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March 30th, 2009

Lite To No Posting This Week…(Updated)

I’m in Orlando, visiting Disney World, and the damn Comfort Inn here charges for Internet which I refuse to pay (I’m posting this on my iPhone right now). So, expect very little posting here until I get back.

I’m already having a great time here in the park…but some journies are worth the trip, just to see someone smile.

[Update…] My bad…   There seems to be no charge for the Internet after all.  At any rate…I’m using the Motel wireless now and I didn’t have to plug in a credit card number like you usually do for Internet access when they’re charging.  Just for kicks and grins I plugged in to see what the charge was, and instead of being taken to a buy it now page I got my Internet right away.  Nice.

But posting will still be infrequent, because I am on vacation and I am trying to tune out the world for a while.  Also, Motel Internet is seldom reliable.

by Bruce | Link | React! (1)

March 28th, 2009

Off To Tomorrowland And Beyond…

It’s raining here in Charm City and I’m packing my car and heading for what would have been the Experimental Prototype City Of Tomorrow had Walt Disney not been a cigarette smoker.  But what’s there now is still very nice, and so is the rest of it.  Disney World is Huge, and the first time I went there last November I spent most of my time just gawking at the immensity of it.  Now I have a better idea of what I want to do, and more time to do it.  I also want to wave ‘hi’ to a certain someone, and maybe see him smile one more time.

I’m spending a week, but not in the park this time, which will make it harder to just tune out the entire world like I did last time.  But the hotels inside the park are way too expensive…even the so-called "value" hotels.  There are so many other nice hotels and motels crowding around the entrances to the park that it’s not hard to find something even nicer then the mid priced Disney hotels at, I kind you not, about a third of the cost.  But then you are not in the park the entire time, and being wrapped completely inside that park almost makes it worthwhile.  You really can just leave the world behind for a while, and live in a place where it really is a small world after all, and there’s a great big beautiful tomorrow shining at the end of every day, and find yourself believing that dreams really do come true.

Once upon a time I viewed all that as nothing more then cheap escapism.  But the world, and my life, just stresses me out too much now.  I’m single, I’m desperately lonely, and I’m living in a world that never seems to let any chance go by to tell me it hates my guts.  And there is still that sense in the land of Walt, of all those things I thought the world was, and the future would be.  You can see it slowly fading as Disney’s handiwork is overlaid with newer things, some of which I doubt he would have liked, and some which just don’t hit the mark he would have.  But even as it fades, it lifts the spirit.  At least in someone of my generation.

You have to experience the parks to realize, again if you’re my age and remember watching him on television, how wide Walt Disney’s imagination ranged.  People think of Disneyland and they think of the part of the park called Fantasyland.  But there was Tomorrowland and Frontierland and Adventureland.  There was the little Main Street where everyone entered the park.  There was the hall of presidents, and the river boat and the monorail and the people movers.  There was the ground breaking animation, but also tons of live action film, and nature series and documentaries. Look a little deeper, beyond all the eye candy and the rides and the exhibits, and you see, astonished, a park infrastructure that is still held in awe by architects.  This operation is Huge and yet it runs smoothly.  And Disney World in Orlando is several orders of magnitude bigger, and it Still runs smoothly.  Chuck Jones once told Disney he wanted his job (Disney told him that position was already filled), and Jones was himself an fantastically creative animator.  But there was no city of tomorrow in Chuck Jones, let alone a World.

Last time I walked through the parks down in Disney World, it all came back to me…that it’s a small world after all…that the search for knowledge is a great adventure…that tomorrow was something to look forward to with a smile.  People told me after I came back home last November, how much better I looked, how more at ease I seemed.  One person insisted I must have gotten laid.  I hadn’t of course…but it was almost like that in terms of how good life seemed again.  For a little while…

So now I’m packing the Mercedes for another trip south.  Before I leave I briefly scan the web.  I see Andrew Sullivan reporting the Rod Dreher has replied to Damon Linker, who has in turn replied back.  Linker, you may recall, asked Dreher if he had something, anything, besides The Bible Says So to justify his obsession with the Homosexual Menace.  Dreher gives the expected answer back…

If homosexuality is legitimized — as distinct from being tolerated, which I generally support — then it represents the culmination of the sexual revolution, the goal of which was to make individual desire the sole legitimate arbiter in defining sexual truth. It is to lock in, and, on a legal front, to codify, a purely contractual, nihilistic view of human sexuality. I believe this would be a profound distortion of what it means to be fully human. And I fully expect to lose this argument in the main, because even most conservatives today don’t fully grasp how the logic of what we’ve already conceded as a result of being modern leads to this end.

Note the hyperbole.  The horror of individual desire being seen as more legitimate then his cheapshit barstool prejudices.  The knee jerk slandering of that desire as essentially nihilistic.  But what Dreher is afraid of here isn’t that the human heart is nothing, but that he is.  In the end, the Homosexual Monster, like the Dangerous Black Man and The Greedy Jew represents nothing more then the abyss he stares into every morning in the bathroom mirror.

This is why I am going back to Disney World.  I want to spend some more time in a place where I can have that vision of the world and tomorrow I had as a kid back again.  Where it’s a small world after all.  Where I can return a stranger’s smile and not wonder if they want to cut my ring finger off and stick a knife in my heart, so they can go to heaven.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Off To Tomorrowland And Beyond…

November 19th, 2008

On The Road…

A few images from South Of The Border, where I spent the night last night.  I love that place.  Besides the fact that all its motel rooms have their own carports, which make it easy to unpack the car for the night and repack it the next morning, it’s delightfully pure tacky roadside Americana…






I seem to get the biggest kick out of photographing amusement parks in their off season.  It’s like…when all the people are gone you can hear the all the fiberglass and wood structures speaking for themselves…

I’m in Orlando now…at the Radisson just outside the entrance to Disneyworld.  My Disneyworld hotel reservations aren’t until tomorrow, and check-in time is 3PM.  Not sure if my Disneyworld hotel will have Internet or not.  If not it may be a while before I post here again.   

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on On The Road…

November 18th, 2008

Heading Out…

I’m hitting the road for Orlando in a little bit, so posting will suddenly become very light, probably until next Wednesday.  I have a bunch of stuff in the queue to put up here, including a really nice photo from the Pasadena Anti-Prop 8 protests sent in by a reader.  But I just want to get away now.  The price of premium gasoline is now hovering around the two dollar mark here in the Baltimore area, and I can see it going lower elsewhere.  So while I have a chance I’m going to take it.  I want to be on the road. 

I’m throwing my cameras and my bags into Traveler and I’m heading out.  I’ll be spending a long weekend in Disneyworld, trying to de-stress and remember what it was like when life seemed limitless and fun.  Hopefully I’ll come back home with a better attitude.  I just want to get away.  I want to be on the road. 

If I post at all in the coming days, it’ll be mostly dispatches from the road if anything.  Maybe with a few pictures.

Talk with you more when I get back…

by Bruce | Link | React! (1)

July 19th, 2008

Heading Out To Portland…

…and the OSCON Open Source Developer’s Conference therein.   This’ll be my fifth year at this particular conference and I really enjoy the company of so many fellow computer revolutionaries.   My all time favorite T-Shirt slogan is from last year’s:  In A World Without Fences, Who Needs Gates?

I’m flying out from Baltimore first thing tomorrow, with neighbors and Brinks looking after Casa del Garrett while I’m gone.  And I’ll be real busy at the conference so posting may be a tad infrequent until I get back.  I’ll try to post some photos of the scenery out there when I can.  Some of it is just lovely.  And Portland’s not bad either…

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Heading Out To Portland…

January 1st, 2008

Wow…That Much…???

So I’ve finally plugged in all the register chits from my Key West road trip, and the total bill comes to $2,119.39.  The bulk of that being hotel costs, and the bulk of That being the high cost of lodgings in the Florida Keys…at least during Christmas week.  I paid $746.99 for lodgings in Key Largo and Key West over three nights…one night in Key Largo at $222.95 and two in Key West at $524.04 and those were the best rates I could find in AAA rated two-diamond minimum motels with Internet connectivity.  By comparison, the motel I stayed at in Orlando only charged me $57 for a night, and the Microtel I stayed at in Georgia on the way home only cost $78.39.  Btw…I Highly recommend Microtel.  The beds are comfortable, the rooms are very small, but sensibly laid out…and Quiet.

Total gas bill came to 324.36.  Food was a total of 303.67, but I ate well while I was in Key West, and since I found out someone very special to me works as a waiter nowadays, I’ve been tipping pretty extravagantly.  Normally while on the road I’m splurging if I spend more then $15 a day on food.  I just don’t eat much.  But the eating was just wonderful in Key West. 

There were some miscellaneous expenses that all told came to $361.76.  I had to buy a new camera strap for the 30D when the old leather one I had on it suddenly broke.  Luckily the camera itself was undamaged.  I bought several new caps…some sandals when I finally saw a pair I actually liked in Key West…and the cutest little Gay Rainbow Micky Mouse pin you ever saw at Disneyworld.  If Disney isn’t officially supporting Gay Days, they’re sure making us feel welcome there nonetheless.  And there was this really eyeball burning tye-dye hooded sweatshirt I saw in Key West that I just had to have…

So…about a week and a day, and it cost me just over two-grand.  That’s about a grand more then I was hoping to get away with.  I have to start planning these things a little more carefully.  But note, the cost of gasoline was still not a very big factor here.  In fact, gas and food Combined were less then the hotel costs.

And this trip I didn’t spend anything on photographic film, because I still have a lot of unexposed black and white and color film I haven’t used yet (and didn’t either on this trip…everything I shot this trip was digital…)

I need to turn one of my savings accounts into a road trip kitty…and just not go anywhere until I’ve got at least two-grand in it… 

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Wow…That Much…???

December 31st, 2007

Equivalent Magic

More from my wee stroll though Downtown Disney…






by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Equivalent Magic

December 30th, 2007

A Night In Disneyworld

A few images from my wander around Downtown Disney and Paradise Island…









by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on A Night In Disneyworld

Awww…Now What Am I Going To Do With Those Sandals I Just Bought…?

Back home.  And…damn…it’s cold outside.

I arrived home late last night, but I know it’s possible now to drive from Southern Georgia to Baltimore in one day.  I didn’t hurry it…just kept driving knowing that even if I got home late, I would have a place to sleep.  Sometimes when you’re on the road, you stop early for a motel room before they’re all booked up.   I’d have loved to stay in Key West through New Years, but I didn’t realize it would be so expensive to stay down there and I basically ran out of hotel money for this trip.  Next time I’ll be ready.  Even with the price of gasoline being what it is now, the major cost of a road trip are the lodgings.  I’m still paying off last year’s trip to Portland, which is another reason why I didn’t have much to spare to spend on this road trip.  When I get everything added up, I’ll post the totals here. In the meantime, here are the stats according to Traveler’s onboard trip computer…

  • Miles Traveled: 2832
  • Hours Driven: 51.45
  • Average mpg: 28.7
  • Average Speed: 55mph

All that’s over the course of the entire trip, including driving around Hilton Head for a bit, around Orlando and the area around Disneyworld for a bit, and all the driving I did around the Florida Keys.

I actually got 31 miles per gallon driving back across the keys from Key West to the mainland!  So now I know that my car with that big Mercedes v-6 engine in it will still do over  30 miles per gallon…if I drive it at an average speed of about 45 miles per hour over terrain that is almost totally flat.  But I’ve discovered to my relief on this first big road trip, that it’ll do nearly 30 mpg if I drive it for extended periods at highway speeds.  Typically my trip computer was reading around 29.3 to 29.8 mpg after a few miles down I-95.  That’s Much better then I was expecting.  I have compared the trip computer to my gas purchases  and mileage, which I’ve been recording in a little notebook ever since I bought the car, and they match to within tenths of a gallon, so I’m pretty confidant that the trip computer is giving me an accurate account of miles per gallon as I go down the road.

I’ve put on enough miles now that I can go get my free first tire rotation.  I’ll need to ask them to check out the area around my gas filler.  I pulled over in a small town in North Carolina looking for gas, and saw that the Hess gas station had the good price so I went there and the pumps weren’t working right.  The first pump I went to took about a minute to pump only a half gallon.  So I closed out the transaction there and moved to a different one which was still slow, but not painfully so.  But good thing I always stay near the pump while it’s working, because that one didn’t cut off when it had filled the tank and suddenly I had a massive overflow on my hands.  It was scary…dripping all over the passenger side rear tire and down around the filler cap.  I put the hose back on the pump, doused the area with water from one of the washer stations, and went inside to warn them that they had a dangerous situation with that one pump, and the clerk just nodded her head and said, "Oh yes, you have to watch that one or it’ll do that…"

Christ!  The saving grace of it was it was raining and the roads were wet.  I doused the area with water once again and then drove Traveler through several big puddles and then back onto I-95 where the tire could spray water into that wheel well that got drenched.  Maybe I should have called the fire department on them too, but being by myself in a small southern town I wasn’t sure I wanted to.  I knew they were thoughtless assholes.  If they had a mind to, they could have accused me of damaging their pump somehow and then it’s that little northern faggot against the local boys and I might have ended up being the one in trouble.

So when I take Traveler in for its tire rotation, now I have to ask them to check around the area of the filler cap for damage.  Gasoline is a powerful solvent.  I’ve used white gasoline, the stuff you can buy for camping stoves that comes without all the additives they put into automobile fuel, occasionally for really tough chores like hardened brushes.  But you can’t be too careful with it, and not just for the dangerous fumes, but also what it will damage if it gets dripped on.  So I’m fretting a bit now about what that spill might have done to my new car.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Awww…Now What Am I Going To Do With Those Sandals I Just Bought…?

December 29th, 2007

Southernmost Geek…


Photo taken at the southernmost part of the U.S., near the southernmost hotel in the U.S., by the southernmost house in the U.S., of the southernmost gay American, the southernmost computer geek, the southernmost shutter bug, the  southernmost cartoonist, the southernmost longhaired male, and the southernmost Mercedes-Benz owner, wearing what was at that instant the southernmost American smile.

If you’ve ever been there, you’ve seen how that one little corner of Key West has a thing for southernmostness.

You can almost see it there in that photo, how the waters of the Atlantic right there were the color of my turquoise bracelet.  The waters around the Keys are just absolutely the most beautiful stretch of ocean I have ever seen.


by Bruce | Link | React! (4)

December 27th, 2007

On The Road With My New Mercedes

[New Car Love Alert…]

It felt…good…that first time I checked into a hotel this trip, and wrote "Mercedes-Benz" on the registration form where it asks you for the make and model of your car.

Traveler, my new Mercedes c300, has been a pure pleasure to drive on this first road trip with it.  If I could have dreamed up the ideal touring car I couldn’t have done much better.  It’s not as sumptuous as an E or S class, but sitting in one of those I might not want to be eating road munchies or drinking from my stainless steel Mercedes mug either.  Do they even put cup holders in the S class…?

Traveler is just a pure pleasure to drive down the road.  It hugs the pavement with that perfect balance of smoothness and tight-to-the-road feel that I have always admired in Mercedes suspensions.  I have a good view of the road all around me, and all the car’s controls are within easy reach.  The driver’s seat is comfortable enough to spend hours driving in and the automatic climate control handles everything from Baltimore’s winter chill to the Florida Keys hot sunshine with ease.  It’s been a few years since I’ve been to south Florida, and the intensity of the sunlight down here always catches the northerner by surprise the first time it hits you.  I started feeling it beating through Traveler’s windows when I got down to Fort Lauderdale.  Traveler has sensors that detect which side of the car is getting hit by direct sunlight, and by gosh when I make a turn and the Florida sun starts busting through the front window and right onto my chest, the car adjusts the vents and ramps up the fan speed to keep me cool and I don’t have to touch anything.

The car’s various safety and security features give you a nice sense of confidence on the road.  Going through several sudden and heavy Florida downpours on the way from Orlando to Key Largo, I got a chance to use my fogs…not so much for the forward view, I don’t think fogs are much help in a downpour, as for that nice little rear facing extra bright tail lamp you can switch on to hopefully let the guy behind you know you’re there in low visibility conditions.  I noticed one other Mercedes in the traffic bunch had done the same.  And I don’t fret so much while strolling around unfamiliar territory with Traveler parked somewhere, because the TeleAid service will call my cell phone if the car’s alarms go off.

My only regrets are that its trunk isn’t as big as the one in my Honda Accord, and that it takes only premium gasoline, which is running 3.60 a gallon right now down here in Key West, and 3.30 a gallon back in Key Largo, closer to the mainland.  But everything is more expensive here in Key West, especially the hotels.  The upside to Traveler’s taste for premium is that its appetite isn’t as bad on the highway as I thought it would be.  I was getting 29.7 miles to the gallon on the drive from Washington to Hilton Head, and averaging about 28 miles to the gallon on the rest of the trip so far. 

As far as the trunk goes, I’m still experimenting how to pack it.  In theory there’s enough space in there, but barely, for two sets of luggage.  But I tend to pack along lots of camera equipment.  And let’s face it…I’m gay guy and gay men tend to pack more clothes along.  And I’m a techno geek so double that for all my little gismos.  I have a white noise generator for noisy motel environments.  I packed a sleeping bag along because it’s winter back north and you need to be prapaired in case you get stuck in a snow or ice storm…like I almost did driving to Hilton Head Christmas week of 2004.  Also, the sleeping bag makes a good comforter if your motel doesn’t give you enough blankets and heat.  I tried…I really tried to keep it down for a simple weeklong trip, and I’m Still using Traveler’s rear seat area for storage.  If I ever find a boyfriend, I’m going to have to buy that roof mounted storage bin so there’ll be enough space for both our things.

Despite its expensive taste in gasoline, it’s Really Nice having that Mercedes v-6 under the hood.  It moves the car effortlessly at legal highway speeds and makes a very satisfactory German motorcar roar when passing slowpokes, which it also does quite effortlessly…serenely even.  And that even though it’s feeding torque to an automatic transmission.  That seven speed auto is sweet.  If I’d driven automatics like it back in the 70s I might not have grown up hating them.  This trans just doesn’t feel anything like those old slush boxes did.  It does highway shifts smoothly and solidly.  But where I’m really coming to appreciate it is in stop and go city traffic.  The bumper to bumper, stop and go shuffle in old town Key West with its tiny little streets was no sweat which is really remarkable because I Hate being stuck in traffic like that.  Not any more.  It may not be an E or and S class I’m sitting stuck in traffic in, but it’s damn luxurious all the same.  I just relaxed in my seat, turned up the Harmon-Kardon stereo, let the climate control system do its thing, and just let the car creep forward in drive whenever traffic moved a tad. 

This car is pampering me.  A friend who owns a C class warned me that the car would change my sense of what ‘normal’ is.  I think it already has.  I need to reward it with a nice bath when I get back on the mainland.

by Bruce | Link | React! (5)

December 26th, 2007

Key Largo



…taken just a few moments ago while I strolled around the area by my hotel just before dawn.  And brought to your computer through the magic of digital photography and the World Wide Web.  Seriously…an old friend of mine called me on his cell phone late last night as he was driving south through Wilmington Deleware, and there I was chatting with him on my cell phone while I was strolling around U.S. Route 1 in Key Largo and you have to appreciate that we both grew up in an era when telephones had wires connecting to them to the wall and a long distance call to just the next state over was a lot of money, and there we were chatting to each other with little devices that just fit in our pockets, he in Wilmington and I in Key Largo.  And we haven’t really lived all that long.


by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Key Largo

August 5th, 2007

A Few Statistics…

Miles traveled : 8,126.

Gallons of Gas: 244.953.

Cost of Gas: 726.54.

High gas price: 3.599 in Nevada.

Low gas price: 2.729 in Virgina.

States Crossed: 16 (Maryland, Virginia, Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Oregon, Nevada, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma).

Motels Stayed In: 10.

Motels with reliable broadband: 5.

Road Headaches: 1.

Missed Turns: 3.

Traffic Jams Endured: 3.  Denver, Albuquerque, Pismo Beach.  Yes…Pismo Beach.

County Fairs visited: 1.

Cute guys gawked at: Too many for my own good.

Trading Posts visited: 8.

Turquoise Bought: 5 bracelets, 2 chokers.

Bone Chokers Bought:  3 Cherokee, 1 Navajo.

Tie-dye t-shirts bought: 5.

"Is that one of those iPhones?": 3 times.

"You work for the Hubble Space Telescope?": 7 times.

"You drove all the way from Maryland?": 20+ times.

"How long did it take to grow your hair that long?": 4 times.

"Baltimore…?  That’s somewhere on the east coast…right?": 1 time.


  • Texting can be addictive. 
  • Taking your own pillow along is well worth the cargo space it takes up. 
  • Digital SLR makers badly need to get a handle on the dust issue. 
  • Wyoming should not be judged by I-80. 
  • Portland gets nicer every time you visit. 
  • Slot machines are even more evil then I thought. 
  • Travel alone isn’t as much fun as it used to be.
by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on A Few Statistics…

Rebooting My House…

I’m home…unpacking and sizing things up around the house after having been away for just over three weeks.  The first thing I notice is that one of my detector alarms is chirping at me that it needs a new battery.  So I have to walk around the house and figure out which one is hungry.  I’ve got five detectors here at Casa del Garrett…three smoke detectors, one for each floor, and two carbon monoxide detectors, which come in handy now and then.  Problem is when the damn things get hungry for a new battery they just emit these short little chirps every minute or so and in this house you practically have to be standing right next to it to know which one it is. 

I check the house thermostat.  The new heating and cooling system thermostat has a ‘vacation’ mode for when there’s nobody home.  It won’t let it get so cold the pipes freeze or so hot that things start to melt inside, but it lets things get way out of the comfort zone to save on the energy bill.  It’s still on Vacation mode when I check it.  The house is a bit warm, but not stifling.  I turn vacation mode off, because the forecast today is for brutal heat here in Baltimore.

After a morning on the road, I want to wash up.  I turned off the water to Casa del Garrett before I left, and shut off the hot water heater.  So before I start unloading the car I go down to the basement, open the tap at the utility sink, go to the main water valve and turn it on, then go back to the sink, make sure the air gets out of the pipes and then close it.  No I have to fire up the hot water heater and let it come up to temperature.  I figure while it’s heating up I can unload the car and figure out which detector is hungry for a new battery.  But my first few tries at getting the new hot water heater going fail.  This new one has an electric igniter and after several tries it still isn’t lighting the pilot.  Oh great…

I plug the UPS feeding Bagheera, my art room G5 tower, back in, but I don’t fire up Bagheera just yet.  I want to get Mowgli, my main household network workstation going first. I go upstairs, plug in and power up Mowgli’s UPS, and then hit the bathroom for a bit and wash my hands…with cold water.  All this time I’m listening to hear which detector is chirping as I walk around the house and so far I still can’t tell which one it is.  I try to fire up Mowgli.  When I hit Mowgli’s power switch nothing happens.  Oh great…

So with my luggage still in the car within minutes of getting home I’m debugging a hardware failure.  Welcome Home Bruce!  Eventually I get it narrowed down to my keyboard cable.  Somehow it got loose in the keyboard socket, perhaps because of the temperature swings in the house while the air conditioning system was in vacation mode.  The upstairs part of the house gets it worse in the summer.  I reseated the cable in its socket and Mowgli booted up without trouble.  Here’s a tip for all you other geeks out there: leave enough slack in your computer cabling so you can pull it out of wherever you have it tucked away…under a desk or wherever…and open it up with everything still plugged in.  Makes checking out problems easier.

Eventually I got Mowgli up and running.  I figured out it was the bedroom carbon monoxide detector that was hungry and fed it some new batteries.  I got the hot water heater going after several tries.  I got Bagheera up and running and downloading the software updates that came out while I was on the road.  After it’s done with that I’ll plug in the iPhone and get the new firmware update. 

It used to be I just unpacked when I got home.  Now I have to restart the house.  Perhaps the home of the future will just have a reset switch or something. 

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Rebooting My House…

July 29th, 2007

You Know You’re In Nevada When…

…It’s easier to find a slot machine in a gas station, then a pay-at-the-pump, pump.  Why that is I have no idea.

Gas prices ranged along I-80 from 2.95 a gallon to 3.56.  Sometimes right across the street.  They have a funny idea of market forces here. 

by Bruce | Link | React! (1)

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