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, July 09, 2015

There and back again

Thirteen hours.

Rush hour traffic in Jacksonville.

Now home.

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz …

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Extreme street dancing, Brevard edition

During the summer, Brevard closes a block of Main Street to vehicular traffic every Tuesday between 6:00 pm and 9:00 pm so that people can dance in the street.

[David Bowie and Mick Jagger were no where to be seen, however.]

And here I thought choreographed dance numbers only happened in musicals.

A quaint little town

Ah, Canton!

[“I love the smell of a paper mill in the morning!”]

What a picturesque town.

Bunny wanted to visit the Coast Lamp Mfg. Inc., a lamp factory known for their … well … lamps.

[They make everything here except the light bulbs.]

And Canton isn't that far, right? [42 miles per Google Maps. For Western North Carolina, that's considered “close.” —Editor]

And hey, the drive was nice.

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Extreme lawn ornaments, Cashiers edition

While Brevard may go for cows as lawn ornaments, in Cashiers, it seems goat herds are the lawn ornament of choice.

[This is the lesser known story ‘Thirty-three Billy Goats Gruff.’]

Extreme road trip, Cashiers edition

“Let's take one of the roads out of town and look for a place for lunch,” Bunny said.

“Okay, sounds good,” I said.

Around 40 minutes later, we found ourselves in Cashiers, eating at The Carolina Smokehouse.

[It's some mighty fine 'que here.]

It's an excellent place, highly recommended if you are in the area.

Anyway, that's not the extreme road trip mentioned in the title. No, that goes to the previous owner of this license plate:

[That's a mighty long drive from Hawaii. And for about half the trip, you can't even roll down your windows!]

That's not a state license plate you see all too often here on the mainland.

Monday, July 06, 2015

Extreme cosplay potential, Brevard edition

For those of you looking to flesh out your Superman costume, look no further.

[Superman would totally use this last remaining phone booth but the trip here at super-speed would burn his “Clark Kent” clothes completely away on the trip from Metropolis.]

Okay, so it's lacking an actual payphone but when was the last time you saw an actual phone booth? Okay, when was the last time you saw an actual phone booth in person and not on television or in the movies?

A prisoner of the bathroom

I have two complaints about The Red House Inn. One, the bed is too soft for my liking and I find it hard to sleep at times (Bunny's complaint about the bed—it's too high, requiring mountaineering equipment to literally climb into bed).

My second complaint has to do with the bathroom door.

[It's like a French Door only without the glass, it's the width of a single door, it has no door knobs so it's totally unlike a French Door.]

The above picture is taken from inside the bathroom, and as you can see, there are no door knobs, just a pull handle on one side.

The pull handle is on the wrong side.

You see, there's a strip of wood running down the center of the door on the other side, covering the vertical gap between the two doors (although there's not much of a gap—in fact, the two doors are quite snug when closed). This strip of wood is attached to the door with the handle. When both doors are fully closed (and like I said, they're quite snug when fully closed) it is impossible to open the doors.

So last night, I'm pulling on the handle and the door is just sitting there, refusing to open because of that strip of wood running down the middle on the other side. There's nothing I can grab onto on the right side in the hopes of opening it up.

In the end, I had to knock hard on the door to get Bunny to open it.

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Extreme obviousness, Asheville edition

It was a quiet day today. Bunny and I drove to the Western North Carolina Farmer's Market in Asheville to pick up a few items and have lunch.

It was there I saw this:

[Is this one of those regulations that lead to Braille on drive-up ATMs?]

No comment.

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Extreme revolutionary acts, Brevard edition

At 3:00 PM, right in front of the Transylvania County Courthouse, a bunch of rabble rousers stood in the middle of the street and right then and there, started ranting about the government.

[The sheer gall of these revolutionaries airing their grievances in public!  In front of the county courthouse no less!]

Stuff about intolerable taxes, a government that doesn't listen to its citizens, usurping the will of the Governors on a whim, giving foreign governments power over us, for waging unjust wars and other things that are outright trea—oh wait a second! Bunny just corrected me—they were reading The Declaration of Independence.


How revolutionary!


To celebrate the Fourth of July, Brevard closes Main Street (Main Street! And a block north and south on Broad Street, the main road through town) to vehicular traffic for an all-day festival.

[This was taken at some ungodly hour of the morning. It got more crowded as the day went on.]

There were plenty of artists, food stalls, games and rides to keep the thousands that showed up busy. Even the rain didn't discourage anyone from slowly meandering about (the rain just made the meandering more frantic at first, then slowed it down a bit).

By the time of the fireworks show, 9:30 PM at Brevard College, Main Street had been opened, but a quarter mile segment of Broad Street, from the Transylvania Courthouse north towards the campus (the Courthouse is at the top of a hill) had been closed off to allow people a good view of the fireworks show.


Photo by Bunny

After the show, it was quieter in Brevard than our own neighborhood. I don't know if that's because of stricter enforcement of fireworks restrictions, or those setting off The Good Stuff™ just live further away from town.

I'm guessing the latter.

Moving from reservation to reservation

With our reservation up, Bunny and I bid our adieu to The Sunset Motel.

[Good bye 1950s retro stylings (and plumbing)!]

The only real complaint we had about the place was the plumbing—straight out of the 50s. The inflow of water during our showers did not match the outflow of water down the drain, so we were continuously up to our ankles in water. Also, there was a fine line (about 2mm) between “boiling alive” and “flash frozen.” And the less said about the toilet, the better.

The other complaint we had (and I'll admit this is totally a First-World 21st Century problem) was the rather lackluster wi-fi access point (more like a yo-yo wi-fi access point). Most of the time I used the “Personal Hotspot” function of my iPhone due to the poor performance of the wi-fi (and managed to burn through half our “Trust Us! One gigabyte is more than you need” data plan in a few days—damn you overly large webpages!—but I admit, I'm a special case here).

But with our reservation sunsetting on The Sunset Motel, there was a reservation rising at The Red House Inn.

[Hello 1850s retro stylings with modern 21st Century networking and plumbing!]

Again, due to recurrent procrastination, I couldn't reserve the room we wanted, but that's not to say the room we got was bad. It's not.

[While not as big as our last room, it's plenty big, and just as nice.]

And like the previous room, the bathroom has a shower with dual-shower heads.

[You have no idea how insanely decadent and luxurious it is to have dual shower heads going at the same time. Sinful, I say! Sinful! And that won't stop me from doing it on vacation.]

Now I'm wondering if all the rooms here at The Red House Inn have dual-shower heads.

Also in the room is a beautiful writing desk that I've taken over.

[Eat your hearts out, you steampunk-wannabes!]

And so far, the wi-fi access here has been fantastic (no First-World 21st Century problems here)!

Friday, July 03, 2015

Binion's Roadhouse

Given that Brevard has been rather crowded, Bunny thought it might be a good idea to try nearby Hendersonville for dinner. “A steak house,” she said. “Binion's Roadhouse sounds good.”

So Binion's Roadhouse it is. Some thirty minutes later we're driving through the parking lot of Binion's. The full parking lot of Binion's. The line snaking out the front door and across the parking lot of Binion's. “This place seems full,” said Bunny. “Why don't we try downtown Hendersonville?”

So downtown Hendersonville it is. A few minutes later we're driving though downtown Hendersonville and not a free parking space to be seen. Sure, there were a few empty parking spots, but there were people nearby hawking them for $5.00 a pop. It didn't help that a few streets were closed off for pedestrian use only. Man, what is it with North Carolina towns in the summer? Are they always this crowded? “You know,” Bunny said, “Binion's wasn't that bad a choice.”

So Binion's Roadhouse it is.

The wait wasn't that bad, actually. Maybe ten minutes. And the food was worth it (except for the fried pickles—they were a bit greasy and to me, tasted a bit like fried fish). But vegetarians and those with nut allergies are advised to avoid the place.

There is also no relation to Binion's, the Las Vegas casino, excpept that the owner of Binion's Roadhouse is friends with the owner of Binion's and has a license to use the name (I asked).

Extreme food trends, Brevard edition

So at the drive-in, I came across this menu item—“breaded fried mushrooms!”

[I bet people were skeptical about deep fried onions when they were first available.]

This isn't a thing I'm again, not aware of, right?


Dining in at the drive-in

Bunny thought we should try the Cardinal Drive-In (sadly, no website), a traditional drive-in burger joint just a few blocks north of The Sunset Motel. We arrived to a nearly empty lot (amazing, but we did arrive significantly before noon so maybe that helped).

Now, you would think that being at a drive-in, we would be eating in the car, but that would be too cliché—instead we ate in the dining room.

[And here I thought the Red Phone was reserved for Presidents and Batman, not for average Joes to order food from the booth.]

But to enmesh you in the whole drive-in theme, each booth had a phone where you could place your orders. The clerk could barely hear us through the device though, and instead walked over to our booth to take our order.

The food was quite good but I was rather surprised that in this day and age, there still existed a business that refused to accept plastic money. How authentically traditional (not to mention archaic but I digress).

But other than that, eating in and ordering face-to-face, our experience at the Cardinal Drive-In was exactly like eating at a drive-in burger joint.

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Extreme music appreciation, Brevard edition

Brevard takes music seriously, what with The Brevard Music Center. So I guess it isn't all that surprising to see a large banner of Beethoven hanging from the side of a building.

[I bet nobody told him he used too many notes.]

What next? Sushi at the sea food counter?

ORLANDO, Fla. - Publix announced on its Facebook page it has activated free Wi-Fi at all of its stores so customers can access the internet and their apps – including the Publix app – while they shop.

Via Jeff Cuscutis on FaceGoogleMyPlusSpaceBook, Publix offers free Wi-Fi at all stores

That was certainly fast.

I caption a photo taking Publix to task for failing to have Wi-Fi in their stores only to just now hear them announce Wi-Fi in all their stores.


I guess that's a thing now.


Bunny and I have usually visited Brevard late in the year, sometime between October and December (inclusive). It's typically quiet, lots of parking downtown and very few people milling about.


Oh My God!

The one downside to staying at The Sunset Motel is having to park downtown (it's a bit outside walking distance to downtown). And that's bad this time of year as there is no parking available. Even last night when we ate at The Square Root (their Pecan-encrusted Brie is to die for) we had trouble finding a parking spot. Today? We ended up parking several blocks west of downtown. The sidewalks were mobbed. And there was fifteen minute wait at Rocky's Soda Shop.

But for a retro-50s soda fountain they are rather high-tech. A waiter took our name and cell phone number, entered it into an iPad application which then called us when our booth was ready. Who knew there's an app for that? [Rocky's Soda Shop. —Editor] [Shut up, you! —Sean]

And even the barber shop was crowded today when usually we're the only ones there.

It's odd to think of Brevard as “bustling.”

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Extreme free wi-fi, Brevard edition

Bunny and I stop by Ingles to pick up a few items when I notice an odd offering for a supermarket:

[WTF Ingles?  Wi-Fi?  You are a grocery store! Really?  Wi-Fi?  Now I'm upset!  At home, Publix doesn't even offer Wi-Fi (as far as I know).]

I … I don't know what to make of this.

The Sunset Motel

Bunny and I are staying at the Sunset Motel here in overcast and slightly damp Brevard (just an inch or two more of rain a year, and the area around Brevard could be classified as a rain forest). We're staying here for two reasons:

  1. It has this cool 50s retro-style and it looked like it would be a fun place to try out (it's been here for as long as I remember—in fact, it's next door to the town homes I lived in when I was last living here thirty-odd years ago);
  2. I procrastinated too long in registering at The Red House Inn and we couldn't stay there the full nine days we planned on staying here.

It's a nice place and even if it's relentlessly gay:

[Their decorator is walking a very fine line here.]

it doesn't bother either one of us. We're okay with this. It's fun!

I think we're staying in The Star Room, as it's decorated with pictures of 50s movie stars like Audrey Hepburn, Marylyn Monroe and Elvis “Hunka-hunka-hunka burnin' love!” Presley.

[Unfortunately, breakfast will not be at Tiffany's.]

Yes, I think this will be a cool place to stay for a few days.


Hello from overcast a slightly drizzly Brevard, North Carolina!

We left Chez Boca at the ungodly hour of 7 AM. I drove for a few hours to let Bunny get some more sleep (me? I stayed up, deciding to “go to bed” a bit later than usual). At Ft. Pierce, switched places so I could get more sleep. We also encountered two bus loads (touring, not school) of middle school kids terrorizing the local establishments and causing long lines.

And wouldn't you know, the middle school kids were from Boca Raton. What are the odds?

There went an hour.

We switched again at a gas station just off the Grover, South Carolina I-95 exit. Here, the issue wasn't a ton of school kids from Boca Raton terrorizing the place, but being the only working gas station associated with an international brand for probably fifty miles in any direction. So there was the wait.

Waiting …

Waiting …

Oh so waiting …

Oh! An empty gas pump! Score!

No, I do not have a preferred customer card. Press “No” and wait.


Oh, now I can insert my plastic card o' money. Select “debit.”

Select “debit.”

Select “debit.”

Ah, now type my PIN.

Try to type my PIN.

Try to type my PIN.

Try to hit “cancel.”

Hit “cancel.”

Slam my body into the “cancel” button.

Okay, let me try this again, only this time, skip answering “No” to the preferred customer card. Now answer “credit” and try to enter the ZIP code.

Try to enter the ZIP code.

Try to enter the ZIP code.

Skip trying to hit the “cancel” button and go straight for the body slam.

Then try all those steps three more times, proving that I am, in fact, insane.

Walk inside the store and inform the clerk of the troubles I've seen.

The clerk walks out, I hand over my plastic card o' money and watch as the insanity spreads.

After realizing the insanity of the situation, the clerk has determined the pump must be broken and to try another pump.

It sounded insane, but switching to another pump worked.

And another hour just flew by.

The only other incident on the ride up to Brevard—we hit Columbia, South Carolina during rush hour.

There went another hour.

Twelve hours after we left Chez Boca, we arrived at destination. Just as the All-Knowing All-Seeing Google predicted.

Obligatory Picture

[The future's so bright, I gotta wear shades]

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