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.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Off the road


It's 7:00 am.

We're here.

Where to begin.

When we last left off, I had just uploaded a picture of the local fauna found in Daytona, Florida. Around Jacksonville, the connection was fast enough to download the Gimp and necessary files to install it on Smirk's laptop (as we were travelling 80mph—the bits where slamming into us), get the pictures off the camera (which involved some extreme contortions on my part to get the cable out of my laptop bag in the back) and upload said pictures to my home computer. By the time that finished, the connection had slacked off (the bits were now having to catch up with us) but I was still able to get the picture of the local fauna uploaded.

About halfway through Georgia we lost the connection at about the same time we almost lost the SUV—it suddenly dropped speed and all sorts of engine lights flared up and klaxtons went off.

It wasn't a pretty sight.

Thinking we overtaxed the battery (laptop, iPod) we shut the electrical equipment and pulled off at the next exit, stopped the car, let it rest for a few moments. When started, only one warning light remained lit, so we drove it, hoping to make it to Charlotte (about 3½ hours away). The laptop remained off (partly explaining the lack of posts).

Once into South Carolina, I took over driving (further explaining the lack of posts) and at the next refueling stop (first exit in South Carolina) all the warning lights remained off. Smirk then took this opportunity to use the laptop, but a solid connection remained elusive.

The plan: Arrive at the data center. Unload the servers into our cabinet (just dump them there), hit the hotel. Sleep. Drive around the area and in the early evening, set the servers up. Hit the hotel. Sleep. Hit the data center one last time to get my access to the data center set up. Drive home.

At 4:30 am we arrived at the data center. Mayhem ensues as we try to gain entry. Smirk realized the PIN contains an extra zero. Gain entry. Forgets which finger to give the next set of doors. Finally gain entry. Forget combination to the cabinet. I stand there trying each combination while Smirk calls to get the combination. Help finally arrives and we find out we were doing it wrong. Servers dropped off.

At 5:30 we arrive at the hotel. Get our keys. Go to car. Nearly get accosted by a drunk trying to scam some money from us. Dump stuff in room. Both of us are hungry and tired. Hunger wins. We walk next door to the IHOP. No signal for the laptop there (more reason for the lack of posts).

At 6:30 head back to our room. The A/C barely works, and the wireless access barely exists. Now it's the start of musical rooms. This one too wireless. This one too hot. This one just right.

At 7:15 I crash.

Observations about a room at a Howard Johnson

Actually, I didn't get to sleep until 8:00 am. One of our servers had crashed and we had to remotely reboot it. Anyway, it's now 12:45 pm and the 4½ hours of sleep really did wonders, and now I'm cognizant enough to give you some observations about our room here at Howard Johnson:

Anyway, time for the shower.


Long day today (and no links for this entry—I'm too tired to even consider links right now; do your own XXXX searching).

After leaving the hotel, we drove around the state a bit, including Lincolnton, where Smirk is thinking of moving to soon. After that (and a very cool antique store with the Obligatory Velveteen picture of Our True Lord and Savior Elvis Aaron Presley and old tin advertising signs) we headed out to Brevard.

Yup, the town I grew up in.

It hasn't changed a bit, yet everything is different. The old drug store on the corner of Main and Broad St. where I used to buy my Uncle Scrooge comics is now an upscale toy store (not the Porche type toy store, but a train set and teddy bear toy store—back in 1988 when I last visited it, it had split into a two stores, one being a Hallmark store). Yet the townhome we lived in was still called “Shepards Square” and was still the same redwood color (although the actual townhome that I called “home” now had an access walkway across the lawn).

We then drove out to Connestee Falls. At first we couldn't find it since the area had built up in the past few decades. We stopped at a realty office specializing in Connestee Falls realestate (not only is it named for a spectacular waterfall, but a housing development in the same area) but found it closed. I then walked to a nearby house and asked the very friendly resident were the falls were. He pointed out that they were still about two miles further down the road.

Two miles later we found the falls. What had once been a series of octagonal shaped buildings holding the sales offices and restaurant is now long gone (only one lone octagonal building is still there and it was the home to some other local business) with the paths leading to Connestee Falls long gone into disrepair.

The only portion still “open” was the upper observational deck, with the semi-natural stairs that lead to the base of the main falls closed off with a no trespressing warning sign. We found the rements of a path that lead around the gate and being the scufflaws that we were, made a very careful descent down to the base of the main falls.

Connestee Falls is rare among falls in that two falls, nearly opposite each other, meet and run off into a perpendicular stream. The path we followed down looked like it hadn't been maintained since my last visit to the falls in the summer of 1988, and we only made it to the base of the main falls (and were about twenty feet away from the lower observational deck that was otherwise behind unreachable forest.

The weather in Brevard was drizzly, but that made it all the more vibrant around Connestee Falls, the rain bringing out deep greens and browns of the forest. Very beautiful and very tranquil setting, making me wish I had a house overlooking the falls.

After an indeterminate amount of time, we relunctantly made our way back up the trail to our vehicle and made our way back to the data center to finish setting up our equipment.

By the time we got back from Brevard (and dinner) it was after 10:00 pm when we headed directly into the data center. We mounted the servers, reran the power cables and were about to make the actual network cables when we found one of our servers DOA. By then it was after 2:30 am (okay, I'm backdating this entry a bit) when we figured we'd call it a day.

We cleaned up, and left one server backing up another one since we need to reinstall the operating system. We have a full day ahead of us tomorrow and it's expected we might not make it back on Monday.

It's now almost 4:30am and I'm getting ready to crash.

Obligatory Picture

[“I am NOT a number, I am … a Q-CODE!”]

Obligatory Contact Info

Obligatory Feeds

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:, then add the date you are interested in, say 2000/08/01, so that would make the final URL:

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.

It is assumed that every brand name, slogan, corporate name, symbol, design element, et cetera mentioned in these pages is a protected and/or trademarked entity, the sole property of its owner(s), and acknowledgement of this status is implied.

Copyright © 1999-2024 by Sean Conner. All Rights Reserved.