I'll still post or crosspost Perl-related things here, however.
The problem with ants is that they have poor business-management skills. I'm no contractor, but let me tell you that if I were an ant, I could do things better.
The directions instruct you to poke four holes in the blue gel, which prompts them into digging. The first mistake was that they picked one of the short holes to begin expanding. It's obvious now that the ants learned lessons from the unions and want to bill more time.
Additionally, the ants are obviously English, not Floridian. They've build multiple roundabouts in their tunnels in areas that obviously support sufficient two-way traffic. Unnecessary!
According on the enclosed publication, the life span of a brown Florida harvester ant is about two-to-three months. Some of the ants have by now perished, and a few bodies were thrown into an isolated pit and sealed off. Dead ant bodies grown fungus, so they're intelligent in that they try not to gag themselves on deadly spores.
Some moron, however, decided to seal the ant grave prematurely. Their solution? Dismantle the body of every ant deceased thereafter, and glue her parts to the wall of the display like some sicko avant-garde modern art. Maybe it's a cultural thing, but I'd slap the piss out of my kids if they ever cut my dead body up and glued parts of me to a window.
I made a delicious dinner for friends:
I've also subscribed to perl6-all. Maybe I'll learn something.
The cable guy arrived today so I finally had a chance to upload road trip photos:
First, the biggest news first: I'm now engaged to Emily, my girlfriend of 3.5 years. Details forthcoming.
Next, if you ever find yourself East of Yosemite in a little town called Lee Vining on the edge of Lake Mono, make sure that you eat at Nicely's Restaurant. It's a damn good diner, and it's the first place I've seen to offer a French dip with pastrami.
Emily and I arrived in Mountain View yesterday and signed the lease for the new apartment. It's a really nice neighborhood, it has nice facilities, and even the landlord lives on the premiss with her kids. Too bad our belongings don't arrive until probably Tuesday -- the day after Emily and I begin work at our new jobs.
Emily and I woke up in our windowless, "traditional" hotel room at Buffalo Bill's Wild Cabin or something or other in Cody, Wyoming. We went to breakfast where Emily reviewed the photos she had taken. After twenty minutes, there wasn't a waiter/waitress to be seen, so we left and told the host that we weren't hungry. We didn't leave without getting a few authentic Wyoming postcards.
Because points of interest are so frequent while driving, Emily and I have established intuitive synonyms for certain things so that we can draw each others' attention as quickly as possible:
No mammals have been injured on this trip, however, there's a hearty gallon of insect entrails on our windshield and front bumper. Seriously -- constructing an animal with a poor traffic negotiation skills and a body like a chocolate-covered cherry is grounds for firing.
Yellowstone is amazing, and we've spent a good seven or eight hours there, including last night. Like Big Horn, I lack the verbal prowess to actually describe these amazing landscapes. We saw lots of buffalo and their smaller, more-frisky offspring. A few red eagles and deer and such were also present. The lake at 7,700 feet is tremendous -- deep blue with the Rockies in the background.
The volcanic activity in Yellowstone is pretty neat, too. There are some brilliantly-colored pools of water or acid or something which both look pretty and smell like ass. The "thin crust" areas contain lots of hot, clay-ish bubbling pools. If you walk off the official path, signage warns that you'll probably put your foot into soft part of earth and, to your dissatisfaction, a well of acid will eat off your leg right in front of you. Also, no visit to the park would be complete without seeing Old Faithful, so we caught that, too.
What's most prevalent is the damage from the fire -- late 80's or early 90's, was it? A lot of the burnt forest has grown back grass or small saplings, but I suspect that the damaged parts won't be as lush or green as it once was for another twenty years.
The "check engine" light in the Corolla is still on. As we expected, the vehicle has not yet burst into flames, jerked us around suddenly or even caused a ripple in space and time. So far, so good.
Before our house in New Hampshire exploded, my dad and I maintained a large, O-gauge train set in one of the barns. The walls of the large room were the edges of the set, and on these walls was a kind of scenic wallpaper -- basically, large paintings of the horizon and desert and mountains and clouds and the like. It's now obvious that those were paintings of Wyoming, for the skies and scenery were a close match to what I remember.
The check engine light came on again and we have no way of knowing exactly what's wrong. (Thanks a million, Toyota... HALUGHALUGH) The car had a full check-up and inspection right before the trip. It's been driving terrifically and there's no obvious weirdness under the hood, so we're going to assume it's something minor.
Note: One of the Napa guys suggested that we stay away from Ethanol-enriched gas. He claimed that it vaporizes at 82 degrees Fahrenheit (a government-suppressed fact, no less), which causes the engine to do all sorts of weird things. He kept repeating the phrase "vapor-lock."
Today we explore the extent Yellowstone. Yesterday we got up to the lake in the mountains, but it was too late in the evening. We had to turn around before the gate closed at 8:00 pm.
Still no pictures. My little Pismo is six-years strong, but the processor is finally beginning to show its age. It's annoyingly slow when trying to organize photos with
gthumb. Soon, I promise.
Only 200 miles today, but that's because we had a lot to stop, see, and repair.
The Badlands is an impressive place. I can't describe it into words at the moment. Pictures will be up soon.
Coming out of the Badlands the "check engine" light appeared on Emily's Corolla. I checked the levels of all of the non-potable, non-human fluids and consulted the owners manual, which offered such helpful advice like, "When this light appears, bring the vehicle to a licensed Toyota repair location." A bit more reading revealed that it could be one of many things, including a crappy battery. The latter reminded Emily that her mechanic had told her that she needed a new battery. Twenty miles, $90, and a helpful chat with guys at Napa Auto Parts, she had one. Problem solved.
These mid-west highways are littered with billboards. After three-hundred and sixty miles of advertising, we stopped at the famous "Wall Drug" to see what it was all about. Mostly cowboy boots and other garb, unfortunately.
We also checked out some petrified logs and fossils. Again, pictures will be up soon.
Mount Rushmore is impressive. I had never realized that the sculpture is unfinished. A model in one of the buildings shows the original plan which, if completed, would have at least tripled the monument's amazingness.
I've continued to fill my face with bison/buffalo/local meats. Amazingly, the restaurant in Rapid City, SD had Sam Adams. That taste has never been so refreshing, and we're wondering just how far west we'll be able to get it so easily.
Wisconsin is a nice state. Driving West, a few ancient, sedimentary pillars stand along the highway to remind folks that the whole area was underwater a few millennia ago. We also picked up authentic Wisconsin cheese at an authentic Wisconsin cheese factory located off an authentic Wisconsin highway exit.
Next, a few quick facts about the state of Minnesota:
Minnesota was also home to -- yep, you guessed it -- the Spam Museum. Hormel's tradition of high-quality marketing is shown in the form of a giant canned meat emporium. One learns how Spam is made, Spam history -- fricking
Memorandum -- I was quite surprised at the level of quality that the company aims for; I had always thought they simply tossed as much ground-up meat into a can as possible. A can of spam contains only four simple ingredients, despite popular belief: salt, sugar, sodium nitrate (preservative), and choice pork shoulders.
615 miles were driven today. Emily and I are spending the night in Oacoma, South Dakota. I enjoyed my buffalo burger and creamed cucumbers, Emily enjoyed her pork chop. It's nice to eat somewhat-homecooked food grown in the area.
Five-hundred and fifty miles later, Emily and I are in Janesville, Wisconsin. We're up to chapter 19 in Dracula (MP3). So far, everything kind of looks like New England, with varying degrees of farm land and Earth hilliness.
Merely a handful of photo moments occurred, and I only felt like uploading a single shot with some sunlight bouncing off a silo. I really should have stopped and snapped shots of those donkeys running around, but they were kind of distant and I don't have a telephoto lens.
Emily and I met up with Andy, Amy, Quinn, Pete and Rachel today as we toured through the Chicago area. It's great to see fellow Perlers and their families, and Emily and I were provided with terrific directions to Janesville. Thanks, guys!