Friday, July 29, 2005

The Rocket Fever Walking Tour

If there's one physical activity I actually enjoy, it's walking. I think it's underrated. There has to be some healthful value to it, and it also allows you to think and take in your surroundings. Every place I've lived -- Lansing with the RiverWalk, Roanoke with the Virginia Heights/Raleigh Court 'hood, Cleveland with Edgewater Avenue -- has had great walking routes. I'm still searching for me L.A. walk, and one of the candidates is a neighorhood hike up into the Franklin Hills. The sidewalks aren't that inviting, and walking up steep grades in the heat isn't my idea of fun. But the neighborhood is a beaut and the views -- see below -- are to die for.



**********

I'd like to thank Mike Zawacki for introducing me to StuffonmyCat.com.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Help Mac's!

Charlie Don't Shake, the official band of Rocket Fever, is playing at a benefit show to help Mac's Bar in Lansing. Something about upgrading the joint's sound equipment. Cover is $7. So if you're in the Mitt and have access to the Capital City, skip over to Mac's for a good time.

And give Schmidt a big kiss on the lips for me.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Hit the Links!

Hey, folks. Worried that maybe you aren't looking at Web sites that are cool or interesting? Need someone -- or some blog -- to guide you to Internet nirvana? Then look no further than the Rocket Fever links! Each of these Web sites has been thoroughly vetted by Rocket Fever Majordomo Craig B. Gaines. You can virtually amble on over to any of these dot-cool sites and be assured that they will be worth your time.

Here's an update on some of the new additions:

The State News is where is all began.

Paul Drake is a Greenville buddy of Mike Hudson's who's into world travel, California, and hiding the fact that he went to the University of Michigan.

Charlie Baase is a friend from The State News, so you know he's got it goin' on.

L.A. Weekly is kind enough to employ me. 'Nuff said.

L.A. Observed knows where you live and what you had for breakfast this morning.

PostSecret is a creepy-cool blog that Mike Zawacki introduced me to. Boy, some people have some effed-up skeletons you-know-where.

Sweet Fancy Moses is no longer current online, but its archive will supply you with hours -- nay, days -- of enjoyment. They're now printing quarterlies, of which I will buy at some point in the undetermined future (Or "some undetermined point in the future"? Probably the second construction is better, huh?).

*****

By the by, Sister has a nice account of Tim and Christine McCarty-Wyman's wedding. I'm still sore that I had to miss that affair. Best of luck to two supercool kids.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

The Family's Westward March

Good luck and bon voyage to Sister, who's moving to Seattle, and cousin Caitlin, who's moving to Arizona. Caitlin will be soon followed by her mom, my Aunt Sarah.

These westward moves are in addition to mine and cousin Molly's move to Santa Clara for college. This new Western faction joins Uncle Joel in Sonoma and Aunt Chris in Seattle. When everyone's settled, the geographical face of the Mellinger clan will be radically different from its Eastern/Midwestern traditions. This exodus from the Midwest and East, which actually follows the country's population trends, spreads the family even farther from its epicenter in Grosse Pointe.

I'm betting that as my cousins get older and graduate, more of them will join us out here. Just a hunch.

The Motherload

Sorry for the delay, folks.

1. Friday night: A fun and quiet night was spent at Ryan and Naz's apartment, drinking beer and marveling at the new MTV '70s reality show. Ryan and I went to Whole Foods to pick up some grub; this is the place to be on a Friday night! Electronic music was pumping and the place was packed. I half-expected one of the bag boys to offer me some Ecstasy.

2. Saturday: Mike and I trucked up to Malibu, in horrible traffic, for a day of seafood and more beer. Neptune's Net, situated on the Pacific Coast Highway with a stunning view of the ocean, is a food destination everyone should experience. We ordered a mess of fried seafood -- crab cake, shrimp, fish, scallops, calamari, clam strips -- and suds. My friends, there are few days better than eating great food, watching surfers on a beautiful ocean, and drinking 32-ounce cans of Miller Lite. If you know of comparable days, please let me know. As we drove back South to L.A., the endorphins swimming through my bloodstream whispered, "That's niiiiice."

3. Sunday: After some work in the morning, Mike, Becky, and I headed for the Valley, zeroing in on the Glarum household and more specifically their pool. After a complex game led by Evan, in which Mike was the bad guy -- big surprise -- we spent a few minutes chatting with Sivert and Mary, which is always time well spent.

Mike and I then ate an early dinner at the original Big Boy -- ask me sometime about the Madman of Toluca Lake. The rest of the day was spent reading the LAT and relaxing. Not bad.

*****

For those of you with cable, this should be a great show. Bourdaine's Food TV show -- and accompanying book -- was great.

*****

I know someone who writes for The New York Times! I know someone who writes for The New York Times!

*****

Katie Rexrode reports that Pat Muir, in Michigan right now, is looking and doing well.

*****

Check out this feature on my cousin Devin!

Monday, July 25, 2005

It's A-Comin'


Promise ...

Coming Up ...

Your Weekend Update, brought to you by Miller Lite.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

It's Gettin' Hot in Cleveland!

*****WARNING: CLEVELAND NEWS JUNKIE POST*****

So now we know that one of the stories the PD was sitting on was about alleged corruption under former Mayor Mike White (Cleveland's mini Coleman Young). The weekly Cleveland Scene ended up scooping the Plain Dealer because the paper feared running the story in the Era of Patrick Fitzgerald. That must burn the PD crew pretty good.

Greg White, the U.S. attorney who's looking into who leaked documents to the publications, was the county prosecutor when I worked in Lorain County, Ohio. The man does not like to be effed with. If the Justice Department tells him to direct the investigation rather than a special prosecutor, expect him to methodically collect the scalps of everyone involved in this leak. Yipes!

I hope that the embarrassment of being scooped by a weekly will push the PD to run the other story they've got the willies about. Now that you're in the soup, you might as well open the crackers, right?

Friday, July 22, 2005

Electricity: Man's Sometimes Dangerous, But Ultimately Best, Friend

Boy does it suck to have no power. I would have been super pissed if I'd lived back in the Olden Days.

*****

Rocket Fever will be in official mourning for the next few days over the death of James Doohan, "Star Trek"'s Scotty. Not only was he a great TV character, but he was also the basis for an office-conduct theory Mike Zawacki and I cooked up while at Inside Business. The Scotty Principle states that if a boss gives you a task, never make it seem as if it will be easily accomplished. Always give the impression that you'll be able to complete the task, but that it will take considerable time and effort on your part. Hence Scotty's habit of always telling Kirk that he'll be able to get the Enterprise up to warp speed, but it won't be easy. To wit:

In ["Next Generation"], Mr. Scott expressed astonishment at the approach of that ship's engineer, Geordie LaForge, to telling his captain how long it would take to work through a particular problem. "Oh, you didn't tell him how long it would really take, did you?" When Mr. LaForge said he had, Mr. Scott replied with exasperation, "Oh, laddie, you've got a lot to learn if you want people to think of you as a miracle worker!"

James Doohan-Montgomery Scott, Rocket Fever salutes you for "giving her all she's got."

*****

I'm liking the job, but -- some of you in Cleveland will be shocked to hear this -- I'm feeling a bit odd about not being in total control of the Weekly's production process. Am I some sort of control freak? Who knew?

*****

Becky and I might join a kickball league. Stay tuned.

*****

Oh, boy.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

A new DetNews column for your ear

For all you stinkpiles coast to coast.

P.S. -- Our power is out at the old homestead, hence the lack of Gainesian theory this morning. No buzz.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

We're All Growing Up


Our collective march toward adulthood took another step forward recently when Jon Brunt and Adrian Rogers bought a house in Spokane. Congrats, kids! Now I'm sure there will be a guest room for me to crash in when I FINALLY make that trip up there I've been promising for months and months.

Reports out of Spokane indicate that if Joe Rexrode ever visits, Jon will BY NO MEANS allow him to watch "The Simpsons."

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

It's Official

In Case You Guys Didn't Know ...

... I'm a huge nerd. Witness the fact that I spend considerable time at the Web site for Governing Magazine yesterday. What's going on in Denver's city government? Governing Mag has the details! God, I need some real help ...

*****

Bon Voyage to Mikey, who's going off to some godforsaken territory to test cars for the next couple days. Or, at least that's where he claims he's going ...

*****

This post has been brought to you today by the punctuation mark Ellipsis.

Monday, July 18, 2005

FYI: It's about 110 degrees...

...in Vegas right now. It's about 75 in the Starbucks on Sahara.

California Roll

It was a quiet, relaxing weekend, so here's a quiet, relaxing Weekend Wrap.

Friday, Mike and I went to this Japanese place right around the corner. I love sushi.

Saturday, I was going to wake up early and go for a hike. But, um, I woke up at 10. So no hike. Instead, Hudson and I went to a thrilling Dodgers-Giants game. They were tied in the bottom of the ninth with two outs. The Giants had just walked Jeff Kent to get to Jason Phillips, who I'm not a big fan of. After getting a generous call on a check swing -- but the umps don't win or lose games! -- Phillips singled in the winning run. This Giants fan in front of us went nuts, pointing middle fingers at the field and getting into it with anyone who'd make eye contact with him. Rivalry sporting events are always the best, even when both teams basically suck.

Sunday was a typically lazy one. After again failing to wake up early for my hike, we all went out to breakfast. The rest of the day was spent dozing, reading the LAT, and going to Ye Rustic Inn for dinner (by the way, the photos on that link make the Rustic look a lot hipper than it is -- think hair metal dive bar meets neighborhood dive bar). After a quick jaunt over to Santa Monica, where I bought "The Right Nation" and "The Oxford Essential Guide to U.S. Government," it was back home for a great night's sleep.

Happy Monday!

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Nice Job


Back in my newspaper days, I wasn't a big fan of photographers. I thought they were often needlessly egotistical and fussy about working with the copy desk. The relationship was especially tense at The Roanoke Times, which was often run more as an artists' colony than a newspaper. The photo staff was really good, but sometimes they'd give us these shadowy, arty shots and insist we run them.

Luckily, it was only like that part of the time. Usually, they gave us pretty stunning shots, like this one above (go to Roanoke.com for a bigger version) by Sam Dean. It's accompanied by a nice story by John Cramer about soldiers coming home from Afghanistan. The story is part of a special report the RT did about a National Guard outfit in Afghanistan.

No matter your position on our current military endeavors, you can't look at this photo and not feel a ton of happiness and pride for this family.

Well done, RT.

Friday, July 15, 2005

And you thought...

I was talking about Eminem.

Breaking Buzz from Detroit!

DETROIT (AP) – The Detroit News has received an entirely new set of vending machines, replacing old favorites such as Kofee West, Tupac Freezur, Notorious LIZ and Hot Doggy Dogg, angering some of the machines’ best customers. Those close to the machines said they were upset over the abrupt change and the fact they missed the chance to make, as one regular said, one final “rise.”

Adam Graham, a reporter at The Detroit News who frequented machines such as the LIZ and Freezur, performed a rap directed at the vending machine company bemoaning the change Friday afternoon in the News cafeteria.
”First off, f--- your machines and the clique you claim, Det News when we ride come equipped with game,” he said. “You claim to be delivery man but I f----- your wife, we bust on Bad Boys, old Machines for life.” The rap also included a bizarre dis against Chino XL.

When reached for comment, XL said “What? I loved those vending machines too, man,” and had milk running down his chin. (DEVELOPING...)

MORE...

Graham proceeded to greet the new machine guys with a "New machines, huh?" only to be met with silence.

"New machines equals new guys, too?" Graham complained, recalling an era when two young Newsers were rewarded with free Sobe Orange Carrot beverages for their trouble.

I Like Working!

My first day as a new productive member of society was cool. It was a bit slow in that this-is-your-first-day kind of way. But everyone at the Weekly seemed really cool and I think I'll like the work. They have me working 40 hours next week.

*****

At about 1:15 in this news story, pay attention to the young man sitting in the background. Who is it? Why it's everyone's favorite Michigan Senate Republican aide, Fred Woodhams!

*****

The best thing about having a shaved head is that no one can tell when I don't take a shower. That and it makes me look like a sexy bitch.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Got Me a J-O-B ... Sort Of

Today I start doing copy editing work for the L.A. Weekly. It's a part-time trial-basis gig that may turn into a more regular thing down the road. It'll be nice, I think, to get back into an actual work environment for a few hours every week. I'd love to add some sort of consistent job to my work portfolio. We'll see if they like me. All thanks go to Ryan Ward for this hookup.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Cars 'n' Stars

Mike got me into this GM event last night wherein celebs and sports stars drive up in souped up cars, which are then judged by a celebrity panel. It was at Paramount, and the coolest part of the evening was the unofficial tour we got from Mike's cousin Sivert. He showed us the offices used in some scenes from "Sunset Boulevard." Too cool!

The actual event was mostly good for free burgers and a few laughs. Mike and I stood for a while in the press area, where we supposedly were going to watch the stars come down the "red carpet." There were some beautiful people, but I didn't recognize anyone. After an hour, we got hungry and went in search of some free In 'n' Out burgs: second best part of the night.

Then the fun began: Shaq (I guess it was easy to tell who was in the photo) appeared as the celebrity host. The emcee was Funk Master Flex. Then for the next hour or so, stars drove up (the event was held on this faux New York street set) in all sorts of GM cars. Clipper Corey Maggette had the best car: some SUV with acrylic seats and 15 video screens.

There were some OK entertainment stars, but my coolest spot was Warren Moon, who was sitting right behind us just watching the festivities. Bad.

Movie studios ... stars ... cars ... free food and drink ... just another night in L.A.

Mystery Quiz!


Any guesses who this gigantous is? You'll find out soon.

Becky and I are going on a tour of the L.A. Central Library today! Nerd fun!

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Bringing the Pain


Can you handle this truth? Craig, Mike, the Constitution, and a hammer. 'Nuff said.

photo credit: Mike's neighbor Ben Callet

See Ya, Hair


After learning that it gets really hot in Los Angeles, I knew I had to resort to drastic measures quickly. My first move, as you can see, has been to remove the thick, wooly substance wrapped around my brainskull. I feel better already.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Ouch

More on the Plain Dealer's holding of two stories that it says would get it sued.

If Doug Clifton is telling the truth, observers of this need to make the distinction that the writers are willing to sacrifice for the story and the paper's executives aren't. I'm guessing the folks who actually produce this paper, whose news side I generally admire (ask me what I think about the editorial page someday), are devastated about this.

As if On Cue ...

The Fitzgerald chilling effect lands in Cleveland. And here we are. A newspaper admits it's not pursuing its mission because its corporate lawyers fear lawsuits. The citizens of Cleveland and Ohio are deprived of information that could have an impact on them because of the bizarre crusade of a prosecutor. While we don't know what these withheld stories are about, we can be certain that they'd have some value to their readers. Therefore, the actions in this case are already leading to a net loss for the American people.

Has anyone else heard of papers admitting to this?

(Thanks for MLJ for the link.)

Oh ....

That city ... that city ...

Lots of There There

All hail the first edition of the West Coast Weekend Wrap!

1. Saturday: We packed up the Lexus hybrid SUV Mike's driving right now and blasted off at 5:30 a.m. The trip was fairly uneventful because there's actually not too much between L.A. and the Bay area. We pulled into Oakland's Jack London Square in the early afternoon and checked into the Best Western. After decamping for the weekend, the Huddies took a nap while I went out to the pool to catch up on some reading. As I entered the pool area, I passed this guy who seemed to be talking loudly into a phone headset and writing in a notebook. I couldn't follow the conversation, so I thought he was talking to someone about a screenplay. He kept talking about Narnia and different celebrities and that he was a warlock. I didn't think about it much at the time, except that later I realized that was no headset. The dude was talking to himself. Ah. He was asked to leave shortly after.

In the afternoon we took a quick jaunt into San Francisco, which Becky had never seen (Aaron, if you're reading this: I'll hit you up when I have more than an hour in town.). We didn't do much of note, just drove around and took some pictures with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background.

After that, we headed back to Oakland to eat at this barbecue place near the hotel. Very average. We were expecting more.

A quick note on Oakland: I like the area we were in. It reminded me of one of Cleveland's cooler neighborhoods, just much more high rent since it's next to S.F. There's lots of little shops and restaurants along relaxing tree-lined streets. It seemed to be a very straightforward city.

2. Sunday: We woke up early and got Becky down to Lake Merritt for the regatta. She was in three races that day, performing excellently for someone in her first competition. I predict that once she gets a few more of these under her bet that she'll be a helluva competitor.

Between races, Mike and I drove around Berkeley, which is a pretty cool college town. After walking on campus for about five minutes (we kept hitting construction dead ends), we turned around and found a cheap Mexican place for lunch. Then it was back to Oakland to watch Becky's final races.

Her races complete for the day, we packed up the car, made sure there was no poopy on the dog, and headed south, completing the first of what will be scores of fun California weekends.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Look Out For That Coxswain

We're off to Oakland to cheer Beck in her first rowing competition!

Friday, July 08, 2005

Bits

I'm going to get my driver's license today. You make appointments to go to the DMV in this state. Brilliant.

*****

My fingers are covered in disgusting hangnails. Why?

*****

I've forgotten what clouds look like.

*****

We called Craig Schmidt at a very late hour last night. He was most agreeable about it. Good man.

*****

I bought a new printer/scanner/fax. It's an HP. I'm sure I'll use the fax at some point.

*****

I'm probably going up to Oakland this weekend to watch Becky take part in a rowing competition. Go Becky!

Thursday, July 07, 2005

29fragiledays

Funny. Half weird, half ha-ha. Terrorists attack a city I love, people die, chaos ensues, pain washes over the world.

But little connections are made. New things are learned. Take, for instance, this vlog (video blog: cool!) produced by a friend of Alex's: 29fragiledays. I don't pretend to be anywhere as cool as this guy. I just love his imagery: Lots of soft focus that often renders his subjects more as moving shapes than just people. I'll be spending some more time at this site, and I hope you will, too.

E-mail From England

Kate Cosgrove, whom I met while on my London trip, forwarded me an e-mail from a good friend we made over there, Alex Richardson. I e-mailed him, and part of his response exemplifies my feelings today:

I hate the fact London's unique personality might change because of these attacks. The city really is alive, with a character you get to know as well as any of its inhabitants. It's been badly wounded today, but a combination of resilience and obstinacy will bring it back to full health soon.

Damn right. Tonight, let's all raise a glass to a bruised but proud city.

0.7 Miles

One of those bombs in London hit less than a mile from where I stayed during my study abroad over there. I can instantly visualize that neighborhood. Some of the best memories of my life were created in that square mile area.

A Word From the Management

Rocket Fever is excited to announce the addition of Mike Hudson as a contributing editor. Hudson, founder of fresh.mikehudson.org -- one of the main inspirations for this site's creation -- will regularly inject his wit and insight on this page for your enjoyment and mental nourishment. He will also oversee a new multimedia initiative, focusing on digital photography and possibly podcasts.

Mike, a graduate of Greenville High School and Michigan State University, lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Rebecca, pets Buckley, Kitty, and Wallace, and long-term house guest, me.

Please join the RF management in welcoming Mike to the team!

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Into the Swing

I forgot how piecemeal one's existence is in the immediate phase after moving. I'm having to learn a new (gigantic) area, get my driver's license and such, and generally find my new Wa.

I just scored a major victory (I think) just a minute ago when I finally figured out how to do this wireless Internet thing on my desktop.

In other news, we had a spectacular Fourth of July at Sivert and Mary Glarum's house. Sivert is Mike's cousin who until very recently wrote for "King of the Hill." He and his whole family (who I've written about before) could put on a hospitality clinic. They did a killer barbecue for a bunch of neighborhood friends after getting everyone gussied up in RW&B for the community Fourth Parade. Too much fun.

*****

Take some time to check out the links. I've added a couple L.A.-inspired ones.

*****

Thanks to Katie for the phone call the other day.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

2,192.7 miles

Wednesday: I left in the early evening after getting my car back from the shop that afternoon. I had a momentary conniption when my dad told me my breaklight was out, but the good folks at Story Body Shop fixed it for me in a jiffy. I then sped home, threw my life in my car, said my goodbyes, and began my spirit quest.

For about the first 30 minutes, I was convinced that I was making the worst mistake of my life. Depressed that I was a divorced rambler rather than a happily married man, sad that I was leaving my family, frightened that I would be a horrible failure in L.A. But the calming influence of the road and the excitement that was ahead soon started to ease those fears.

After making my goal of passing Chicago at around 10 p.m. Central, I pulled into a hotel and got a fitful night’s sleep.

Thursday: The Focus and I broke asphalt promptly at 7 a.m. and proceeded to lay waste to the great states of Illinois, Iowa, and Nebraska. Iowa gets the Rocket Fever Medal of Driving Honor for this trip. The road conditions were superb, there weren’t many bothersome state troopers, and Iowans actually know the difference between the left and right lanes.

I dispute the fact that Iowa and Nebraska are visually boring states to motor through. Iowa especially has quite pleasing vistas of shimmering green corn reaching to the horizon. Nebraska is a bit more hard scrabble, but its gently rolling hills have left me with good memories.

Central Nebraska also brought me a pleasant surprise in the form of the Lasso Espresso, in Gothenburg. About 10 minutes after I starting wondering, “Where in the hell can I get an iced coffee in Nebraska?” a billboard announced a small coffeehouse right off I-80. The iced latte smoothie I bought was so good I went back in and bought a mug. If you ever make this trip, plan on stopping off at exit 211.

I crossed into Colorado near the end of my driving day. This is when things started to get weird. Eastern Colorado is a fairly empty land of undulating, grassy hills. Colorado ruins my long-held theory that states always ensure their roads are in good condition for the first few miles after its border. The roads sucked from the start. About 45 minutes into the state, I noticed some of the fiercest thunder clouds I’d ever seen in the distance. Part of it had to do with the angle, as my heightened elevation put me lots closer to the storm than I was used to. But it didn’t help that the cloud seemed to be coming right down to the ground to meet me. As I got closer I could actually smell the storm. Then — slice — I was driving through a column of water. I had zero visibility at 65 mph for the first minute or so. After slowing down to about 30, I could see just enough ahead of me to make my way. It was over after a couple minutes, but I was convinced the water was going to cave in my wind shield. Nuts.

I finally pushed into Denver, driving a bit longer than I wanted to find a hotel. After hauling in my stuff, I staggered around the room for a few minutes before tumbling into bed.

Friday: The serious part of the trip saw me taking off again at 7. My car was in for a hell of a day. The Rocky Mountains, in case you didn’t know, go up and down and up and down and up and down. Colorado drivers must all drive V-8s, because they can handle those up grades with no problem (and also have no problem riding my ass). But my little red baby refused to break 55 mph on some of those slopes. It was arduous going.

I crossed into Utah at midday and entered what looked like the moon. The only humans around were in the cars on the interstate. Everything else was plateau, rocks, scrub brush, and sky. I thought I was in “Easy Rider.” I stopped at a couple view points just to take in this dusty oven of a landscape. Everything around me was khaki, green, and blue. Beautiful.

For the first hour. At hours two, three, and pushing into four, it was monotonous, uninviting, maddening. I wanted this state to be over. But instead it insisted on pulling my car up these miles-long grades that sent my odometer creeping back toward zero.

Up … flat … up … flat … down … flat … up … up … up …

Then, in late afternoon, my eyes dry and my head pounding, I came across Beaver, Utah. Hudson has stopped there a couple times during his cross-country travels. There’s a hotel and a restaurant, and not much else. Which was fine with me. All I wanted to do was rest up for the final push into L.A.

I checked into the Best Western, splashed around in the pool and hot tub for a few minutes, ate at the Garden of Eat’n, and settled in for a relaxing evening.

Friday night: Except that crisis was about to hit. After dinner I wanted to check the car’s mileage. I went out to the car and stuck the key in the ignition. Said key only went in half way. No. I tried again. Still stuck. No. Nope. This wasn’t happening. Got my other key. Still stuck. No. No. This wasn’t happening. Got a paper clip and jammed it into the ignition. Tried the key again. Stuck. No, no, no, nononononono. Noooooooooooooooo.

Not now. Not here. Not in Beaver Goddamn Utah. Not thousands of miles from old and new homes. Not after the car accident.

No. No. No.

But yes. I was effed in a cosmic way.

So who saved the day? Who got me back on course? Bucked me up?

Mike C. Hudson. That’s who.

I called the old boy and told him I was preparing to set up residence in Utah. After some research on the excellent Web site he works for, Edmunds.com, he had an answer: Call a locksmith. Brilliant. (He also had me punching the steering column at one point, which must have been a tickling sight.)

I found a smithy in the Yellow Pages. He came out the next morning, fixed me up, and I was on my way. Brett Hansen, The KeyMaker of Cedar City, Utah, you are my hero.

As are you, Mikey.

Saturday: Determined to get the hell to L.A. before anything else could go wrong, I blazed through the Utah, Arizona, Nevada, and California deserts. I thought my car was going to combust. My window was warm-almost-hot to the touch.

I blasted my way, regularly pushing 85 mph, right through this bone-dry region. I stopped at a McDonald’s in North Las Vegas, but that was it.

After making my way though my first official L.A. traffic jam, I exited onto Los Feliz Boulevard in the mid-afternoon. Through the haze in my brain, I was trying to comprehend that this place was my new home. I’m still working on that concept.

I parked on Ambrose, thanked my car for a job well done, and walked up to what will be my address for the next few months. There was a smiling Mikey. I had never been so happy to see him.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Happy Birthday, America

Hope everyone had a good one. A full trip report will come soon.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

I'm Here

I'm alive. Utah sucks.

More to follow.