A stack overflow on a shoggoth is nothing to laugh at, even in a small developer environment

(Title is a random quote of myself, because I couldn't come up with a fitting one out of the blue)

Well, I'm coming up on two weeks since I returned from Providence. I miss it still, but a bit of the NRE (New RealEstate Energy) has faded. Still wish I didn't live somewhere that my allergies hate. Oh well. The grass is always greener in the other city.

Real life has been well, life. Work is alright, haven't had anything big to deal with. Things get a little busier after this weekend, but nothing crazy. At home it's about the same, I had plans last weekend to do a bunch of stuff, but I stuck to chilling out at home for the most part. This weekend is socializing on Saturday, and chores and stuff on Sunday.

Read a random book on medieval cities, finished it last night. Was a sort of trip down memory lane, as my first big history nerdism was European history from post Empire to the Hundred years war. The focus was the city of Troyes around 1250, so lots of things I knew, and even more than I'd once known, and have since forgotten. Bit of a change from my usual Greco-Roman or Mesopotamian history that's my usual flavor. In the weird fiction real, I'm reading a collection I picked up at StokerCon, 'Black Pantheons' by Curtis M. Lawson. The stories are pretty good, but the last, and longest is kind of hard to read. Main character has some form of dementia, and lives in a retirement community. Yeah, that doesn't stir up memories for me at all. But still worth reading, especially for the first story and the eldritch version of Pinocchio.

So yeah, that's about it for me. Having a nice quiet Friday night, been watching 70's British horror flicks and futzing around online. Night all, and I hope everyone has a good weekend.

Starry Wisdom Retreat: Part 2

On Thursday I rented a car and drove down to Mystic to visit the aquarium and seaport there. Got to feed a stingray, which was one of the oddest feelings I've ever felt, like a muscular vacuum cleaner was grabbing my hand. Saw belugas, seals, petted a small cat shark. It's not a huge aquarium, but it's definitely high quality. Mystic Seaport was a place me and my folks went to when I was a kid, and it's been on my list to revisit for YEARS. Lots of ships, including a visiting Viking longboat that I went on board without knowing it with still offlimits to visitors (oops). Did go on board a 19th century whaling ship, an 20th century full ship rigged training vessel, and a fishing vessel from the early 20th century. Plus there's a number of historical buildings that were part of the Mystic sea trade. Definitely was good to visit, next time I'll go later in the year so more things will be open. Oh yeah, and while I was in Mystic I stopped by Mystic Pizza for a slice (or 3). Not a fan of the movie, but really...why not.

Random stuff. Visit Providence, and you'll eat well. Italian food, Irish pub food, sushi, so much good sushi. Found a little breakfast place that I ate at repeatedly while I was there. Had pizza a few times, quite a bit of variety in New England, some was like NYC, but thicker, others were like Chicago, but not as 'pie' like. The only less than great meals I had where when I had to do chain food, all the local places were top notch. Another oddity, Providence has really good tap water. Probably saved myself a bunch on bottled water bills. Lots of people with dogs on the streets of Providence, but unlike most of the random dogs I run into in Texas, they were well trained and didn't suddenly lunge at me randomly. Well other than one fluffy still mostly puppy, who just radiated 'I want to be friends'. The bus system was decent, a little confusing, but then again I have less experience with mass transit. I ended up walking a lot for that reason, and the occasional Lyft ride.

So that's the Cliff Notes version of my trip to Providence. I really had a good time, and I'll be back, probably for NecronomiCon 2019. I'm really fond of how the city looked, and how it felt to wander around. Definitely glad I decided to go. Thanks to Grandpa Theobald for inspiring me to go, and to all the nifty people I met while I was there. Iä! Iä! Cthulhu Fhtagn!

Starry Wisdom Retreat: Part 1

I had an amazing time in Providence. Not everything went according to plan, but my plans were made to be flexible, and with the understand that this would probably not be my only trip there. So while I didn't get to visit all the museums I wanted to, or the zoo, I did get to explore Grandpa Theobald's stomping grounds, see lots of nifty old building, and eat some amazing food.

I'm not going to do a day by day, action by action post...I'd be writing for hours. I'll ping the high notes and interesting bits as I think of them. Start with my hotel. The Dean is a small 'boutique' hotel a few blocks from the Providence Biltmore, where StokerCon was being held. I later found out from a friend that it used to be one of the more notorious strip clubs in Providence, with the rooms being rented by the hour. Was a fun place, staff were friendly and the room was nicely sized and mostly comfy. There's a leather reading chair I wanted to steal somehow. Recommended if you're in town and like smaller hotesl.

Now lets move on to Lovecraft. I visited 3 of the places he lived, though only one house is still around (and moved from it's location when he lived there). I also visited the house he used as the setting for the story 'The Shunned House', the Fleur de Lys building which is mentioned in 'The Call of Cthulhu', and where the Church of the Starry Wisdom was in 'The Haunter of the Dark' (though the church was torn down and made into a park.) I also wandered around Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design, on College Hill. Lots of climbing that hill. I visited the John Hay Library, but I didn't request to view the Lovecraft collection, I felt funny about it. I also didn't go see his grave marker at Swan Point cemetery. I found walking in his footsteps more interesting that visiting a grave.

Now lets talk books. Oh lord, is Providence a city for me. 3 used/indie bookstores in downtown (including the amazing Lovecraft Arts and Sciences), and 2 more a bit east around where HPL's birthplace was. I spent a lot on books, oh so many books. I ended up shipping a decent sized box of books home...then I went to StokerCon for more. Cthulhu books, history books, esoterica, stuff on Providence, things that just looked cool. At StokerCon I bought a few books based on author's elevator pitches, or from authors I've been talking to online. So many books...my bookshelves are groaning in pain.

StokerCon itself was fairly low key. It's mostly a 'con for writers to network and talk ideas and techniques. But there were some panels that were less focused, like panels on pulp and weird fiction, or Stoker's writing habits, or Hammer & Universal movies. I also listened to long time favorite authors Ramsey Campbell and Caitlin Kiernan do readings. Every one was really friendly, even the bigger names in the business, and had one author correct me when I said I was 'just a reader'. Also, the above mentioned Lovecraft Arts and Sciences hosted a poetry reading by a number of weird poets, including Donald Sidney-Fryer, who blew me away with how he read. Definitely worth braving the Nor'easterner that hit Friday. The whole con was fun, relaxed and well organized. Definitely recommend. The next one will be in Grand Rapids, MI. See details at stokercon2019.org.

Stay tuned for part 2, where I discuss stingrays, food and friggin' in the riggin'.