Got back from Providence on Tuesday. I had an amazing time. There were
some hiccups (avoid LaGuardia like the plague, and ye gods was the weather
warmer than I'd have hoped, and humid), but besides that pretty much
everything else was aces.
Smoke and Dagger - Douglas Wynne
Killer Lake - David Eventon
The Lost Husband - Willie Meikle
24 Hours in Ancient Egypt - Donald P Ryan
Secret Bloody London - John Pullen
Starry Wisdom - Peter Levenda
Library of the Lost: In Search of Forgotten Authors - Roger Dobson
The Weird of Hali: Red Hook - John Michael Greer
From Hell - Greig Beck Author
The Cold - Rich Hawkins
The Copycat Murders - Willie Meikle
Dark Wisdom - Gary Myers
Grey Magic - Gary Myers
Corpsepaint - David Peak
Demiurge - Michael Shea
First non-travel day was driving from Queens to New Haven for a museum
exhibition on Mesopotamia. Added bonus, free museum day when I got there.
So I got my cuneiform on. Then I drove a little further to Niantic, home
of 'The Book Barn', a bookstore with 3 locations in this one small town.
Sunday I continued on to Rhode Island, first stopping at Point Judith which
is the furthest south you can get on Rhode Island, and where I visited last
year in the winter. This time I got to go into the ocean. Not just up to
my knees like I did in Gloucester, but full immersion. It felt so damn good.
This Innsmouth boy definitely needs to get his carcass into the ocean on a
regular basis. I did manage to make it back down to the same beach later
in the week due to severe salt water cravings. *grin*
After the beach I headed up to Providence, where I stayed
at the Old Court Bed and Breakfast, a 19th century building on College
Hill, I'd found it last visit while walking around. So this year I stayed
there for the first half of my time in Providence. Snazzy period room,
pretty comfy. Other than it's a 3rd floor walk up...well I've needed more
exercise. *laugh* I spent 3 nights there, while wandering around
Providence and nearby.
Went down to Newport by ferry, then took an
Unplanned Schooner Sail, which reminded me how much I like being on the
water. Weird day on the water, big fog bank rolled in and it seemed like
we were in the plot of a horror movie. Also was a more "active" cruise,
than the one in Gloucester last year, not sure if it was a stronger wind, or
the bay was rougher or *shrug* Was fun, especially when the ship heeled
over while running with the wind, that was a rush! After the cruise, I
managed to walk to the Newport Tower, a local 'mystery'. It's one of
those things that comes up as proof that the Irish or Templars or whatever
made it to America prior to Columbus. It looks pretty surreal to be
in the middle of a New England park, something that looks like it's from
the medieval era. But it's probably just some kind of folly or mundane
structure. Or it's used by cultists to conjure Yog-Sothoth...who knows.
Wednesday I switched hotels, going to the Providence Biltmore (it's been
renamed to The Graduate Providence, but no one seems to want to use that name). One of the two hotels that the 'con was going to be at. The 'con started
for me on Thursday, with a secret event that I am unable to speak of *wink*.
Friday-Sunday was a few panels, some more interesting than others, a few
readings which were much more interesting. I also spent a lot of time in
the vendors area, because there was probably a dozen folks or
more in there I knew
either from the HPL Film Festival, or from online. Bought a bunch of nifty
things, and had to convince myself to not try to come home with everything
that caught my eye. I went to the Art Show at the Providence Art Club on
Saturday, which was probably very wise of me, as there were several pieces
of art on the wall I would have come home with. Hopefully I can find prints
of them vs the originals.
I did have some anxiety/stress/lack of tentacle moments. But like the HPLFF
it was no big thing for me to sit down and people watch/read, or go back
to my room for a recharge. But I didn't do it as much as I thought I would.
I even managed to go to an after hours event that was multiple levels of
anxiety inducing. (A. hugely crowded, B. Claustrophobic, C. Performing
in public). Specifically, being part of the Innsmouth Sea Shanty Sing
Along. And since I knew most of the songs already, I sang loudly so
people could hear/learn the lyrics. I think the last time I sang out loud,
leading other people was a pagan event in 2000-2001. Luckily sea shanties
don't require a lot of vocal talent, just volume. I was joking after the
event that I expected my limbic system to spontaneously combust when it
realized what I'd been doing.
I got a few new signatures in my copy of 'Shadow Over Innsmouth', met a
bunch of folks. One of the high points was getting to meet Pete Rawlik,
who I've been online pals with for years. Great guy and author, and a really
personable guy. Who is a fount of Lovecraftian/weird/pulp/etc trivia.
I caught part of his trivia contest before the sing along, and out of
the 6-7 questions I heard, I got two right. So if you ever think 'Boy
Vulpine knows a lot of Lovecraft' I but an acolyte. (And the guy who
has won the thing 3 Necronomicons in a row is even more eldritch, Pete
at least has his library when he's writing these things, the winner had
the answers in his brain case). I also got to see two Dark Adventure
Radio Theatre performances by the HPLHS, which as a card carrying member I
of course had to lend my support (and ears). Special parts, I'd never
heard one of the plays (the latest one 'Mad Science), and that they only
had 3 guys doing the voices, where usually at live shows they have 6-7
and someone working sound effects. Watching them switch voice, accent,
mannerisms back and forth to cover all the voices was astounding.
The 'con ended Sunday. I didn't fly out til Tuesday, I spent Monday day
shipping out the 25 pounds or so of books I bought that I felt I could
let out of my hands. Then I mostly just hermitted and read. Then
it was time to fly back. Which was...a mess. Weather and timing caused my
flight to be delayed 3 times. Luckily Logan airport is fairly comfortable.
Speaking of books, I managed to read 15 during my 11 day vacation. Pretty
good, especially since I didn't just spend all my time reading. Here's
So now I'm back in DFW, and I want to go back to Providence already. Good
food, really nice people, history on the half shell, and books everywhere.
In fact, there's a fountain outside the Providence Athenaeum, which legend
has that if you drink from the fountain you are destined to return to
I took a total of 5 drinks while there *wink*
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
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!
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
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
Stay tuned for part 2, where I discuss stingrays, food and friggin' in the riggin'.
Haven't had the ...whatever powers blogposts in a while. Part of it is
the less than great headspace I've been in. Work is somewhat stressful,
with us being short an admin, and the different groups I am matrix managed
by are pulling in various ways. Brainmeats are pretty annoying too, with
all my usual issues showing themselves, usually when I could really use
Took a long weekend from work, off Friday through Monday, back on Tuesday.
Probably one of my better decisions. I've caught up on sleep, caught up
on laundry and chores and managed to rearrange bookshelves to make room for...
more books. *chuckle* I expect to come back from my trip to Providence
with a bunch of books, so I'm trying to make room for them. I've also
spent yesterday and today updating the VM horde. New versions of Fedora,
OpenSuSE and LinuxMint, so I've been busy. It's also therapeutic, I find
patching to relax me.
Speaking of Providence, I leave in less than 3 weeks. Half a week of
wandering Providence and nearby environs, and the StokerCon fun and games.
My plans are kind of nebulous, I really should sit down and get my list
of stuff down on paper (virtual). Museums and history sites, bookstores,
and of course all things Lovecraft, plus whatever insanity I get up to at
StokerCon. Should be a lot of fun, and I'm finally getting to go visit
Grandpa Theobald's stomping grounds.
I'm about to call it a day, turn off the movies and spend the rest of the
night in a book. Or several. Books that is. Hopefully tonight is restful
and full of good reading, and tomorrow I get a final day of time off before
back to the crazy. Wish me luck.