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, August 14, 2017

Extreme taxidermy, Ormond Beach, Florida edition

Bunny and I are on our way to Brevard, North Carolina (like we do every year) and our primary goal this year is to view the solar eclipse. Unfortunately, the weather is looking a bit grim in Brevard as it's expected to be raining next Monday, but who knows? Perhaps it will clear up by then.

Our first stop to refuel was in Ormond Beach, Florida, where we saw this beautiful example of classic American kitch:

[Here, have a stuffed alligator wearing an American flag somewhere in the Deep South. You are welcome.]

How did we ever survive not seeing this?


Pecan Encrusted Brie, is there nothing you can't do?

We have finally arrived!

[It's like our home away from home, only a bit more expensive.]

We made excellent time this trip, having taken a bit over eleven hours to drive the 750 miles. As usual, we're staying at The Red House Inn.

And as usual when we arrive on a not-Tuesday day of the week, we have dinner at The Square Root, an excellent restaurant tucked away in an alley in downtown Brevard (and who would have thought that Brevard was large enough to have an alley, much less one large enough to hide a restaurant?).

[I think they wanted to call the place 1.732050807568877, but that was just too long to use on a sign.  Also, those roots aren't square.]

We just can't get enough of the Pecan Encrusted Brie (“Delicious Fried Brie Served With Granny Smith Apples and Crackers With a Frangelico Praline Sauce”). Mmmmmmmmmm … Pecan Encrusted Brie …


Extreme white squirrels, Brevard edition

I can't quite place my finger on it, but I think the local white squirrel population is planning something.

[The alien white squirrel from Scratazon is here to abduct all native nut life forms.]

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The warping of space and time

Saturday, I spent ten hours at my high school's 30 year reunion (which I didn't blog about because other than the participants, who wants to read about a bunch of people you don't know? Also, what happens at Las Vegas stays at Las Vegas). Sunday was the every-other-week D&D game (which I don't blog about because other than the participants, who wants to read about a bunch of people you don't know pretending to slay dragons? Especially when said players don't slay the dragon?). Monday was an eleven hour drive to Brevard (which, unlike the previous two days, I did blog about because who doesn't want to see a stuffed alligator wearing an American flag?). It all finally caught up with me. I went to bed early (well, early for me). I reluctantly got up late (well, still early for me, but given the time I went to bed, it was late).

[The view from our pourch. Real trees! Shade! And we don't have to worry about alligators as there are none around here for miles! But there are bears ...]

Bunny and I had lunch at the Pisgah Fish Camp (and here I would include a link to the website, but apparently, The Pisgah Fish Camp is so busy serving up good food, they don't have time for a pesky website). But while the experience there was pretty typical (order and eat good food—seriously, the fish there is good) the experience getting there is anything but. It's odd, but space and time are warped here in Brevard. It seemed like a long drive to the Pisgah Fish Camp (and on one of the walls is a quote from the founder—“people called me crazy and said no one would drive this far out of Brevard for a meal.”) and yet—it was only four miles! Heck, Bunny and I drive farther than that just to our nearest IHOP, and that doesn't seem all that far for us. But here? It seemed like a long drive.

Traffic here is also weird. There is much less traffic here than back in Lower Sheol. And yet, it's still annoying. I'll pull up to a clear intersection, and just as I'm about to turn, an enevitable train of cars just moseying along the road materializes out of nowhere, too close together to make a safe turn, far enough apart to trick you into thinking you can make a safe turn, but no, you can't.


The alien white squirrels really are trying to take over

I was trying out a new search engine, Million Short (which allows you to easily exclude the top N websites) and while trying it out, I came across this:

There are a few towns in the US, though, that have very high numbers of white squirrels. This could be for a few reasons. First, predators in towns tend to be low. This cancels out the negative selection against the white morph. Sometimes in towns, a few neighbors will also select against the normal coloration of eastern grey squirrel. Yes, that happens. After a few generations, all you get are whites, and they can spread to the rest of the town! Fascinating!

The Big 5 White Squirrel Towns

The White and Albino Squirrel Phenomenon + New US Maps!

It's interesting that there are quite a few “Home of the White Squirrel” across the country.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Extreme portraiture, Brevard edition

A lot of restaurants here in Brevard display art from local artists, and Marco Trattoria is no exception. Hanging on the wall above our table was this lovely sculpture:

[Deep down, you know he's judging you on your choice of dessert, despite not ordering one.]

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Thankfully I'm in North Carolina, where all I have to worry about are alien white squirrels

The department tweeted this week a map of where folks are said to have spotted lizard people in the past, out of concern that paranormal activity might be on the rise during the eclipse. "Regarding possible paranormal activity potentially occurring during the #SolarEclipse2017. As always, if you see something, say something," the department tweeted alongside the graphic, with tongue possibly in cheek (though who knows).

Via FaceGoogleLinkedMyPlusInSpaceBook, THE SOLAR ECLIPSE COULD BRING LIZARD PEOPLE, SOUTH CAROLINA EMERGENCY OFFICIALS WARN (REALLY)

Man, the crazy things people believe about this eclipse …


Extreme white squirrels, Brevard edition part deux

Bunny and I were in downtown Brevard on our way to eat at Rocky's Grill and Soda Shop when we came across a white squirrel:

[The white squirrel population here is quite large.]

I'm beginning to sense a theme here …


“Dude! You don't remember the Harmonic Convergence of 1987?”

After lunch, Bunny and I headed into the Penny Lane Exchange to pick up some new Hawaiian shirts. We entered, and the proprietor asked us if we were in town for the upcoming eclipse. We answered affirmatively, he then went on to ask if we recalled the Harmonic Convergence of 1987 and the emergence of a new paradigm of peace and harmony (no, really, it was a thing, thirty years ago today). Sadly, we had to inform him that no, we did not recall the Harmonic Convergence of 1987 but we really liked the shirts.

I have to remind myself that Brevard is in the shadow of Berkeley of the East.


Extreme globe, Brevard edition

Bunny and I stopped off at an antique store and there, I saw this really cool globe for sale:

[It was tempting. Oh so tempting. But I have to ask myself, “Self, just where are you going to put it?”]

The ranged rings aren't printed on the globe—it's a clear plastic hemisphere that can be repositioned. And because I was curious, I placed the center point on Korea. Not North Korea mind you, Korea! The globe is so old that the Korean peninsula is Korea.

And that clear plastic hemisphere … I have never seen such a feature on a globe before. And it might have been quite progressive at the time, for it has both miles and kilometers marked off.

A very cool globe.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Meat and conversation

Bunny and I decided to try Magpie Meat & Three, a restaurant in the industrial section of Brevard.

[This used to be on the wrong side of the tracks, until the tracks were removed. Now it's just the industrial side of the town.]

It wasn't immediately obvious where it was located, but we eventually asked and learned that it was behind the Squatch Bikes & Brew, a combination bike store and bar.

Seriously.

But like most food places around here, it's worth it.

[If they ever wanted to expand, they could always go for a loft approach.]

They also have a large selection of craft beers on tap, for those that are into that sort of thing.

[I suspect people don't drink the Stone Ruination DIPA for the taste.]

Nothing like good North Carolina BBQ for lunch.


Extreme plates, Brevard edition

As we were driving around, it looked like an interesting place. So we stopped by Mud Daubber's of Brevard. On the outside, it's a ramshackle building that looks like a stiff breeze would knock it over. On the inside is an incredible collection of pottery, all made locally.

One piece caught my eye—a plate:

[This is giving those 19th Century illustrators a serious run for their money.]

The level of detail is incredible and upon asking, I learned that the artist pressed real leaves into the clay before firing. The leaves burn away, leaving an impression that is then enhanced, giving it this beautiful 19TH Century illustrative look.

It's just an incredible piece of work.


I'm older than these are! How can they be antiques?

Another store we stopped at was the Shabby Shack Mall (no link for them—they only have a page on MyFaceGoogleLinkedBookPlusInSpace, which makes it nearly impossible for me to link to—damn those proprietary walled gardens!). It's supposedly an antique mall, but then they have stuff like this:

[A plastic Madonna doll, how appropriate.]

These aren't antiques! They're from a 1990 movie for crying out loud! They're younger than I am!

Sigh.

They also had this sign, which both Bunny and I found amusing:

[Those bullet holes really drive the point home.]

“Hi, I'm Sean. And I'm a globaholic.”

I couldn't help myself—I got the globe.

[I failed my “save vs. globe” throw.  Also, my iPhone identified this as a selfie—how scary is that?]

How could I not? It came with a geometrical plastic hemisphere!

[Lines, grid marks and numbers! Oh my!]

How many globes have you seen with a geometrical plastic hemisphere?

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.

The dates are the permanent links to that day's entries (or entry, if there is only one entry). The titles are the permanent links to that entry only. The format for the links are simple: Start with the base link for this site: http://boston.conman.org/, then add the date you are interested in, say 2000/08/01, so that would make the final URL:

http://boston.conman.org/2000/08/01

You can also specify the entire month by leaving off the day portion. You can even select an arbitrary portion of time.

You may also note subtle shading of the links and that's intentional: the “closer” the link is (relative to the page) the “brighter” it appears. It's an experiment in using color shading to denote the distance a link is from here. If you don't notice it, don't worry; it's not all that important.

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