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October 2008
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corvi [userpic]

We've started creating a metric for how civilized a place is. Various things add or substract points. Here's the list. We've seen everything on it except the Thai restaurant so far.


  • Martial Arts Dojo +3 points
  • Sushi Place +3 points, only worth 2 points if it's inside an old Pizza Hut building, with all the red triangular decor and wierd curtains intact.
  • Cellphone coverage +1 points
  • Thai food: +4 points
  • Waitstaff with non-ear piercing +1
  • Mural of cherry blossom festival +1
  • Vegetarian fake-meat in supermarket: +4
  • Bicyclist +1
  • Airport +1, -1 if there's a row of trailers next to it, -2 if it's unpaved
  • Touchy-feely meditation seminars: +1
  • Community College +1
  • University : +2
  • Lovely ukrainian catholic church: +2
  • Sikh Temple +2
  • "Wireless High Speed Internet All Rooms" signs at hotels: +3
  • Health food store: +2
  • Greek food: +1

Not Civilized:

  • Gun show -3
  • Trailer Park -3
  • Rustym abandoned truck trailied dragged to the side of the road and painted as a billboard -3
  • Rusty abandoned car with broken axle on side of road -1
  • Junk Yard -1, -3 if it calls itself an "antique machines display" and charges admission
  • Restaurants named after furniture -2
  • Store named "the store" - 2
  • Public building with obviously Christian decor (crucifix in lobby) : -2
  • Fenceposts "decorated" with boots or buckets: -3 per group
  • Bar to completely close off highway in winter : -2
  • Cattle guard on bridges: -1
  • Unincorporated town -1 , -3 if it's an unincorporated town named "Progress". (not making this up)
  • Livestock; Cows and sheep -1, Bison -2
  • Scary rusty propane tank, cracked bu apparently in use -1
  • Anti-abortion billboard with scary cartoon fetus whose head is shaped like a butternut squash: -1, -3 for more than one identical billboard in a row
  • Restaurant claiming to serve genuine American food: -.5
  • Homebuilt bridge that appears to be braced with car parts: -2
  • "Country Western Dance Hall" with sheep grazing in it: -2
  • Rusty piece of sheet metal painted to look like a moose: -1
  • Stacks of metal drums labeled "gasoline" in red spray paint: -2
  • Chainsaw carving: -2
  • Calling yourself "Chainsaw carving capital of the world": -4
  • Painfully tacky cemetary full of shiny pick marble headstones: -2
  • Selling two distinct, bizarre things out of the same store, like furniture and livestyock feed, or auto glass and pellet stoves: -4
  • ATVs: -2, -3 if all the riders are wearing hip waders
  • Visibly crooked house, -1
  • Using tarp or corrugated metal as a building/siding material: -1
  • Road sign on stick in bucket with rocks: -3, also for road sign held in place by wood and cinder blocks
  • Anything named after someone named "Tubby": -1

And here are some random cool things we've seen that we couldn't really figure out if they indicated civilization or not:

  • Llamas
  • Moose crossing signs
  • Cool self-bracing drilling equipment
  • Moose MacGillicuddy's Bar
  • Butte
  • Curling Club


Strip mall +1
>containing stores you've actually seen before +3
paved roads +1
>that don't alternate with long sections of dirt +2

abandoned buildings downtown -1
>that are actually falling/fallen down -2

Hey, ATVs are cool. And I think I'd really enjoy eating sushi in an old pizza hut building.

unrelated observations

Why does one put a bar across the highway in the winter?

Although they're rare on the west coast, covered bridges are generally not indications of civilization. Neither is having to wait for the herd of cows to cross the road.

When Arlo and I drove back up from visiting his grandparents in Palm Springs, we stopped for dinner at a pizza place in a random large small town in Oregon. Arlo looks like many Protestant concepts of Jesus, except that his hair is straight and hangs to mid-back. It was cold out, so he was wearing his cloak. We got a lot of odd looks. It was amusing.

Re: unrelated observations

Because only parts of it are kept open in the winter.

A bus +2
--- well, you see bus stops, but there are never, ever any buses -1
--- that have lovely female automatic voices announcing stops +3

The Greyhound stop is a combination hotel/giftshop/country-and-western-bar -2
(This actually is true in at least two places, in Michigan and Wyoming)

An art display along the highway involving derelict ovens which all represent various puns on the word 'range' -3
(This exists outside of Edmonton)

There's more but I can't think of it yet.