I know I’m about two years late on this realization, but free wireless access points may in fact be the greatest thing since sliced bread. I’m posting from the Heaven Cafe in downtown Portland, courtesy of the Personal Telco Project. It’s pretty nifty. But that’s beside the point. I can hear you all not asking, “How’s Portland? How’s the family?”

Thanks to an ever-dangerous combination of scheduling conflicts, the whims of my parents, and a lot of driving, I somehow ended up on a ferry between Vancouver, B.C. and Victoria. Yes, I spent my birthday in Canada, not Oregon. After spending ten hours in the car (I will spare you my “automobiles suck” screed), being on a big ship was a pretty nice change. What was even nicer was the on-board arcade, which not only contained Gauntlet Legends and Virtua Tennis, but niche classics Strikers 1945 and King of Fighters 2000. Who would have thunk that the best arcade I’ve seen in years would be on a car ferry in British Columbia? The only problem was that the machines only took Canadian quarters, which meant that I had to ask my dad for some change so that I could play video games. As if hanging around with my parents wasn’t already infantilizing enough.

Speaking of my parents, they continue to astound me with their ability, after living in the U.S. for nearly thirty years, to exhibit an amazing level of fobbiness in public places. This was brought into sharp relief at a Korean supermarket/mini-mall near Seattle that we stopped at for lunch. If you looked around a large building full of Koreans and tried to pick out which ones were just normal people doing their thing, and which ones were acting like a couple of culture-starved expatriates from the old country who still find novelty in meeting people who speak their language, which group would my parents land in? Ai-goo.

Oh, I did learn one thing in the car. “Hard” mode in Advance Wars 2 is really hard.

Yesterday was my designated “vegetate in front of the television and remind myself why I don’t watch it more often” day. Who the hell gave Orlando Jones a talk show, anyway?

I’m off now to do complete my pilgrimage to Powell’s Books and pay homage to the gods of saddle-stitched bindings while I try not to fill my cart with books that I don’t really need.

(Oh, and if anyone is up late next Tuesday night and happens to be driving by the airport, they should give me a call.)