floor9 Hits the Big Time

SRSLY.  If you’re reading this, you’ve found the new server.  As of this post, floor9.com and friends are running on a VPS in the Los Angeles datacenter of Steadcom.  Right off the bat, I’m seeing MAJOR speed improvements over BlueHost even on simple things like WordPress administration (and my editor no longer takes 8 seconds to open up!).  There’s actually been a LOT of work going on behind the scenes over the past few weeks to pull this off, not the least of which was massive stress-testing and a major security lockdown.  Plus, I’ve been doing a lot of testing of various software packages to use with some of the Neat Tricks ™ I have up my sleeve for the coming weeks.  And last but not least, I managed to get Contemporary Ruins off the ground and running smoothly.  I’m still in the process of seeding the wiki, so don’t expect any great finds just yet, but it’s kept me busy.

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Goodbye Smalls

In a rampant rumor which has “not” been “confirmed” by “two” “sources” now, Smalls appears to be closing after tonight to make room for Mars.  This surprises no one for exactly two reasons:

  1. It was popular and unique, offering some variety to the otherwise cookie-cutter downtown area
  2. It’s been there over a year

As you know, any venue falling into one of those categories — let alone both — doesn’t last long downtown.  And while Mars was pretty cool back in the day, that door was slammed shut a long time ago.  Bringing back “Mars Remixed” just feels like a cheap publicity stunt.  Moreover, with a seemingly booming business, it’s hard to see a good reason for Smalls to shutter.

At any rate, they’ll be missed.  The music wasn’t entirely my thing, but it was 100% better than hearing the exact same 20 songs you hear everywhere else.  Smalls was a breath of fresh air downtown.

Roxbury News

Seems that someone didn’t appreciate the footage captured by Roxbury News.  More than one local political-type figure has had more than one embarrassing and/or inappropriate outburst, antic, or instance of conduct preserved forever thanks to Roxbury.  And now it seems that maybe, just maybe, one of those political-types may have bitten off more than they can handle.

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Abandoned Turnpike, Part 2

The Pennsylvania Turnpike opened in 1940 with seven tunnels. Today, only five remain open. Three have been bypassed (Laurel Hill, Rays Hill, and Sideling Hill) and one more (Lehigh) has been built on the northeast extension. The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission is currently planning to bypass the Allegheny Tunnel, which would result in the first abandoned twin-tube tunnel on the turnpike. But for now, the abandoned stretch between Route 30 and Pumping Station Road is home to 66% of the bypassed tunnels. And they’re open for business.

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Abandoned Turnpike, Part 1

Despite how much fun it is to poke fun at our local roads, the Pennsylvania Turnpike is actually a pretty great road. Then-new features such as long entrance ramps, banked turns, and limited access have caused the Turnpike to become a standard against which all the Interstate systems have been built. It was so revolutionary for its time (designed and built in the 1930s, opened in 1940) that eager drivers rapidly saturated the road’s capacity — and their eagerness is what ultimately led to our explorations this past Sunday.  For a basic primer on the abandoned segment of the PA Turnpike, see my previous post.

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