The Snoozeletter @

Conventional wisdom says that if a writer is any good, he will be nearly unbearable to live with. Unfortunately, my wife gets along with me just fine.
Desert Drive-By Review: Some mighty good eats pop out of this Jack in the Box...

When approaching the drivethrough window at Jack in the Box (Bermuda Dunes), you'll be struck by the abundance of plants decorating the area, many of which are still alive. Since the drivethrough queue surrounds three sides of the restaurant, be sure to downshift so you can thoroughly enjoy the subtle architectural details designed into this quasi-contemporary wonder of mass-produced structural engineering.

Just past the first corner, you'll marvel at the profusely-illustrated menu board which includes healthy items like Asian Chicken Salad, Southwest Chicken Salad and Chicken Caesar Salad ($4.99 each). However, we simply giggled at those listings. After all, during the high-speed gobbling orgy which is the hallmark of a satisfying fast-food drivethrough experience, who wants to slow down the hand-to-mouth shoveling of chow with a fork, for crying out loud?

The next menu sign, located a few feet further along this second leg, contains a microphone, speaker, and cashier screen (the instantly-updated video display is a deluxe feature not often found in lesser drivethrough emporiums). If you listen very carefully, then speak slowly and clearly, you'll have a pretty decent chance of making your culinary needs known to the helpful and efficient workers inside.

Continuing beyond the second turn, you'll notice many small birds, who watch every transaction with eagle eyes, so to speak. They eagerly anticipate the accidental dropping of food, then swoop in to squawk over taco fragments or burger bun crumbs.

After paying the bill, don't be caught off guard if the cashier tells you to drive around to the front of the building to await your meal. This restaurant prides itself on making your order at the actual moment of purchase. Remember, *fine* fast food sometimes takes a bit longer.

We particularly enjoyed the Chicken Fajita Pita ($3.29; great fun to say out loud) and the Zesty Turkey Pannido ($4.39; not quite as much fun, but a tongue-tickler nonetheless). The Bacon Cheddar Potato Wedges ($1.99) were somewhat messy for eating in the car, but Jack's experienced staff had anticipated our every need: the attractive takeout bag contained plenty of napkins to rub those greasy drippings into nearly-unnoticeable splotches on the automobile upholstery.

The highlight of our meal occurred when Anikó made imaginary "airplanes" out of the Seasoned Curly Fries ($1.39), flying them into my mouth as we merged onto the Sonny Bono Memorial Freeway.


Jack in the Box, 760.772-2658
42250 Washington St., Bermuda Dunes CA

Hours: 5am-midnight; Drive-Thru never closed

Entrees: $.99 (Beef Monster Taco) - $4.99 (Chicken Club Salad)

Payment: Cash or major cards accepted

Parking: Ample; no valet

Takeout: Duh

Verdict: One of the Coachella Valley's top drivethroughs. Enough variety to make fast food a daily habit. Unfortunately.

restaurant photo, 31 KB
Vernal Equinox: 4:33am PST tomorrow morning. The word equinox is derived from the Latin words meaning "equal night." The vernal, or spring, equinox refers to the point at which the Sun appears to cross the celestial equator from south to north, signaling the beginning of nature's renewal in the Northern Hemisphere.
Valhalla / Elysian Fields / McSweeney's. I've spent many years—more years than I care to admit—trying to get one of my stupid little rants into Timothy McSweeney's Internet Tendency (brainchild of Dave Eggers, who authored A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius). Now that the Holy Grail has unexpectedly dropped into my lap, I can't help thinking the editors must have lost consciousness temporarily, and they'll soon wake up to discover the ghastly mistake that's been made. So please take a look at Three Open Letters to the Telephone Joneses With Whom I Cannot Keep Up QUICKLY, before someone figures out the perceived value of a McSweeney's placement has plummeted, solely because of me. [PS: This piece actually has a chance (albeit an exceedingly small one) of being heard on the nationwide broadcast of Weekend America, brought to you by the same folks who produce The Writer's Almanac with host Garrison Keillor.]
Million Writers Award. Excitement is running high at the Virtual Studio, because three of our active members (Jai Clare, Xujun Eberlein and Alicia Gifford) are doing well in the final round. So please read some stories, pick a winner and vote before March 31!
Disneyland Memorial Orgy: Alan just ordered one of these posters. It should make a lovely addition to the wall above our bed.
My Current Top 3 Potato Chip Obsessions: Poore Brothers Jalapeño (hot and sweet, from Arizona), Cape Cod Nantucket Spice (salt and pepper-y, from the Cape) and Tim's Cascade Style Wasabi (this Asian mustard/horseradish flavor explodes in your nose, from the Pacific NW). Yummy.
Moby - Play the DVD: I've never been a fan, until now. The 88-minute Megamix section is impressive enough: 18 tracks, remixed and dubbed by the world's best, along with mesmerizing eye candy - an ever-changing mélange of wildly creative visual art. Great for your next home rave. Then check out the 10 videos: ironic, inventive and quirky as hell. There's also a live-to-tape performance from the BBC's Later with Jools Holland: 6 numbers by Moby+band. But the best part is "Give an Idiot a Camcorder": Moby's 21-minute home movie about... well... Moby. Onstage, he points his camera at the audience and tells them to give him the finger while chanting in unison, "Fuck you, Moby." Offstage, he points the camera at himself, using Scottish, French and German accents to create sidesplitting monologues. He also does self-interviews. In tacky wigs, with oodles of 'tude. Priceless.
Pronunciation Guide: La Quinta (KEEN tah), Coachella (ko CHELL a), Mount San Jacinto (hah SEEN toe).