Last week I drove more than 2,000 miles across the middle of America, taking my daughter and her belongings to college in Iowa. I have a few observations I’d like to make:
The United States is a heck of a big place.
You may have heard that Indiana is boring. Well, I’ve now driven across it east to west on one route and west to east on another, and many years ago I drove across it corner-to-corner (Louisville to Chicago), and I can say without fear of contradiction that yes, it’s really, really boring.
On the other hand, Peoria, Illinois, subject of much mockery over the last several decades, is a lovely little city; if I had to live in any of the places I drove through between Washington and Des Moines, I think I’d choose Peoria.
Someone told me once that Iowa is all flat and boring. It’s not flat. And it’s nowhere near as boring as Indiana. It is full of corn and soybeans — I think there was a stretch of over 100 miles on I-80 between Davenport and Des Moines when we were never out of sight of corn.
And driving the interstate system for three and a half days almost non-stop is a strange, almost hypnotic experience. Try it sometime.
Useless Things I Wonder About, #13,287: On Bill Kirchen’s album “Hot Rod Lincoln Live!,” in his extended version of “Hot Rod Lincoln,” when he’s demonstrating that he can play twenty zillion distinctive guitar riffs, why are almost all the other artists he’s imitating referred to by name, but Cream is “a bunch of English guys!”?
I have an unusual occupation — I write fantasy for a living.Â This means I’m succeeding in a field where lots of people try and fail, a field lots of people dream about working in.Â I often talk to people who are impressed, who say they’d never have the nerve or persistence or creativity or whatever to be a full-time writer.
Every so often I run into someone from my past who chose an even stranger field, one that strikes me as something I would never have dared to attempt, and that I never would have expected of the person in question.Â There was a friend from high school who became a fine artist — he mostly shows at a gallery in Georgetown.Â Another friend from high school now does special effects in Hollywood.Â There was a guy named Norman who dropped out of Princeton to become a Formula One racer (and was pretty successful, last I heard).
And I’ve just discovered that a woman who roomed across the hall from me at Princeton is now a professional psychic.Â She loves it — she gets paid to talk on the phone.
This is someone with a degree from Princeton — I think in either math or engineering, though I’m not certain.Â And she’s a psychic.
These are very strange days indeed.
Today is arguably my birthday.
I was born shortly after midnight, Eastern Daylight Time, officially on July 26, 1954 — so by standard time, I was born on the 25th.
It’s been very convenient some years having a choice which day to celebrate. This year it doesn’t much matter, so I guess I’ll go with the 26th — which is also Mick Jagger’s birthday. And Castro’s army kicked out Battista on my fifth birthday.
It’s not a bad day for a birthday, the 26th, and I don’t know of anything noteworthy on the 25th.
And naturally, having created this, I find myself with nothing to say.
I still haven’t linked to it myself, but it can be found through Blogger, and I’ve sent out a notice to the site-update mailing list, so people might be reading it. If so — I apologize for the lack of content. I hope to do better in the future.
If there’s anything in particular you’d like to see here, you can e-mail me and request it.
Purely as an experiment, I’ve decided to take advantage of Blogger and add a weblog to the Misenchanted Page. The “Strange Days” name comes from the permanent personal-news thread in my newsgroup on SFF Net, and I expect that much of the same material will appear here.
Thanks to Mitch Wagner for inspiring this.