Eric's Daily Weblog

Beautiful day in Tucson

I just drove downtown to the University neighborhood, and took a long walk (in shorts and t-shirt) through the campus to the library, where I am enjoying high speed internet access. But what a stunning afternoon. Upper 60s. Slight breeze. Deep blue skies. Mountains visible at the end of every street. Palm trees, eucalyptus trees, the elegant gnarled mesquite trees, a couple of trees blooming yellow, pansies blooming in the flower beds, college kids playing catch with baseballs and footballs, all of the red brick buildings set aglow by the setting sun.

Getting inside the monster's mind

What goes on in the mind of a monster? The two beasts at the forefront of the national consciousness right now are Saddam Hussein, captured last night, and Alfonso Rodriguez, Jr., the suspect in the kidnapping and likely murder of University of North Dakota student Dru Sjodin.

Saddam’s crimes are on a larger scale, but I suspect the mental workings of a murderous tyrant are the same as those of a psychopathic rapist like Rodriguez. They live by twisted rules. They show no apparent remorse for the suffering they cause.

La Indita

Went to one of my favorite Tucson restaurants, La Indita, on 4th Avenue, last night. Fourth Avenue is near the University of Arizona, and is the artsy area of Tucson.

La Indita is a family-owned little hole in the wall place. It hasn’t changed a bit in the eight years I have been going there, although last night I noticed that they had finally ripped off the tattered seat cushions in the booths and just left bare benches.

Coffee problems

Once you leave the Upper Midwest, the attitude towards coffee becomes annoyingly cavalier. At a gas station in western Nebraska, for example, I stopped for a cup of coffee at 1 pm. I needed the boost to stay awake. I asked the clerk if they had coffee, since it was a well-stocked convenience store. "Well, ah don't have any made," she said, strongly hinting that she would rather not.

A cold day in Tucson

Cold, by Tucson standards, that is. High in the sixties today. Brrr. Some clouds. Tucson has an average of 12 cloudy days per year, and this must be one of them.

The home stretch into Tucson

Slept well in my stinky hotel room last night, and awoke to the spicy-sweet smell of mesquite smoke. It makes me sneeze, but I enjoy it.

The stretch of freeway from Albuquerque to Las Cruces, New Mexico, is utterly beautiful. The freeway runs down a wide, wide valley with mountains on either side.

I decided to take the back roads again today, and got off the freeway at Caballo, NM. Nothing at the exit but for Jim and Bev’s RV Park and gas station. I filled up my tank, and went in. Jim was presiding at the till.

Food on the road

Last night, I found a Japanese restaurant in Castle Rock. Very good, better than the Chinese restaurant earlier in the day. I was the only customer, and the entire staff greeted me in Japanese as if I were a long lost friend.

Tonight, I wanted some New Mexican fare (New Mexico has its own cusine separate from typical Mexican food.) Asked the desk clerk, and he pointed me to the El Sombrero, just across the freeway.

A day spent a mile high or more

Set out before dawn from Castle Rock, CO and headed south on I-25. Watched the sun rise on the snow capped mountains around Colorado Springs.

The border between Colorado and New Mexico is smack dab at the top of a mountain pass. That is usual up north, where the continental divide often forms the border between states, but the border between CO and NM is a straight line, drawn on one of the latitudinal lines--so, its an odd geographical coincidence that the highway should cross the border right at the mountain pass.

Guardado gone

Friend Mark from New Jersey called this afternoon on the cell phone. He was stuck in traffic in Jersey, and I was stuck in traffic in Denver. He had just heard that Everyday Eddie Guardado signed with the Mariners.

Rapid City to Castle Rock, CO

What is it about these hotel check-in people--when you ask for a room, they start staring at the computer screen like it is the first time they've ever checked anybody in. Then they tap, tap, tap on the keyboard for fifteen minutes, and act sort of surprised when it all goes through, as if I am supposed to feel fortunate that their system worked.