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~~~