Trip Tweets

I’m still ambivalent about Twitter as a medium.  Given the opportunity, I will write as much as possible, so 140 characters seems a severe handicap.  That said, it was fun to tweet my road trip – there were many new sights along the way and not much else to do in the car.  For the sake of those who don’t really want to scroll down my Twitter profile page, and for my own future reference, I decided to consolidate the three days of my roadtrip tweets in this blog post, first to last.


Road trip from Tempe, AZ to Spokane, WA commencing! We’ve got ourselves a 2-car convoy!

Hwy74 needs another lane. It runs thru the middle of Nowhere, USA: no obstructions but slow RVs. Guess Nowhere’s an apathetic place, though.

It’s a close race for the coolest custom plate so far: top contenders are currently APLTART (yummy) and SUEWEET (on a red hotrod).

Found out saguaro cactus flowers are pollinated by bats. Somebody needs to write a YA book series about vampires that feed on cactus plants.

Billboard: “Cowboy up in Wickenburg!” You just might have to take them up on that b/c the price of gas is WAY jacked up by the only station.

Turns out most of the Sonoran Desert is a dead zone. #WhyAmINotSurprised

We’ve entered the land of biblical plates: GODBLSU and SKJESUS. The 2nd can be interpreted quite wrongly until you realize SK means “seek.”

Lanes reduced to 1. Should tell the the guy holding up traffic that houseboats are meant to go on *water*, not desert highways via trailer.

BTW, apologies to Facebook friends for spamming your feed w/ roadtrip tweets; forgot I had FB sharing turned on. #ImTooSocialForThisMedia must really love Vegas – they’ve adopted all its freeways. Seems a little odd for a shoe company to adopt a motorway.

Riding on I-515 through Las Vegas is like being in a bounce house…in your car. #BouncyBouncyBouncy

Gas station has new Cheetos that are double-hot compared to the already burning “Flamin’ Hot” ones. Sounds like suicide by tongue to me #Why

Cedar Pocket is a cute little name: seems like it should describe an independently owned arts-n-crafts store rather than a massive gorge.

Road signs were the original tweets. “Watch for Rocks.” “Lane Ends Merge Left.” Now that’s word economy for you!


Day 2 begins in UT – following behind a swerving car in an 80mph speed zone who’s had his blinker on for miles. Best guess: he’s not Mormon.

Maybe a sign that you turned on your field sprinklers too early: large swaths of ice on your crop where the water hits. Looks pretty though.

There is a tiny town in Utah called Circleville. Population in 1900: 538. Population in 2000: 550. I get the feeling not much changes there.

There appear to be strange bulges in the land that go up and down. I am told they are called “mountains.” We don’t have those in Phoenix.

There’s a restaurant in Fillmore, UT called “Garden of Eat’n.” According to reviews, food is good but staff isn’t. Was Eden that way, too?

Sign: ROAD DAMAGE. More specific? Can’t be catastrophic or there’d be more warning. But if it’s not bad, why not just fix it? #WasteOfTime

Figured out that Utah’s ROAD DAMAGE signs really mean “Pothole Here.” Imagine how many millions of those the Pacific Northwest would need.

“Drowsy Drivers” is the name of my next soft-rock band. #bandname

Is a Spanish Fork used to eat Spanish food? I assume that an American Fork is used exclusively for apple pies.

Just saw a black ewe with a little white lamb. Maybe not interesting to those who raise sheep, but to me it was THE CUTEST THING EVER.

Know those GAME CROSSING signs? One of these days I’ll be tempted enough to put Monopoly on one side of the road & Battleship on the other.

Seeing more and more evergreens… must mean we’re getting closer to the Evergreen State! Or maybe the Emerald City. Both are good!


My next #bandname – The Profitable Cows. (From a billboard outside Twin Falls, Idaho).

A billboard asks: “Where are you going – HEAVEN or HELL?” I really don’t see how that’s any of your business, billboard. #NosyAdvertisements

I wonder if the Schwan’s truck that’s now a hollowed-out roadside skeleton still had desserts in it when it was stripped? #IceCreamPirates

Baker City has a small bookstore & I got sucked into its vortex. But I only got 2 books! As a percentage of my collection, that’s nothing!

I feel the urge to play forensic scientist with the insect remains on my windshield #CSI #SplatteredVictimsUnit

Made it to the southern border of Washington! Only 3 more hours until home! #AreWeThereYet

Over 1500 miles later my parents, my stuff and I made it back to home sweet home. #NoMoreRoadTripping

Nonword of the Week: Overdriven

Overdriven: fatigued due to driving, particularly after a long road trip

Example: Chelsea felt extremely overdriven after she completed the 1,500 mile migration from Tempe to Spokane.

Related nonwords: packaholic, rejourney, zombified 

Very relevant to how I feel today after making it home in one piece complete with parents, car, moving truck, and oodles of stuff.  I need a break!

Have a unique nonword of your own?  Leave a comment!
Not sure what a nonword is?  Check out my first nonword of the week.

Disclaimer: I do not condone idle word-mangling.  Please mangle your words with care. Should not be attempted by the faint of heart or those with reading disorders.  Side-effects include peculiar looks, disapproving frowns, essay markdowns, and utter confusion.

Sunday Sketch: Twitter Trip

Too tired for a decent sketch/painting tonight, so I decided to doodle my tweets for the past two days of my road trip onto a map.  It combines the irrelevancy of Twitter, the randomness of a road trip, and the madness in my head into one crazy mess:

Saturday Snapshot: Goodbye, ASU!

Adios to ASU and Tempe, Arizona. It’s been a good four years!

(Self-portrait taken from the top of Hayden Butte on the same morning
as “Valley of the Sun”, a bit after the actual sunrise.)

Bonus Edition: ASU’s Maroon Convocation

On Friday morning, following the night of the big university commencement, I went to convocation – which included just half of the students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences rather than the entire ASU student body.  For this one, everybody gets to walk across the stage and get their name read, so it’s worth going to.  Problem was, we had to be there and ready by 7am, after being up late the night before.  Ugh.  More play-by-play impressions follow the picture.

Another photo courtesy of my mom’s phone, from the stands.

The crowds are amassing while we are trying to find a place to park.  I tell my parents to drop me off and park in the structure next to the arena.  Little do I know what consequences that innocuous choice will have.

Graduates have to line up outside by last name to get their photo identifier / name pronunciation card.  For some reason the line “R-S” is backed up 30 people deep compared to most other lines with three or less waiting.  This could go either way – people with R-S last names might be inherently smarter and thus more likely to graduate, or they could just be inept at performing simple activities like picking up notecards.

Eventually the girl managing the P-Q line (which is deserted) steals the R box to break up the line (and to have something to do).  Things move faster.

Now we’re supposed to make a single file line behind our department’s banner.  The room allotted makes it physically impossible for English department graduates to go single file.  We end up making a sort of milling mob, which is more creative and organic anyway.

I see people I know, which is already an improvement upon commencement.  My fellow creative writing cohort Anita teams up with me in line so we each have someone to talk to during our ordeal.

The whole “lining up outside” idea is looking worse and worse, particularly for those of us in direct sunlight wearing dark polyester gowns and hats.  30 minutes pass, then 60, then 90.  I picture some archaeologist years from now excavating a dig site and finding hundreds of skeletal remains in maroon academic regalia.

Finally we move.  Determined volunteers chivy us along and make us funnel into a form more closely resembling a single file line.  This is important because about six of these lines will be walking down the road to the arena in concert, and if one poor soul gets lost an entire department might not graduate.

I suggest to Anita that we should hold onto the tassel of the person in front of us, like baby elephants with their mother’s tail.

As we enter the arena, we are funneled through metal gates eerily reminiscent of a stockyard.  I revise us from elephants to cattle in my head.  Highly educated cattle.

One of the global studies graduates tries to sneak into the English line, which is moving the fastest, then realizes that she would have to spend four years studying a different major before that could work.  She returns to her stalled line.

Turns out the English line zooms along because we get to sit in the chairs on the floor of the arena.  Our group is going to walk earlier than most of the other departments.  Take that, psychology students!

The next five minutes are spent texting back and forth with my parents, trying to locate them in the stands.  The fact that they’re almost directly behind me makes this difficult, but eventually I find them.

The speaker for this event knows what he’s doing, and is even funny, in that older-generation-trying-to-appeal-to-the-younger kind of way.

His analogies might be a little unsuitable for Arizona graduates.  He talks about walking on thin ice.  Then he asks how many people have ever seen ice.  I mentally facepalm.

We’re moving!  We’re moving!

My picture is taken three times during my walk. I hope that one of them turns out okay.  That’s all I really need.

I hear my dad all the way from the stands when my name is read.  Thanks, Dad.

English students sit and prepare to wait out all of the rest of the graduates.  It’s going to be a while.

One of the psychology students has managed to affix what looks like the upper hemisphere of a brain to the top of her mortarboard.  I grudgingly acknowledge that psychology students do have some skills, after all.

Hurrah!  Done again!  This time plus a nifty diploma cover!  We’re blinded by different color spotlights as the graduates file out.

We repeat the whole lost-lambs-with-cell-phones scene as we file out of the arena.  Baaaa.

Oh yeah, that parking lot thing?  Utter disaster.  We’re on the third floor and it takes an hour and many mini freak-outs before we exit.  I’m surprised we got out alive, in a war zone with angry, frustrated people with large vehicles all attempting to back out at once.

But we make it…still in once piece!  And double-graduated to boot!

Further Notes on ASU Commencement 2012

Last night I started to give a blow-by-blow account of the ASU commencement ceremony of 2012, but then my brain cut out and I had to stop partway through.  So here are some further thoughts on the big event!

Photo courtesy of my mom, from the stands.

Much confusion among the graduates when the announcer says, “Gentlemen, remove your hats for the singing of the national anthem.”  More than 50% of the class is female, after all.  And we’re all wearing hats.  But they aren’t “ladies’ hats” specifically, so does that mean we should remove them?  At all other ASU events, there is no such gender qualifier. It’s rather archaic for my generation.  In the end, about half of the female graduates take off their mortarboards and half leave them on.  Meh.

Tom Brokaw eventually materializes and the crowd goes wild.  His speech is a welcome change from the monotone drones of earlier.  I conclude that everything sounds better in Tom Brokaw’s voice, just as it does in Morgan Freeman’s.

Brokaw did his research – he rips on Tuscon, gives a shout out to the Vue, and wears the traditional ASU headgarb of a baseball cap.  Kudos, Tom Brokaw.  Sun Devil cred is now yours.

One snippet of Brokaw’s speech (which is very good): “Beware of their bombast.”  He’s speaking about political candidates in general.  Our class knows this all too well, most having entered college four years ago in the fall of 2008, just in time for the last presidential election.

Brokaw’s done, and now we have to do the thing where some people stand and some don’t.  I stand once.  That is enough for me.

Now degrees are conferred on us in bulk.  “Candidates” (representative students) from each college walk on the stage and then the whole college celebrates.  I’m not sure how I feel about this plan – some colleges have less than 50 students, while mine, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, has over 3,000.  I would demand a bicameral system and our own House of Representatives, but for the fact that it would make an already long ceremony even longer.

One of the men bestowing awards steps away from the podium and continues speaking, obviously unaware that the mike does not follow him around.

Hey, we’re finally official!  Everybody moves their tassels from right to left and then throws their cap wildly in the air, which seems to defeat the point of carefully moving the tassel in the first place.  Ah well, it’s all symbolic I suppose.

The beach ball reappears, very near this time.  Perhaps it is a teleporting beach ball.  I have the sudden vision of a beach ball that, whenever it nears the ground, teleports itself to a random location high in the sky again.  MOST AWESOME OF BEACH BALLS.

The ASU chant rises from the ranks, and I participate for the last time in Sun Devil Stadium.  We should start an impromptu game of 10,000-person football – if only we had a football.  The beach ball might work – if only we could find it.

Fireworks!  I don’t know why I was surprised by them; ASU lights fireworks for every other event.  But there are a gazillion of them this time – I think more than I’ve ever seen.  They start at the end of the ceremony and last as I walk around the end and back across the entire length of the stadium.

The songs playing during our exit:
Brighter Than the Sun – Colbie Caillat – This one suffers from being overplayed, but I think it’s appropriate for graduating Sun Devils.  Bouncy and happy and whatnot.
We Are Young –  Fun – This one might be taking the theme a little too far.  The chorus is appropriate: Tonight / We are young / So let’s set the world on fire / We can burn brighter / Than the sun …but the rest of it is about getting high in the bathroom, abuse of a romantic partner, becoming too drunk to walk home from the bar by yourself, and needing to be carried home. I’m sure plenty of Sun Devils will have a Thursday night like this, but it might not be the best song to be blasted at the hordes of parents and family members during graduation.  Just sayin’.

That’s pretty much it for the ceremony.  Once everyone is outside, the graduates mill about like little lost lambs waiting for their parents to find them.  Pretty soon the parents jam the sidewalks as well.

A streetlamp goes off, and the remaining fluorescent light gives everything a bluish cast. Suddenly the whole scene seems like a dry-land reenactment of the mob of freezing, screeching people from Titanic.

Thankfully I survive the night, find my parents, and have been gradutated. Graduessed. Gradumatated.  Whatever. Hey, I have a degree in English – now I can make up all the words I want and no one can tell me differently!  Woo!


…This concludes our television broadcast.

My Notes on ASU Commencement 2012

I went to the university-wide commencement ceremony tonight – it felt all official and everything.  Graduation!  Here are some of my blow-by-blow impressions of the night’s events, to be continued tomorrow when I’m a little more awake.

Aisle seat!  I am THE MASTER OF THE ROW.  Or at least the person everybody has to squeeze past to get to the middle seats. Close enough!

It’s pretty cool to have a near-full moon hovering over your graduation ceremony.  And only two nights away from the super moon, at that.

The guy two seats in front of me has a gown that is about two shades lighter than the other 9,999 of us.  I applaud him for both his resourcefulness (reusing an old gown) and the bold fashion statement.

Random beach ball!  It pops up from a different section, falls down and then mysteriously vanishes.

Many of the students seated with the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts have decorated caps…but it looks like most of them have decorated them upside down.  So much for those degrees…

All of the special people begin to walk in.  Hello, special people.

Hey, there’s someone I know – Dr. Foy, from the Barrett Honors College.  Thanks for the last A+ of my college career, Dr. Foy!

In the middle of the ceremony, one of the students gets up and walks the length of the football field back to the north entrance.  Perhaps, like me, he is sick of how utterly uncomfortable the folding chairs are.  Where are the graduates studying to be chiropractors?

President Crow appears, to widespread boos from the student section.  In his current garb, I think he would make an excellent supervillain.  He just needs an actual evil crow to sit on his shoulder and he’s set.

Speaker: Now it is time to award the honorary degree to a distinguished guest.  “It’s me,” announces the guy who left earlier, as he walks back to the front and his seat.

Chairman Lim, honorary degree recipient, is nearly strangled with his stole by the person putting it on him.  Academic attire can be hazardous to your health, apparently.

Temple Grandin, second honorary degree recipient, gets much more applause.  Judging by the buzzing conversations around me, about half of the students know who she is and are informing the other half.

Eric Kandel, third honorary degree recipient, is pretty dang cool.  His biography is interesting even when told by the mindless drone reading it out in a monotone.  His stole-bestower nearly gags him with the thing.  I make up my mind to never receive any honor for which I am forcibly stoled by a stranger.

…To be continued tomorrow!