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August 2002

Where's Carmen Miranda? Part III

More later: I’m pooped and I have an iBook with a cracked screen to grumble about today. But here's the latest batch of travel photos:

A Standard Model

It's my lot in life to have carved out a challenging, financially comfortable niche for myself in an organization that’s not much fun. When you spend day after day, year after year, producing dull-looking technical documentation, you get your kicks when you can. Today I ran across my favorite diagram from any ASME publication. I won't explain what it actually is, because that would bore you to tears. But it's always given me a sophomoric chuckle:

Where's Carmen Miranda? Part II

I’ve been getting quite a kick out of all your theories, so I think it's finally time to reveal the photographic evidence...

Child Hellfare

Usually when I visit a new city, I don't go out of my way to check out the big tourist destinations. I prefer to do things like wander the streets, browse the supermarkets, chat with people who live there. It's not an aversion to the important sites of any particular place, but a general loathing of gawking crowds. (Living in New York can do this to a person.) The worst part of any crowd of tourists, though, is the presence of those unruly, screechy, squirmy vermin that always get underfoot and in your way: CHILDREN.

Note to self: never go to the zoo ever again if there is a single human child in sight. It will not be worth the hassle.

And though I’m notoriously averse to hanging around the Big Gay Neighborhood of any place I visit, the upswing is that there will rarely be any children in sight, in earshot, or in my way. There may be plenty of creepily similar homos surrounding me at any given point, but at least their movements are easier to predict. The nice part about my current, unspecified location is that the Big Gay Strip turns into the Big Punk Strip (as if 8th Avenue were grafted onto the end of St. Mark's Place), so there's a good mix to the folks on the street.

For me, all the scruffy, scrawny punk rock kids anachronistic as they may be are a lot more interesting than the Stepford Queens, even if their abs aren't as taut. From the surly, beautiful boy doing the night shift at the Internet café to the adorable hipster who couldn't stop grinning at me at the newsstand, they're the most intriguing scenery in the neighborhood.

And they're too old to be children, which is fortunate in many ways.

Site Report

@!"#$%?&*()_+

I’m not swearing, I’m just looking for the keys I need. WHERE ARE THE DAMN ANGLE BRACKETS? God, I hate foreign keyboards. I suppose there'll be no fancy formatting in this entry.

Ooops, did I mention I was out of the country? I guess that’s a hint.

I just checked out of a large, drab hotel: the kind I hate the most, no matter how often I get fresh sheets or new bars of soap. I had a king-size bed, but I have that at home. My room was bigger than a generously sized New York studio apartment, but the Swanktuary puts that to shame. No, the problem with big hotels is that they're bland, bland, bland. They're designed not to ruffle feathers. Boring.

I just checked into a charming little bed and breakfast where I have a room the size of my bed at home. It's perfect, though: the walls are the color of pale moss, it's cozy and soothing, sunny but not too sunny, and it smells like someone lives there, not like someone just disinfects it regularly. With time on my hands and a small little bed where I can sleep late, the vacation begins in earnest now.

The experimental vacation beard comes off tomorrow, however. It already looks too preposterous for words. Don't expect pictures.

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