picture of Amelia
the Great never look back

[something clever and obscure here]

The chronicles of Amelia's post road trip adventures

Thursday, April 29

names and faces of the dead 

It's fairly easy for me to tune out the news lately. I've been traveling a lot, and, though I listen to the radio occasionally, I haven't put effort into keeping up with our involvement in Iraq. "....2 soldiers killed today....5 wounded in attacks in Fallujah....3 killed...4...1...2...." It's easy for the soldiers killed to just become numbers. If you do watch the news, maybe you see their faces flashed on the screen for a couple of seconds, but that fails to really mean anything to me. It's unnervingly easy for me not to think about the fact that there are real people dying. Here is a list of soldiers killed in Iraq, that puts names and faces to the numbers. Whatever your opinion is about the war, I think it's important to try to fully grasp that 737 [and counting...] of our fellow countrymen have been killed [and one is currently captured]. I think we owe it to them to take a look at their faces and read their names.
The photo is of Larry Roukey, a 33-year-old father of 2, who was killed Monday.

Tuesday, April 27

Erin Peck, Erin Peck 

I've put up my own pictures from the March in the photos section.

I had lunch with Erin and Leslie today at California Tortilla. Erin complained that I hadn't mentioned her on my website when I saw her in DC during my road trip. Erin is an Ultimate Frisbee player. She is super smart, and friendly, and stubborn, and occasionally too nice for her own good. I can safely say that I taught her everything she knows. I can say that "safely," because I'm 300 miles away and she can't get me.

As for Leslie, she knows a lot more than I could have ever taught her. Maybe I'll learn something from her when we go to Peru this summer. [Can we? Can we?]

Monday, April 26

I was there. 

The march yesterday was phenomenal. I drove into the city as people were beginning to gather on the mall. As I was looking for a place to park, I saw small groups of people with signs, coming from all directions, walking towards the capitol. I couldn't contain my excitement. Whoo-hooo! It was such a great feeling to be a part of something so huge.

There is something about solidarity, about people coming together for a common cause, that overwhelms me with emotion. It hits you, like a warm wave, and your eyes kind of well up just for a second. The power that we had coming together, the power in numbers....every person leaving their selfish life, their "me, me, me", for a day to hang out under the clouds by the capitol and listen to Whoopi and Ashley and Susan and Cameron and Madeleine and Gloria talk about how we don't have to let government happen to us, that we can make it happen for us.

They said it may have been the largest march in US history. I've heard that anywhere from one-half to one-and-a-half million people were there. Even if it wasn't the largest, it was still history-making, and I'm glad that I can say that I was there.

I've got to drive back to NC, now, so I'll let you see more of the march when I post tonight. In the meantime, check out pictures of the march from the Washington Post.

Sunday, April 25

Rally on Washington 

so it turns out that it wasn't their broadband afterall, because theirs is encrypted....So rather than wake them up to ask them for the password, I'm back on the porch checking my email.

I stayed in Richmond last night, and I'm leaving for DC in about 20 minutes. I'm heading up for the March for Women's Lives which is mostly a pro-choice rally, but also a rally for visibilty, a rally against the current administration, and a damn good reason to go to DC and say "hi, if you're going to be considering making laws that affect me, I want you to know who I am, that I exist, and that I vote."

The government is yours for the taking, yo.

Saturday, April 24

mini road trip 

I'm on my way to DC for a couple of days. I've stopped in Richmond to hang out with Amanda and Tom (AKA Tomanda, due to their inseparable nature). At the moment, I'm sitting on their porch, borrowing their wireless broadband, and they are nowhere to be found. It's no big deal, though. I'm going to surf the net for a minute, and if I can't get in touch with them I'll drive on.----oh, there she is, cool.


My cat doesn't let me sleep late. She lets me know when she's come into my room. She says, "Merauw. [I'm here.] M-yow? [Where are you?] Mau Me-ow MRAUW [Oh, there you are. Wake up, NOW. Stroke my chin...yes, that's right...ahh, no, NO, why are you stopping? open your eyes, OPEN your EYES! play with me! or else I'll lick your eyebrows and put my cold nose on your cheek.] purrr."

and I thought she was my pet.

sea monsters 

I went over to my sister's house tonight around 10. I went for a lone swim, and confirmed to myself again that I have watched too many scary movies. Swimming in a pool alone in the dark...I kept expecting an alien sea serpent or a psycho killer to grab me by the ankle and drag me under. My family would hear my stifled scream and come running just in time to find me floating in a pool of red, with my eyes eaten out. Having a vivid imagination is not always a good thing, but I was able to get a great workout trying to swim as fast as I could away from the monsters.


I finally got invited to use gmail, Google's new email service. You get 1 GB of space! I'll let you know what I think of it all once I use it for a while.


Friday, April 23

yeah, yeah, whatever... 

it's Friday, you ain't got no job, and you ain't got shit to do! - Friday (1995)

Well, two out of three ain't bad.

There were 24 hours in my yesterday. What did I do?
  • Made a cat5 crossover plug. You can read the how-to guide.
  • Visited my granddaddy. He'll be 90 next month.
  • Took Mema out for a snack. (my nieces' grandmother, visiting from New Jersey)
  • took an afternoon orangeade break with the aforementioned nieces
  • Put on a temporary tattoo
  • Had a beer and played pool (horrendously)

work? what's that?

John Kerry... 

...is a douchebag, but I'm voting for him anyway.

www.ameliathegreat.com...bringing you your morning politics fix.

Thursday, April 22

purple peppers 

I stopped by the tomato stand yesterday and there was a basket of purple bell peppers. Purple Peppers!! What will they think of next? I've just cut one open and taken a bite. They're interesting. Light green on the inside, with a deep purple skin, unlike red bell peppers which are red all the way through. They aren't as sweet as the red and yellow ones, but they aren't bad. and they're purple!

stereolab concert last night 

Stereolab was playing last night at the Cat's Cradle in Chapel Hill. Mice Parade opened for them. They've been described as electronica without the electronics. "Mice Parade" is an anagram of Adam Pierce, and it's his own solo project. There were a handful of his friends performing with him last night. I'd never heard Mice Parade before, and I really enjoyed their performance. It was a heavenly percussive experience. I'm not a music critic, and I can only tell you that I liked this group, but I'm not going to go into details of why, because I don't really know.

Stereolab was great, too. Their lead singer reminded me of Rachel Griffiths (Six Feet Under, Hilary and Jackie, and Blow). Not too many bands have french horn players. I only have one of their albums: transient random noise bursts with announcements. My uncle and cousin and I were discussing the merits of this album last month. It's a good'n.

But by far, the best thing about the show last night was closing my eyes and leaning against the wall, and feeling the room and my ribcage vibrate with the bass tones.

Wednesday, April 21

a kilo of visitors 

I've been tracking the number of visits to my site for exactly a month (with SiteMeter), and it reached 1,000 today.

Some very mildly interesting stats:
Location Operating System
62% US Eastern 64% XP
27% US Central 35% 98, 2000, ME
9% UK 1% Linux
<2% US West Coast  
<1% Australia  

I'd rather know what you ate for breakfast this morning, how long it took you to get your hair to look like that, or how many times you've said "thank you" today...

Tuesday, April 20

supermodels and good customer service 

Congratulations Misty with Belkin Customer Service! You made me smile today. I wanted to replace an FM transmitter that had a defective display. I called. Misty said, "that unit has a lifetime guarantee, send it to us and we'll replace it in a week." easy. fantastic.

On other fronts, I'm jealous that I wasn't clever enough to create this site of fake supermodel personal ads. It's a masterpiece.

Gemini (May 21-June 20) 

Your judgment is finely honed today, so you can seek wise guidance or give reliable advice. If your heart is racing around a special someone, don't hesitate to express your feelings, because the affection is probably mutual.
-courtesy of the Raleigh News and Observer

part of my To Do list 

What's looming on my horizons?

work: paid:
I've got two websites to design, one this week, and the other hopefully next week.
[I'm not planning on being a website designer, but I need some cash flow right now, anybody out there want me to fix up a site for you? I barter...I'm also an uncertified massage therapist, working to feed my travel addiction...or I can network computers for your home or small business...I used to be a geneticist, so if you need me to sequence your DNA, I can do that to]

work: unpaid:
fix several computers for my brother, clean up their spyware and install firewalls, teach his family proper security practices

email Jacob back about another website, which I believe was pro bono

investigate buying a copy of Panther, or somehow update my mom's OS, so I can get her Mac to work on our wireless network

my own tech support:
fix a bug on my XP, in which the "My Documents" link sends you to the wrong folder

go to Intrex Computers and spend $2.50 for the necessary ingredients to make a Cat5 crossover plug, then make one

update my resume

look for a "real" job (or someone to pay for my health ins.) [remember the things I wouldn't be doing?]

buy my neice a birthday present. one that a fourteen-year-old will use and adore, at least for a week

learn how to spell the word "niece"

find Ox's biking shoes and some ties

go for a run

March for Women's Lives, Washington, DC, this Sunday
meet me there

Monday, April 19


I just saw kill bill vol. 1 and I'm about to see vol. 2. I hope your day has had as much action as mine.


I've started to type up this post 4 times, but I'm bored with my words, so I've deleted them all.

Saturday, April 17


Last night was great, but it was another late, late night, and my body and mind just can't take it. I am a well-oiled machine, and I function beautifully under normal working conditions, but give me erratic sleeping patterns, poor diet, lack of exercise, or overindulging in vices, and I just break down and get moody. I guess this probably happens to most people, and I'm becoming more and more aware of just how susceptible my body is to it's environment.
Me, last night.

Pool Party today. My niece turns 14 this week. After the kids were gone, my nieces (Elyssa and Mahlon) and I choreographed a synchronized swimming routine. I don't think we'll win any prizes, but I really like being their aunt.

Friday, April 16

food and water 

I have sustained myself today on a bowl of Kashi GoLean Crunch Cereal (my current favorite), half of a bologna and cheese biscuit (don't ask), and a few Moravian Ginger Cookies. Lots of water, too, because I was informed by my mother this morning that I should drink 56 ounces of water a day, because it's half of the number of pounds I weigh [I'm only little, but I've got a big personality to make up for it].

I'm looking forward to dinner, because 1) the ginger cookies can only last me so long and 2) my friend, Shawn, is making it for me. It's sure to be exotic, vegetarian, and delicious. Friends rock.

I've got to run to the pharmacy and pick up some eyedrops for my granddaddy, so I'll have to get back to you later...enjoy your Friday.


I'm wearing a tiara and a sportsbra and jeans and socks and sandals. Who taught me how to dress? [no offense, Mom]

Get outside, yo, it's gorgeous. at least it is in North Carolina. I just went outside for the first time since this morning. I can't believe I haven't been enjoying the weather more actively. If you're trapped inside, you can read this magazine that I came across today. I found it following a link to "I'd Rather Be a Whore Than an Academic". I've only had a chance to read The Name Change Game which may be of particular interest to Anita Schimizzi and Jacob Bonenberger, who may or may not have decided what they're going to call themselves when they get hitched soon. I suggested Bonenbizzi.

thursday night music 

I saw the Dave Matthews Cover Band and the Connells tonight. There was a mini block-party at Foster's in Cameron Village. They wanted me to pay 10 bucks to stroll within the orange barricades, but I decided to eat on the patio of a nearby restaurant. I could see and hear the bands just fine from my free spot. The Connells are an old-school favorite band of mine. I've got all of their CDs, but haven't listened to them much in years. Their set tonight was alright, several of my favorites.

I went with my friend, Jason, who I've known since I was 12. I see him sporadically and we always have a good time. We dish gossip and talk about the girls and guys we're seeing. Tonight, we shared two margaritas and talked about how we're going to RV around the country this summer. Maybe...what do you guys think about "Amelia's Road Trip #2" ? I've never seen the Grand Canyon, and I didn't make it to the west coast during my last trip. I've still got ground to cover.

Wednesday, April 14

Freddie Mercury + IRS + salubrious procrastination 

I'm listening to Queen, finishing my taxes, chatting with David online, who says he's filing his traditional annual extension. Taxes: it's just like college when I'd have a big paper due. You know that you've got a big deadline when the house is spotless, your car is washed, and you've finished those thank you notes your mom was bugging you about. I tell you what, my teeth are the cleanest they've been since I went to the dentist, my pores, unclogged, my skin, exfoliated and moisturized. I haven't spent so much time taking care of myself since I was working on my thesis. Sometimes procrastination is good for you.


woke up at 8:30...not so much sleep last night...
replied to some emails, chatted...
lunched in carrboro, too much mexican food
napped on a waterbed...went to Whole Foods and bought some aniseed toothpaste...mmm, licorice...
played cards with my nieces
oh yeah, and taxes, I guess I should do those


I'm up late again. Tonight, I went out for a beer and wings with Luke (1337hax0r). We had a nice time talking about a few light topics: God, Death, and women as sex objects. I really needed to get out of the house, so I felt a million times better once I got back than I had before I left. He told me that he would never be able to write some of the stuff that I write about. He's a very private person who couldn't share his life on a website the way that I have for the past two months. [we'll see if he ever talks to me again, since he'll now realize that nothing is sacred and anything could make it to my website]

I was just responding to an email that Dutch sent me today [I'm forever the multitasker], and I decided that I would include some of my reply in this post:

"so you're still reading? it's been exceedingly boring lately. Being home is tough, and as I feel myself starting to go crazy and lose control, I shy away from posting the "real deal." I'd like to stay true to form and have "Amelia:uncensored" but it's too hard sometimes. On some level, I know that it doesn't matter how I am judged, that it is pointless to put up a fa¸ade. Yes, I want people to like me, but I want them to like *me* not who I pretend to be. And if they don't, then, oh well. *I* at least like me, and that's all I can ask for. hmmm. but then we run into those times when *I* don't even like me. that's when it becomes tough to be myself [in front of others]."

and I can post that now, because I don't mind revealing to others that I have weaknesses, that I don't like everything about me, that I don't even understand everything about me, and some of the stuff that I do understand isn't so pretty. Of course, I can only post that now, because, at the moment, I do like me and I am feeling fairly secure.

Presently I'm trying to examine how I feel. I'm in a pretty good mood now, a vast improvement from 5 hours ago. I'd like to know what caused the change. Was it driving? eating? having a beer? I took a break from writing just now to read about Socrates, Nietzsche, and the examined life. This essay is dry, but there are some worthwhile bits in there if you can get through it. I try to pay attention to myself and the effects that "little things" (see Nietzsche) have on my state of mind. Enough of the armchair philosophy....let me post before I change my mind and delete it all.

Tuesday, April 13


It's April 13th, and I haven't finished filing my taxes. Happy, happy, joy, joy. I've got a broken computer to fix and my brother says when that one's finished, he's got two more for me to work on. I don't know if it's the weather (it's gray and rainy), or if I'm still maladjusted to being back at home, but I feel like crap.

I know what I need to do to feel better, but I don't feel like doing anything productive. Going for a run would certainly help, and getting out of a dark and cluttered room would do wonders, too, I'm sure.

I had lunch and went antique shopping today with my mom and two of her friends. I enjoyed that, the life of a retiree, but I feel so antsy right now. so unsettled. I feel like I have too much to do. too much hanging over my head. and it's probably not true that I do, but I just feel overwhelmed [we've seen this before]. yuk. moody blues.


Just for your information, if anyone caught the post about a "collage of lovers." I do write lovely prose that well, but unfortunately can't lay claim to that one. Note to self: keep track of your computer and your friends at all times. 'nuff said.

was kind of funny, though, I hope none of my Baptist friends were offended


I think I was much happier when I didn't realize that it was two in the morning. I'm tired, and I should go to sleep. Today has been a very long day. I spent lots of quality time talking to people today. I don't have a lot to show for it, but I don't feel like my time was wasted. I just got finished with a two hour phone conversation with Nikie, my first college roommate. She and I talked about men, religion, and work. We talk fairly frequently and we always have a lot to say to each other. She is a wonderful sounding board, and I could talk at length about her if I had the time. I think a succinct explanation will have to suffice right now: Nikie and I are so very different in a lot of ways, but are as close to kindred spirits as you ever find.

Tonight, I also talked to my mom about sex, which doesn't happen very often, at least not regarding the in-depth details that we discussed today. She and I have a very candid relationship [though it's not always peaches and cream] and I think I'm lucky to have her as a friend.

I ran the gamut of emotions today, too, which I blame on all of the conversing that I did with my friends. I talked to the ex-boyfriend [in and of itself, destined to take me emotionally roller-coastering], and one or two wannabe boyfriends. Throw in the college roommate and mom, and I think that I've really worked the left hemisphere of my brain in the last seven or eight hours. Thus, I have no more words for tonight.

Friday, April 9

mourning morning 

I haven't had a chance to write much for a day or two, because I've been hanging out with a friend who's grandfather died this week. Death is one of those things that it is impossible to avoid. Consider yourself lucky if you've never lost someone close to you.

Tuesday, April 6

some links to fill your spare time 

Ironic Times

The Writer's Bloc

Simon Jester's -some of my favorite items: a bumper sticker "A government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take everything you have " and the "Keep Your Laws Off My Body" thong. yes, I said thong. There's other good stuff there. It's worth a look.

what a disappointing game... 

yuck. I was hoping that the ACC could do a little better than that. Read the recap here because I've said all I can bear to say about it.

Monday, April 5


Any sort of peace that I found on my road trip is gone right now. Home has sucked it away. I have a thousand things to do: my taxes, unpack my car, laundry, finish writing about my trip, finish posting photos(!), lunch with Alan, get my car inspected, recharge batteries (actual), recharge batteries (proverbial), sew buttons on my shirt...ACK! You know how people have to go into decontamination chambers after leaving a contaminated environment, or when someone has had a deep diving accident and they have to go into a hyperbaric chamber for treatment before they can enter the real world...well, I believe I needed a couple of days to decompress before entering the real world. I think I would still be overwhelmed, though, even if I'd had a few extra days...


It's Monday morning, and I can no longer deny that my road trip is over. [I'm trying, though]
A recap post is imminent...

Sunday, April 4


We won't mention any names, but I tried, in vain, to talk a friend out of having a drunken tattoo experience last night. I even threatened to call his mom. Had I been there, I would at least have had cool pictures for the website, but I guess if I'd been there, there might have been nothing to photograph, because I'm much more persuasive in person than I am on the phone. I didn't really care if he got a tattoo or not, only that he might do something he would regret in the morning. Hopefully, he doesn't. [tattoo boy, send me a picture so I can post it]

I checked out some information about the machine they use for tattooing. It's a pretty clever device that uses electromagnetic coils to control the needles. You can read about it in the Wikipedia.

insomnia and travel quotes... 

I couldn't sleep last night. I've been able to sleep in strange places all over the country, but couldn't fall asleep in my own bed. It was just as well, because my cat demanded that I make up for the fact that I'd been gone and give her 7 weeks worth of attention. That's a lot of attention.

I decided this morning that I got my magic from my mom. More on that later.

    Here are some quotes about traveling that should hold you for a while:

  • The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page. -St. Augustine

  • One always begins to forgive a place as soon as it's left behind. -Charles Dickens

  • Here I am, safely returned over those peaks from a journey far more beautiful and strange than anything I had hoped for or imagined - how is it that this safe return brings such regret? -Peter Mathissen

  • Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things - air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky - all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it. -Cesare Pavese

  • Every journey has a chance to become a forced march, commanded by the primacy of next meal and next bed -John Krich

  • One of the gladdest moments of human life, methinks, is the departure upon a distant journey into unknown lands. Shaking off with one mighty effort the fetters of habit, the leaden weight of routine, the cloak of many cares and the slavery of home, man feels once more happy. -Sir Richard Burton

  • For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move; to feel the needs and hitches of our life more nearly; to come down off this feather-bed of civilization, and find the globe granite underfoot and strewn with cutting flints. -Robert Louis Stevenson

  • Comes over one an absolute necessity to move. And what is more, to move in some particular direction. A double necessity then: to get on the move, and to know whither. -D. H. Lawrence

  • The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready. -Henry David Thoreau, Walden

  • I love to travel, But hate to arrive. -Hernando Cortez

  • . . . the open road is a beckoning, a strangeness, a place where a man can lose himself. - William Least Heat Moon (William Trogdon)

Saturday, April 3


I'm home.

homeward bound 

This is it, guys, the last stretch.

I'm leaving Sparta now and will stop by Old Salem on my way home for some Moravian Sugar Cake and some easter cookies for my mom. She's fixing dinner for me, so I've got to be home at a reasonable hour. I hope you've enjoyed this trip so far.


I can cross a couple of things off my list. Two things I'd never done before yesterday: horseback riding and using a potter's wheel. I'm sore from the horseback riding, but I had so much fun. A couple of times I laughed so hard that I nearly fell off.

Pretending to be a potter worked out well, too. My hands are so soft this morning, because the spinning clay exfoliated them and I got a mud treatment at the same time. People pay loads for this at a spa.

Friday, April 2

throwing pots 

I drove through Amelia, Virginia yesterday. Amelia is 35 miles southwest of Richmond. My parents and I used to go to a Bluegrass Festival there when I was a kid. I'm thinking about going this year. Anybody wanna go? I think it's around the end of May.

I drove down the Blue Ridge Parkway yesterday. It was dark, so I didn't have a chance to see any nice scenery. I liked the drive, though. I like winding mountain roads. They played two of my favorite songs back-to-back on the radio (Dancin' in the Moonlight by King Harvest, and Drops of Jupiter by Train). That made me smile.

Sparta is where I landed last night. I have a friend here, Zach. He is a potter. I'm going to be designing a website for him, so I took some pictures of him working today.

36 hours left... 

I returned to North Carolina yesterday: 7 weeks older, 26 states later, and 8000+ miles wiser. I won't be arriving at my house until tomorrow night, and I have yet to convince myself that it's almost over. Do you think I'll go into shock when I go home and realize I'm not road-tripping anymore? I'll let you know.

Thursday, April 1

briefly glimpse my politics 

Bush is signing a bill today, the Unborn Victims of Violence Act (here's the pdf). This bill will ensure that someone responsible for the death (or injury) of any unborn "child" can be prosecuted as if they had killed (or injured) a birthed human.
    Some details from the bill that were left out of the AP article:
  • The bad guy needs not to have known of the victim's existence or have any intent to harm it.

  • The bill specifically does not permit prosecution of any woman with respect to her unborn child, or prosecution of the doctor who gives her an abortion (for which she has given consent), or anything dealing with medical treatment (the AMA got that one in there, I bet)

I just wanted you to know more about it. A favorite site of mine when I want to check up on our legislative process is www.congress.gov.

and for the record, regarding my politics: I'm not a real fan of GWB. Nor am I a fan of overreaching federal government, whether it masquerades as Republican or Democrat.

Mark is getting married! 

Well, "decorum" may prevent Mark Parris from talking about it, but knocking up a 19 year old girl... I'm finally glad he sent out that email, because I've been going crazy being his sole confidant for the last month. I'm terrible at keeping a secret, and almost blurted it out to Heidi and Jenny Mac, and then again to Alan. Whew. Mark, I can't wait to meet Kelli (that's her name, right?) next week when I get back to NC. Congrats!

Have you run out of stuff to read? Check the archives!

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