Big Dig Diner update

Anyone who was a regular reader of this blog space may remember a post from about two years ago which featured the defunct Big Dig Diner. It turns out the diner has been hauled away. I don't know if anyone noticed because it was tucked in Marine Industrial Park in Southie, far away from any measureable foot traffic.

A commenter on that post recently pointed me to this post on Diner Talk Blog V1.0 which talks about the diner car's history and its present location. It's future will most likely take it out of Boston.

I've always enjoyed the nostalgia that diner's carry, like that of trains and train travel, but I've never been an enthusiast on either subject where I would commit myself to learning the particulars of certain cars. Therefore, I'm grateful to the folks at Diner Talk who are committed to bringing the history to my attention. It does amaze me that the diners can be picked up, hauled away, completely remodeled, and then plunked down somewhere else entirely. What's more, because of their period detail (often Art Deco and Art Neuveau), they look like they've always been in their particular spots since the early 20th century.

Well, that said, happy reading. I'm going to crawl back into my hole now.

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New (old) blog

I once heard a Boston-area detective-fiction author/BU professor whose name escapes me (and it's not Robert B. Parker because I'm a big fan of his work) posthumously quoted on WBUR as telling his BU students: "Nobody asked you to write." The quote went on, but I can't remember the exact wording, so I will try to paraphrase the rest: so at least make what you write interesting.

It was meant to be a harsh dose of reality for his wide-eyed college students who all secretly had dreams of walking into a Barnes and Noble and seeing the center display dedicated entirely to their work. Basically, the point was: since no one asked you to write, give them a reason a read.

That is what I tried to do here. I know no one really cared specifically about my travails on the highways and byways of eastern Massachusetts. Some probably read for the light amount of entertainment I tried to provide. While others probably got mad at how I presented my opinions. Either way, I felt, people were reading, so I must have been doing something right.

I have been pleased to see that this blog is still generating about 100 unique visits a week, considering it hasn't had a new post in almost six months. That surprises and flatters me. I enjoyed writing this blog mainly because it was cathartic. And I was always grateful for the increased traffic I got when Adam at Universal Hub would link. Most of all, though, I found that I really enjoyed the medium. There's a lot of clutter in my brain, and blogging gave me the opportunity to remove some of that clutter, and at the same time satisfy my narcissism.

So, it seemed logical to me that I should blog about becoming a dad when Mrs. Boston Crazy Driving became pregnant. This, however, was not an appropriate place to do that given the highly focused nature of my topic. Putting the two together seemed like eating ice cream and scrambled eggs. That's why I started Daddyrific. It became its own place where I could write about being a new dad.

Both blogs were interrupted last year, though, when I moved to Raleigh, NC to change careers. I left behind Mrs. Boston Crazy Driving and son to teach. This was a decision made as a family. After 10 months of separation, we were finally reunited as a family on July 1, and are happily living in the Triangle of North Carolina. Of course, that means there's no more writing about Boston-area driving to be done, but I can carry on with being a dad again. And having summers off means I get to be a stay-at-home dad for a couple of months, too!

If anyone who used to read this blog had any interest in me personally, you can continue to read about me at Daddyrific.

Otherwise, thanks for reading, and happy driving!



Snowin' in the South

I eagerly anticipated snow days as I prepared for a career change from journalism to education. Just like when I was a wee lad, the prospect of an unplanned day off without being sick made me giddy.

Then of course, in changing careers, I changed location -- from Boston to Raleigh, NC. So much for snow days, I thought. Today was a snow day and our second day off for inclement weather Since Sept. 1. Awesome!

I left for work this morning not knowing for sure if we had school. The county (which runs the public schools) had canceled school, but the private school I teach at hadn't by the time I needed to leave. So, being a hardy New Englander by upbringing, I hit the roads. All told, this storm wasn't anything more than the typical early December storm that is more an annoyance than trouble. The snow was sticking to the roads and grassy surfaces, but it wasn't going to amount to a large accumulation.

Of course, as I drove, the radio announcers kept updating wary travelers with "wrecks" all over the Triangle (the area encompassing Greater Raleigh). The thing that made me laugh most of all came while listening to a reporter describing snow removal apparatus.

"They brined the roads this morning, and the sand/salt trucks are out treating the roads now. The sand is for traction and the salt is to melt the ice. They haven't had to bring out the large trucks with the enormous grinding blade wedge thingies yet that are used to actually MOVE the snow."

The quotes make my reiteration seem verbatim, but it's really an abstract, for the record.

After snorting some coffee out of my nose, I said to the radio, "Um, those grinding blade wedge thingies are called PLOWS!"

I know it's easy for me to make fun of the Bible Belt locals and call them rubes for not being able to handle winter driving as well as someone from the Snow Belt. It's really a lack of experience more than a disability on their part, so I try not to boast too much. After all, it would be my luck that I cause a major accident some time when it's icy.

In the end, though, this bit of winter weather is enough for me to remember one of the reasons I left Boston. As much as I love the region of my birth, I've been enjoying the winter down here. The unseasonable warmth has translated to 75-degree days recently, and while unusual even for North Carolina, it has still been 10-15 degrees warmer than Boston, and for that I am thankful.

Oh, and as Adam at Universal Hub asks, I will gladly send this north. We're supposed to get more on Sunday. Hey, Adam, it's all yours if you want to come get some!



I am Time's Person of Year!

Thanks to the editors at Time Magazine, I am in league with U.S. presidents, Nobel laureates, and (rather regrettably) Adolph Hitler and Joseph Stalin. That's right. I'm Time's Person of the Year!

Thank you, Time Magazine, for the honor, and for recognizing my hard work creating content on the Internet. My citizen journalism has brought me much joy and has been a source of therapy while I was driving around Greater Boston.

For anyone who hasn't heard yet, Time chose "You" as its Persona of the Year (Persona is correct, more later). The "You" is anyone who is creating content on the Internet. Well, heck, I fall into the category.

I write Persona because, quite honestly, the editors' choice of "You" implies anyone who looks at the cover. But anyone in at South Station or Out of Town News or Roche Bros. looking at the cover might find themselves excluded after further inspection. The explanation is somewhat limiting. Only people creating Internet content are included. Excluded, for example, is the tireless mom who only checks e-mail in between working 45 hours, managing the schedules of three school-aged children and being socially or politically active.

Taking that limitation into consideration, I also use the term Persona because it is actually very fitting of almost anyone creating content on the Internet. My blog, for example, has its own persona. I don't post with my own name, but a compound abbreviation of my first and last names. And although the opinions herein are truthful, there is a certain amount of internal monologue that got posted here that wouldn't otherwise have an outlet.

I'm not alone by any means. There's my blogging patron AdamG at Universal Hub, and my fellow new Bostonian-turned-Raleighan, Abby, aka Dr. Lady Cutie Troublemaker. There's the Back Bay government lawyer, former state cop, father, conservative, car lover: Carpundit. Not to be forgotten is blogging friend, Eeka, whose online companionship I have enjoyed for the better part of two years. And, finally, my favorite blog discovered by way of Blogger's "Blogs of Note" section: WaiterRant, whose author has turned his blog into a book deal. All are personas.

While some might argue that Time copped out with its Person of the Year, I would say that it was pretty bold and astute. Although I really would have liked to have seen them choose someone more along the lines of their traditional selection criteria (such as who was grabbing the most prominent headlines across the nation or world), but I can understand why they chose "You." Never before in human history has information sharing been so easy and cheap. For the price of a beat-up old computer and a dial-up connection -- or the cost of an hour at an Internet cafe -- people have the power to report their observations on any topic any time of day. When we look at the pantheon of human history, one has to ask "How amazing is that?"

I must go now and figure out how I can justify adding this honor to my resume.