I don't know if any of you have ever driven the stretch
of I-5 from the East Bay to Burbank, but it is miles and
miles of just...more miles and miles. The scenery is static,
unchanging for hours on end. The most excitement we had was an oil
fire at the junction of 5 and 46, which glowed with an eerie orange
ball of wet flame while the creepy voice on 1610AM repeated over and
over "Please do not report the fire West of I-5 and North of 46. It
is an oil fire and will take several days to extinguish. The
authorities are attempting to put it out. Message repeats...".
Of course, Rick Moen was suffering from sore muscles brought
on by intense shaking the previous morning. After rescuing a rather
frazzled Mae Ling Mak from the inner airlock of the CoffeeNet
building, she had volunteered to administer a flu shot to him.
"I give myself shots all the time," She had told me as we rode
to Stinson Beach just hours after the injection. "I know how not to
make them hurt."
What was missing from the equation seems to have been Mae
Ling's taste in barbituates. Given a bad case of the shakes, she'd
probably just toss down a few muscle relaxants and go back to sleep.
Rick, however, had no warning or remedy. He wasn't even sure that it
wasn't a heart attack. His only clue was that his chest hurt, while a
heart attack mostly hurts in the area of the arm.
What was the poor man to tell his mother? "I'm sorry mother,
but before my quixotic young friend took our intoxicated bipolar
associate to the beach to calm her down, I decided to have her inject
foreign substances into my body. This seems to have paralyzed me, and
I won't be eating any solids this Thanksgiving. Pass the potatoes,
To be fair to all parties, the injection was an act of
kindness on Mae Ling's part in order to look after Rick's best
interests, and she did take the necessary precautions to prevent
shock. Still, I listened to Rick grunt and creak loudly as I unpacked
the alertness kit and set to distribution. At the last gas station
before nowhere, I had picked up the following supplies:
- Six power bars (two apple, two wild berry, and two
- One bottle ibuprofen (for the inflammation in my wrists)
- One liter diet coke (easy to digest--just water and
caffeine. Helps the ibuprofen go down)
- One pair sunglasses
- Two Red Bulls
The Red Bull is for emergencies only. It's a gimmick drink
from Austria or something. It's got the latest hype-vitamin, and lots
of caffeine. The trick, as I explained to Rick, is "If you have to
drink the stuff, for GOD's sake don't let it touch the sides on the
The getaway car made it to Burbank in record time. We checked
in and went looking for some beer to take the edge off the caffeine
and powerbars we had been consuming all night. Wheeling around
Burbank on Thanksgiving at 1am looking for booze isn't the easiest
task on Earth. After hastily pulling out of a parking lot, Rick
spotted the local constabulary, and nearly ran us off the road trying
to fasten his safety belt in time.
"Maybe we should ask him where we can get beer." I muttered,
"I'm sorry occifer!" Rick blurted out.
"We're looking for trouble!"
"In all the wrong places!"
"Do you know where to find some?"
We drifted through the quaint part of town--nothing a good
backhoe couldn't fix. We did find beer, and fairly decent stuff, in a
local Frank's. (Ask about franchise opportunities in your area!)
Skating back to the hotel, we investigated the TV's potential
as a display mechanism for Rick's VCR, so that I could get caught up
on the epic Babylon 5 series as I went to sleep. It turned out that
the damn thing was fully tamper-proof, right down to the inability to
plug your Commodore 64 into the damn thing. What kind of proprietary
backwater world do we live in, anyhow? If I bring a C64 into a hotel
room, I damn well expect it to work with the local TV!
So I sipped a few Anchor Steams as I read about BSD4.4 and
drifted off to sleep.
What will happen next?!