Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Day four down

Day four down. I have a new place in a very cool little town, I'm getting close to a getting a brand new car, I visited my new school, I had the best burrito ever, I took in Chase Field, home of the Diamondbacks, which ranks last compared to the other major league baseball stadiums I've visited: Yankee, Fenway, Camden Yards, the Jake, New Comiskey, Shea and whatever they call that new stadium in Atlanta, but it is convenient to get to and the game tonight was pretty good. The only negative is that I miss my baby, my wife and my boys big time. One more week and change until they get here.

Monday, July 21, 2008

All hail the Waffle House

In the classic film Super Size Me, Morgan Spurlock ate all his meals for a month at McDonalds. If the clerk asked him to Super Size his meal, he was required to indulge in that prodigious orgy of grease and disgust. His health, to put the case mildly, took a turn for the worse. That flick was a mockumentary of the prominent fast food culture in the U.S. and an important one that I've liked to show my students.

I've been in Phoenix three days, and I've done five trips to the Waffle House already. I'm not trying to prove a point, but rather I just think the place kicks ass. The grilled chicken sandwiches are fabulous -- the best I've ever had. The waffles are of course brilliant, and the grilled bacon, egg and cheese sandwiches are nice for the occasional artery clogging delight. The hash browns come with cheese, onions and lots of other choices. In Waffle House parlance this is called "scattered, smothered and covered." They also have chunked, which doesn't sound too good, and I'm not sure what that adds. The coffee, fair warning, is and always has been, the weak link. I'm not a fan of chain restaurants in general, but the Waffle House actually does have good food and it lives up to its motto of "good food, fast and cheap" -- all while being open twenty four hours a day.

Waffle House was a staple of my college days. The main problem is that the House is rather regional -- mostly southern. New Jersey, sadly, is IHOP country. Note the true Mason/Dixon line above. One time I drove four hours or so from Columbia, S.C. to Atlanta, GA on a college trip and amused myself by counting Waffle Houses. Memory said the number was pegged at 45. If I had checked into the regional Waffle House availability, the relocation debate I had would have gone easier. All hail the Waffle House. ***

Randy Steele has a blog called Everybody's Got a Cousin on Saipan. I spent two weeks in Les Penas, Philippines, a section of Manila, and bumped into three Saipan folks. I saw Dennis, the erstwhile drummer from the Big Beats in the local mall, Sam, the one time owner of Sam's, now Wild Bill's, in the Manila Domestic Airport, as well as Richard Waldo, current NMC professor and former PSS chief bean counter.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Almost in Arizona

I'm few days away from flying to Phoenix and I'm getting excited. There were a lot of places I thought about and explored moving to both in the U.S. and abroad, but the chance to see something new and unique and make a long term commitment drew me to Phoenix. I'm really looking forward to going rafting in the Grand Canyon, exploring the new scenery and eating great Mexican food. After eight years as an expat, I can't believe I'll be living near a major league baseball stadium, have access to arena concerts (the new Coldplay album is great and I want to see that tour), really follow my much beloved NFL, go to comedy clubs and sample that vast enclave of diverse culinary offerings -- all while the power stays on and is reasonably priced.

As much as I enjoyed Saipan, I had gotten bored of it and saw little future for me there. I'm rooting for the small group of people trying to fix that place against long odds of entrenched idiocy.

I needed to do something new. Starting somewhere fresh won't be easy, but I'm looking forward to the challenge. I've been nomadic for a long time, and now I want to be somewhere I can envision staying for a while with all the investments that go along with that kind of decision.