There Are No Accidents
“You like me, you really like me.”
– Sally Field, as she accepted The Oscar in 1984, finally recognized for her acting, among her peers.
I can’t stand Sally Field, but a good line is a good line.
Her words came to mind, when I took a call from T-Mobile’s Wi-Fi headquarters in Carrollton, Texas.
Hey Baby, It’s The Fourth Of July
She’s waiting for me when I get home from work
But things just ain’t the same
She turns out the light and cries in the dark
Won’t answer when I call her name
On the stairs I smoke a cigarette alone
The Mexican kids are shooting fireworks below
Hey, baby, it’s the Fourth of July
Hey, baby, it’s the Fourth of July
“Fourth of July”
– Dave Alvin
Years ago, when I was driving across New Mexico, training for future roadtrips, I had loaded up the kids and took them to Santa Fe in the “family truckster.” (Picture Chevy Chase in “Family Vacation” — in a minivan instead of a station wagon.)
“Where Have You Gone, Barry Bonds?”
I walked from Van Ness to 24 Willie Mays Plaza — SBC Park, home of The San Francisco Giants — excited that I was about to “complete ‘THE battery’ of all time” (in my not-always-so-humble opinion). Here’s what I mean.
First the pitcher: I watched Nolan Ryan pitch firsthand a few years back, on many occasions at his last stop with The Texas Rangers … even had the opportunity to meet the legend.
Next, the catcher: no one can convince me that Pudge Rodriguez – instrumental in the Marlins’ World Series bling bling – is not the best catcher of all time. He and his rocket throw to first, or any base of his choosing, has revolutionized the position, if not the game. But before Florida, alas he too was a Ranger. Pudge made it worth the trip, even when the Texas team was losing. (Yes, I am still mad at The Rangers for letting Pudge slip through their webbing.)
So, I go from bitter to THE batter: Barry Bonds, baby!
Savannah Delegation Meets Wi-Fi Guy On His March To The Sea
Among the smartest things I did on The Wi-Fi Guy tour … Savannah, Georgia. Or perhaps it was more luck. To be honest, I didn’t know that much about Savannah ahead of time. It seemed like a logical place to stop before I headed to the beaches of Florida. But Savannah was one of those cities where a Wi-Fi delegation came out to meet me … promoting the city and inviting The Wi-fi Guy to take a closer look. Accordingly, I spent most of my time visiting with these ambassadors and enjoying their municipal Wi-Fi project, rather than exploring randomly. No complaints!
I soon learned Savannah has a history of sending out a delegation.
Las Vegas, Cinco de Mayo – Safe Piercing Convention
The Wi-Fi Guy tour made the drive from Los Angeles to Vegas for two things … Wi-Fi and to attend The Safe Piercing Convention.
I can’t remember which came first … my silly decision to call the rating system “X body piercings out of a 7 possible body piercings …” or the decision to attend the body piercing convention. I’m sticking with both.
The Safe Piercers told me that attendance is up this year, with more than 1,000 attendees. By my estimates, that puts the tattoos and piercings at about 24,000 or so.
Suffice to say, I felt a little out of place in the hall. I don’t have a tattoo, and I don’t own any object engraved with, shaped like, or even remotely resembling a skull. These people do.
Wi-Fi For The Rich And Famous? Martha’s Vineyard
For a day trip, I planned to head out south of Boston to Nantucket. Although smaller than Martha’s Vineyard, the locals told me that Nantucket has more residential areas and a greater chance for Wi-Fi. So I worked it into my itinerary. I didn’t have time for both of the islands off Cape Cod.
Then at breakfast … foiled! I opened the newspaper to see that Peter Howe of The Boston Globe wrote a nice, comprehensive piece detailing how Wi-Blast was one month away from making Nantucket an 800-acre hot zone. Rats, I was just ahead of the curve
Get Your Kicks En Route To Bliss
After such a good time in Boise, I didn’t expect more bliss … but there it was — Bliss, Idaho — about 100 miles or so east on 84. I had to wonder if the town’s settlers had “marital bliss” in mind, or perhaps “ignorance is bliss” … who knows. I guess marital bliss can mean many things in these parts, as I head toward Salt Lake City.
To arrive at Bliss — just like Evil Knievel, so many years ago — I crossed the Snake River … You may recall Evil road a rocket “called” a motorcycle. As for me, my mode of choice … a bright orange C I Host SUV. I was probably moving about as fast as Mr. Knievel had, when I first caught wind of this tiny town.
An advertisement for a grocery story caught my eye because it was called “Stinker” and had a skunk on its sign. Now that is guerilla marketing!
Wi-Fi Guy Given Diplomatic Status At Fairmont, Washington, DC
A few weeks after the national terrorist warning level was bumped up into overdrive, I pulled into Washington, DC. All around the nation’s capital were concrete barriers, guard booths, armed guards and other necessary precautions.
But, back in my hotel I was tucked away in a secure fortress of comfort — The Fairmont, Washington, DC.
Previously in the blog, I have joked that The Fairmont has treated me like a rock star – both in Kansas City and Boston — but now in the power center of the free world, I got the ambassador treatment. (I guess I am a bit of a Wi-Fi ambassador in my own mind …)
Phishing For Wi-Fi At Austin City Limits Festival
It was no accident that Austin, Texas was the final stop on the Wi-Fi Guy cross-country trip. As I stated in an earlier blog, Austin is well known as the most Wi-Fied city in the country. So what better place to finish up? And, timing is everything! I planned the trip to finish in Austin and coincide with The Austin City Limits Music Festival, or ACL. The three-day festival is probably as ambitious of a live show as ever conceived, with hundreds of musicians and just about every genre on a handful of stages, intertwined among some 75,000 sweaty bodies and cowboy hats and hippie bandanas.
Life Is A Microcosm, With or Without Wi-Fi
Twice during the three-week tour so far, I have had the chance to stop by the pool and catch up on some writing for the Wi-Fi Guy blog.
Good thing, it was just announced that The Wi-Fi Guy has been nominated for “The whitest guy in California” award.
So I am sitting here typing by the pool, and playing “Marco Pop-Up” with all of the bothersome ads that splash onto my screen.
I just finished my weekly radio call-in interview with David Johnson, on his noon radio show at KRLD talk/news, back in Dallas. The Sacramento Bee columnist Bob Shallit interviewed me yesterday and is planning to run an article. And Channel 13 TV, (CBS) has done a piece. So, all in all, from a media perspective, Sacramento has been good to The Wi-Fi Guy.
Backtracking Through The Pacific Northwest: More Seattle
After a scenic drive up Highway 101, around the Olympic National Forest and up to Port Angeles, I steered my craft toward Seattle. Around 11 p.m., I saw signs that asked me to make a few decisions on which route for which ferryboat. I was tired and guessed, and got lucky. So, around 11:30 I caught the last ferry from Kingston, Wash., to Edmonds, just north of Seattle.
A ferry ride has been on my to-do list since I planned this trip, especially the Wi-Fi perspective. There have been a lot of press stories about Wi-Fi for the commuters who cross the water. But, this particular boat did not have Wi-Fi. The crew told me it was on the way soon. Not to worry! Here in the land of T-Mobile, I pulled out my Sierra Wireless AirCard and powered up the laptop on the top level of the ship. It was just me and the stars and my HP laptop. (Editor’s note: this blog has been posted out of sequence and the content predates the computer crash.
So as the boat splashed through the calm waves, and a cool breeze swept by, I was able to e-mail. Isn’t technology wonderful? It seemed appropriate to send a really cool e-mail, so I attached a photo from San Francisco’s NextFest, featuring a high-tech Mona Lisa. Off she went.
Willie Nelson’s July Fourth Picnic — “All Party And No Tailgate!”
The Willie Nelson Fourth of July Picnic in Fort Worth was very much a multi-generational “thang.” There were tie-dyed fans old enough to be my parents, and on the other hand, my son was there.
Accordingly, it seemed an entire new batch of outlaw musicians were poised, ready to accept the country/rock/Americana baton – while paying homage to their older mentors.
For example, there is a new “CCR.” It once meant Credence Clearwater Revival, exclusively. Now there is this college country rock phenom … Cross Canadian Ragweed (emphasis seemingly on weed).
And what about that braided look which once belonged to Willie Nelson, Tonto and no one else? Again these Oklahoma CCR guys are in the right place at the right time. The new braids are moving in. Cody Canada, frontman for Weed so-ooo looks the part … Golden braids, motorcycle boy sunglasses and tattoos in all the right places … and a barefoot swagger.