Back from the Holidays Part One

Happy Christmas, Merry Hannukah, and a Blessed Solstice and all that Jazz. I gave myself a break from the Internets for the Holiday. Hope you wound down a bit and simplified things.

I only missed the Internets at one moment. If I’d’ve brought along a book, I wouldn’t have missed the Internets at all. But a trek out to see some Christmas Lights cured it. Wish I woulda had my camera along, so I could show you the Amazing Chrismast Village inside a garage on a busy street in Stockton, California. Alas, I cannot. But it’s obvious that the roll-up garage door is custom-designed, with a row of windows at adult-eye level and another set of windows, lower, at kid-eye level. Inside, the garage is taken over by a whole Christmas village. (Alas, the next night it rained, so the “let’s go and take pictures of cool christmas light displays” was not in us)

We got an opportunity to ponder traffic and wave theory while sharing the southbound I-5 with thousands of fellow holiday pilgrims. Why, oh why, does everything come to a standstill and then speed up to well past 70 mph a little later? For no explainable reason? We attempted to get traffic reports on the radio, and instead sampled the wasteland that is the AM radio band. 5 minutes of commercial after commercial before we could even discover whether the station was local, and, therefore, interested in providing a traffic report. And the talk radio! Aiyee! Finally found a signalert-type sign that told us to tune into AM 530, where we heard a report from the CHP about a chase and accident on December 21st. Played over and over again. (Funny, traffic sped up after that sign, and stayed sped up from that point). Further south, a sign to tune into AM 1610 led to the same five-day-old broadcast.

Not a paid product endorsement: I whipped out the iPod and the iTrip-w/ LED (thanks to a Griffin giveaway at a reception at the Podcast Expo), figured out how to transmit iPod signal to car radio in Mono (hold down button for 5 seconds until LX blinks, turn button/wheel to DX, push button in to confirm, and enjoy better reception), and listened to podcasts.

Podcast reviews, fairly random: Lotsa good interviews by Moira Gunn at IT Conversations. (We listened to some WordNerd ‘casts on the way up, so I’ll mention them here). And MacNotables, which had some good Mac geeky stuff, too, in conversation with Andy Inhatko. Plus a requisite, honey, here’s what Adam Curry’s Daily Source Code podcast is like. (Tho I have to say that he does too much: 40 minutes, daily, is way too much to keep up with. I think these recordings were from back in November, pre- Wiki-History-of-Podcast blowup. I don’t think I’ll ever manage to be up to date, so I *think* I’ve unsubscribed.). Did skip past a ‘cast of a Where 2.0 speech on IT Conversations (seeing as how Doc M worked on a project to map the world in 11 days from the Space Shuttle, matters of Where 2.0 would be of interest, no?), but the buzzword bingo of Balaji Prasad’s introduction, while it provided an interesting moment where we paused the iPod and I tried and sorta failed to describe what “The Semantic Web” is, ended up giving a case of whiteline fever: Next!

Tried to listen to some History Podcasts. I want to like them, I really do. I enjoyed meeting Jason Watts at the Portable Media Expo. He even invited me to “guest cast” on his show once I finally prepare my audio recordings of the visit to Ground Zero –the Trinity Test Site on the 60th anniversary of the first atomic bomb explosion. But the show sounds as tho we’re being read to, not spoken to, not conversed with. So we skipped past them. Maybe the standards of what I’m we’re willing to listen to elevates a few notches when it becomes something that two of us share together, rather than what plays in my ears during a walk.

Hint to travelers: I always recommend a stop at Harris Ranch. It’s half way between the Bay Area/Sacramento-Stockton-area and Los Angeles. (Tho, if you’re feeling more inclined for In-n-Out, we noted this trip that the In-n-Out is located in Kettleman City) On busy travel days, the Harris Ranch Thing To Do is place a To-Go order. While waiting for a table. We weave past the dozens of people milling in the hallway clutching those little “your table is ready” pagers, go to the cashier, look at the menu, place our order, go to the store’s butcher counter to buy our requisite “road trip rib eye steaks” and by the time we get back to the cashier, our To Go lunch is almost ready. We’re in and out in less the time than it takes to wait for a table.

(Holidays Part Two happens New Years Weekend)

One response to “Back from the Holidays Part One”

  1. David Singer

    Thanks for the hint on ordering To Go at Harris Ranch; it’s our normal stop en route to SoCal, too. We’ve been lucky enough not to hit it at a peak travel time yet, but have had to wait for a table more than once — To Go will be a big help when that happens again.