Three Mile Island

Photos from Three Mile Island, in New Hampshire.

The Camp at Three Mile Island is difficult to describe to anyone who hasn’t been there. First, there’s the name, which prompts everyone to make stupid nuclear meltdown jokes ("no, I don’t glow in the dark."). This island is in New Hampshire on Lake Winnipesaukee, three miles from Center Harbor. Secondly, describing Three Mile as a place where one spends the week swimming, reading, walking, and playing pingpong doesn’t really capture the feel of the place. What really attracts people to Three Mile is that it’s always the same.

I’ve only just reached the age where I am beginning to sense change: a favorite restaurant closes, or an ugly house gets built around the corner. Three Mile, by contrast, remains almost entirely constant, and has for the last hundred years. When I was there a few weeks ago, I sat in the Main House comparing the way it looks now to photos from the 1910s. The furniture is newer and the fashions have changed, but every stone in the fireplace is just as it was when the grainy photographs were taken so long ago.

That’s not to say the island is a total constant. Every time I return I take note of the little
changes: a redone floor for the dining area, updated tshirts in the shop, a new highdive on the raft. But these changes are tiny, incremental improvements. The well-worn paths, the food, and the friendliness of the people never change. It always feels the same no matter how many years pass.

Three Mile is one of those things that divides the world in two: either you love it or you hate it. If a week of swimming in cold water and sitting around playing Scrabble while your opponent knits a sweater doesn’t sound like fun, there’s nothing wrong with that. As for me, I wish they still allowed people to stay all summer long.

The main dock, busy with activity

Small dock, sunset

Two ducks for Char

The Main House is a-rockin’

If anyone can tell me what this gigantic dragonfly is doing to the carcass it’s standing on, I would appreciate it (actual size ~2.5in.)

Up North, in film

Some more pictures from northern Wisconsin, in film this time

When I went to northern Wisconsin with Char I took along my film camera as well as my digital camera. The film came back today. I’ve never shot with black and white before, and it’s hard. You have to pay much more attention to the correct exposure level than with color. That, or I was shooting in extremely high-contrast situations

The woods

Mitty drinks from the fountain

Well I had a third black and white photo, but my scanner can’t handle it. so, on to color

The cabin. It only has a few rooms, but they are big

When I went to get the film developed I discovered an old roll that I had forgotten about. It turns
out it was taken when Char and I went to her parents’ house the first (or maybe second) time.

Here’s a picture of Char’s parents’ house, which to me looks like a catalog’s idea of a home kitchen. If you look closely, you can spot the chicken theme.

Great Burrito Search 2K3

I’ve been looking for a burrito place in boston to replace Qdoba, which is not available here. At qdoba, I always got a “fajita ranchera” burrito, which is a burrito with rice, chicken, peppers and onions, a little ranchera sauce, hot salsa, and mozarella cheese. A lot of places around town have something close to this, but I haven’t found anything quite right.

The hardest things to find are:

  • Hot in temperature
  • Available without beans
  • Contains hot salsa within

Here is my review of places I’ve been so far:

Anna’s Taqueria
This place seems to have a cult following, which I think is due more toward the “feels like college only everyone’s in their late 20s” atmosphere than the food. Char and I thought the burritos were lukewarm, unspicy, and too small.

Purple Cactus
There’s a Purple Cactus very close by, so I wanted it to be perfect. However the burritos are never hot enough, and there’s no hot salsa within. It’s ok in a pinch though.

Viva Burrito
Viva Burrito is a little far, being a short walk from North Station. The Boston Citysearch reviews I have been going by say the burritos are “juicy.” More like extremely fucking runnier than I like it. I needed 8 napkins, and the whole thing was soggy at the bottom. It’s too bad, because except for that it’s the best burrito I’ve been able to find.

Picante Mexican Grill
This is on Mass Ave. Not bad. A little dry, no salsa within.

Why can’t anyway put hot salsa inside their burritos? Is it so tough? The Qdoba system has them ask you which of four or five salsas you want. It seems everywhere else they assume you’re a pansy. The search must continue. (Or, I have to try asking places if they can add salsa)

If anyone knows of a good burrito place accessible by subway please let me know!


Thoughts on soundscapes

I was reading Norwegian Wood tonight, but found myself uncomfortable. It was too quiet, I guess. To create some soothing white noise, I put on Boodler, a soundscape generation program. Using a library of samples it creates different sonic environments, like train tracks or rainstorms.

After about ten minutes the storm swirling in my speakers was beginning to pick up. At this point in the program, the wind increases a bit, the thunder occurs every 7-15 seconds instead of 20-35, and the script introduces the LightRain module. The sequence lasts for 7.5-11.5 minutes.

At the same time, I realized that I could just hear the soft patter rain outside my window. I immediately turned off my fake, artificial storm, and threw the windows wide open to better hear the real thing. Almost as soon as I had done so, however, the patter faded slowly down, and was no more. All that was left were the occasional drips on my window fan, cars creating waves in puddles, and a television in the apartment below mine.

So, I restarted my program.

Northern Wisconsin

Char and I went to her parents’ cabin way up north in Wisconsin. We had a great time, even if it seemed like all our time together was spent driving. Char got her license finally (“It’s great to hear you came out — of the garage” –char’s friend), but since the car was a rental I couldn’t let her show off.

The terrain up there is different from anything one sees in the Northeast. It’s mostly flat, but still has a little roll to it. It’s not farms, though, it’s all trees and national forests, and the trees are all conifer. Driving down the county roads all you see is a corridor of road between pine trees for as long as it takes to get to the next little town. The towns are a combination of hick and rich tourist, so you get the sort of sketchy gas stations along with gigantic supermarkets with organic goods. For this area of Wisconsin, most of the tourists are from Illinois, and if Char and her family are any indication, people in Wisconsin hate them.

Pick ‘n’ Save

Looking across the lake at the cabin

Char and I put 800 miles on my rent-a-car playing minigolf, going to a casino, cooling off at a waterpark, and driving lots of go-karts. While on the ferris wheel at the Riverview amusement park, we noticed a building across the street that appeared not to be level, and upside-down at that. After we had our fill of rides, we checked it out, and upon closer inspection we saw a car stuck underneath the building, as if the building had fallen on it. At the ticket window, we could see that it was called "TOP SECRET," contained strobes and other effects, and cost twelve bucks to get in. I won’t reveal the secrets contained within, but it was fun.

Char seems to be having some trouble

Us, outside TOP SECRET

The only photo we were permitted to take inside

I took more photos with my film camera, but I have to wait for them to get developed. I’ll add another entry when I get the prints.

Fourth of July Fireworks

Some pictures of fireworks

Fourth of July again! Remember last time? Well this time it was back in Newton. The fireworks were pretty impressive, and there wasn’t the always-unsuccessful attempt to set the fireworks to music.

The method in this case was basically "keep snapping, something will work." I set the focus to infinity, a reasonable shutterspeed (1/13 I think) and hoped for the best. I didn’t have a tripod, so there are a lot of blurry shots. Of the hundred I took, these are the best.

Your basic kablooie

A more interesting shape

The crowd becomes illuminated

Not the steadiest, but the colors are brilliant