Starry Wisdom

Entropic Words from Neilathotep

Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Long Walk

I walked across SF today, SE to NW.

I’d say more, but the route speaks for itself. It took about 3.5 hours including some breaks to snack. My feet hurt.

posted by neil at 10:19 pm
under adventure  

Monday, June 23, 2008

Boston June 12-16 2006

Earlier this month I took a short trip to Boston to visit my friend Adam, who is a professor at Boston College. He’s lived there for a few years now, and I hadn’t yet made it out, so I made my stand and went. Here is a quick run down of the trip.

June 12:

I took an early flight, which means I arrived around 4pm. Adam picked me up, and we drove to Jamaica Plain, where his condo is. When I go the tour of his place, and a short while later we went out to get dinner. We ended up at a decent place called Cafe D. I really enjoyed my white gazpacho there, and my main course was tasty, but by the end I decided they could have toned the salt down a little. A couple of pints of Dogfish 60 IPA went well with the food.

Afterwards we retired to one of his neighborhood bars for another beer, and watched part of the Celtics-Lakers game. The Celtics were way down at the half so we left. (Turns out they won, which would have been fun).

Back at Adam’s he broke out some board games he had recently discovered on his trip to the Northwest. Two of them, Quridor and Quarto, were from a French company, Gigamic. They are both fairly simple games that take 10-15 minutes to play, but are rich despite small rule sets. I am likely going to purchase them. Hive is a game so simple it has no board, just 22 bakelite hexagonal pieces. And the more complex card game Coldwar:CIA vs KGB rounded out the night.

Jun 13:

We woke up and took the T to the downtown area. First stop was the Old Granary Burying Grounds an old Cemetary in the city center. It has such wonderful graves as John Hancock and Paul Revere. Afterwards we walked around the block and visited the first weird stop of my trip.

The Boston Atheneum is a private library founded early in the 19th century that is also somewhat of a museum. Amongst its treasures are a set of French Encyclopedias that were owned by Benjamin Franklin, and George Washington’s personal library. We were able to walk around it freely thanks to a neat program they created to entice younger members – the membership dues are about 1/3 of normal for people under 40. Adam jumped at the chance, and this was his first trip there under his membership. It also has a nice terrace overlooking the Burial Ground!

Next we walked through the commons and the public garden. We found a monument to ether! Then we walked over to the Back Bay to get get lunch. Well, the place we had planned to go to was only open for lunch on weekends, and despite us thinking it was Saturday, it was Friday. So we walked down the main street of the area, which is “high falootin” to say the least, and eventually ended up at Parish’s Cafe. This place is pretty neat, they have sandwiches designed by the chef’s of many famous Boston Restaurants. We had a pretty decent, albeit incredibly filling lunch, then headed back out in to the heat.

After wandering around a bit, Adam had what was probably a BRILLIANT idea, and we walked over to the Christian Science headquarters for our next incredibly strange item on my visit – the Hall of Ideas and Mapparium. We managed to get there just before the last Mapparium show of the day, and I’m glad, because this something not to be missed in Boston. It’s a 40′ tall glass globe built in the 1930s. The real trick of it though is that you can go inside it. Once inside, on the bridge crossing the equator, you can see a small light show about the world, and how it has changed since the 1930s when the globe was built and the glass painted. Afterward, the intersting acoustic properties of a giant glass ball can be explored. People on either side of the bridge can talk to each other win whispers, and a person standing under the poles hears their voice echoing throw them like they are a supreme being.

We walked back to the T station and back to Jamaica Plain. We played some board games to pass time, and ate Smilies to tide us over. And then we headed out to see a set of 7 comedies at the oldest community theater in America, conveniently located a few blocks away from Adams. 6 of the comedies were at least decent, but the last was awful, and the longest by far. Still, it was a worthwhile endeavor. We ended the night with some Thai Food and some sorbet from JP Licks, the local ice cream place. Once back at his apartment I played a bit of Bioshock on his 360 before we retired for the night.

June 14:

Adam woke up late, and I spent a bit of the morning playing more Bioshock. Afterwards we headed up to Cambridge. First stop was Harvard Square, and then over to the Harvard Museum of Natural History. The most famous exhibit here is there glass plants – which are scientific replicas of actual plans made in the late 19th and early 20th century for the museum by glass artisans. This is a permanent exhibit. But we were also able to see an exhibit of their earlier glass sea creatures, which was rather fantastic to me. We also saw their gigantic maze of taxodermy, which keeps winding on and and, more rooms always ahead of you, until you come across the bleached skeletons of both baleen and toothed whales hanging from the ceiling. When we had enough of that, Adam called his friend Joana who lives in the area, and we planned to meet her at Davis Square after lunch.

When we got up there, we found out she had headed down to Harvard Square, so we spent some time at a cute little store called Magpie. They call themselves a hipster craft store, and I guess that fits the bill. There were no giant squid wares to be had, but we both bought some magnets (mine included a hand-carved, rare-earth glass magnet with an octopus on it). It was a good way to pass the time, and then headed out to find Joana. We stopped by a cafe for a drink, and then walked over to Joana’s so Adam could see how her garden was doing. Along the way we stopped off at Kick-Ass Cupcakes, and I enjoyed a Mojito Cupcake. And, she decided to accompany us on the next strange endeavor – all-female, flat-track, punk rock roller derby!

We trekked out to, well, I don’t know, to the Shriner’s auditorium for the league finals of the Wicked Pissahs vs the Cosmonaughties. I can’t really do justice to this fantastic event, and my pictures suck, but I will just say that it was great, each of us enjoyed it more than the rest, except Joana, who enjoyed it the most. I plan to watch the local league here in the Bay Area, that’s how impressed I was. We had rodizio for dinner, and after that fitting end to an exiting day, called it a night.

June 15:

We woke up and it was overcast – in fact it was raining a bit. This might have bummed out some people on vacation but it was actually good for our weird endeavor of the day. We were heading down to Providence to see some Lovecraftian sites. We started off at Swan Point Cemetery, where after an hour of searching, and the magic of a GPS and a Treo (both Adam’s), we found his grave.

We next went towards the city center and College Hill, to follow a self-guided walking tour that we found online. But first we had brunch at a “campustown” cafe. The food was decent, and the waitress’ accent and voice was almost the basis of the wife on the terrible show “Family Guy”, which had me biting my lip. Afterwards we walked the route of the tour, more or less. I think the number one highlight was Prospect Terrace Park, a favorite hangout of HPL, and where the founder of Providence, Roger Williams, patted me on the head. There were some fantastic colonial houses to be seen, and it was a generally good time tromping around in the appropriate gloom.

Providence spent, we drove back up to Boston. We saw a movie and then ate dinner at a fantastic restaurant I found via Yelp, Hungry Mother. Even though we had to sit at the bar it was a fantastic meal, and I highly recommend it. From the starter to the dessert my taste buds were enjoying themselves.

A couple of hours of Rock Band on the 360, which resulted in a blister on my hand from the drums, got us in a rocking mood to watch “Venture Bros.” and “Metalocalypse”on Adult Swim.

June 16:

My last day, I had a mid-afternoon flight. The morning was spent with a few minutes of Bioshock, more of the board games, and helping Adam swap out his breaking window AC for a brand new one. Despite the fact that he was missing some short stubby screw drivers which would have theoretically been necessary to remove the old unit, I managed to McGyver up a solution and we had the old one out and the new one in within an hour or so. This was basically my payment for the room, and it was a service I was glad to provide.

We went to Legal Seafood for some chowder and such for lunch, and then through the Big Dig to Logan for my flight home. All in all it was a great trip, and I’m sure I will be back.

Collection of all my photos from the trip

posted by neil at 7:44 pm
under travel  

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


I just got back from a relatively short vacation to Boston (5 days). I will get pictures online and post some here, but in the interim I feel like mentioning a few highlights:

1) The Mapparium at the Christian Science headquarters – 3 story glass globe of the world as it was in the 1930s. You stand inside it. It is strange but oh so cool:

2) The Boston Athenaeum – a private library/art collection in boston, which my friend just happened to be a member of Neat things include Benjamin Franklins set of French Encyclopedias, George Washington’s personal library, and a stair case that seems to go down to the center of the eart:

3) Roller Derby – I went to the finals of the Boston Derby Dames all-girl, flat-track roller derby. This was way more fun that it should have been and now that I know that we have something of this sort in the bay area, I am going to try to attend.

4) Rock Band – good way to warm up to watch metalocypse. So what if I got a small blister from rocking out on the drums?

posted by neil at 9:14 am
under adventure  

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Last night I saw Dethklok at the historic Fillmore in San Francisco. I made a point of the venue because I was supposed to see them there last Thursday but:

Anyway, they are really really really amazing live. Awesome musicianship, and it’s surreal to see 4 normal guys playing Death Metal – and especially to hear Nathan Explosions voice coming out of Brendon Small. Of course, they have a great video show in the background, including bits of Nathan singing parts of the song. All in all a great effect.

Fans of Metalocalypse should do whatever they can to see them live

posted by neil at 8:49 am
under Uncategorized  

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