Saturday, July 19, 2008

Where are all the hats?

Firstly: I got my hair cut short. I cannot say enough how much I love it. Okay, it's not super short, but it's above my shoulders. It's just longer than my chin, I'd say. It curls up great and it dries super fast. The real test was taking my hair with me on a flight to Texas. Both coming and going, when I got off the plane, my hair STILL looked great. This is not usually the case for me. The dry airplane air tends to cause all the curl to fall out and my hair to go completely flat and limp. But my shorter hair can withstand the power of the plane air! Now I just need to get a tattoo on my forehead that says DON'T GROW OUT YOUR HAIR because I tend to forget these things because it is tempting to want to be able to put it into a ponytail.

As for Texas, I was not impressed. Well, all I saw was Houston. I did not see a single cowboy. Not even a 10-gallon hat or even any cowboy boots with a suit. I also did not get any good Tex-Mex.

I went to a place called Cabo near my hotel that the concierge recommended (bad choice, I know). The salsa was great and the bartender was nice (he told me his life story and I barely got a word in edgewise). But the chicken tamale was the worst I've ever had. It was dry and did not have chunks of chicken. It was like a chicken roll wrapped in a leaf. I can get a way better tamale right here in Jersey City at Taqueria. And the tortilla soup was greasy. Maybe I just ordered wrong? The Shiner Bock amber was on tap for $3.75, so I drank two of those. It was a little tasteless for an amber, though.

Houston has tunnels underneath the downtown area so that you can avoid the heat. Although when you come out and have to still walk 3 blocks to reach your destination, you get just as sweaty.

I was in Houston for a training along with another department. It made me realize how nice it would be to be part of a department that is in this country. Only so much comraderie can be created over email.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Amtrak again

I'm heading back to DC on Amtrak for the second time this week. This time it's to pick up furniture from my granddad's estate.

Things that are of interest:

- the number of people who use a thin plastic sac for an overnight bag

- the number of women who wear painted-on denim shorts that don't use much more fabric than underwears

- the number of Wachovia ads in the Newark station and the complete lack of Wachovia ATMs

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Quiet car

Thirty seconds after getting on Amtrak's quiet car, a suit was on his cellphone. The conversation concerned a good deal on a $100 watch and the fact that his had cost much more than that.

The conductor made an announcement over the intercom that in the quiet car no cell phones or loud conversations are permitted.

The man sitting across the aisle from me leaned in my direction and said in a stage whisper, "this car is a godsend!"

As the ticket agent passed through the aisle collecting tickets, a man could be heard from the other end of the car, possibly $100 watch man. He was leaving someone a message, stating the time and requesting the person call him back.

"I hear a voice!" the ticket agent said in an upbeat manner while walking toward the voice. "Sorry," the man said. "I had my headphones on when the announcement was made."

Friday, July 4, 2008

Toronto time

In the Pantages hotel where we are staying in Toronto:

-there is an incredibly long sink in the bathroom but only a tiny bit of counter space
-there is a fountain inside a tall pot of sticks
-there is an air cleaning machine
-the hallways are very dimly lit, like a club
-there are no free outlets except behind the TV

We thought the fountain would be distracting as we slept. Jeff thought it also might make him have to get up and pee a lot. But in fact, it's incredibly relaxing and we both fell asleep in record time. I thought fountains were tacky, but now I kind of want one.

Our only real plans while we are here are to eat and drink, to see Kate Musgrove, and walk around. Any specific recommendations?

ps: The Oasis restaurant has been renovated and is now tan on the outside, not that lovely blue. It was an unfortunate decision on their part.