The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Monday, October 10, 2011

The crack of the Internet

I hate Cracked.com. I follow a link to Zooey Deschanel and end up reading seven animals that are one flaw away from taking over the world when I realize it's been three hours since I started reading that site and I still have over two dozen unread articles left to read.

Aaaaaaaaaah!

I should know better than to follow arbitrary links to Cracked.com.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

On our way

[The following entries are being written a month after the fact. I have no excuse, other than laziness and a severe case of procrastination; story of my life. So, without further ado … ]

Bunny and I were invited to my cousin Nate's wedding on Saturday. I refuse to fly, not wanting to be treated like the guilty (TSA) sheep (airline industry) that US citizens appear to be; instead, we drove to Troy, Michigan, just north of the dazzling city of tomorrow—Detroit.

Bunny drove during the daylight hours, then I drove during the night—our goal was to drive straight through, only stopping for gas and food as required. We both figured the trip would take around twenty-two hours or so.

Bunny drove until 8:15pm, when we hit Cordele, Georgia and decided to eat dinner, gas up, and switch driving duties. The last time I was in Cordele was on December 27th, 1997. It was a Saturday, exactly half way between Christmas and New Year's Eve. I was headed towards Atlanta, Georgia to meet up with some friends to celebrate the New Year when I pulled off I-75 Northbound at exit 101. No sooner did I exit when my car stopped dead., even though the engine was still running.

I restarted the engine, gunned the gas and went nowhere. I checked behind me, and with no traffic (remember, it was the weekend between two major holidays), put the car into reverse. And the car still didn't move. I stopped the engine, placed everything in the cabin into the trunk, put the car into neutral, and tried moving the car off the road. It still didn't budge.

I walked a hundred yards or so to the nearest gas station. The attendent said that everything was pretty much closed, but he would try to get a tow truck out my way, seeing how my car was stuck in the middle of the road. By the time I walked back to the car, a police officer had shown up and was running my plates. I explained the situation to him, and he then turned to the task of scaring up a tow truck.

Over an hour later, one showed up. A flat bed truck. The police officer drove off to finish his beat. The tow truck driver then tilted the bed down in front of my car, hooked up some chains to the front wheels, and proceeded to pull the car up the bed. The wheels of my car were solidly locked into place and for a second there, I thought the front axel of the car would be pulled out.

But no, the car eventually made it onto the bed of the tow truck. He then drove the car and me to a nearby body shop. I went into the office to call my friends to have them pick me up, while the tow truck driver and the one machanic on duty attempted to get my car off the tow truck.

There was the bed, at a 45° angle, chains slacked, and the car still sitting on the bed. Between the driver and the mechanic, they figured out that the only way to get the car off the truck was to slide it off, so they slicked the bed down with oil and the car slid off.

The mechanic told me I could call him in a few days to give him time to figure out what happened. The tow truck driver then drove me to a nearby restaurant so I could wait for my friends there.

I'll spare you the details about the trip home (wherein I learned a few hard lessons about modern financial systems and just how screwed we are as individuals) but the upshot: the transmission seized up on my car. I could get a new transmission for $2,500 or a used one for $2,000. There would be a warranty on the work, but it would have to be serviced by the body shop there in Cordele, 500 miles from home. The mechanic did know of a student that needed a car and was willing to pay for the work, but really, could only just afford the transmission plus a bit more.

Not having the money myself (for the transmission and for travel expenses to retrieve the car), I sold the car to the Cordele-living student, and went on to learn a few hard lessons about modern car dealerships and living beyond one's means.

So my last time in Cordele wasn't all that great. This time, however, the car survived, and we were able to continue on our way north, with me taking on driving duties.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Destination: Motown

[The following entries are being written a month after the fact. I have no excuse, other than laziness and a severe case of procrastination; story of my life. So, without further ado … ]

Driving through Atlanta felt like driving through Tokyo in an anime movie—miles of monstrous buildings looming over the endless rain-slicked highways for what seemed like hours on end, crotch rockets warping past us, screaming "Akira" and "Kaneda" either at each other, or at us. I couldn't tell.

And yes, the rain.

The rain.

It was nothing but rain once we hit northern Georgia. It wasn't that bad until we hit Tennessee, when the wind kicked in, and it made driving through the moutains, at night, with rain, and wind, a real intense experience. Kentucky was just as bad, first with the mountains, and by the time we got though that, we hit Ohio. And bumper to bumper traffic at 6:30 am going through Cincinnati. It took us over an hour to travel some ten miles and past the parking lot of I-75 in Cincinnati.

Then Bunny took over driving, and I fell asleep for a few hours. The next thing I remember, We're pulling over somewhere just south of Detroit as I take over driving duties, since I'm more familiar with the area.

We drove by my dad's parents' house, the one were I spent many a summer, just to see it again. That neighborhood hasn't changed in the twenty years since I last saw it (I last visited in I think 1993 or 1994—a few months before Grandpa died, but no one else in the family seems to recall that visit; my prior visit was the summer of 1987). We then drove to Jan and Ed's house. Jan was at work, but Ed was still there. We chatted briefly about things. Then we drove by Kay and Dale's house, but they weren't there (at first, I got the wrong house as I was a block off, but it ultimately turns out they no longer lived there—boy, things do have a way of changing).

Since we were hungry by this time (it was around 1:00 pm or so) we drove back into Detroit to eat at Buddy's. It's not much to look at on the outside:

[Buddy's]

but it's cozy on the inside:

[Buddy's on the inside]

and the pizza is incredible (honestly, I don't know if they serve anything else but pizza; I don't think I've ever looked at their menu).

After lunch, we checked into the hotel.

[The Hotel]

It was quite nice.

A few hours to relax, and we get together with Kay, Dale and Ethan and head to Plymouth Roc for dinner. It seems that their son (my cousin) Jordan is a partner in the restaurant. Sweet. While there, we met up with Jordan, Aaron and family and Caitlin. I somewhat remember Jordan, and I barely remember Caitlin and Ethan. It's also weird to think of Aaron as a family man, seeing how the last time I saw him he was in high school.

[The Plymouth Roc]

This is something I had to grow used to, cousins I knew having families, and meeting several new cousins.

We spent the next few hours eating (execellent food, although as a disclaimer, I do have to mention it's a restaurant that's in the family, so I might be a bit biased) and getting caught up. Then it was back to the hotel for some much needed sleep.


They'll ship! Do you understand? They'll ship!

[The following entries are being written a month after the fact. I have no excuse, other than laziness and a severe case of procrastination; story of my life. So, without further ado … ]

While Bunny and I were at Buddy's, we asked about delivery. No, they don't deliver. But they do ship. In fact, so many people have asked Buddy's to ship pizza over the years that they have a whole process down.

They ship!

They ship!

They ship!

They half-bake the pizzas, then ship in dry ice. Once you receive the pizza, you thaw it, finish baking it, and enjoy.

I must try this some time.

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Obligatory Family Photo

[The following entries are being written a month after the fact. I have no excuse, other than laziness and a severe case of procrastination; story of my life. So, without further ado … ]

[The Family]

Front row, left to right: Jordan, Joshua, Aiden, Caitlin, Ashley. Second row, left to right: Amy, Audrey, Ed, Jan, Cameron, Mallory, Carson, Easton, Melanie, Harmony, Kay, Bunny. Back row, left to right: Bill, Seth, me, Chris, Caleb, Ethan, Aaron, Nathan, Dale.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

A grand day out

[The following entries are being written a month after the fact. I have no excuse, other than laziness and a severe case of procrastination; story of my life. So, without further ado … ]

Bunny and I awoke early today, for she had some last minute shopping to do before the wedding. We had planned on going to the Oakland Mall, but we were informed that a much better option was the Summerset Collection Shopping Center. It also had the distinction of being closer to the hotel we were staying in.

I haven't experiened many three-story malls in my time, much less a mall that sprawled across the street with a pedestrian cross-walk above the road. Not only do they serve real Coke (cane surgar, none of that corn-syrup stuff) but the mall had a Lego Store!

A Lego Store!

How does some two-bit mall in Michigan rate a Lego Store! The closest one to me, here in Boca Raton, Florida no less! is three freaking hours away in Orlando!

No wonder Joshua has an entire room devoted to Lego in his house! He has a steady supply of the stuff, less than fifteen minutes from where he lives!

The lucky bastard.

Anyway, I asked one of the clerks inside how this mall rated a Lego Store, when the closest one to me is three hours away in Orlando.

“Ah,” the clerk said, “that's why. Disney placed a restriction on Lego, limiting them to how many stores and how close they could be in Florida.” Disney. Figures.

I took little solace in the fact that the Town Center Mall in Boca Raton has a bigger Apple store, as the one there had people lined up halfway down the mall.


We had some small difficulty in reaching the church on time. I left the invitation back at Chez Boca, and when I asked for the address of the church, I was told 581 West Fourteen Mile Rd when it really was 581 East Fourteen Mile Rd. We lost a few crutial minutes sorting that out, and we barely made the church on time.


What can I say about the wedding ceremony? The bride was beautiful. The groom hansome. The ceremony moving. Vows and rings exchanged. Kisses. Crying. Cheering. Photos. It was great!


Between the wedding and the reception, Kay, Dale, Jan and Ed decided that Bunny and I needed to try the Grand Traverse Pie Company, which is exactly what it sounds like, a pie company. Over a few hours, we all got caught up on our lives, and had some of the best pie I've ever had in my life. Wonderful stuff.

Pie. Pizza. Why does this area of Detroit have such good food? Why can't we have this goodness down here in South Florida?


Bunny and I were curious as to where we would be sitting at the reception. The table with Kay and Dale's family was filled. It was simiar with Jan and Ed's table. We found ourselves sitting with Audrey's family from Indianna. There, we met Tim, Audrey's brother-in-law, who hailed from Blackpool, England. It was very weird meeting a European who liked American football. It was also weird to learn that American football was actually rather popular over in Europe. Tim, on the other hand, found it weird to think that Bunny and I drove over 1,300 miles and never left the country, while he once drive over 1,300 miles and ended up going through four countries.

But like all receptions, the booze was flowing, the music was playing, and people dancing. It was odd to see a pizza delivery man show up with a stack of pies, but we were told that people, including the groom, were still hungry and thus, an order for delivery was placed. That's something I haven't seen.


Afterwards, Bunny and I followed Kay and Dale over to Joshua's house. Kay and Dale had baby-sitting duty (of Aiden and Ashley) and we decided to follow along. This was also a chance for me to see Joshua's Room O' Lego.

And a Room O' Lego it was, although earlier in the day Aiden and Ashley (around two or three years of age) had gained entry to the room and well … I felt for Josh. The Room O' Lego was too painful to view for very long. Accidents happen and well … ick … too painful to talk about …

Sob!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A lazy Sunday

[The following entries are being written a month after the fact. I have no excuse, other than laziness and a severe case of procrastination; story of my life. So, without further ado … ]

It was a lazy-hazy Sunday today. We had lunch with Kay, Dale, Joshua and Ethan at a local diner, where good food and good conversation followed. Kay mentioned that we should head out to the Yates Cider Mill, but that they wouldn't be able to join us.

I wanted nothing more than a nap. Bunny was intent on going to the cider mill. We compromised—I'd take a nap at the hotel, and Bunny would go to the cider mill.

I'm not sure who go the better deal in the end. I got a nice four hour nap. Bunny got the best apple cider, ever, but had to fight traffic, an hour long wait for the bathroom, and thousands of people, all fighting for the best apple cider, ever.

It's probably a wash.

For dinner, we met with Jan and Ed for dinner. Again, good food, good conversation, but it ended all too soon.

Monday, October 24, 2011

And now for the educational portion of our trip

[The following entries are being written a month after the fact. I have no excuse, other than laziness and a severe case of procrastination; story of my life. So, without further ado … ]

There were three reasons why I decided to drive to Detroit:

  1. Nathan and Melanie's wedding;
  2. Buddy's Pizza;
  3. one exhibit at The Ford Museum.

Two down, one to go.

The sole exhibit I wanted to see was Buckminster Fuller's Dymaxion House. When I first read about it (oh, some time in 2003 or 2004 I think) it seemed like an incredible idea—an entire house, mass produced like a car, out of aluminium, with no part weighting more than 10 pounds (or something silly like that). There were even two pre-built bathrooms installed in the house (out of four parts). Crazy stuff.

[The Dymaxion House—Home of the Future] [Dymaxion House Living Room] [The Dymaxion House Center Mast]

I took a ton of pictures [most of which, upon viewing, don't make a lot of sense unless you know what you are looking at. —Editor] on about three passes through the house.

Bunny was able to pull me away to view some of the other exhibits in the museum, like the trains:

[The Presidential] [A train snow plow]

And she convinced me to go out and view a portion of Greenwichfield Village, which was much better than I expected. Little did I know that many of the buildings were the original buildings, moved, at Henry Ford's expense, to Greenwichfield Village as part of the museum.

[The Jacquard Loom]

It was interesting to see old technology still in use in the village, and just how clever it was too. We didn't see the entire village (Thomas Edison's laboratory is somewhere in Greenwichfield Village) but what we did see was incredible.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The long way home

[The following entries are being written a month after the fact. I have no excuse, other than laziness and a severe case of procrastination; story of my life. So, without further ado … ]

[Our luggage—it's probably a Good Thing™ we didn't fly]

We loaded up the car, checked out of the hotel, stopped by Buddy's Pizza one last time (our third time), took two pies with us, and started the long drive home.

At least this time, it wasn't raining.

And we still manged to hit traffic going through Cincinnatti.

Sigh.

The last time I made the drive from Michigan to Florida, it was in 1983. My mom's cousin Rick was in the area and to save on air fare, it was decided that I would drive back with him and his two kids (eight and five).

So there we were, stuck in a Camero (yea Gods!) on a two-day journey through Hell. To this day, I still avoid Long John Silver's and the Waffle House—emotional scarring and all that.

At least this time, there were two of us, no kids, in a mid-sized car and no scraps of metal flying into the air and taking out the fender.

Obligatory Picture

[Don't hate me for my sock monkey headphones.]

Obligatory Links

Obligatory Miscellaneous

You have my permission to link freely to any entry here. Go ahead, I won't bite. I promise.

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