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Jack London Square.

March 25th, 2001

But What The Hell
Fiddle-dee-dee, it's mattress time for me. Down the highway this afternoon to test out those Sleepaires south of here in Fremont. How long have I been talking about this? Will I really go to Fremont this afternoon? Maybe yes, maybe no, but I'm closer. I can smell it coming: a nice comfortable expensive mattress set for Wuss to pee upon.

Nice day today, I think, the sun shining and my head clear as a bell. Ordered CD's from Amazon, a DVD movie that I've been looking for since the beginning of time (I don't have a DVD player, but I guess I will.) Ordered a small camera backpack that was on sale at B & H Photo. The picture in the flier looks like it might carry a camera in a package much smaller than anything I've seen before, something I've wanted for a long time. Forty dollars, you can't beat that. Forty dollars isn't really money in Nikonville. Ordered 30 rolls of color slide film to bring in the spring. What more could there possibly be in life do you suppose?

The questions we've all had at work about the projects we have in place should be answered next month, the last week of which I plan to spend driving up the coast to Portland (mother, sister, brother-in-law, nephew - location of) with laptop, camera and Internet connection. They've set up servers at our data center to allow VPN (Virtual Private Network) access to our internal company network through the Internet. We've been able to dial into our company network in the past, but only our internal network and not into the Internet itself. Now we can do both from anywhere in the world with a local call. Portland, for example. Port Angeles. Shanghai.

I can now bring up company sites on my home computer at DSL speeds and manage them from home or on Store window mask in Oakland. the road, since our group was issued laptops last week. (Nice brand new big Compaq laptops, the business model of our choice, which should make me excited, but doesn't. A shame, since there are lots of regular people around who would jump at the prospect.) Mine has company copies of PhotoShop and Illustrator and Homesite and Dreamweaver and a bunch of other stuff that I would never have loaded on a laptop, but one does as one is told. I've loaded my digital camera software and should be able to post fascinating photos of Oregon from motel rooms in the evenings. Freedom. Excitement, excitement.

This is pretty close to my vision of travelling in a camper with camera and computer, posting to the journal every night. This on the road business might, just might, generate something to write about.

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, the camper stuck in second gear, the waitress at the truck stop giving me that hungry look you only see in movies as she pushed the steaming plate of grits across the counter. I could feel the sweat forming at the base of my neck, the sudden uncomfortable dampness of the hour. The cook pushed the door open behind her, his eyes on me, his hand holding the knife, the black look on his face telling me everything I needed to know...."

A photographic odyssey along route 66, if there still is a route 66. Be careful what you ask for, my son, or you may find yourself out on the street with a smile on your face and fear in your heart. I don't believe this will happen, but I didn't believe any of that other stuff that wasn't supposed to happen either, until it did.

I'm kind of fantasizing out loud here, you understand. Everything I've said is true, but months on the road keeping a journal? Could I do that? Well, yes, I could, if I really set out to do it. I'm just not sure I have the deep down necessary desire and the courage. Still, I suspect things like this are a bit like jumping out of an airplane. If you buy a parachute and a plane ticket and hang out in a parachute bar at an airport, one day you'll find yourself falling out of the sky and grabbing at a rip cord.

Same with my camper fantasy. You get the cameras, you get the web site, you get the journal, you finally get the camper itself, you test them out over a few long weekends and then you find yourself on the road one day without a job: laid off, fired or retired and whadda you know, there you are. With a brand new queen size Sleepaire electric mattress strapped to the roof? Under a tarp? Sleeping under the stars on an electric mattress? Well, yes, there is that, but what the hell.

The banner photographer was taken last weekend at Jack London Square. The mask photo was taken through a store window on Broadway in Oakland. The quote is by Joe Ancis.