day one.. san francisco to san diego

greetings from san diego!

picked up stephanie and phil’s girlfriend sarah who both joined me on the journey yesterday — i dropped off sarah in camarillo (near ventura) and stephanie in los angeles where she played a gig with her band last night.

dinner was with with my friend carla, her boyfriend nick, and his friend tai at this sushi boat place in little tokyo called “frying fish”. ha! get it? fRying fish. afterwards, we went to nick’s gorgeous house in the hills. nick’s house is in the midst of being remodeled so all over the house there are amusing little notes and colours stuck up by their interior designer. seems like a fun process.

then, headed down to san diego to stay at doug and laura’s house… aj and joann were over when i arrived, and it was fun to see everyone. almost two years ago exactly we (aj, joann, and i) were down here visiting doug and laura for st. patrick’s day — that’s the weekend that i busted up a fight between the safety from the tampa bay buccaneers, john lynch, and some little dude… well, aj helped too.

anyway.. this morning’s plan is to have bruch with the san diego folks, and then i’m off to tucson to go visit my old high school friend lisa.

i’m getting into the flow of things, so i didn’t take many pics at all today.. just one picture of me and carla…
dennis and carla

road trip.. southwest tour..

ok.. so tomorrow morning, i leave on my big southwest states tour.. here’s my tenative schedule..

saturday 2/26 – san francisco, ca to san diego, ca
sunday 2/27 – san diego, ca to tucson, az
monday 2/28 – tucson, az to roswell, nm
tuesday 3/1 – roswell, nm to austin, tx
wednesday 3/2 – hang out in austin, tx (and pick up korby from the airport at 11:30pm)
thursday 3/3 – austin, tx to new orleans, la or maybe the longleaf trail
friday 3/4 – saturday 3/5 – cause trouble in new orleans
sunday 3/6 – new orleans, la to memphis, tn
monday 3/7 – memphis, tn to guymon, ok (the panhandle bit of oklahoma.. i want to see what’s there)
tuesday 3/8 – guymon, ok to las vegas, nv
wednesday 3/9 – las vegas, nv to san francisco, ca

And.. i’m home! wahoo! yah, it’s just a lot of driving and not much doing stuff… but it’s a roadtrip afterall.

If anyone has any suggestions for detours/stops/places to eat/things to see.. please let me know! plans are made for chaging.

new york, new york

so.. i’m back from my big east coast tour.. the week in new york was fantastic. i stayed at eric’s place in chelsea the whole week, which is such a convenient location. close to everything, and since i was trying to minimize cab usage to save money, i learned the nyc subway system quite well.

friday, i went to check out the gates in central park.. as suggested by eric, i took the 1/9 train to 110th street, and then walked down the whole park to see the most of the installation. it took me about 4 hours to wander all around the park. i thought it was quite a marvel — it sure was a lot of gates. i guess i can kind of see how the whole thing cost christo $21M — the gates were really well made and each one was customized to its particular spot in the park.


friday night, i got to hang out with phil, sarah, alan, juri, and debbie in williamsburg. it was my first time in brooklyn, and i must say it rocked.

saturday, alan and i went up to a party at moby’s house in upstate new york.. we hired a car and drove about an hour to his house. it was a small party — about 30 people. moby has a kickass house — it’s on top of this hill in the middle of the woods. 8 bedrooms, a huge kitchen with a dining room table that seats 30 of your closest friends. sauna, hot tub, disco downstairs, the works… supposedly this was one of moby’s famous “scrabble parties”. i met a few fellow cornell folks — man, we’re everywhere. i felt silly taking photos, so i only took a few pics with my cameraphone..

Moby's House

the rest of the weekend, i met up with a few more friends — todd and aliza had twins last year, so eric and i went to visit them. i don’t really get to spend much time around babies, and these seemed pretty neat. after bundling them up we took them out for a walk around the block in the upper west side where we saw some dudes get into a fistfight on the street corner. whoohoo! new york!

emily and molly

wieners in providence at new york system

mmmm.. so following along my roadside america book, i visited “new york system” in providence, RI… I walked about 2 miles from tina’s theatre (where I followed her for the whole day, doing acting classes and such — that’s a whole other story, which maybe i’ll tell too) to this hot dog joint.. i walk in, it’s like 2pm and it’s empty, except for the two people that work there..

new york system

so.. according to the book, the thing to get here is the “wiener”… so i do. arriving about 23 seconds after you order it, the “wiener” comes on a plain brown plastic plate.. sitting in a untoasted white bun, the reddish hued wiener is smothered in raw onions, mustard, and some sort of mysterious beef sauce. I asked the dude what the sauce was and he told me it was a closely guarded secret.

new york system wiener

Hmm… it was dangerously easy to down this hot dog, and I ended up eating three, having gotten the hint from the next patron who sat next to me (who ordered three). I had a nice conversation with Charlie, the dude behind the counter about the history of new york system and Charlie’s retirement plans in hawaii. New York System was founded in the 1920s by this greek dude Gustav Papas… He liked New York, but didn’t like the hubub, so he found a new home in Providence, RI, where he founded the original “New York System” on Smith Street (the one that I went to — which, incidentally, wasn’t the one mentioned in the Roadfood book that julia gave me). Anyway… the Papas family has owned and run this New York System on Smith street the whole time, but there are other New York Systems that are not run by the Papas family. The other New York Systems do not have the secret recipe of the mysterious beef sauce.

Anyway… the hot dog was.. pretty good, but then again, I love hot dogs and greasy diner food. The raw onions and the beef sauce was an odd combination — the onions were tart and sweet, and the beef sauce was slightly tangy. The hot dog itself was kind of mushy — it didn’t really have the snap of a fully cased hot dog, so I suspect that it was either caseless or had some sort of really thin case. The bun was wonder-bread soft and mushy and kind of looked like a slice of bread rather than a roll. I didn’t feel sick or anything afterwards, so that’s a good sign.

I’ve since left Providence, and now I’m in NYC — where I’m sure to find more delicious hot dogs… I’m meeting Audris and Donna tonight in the upper west side, so a visit to Gray’s Papaya is definitely on the horizon…

4 aces diner

so… julia got me this wonderful book, roadside america — that highlights all sorts of diners and such all around the country.. yesterday morning, after visiting with ryan at dartmouth, i stopped off at the 4 aces diner to have breakfast.. 4 aces is kind of a biker bar meets diner meets colonial house kind of place. i had the “joker special” which was pancakes (with maple syrup — a must have, being so close to vermont and all), sausage, bacon and eggs… deeelicious.

I’m in providence right now, hanging out with tina the actress.. last night we went to this good-bye roast for oskar eustice (he’s going to head up the new york public theater) and then all morning i’ve been following tina around to her acting classes…

4 aces diner

what's next? travellin..

As for what’s next, here’s my plan.. travel around the country to cross off four states on my “need to visit” list.

tonight, i leave for boston on the red-eye to visit family for chinese new year.. then, sunday, i’m heading to dartmouth to visit my friend ryan. we’re going to go to vermont to look around.. voila.. state #1. then.. i’m headed to brown to visit my friend tina.. brown is in rhode island. #2, check. then… off to NYC to hang out at my friend eric’s house. phil and alan are coming in for the weekend so we’ll party it up there..

then, back to san francisco for my birthday party (february 24th at levende lounge at 9pm — you’re all invited)..

Then.. driving down to LA to see stephanie’s band play at the Cat Club on the 26th.. then.. off to tucson to visit lisa and adam.. then.. hmm.. then is new mexico and west texas, where i can’t seem to find anything to do… but i’ll be there on the way to austin to visit more friends, jen and melissa.. the plan is to pick up korby at the austin airport on 3/2/2005 at 11:35pm, and then to drive to new orleans, where kim (korby’s girlfriend) has a hotel for the week for work. i think tall paul and andy (brother) are going to fly out and hang for the weekend too.. then, i gotta turn back.. i’m planning on driving through arkansas (#3 state on the list) and oklahoma (#4) on the way back.. maybe hit up vegas too since paul will be there for a bachelor party for this dude that met his future wife at one of my new years parties.

and then… back home, i guess. phew. yah, so that’s the tenative plan. 4 states off the list.. 5 to go, after this (which i can handle with one big roadtrip up north)..

6 years, 6 months, 11 days…

well.. i think that’s what the official count is… after 6 years, 6 months and 11 days of working here at mySimon (and then CNET),, i have decided to move on… it’s been quite a trip… thanks for all the memories, mySimon… i’ve been keeping a mySimon archive since we started back in 1998 — it’s wonderful looking back through the years at all of the changes that we’ve been through..

As long as I’m on a nostalgic kick, check this out — back in the summer of ’95, i started keeping a daily list of “sites that dennis found”. i had a pretty regular readership… as soon as school started back up, i stopped updating it. oops. i guess i should have started a company or something back then.. haha. oh well.

Anyway… drinks at thirsty bear in 26 minutes!!!