every once in a while i think about doing a cross-country trip across america. it all started a few years ago, working at SRM, sleeping in the upstairs office in order to meet the deadline, looking at a map of the USA hanging on the hall during my occasional breaks, dreaming about all the interesting places i'd visit on my eventual trip, tracing out my tentative route with my finger.

tonight i did some math: the driving distance from boston to san francisco is about 3130 miles. multiple that number by 2 (for a round trip), and you get 6260 miles. imagine a car that gets 25mpg on the average, so it'd take about 250 gallons of gasoline. multiple that number by a conservative $2.50/gallon, and that works out to be $626. that's actually cheaper than what i imagined. i figured it'd cost a few thousand dollars at least in gas money. at that rate, i could afford to drive cross country every year if i wanted to!

there's a couple of things i need before i can go on this trip though. first thing is i need a car, since i don't own one (no, a motorcycle just isn't going to cut it). i wonder how much it'd cost to rent one? that might be too expensive.

second thing i need is time. to really see all the places i want, i'd have to take a month off, maybe two. time is not a big concern, once i'm done with my projects i'll have plenty of free time.

the third thing is i'll need access to the internet, because i'd want to share my adventures. out on the road there's probably very little chance of getting on the web, but when i'm in cities, i could hope to borrow some wireless signal, or maybe pay for an hour of service at one of those ubiquitous starbucks.

the fourth thing i need is a place to stay while i'm traveling. i figured worst case scenario would be to sleep in the car. a step above would be to do some camping, and this would allow me to get some naturing done as well. the thought of staying in motels is too expensive, although maybe once or twice a week i might indulge, if nothing else, just a nice bed to get a good night's sleep and to take a hot shower. i might look to make some internet contacts before i go, maybe hook up with some fellow bloggers, in exchange for an overnight crash at their place, they can get a cameo on my weblog.

the great thing is ever since i switched to verizon, i'm on their nationwide service plan, so i can phone from anywhere in the USA for the price of a local call. i can still stay in touch with friends and family. maybe i can give the keys to the weblog to somebody, and they can post updates on my behalf when i can't get online.

anyway, at this stage it's all just wishful thinking.

after 4 days of sunny (although frigid) weather, today we got the gloom. overcasted and raining, all the leftover snow started to melt, which could mean only one thing: black ice! without a car though, the problems of slippery roads was like another planet to me. down to just two eggs, i skipped the omelette today, and cooked up a vastly inferior lunch composing of leftover toaster-oven barbecue chicken wings, melba crackers with tabouli salad, and some more coffee milk (i have to drink that milk fast, it's expiring this weekend).

in the late afternoon i went with my parents on a supply run to costco. i was looking for christmas presents, but unless i got friends who can appreciate a bulk box of their favorite cereal, there really wasn't a lot to offer. for myself, i just got a bag of frozen fruit and a strip of barbecue ribs, to be stored in my fridge for special occasions. when we left the place, there was a really spectacular sunset over the mystic river, the color glow of the horizon capped by a thick patch of receding rain clouds.

we returned to belmont for dinner. my father showed me the tv tuner card he got for his pc, as well as the chinese handwriting recognition software and tablet he bought in china. my sister gave me the "broken" ipod one of her nanny care gave her, asking to see if i could fix it. later i got a ride back to my place in cambridge. the car was moving weird, almost like there was no traction on the roads. the reflection of the moonlight on the streets revealed a glistening layer of ice...black ice! along the way, we saw at least one, if not two, car accidents from cars skidding out of control. even when i got out of the car, i almost slipped and fell. however, nothing could stop me from taking my customary friday night bath, reading the latest issue of entertainment weekly.




i know i've kept this weblog fairly independent, free of advertising, but lately i've been thinking about putting up some google ads to generate a bit of revenue, so i can at least make a few bucks to keep this site self-sufficient (normally i pay $9/month to keep this operation rolling, not to mention the countless man hours writing and taking photos). i'm just giving people a heads up, that's all. in the next few days the weblog will be sporting a new look. i'll try to make it as discreet as possible. it's not like i'm selling t-shirts or coffee mugs! at least not yet. although i've always wanted to make a cheesecake calendar. if only i can find the right models...