April 2006

Louisville: Very Charming.

The Louisville Zoo.

Originally uploaded by macwarriorny.

Earl and I kicked off our day in Louisville by going to the Louisville Zoo. I found it to be appropriately named since it’s in Louisville and there were a lot of animals there.

As far as zoos go, we found it to be quite nice. There weren’t a lot of people there at all, but the animals seemed happy and the various exhibits were interesting. I have a whole bunch of pictures of the animals that I’m going to post on the .Mac site when we get back home in a couple of weeks. It was good place to visit.

After the zoo, we drove up Bardstown Rd. through the “artsy” area of the city and stumbled upon the Karma Cafe. A wonderfully earthy type cafe, we had some lentil soup and grilled veggie sandwiches. It would have been perfect had it not been for the couple sitting near us with not one, but two very, very unhappy toddlers that were screaming their heads off. We did our best to ignore the ruckus, but we were unable to have a conversation because the screaming was too loud. The parents were content in letting their kids scream for a while until they noticed that every person in the restaurant was starting at them with disapproval. Then a woman, another customer, came up and offered to hold and walk the toddlers around to calm them down. I think that was the last straw, they asked for their food to go, paid the check and promptly left. I think there was applause after they left the building.

While we were having lunch it began raining like mad and continued throughout most of the afternoon. We had originally planned to walk around the area but since the weather wasn’t cooperating, we decided to check out the local mall and see what they offered. We ended up at the “Mall St. Matthews”, whih would have been considered top notch had it not been missing an Apple store. After doing a little research, there’s no Apple store in the entire state of Kentucky.

That’s just wrong.

Now we’re relaxing for just a bit before meeting up with Earl’s work associate for dinner and perhaps a trip to the casino on the Indiana side of the river. Tomorrow Earl has to attend a couple of meetings; I’ll be exploring the downtown area on foot. Tomorrow night, after Earl’s work commitments, we hit the road and head to St. Louis for an overnight stay.



Today while we were touring around Louisville, I found something that I never thought I would like. Hold on to your socks, I actually liked…

“Wal*Mart Neighborhood Market”.

Intrigued, Earl and I stopped into this store to pick up a couple bottles of water. I had read about this new type of Wal*Mart on the internet and I wanted to see what the hype was all about.

These little stores are no bigger than your average grocery store. There’s no annoying television monitors blaring advertisements on a continuous loop. This format of Wal*Mart is devoid of anything except what you would find in a grocery store. There isn’t even a red smock to be found, with the color schemes favoring a more earthy approach in green and tan. While not as swanky as my beloved Wegmans, I would actually welcome a store like this into our neighborhood back home.

Who would have guessed?

Louisville, Ky.

Louisville, Ky.

Originally uploaded by macwarriorny.

Earl and I have settled in Louisville, Kentucky for the next couple of days. Earl has a trade show to attend on Sunday and Monday afternoons, so this was a good way to kick off our Jeep tour. Vacation is always more fun on an expense account.

After arriving around 3:00, we decided to walk around the downtown area and came across “Fourth Street Live”, a closed off section of Fourth Street with several clubs and shops, with the area partially covered from the elements. That was very convenient since there were passing showers.

We stopped for a couple of drinks at The Pub. We always enjoy hanging out at locally owned establishments (I certainly hope this one was locally owned!). And eavesdropping on surrounding conversations is an innocent way to enjoy the night in a strange city. Earl says he has a hard time eavesdropping because of the accent.

Afterwards we went to the waterfront where we had supper at “Joe’s Crab Shack”. There were quite a few boats on the river. I then discovered that the Canadian side of the river is actually Indiana. The things you find out in middle America!

I think we’re going to go out tonight and see what the nightlife is like. I’m staying awake while we’re out of town for a change. I think Earl finds the trend pleasant.

Mason, Ohio: Skyline Chili.

Earl and I hit the road this around 9:00 this morning. The drive south of Cleveland was your typical mid-Ohio drive along an interstate, with rolling hills and farmland as far as the eye could see. One interesting this I did see was just south of Columbus. It was a billboard that said “Hell Is Real.” Apparently the other half of the billboard, the part that said “You Are Here”, had fallen off in a recent storm or something.

Anyways, we were about 20 miles north of Cincinnati when our guts told us we needed to think about lunch. In an effort to eat at local establishments, we decided to check out a local chain of restaurants called Skyline Chili.

Skyline Chili is very casual in that you seat yourself and you pay at the front cash register as you’re leaving. The serving staff was very friendly and the atmosphere is very diner-ish.

What we found interesting was the chili itself. Apparently Cincinnati is famous for chili, at least according to the information on the back of the mneu. Having not had chili in a while, I was excited to try some of this famous chili.

Earl and I both ordered the “three-way” chili, which is chili served over spaghetti with cheese on top. To keep it healthy, we each ordered a salad as well.

When the chili was served, it looked a little different than any chili I’ve ever had. For some reason I was reminded of a scene from “To Tell The Truth” that they’ve played over and over again on “The Most Outrageous Moments on Television”.

It’s the scene where they trick Kitty Carlisle into eating dog food and she spits it back into the spoon she’s using.

Apparently chili in these parts is devoid of kidney beans and tomato sauce. While fairly tasty, it didn’t really taste like chili to me. It tasted more like a beef sauce, like something you’d find over egg noodles or something.

While the experience was pleasant over all, now I have a hankering for “real” chili. On the other hand, maybe I don’t know what “real” chili is. Maybe we’ll find something that fits the bill in Oklahoma or something.

Willoughby, Ohio.

Earl and I have settled in for the first night of “The Great Jeep Tour 2006”. We have installed ourselves in a Fairfield Inn in Willoughby, Ohio.

We hit the road this afternoon aroiund 4:30 p.m., hitting I-90 westbound. Our first destination is Louisville, Kentucky, which we’ll be visiting Saturday to Monday night. Earl has a trade show go to for work, which gave us a great headstart on our journey out west.

My supervisor at work reminded me that I had a little bit of extra comp time I hadn’t used, so I was able to leave a couple of hours early. It was the cap to a good week at work and reminded me why I appreciate the people I work for.

Since we were anxious to get out of New York State as quickly as possible, we settled on a quick supper at TGIF in Cheektowaga outside of Buffalo. Nothing kicks off vacation eating like a New York Strip with Jack Daniel’s sauce. I’m going to have to remember to keep healthy eating in the back of my mind so I can continue to fit into the clothes I packed for the trip!

Tomorrow, it’s Louisville.


Not to harp on a negative, but there is one negative aspect of going on vacation. It’s not the getting up early or the schedules or the packing or anything like that. No, it’s something a little closer to my heart.

I really don’t like relocating Tom for the time we are gone.

Our poor kitty cat. He absolutely hates riding in the car. He hates it. Anything that can come out of a cat generally will, he complains about the ride the entire time and he has a look in his eye that can only mildly be described as “pissed”. He glares at me through the holes of his cat carrier mile after mile, almost as if he’s begun some sort of vengeful plot to be carried out when we get home from fun in the sun.

What are parents to do? Since he obviously hates traveling, I don’t think he’d be comfortable for the 8,000 mile journey we are about to embark on. He’d be parallel parked in his “kennel cab” between a cooler and my laptop bag. I mean, while the PowerBook is quite beautiful (at least to me), is it really appropriate to be staring at that through metal bars as we drive through the desert? No, he’s much happier at his gramp’s with his two cousins that have no idea what to do when there’s a male cat in the house.

I have to admit that tonight it’s a little unusual in the house not to hear the patter of paws, the tickling of the ivories from his runs up the piano or the crashing of some random knick knack in a far corner of the house. He’s probably spending the evening looking surly and getting to know the two broads we’ve saddled him up with for the next two weeks.

I’m sure he’ll complain about the whole ordeal on his ride home when we get back.

Multimedia Experience.

As I busy myself getting the Jeep and my luggage ready for our trip tomorrow, I’m letting my mind wander a little bit. Being a proud geek, I’m thinking about geeky things and have decided to resurrect the camera in my cell phone for this trip. This means the moblog will be in full swing while we’re traveling.

So not only will I be snapping photos with my Sony digital camera and posting the pictures on Flickr, I’ll also be grabbing pictures with my cell phone and doing some videotaping along the way as well.

I love the thought of a multimedia vacation.

The Handyman Can.


Originally uploaded by macwarriorny.

Earl is out of town on business tonight and tomorrow and he left me a list of chores to accomplish to get ready for the big trip on Friday.

The chore list did not include the installation of the new dishwasher. I decided to do that without prompting.

It’s been a while since I’ve tackled a home improvement project solo but I was up for the challenge. I mean, how hard could it be to install a dishwasher? Earl and I had pulled the old dishwasher out last night in less then 20 minutes, it should be easy to put the new one in, right?

Actually, it wasn’t that bad, once I spent $75 in new tools. I consider the money an investment, because the dishwasher installation turned out so well, I might be inclined to go ahead and do something really crazy like paint a wall or hook up the doorbells.

So here I am posing by the new dishwasher. No the absence of sparks. Notice the calm look because I’m not in a flood zone. It’s running as I type and it’s running well.

Bring on the next project. After vacation.

Bright Lights. Dark Places.

Tonight I made a decision in our bedroom and did a little rearranging. I moved the iHome alarm clock that Earl had bought me for Christmas off of my nightstand and into the Bear (Guest) Room. It has found a new home on that nightstand.

It’s not that I didn’t appreciate the gift. I love it. I can put my iPod in it and wake up to any track of the over 1500 songs on my iPod. For some reason it favors “Voices Carry” by ‘Til Tuesday. I think it’s an alphabetical thing. The problem with the iHome is that the display is just too damn bright.

Now I can sleep anytime, anywhere. I can announce to the world “I’m going to sleep” and be asleep within minutes. However, if the environment is too bright then my dreams seem all washed out. I swear I can see the shadow of Tom walking by my eyelids, much like someone walking behind a movie screen.

If the Blue Marvel suit last night didn’t tip you off, then I’ll just go ahead and say it. I’m odd.

I don’t know why alarm clock manufacturers have decided to abandon the good old red-LED lights on the early electronic alarm clocks and have opted to start using backlit LCD displays instead. The backlighting makes the display very bright. It makes me nervous. I don’t like the room to be lit up like Times Square. I never liked a nightlight as a kid and I certainly don’t like one as an adult. I feel like I’m getting a sunburn on my face. It allows me to things I shouldn’t see; mostly Tom’s activity in the middle of the night. He stands on Earl’s pillow and stares at him. He then bounds across the bed chasing my kicking feet and then bounces off my balls en route to the nightstand, where he installs himself to stare at me for a while.

It’s all very unnerving.

So my trusty old General Electric alarm clock from 1987 with it’s comforting red numbers has moved back onto the nightstand. I guess I’ll wake up to the sounds of the local NPR station.

At least I won’t be able to see what’s going on while I’m sleeping.