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Stoneybay Harbor, an experiment in world building

Sparkling Lou’s Restaurant by the Sea

Of all the places to eat in Stoneybay, Sparkling Lou’s is not to be missed. No matter the cuisine you most prefer, Sparkling Lou’s has something for you. More than the food, however, the decor is stunning.

Sparkling Lou’s has been running for well over 100 years, and has been family owned and operated for the whole time. There’s a local joke that Sparkling Lou’s is older than Stoneybay — that before the town came up as a prominent stopping over point across the sea — that Sparkling Lou’s was there, waiting for a town to grow up around it.

Visitors to the area often ask about the source of the establishment’s name, as did I. It seems, however, there is no colorful local backstory to be gleaned here. The restaurant was merely started by an industrious person named Sparkling Lou and happened to be near to the ocean.

Harbor Rock Signal

This large rock is the most prominent geological feature of Stoneybay Harbor. Sitting squarely at the mouth of the bay, the multi-story high rock is believed to be the largest example of a glacial erratic every found. Atop the rock is a stout light and signal house. Boats entering the bay must pass on one or the other side of the rock, the light and signal house helps to direct boats to the appropriate side, preventing collisions.

The striking geological protrusion is even more notable in that it is composed of a rock not common to the rest of the area. It contains striking veins and striations that appear pearlescent when wet.

Locals refer to the southward side of the Harbor Rock Signal as the cheese grater.” A name this face has earned from what it does to unfortunate ships.

Fish Shack Apothecary

This interestingly named shop carries more or less anything you’d ever need when stopping by Stoneybay Harbor; from medicines, to traveling supplies, to good cheese sandwiches. Located right off of the seaside way, the shop actually started in a boat. As business boomed the proprietors converted a nearby fishing shack to a warehouse and storefront. As the years passed, and business continued to boom it expanded to multiple fishing shacks, and is now comprised of about 10 separate, but adjacent structures. Closed Tuesdays and on fishing holidays.

Long Boardwalk

One of two boardwalks in Stoneybay Harbor, the Long Boardwalk is the more traveled of the two, stretching from the inlet to the Harbor Rock Signal lookout. The majority of the community’s businesses are located off of, or very near to the Long Boardwalk. As a major thoroughfare one can always meet interesting people along the Long Boardwalk.

One of the most interesting, although not immediately noticeable, features of the Long Boardwalk is that the pylons holding it up aren’t made of wood like most boardwalks in the area. The Long Boardwalk’s pylons are evenly spaced stone pillars that protrude above the walking surface to form the uprights for the seaward-side handrails. The pylons are hewn from the same stone as the Harbor Rock Signal.

Short Boardwalk

The Short Boardwalk connects the Long Boardwalk’s business” district to the more residential area of the community.

The Short Boardwalk is much quieter than the Long one, but well trafficked. A great place to experience the humdrum local life.

On Wednesday evenings in the summer the Short Boardwalk is swept by a group of black-clad sweepers.

Meek and Powerful Gull

Also know as the M&P Pub.” With its striking signage of a large and small gull cupped in the cradled hands of a giantess, this pub is a sight to behold. Built from the repurposed stern of a ship, the imposing structure is neigh by unmissable, painted a striking red with golden brown trim.

A large stone golem-like statue stands at the entrance. I was told this was the giantess from the sign, but I couldn’t see the resemblance.

Inside the pub is, well, a pub. When visiting, don’t miss the upper floors. The rooms used to be for rent, but are not used by local craftspeople to create and sell their wares from. Cash only.

Fog’s Keep

Sometimes jokingly called the Frog’s Leap” by locals in reference to a tragic event wherein the owner of the property was forcibly thrown from the highest point of the building by some disgruntled workmen who hadn’t been paid on time. Now an inn and tavern. The dining rooms have magnificent views of the bay and beyond to the open ocean. Predictably, very expensive.

Gorgeous Pete

Not actually a place, Gorgeous Pete is an important local figure. Believed to be a very large aquatic creature of some sort, Gorgeous Pete can be seen on the darkest, coldest nights of the year, swimming a foot or less under the surface of the ocean, emanating a gentle blue glow and a very low humming sound.

Many have attempted to capture Gorgeous Pete, but none have succeeded. Many shops sell small vials of sea water, scooped from directly above Gorgeous Pete. This water is said to have many healing properties.

There is also a type of pickle well known in the area called Gorgeous Pickles.” These pickles are made in the normal way that pickles are, but are then stored in the special sea water. Often served along with a very fresh seaweed salad.

Stoneybay Harbor Academy

A now defunct school. Most of the community’s children now attend school in the next town over, about 15 minutes away. Others are homeschooled, or attend the Seaside School of Fisheries and Boatsmanship. A well respected trade-school.

Link Logging

This metal is powering today’s technology—at what price?

The renewable” future — replacing one sort of extraction with another.

Life Without the Everything Store

Kottke’s digestion (always primo) or go straight to the source: I Tried to Block Amazon From My Life. It Was Impossible.

tl;dr? Amazon. It is everywhere. It is hard to avoid. Really, really hard to avoid, most especially if you do pretty much nearly anything online. Amazon is legion.

WebSockets the UNIX way; Full duplex messaging between web browsers and servers


Five-minute Explainer: What Is Gravity?

What even is gravity? Learn in (about) five minutes! I very much enjoy Emily Sts science writing.

Designing for the web ought to mean making HTML and CSS

The medium is the message…and sometimes we use the wrong medium to communicate a message.

…regression is lurking, because the industry is making it too hard to work directly with the web. The towering demands inherent in certain ways of working with JavaScript are rightfully scaring some designers off from implementing their ideas at all. That’s a travesty.

Follow up! Paying tribute to the web with View Source

Make Your ARIA Labels Sing on Key

This article does a great job contextualizing aria-labels, and how best to implement them. The audio examples provided are perfect — I think it is interesting that I’ve never actually seen anyone else bother to create examples like this before. The audio examples bring aria-labels from an abstract concept, to a concrete interface element.

When To Buy Your Own ISBNs

Sharing this because I had no clue one could purchase ISBN numbers, let alone their power!

Twitter aliens

A story told on Twitter, in the first person, featuring aliens, a smart phone, and bananas.

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The Linux of social media”—How LiveJournal pioneered (then lost) blogging

Like many eventual household names in tech, LiveJournal started as a one-man project on a lark, driven by a techy teenager with too much time on his hands.

Many” seems like a stretch, here. I think the modern cultural myth of the boy genius starting a big Internet thing is exactly that…a myth. Like most myths there is a glimmer or incipit bit of truth at the heart of it, but a myth does not define a pattern.

Canon Is An Abyss

On poop, wizards, authorial intent, the canon, the bible, and the abyss.

Complications arise, however, when authors write what amounts to fan fiction about their own works: aftermarket pieces which extend or challenge their previous output and what was assumed, perhaps incorrectly, to be the foundation they set. For better and worse a premium is placed upon authorial intent, and a creator issuing aftermarket canon is not unlike a contractor arriving at your house with a single brick and a mandate from the city, explaining You don’t necessarily need this, but we think the place would be better if we added it.”

And later on,

All fictional canon is abyssal. The difference between canons is how deep we are encouraged to look, and by what method that encouragement is delivered. Pottermore tweets are one kind of encouragement to stare into the abyss of Harry Potter; but some works are designed as deeply abyssal. Doctor Who, soap operas, Star Wars, many long running comic series and the Dark Souls games allow their audience to become like Crowley’s magician: to sacrifice themselves to the depths of canon, become lost in the infinite void of often paradoxical possibility. These works do not unknowingly or only occasionally beckon their audience into the abyss of canon but take it as their ongoing structural mandate.

Mystery still surrounds hack of PHP PEAR website

A compromised package manager seems pretty much like a worse case scenario situation. Throwback to the recent npm bruhaha.

Privacy Is Not Dying, We’re Killing It

Why hello-there provocative title! 👋

So we say we value privacy, but we hardly understand what we mean by it. Privacy flourishes in the attention economy to the same degree that contentment flourishes in the consumer economy, which is to say not at all. Quietly and without acknowledging as much, we’ve turned the old virtue into a vice.

Privacy in the digital-age” is such an interesting concept, rife with issue for sure, but also…intriguing. It seems like, maybe, privacy is something that is a) more valuable than it used to be, b) a creative act. If we desire to interact online, we have to construct our privacy intentionally. Set it aside, tend to it.

Why Paper Maps Still Matter in the Digital Age

With the proliferation of smartphones, it’s easy to assume that the era of the paper map is over…research reveals that the paper map still thrives in the digital era, and there are distinct advantages to using print maps.


Digital interfaces are good for acquiring surface knowledge.


Print maps help you acquire deep knowledge faster and more efficiently.


Ultimately, I don’t think it should be a competition between physical and digital. In the future, people will continue to need both kinds of maps. Instead of arguing whether paper or digital is a better map interface, people should consider what map is the right tool for the task.


Kids shows are weird. Many of the contemporary kids programs I’ve come across (especially stuff geared towards toddlers on streaming services) seem to follow a similar pattern:

  • A group of main characters connected by either proximity or vocation.” No parents, nor guardians really. Just elders who are expert in their field
  • Characters have clearly defined social roles (e.g. a train responsible for moving freight)
  • Narratives revolve around characters either learning to fulfill their roles or failing to do so, and then realizing that others suffer when they don’t meet their responsibilities

Are these Neo-Capitalist fairy tales?

In reply to: Black Panther's Maglev System Is the Transit We Deserve - CityLab

Among the many dazzling technologies in the new Marvel superhero film Black Panther—self-healing catsuits, holographic self-driving cars, indestructible woven capes—one technology is bittersweet to behold, at least for one subset of sci-fi nerd. That would be the trains.

Maglev, baby! But also no maglev 😭

But despite decades of development, maglev hasn’t spread widely across Asia, and it hasn’t taken off at all in the U.S. or Europe (excluding a now-shuttered airport line in the U.K., and a defunct test track in Germany.) That’s because traditional high-speed rail can run nearly as fast as maglev, is cheaper to build, and can connect to existing rail systems, whereas maglev guideways cannot. For many countries with rail networks already in place, it’s hard to justify spending billions of dollars on such a project.

This is a key thing to remember when considering the anxious response some have had about The Force Awakens’ diversity and the heroic competence of Rey, the protagonist who some call a Mary Sue” (and sometimes do such with the same temper-tantrum tones of an unmasked Kylo Ren). The film recognizes that the heroes of Hollywood–and thus the heroes of modern western mythology–have had wide appeal, but offer shallow representation. To twist Orwell: The stories of Luke, Leia, and Han are universal, but they’re more universal for some than others. As much as Star Wars has spoken to a wide audience, it hasn’t always spoken for that audience. To address this, the heroes of The Force Awakens are just as adept as the protagonists of the past, but now they’re played by a much more diverse crew…

…Hux and Ren–and, I think, those angry fans–look backwards towards an elusive (and fictional) past where things were simpler, but The Force Awakens wants us to look forward instead, even though that might be challenging. The world is unfair, it says, and unstable. The things we thought were structural and eternal are in fact man-made and mutable. They’re just very, very convincing. Addressing the challenges of the future will require not only people who are preternaturally skilled, like Rey, but also people like Finn, who will do what is needed when others refuse. I am thrilled that The Force Awakens is embracing this unsure future.

Off the Clock: Space Opera Millennials and Their Grand Narratives