Category Archives: Boston

All the fun and excitement of Boston — without the bitter cold.

Being in The Bean

First off, let me say mazel tov to my sister Bailey and her husband Max on their wedding this past weekend. It was great to share this event with them, but also get to see friends and family that I’ve not seen in years.

Since last Monday, I’ve been in Boston for the festivities and work, but as much as it’s fun to be here I’m very glad to have gotten to New York this afternoon. For me, the city of Boston is an amusement park except most of the people that are there with you aren’t very pleasant. I love the city: Running along the esplanade, Copley Square, the MBTA, Somerville/Cambridge, and even the taxi drivers (and the town taxi rule). I am not, however, such a fan of the people.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my family and friends that live there. It’s a good portion of the remaining people in the city that I don’t really like. Take for example yesterday afternoon while I was running down the stairs at Park Street station from upstairs at the Green Line downstairs to the Red Line. People were disembarking the train downstairs and I knew that it was likely my train. I politely (and clearly) said excuse me to two girls walking side-by-side down the steps and hurried by. The girls, who looked to be in their early twenties, replied “You are excused!”

Is it wrong to rush by someone to grab a train, if you say ‘Excuse me?’ _I_ don’t think so, but maybe I’m the one in the wrong. Perhaps this can only be explained by the other strange phenomenon that Cool Jesus had witnessed at the Park Street stop. Personally, I feel it’s the city as a whole and I will attest that even some of my other Bostonian friends have been starting to experience it as well.

So here I am in NYC with 4 days left to see a Thunderstorm, the weather is looking very promising. Especially with highs in the upper 90’s tomorrow. Yikes! Welcome to New York City in August.

The ATHF Debacle

If you haven’t been living under a rock for the past two days, you probably know about the Aqua Teen Hunger Force Device Debacle going on in Boston. I somewhat wish that I was still working over at Boston.com to witness, first hand, the panic and hysteria that ensued over the devices.

A former co-worker of mine, who still works over at Boston.com wrote a good summary of the events as they unfolded in his blog today. I thought it was an insightful look at the events, especially considering that I agree with his estimations of how the site responded to this issue versus the way it previously handled events such as this.

Frankly, I think it’s completely absurd the way the city responded to these boxes which have been up around town for several weeks now. Not only that, the fact that they are filing criminal charges against the two men that put these up (at the behest of the Advertising Agency, mind you) is ludicrous. What’s even more insane is that Mumbles Menino wants to file a lawsuit of some kind against Turner Broadcasting.

I highly doubt that such an ordeal was made when a few folks from MIT marked how "Smoot’s" it took to cross the Mass Ave Bridge. It is true that we live in a post-9/11 world where we need to be much more cautious. I’m the first one to freak out if I find a bag unattended in a public place — and but you’d think that they would have cleared something like this with the powers that be.

Either way, a mistake was made and policy should be set. I don’t think arresting two guys who weren’t even doing this as a prank, is the right answer.

Weather..

It’s about time. It’s finally becoming more seasonable (read: Damn Global Warming). After departing the Northeast, I was eager to enjoy the warm californian winters while the Northeast froze.. but it wasn’t until recently that the mercury has begun to fall in New York & Boston while maintaining a balmy 60 degrees here in the Silicon Valley.

Most of the New York and Boston areas enjoyed lovely weather right up until the last week of January or so, when winter has finally set in. There were points in December & January where it was even warmer back home than it was in lovely California. Some folks out here have been pretty disappointed in the crummy winter we’ve had. I mean, it’s dipped into the 30’s three times now.

So, while it’s true that it has been a little colder than normal in the Golden State, it’s definitely a nice change. Especially when I typically galavant around in just a fleece or a hooded sweatshirt. I’m also starting to develop that “Boy, I’m glad I’m not in Boston” mentality, when I look at my Google Homepage.

That being said, if you’re looking for a break in the winter weather.. you know you’ve always got a place in CA to visit.

The Urbs

While I was walking to a neighborhood pizzeria the other night, I realized that I live in one of the oddest neighborhoods that I’ve ever truly noticed. It’s in the outskirts of Boston, so it is urban, but borders on the suburban in spots. Right in my immediate vicinity, there are big old houses juxtaposed with big old apartment and condo buildings. There are gas stations everywhere. Pizzerias everywhere. Auto mechanic garages everywhere. A KFC, a K of C hall, some pseudo-strip malls, a couple of car washes, a bar that I’m nervous to enter, a church next door, and a school and a fire station across the street. There is a Dunkin Donuts with the strangest hours of operation ever – it seems to close at 4pm some days and 6:30pm other days, but always closes early.

While walking to the pizzeria, I passed one of the few houses on my main street (tucked right next to an auto mechanic garage, of course) and just as I was taking in how strange it was that they still had their Halloween decorations up in the front of the house, I noticed their Christmas tree in the window. Quite frankly, the juxtaposition was horrifying.

Last week, as Swedish Girl and I were returning home from a Black Friday shopping excursion, we passed the combination gas station/auto mechanic garage/used car lot, which is across the street from the package store and Salvadorean restaurant by the way, and as I was drooling over a late 1960s Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham convertible, we noticed how this was the most disapointing used car lot we’d ever seen. Not for its selection of cars, but for it’s laziness. Most used car dealers wash, wax, and vacuum the cars to make them look as appealing as possible. Not this place. The cars were dirty, dusty, and shabby (not the Caddy, though).

And with all of this going on around us, it is still home. It’s still were I look forward to ending up each night. Go figure.

Husky Business

From 1995 – 1999, I was a rabid reader of The Northeastern News‘ weekly Crime Log. It was informative. It was humorous. It was supposed to be a warning, yet somehow new people kept on leaving their wallets, laptops, and backpacks unattended in Snell Library. I was able to catch some issues of TNN at the home of Captain Larby, Dr. Doop, Matty Ballgame, and Terrence until mid-2000. Then, the fun stopped. I would have had to travel all the way to campus to keep up with NU’s crime. But then I discovered their web site a couple of years ago. I fell out of the habit last year, but I’m back into it. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the…

Crime Log Entry of the Week
Friday September 8
10 p.m.

An NUPD officer saw a man wearing a shirt but no pants outside Stetson West. The officer asked the 18-year-old male student why he wasn’t wearing any pants, and the student told the officer he was wearing underwear. The student lifted up his shirt to show the officer his underwear. He said his reasoning was that he had just watched the movie “Risky Business” and wanted to emulate it. The student went back inside at the officer’s urging.

Read all the rest here…

The Matchup

Once upon a time in a far away land known as Jamaica Plain, there lived 4 guys in a house on Dunster Road. As history has it, there was a nearly weekly tradition that involved Chinese food, beer and a fantastic game called FIFA 2001 for the Playstation 2.

The rules were simple: The winning team stays on the pitch while the loser would have to pass the controller to the next person in line. All-the-while speaking in a quasi-english/irish/scottish accent to mimick Andy Gray and John Watson, our favorite FIFA commentators. From this time period came several key phrases including (but not limited to): “Scones!”,”The Sixes and Sevens in the Back”,”Rip ’em doon!”, and who could forget “Up the _ _ _ _”.

The teams were always one of three: France, Italy or Manchester United. All of which were on the same skill level, for the most part. Which brings me to the point of my tirade.. the matchup.

After yesterday’s grueling 120 minute Italian victory over Germany and today’s 1-0 French defeat of Portugal, it sets up for a great game. This Sunday, the two teams will face off in the World Cup Final game — bringing a rivalry that dates back to the days of Dunster to the World Stage. Surely we all have our preferences, you can count on me rooting for the French National team to beat the pants off of the Italians, but I’m sure the Captain would have a different opinion.

So let the battle begin as these two teams converge this Sunday, and vive l’equipe Francais!.

Bringing Boylston to the ‘Boken

It’s funny how you stumble onto things.. for instance, just last Friday the Captain, Mrs. Larby and myself were wandering around “Lower Hoboken” (if you can call it that) looking for a place to kill some time and grab a quick drink. We decide on a place called McSwiggans, that we’ve no doubtedly called attention to nearly every time we walk by.

We head inside, sit down at one of the only two tables at the place and order a drink. It’s only after 5-10 minutes that Mrs. Larby points out “Hey, there’s a Red Sox logo over there.” We then realize that there’s Red Sox notations all over the place and signs that say “Free Trivia while The Game is on, etc.”

Come to find out, it’s Hoboken’s very own Boston Red Sox Bar. In all of the years that the Captain resided in this town, and the year that I’ve spent here — we happened to stumble upon this fine establishment in this very strange manner.

Go figure.

It’s all about the lid

Sean Patrick O’Malley, archbishop of the Boston Archdiocese, was recently promoted to cardinal by Pope Benedict XVI.  I think it’s XVI.  Don’t quote me on that.  Boston.com, the web site I love to hate, came through like it always does with a slide show.  That web site would be nothing without its slide shows.  While flipping through, I noticed one glaring issue above all else – Cardinal O’Malley might be making more money (since he’s a friar, I think he gives it away anyway) and he undoubtedly has more clout now, and he is now eligible to become pope (an American pope will always be a long, long, long-shot) but he took a major step back in the hat department.

As a bishop, you get a nice big chess piece hat just like what the pope wears.  It just looks cool.  That hat might be the reason so many men join the priesthood.  But the hat that cardinals wear (all these hats have proper names, but I can’t remember them) is much shorter, bright red, and has four pointy corners surrounding a half dome which covers your head.  I don’t know if this is enough reason to politely decline a promotion to cardinal, but it certainly sheds more light on why all the world’s cardinals clamor to become pope. 

My blood ran cold

Setting:  Boston, Massachusetts – Back Bay to be exact – January 1996.

It was a frigid winter Saturday afternoon when Captain Larby, his girlfriend Greenhair (because the dorm shower water turned her blonde hair green), Dr. Little (our best friend next door), and I decided to venture out into the city for some lunch and shopping.  Our favorite little haunt was a cafe that I cannot bring myself to name (I’ll call it simply Cafe), wedged halfway between BU and Northeastern at the end of Newbury and Boylston.  It was a hip cafe full of health food, vegetarians, vegans, hippies, bohemians, and we felt cooler just walking through the door.

Either Dr. Little or Captain Larby got credit for finding that place and Larby was eager to share it with Greenhair.  Fast-forwarding a bit, at the end of our meal, the decision was made to put Greenhair in charge of handling the money and calculating a tip.  I don’t recall what her major was, but it was apparent that she was better equipped to handle math than two Political Science majors and a Psychology major.  Nevertheless, we were all actively involved in making sure we left the waitress a good tip.  Afterall, we dug that place and wanted to return many times.  So, Greenhair left somewhere in the vicinity of 18% to 22%, we bundled up for the freezing temps outside, and were about to cross Mass Ave for Newbury Street when the unspeakable happened.

Our waitress, who had not even put on a coat, came running outside, yelling, “Hey!  Hey!  Hey you!”  We all turned around and my first thought was that one of us left something inside.  Dr. Little, bringing up the rear, had the misfortune of being closest to her, so she grabbed his hand, put some coins and a couple of $1 bills in it, and hissed, “Here, you take it!  It’s not even 10%!  You obviously need it more than me!”  After taking great pleasure in reciting her lines with great vengeance and furious anger, she ran back into the Cafe. 

Dr. Little stood there, arm outstretched, frozen.  It was as if the waitress had placed tarantulas in his hand and he was afraid to move a muscle.  We all stood there.  It was 18 degrees outside, but we were burning up with embarrassment.  I don’t know how much time passed before someone spoke up, but it felt like a long, long time.

Greenhair was positive that she had left an above-average tip and we were all sure that we had given her ample tip money.  The only explanation was that the waitress mixed us up with another table.  That is the only logical scenario.  When we returned to our dorm that night, Dr. Little deposited the two $1 bills and assorted coins on a shelf in Captain Larby’s and my room.  It was January.  That money remained there until May or June when we decided to give it to our favorite bum, Jazz Man.  It was blood money and we felt that even if we used it to buy a bottle of water, that we would choke on it and die. 

None of us ever went to the Cafe after that.  Until, that is, I revisited the Cafe two years later.  That was a pseudo-date with the immortal Jamm Murph, who I never saw again after that day. (I need a moment…)

What makes me bring all this up and relive this painful memory?  Swedish Girl and I rented Waiting (starring Ryan Reynolds, Justin Long, David Koechner, Anna Farris) over the weekend.  In that underrated, and actually entertaining, film, is a scene where a redneck patron leaves a pathetically small tip.  The waiter runs after him, placing the money in his hand, and recites almost the exact same words that the Cafe waitress screeched at us.  Is there a script that waiters and waitresses are given that covers them in the case of all sorts of restaurant incidents?  I had to pause the movie, catch my breath, and tell Swedish Girl the story of the Cafe.

In Waiting, the patron complains to the manager that he was insulted and degraded by the waiter.  But it didn’t even dawn on four naive college freshman that we could have complained to the Cafe manager.  Instead, we tucked our tails between our legs, slinked away, and whenever we happened to have to cross the Cafe, we looked away and hurried our stride as if we were passing the Boo Radley house. 

Think Sun

Yes, Cool Jesus is still here.  Unlike my estranged colleagues Matty Ballgame, Miss Possible, and Captain Larby, I am still gainfully employed by The Diatribe.  My absence has been the result of one substantial reason (I have not had any decent material about which to write) and one excuse (I vowed to not return until LTJ found a new avatar, because his current one creeps me out).  I actually thought of a good topic or two last night as I was settling down to watch the State of the Union address.  Unfortunately, I forgot them.  But, since it is the first day of February, I wanted to check in because the month always seems to start out on the right foot when I check in on day one.

I think we’re just about halfway through winter, which is good, but that also means I’m in the grips of my annual mid-winter blahs.  It strikes me every year.  The worst year for my MWBs was right around 1999, I believe.  I was about nine months shy of graduation, had been in Boston for four years, and my life consisted pretty much of school and work.  I desperately needed a change.  I thought for sure I would move away after school and even went so far as to send cover letters and resumes out to other states in the hopes of getting interviews outside of Boston.  That never happened and by the time 2000 rolled around, I didn’t feel quite so down about Boston.  I liked the buildings again.  I liked the ultra-fast pace again.  I didn’t mind the weather so much.

While I’d still like a change to shake up my life, I know I’d miss being so close to Boston.  My current MWBs are not as severe as before.  Just a normal case of being sick and tired of the gray, gloomy, overcast, chilly weather, of not being able to really partake in outdoor activities, of another season of the Celtics stinking up the Garden.

Last year at this time was worse.  I was in the midst of dating and that was not going so well.  This year, I have Swedish Girl to help me kick the MWBs and we even cooked burritos grande last weekend.  Yahoo!  And not to let the cat out of the bag, but there’s talk of mixing up a pitcher of margaritas this weekend.  What better way to lose the mid-winter blahs and look ahead to the mid-summer yeahs.