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Unbelievably Cheap Luxury Hotels

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 4:18 pm - December 27, 2007.
Filed under: Family,Travel,Vacation Blogging

When I drove cross country, I stayed at a good number of motels along the various interstates in our great land. In each of these places, where I paid between $50 and $70 for a room, I was able to get free Internet in my room. The one hotel I stayed where I had to pay for an Internet connection was the fanciest place I stayed on trip (a corporate hotel where we stayed for the Bat Mitzvah). As I had to pay for Internet access in my room at the hotel where I stayed for the National Gay and Lesbian Journalists’ Association convention.

And now on the second night of my unusual Winter vacation, I can only blog because I agreed to pay the $9.99 fee for Internet in an otherwise very nice hotel in Miami Beach (where you also have to pay to use the workout facility). Last night in Denver, I declined the option of paying for Internet at another nice hotel.

What is it with these fancy hotels that they seem to feel obligated to charge their clientele for Internet where roadside motels offer it free of charge? I wonder if it’s because they have a captive audience or because they cater largely to people traveling for business who can put such incidentals on their expense accounts.

In its first twenty-four hours, this has been an unusual trip. Yesterday, a friend who lives near Ontario (suburb of Los Angeles) drove me to LAX. On the flight to Denver, I sat next to a young veteran (he had served in Iraq) who had flown in from Palm Springs, changing planes in Ontario. He was going to meet friends in Colorado and go skiing. When we talked, he complained about how clueless the media were when reporting from war zones — and how often he, his fellows and the troops under his command had to go out of their way to protect them. In so doing, they became less effective in taking on the terrorists.

In Denver, without a winter coat, I experienced freezing temperatures, but that inconvenience was minor because I could not have otherwise spent time with a cousin and a beloved Aunt and Uncle. My cousin, a Democrat, is most enthusiastic about her man for ’08, Barack Obama. Her excitement seems similar to that of other supporters of the Illinois Senator’s White House bid.

This morning, we left Denver in a snowstorm and arrived to 80 degree temperatures and sunshine in Miami. With such warm weather, a new niece (born this very morning) and a vacation with my Dad, his wife, five of the PatriotNiecesWest and three of the PatriotNephewsWest, I really don’t have too much too complain about. Even the fee for Internet access.

I guess I’ll just see that, as I saw the snow in Denver, as a minor inconvenience I need experience so I can blog while spending time with some of my favorite people in the world.

I hope all of you will get to share this time of year with such people. Even when you have to suffer some minor experience to gain such great joy.

- B. Daniel Blatt (GayPatriotWest@aol.com)

Returning from Paradise

Posted by Bruce Carroll at 7:42 pm - November 17, 2007.
Filed under: Travel,Vacation Blogging

Nope, I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth…just on our way back from the other side of it. PatriotPartner (John) and I have spent the last 10 days in paradise — the island of Kaua’i in Hawaii. We are now about to embark on the 12-hour trip back to Charlotte.

The trip was fantastic and I promise I’ll post some photos (and video clips) over the next few days.

I can happily say I’ve not checked email or used the internet for the entire trip. It wasn’t missed.

I will get back to blogging over the course of the next few days, but I also have a ton of work greeting me at home — so bear with me!

Aloha!

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

Learning a Lesson while “Flipping Out” on My Return

Given the intensity of all my driving, I should have remembered the lesson I learned after my last cross country drive, that I need a few days off when I return before I plunge into things. But, on the very day I returned home this week, I had to run a dinner for my college alumni association while preparing the following day (yesterday) to teach a class at my synagogue, then my Dad comes into town today.

And then I’m trying to get back to regular blogging and get caught up on e-mail. And get my laundry done. And clean my car. At times, it seems I’m “flipping out.”

I need a vacation. Wait, didn’t I just get back from one?

Anyway, the real lesson of all this is that we all need some down time. It is, in my mind, the lesson of Shabbat where the Lord commands us to take a day of rest.

Next time I plan a cross country drive, I need to remember the lessons I learned on previous ones, especially about leaving time on the journey for error and adventure. To explore the beauty of this great nation — and to relax.

All that said, despite my somewhat harried feeling, I am grateful that I had the chance to make such a journey, even if it did not provide as much relaxation as I would have liked.

Report from Home–Back in LA after Seeing the Fires

Well, at about 3:10 PM PST, I pulled into my parking spot here in the outskirts of West Hollywood. I enjoyed the drive for the better part of the day. I loved the desert landscape from the Virgin River Gorge in the northwestern corner of Arizona to the outskirts of San Bernadino. As I drove through I wished I had given myself more time on the trip to hike in some of this beautiful territory.

Just before Barstow, I could see huge clouds of smoke rising from the wildfires just beyond the mountains in the distance on the left-hand side of the road. It seemed as if those on the far side of the ridge were experiencing the apocalypse. The closer I got, the darker it appeared on that side of the car, but if I looked to my right, the day was clear and the sun was shining. Night on one side, day on the other.

I was surprised that I had little difficulty driving back into LA and actually made it home ahead of schedule. It was 100 degrees as I pulled into my building, yet yesterday as I drove through the Rockies it got as cold as 20. An interesting contrast to conclude a journey where I noted many contrasts.

Well, I’ll miss the journey, I guess I am glad to be back; I’ll look forward to seeing my friends in the next few days.

Report from the Road–St. George, Utah/Snow in Colorado; Conversation with a Serviceman in Kansas

Driving-wise, today was the hardest of the trip. I did not sleep well last night and had to drive the most difficult piece of I-70, across the Rockies in Colorado. And the drive was made even more challenging by the snow storm that blew through town yesterday (Sunday). I actually drove through it Sunday as I crossed into Colorado.

Today, I had to deal with the ice and sand still on the roads, sand that got blown onto my windshield when fast-moving trucks without mud-flaps passed me as my wiper fluid froze up.

It was kind of odd that after having passed through a snow-covered landscape to get a phone call from a friend in LA that I should check the reports on the fires in LA as certain highways may be blocked.

From ice to fire in just 24 hours.

Well, I’m less than an hour away from LA and am feeling kind of sad that the trip is almost over. At the same time, I am looking forward to seeing my friends in LA and returning to a more regular routine, preparing for my dissertation and blogging on the news of the idea and other ideas I might have.

My greatest regret about this trip is that I haven’t had enough time to visit with friends and family as I would like. And now, I’m so drained from the drive on so little sleep I don’t have as much to say as I had expected.

I sit in front of this screen waiting for the ideas to come.

I should comment on something I left out of a previous post. When I stopped for gas in Lawrence, Kansas on Saturday night, I noted that the it was taking forever to fill up my tank. The guy across from me commented that his pump was slow as well. Soon, we fell to talking.

Turns out this guy is a serviceman just back from Iraq. He commented on the difficulty of the endeavor, that the enemy hides in schools and hospitals and that he has had to shoot at terrorists who fire on US troops then plant themselves between children.

When the news media reports on the deaths of civilians in US attacks, I wonder how frequently they report on the cravenness of our adversaries. How very evil are our opponents in Iraq.

I will miss the open road when I return home tomorrow. And on this trip, I have not only regretted that I did not have as much time as I would have liked with family in friends, but did not have enough time to explore the natural beauty of this great nation, a regret I felt repeatedly today as I crossed the stunning landscape of southern Utah with massive red cliffs rising up from an oftentimes desolate landscape, sometimes sprinkled with snow or decorated with trees or other foliage.

Report from the Road–Salina, Kansas/Meeting Gateway Pundit in St. Louis, Later Learning Dumbedore is gay

Looks like I’m not the only one blogging on Cross Country Odyssey. Shortly after my meeting with Gateway Pundit at Kaldi’s Coffee House in St. Louis he made mention on the visit.

We had a great conversation about a great variety of topics, including the basic decency of George W. Bush and the general disappointment many conservatives feel about that man. Faulting Log Cabin for its ad attacking Mitt Romney, this fine Missouri blogger observed that the group needs do a better job of convincing Republicans that they are committed to the GOP, especially because many rank-and-file GOPers might be skeptical of gay people claiming to be Republicans.

A good point, especially given Log Cabin’s history of public criticism of the party it claims to support.

After meeting that Midwestern pundit, I headed west, crossing eastern Missouri while listening to the conclusion of Joseph Ellis‘s course on Patriots: Brotherhood of the American Revolution. I wish more Americans were familiar with the greatness of the founding and understood better the contrast between the differing visions of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, a tension we see even in contemporary debates. While these great men were often at odds over a great many issues, they worked together to secure our independence, were united in their love of our nation and renewed their friendship in the last decades of their lives.

Then, it was onto Beowulf, first listening to Robertson Dean’s reading of the Robert Gordon translation, then to Seamus Heaney’s reading of his own translation. I’ll have to say that while I thought I’d prefer the former, as it strives to more accurately translate the Old-Saxon language, I actually preferred the latter, even though the translation is less accurate. It’s just better poetry.

As I entered into Kansas, driving a stretch of I-70 I had driven numerous times, this being the first time I crossed eastern Kansas in the dark, my friend Sean called me to inform me J.K. Rowling told an audience recently that Albus Dumbledore of the Harry Potter books “is gay.” When I heard the news, it just made sense. There was something in the wise wizard’s manner which suggested a certain gay sensibility, but also a sense that he had somehow sublimated its sexual aspect.

Rowling said that the Hogwarts headmaster had once fallen for the charming Grindelwald who figures in the latest Potter book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. “Let down” when he learned of his one-time beloved’s fascination with the Dark Arts, Dumbledore would work to destroy this man for whom he once had the most tender of affections.

A mark of that great wizard’s character–choosing to do what is right even it meant hurting the one he loved. I may have more to say about this at a later date.

As my journey nears its end, I’m beginning to wish it were longer, not only so that I had more time to spend with my family and friends, but because I do enjoy the open road, the chance to see this country and talk to people I might not otherwise meet. Even the banter tonight while checking into my hotel here in Salina, Kansas.

Tomorrow, it’s off to the Centennial State to have an early dinner with a dear aunt in Colorado Springs, then to overnight with her younger daughter in Denver before crossing the Rockies on Monday and returning to the Golden State.

Report from the Road–Back Across the Mississippi in St. Louis

Yesterday was one of those days when I wished I had budgeted more time for the trip. As I did in New York, I woke early so I could see nieces (well, in this case one niece) off to school. Only my siblings’ progeny would cause me to wake so long before sunrise while on vacation.

But, since that niece goes to school in Kentucky (just across the Ohio River from Cincinnati), I added another state to the roster of those visited on this trip (now at 20). Indeed, by the end of the return journey, I’ll have slept in a different state in each of 9 successive nights. (On the way east, a more accelerated voyage, I slept in a different time zone on each of 4 successive nights, losing an hour each way.)

Before meeting my Mom for lunch at a Cincinnati bookstore, my step-sister met me to deliver two necklaces she made especially for my adorable cousins in St. Louis. Those sparkling jewels helped bring out those girls incredible natural beauty. Kelly (my step-sister) does a great job!

Despite roadwork in southern Indiana and horrible traffic (though not by LA standards) on the Indianapolis Beltway (if so they call it), I really enjoyed the drive, still listening to Joseph Ellis‘s course, Patriots: Brotherhood of the American Revolution. His voice remained soporific and I caught several errors, but appreciated this refresher course on our nation’s founding, history which all Americans should know, but with which, alas, too few of us are familiar. By studying the Revoluntionary Era, we might better understand our own nation, its founding principles and the difficulties of establishing a new republic as well as see similarities to our own time.

As I drove across western Indiana and into Illinois (while briefly talking to our occasional co-blogger, John when I could get a cell phone signal), I delighted in the natural beauty of my native Midwest, the spectacular fall foliage, trees in various shades of orange and yellow, with some still green lined up along the Interstate. If I wasn’t rushing to meet my cousins for dinner, I might have stopped to take in this wonder.

In my own wonder at the natural beauty of our native land, I wondered at how the original European settlers first experienced this region two centuries ago and more. As the rays of sun light came down from a layer of darkening clouds, I could see how they felt God had willed this land to them. And this feeling became stronger as the forested landscape opened up to rolling and then increasingly flatter farmland in Illinois.

I had little trouble finding my cousins’ house, then delighted in goofing around with my exceedingly exuberant and energetic cousins. And I did love it when the elder of the two kept referring to me as “uncle.”

Later, as they went to bed, I played Scrabble with my cousin, then had a chance to talk, sharing details of our lives since last we had time we had been together. And yet again, I regretted that I have so little time in each city to visit with family and friends.

He’s out playing tennis now while his wife is helping their elder daughter make a Hallowe’en costume.

Alas, that I need to be back in LA on Tuesday. I wish I could linger longer here as I wish I could have stayed a few more days in my hometown. Soon, once again, I’ll have to deal with the difficulty of saying good-bye as I look forward to seeing a dear aunt in Colorado.

Report from the Road–Back Home in Cincinnati

Sometimes I forget how exhausting driving can be. As of today, I have driven just over 4,000 miles. Yesterday was the turning point of the trip when I started heading west after spending a day in Williamstown to visit my alma mater, America’s finest small college.

I had hoped to blog from there, but needed a password to use the wireless in the new student center and didn’t know (until yesterday morning) that there was a coffee shop in town with wireless. It was great being back, but I really missed being a student. I did get to meet with my French Professor (and major advisor), now emeritus, who was one of the few conservatives on the faculty when I was there. Alas, that my favorite Political Science professor, a Marxist, also alas emeritus, was in the Bahamas (alas for me, not him).

I had hoped to blog last night from Erie, Pennsylvania but was too exhausted after driving across New York State. Today was a much nicer drive, mostly across my home state while I listened to Joseph Ellis lead a course on Patriots: Brotherhood of the American Revolution. Despite his soporific voice, the lectures were interesting, mostly offering his perspective on information already mostly familiar to this patriot, but knowledge I constantly delight in rediscovering.

I was reminded that the Revolutionary War was the longest in US History (lasting over 8 years from Lexington and Concord until the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1783) and that over 1,000 British troops died at Bunker Hill.

I had a most pleasant lunch with a blog reader near Columbus.

I have since arrived in Cincinnati where I had a chance to visit with my Dad before coming over to my brother’s house and then having the great honor of taking the Second Eldest PatriotNieceWest out for dinner. I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed being able to tell this wonderful and most intelligent young lady that she could order anything on the menu, then taking her next door to Graeter’s for the finest ice cream in the Midwest and again letting her order whatever she wanted. Back home at her Dad’s house, she read some of The Hobbit to me while I delighted that she enjoyed this most magnificent work.

I regret that I have not had more time to write on this trip, but here (as in New York), I would rather have spent time with my family than blogging.

I have had many (what appear to me to be) blogworthy insights on this trip and hope I can decipher my notes when I do get time to blog.

I guess the big thing I have learned is that I should have taken more time on this trip. I would have liked to have lingered in Williamstown, delighting in the beauty of the fall colors on the hills of western Massachusetts as I was reminded that I saw similar colors when I first visited the college, a beauty which helped me to decide to apply to that fine school.

Well, tomorrow, I’m going to spend some time with my family, taking my niece to school, then breakfasting with my Dad and brother before seeing the latter’s new house (currently under construction) and then lunching with my Mom. After that I head off to St. Louis to see a cousin and his two very adorable daughters (my first cousins once removed).

Report from the Road–GPW in the Big Apple

I’m sorry I haven’t had much time to blog, reporting on my journey, but have been very busy. The eldest PatriotNieceWest did an absolutely amazing job at her Bat Mitzvah and I had a great time visiting with family in New York and friends in Washington.

I even met with Log Cabin President Patrick Sammon while in DC. In the twelve years that I have been involved in the organization, this is the first time its leader has met with me to hear my concerns. Perhaps that has something to do with this Patrick and his manner of leadership. Or perhaps it has something to do with the power of the blogosophere. More likely a combination of the two.

But, I will say this. With blogs, Log Cabin now has to deal with gay conservatives who now have a media platform. The group can no longer even presume to claim to speak for all right-of-center gays.

It was interesting how today in New York when I had the choice between walking and taking the subway, I preferred to walk, me the Angeleno who has driven to the corner hardware store when in LA. And boy did I enjoy wandering about the Big Apple, seeing some pretty amazing glass skyscrapers going up and discovering new ones that I may not have noticed before or which had been built since last I was in town.

And I had time to visit with my Dad and dine with my sisters while discovering a nifty device which allows me to charge my cell phone with a AA battery. I was impressed by the friendliness today of most New Yorkers, something I had not previously experienced in the city.

Wish I had more time to blog and share the details of my journey, including some political aspects and a meeting with one of the most famous readers of the blog while in DC. Hopefully, I’ll get to that stuff in short order. Tomorrow, it’s off to western Massachusetts to visit my alma mater which U.S. News has rightly ranked (yet again) America’s finest liberal arts college.

Report from the Road–Back in Charlottesville

Whereas yesterday I had a driver’s high, today I experienced whatever is its opposite. I started flipping out somewhere in eastern Tennessee. When you’re pushing hard to make it cross country in three days, you don’t have time to appreciate the beauty of the land. You don’t have time to relax.

When I crossed into Virginia late Tuesday afternoon, early evening, I realized how beautiful in this state where once I lived. And the leaves were just beginning to turn. Alas, that it became dark as I headed north on I-81. That made the driving even more challenging. Not just that. I had forgotten the extent to which trucks use that route. I had to concentrate as much on driving as if I were driving through LA.

And then I understood how draining driving can be. I had thought I would arrive refreshed “back east” as we Angelenos call this part of the country. Well, I made it here and am now staying with my friend Rick Sincere, but am a little zoned.

Rick and I did have a great evening, going to dinner on the Corner, the shopping district near the main grounds of the University of Virginia where I completed my legal education (actually the law school was not on main grounds, alas, alas).

We visited the lawn, the center of the University designed by Mr. Jefferson (Thomas, that is) himself. Chatted briefly with Al Clark, the Room Seven Resident, a member of the Jefferson Literary and Debating Society of which I was a member when in law school.

i delighted in the statue of Homer on the lawn, smiling as I considered my own odyssey and the epics i was listening to as i headed east.

It was interesting seeing how much the University had changed since I was here. And how the names and locations of various buildings and local establishments, some no longer in business, came to mind as I walked around. Places that I had not even considered since I was last in town.

Earlier today as I drove, I was listening to The Odyssey, hearing Odysseus recount the ‘odyssey” part of his journey (only about one-third of the epic) when he takes his long journey home from the Trojan War, with numerous adventures.

On my journey, I could not afford to have such adventures as I had to haul a** so I could make it east in time to see my friends. Well, while I am delighted to be here at Rick’s, I regret that I really didn’t get to enjoy the drive today–as beautiful as the country was.

The long and the short of is if you’re going to drive cross country, don’t try to do three days in a row where you need to make 850 miles a day. While you may get a driver’s high on the second day, you start wigging out on the third. At least I won’t need to drive any more that 5 hours/day for the next 8 days. And only on three of those days will I be driving two hours or more.

When last I left Odysseus, he had arrived home in Ithaca, not knowing where he was, but greeted by the goddess Athena. I can understand the disorientation, but lack the divine welcome.

UPDATE: Rick has a post acknowledging my visit. Check it it. And while you’re there, check out his blog which is a source of information on matters libertarian, musical, electoral and central Virginian.

Report from the Road–Getting a Driver’s High & Pondering Movies, Marriage, Billboards & Silence

LAKELAND, TN: When I used to run, I would often experience a “Runner’s High” when you get to that stage when you feel you could just feel you could just run forever. I kind of experienced something similar today, what i’ll call a Driver’s High. Sometime in eastern Arkansas, after getting gas in Brinkley, I just felt I keep keeping driving forever. Of course, the confusing roads in Memphis ended up destroying the feeling.

I mean, if you’re on I-40, shouldn’t you need to exit to get on the “subsidiary” route, instead of exiting to stay on the interstate itself? Had I not been paying attention in West Memphis, I may have ended up in Mississippi.

Well, I just crossed the Big Muddy. I had thought to end my day in Arkansas so I could begin the new day crossing the Mighty Mississippi, given how significant it is to our culture, but I didn’t want to deal with Memphis traffic in the morning and did have that driver’s high as I approached the city’s Arkansas suburbs.

I had a good start this morning and am glad I remembered my parents’ advice when we traveled to go back and check the room before leaving. Had I not done so, I might have left my cell phone behind.

Despite the plethora of books on CD I have in my car, today I preferred the silence of the open road and listened to three, maybe four hours of the The Iliad and The Odyssey, leaving Telemachos with King Menelaus in Sparta and having Calypso tell Odysseus how he is to leave her island, free finally to return home to his beloved Penelope, preferring that aging woman to the immortal nymph, perpetually young.

As I finished the Iliad, I realized (yet again) how wrong David Benioff got the story when he adapted the poem for Wolfgang Petersen‘s 2004 movie. The basic point of the epic is that Achilles goes from a peevish and juvenile young man, indifferent to the men he slaughters to a man who, in seeing the suffering of the father of his defeated rival Hector, becomes more human. In the movie, while looking the part, Brad Pitt‘s character was far less bloodthirsty and antagonistic than Homer’s Achilles at the outset of the ancient conflict.

I became enraged with speed limits, recalling the German Autobahn which lacked any. I mean, once when I was being passed on a straight stretch of highway, I checked my speedometer and saw I was going 90. To make sure I stayed under the speed limit, I often glanced at the dash board. Wouldn’t it be safer to keep my eyes on the road and gage my speed on the traffic around me and the condition of the road, rather than on arbitrary limit? (Of course things should be different in urban areas.)

I thought much on the empty debate on gay marriage and wondered that if we ever got it, would it help gay men develop a mature attitude toward sexuality. And I realized (yet again) that those most vocal in promoting gay marriage are often those least capable of articulating the meaning of marriage. Those gay people who best understand that meaning–and oftentimes live out that understanding–are most often reluctant to speak publicly about the social meaning of relationships like the defining one in their lives.

I thought about Log Cabin and their latest media success in attacking another Republican. If they want to get headlines by attacking the GOP, they shouldn’t call themselves Republicans, but then if they didn’t call themselves Republicans, they wouldn’t be getting headlines for attacking the GOP.

(more…)

Report from the Road–Santa Rosa, New Mexico

It all depends on how I define this journey to figure out when it began. Perhaps it began last night (Saturday the 6th) when I, fetishist that I am, went down to Santa Monica to dip my toe into the Pacific. Or it began this morning when I set off on my odyssey.

I was getting quite restless driving to the freeway on LA surface streets. I longed for the open road. And no sooner did I find it than I made a wrong turn, not changing lanes so I could stay on the 10 freeway east. When I turned around, I drove a delightful little neighborhood just east of downtown and realized how much of the city I have yet to explore even after living eight years there.

Much as I liked that neighborhood, as soon as I left the LA urban glob, I delighted in the open spaces. How beautiful is this country. And the colors of the landscape, especially the reds I saw today in eastern Arizona and western New Mexico. As the sun was setting in that latter state, it created new shades of magenta and purple in the evening sky. Blending with the graying horizon and the hues of the landscape, it almost seemed those colors came from a distant planet. They wouldn’t need CGI if they filmed a science fiction film here.

And there were the cliffs, like the crumbling battlements of long-since deserted ancient fortresses in a land once ruled by giants.

I began the journey listening to the final CD of Rob Inglis’s reading of The Lord of the Rings. How many times can I hear that story and still love it, becoming a little bit misty-eyed as the narrative’s last line when Sam, having watched his friend set off for the Undying Lands, returns to his beloved Rosie, “Well, I’m back.” What an ending! And I hear those words as I begin my journey.

I spent the better part of the rest of the day listening to Derek Jacobi‘s reading of The Iliad. Sometimes it seems he’s reading Hera as the kind of queen you find in West Hollywood, not one who reigns on Olympus. Still, though abridged, it’s a wonderful reading.

I look forward to following it up tomorrow by again listening to Sir Ian McKellan‘s (most excellent) reading of The Odyssey.

Sometimes when I was driving, I would just switch off my CD player, enjoy the landscape and let my mind wander. Ideas came to me about any number of things, from Log Cabin’s folly in again garnering headlines by attacking a Republican to the meaning of marriage, to the need for a leader who can unite America after the divisive politics of the last fifteen years so we can better wage the war on terror. But I mostly considered non-political topics, like the enduring power of The Iliad–how men (including yours truly) today often erupt in a rage similar to that which defined Achilles (and Agamemnon) in this two thousand-year-old epic.

As I heard Jacobi read Athena, I again pondered her role in the epic and thought about my own dissertation and the presence of the feminine in our own lives. And wondered what we gay men could do to better integrate those feminine qualities in our lives so as to balance our own masculine instincts. Something it took Achilles a whole epic to learn. The gray-eyed goddess wasn’t the only one who helped him learn to temper his rage and battle-fury.

And I thought of relationships, how a believable portrayal of a human relationship in a “archetypal” situation makes a movie worth watching. Because in life, relationships, real relationships are what makes live worth living. Much as I enjoyed traveling alone today, there were times today when I wanted to share the beauty of this great land with a friend!

I also realized that nearly every piece of bad advice I have received in my life had been offered with the best of intentions. That those who steered me in the wrong direction had not meant to harm me, indeed, many had wanted to help me. But, they just did not know the full context of my situation. Which, I guess, is always a problem for dispensers of advice.

There was more that I thought of. Much more. Much, much more. Perhaps it was just the open spaces, the break from the clutter of Los Angeles–and my apartment.

The one thing I do regret is that I gave myself little margin for error–or adventure–on this journey. That there are times when I wanted to stop, pull off the road and take in the beauty of it all. I envied the woman I saw at a rest stop who was sitting a picnic table and reading. I wondered what that book was and whether I would have enjoyed it. And if we had both read the same book whether or not we could talk about it.

But, I need to press on with my journey so I can make it to Charlottesville in time to see my friend–and lunch with my law professor before traveling to DC to see some old friends — and a few readers of this blog.

Well, one day perhaps, I’ll set off an a cross-country excursion without an agenda and can stop along the way, or take a different route than originally planned, just deciding to go somewhere because the town name sounds interesting. I had wanted to make it tonight to Tucumcari for that very reason, but I began to fade just east of Moriarty, so decide to stop here. And today I had also wanted to stop and explore the Petrified Forest and experience the mysteries of the ruins of Chaco Canyon.

Back From Vegas

Posted by Bruce Carroll at 6:38 am - May 22, 2007.
Filed under: Blogging,Country Music,Travel,Vacation Blogging

Hey everybody….. vacation is over (well, until Memorial Day weekend!) and I’m back on the road for work.  This week:  West Virginia & Atlanta.

As the week goes along, I’ll be doing some postings (with photos) about our trip to Vegas last week and more specifically about the Academy of Country Music Awards.  Cliffnotes Version:  Great Trip.  Expensive.  ACM Awards Show was incredible!  Lots of country music star sightings.

So just letting everyone know I’m alive and well… and I didn’t lose my house at the Poker Tournament!

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

Gone Fishin! — VIVA LAS VEGAS

Posted by Bruce Carroll at 8:22 am - May 12, 2007.
Filed under: Country Music,Travel,Vacation Blogging

mgm_grand.jpg

Okay, so we’ve made the executive decision to leave the laptop at home and enjoy the trip, sans blogging.  I promise I’ll take photos of any County Music Stars we come in contact with this week at the MGM Grand.  And a full report on the Vegas trip and the Academy of Country Music Awards show when I return next weekend.

Don’t forget to tune into the ACM Awards Tuesday night on CBS-TV at 8pm Eastern/Pacific.

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

ACM Awards Countdown — TOP FEMALE VOCALIST

Just a couple more work days and I’ll be Vegas-bound for the Academy of Country Music Awards vacation.

Today, I continue the ACM Countdown with Top Female Vocalist.  Well, I’m in love with Carrie Underwood.  She has rocketed from American Idol winner to Grammy winner in just two years.  She is probably the most successful Idol contestant so far (including Kelly Clarkson). 

But I’m torn here because I also love Martina McBride and have seen her in concert and really love her music. 

And, I’ve also seen Sara Evans… think she has an amazing voice… and frankly, she is smoking hot. 

Next Tuesday, the Academy of Country Music will decide who the Top Female Vocalist is.  When it comes down to it, I think this is one of the strongest categories.  All of these women are outstanding. 

Today, you can pick your favorite.

 

 

Who Is Your Pick For Top Female Country Vocalist?
Faith Hill
Miranda Lambert
Carrie Underwood
Martina McBride
Sara Evans
  
Free polls from Pollhost.com

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

Countdown To Academy of Country Music Awards — TOP MALE VOCALIST

This year we decided to combine two Patriot favorite past times into one vacation.  One week from tomorrow night, PatriotPartner, PatriotMom and I will be in the audience for the 42nd Annual Academy of Country Music Awards — live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas!

We leave this coming Saturday for a week’s vacation in Vegas including the ACM Awards on Tuesday May 15, and the “Music & Passion” Barry Manilow show at the Hilton a week from this Thursday.  Hopefully there will be some time where I can post photos of the festivities during our trip.

To start the countdown this week, I thought it would be fun to post a poll of the nominees to get your thoughts.  Of course, we start off with Top Male Vocalist.


Vote for your favorite Top Male Vocalist for the ACM Awards
Kenny Chesney
Keith Urban
George Strait
Brad Paisley
Toby Keith
  
Free polls from Pollhost.com

My pick is Brad!

 

brad.jpg

 

More countdown to the ACM Awards all week and this weekend…

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

 

7-Day Forecast: Light Blogging

Posted by Bruce Carroll at 9:02 am - October 28, 2006.
Filed under: Blogging,Travel,Vacation Blogging

 

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PatriotPartner and I are headed West this afternoon for a week in Phoenix. 

No cellphones, no computer, no work, no blogging. 

I’ve done a couple of posts in advance for next week, but unless there is something major going on (and I can find a computer at the hotel) I bid adieu until Sunday, November 5th.

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

Summer Memories, Part One

Posted by Bruce Carroll at 2:00 pm - September 16, 2006.
Filed under: Photoblogging,Travel,Vacation Blogging

Here are just a few snapshots of our trip in July to the Three Bars Ranch in Cranbrook, Canada.  As the politics of our midterms heat up, I thought it might be good to put some life perspective into our world.  There’s nothing better than riding a horse through the Canadian Rockies, my friends.

canada137.JPG

 

cabin.jpg

 

canada081.JPG   canada105.JPG
(Photos by GayPatriot and PatriotPartner)

I hope to post more photos from our trip to Canada as well as the Brad Paisley/Sara Evans concert in Charlotte from back in June.  (Hey, I wanna capitalize on Sara’s starring in “Dancing with the Stars”!   Timing is everything.)

So what are your fond memories from the Summer of 2006?  Email me your photos and I’d be happy to post them.   This is a community, after all!

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

Such a Fine Sight

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 11:13 pm - September 6, 2006.
Filed under: Travel,Vacation Blogging

Usually when I make long-distance drives, I tend to push myself and go further than I had intended, but tonight, I decided to stop at Flagstaff. It seems I was rewarded for my efforts for I was greeted by a very cute man at the desk. Now, to figure out if he’s gay or not.

I began the day in Raton, New Mexico, where I decided to avoid the Interstate for a while and drive through Cimarron and Taos, New Mexico. Up until Cimarron, I enjoyed the drive, delighting in the vast open spaces with mountains just to my north and on the distant horizon in the south and west. It seemed I was the only person on the road. And the colors of this empty landscape were wonderful, soft browns and greens of the earth against red-tinged rock, all set against the blue sky, decorated with white and gray clouds.

Something went wrong in Cimarron. The coffee machine was broken at the Shamrock Grocery. Maybe it was that I had just bought a T-shirt at the allegedly haunted St. James Hotel where Jesse James had once stayed. Wherever I stopped after that, the people were friendly, but the coffee was terrible.

Despite the beauty of the landscape from Taos until just north of Santa Fe, I became anxious in traffic as my turn signals stopped working in the New Mexico mountains. Maybe that was why I starting I feeling off, experiencing different sensations that I normaly experience when I drive through mountains or across open spaces. When, about an hour west of Albuquerque, I stopped to get gas, it started raining cats and dogs. After filling my tank, I rushed in to relieve myself to find the men’s room being cleaned. When I asked how long it would take to clean, the lady at the counter (in the adjacent convenience store) was downright rude.

Finally, I could use the facilities, but still felt off. They were working out the road outside the filling station and I had to wait for 10-15 minutes before the construction worker directing traffic signalled for me to get back on the road. Ever a bit superstitious, I wondered if the T-shirt were jinxing me. So, once in Arizona, I decided to throw it away with my trash. And suddenly, things started to change. While the woman at the Subway (in the roadside convenience store) told me to wait, I realized I really didn’t want a sub sandwich anyway. On my way out, I discovered this yummy Quaker Baked Cheddar Snack Mix on a chips shelf.

As I noshed on that, sipped coffee, then water, I began to feel better and delight in the scenery once again. Even the rain clouds didn’t bother me. Indeed, I delighted in the beauty of the dark clouds hovering over a distant mountain.

It was beautiful driving across northern Arizona, seeing the dark shadow of mountains in the distance, across the vast plain. I stoppws in Winslow, Arizona where I stood on the corner. I took a few pictures, bought a few T-shirts, then decided to make it as far as Flagstaff where I would call it a night.

I found a great hotel and learned upon entering my room that I had gained an hour, so will relax a bit and decide on my itinerary for the last day of my trip.

Driving Cross Country, Katie Couric, Randi Rhodes and Family

For the past eight days, I have been doing a mini-cross country drive, visiting friends and, as I noted previously celebrating the PatriotFatherWest’s birthday. It has been a great trip and I’ve not had as much access to the Internet as I would have liked — and that is not necessarily a bad thing.

Today, I woke up at my cousin’s house in Denver, then spent the day with the most wonderful PatriotAuntWest (that cousin’s mother) in Colorado Springs. When I left here, I headed south, beginning the return journey to Los Angeles. A bit sad to be leaving the family behind and regretting that I cannot travel further and explore much of this great country.

Here I sit at a hotel with wireless in New Mexico and instead of getting sleep so I can get an early start tomorrow, I’ve been checking my e-mail and the web. An idea came to me while reading about the Mexican elections and soon I found myself tapping out a post, then I read an e-mail from my friend Rick Sincere and wanted to alert our readers to Judge Wilkinson’s most excellent Op-ed on constitutions and gay marriage.

I had some thoughts on Katie Couric’s debut as anchor for the CBS Evening news (a debut about which I heard radio talk show hosts blab endlessly on Tuesday). Rush Limbaugh was defending himself for taping an opinion piece to appear on the CBS broadcast while a female caller to Air America referred to Couric’s (then-impending) newscast as FoxNews in disguise. I guess that female caller heard Rush was appearing and thought that any news forum which provided an outlet for conservative views (even when presented alongside liberal ones) was diabolical by definition.

Here are my thoughts on Ms. Couric’s debut: I’ve seen her a few times on the Today and found her perky, uninteresting and mildly annoying. She reminded me a lot of Doris Day, a star to whom I never really warmed, but was a big box office draw in the ’50s (even appearing twice on screen with the Gipper in Storm Warning and The Winning Team). Perhaps the American people will warm to Katie Couric as they once warmed to Doris Day.

But, I doubt it. The fora are entirely different. Couric is not entertaining us as Day once did. She doesn’t have the presence (or gravitas) we expect from our news anchors. I expect Ms. Couric to enjoy the same success with the CBS Evening News as Geena Davis enjoyed with Commander in Chief. All the hype about the show will give her great initial ratings which will gradually decline as the buzz wears off.

I really enjoy driving across this great land of ours. (I would also like to drive across Australia . . . ) I love the natural beauty, the open spaces, sometimes prefer taking smaller roads than the Interstate so I can get a better feel for the country. If it weren’t for my graduate work, I would have taken a longer trip, perhaps going as far as Chicago and maybe to somewhere I’ve never been.

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