I don’t wish you a safe trip

I drove my girl­friend to the air­port this morn­ing. After I took her bag out of the car and put it on the curb, we stood there and exchanged good­byes, and every­thing you can imag­ine comes with those.

But I didn’t tell her to “have a safe trip.” Why not?

Because I don’t hate her.

If you real­ly care for someone’s hap­pi­ness, is “a safe trip” real­ly what you want for them? I mean, they already know you hope they don’t get harmed… because they know you don’t hate them. Every time you aspire to safe­ty on some­one else’s behalf — wish­ing them a safe trip, or flight, or hol­i­day week­end, or what­ev­er they’re about to embark on — “the ter­ror­ists” (or whomev­er) have won.

So if I like you, instead of a safe trip…

  • I hope you’ll have an amaz­ing trip.
  • I hope your trip is unfor­get­table.
  • I hope you expe­ri­ence new things on your trip.
  • I hope your trip changes your per­spec­tive.
  • I hope your trip makes you smile many times.
  • I hope there are numer­ous pho­to oppor­tu­ni­ties on your trip.
  • I hope that, if you’re into that sort of thing, your trip takes you out of your com­fort zone just enough to be remark­able.

And so on.

(Impor­tant excep­tion: I’m think­ing that if you’re someone’s moth­er, you get a free pass, because your wish is more than just words — it’s a reminder to not do any­thing stu­pid. And you’re hard­wired to believe that, when our of your sight, your kid is con­stant­ly doing stu­pid things. But you should real­ly con­sid­er try­ing some­thing from the list above.)

So what did I wish my girl­friend this morn­ing?

Um… I can’t remem­ber. It was real­ly ear­ly.

Impressed, perplexed by Howard Johnson

I’m present­ly at a hotel, and I’ve found myself impressed with the Wi-Fi here. The sig­nal strength is okay and the speed is ade­quate, but that’s not what’s stand­ing out. It’s the brand­ing.

I’ve seen all man­ners of SSIDs since Wi-Fi became com­mon­place in hotels, from “Free Wifi” to “[hotel name here],” but in my expe­ri­ence, this Howard John­son loca­tion is tru­ly sin­gu­lar… and per­plex­ing to me.

The hotel offers mul­ti­ple wire­less access points. I’m guess­ing this is for bet­ter cov­er­age, but they decid­ed to give each one a dif­fer­ent name. The names aren’t any­thing pre­dictable, like hojo1, hojo2, either.

I’m impressed that the man­age­ment actu­al­ly took the time to inte­grate feel-good cor­po­rate mes­sages into each access point’s SSID. Using tech to com­mu­ni­cate thoughts in non­tra­di­tion­al ways is cer­tain­ly rel­e­vant to my inter­ests. How­ev­er, pick­ing a dif­fer­ent slo­gan for each AP not only seems tech­ni­cal­ly slop­py, but makes for an awk­ward mish-mash of old and new com­pa­ny taglines. Also, how am I sup­posed to know the AP I’m con­nect­ing to isn’t an evil twin? It’d be pret­ty triv­ial for some­one to throw togeth­er some­thing like hojolovesy­ou and have its poten­tial for mal­ice be imper­cep­ti­ble next to the oth­er goofy net­works.

My con­cerns over the wire­less ameni­ties are most­ly the­o­ret­i­cal, since my teth­ered Android phone has me ade­quate­ly cov­ered when it comes to Inter­net access. My use of the free Wi-Fi is lim­it­ed to con­sum­ing to high-bandwidth con­tent that would make my currently-EDGE con­nec­tion choke. (What’s more, as a Lin­ux user — varoom! —much of what a the­o­ret­i­cal attack­er could do, out­side of MITM, isn’t real­ly a con­cern to me.)

New Orleans and the graffiticular stylings of Banksy

Now, I’m not here to argue graf­fi­ti as a legit­i­mate art form (which it is), or say that its pres­ence is a net pos­i­tive for soci­ety  (which it’s not). I’d rather sim­ply point out that dur­ing our recent trip to New Orleans, my sis­ter and I twice stum­bled upon works of per­haps the best-known graf­fi­ti artist in the world: Banksy.

I remem­bered read­ing about Banksy’s pieces in New Orleans, but couldn’t remem­ber at what point, post-Katrina, they appeared. It was nice to know that at least a cou­ple of them are still intact today, even if more (rel­a­tive­ly) tal­ent­less stuff has gone up near­by in the year-and-a-half since Lin­coln. Nice, though, that the new addi­tions respect­ed Abe’s space!

The first time we saw one, we were exit­ing I-10 at Canal Street, on our way to the Algiers Fer­ry, when some­thing caught my eye… some­thing from the Inter­net! I knew right away that I need­ed a pho­to of it, but couldn’t find a place to park just then, so we found our­selves stuck in Clai­borne Street traf­fic for a while until we could make it back to Tulane Ave, the first street point­ing in the right direc­tion (after two inward-facing one-ways!). We made it back and found a place to park so I could get out and took a few pho­tos.

The sec­ond (and sad­ly, final) Banksy art sight­ing of our trip hap­pened on our last night in town, on our way to an ill-fated trip to Yo Mama’s. We noticed the girl, missed the turn, and had to loop around a few blocks, but ulti­mate­ly man­aged to cap­ture the sec­ond piece you see above. It was right across Ker­lerec Street from the Ram­part Food Store.

Cool art, but what of the rights of the prop­er­ty own­ers? Yes, there is that… but Banksy can come ‘tag up’ on my car when­ev­er s/he wants!

New Orleans, in food

To say that my sis­ter and I enjoyed the food dur­ing our trip to New Orleans would be an under­state­ment. Antic­i­pat­ing a blog post like this (and for pos­ter­i­ty), I took pho­tos of near­ly every­thing we ate, and checked in at each restau­rant using Foursquare.

Foursquare nor­mal­ly annoys me, but in this case, was very help­ful in log­ging all the places we went, on which days we went, and so on.

(Unless oth­er­wise not­ed, my meal is in the fore­ground.)



Tues­day, March 9




Dinner: Parasol’s Restaurant & Bar

Me: Hot Sausage Po Boy. Despite being a life­long dis­lik­er of pick­les, I decid­ed to try my sand­wich with them any­way, hav­ing order­ing it “dressed.” While I’m not sure they added much, it was not bad with pick­les. Mine was also a lit­tle light on meat, at least com­pared to Allison’s.

Alli­son: Roast Beef Po Boy.


Wednes­day, March 10




Lunch: Gumbo Shop

Me: Red Beans & Rice with Smoked Sausage Gum­bo. Gum­bo was yum­bo.

Alli­son: Chick­en Andouille Gum­bo.





Dinner: Port of Call

Both: Burg­ers (mine with cheese, hers with mush­rooms) with baked pota­to. While I was a lit­tle sur­prised at the lack of fries as an option, I didn’t mind at all. The baked pota­to was amaz­ing. Also, I wasn’t going to break out the flash, but yeah, the light­ing was a lit­tle on the low side.


Thurs­day, March 11




Brunch: Slim Goodies Diner

Me: Robert John­son Burg­er

Alli­son: Havana Omelet. Came with tor­tillas!





Snack: Creole Creamery

Me: Black & Gold Crunch Ice Cream

Alli­son: Oat­meal Cook­ie Ice Cream


Dinner: Verti Marte

Ver­ti Marte, a con­ve­nience store with sand­wich counter in the back, had no seat­ing, so we ate this meal in the car. Sor­ry, no pho­to; we were hun­gry.

Me: Muf­falet­ta, some­thing I had nev­er tried. My reac­tion was along the lines of: “I’m pret­ty sure I’d list half of the ingre­di­ents on my do-not-like list, but boy are they good togeth­er!” Quite pos­si­bly my food high­light of the trip.

Alli­son: BBQ Po Boy


Fri­day, March 12




Lunch: Willie Mae’s Scotch House

Me: Chick­en Fried Pork Chop. Mine was good, but I was jeal­ous of her chick­en.

Alli­son: Fried chick­en. Quite pos­si­bly the best I’ve ever tried.





Dinner: Slice

Alli­son: (From left) Bacon, Basil, and Gar­lic; Pineap­ple; Fresh




Me: (From left) Jalapeño and Andouille Sausage; Greek; Fresh




New Orleans: A++++ Would nom again~~~