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.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Tripping down the road

So I'm sitting here using an IBM laptop (with this huge button on the keyboard labeled “Access IBM”—I'm afraid to push it) in the back seat of a Prius, currently doing 100 Mph the legal speed limit along the Florida Turnpike as we speed wend our way to Blounts Town. My friend Joe's father died, and Gregory, Kurt, Bunny and I are on our way to the funeral.

It was horrible this morning, having to get up at the time I usually go to sleep. Bleh. But we're making good time and we should be arriving in the area late this afternoon.

Notes on an overheard conversation

“Do you need fuel?”

“Fuel? Fuel? I won't need fuel until Thursday!”

“Today is Thursday.”


Notes on an overheard conversation, II

“Do you have the keys?”

“It is impossible, physically impossible, to lock the keys in the car.”

“Can we not test that theory?”

Notes from a Burger King at a Florida Turnpike Reststop

There was a defibrillator right there at the service counter of the Burger King at the Florida Turnpike rest stop. Somehow, it seems very appropriate.

The Funeral, Part I

The viewing started at 6:00 pm. We arrived at the funeral home (in Marianna, Florida) at 5:45 pm and as we're being lead back to the viewing room, the funeral director asked if we were family. Gregory said that we were friends of the family and had driven up from Ft. Lauderdale. The director then regretfully told us that only family was allowed in at this time and that the viewing didn't start for another hour.

Shocked, I looked at my cell phone, and sure enough, it read 4:45 pm. We were not only an hour early, but in the Central Time Zone. [The zone runs down the middle of the Apalachicola River and apparently, we all missed the memo when crossing over it.]. We killed a little over an hour then headed back to the viewing.

I had only met Joe Sr. once or twice for very brief moments of time, but from listening in to many of the conversations I got a feel for the man. His death wasn't unexpected, as it came at the end of several years of fighting cancer, and the atmosphere there was more relief over his suffering being over than the sadness of a sudden, inexplicable death. There was no wailing and gnashing of teeth over his death, but a huge gathering of friends and family offering fond memories of Joe Sr.

[I guess you're taking our picture …]

Left to right: Kyle (Joe's son), Kelly (Joe's wife), Keener (Joe's first name—I've known him as Joe as long as I've known him) and just some guy, sitting in front of the fire.

[No, Gregory's lap isn't on fire]

Left to right: Kurt, Gregory sitting before the fire on the back porch.

Joe extended us an invitation to the family farm (in Cottondale, a few miles west of Marianna) for food (which was excellent—I've never had fresh roast beef, and by “fresh” I mean “it was butchered yesterday”) and conversation (again excellent, and mostly around a fire on the back porch).

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Funeral, Part II

The funeral started at 10:00 am (“It is teh early!” I commented upon waking up this morning). The service was packed with people and Joe delivered a wonderful eulogy for his father. Afterwards we piled into our cars for the vehicular cortège to the cemetary.

As we were driving (which seemed like for miles and miles along unpaved roads), Gregory remarked “There's no here here! It's not on the map!” And indeed, we were somewhere, I suppose, still in the state of Florida, but the exact location, I have no idea. We just followed the rest of the cars to the cemetary.

The service at the cemetary was moving. The American Legion Post № 241 conducted the second part of the service; the eulogy of Joe Sr.'s service to his country, presenting the American Flag to Joe's Mom, the 21-gun salute—very powerful stuff.

Final farewells were said, and the scene shifts back to the family farm (nearly everybody changed into causual clothing prior to or just after, arriving) for more food and conversation that lasted well into the night.

[Shooting the breeze]

Left to right: Marty, Joe, Kurt.

[More shooting the breeze]

Left to right: Larry, Gregory, me.

[With so much shooting of the breeze, I'm surprised there was any air left]

Left to right: Joe's Mom, Joe (sitting), Kurt, me, Gregory, Larry, Marty. Except for Kurt, we all knew each other since high school (and I've known Joe since middle school).

Afterwards, Gregory, Kurt, Bunny and I headed over to Joe's house (in Blounts Town, about forty minutes south of the family farm) and hung out for a few hours. Tomorrow, we head back home.

Pot. Kettle. Black.

I've given Gregory grief in the past for his reliance (to me, his overreliance) on GPS when driving, and this issue has been coming up on our little trip often enough. As we drove back to the hotel from Joe's house, I noticed that Gregory's GPS was sending us cross-country along unlit two lane roads filled with deer instead of the 10-lane well lit I-10, much like last time (unstated in that entry—everyone in the van was telling Gregory his GPS was giving him crap directions, stop listening to it, we know the way).

When I mentioned this, Gregory told us that he has an irrational fear of being lost, and with a GPS, he's never lost, even if the route given isn't the fastest, straightest or safest. I can relate to the irrational fear bit—I have an irrational fear of earthquakes; odd, given that I don't live in an area known to have earthquakes, but there you go. If the GPS makes Gregory feel better, so be it.

Besides, I still can't play that peg game at the Cracker Barrel, and I totally rely upon a cheat sheet created from my peg game solving program.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

“It is teh early!”

9:00 am. Checkout. Start driving home. Hardees apparently has the best biscuit breakfast sandwiches in existence.

I'm not a morning person, nor am I a breakfast person. It's my turn to order. “Are you serving lunch?” If I have to eat this early, it's got to be a cheeseburger.

“No. Breakfast only.”

“Don't worry,” said Gregory. “I'll take you to a Sonic after this. Here, take my keys,” he said, handing me the fob for the car. “Check the GPS for the closest Sonic.” I take the fob, and head out to the car.

The closest Sonic appeared to be five miles south of the Hardees we were in. But that's five miles further south than we wanted to be. I started looking for Sonics more-or-less on our way home, and was about give up when Gregory appeared.

“Kemo sabe,” he said. “There's a Sonic on the other side of this Hardees.”


[Intent on a complicated problem]

Yeah, it was teh early.

(Illustration by Leo Brodie)

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