blowing combination” of organized, intuitive, sensitive, quiet and determined and I should be ware that I “occasionally freak people out.”  My symptoms become more prominent when I: step off the beaten path (as I am wont to do), start feeling the bubbly sensations of a dream come true, and get the all-over shivers upon viewing a spectacular sunset (or sunrise, as was in Carcassonne).

This was my last view of the city as I trekked down the hill to catch my early, earely train.

My last view of the city as I trekked down the hill to catch my early train.

I am quite happy to follow the specialist’s recommendation of  a regular dose of Anthony Bordain: No Reservations and will promptly make plans for Road Trip USA.  In the mean time, here’s my prescription, a running list of exciting remedies I ought to visit to alleviate (or perhaps aggravate) my buggy issue, in no particular order.

  1. Florence, Italy
  2. Venice, Italy
  3. New Delhi, India
  4. London, England
  5. Loire Valley, France
  6. Prague, Czech Republic
  7. Vienna, Austria
  8. Edinburgh, Scotland
  9. Dublin, Ireland
  10. Tokyo, Japan
  11. Shanghai, China
  12. Dubai, U.A.E.
  13. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  14. Strasbourg, France
  15. Zurich, Switzerland

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The (not-so-dreaded) Summer Reading List

Remember when, at the end of the semester, just as everything was wrapping up and you were getting excited about the summer, the intimidating figure of the following year’s English teacher would appear in the doorway?  And suddenly, instead of thinking about how awesome it was going to be to just hang out by the pool, or go on that trip to Busch  Gardens, you began to dread having to make it through the Summer Reading List.

I was never that kid.  In fact, I’m pretty sure I looked forward to the summer reading, and yes, even the summer journals.  I might have even, on occasion, asked for the reading list (which usually reminded the teacher that it needed handing out, which then meant getting shunned by the rest of the class…which then meant I had more time to do summer reading, since no one wanted to go to the pool with me after that ordeal).  Which means that even as a graduate, I haven’t learned not to go seeking trouble, as I’m making my own reading list for the summer.

It’s got a little bit of this and a little bit of that: some leisurely works, some “must reads” and some texts cluttered with jargon.  But they’re all books I’ve been meaning to read for some while now, and when better than during a tortoise-paced economy?

Summer 2009, here I come:

  1. Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson
  2. A Briefer History of Time by Stephen Hawking (with Leonard Mlodinow)
  3. Talk to the Snail: Ten Commandments for Understanding the French by Stephen Clarke
  4. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
  5. The Image of the City by Kevin Lynch
  6. Strange Details (Writing Architecture) by Michael Caldwell

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