Well, That Was Unexpected

Real life is stranger than fiction...depending on which authors you read, of course.

Monday, August 07, 2006


We’re going to Graceland! Amy’s wedding wrapped up yesterday in Indianapolis, a very relaxed and lovely affair. The reunion of our Taiwan friends has been as fun as I thought it would be. Lamont, Melissa, Jessie, Andrea and I are all now on the road. We just passed from Indiana into Southern Illinois where we stopped in Effingham to eat at the Cracker Barrel. It was fate that we stopped in Effingham, of course, because it gave us a chance to make fun of the name Effingham. My favorite was when Lamont mistakenly said Effington and I said “no, Lamont, it’s Effing HAM, like Effing Bacon or Effing Sausage, but Effing Ham.” Effingham, if you didn’t know it before, is the crossroads of opportunity, so says the enormous water tower in town. Clearly, it is fact that if you go through Effingham, you will make jokes about the F word. Much like when you go to Vietnam, you must make jokes about the currency: dong. And you will make fun of their famous noodle soup, pho, which I have said before is pronounced like “fun” without the “n.” So you are forced to say things like “I could really use a pho right now, but I don’t have any dong.” Or “what the pho?!” or “this is the best pho I’ve ever had,” or “it’s hot as pho out here.” In the case of Effingham, I’m sure there are infinitely more plausible variations. With pho there is a little bit more manipulation required, whereas effing is a capable substitute for um, you know.

Melissa and Andrea decided to try on these very bizarre American flag shirt/jackets that they were selling in the Cracker Barrel gift shop, and the lady came over to tell us they were on sale and it was our lucky day, so then the girls had to act like they weren’t just effing around with patriotic gear and say that it was actually a good deal at 25 dollars and as if anyone under the age of 65 would wear said apparel. Cracker Barrel is the cat’s meow. I got a ham sandwich and grits for lunch today. Their ham sandwich is awesome mainly because of the super thick ham they put on it and the sourdough bread, which is something I couldn’t have in Taiwan, and feels very special now.

Okay, so I now have to sign up for mycokerewards.com just like Beth, because some places just don’t have diet dr. pepper and I am forced to buy diet coke. I am ashamed of buying in to this brand ploy of getting my information, and am also ashamed of my frightfully deep wish to win something free. Don’t you think it’s funny how some people are proud of the brands they buy, as if they somehow were responsible for creating or producing it, people get testy over which soda brands they favor, jeans, cars, etc. I think that’s hilarious. You become such an automaton. Of course, it’s not just about the brand, it’s that the brand identifies itself with a part of your personality that makes it seem like it appeals to you in a unique way. They found just the unique flavor that appeals to your amazingness. Excellent.

Andrea keeps losing teeth. I think she will remember this phase in her life as that period in her life when she had so much trouble with her teeth. She has also asked me to convey to all of you her abhorrence of, and probably to get your support in condemning, eating contests. We saw that Kobayashi won yet another eating contest, this time he ate 58 bratwursts in 10 minutes. That man is aamazing, just a machine. Oh, whoops, I’m supposed to condemn this. The waste, the gluttony, the genral distatstefulness of having aqn eating contest when people are starving in the world. Foul. Disgusting. And they often barf it all up. It’s not right. It’s reminiscent of the Roman times when gluttonmy was so rampant that they had vomitoriums so you could go vomit your food out and return to the table for more and more throughout the night. It needs to stop. Andrea’s face when she sees news of eating contests is much like someone watching kids kill a puppy or something in which she is both sickened and disheartened. If you saw her face you would never promote an eating contest again. I guess it goes against the enjoyment of food, just the animalistic shoving in and ripping up of it. we should donate those bratwursts to kids who really need them. You know, one thing that added to her disgust was probably the fact that she is German. Such a waste of brats, it’s just sad, people. sad.

Melissa and I deicded to walk to Starbucks yesterday. And if you ever wanted to visit a place totally incondusive to walking, Indianapolis would be it. There were no sidewalks anywhere, we had to forge a path on the pavement. Mel was mildly disappointed that no one yelled at us saying “you idiots!!” but we did have two guys catcall us, which is sort of objectifying, but still complimentary, no derision of our intelligence for not driving the ¼ mile to the Starbucks.

The end of the day ended up a little bit heinous. we spent 3 hours searching for the mystical hotel 8 we booked ourselves into. we were laughing, laughing out of fear and car-claustrophobia. Memphis looks promising though--clean and very well patrolled and beale street is a bright light of fun. the super 8 is scary as heck, but we are sharing it with a bunch of WWE fans and some environmental conservationists at a worldwide conference. the guy at the front desk said it was a unique group of people. indeed.


Blogger Chris said...

Cracker Barrels do kick ass, as does Waffle House. And the Emerald city(I love calling it that, sort of feels like the Wizard of Oz) is very pedestrian friendly, almost too friendly, there are crosswalks through the middle of some streets.

1:13 AM  
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9:24 AM  
Blogger Emily said...

Effingham! Memphis! You're in my neck of the woods!
Did you see Effingham's gignormous cross?

3:30 PM  
Blogger Julie Hartle said...

oh my gosh, we totally saw that huge cross!! what is it there for? yeah, we were so amazed, we were like, whoa, we are so definitely in the midwest. where are you now emily?

dude, what's up with someone posting an ad about extra cash, that is so sketchy. it's like when i used to get stupid ads on my cell phone.

9:45 PM  
Blogger Jenn Chen said...

hi julie! sounds like you're having a lot of fun...say hi to andrea and melissa for me =)

12:10 AM  
Blogger Julie Hartle said...

hey jenn, nice to see you! everyone here says hello and we all hope you are having a good summer preparing for APU!

1:07 AM  
Blogger Emily said...

I'm closer to Nashville... or rather closer to Clarksville. We live in Hopkinsville Kentucky. You probably drove right by our little town. Will you fly out of Memphis? Or will your road trip continue?

11:52 AM  
Blogger Julie Hartle said...

oh, we came in a back way--from indy to illinois to missouri to arkansas to tennessee. wow, i didn't know you live in kentucky. we are staying over in effingham before our final stretch to indy tomorrow. then i'm flying to d.c. to visit beth, one of my bestest friends from college.

9:44 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

For the record, you were in Greenwood, not Indy. Indy (downtown anyway) is actually walkable. ;)

But I do miss the walkableness of Taiwan.

Glad to hear the wedding was relaxed and lovely btw. =)

3:01 PM  

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