Just got back last night from our annual Memorial Day vacation to California. The wife and I go every year to visit her best friend. She lives in O'Neals, that's pretty close to geographic center of the state. It is closer however to 'The Middle of Goddamn Nowhere, California'. This photo is of the marker and shows the compass rose. The blue spot is the exact center of the state.
Another fun fact about this area is that there old buildings around. One such dilapidated building I ran across was an old 'Garden Shed'. It came complete with a number of rusty chains, a couple chainsaws and old lawnmowers as well as a few toolbags:
As I told Megaton: You know you're playing die2nite too much when you discover an old garden shed and your first response is 'YES! Chainsaw -fistpump-
On the trip (as always) I bring a number of books. This trip I brought the book I am reading now (Without Warning) and a book of short stories (Wastelands, Stories of the Apocalypse), to sort of fill in, if I got bored with the other. Anyhow I was reading in the car on the way to somewhere or other a story called The People of Sand and Slag by Paolo Bacigalupi. That last link goes to the full text of the story. I'll wait 'till you finish then move on ....
The short story reads kind of like the polar twin to A Boy and His Dog by Harlan Ellison (not the polar opposite of ... because polar and opposite are synonyms. Better is an antonym: polar and twin do nicely.)
The story it is most similar (twin) to is Something Passed By by Robert R. McCammon (Link goes to full text ... I'll wait ... again).
But that's not why I'm writing about The People of Sand and Slag. I can't be the only one who has been reading and listening to the radio when the word they are reading is said on the radio or is in the song. When I was reading Sand and Slag it happened for the first time ever. Not just the single word sung and read simutaniusly, the entire sentence I was reading was in the song that was playing. The one sentence (and the following one as well) also sort of sum up the feeling of the short story. 'If it makes you happy, then why the hell are you so sad?' It's by Sheryl Crow:
That's all I have to say about that.
Every time I go to O'Niels I pass through Turlock. It just so happens to have a Costco that supplies us with cheap gas. It is also home to the Tulock Killdozer. Well that's what I've always called it anyhow. Each time I've passed it I've wanted to stop and check it out. Then inevitably I just tell myself 'next time' and continue on the way.
Not this time. I made it a point to stop. I had assumed that it was just one those giant roadside attraction type things like the giant ball of yarn or a rodent of unusual size. It was even better.
The Turlock Killdozer is a giant bulldozer. Big and stuff.
From the side:
That's right. That's me your humble blogger there in the photo. You may not be able to tell from the picture but let me assure you I felt like a giant asshat. 'Why?', you may ask. Well because the 'Killdozer' is, in actual fact, an office building for United Equipment.
You can imagine my shock when I opened the door to the thing, expecting a gift shop or something, and found a rather normal, ordinary office building inside. I asked if I could go upstairs and look out the window. The guy who greeted me had no problem showing me around.
At the top of the stairs I was met with a sight I had TOTALLY not expected. He opened a door so I could look out the window as I had asked and I was greeted with a fully functioning Man Cave in what would have been the cab of the Killdozer. RIGHTEOUS!
I am not the only one who has been stunned by what the Killdozer turned out to be.
Ripley (of Believe It Or Not Fame) was taken aback by it:
It's been featured in newspaper comics:
Magazine articles have been even been written about the Killdozer:
So I guess I shouldn't feel so bad about about thinking the Killdozer was an ordinary roadside attraction as it has fooled so many. But I felt like a jackass anyhow. My wife's laughter didn't help much.
So that's it. A great vacation topped off by a healthy dose of embarrassment. What more can you ask for huh?