Saturday, April 30, 2005


In 1969, John Giorno founded Dial-a-Poem, a 212 number anyone could call to get a quick poetry fix.

Millions called. "The busiest time was 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., so one figured that all those people sitting at desks in New York office buildings spend a lot of time on the telephone...The second busiest time was 8:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. ... then the California calls and those tripping on acid or couldn't sleep, 2 a.m. to 6 a.m."

Now we have the liberty of getting our Dial-a-Poem in mp3 version via the UbuWeb. Check out Frank O'Hara, Sylvia Plath, & Charles Bukowski (no acid required):

Frank O'Hara - Having a Coke with You

Sylvia Plath - Daddy

Charles Bukowski - Cloud Nine/I Live in a Neighborhood of Murder/Two Horse Collars

Friday, April 29, 2005


* If you attended last year's Whitney Biennial, you probably saw the massive installation of Zak Smith's illustrations for each and every page of Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow (as opposed to Pat Benatar's Gravity's Rainbow). Although Smith's illustrations were much more impressive en masse, they're still interesting to look at one by one. (Via Fool in the Forest)

* Slate has an excellent "slide-show essay" on the move of the Barnes Foundation art collection to downtown Philly.
* You can enjoy browsing through this cleverly designed photography site, life through a polaroid; just be careful that the tranquil music doesn't lull you to sleep. (Via fd5000)

Thursday, April 28, 2005

the united states of wal-mart

An old Brooklyn pal has just come out with a "lively and insightful profile of the big-box retail leviathan": The United States of Wal-Mart.

Colorado Springs Independent staff writer John Dicker admirably sums up the conventional complaints against Wal-Mart, detailing poverty-level wages, skimpy benefits, scorched-earth antiunion policies, shuttered smalltown Main Streets, suburban sprawl abetment and rampant outsourcing. Behind the facade of "corn-pone populism" fostered by folksy but steely founder Sam Walton, Dicker asserts, Wal-Mart has become a "global despot." Dicker's analysis is unsparing but balanced. He sympathizes (and sometimes strategizes) with Wal-Mart opponents, but also chides them for ignoring the appeal of the company's cheap, convenient offerings to cash-strapped customers and underserved communities. And Wal-Mart's sins, he argues, are America's; the company merely caters to the national religion of consumer entitlement that assumes shoppers have no interests in common with workers and puts low prices ahead of any social consequences. (Publishers Weekly)

If you're in LA, do come to the reading at Skylight Books on June 19th.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

botox for your belongings

against the world, against life

McSweeney's imprint Believer Books' latest publication is an analysis of H.P. Lovecraft by controversial French novelist Michel Houellebecq.

“Those who love life do not read. Nor do they go to the movies, actually. No matter what might be said, access to the artistic universe is more or less entirely the preserve of those who are a little fed up with the world.”

RIP cupcake

The NYC reading series and general gathering of lit chicks has bid adieu.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

2 legit 2 quit

I feel like I've cracked into some kind of blogging underworld. I've been referenced on another blog - for the first time - for my Festival of Books posts. It somehow seems more glamorous now than it did when my roommate's cat came and took up residence on my back because I'd been on-line too long.

r-o-m-a-n-c-e spells relief

Fluxblog posted two songs this week to which I've grown hooked. The first is Stag Party's "Rachel (My Dear)" which, after my brief Atlas Strategic obsession, has me concerned that I'm falling for the ravings of madmen.

Stag Party - Rachel (My Dear)

The second is Scout Niblett's "Lullaby for Scout in Ten Years." I've had some strong feelings about Ms. Niblett in the past that were not always as charitable as maybe they should have been. This song has me singing a different tune.

Scout Niblett - Lullaby for Scout in Ten Years


There are interviews with fabulous femmes Eleni Mandell, Joanna Newsom, the Girls Guitar Club of Greater Los Angeles, Keren Ann, and Shirley Simms (among others) in the first on-line version of chickfactor: "purveyors of girlpop glamour, crushworthiness, mod style, and everything else that matters," or "the official lifestyle manual of swedish clubpop, french nerds, soft-rock yanks, and extra reverb," or "the international bible of french new wave, fluffy bossa nova, anglophilic baroque pop, and other junk," depending on what page you're on.

that newfangled, abominable, heathenish liquor

As I enjoyed my morning cup, I was greatly amused by this petition signed by thousands of British women in 1674 to outlaw coffee because it was keeping their husbands from proper performance in the boudoir.

But to our unspeakable Grief, we find of late a very sensible Decay of that true Old English Vigour; our Gallants being every way so Frenchified, that they are become meer Cock-sparrows, fluttering things that come on Sa sa, with a world of Fury, but are not able to stand to it, and in the very first Charge fall down flat before us. Never did Men wear greater Breeches, or carry less in them of any Mettle whatsoever. There was a glorious Dispensation ('twas surely in the Golden Age) when Lusty Ladds of seven or eight hundred years old, Got Sons and Daughters; and we have read, how a Prince of Spain was forced to make a Law, that Men should not Repeat the Grand Kindness to their Wives, above NINE times in a night: But Alas! Alas! Those forwards Days are gone...

Monday, April 25, 2005

festival of books - day 2

Yesterday was my second outing to the Festival of Books. It felt right to be going to my version of church bright and early on a Sunday morning. On Saturday, I saw a panel of Southern California historians followed by a panel of Southern California theorists, so we kicked off the day with a panel of Southern California fiction writers:

Reinventing California

Steve Erickson, Our Ecstatic Days (who must think I'm stalking him coast to coast)
Michelle Huneven, Jamesland
Michael Jaime-Becerra, Every Night Is Ladies' Night
Peter Lefcourt, The Manhattan Beach Project

My two favorite quotes from this panel both came from Steve Erickson. At one point, he said something advantageous about writing in Los Angeles rather than New York is that Los Angeles encourages you to constantly rethink it, whereas New York rethinks you. He also said that the trope of the apocalypse is so pervasive in L.A. literature that "it appalls us to think they might end the world somewhere else." This panel was followed by:

Jared Diamond

The UCLA professor gave a lecture to hundreds of people on the basic premises of his follow-up to Guns, Germs, and Steel: Collapse: How Societies Choose to Succeed or Fail. It was a totally depressing overview of what will happen to us if we don't radically alter our environmental policies now. In short, we're fucked.

We wrapped up the day with a highly entertaining panel of short story writers.

The Art of the Short Story

Steve Almond, The Evil B.B. Chow and Other Stories
Aimee Bender, The Girl in the Flammable Skirt
Merrill Joan Gerber, This Is a Voice from Your Past
Tod Goldberg, Living Dead Girl
Bret Anthony Johnston, Corpus Christi

While I work on my dissertation, I'm going to try to keep in mind something Steve Almond said about the work of writing: "Any time at the keyboard is time in heaven."

Saturday, April 23, 2005

talk about struggles between myth and reality...

I just got carded buying wine at Trader Joe's! Life is sweet.

festival of books

Today, I took my dissertation research to the streets at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. I'm writing on L.A. literature, and the festival is providing me with ample opportunity for exploration. I attended two panels so far, one that was more about the past...

Discovering California

William Deverell, Whitewashed Adobe: The Rise of Los Angeles and the Remaking of Its Mexican Past
Barbara Isenberg, State of the Arts: California Artists Talk About Their Work
Malcolm Margolin, founder of Heyday Books, The Way We Lived: California Indian Stories, Songs, and Reminiscences
Rick Wartzman, The King of California: JG Boswell and the Making of a Secret American Empire

...and one that was more about the future:

To Live & Die in L.A.

Norman Klein, The History of Forgetting: Los Angeles and the Erasure of Memory
Richard Rayner, The Devil's Wind
David Ulin, Writing Los Angeles: A Literary Anthology
D.J. Waldie, Where We Are Now: Notes from Los Angeles

I've listed the latest books by each panelist to give an idea of what was discussed. The most common theme was the idea of Los Angeles in constant struggle between myth and reality.

Los Angeles Times Festival of Books at UCLA

Sculpture garden at UCLA

strange and beautiful

Last night, I saw Matt Hales of Aqualung fame perform at an Amoeba Records in-store appearance. He played about 7 songs in between charming bits of banter. He seemed very happy for someone who writes songs of such heartbreak. The big hit, "Brighter than Sunshine," is thematically atypical. This is more like it:

Aqualung - Baby Goodbye (right click > save link/target as...)

I picked up another superpower yesterday as well: taking black & white photos with my camera.

After the Amoeba show, I had dinner at Valley classic, Casa Vega, immortalized in the song "Ventura Boulevard": "Come and shake a leg-a down at Casa Vega..."

Friday, April 22, 2005

this week's netflix

It's actually last week's Netflix...I've been remiss. It's a sure sign that I've settled in some that I was able to sit still long enough to watch these films.

Red Lights a.k.a. Feux Rouges: I read somewhere that the viewer of this French suspense film was supposed to be initially unsettled by the fact that the husband and wife were so physically incompatible. That seems like a risky, somewhat elitist, proposition, but I suppose that's French cinema for you. The male lead (Jean-Pierre Darroussin) was quite compelling despite his inferior genetics.

Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason: It seems like this film suffered from the same lack of self-esteem as Bridget Jones herself. Renee Zellweger's repeat portrayal of the charming klutz is actually endearing enough on its own that there was no need for Madonna sing-alongs in Thai prisons, silly parachuting scenes, and abrupt, irrelevant lesbian pronouncements.

The Mother: The characterization in this English film was so strong that I had to check out the writing credits midway, and sure enough, it was penned by Hanif Kureishi, known for such previous screenplays as Sammy and Rosie Get Laid and My Beautiful Laundrette, as well as many novels. This film is worth watching just to remind yourself that, despite what the media is trying to tell us, sex doesn't stop at the first wrinkle.

testing my new superpowers

I like this song, if you can call it a song, by Atlas Strategic. (Many thanks to CB!) I promise more profundity next time around.

Atlas Strategic - Jesus Christ (right click > save link/target as...)

"Imagine Brian Eno crossed with early Rolling Stones set to the lyrics of a science fiction author found dead in his apartment due to a broken heart."

Thursday, April 21, 2005

are mp3 blogs really that complicated?

I've been looking for some simple directions to explain how to link to mp3s (download, not stream) and it seems like a huge mystery. I'm willing to accept that I may not possess the technology, but I'd think I could at least find out what it is. If anyone out there could tell me, I'll buy you a Coke.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

don't need you

I took myself out on a date tonight to see riot grrrl documentary Don't Need You. It was a 40-minute chronicle of the energy and personalities that inspired the movement in the Northwest, complete with some of the exclusion issues and media problems that led to its demise. The archival footage was excellent. The film was playing at new-to-me theater The Arclight, which was built on to old favorite, the Cinerama Dome. I had heard that not only were you guaranteed assigned seats, but that you could also pick up a cocktail at the bar and drink it while you watched the movie! Except for the cocktail part, it was all true! I would have to say tonight's screening was more of an event than a casual movie run. For one, director Kerri Koch and Sharon Cheslow were in attendance for a post-doc Q&A. Then afterwards, for the same $10 that got you into the movie, there was an open bar and passed hors d'oeuvres in the courtyard, and LA band Mika Miko played alongside some DJs from Amoeba Records. Not too shabby. I think I'll go out with me again sometime.

wicked yankee

I received a lot of answers like "smack dab in the haht o' Mass" on this quiz that reveals what kind of dialect you've been sporting. Strangely enough, when I wasn't clearly a New Englander, I came up as kind of Texan.

Here, you can also determine your rating on the gay-o-meter. I am 36% gay, which is interestingly enough about how nerdy I am. I was told that I'm "a straight-laced girlie girl with just a hint of your butch side sometimes popping out." I want to take offense at this, but I'm afraid it may be true.
Via fd5000

say what? or questioning the future of my field, part 2

I came across this excerpt while looking at some recent calls for papers and I think I can say this is the most obtuse thing I've ever read. I fancy myself to have some learnin' but after multiple attempts, I can still not make heads nor tails of it:

Essays should address cultural representations of experience that are not amenable to metaphors of return, advent, or re-collection. Numerous attempts have been made to characterize the modes of intelligent experience. These have included efforts to locate conceptual apparatus that underlie apperception, metaphors that lend narrative meaning to experience, or socio-cultural structures that enable the detection of historical significance, to name a few. But such conceptualizations often end up revealing amessianism or other teleology subtending the human experience of history. Work remains to be pursued on the sense, knowledge, or experience of irreversibility.


block be gone!

Yesterday was the first full day that I actually stuck to my dissertation-writing schedule and it was not half as horrible as I had feared. I am writing this as a reminder to myself that I had these thoughts the next time I find myself haunting the web instead of writing. For some reason, I've never been one of those people that can get with the idea of working really hard in order to finish earlier. I will say that one of the motivations I've found is (oh, the geekdom) the new Oxford American Writer's Thesaurus:

This brand new thesaurus from Oxford, the most trusted name in reference, is the first to be developed by writers, for writers. In addition to the more than 300,000 synonyms and 10,000 antonyms found in the thesaurus, each of our distinguished editorial board members (including David Auburn, Michael Dirda, David Lehman, Stephin Merritt, Francine Prose, Zadie Smith, Jean Strouse, David Foster Wallace, and Simon Winchester) has contributed frank, funny, thoughtful, and, most of all, word-wise mini-essays on words that they particularly love, hate, admire, or are just plain puzzled by. Even more helpful for writers in search of the perfect word, this new thesaurus contains nearly two hundred word banks, collections of nouns to add exact detail to your writing. (Was it just bread, or was it chapatti, rye, dal, or pita?) Brand-new word spectrums show where your word falls in a line between two polar opposites (passable is three-quarters of the way from beautiful to ugly).

It really does rock.

the kitchen test

Republican senator George Voinovich ("known as a maverick") has come out against the nomination of John Bolton as UN ambassador, claiming that he doesn't feel Bolton would pass "the kitchen test," i.e. would you want to hang out with this person in your kitchen? Now it could be argued that passing the kitchen test should not be a qualification to work at the UN, but I think Voinovich was very honest about what actually goes on in many hiring situations. I can think of a few people with whom I've worked in the past that should have been required to spend some time in a kitchen before they were hired.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

get behind me satan

If you haven't heard "Blue Orchid," the single making the rounds from the upcoming White Stripes' album Get Behind Me Satan, do your behind a favor and check it out here.

Monday, April 18, 2005

it's art! no, it's walking! no, it's art!

The idea of walking around the city here is so...kooky...that people make art projects out of it. To be fair, this person may be only posting his photos and maps from various jaunts around the city, but Lisa Salem is creating something. I did have to laugh, though, at this very believable anecdote from her blog:

The other day, I walked from the nearest Starbucks on Sunset and Alvarado, through the Echo Park hills towards my house. After a while I passed a couple of teenage gang-ish type guys who said ‘Hi’ to me and I said ‘Hi’ back. They saw me holding my latte and asked me sweetly and in exclamation, 'Have you really just walked all the way here from Starbucks?!!!' - It was seven blocks away.”

Via LA Observed

Later: There must be a trend in making the commonplace into art.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

probably not the best activity for the sabbath day

My stylin' new Geo did have one issue: a Jesus fish next to the tail light. I don't have anything personal against Jesus, but I didn't want the connotative fish flashin' signs at the other cars in traffic. This morning, as you can see below, I solved the problem in a most satisfying way.

initial impressions and observations

After completing my first full week here in LA, I thought I'd reflect on what I've been noticing.

  • I have not checked the weather once. Not once. It's just beautiful every day. The only time the weather even crossed my mind was when a website still had me programmed as living in Brooklyn and I knew temperatures in the 40s couldn't be right. As an early Hollywood booster wrote, the weather here "works with a man, not against him."
  • Occasionally, you run across a scene that is so inherently "LA" it's somewhat sickening. Like the other day, when I treated myself to a pedicure, a 7-year-old girl was getting one next to me and dictating different colors for each toe.
  • It's going to take me awhile to shake off the NYC chill and get used to how friendly people are here. It's not as easy to skate through life anonymous and unnoticed by the crowds around you. Random people ask you how you are and really seem like they want to know. When you ask where something is in the supermarket, the stockboy offers to walk you there. When you ask the Staples sales associate where the nearest hardware store is, he takes 15 minutes to draw you an incredibly detailed map.
  • Speaking of supermarkets, I have to stop myself from going grocery shopping every day. It's just so fun! I can buy as much as I want and still get it home. There are flavors and options and products I've never even encountered - all under one roof. Actually, under any number of roofs. And they don't charge an arm and a leg for things that you have no choice but to buy, because where else are you going to go? My only problem now is that my shopping cart is bigger than my stomach.
  • I've already experienced the one thing I missed most about living in LA: the drop-over. It's a completely different experience to dial a number and drive your car a few blocks, or even a freeway exit, out of the way to say hello to a friend than it is to find yourself on a train that passes through a friend's neighborhood, determine which stop is closest to their apartment, take a chance to get off the train and climb the stairs to get out of the station in order to call and see if they're home (unlikely since it's New York), and then walk however many blocks to visit them.
  • Because you have to drive everywhere and the supermarkets are so generous, there is less need/desire to leave the house...not a good situation for someone holed up writing their dissertation. I'm going to start running or walking or something, just to be out and about.

Friday, April 15, 2005

apparently, nobody ever walked in L.A.

From an 1883 Helen Hunt Jackson essay:

"They seem to have been a variety of Centaur, these early Californians. They mounted [their horses], with jingling silver spur and glittering bridle, for the shortest distances, even to cross a plaza."

dickens world

A theme park based on the works of Charles Dickens is set to open [in Chatham, England]. The £62 million entertainment complex will feature rides based on his novels and a reproduction of Victorian London street scenes. Backers hope the attraction in the Thames Gateway will introduce a new generation to Dickens and his characters.

Can you imagine something like this ever happening in the U.S.? Dickinson World? "There's a Certain Slant of Light: The Rollercoaster?"

Thursday, April 14, 2005

signs of the apocalypse

Is there cause for concern? There are huge balls of fire shooting through the skies over Spain, a deadly flu virus was mistakenly shipped to thousands of labs worldwide, and Britney Spears is pregnant. This is not looking good, folks.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

chris will never be anything but a bible name

Slate is publishing excerpts this week from Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner's book Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything. I've always had a bit of a thing for names (a.k.a. onomastics) and so do these men. These excerpts explore the naming of children with racially indicative choices and how names migrate up and down the socioeconomic ladder. They include the kind of fascinating data found below.

The California names data tell a lot of stories in addition to the one about the segregation of white and black first names. Broadly speaking, the data tell us how parents see themselves—and, more significantly, what kinds of expectations they have for their children.

The actual source of a name is usually obvious: There's the Bible, there's the huge cluster of traditional English and Germanic and Italian and French names, there are princess names and hippie names, nostalgic names and place names. Increasingly, there are brand names (Lexus, Armani, Bacardi, Timberland) and what might be called aspirational names. The California data show eight Harvards born during the 1990s (all of them black), 15 Yales (all white), and 18 Princetons (all black). There were no Doctors but three Lawyers (all black), nine Judges (eight of them white), three Senators (all white), and two Presidents (both black).

book millionaire

The new reality series Book Millionaire will pit aspiring fiction and non-fiction writers against one another for a grand prize, presumably something that will make the winner feel like a millionaire. I can just see the competitions now. Who looks best in the light of a laptop? Who can stay in their pajamas the longest? Who has the fastest typing speed? Who has the largest vocabulary? Who can talk about being a writer most convincingly without ever writing a single word?

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

god bless gary

I got a call last night from my friend J's mechanic Gary, with whom I'd been in contact during my car shopping escapades. In a continuation of the miraculous car buying & selling karma I've enjoyed during my driving life, he offered me a Geo Prizm for a very reasonable price that he'd worked on since it was born many, many miles ago. Ah, transport.

Monday, April 11, 2005

at the mercy of wolves

So I hit the used car market today, looking to spend less than $3K on something that would get me around while I finished my dissertation, found a job, and figured out what kind of "real" car I could afford. After driving some overpriced clunkers and experiencing some major commitment issues, I called it a day sans auto. However, if gas were not over $2.50 a gallon out here, I would so have been driving the truck below.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

an extra 20G of hard drive or the ridicule of my friends

I couldn't bring myself to shop for cars today, so I bought a new laptop instead. My old laptop barely made it through the trip and when I realized that I could have wireless access practically everywhere here, the decision was made. I wanted to get the cheapest one I could find at a major retailer, so I found myself choosing between a Compaq and a Toshiba. The sales associate was trying to sell me on the Toshiba, even though the Compaq had more everything and a fancy screen. After I pressed him as to why exactly I would buy the Toshiba, he said, "Well, when you tell your friends that you got a Compaq, they're going to ask you why you didn't get a Toshiba." I decided it was worth the risk.

Later, I met up with some old friends at the Cat & Fiddle and it felt like I never left.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

west coast academia

One of the reasons I couldn't drive 55 over the past week is that I had to get here to present two papers at an academic conference on Saturday. I really knew I was in California when I saw... actual campus...

...views like this on an average commute...

...and an electric car charger!

new performance ecosystems

The highlight of the conference for me was the talk given by video artist/choreographer/theorist Susan Kozel. She discussed her projects Trajets (which involves video projected on screens that are choreographed to respond to participants walking on a sensored floor), Whisper, and Between Bodies (which involve "wearables" that monitor participants' heartbeats, breath rates, and muscle contraction and transmit them through video or garments to other participants), among others.

Friday, April 08, 2005

multimedia mixin'

Largeheartedboy presents the debut of a series of virtual mixed CDs compiled by authors to accompany their latest books. Tom Bissell goes first with his short story collection, God Lives in St. Petersburg.

culver city coming up

ArtKrush has a link to an article in the Herald Tribune that claims Culver City is the new happenin' art destination. Who knew? Certainly not me, since I just got here and only remember that part of town as a blur on the way to the beach.

"Culver City is the new base of galleries in L.A.," declared Renaud Proch, 27, the associate director of the Project. "Culver City is one of the rare areas in Los Angeles that looks like a real community," he said of the downtown area. "There's also a semipedestrian way of life here."

Semipedestrian way of life? Sign me up.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

sign, sign, everywhere a sign

Before I let up on all the photos and return to text, I wanted to post some of my favorite signs from the road.

Thanks for letting me know.

This sign lines the road for state after state, only to lead to a rinky dink souvenir shop in Arizona.

Prison Facilities in This Area. Notice: Please Do Not Pick Up Hitch Hikers in This Area

These signs line the highway throughout Texas until inexplicably, they are replaced with signs that say "Buckle up."

If only it were that easy...

Fifteen states and all I got was this one welcome sign in Arizona. Snapping shots at 80 mph is harder than it looks.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

safe, sound, and totally knackered in los angeles

Las Cruces > Los Angeles

Miles: 771.27
Hours: 13
States: New Mexico, Arizona, California

I made it! My friend took a shuttle from Las Cruces back to El Paso to catch a plane to New Orleans, so I hit the road solo once again. It was the longest day yet. I was frazzled to a crisp by the end of the 13-hour drive, but many great things were awaiting me. My new home is adorable, and the bedroom alone is the size of half of my old apartment in New York. The journey's come to an end and another begins...

The Southwest has the most breathtaking scenery by far.

I like to pretend I'm a real truck.

Just in case miles and miles of desert weren't disconcerting enough...

My first Los Angeles sighting...

My first cacti...

My first palm trees...

My first west coast sunset...

rest stop records - day 5

At this Lordsburg, NM rest stop, you can take a shower!

Amenities aren't really the issue at this Texas Canyon, AZ rest stop.

They sell these signs to roadside rest stops all across the U.S. Here they were found at the junction of route 72 and I-10.

My evil twin and I could both pretty up at this rest stop in Chiriacco Summit, CA.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

safe, sound, and access forbidden in las cruces

Austin > Las Cruces

Miles: 662.5
Hours: 10.5
States: Texas, Texas, Texas, New Mexico

I'm on the computer in the lobby of the hotel because the dial-up here SUCKS and I can't even look at my site because of the parental control software. I just wanted to say that I'm safe and looking forward to my arrival in LA tomorrow!

Later: Here are some photos and tales of the trek across Texas.

By the time we hit West Texas, the landscape really started to kick it into high gear.

At this McDonald's in Junction, TX, you could buy the true narrative of two local pioneer brothers who had been captured by Indians. The back blurb guaranteed the story was "undistorted by contemporary historical interpretation."

As beautiful as the landscape was, the elements were not as forgiving. Driving through the plains of West Texas, the wind was so intense that I went through a tank of gas in 3 hours when usually it would last 6-8 hours. This wouldn't have been an issue if there were any gas stations anywhere. When we fell below E, we put on the positive power of Beck and prayed.

Chevron, Sweet Chevron. I had never been so happy to see a filling station in my life. The wind was blowing so hard at that point we could barely open the doors of the truck.

This was also the most expensive gas purchase.

After that ordeal, I felt the need to treat myself. Just as I did thirteen years ago when I moved to LA the first time, I bought a pair of boots at the Tony Lama outlet in El Paso.

After a surprisingly disappointing Mexican dinner (except for an amazing pumpkin empanada) in Las Cruces, our Bronx-born taxi driver told us to check out the Mesilla Historic District.

Aside from the church and this gazebo that had some association with Billy the Kid, there was little to see.

rest stop records - day 4

The greenery seemed to lend this Junction, TX rest stop an air of gentility...