Friday, August 31, 2007

New Combat Zone

To append my previous posting...I thought a few words describing the hell that is Kenmore Square were worth a few minutes out of my work day.

Forget the disaster that is the MBTA's aethstetic destruction of whatever scenery actually does exist on both street-level Kenmore and underground on the T, but I'm entirely tired of the plywood makeshift walls, orange cones, netting, heavy equipment, asphalt masquerading as sidewalk, chopped up streets, and uneven sidewalks.

Add to that minivans and SUV's filled with clueless out of town drivers with about-to-enter-college children in tow (who undoubtedly want to be rid of mum and dad after a summer of almost independence).

Top it off with large groups of pedestrians and the Red Sox home this weekend, and I'm officially moving Boston's Combat Zone, albeit temporarily, to Kenmore Square.

Moving day in Boston

I spent part of my evening yesterday sweating profusely while assisting Karin with a few heavy items she was moving from her summer rental into her real apartment in Brighton.

I'm fascinated by the stats of how many leases actually turn over on 9/1 in Boston. It's a startling number that I forget - something like 75% perhaps, the majority of those being in Allston / Brighton I would imagine.

Evidence of people moving was already in full effect, with boxes and discarded furniture on the streets, moving trucks and pickups double-parked, and people carrying lots of stuff into and out of buildings.

Assisting with a few items reminded me of my current age (which no longer begins with a 1 or a 2), and my intense desire for cold temperatures over warm ones any day of the week, since once I begin sweating, it's difficult to stop.

This weekend will be incomplete until some idiot gets his or her moving truck stuck at a Storrow Drive overpass. Seems to happen every year at least once.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Best corn thus far

I headed to my eye doctor earlier to get a pair of glasses repaired, but my real reason for the journey (besides having to move my car from our back-alley parking spot and my sheer laziness to climb all the way up 4 flights of stairs only to return back down soon thereafter for lunch) was finding yet another reason to make my way to Copley Square this afternoon (it's Tuesday = Farmer's Market day).

Today seemed to be tomato and sunflower day, because there were many vendors with TONS of those products. When you're used to shopping at Shaw's or Stop & Shop, where the produce section is remarkably the same year 'round (less some peaches in the summer and apple cider in the fall), seeing an overabundance of a particular type of produce is proof positive about what is currently ripe and in season.

I bought some raspberries, ground coffee, and corn (I already had some tomatoes) - all three of which I sampled when I came home, and all three of which were very very good. The corn was so sweet and succulent - absolutely my favorite of the season thus far, and the coffee smelled delicious in the car, that I brewed a pot this evening to have with dinner.

The best part is that I didn't even drop my eyeglasses off for repair, but rather scheduled an eye appointment for Thursday, in case my prescription changed and I need an adjustment in the lenses too. I should have scheduled it for Friday because it's Farmer's Market day at Copley again!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Dolor de cabeza

I have a splitting headache right now. So, naturally my inclination is to post on Platinum Elite.

I'm not usually prone to headaches. Therefore, I should recall the events of the day that are atypical of my usual Monday routine.
1. I spoke with my parents on the drive to work.

2. I did not leave my office building between 8:45am and 8:45pm

3. I threw my socks away at work today
Everything else was pretty standard for a Monday.

It seems to me that every time I discard my socks at work, I get a splitting headache. I won't be doing THAT anymore.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Peace offering

My standoff with itunes has ended, and I'm back on their downloading bandwagon.

This morning, I added a few new songs from M.I.A. and Rilo Kiley. I think M.I.A.'s first CD was so original and different. The new one has some songs that are great, and some I just can't see myself listening to, so I went the itunes a la carte route.

The new Rilo Kiley, however, has more songs than I thought I would like. Their new single is called "The Moneymaker," and while I definitely like it, their old time indie pop fans seem up at arms (God forbid bands evolve or make records that have some pop sensibilities if they began along the indie route).

I thought I would check my most played itunes tracks (I love this feature for some reason), and I'm not sure what to make of these 20 songs besides realizing that most have remained on my active playlist for some time, and I just never seem to skip many of them...hence the highest amount of plays.

I do know that I was at the John Legend show last night at Fenway - my final concert of the summer - and he didn't sing the one song of his that I liked the most (#19). Instead, he spent most of his time on stage sweating and gyrating with some lady who joined him on stage for a slow dance (in all honesty..he was very good).

Friday, August 24, 2007

More currency

It has been a bit of a surreal week for the staff here at Platinum Elite. Marge took the week off, Nancy has been under the weather, and Phyllis unexpectedly quit. There's an open position now for an inside sales person, if anybody is interested.

I have been consumed with my "other" job, and been working late and/or early all week. Somehow, through it all, I have managed to complete a full week with exactly one dollar bill in my wallet. Perfect time to get mugged (which did not happen). I didn't even break out the plastic all that much to compensate. I'm going to the ATM today, however, to end my cash poor status.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Ambiguously content

My mood today is content, for a specific reason.

I would prefer not to articulate why, but my state of being content has nothing to do with anyone who reads Platinum Elite.

Perhaps I'm loading up on good fortune, since I have found two heads-up pennies this week already.

But, we'll just leave it at that. Have a great day, readers!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

2 for 3 on istockphoto

Lord - getting approved on istockphoto is sure difficult! I am up to two of three approved photos (the second one, a bit begrudgingly on their part, with their backhanded approval of one of my Dubrovnik pictures with the comment: "Ok - do be aware of focus issues")

I keep reminding myself that this is all fine, and it's a good approval process, as it keeps out the less skilled amateurs from uploading. For now, I'm one of those less skilled amateurs it seems. But one more approved photo, and then the fun begins.

With my new Digital SLR, I think I have a better shot now. I am still getting a handle on lighting and such, so after reviewing my pics from over the weekend from the Boston Harbor islands, it's a bit strange that I'm selecting a close-up of a valve on the boat that brought us out to Spectacle Island, but I think it's a good shot with a clear subject in the foreground, and a blurry background for effect (I did that on purpose!)

Their issues with all rejected photos have been "artifacts" in the photos when viewed at full size. This photo of limes is the latest not to make the cut. I'm having a difficult time determining if the photos have artifacts, so we'll see if this one is artifact-free. I still like the pic.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Pat Rent-a-Car

My summer concert tour de force continued this weekend with two shows at the Bank of America Pavilion.

Friday night was Nickel Creek, who played for over two hours straight, and had Fiona Apple join them for about 30% of the show. I have seen them three times now, and they are a tough band to watch live. Many of their songs are instrumental, or have very quiet vocals, and generally the audience does not simply sit there and listen. Rather, they talk to their friends. So, every Nickel Creek show I have attended has featured a dull mutter from the crowd during the entire show, which I find disrespectful on the concert-goers parts.

Last night was much different, and much louder. Pat Benatar played, now giving equal billing to her husband/guitarist/collaborator Neil Giraldo. Pat has not had a hit in the US in 19 years, and the bulk of her hits were from 1979-1983, so it's safe to say this was a nostalgia show.

And the audience reflected that! Lots of bedazzled jeans, big stomachs, frosted hair, and a lady in leopard print spandex pants who hit on Ryan twice.

In looking at her hits online, it's kind of surprising she did not sing "Fire and Ice" and "You Better Run" during her set. Everything else was pretty standard. Technically, she had 15 US Top 40 hits, but the real mystery was twofold. First does she close with "Hit Me With Your Best Shot," "Heartbreaker," or "Love Is A Battlefield" (Heartbreaker closed the show, Battlefield closed the encore). Second, can she still hit the high notes in Heartbreaker (answer=no...but she had quite a range and powerful voice nonetheless).

Pat miscellany:

I had an old co-worker who would always refer to Pat as "Pat Rent-a-Car," which I found a bit amusing.

Last season during kickball, our most fun post-game celebration was with a team that we dubbed "the nicest team ever," because, well, they were. We went out drinking with them at some dive in Somerville after the game, and we were able to convince the DJ to play "Love Is A Battlefield," AND a condition of that song being played was that members of our team (to remain nameless) were to do the Pat Benatar boob dance that she does at the end of the video. It was probably a lot funnier after copious amounts of beer.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

I was recommended to check out a couple weeks ago, and I can see this site becoming my new obsession. It's a great website that can be used for fully-licensed, inexpensive photos. The site, however, seems to double as a cool artist's community with vibrant forums and profiles for the photographers.

In an effort to weed out the less serious artists, requires people to complete an approval process, which consists of a brief 10-question test about their policies, and the submission of three photos to be judged on whatever they're looking for, before they are permitted to upload photos

It's more difficult than it seems. Reading the message boards, I am keenly aware of how excited people become upon their approval from the site, and how frequently photos are turned down for a variety of reasons.

I'm a casual photographer, and am fascinated by this site. Just the thought of taking pictures that other people elect to view and possibly purchase is so flattering to me. I know I have a good eye for photo composition, and have always enjoyed taking pictures - all the way back to high school when I constantly snapped pictures for the yearbook. I just bought a brand new 10 megapixel Canon digital SLR camera, which arrived yesterday and is sweet.

So far, I have one of three photos approved (one of home plate). The more I look at the photo that they approved, the more I really like it's simplicity and quality. The dirt isn't perfect, the pebbles and grains are distinct and visible, and the subject is obvious.
According to's photo evaluators, the two that were rejected had "artifacts" that were visible when viewed full size. I resubmitted two new photos yesterday, but the process takes a week or two before they are able to view them and respond.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The third largest U.S. State

Ugh, second place AGAIN in Team Trivia at C.F. Donovan's last night. We were in the lead the entire way and screwed up the final question (for the record, Connecticut is the third smallest state, not Hawaii as we guessed).

Special acknowledgement to my teammates Ryan, Dan, and Meaghan, without whom we would not have scored a perfect score of twenty points during the written bonus round that consisted of naming Michelle Pfeiffer movies based on one of her co-stars and the year it was released. For the record, I would have answered them all incorrectly. It's one of those questions that after reading them, you're thrilled to be sitting there with the specific people you have on your team.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Have they run out of F's?

Who names a hurricane "Flossie?"

Monday, August 13, 2007

Summer Lent

Every so often, it's worthwhile to dip into the pool of Catholicism and repurpose one of their thoughts or doctrines.

Today is the start of my Summer Lent. 40 days from today, I fly to Rome. What a perfect fit.

It's time for a change. I need some cleansing and redemption.

I have three guidelines for my Summer Lent.

1. No more alcohol for the next 40 days. Cold turkey.

2. The only beverages I will consume will be water, coffee (with half and half is fine), sugar-free flavored seltzer, or unsweetened iced tea. Any unopened containers of diet soda in my home will remain as such, but any already opened containers will be OK for me to finish.

3. I will only play online poker during days in which I had a substantial athletic workout before beginning play (i.e. 10 pushups don't count).

I trust that my friends will be supportive of my Summer Lent, and will police me to the letter of my three rules.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

New England Revolution / Gillette Stadium parking lot

Entirely unrelated subject - but how entertaining is Big Brother 8 this season? Could these people hate each other any more? Whether it's truly Evil Dick stirring the pot, or the producers inciting the players and shaping the story the way they want, it's great TV and, as usual, absolutely my guilty pleasure of the summer.

Onward. I went to the New England Revolution game tonight. Ryan invited me to join him in his company's luxury box, which was the first time I had the opportunity to check out those seats. What an amazing vantage point and viewing environment for games at Gillette!

I still don't get the worldwide obsession with soccer. It must have something to do with national pride. Ryan's logic works as well - it's a sport that is simple to play, and can be (and is) played anywhere in the world.

It's confusing to me that the time continues even with the ball going out of bounds, players getting injured, and miscellaneous events that would logically cause a momentary cessation of the timer.

Add to that the eerie silence among the 35,000 fans in the stadium, less a few occasions of excitement.

Tie games, low scores - it just doesn't seem like a sport that Americans are clamoring to get behind.

Beckham didn't even play. In the end, who cares - his presence creates buzz and sells tickets, exactly what MLS wants. Let him ride the pine for most of his time here in the U.S.

What I did see were tons of kids at the stadium - which makes sense. Relatively low ticket prices to watch professional athletes play a game that children play all the time at school is a recipe for a family event.

Which brings me to my gripe of the night - the parking situation at Gillette. Bravo for them to make the parking lots free during soccer events. But if that free parking creates the disorganized chaos that is the pilgrimage back to your vehicle and attempt to get out of the parking lot, then I'd rather pay 20 bucks.

I always wondered what those idiots who I see driving down Landsdowne Street after a Sox game just let out are thinking. Pedestrians enveloping their vehicles, them inching forward as they come perilously close to people weaving in and out between the line of cars.

Now I know the feeling.

We had VIP parking to go with our luxury box seats - pretty much right next to the stadium.

Unfortunately, there was zero order to how people were walking from the stadium to their cars. No orderly line, no fences to keep people and cars separate, no parking lot attendants who seemed to care (or not be talking on their cell phones if they were present).

While I did feel bad for the families who just enjoyed a 1-0 Revs victory attempt to keep their small children from being smooshed between two cars, they could have been using more common sense when it came to walking safely.

Gillette Stadium, on the other hand, should have provided a safer area for which pedestrians could have navigated (not to mention give drivers from my parking area more of a choice of exit route than "drive this way - we're going to make you take Route 1 South home (Bostonians included), and hope that you know that it will intersect with 495 at some point."

People wanting to get home quickly + small children + disorder + dark + lots of cars = recipe for disaster.

Muse live in Boston

I went to the most amazing Muse show last night at Agganis Arena on BU's campus. This band epitomizes "rock star," and their pretention is directed away from traditional rocker excess into a political and social musical commentary that's incredible to watch.

Muse used a few video screens and an awesome light show to enhance the music - I feel like they told a story of some science-fiction battle, mixed with a push toward creating a ground-swell of social change through people organizing and rising up against oppressive governments. I never really viewed their music in this light, so it's an interesting new perspective to have.

I took this video off of You Tube, from their show at MSG a few days ago. I loved the robot video dance march to the tune of "Supermassive Black Hole."

My ears are still ringing.....the perils of good rock music.

Friday, August 10, 2007

You know it's going to be a good weekend when...'re driving home down Mass Ave. at 6pm, and at the intersection of Mass Ave. and Columbus, you approach a red traffic light, and see a man running on the right side of the intersection with a gun drawn (he was a cop), and then see 4 or 5 other cop cars swarm the area within minutes, a helicopter circling over head, cops emerging from each car with their respective guns blazing, and then two people apprehended, one in cuffs being walked to a car, the other in cuffs, face down on the ground.

Bring it on!

Lower Depths / Muse / Cold War Kids / Sibling Rivalry

Last night was a busy one - after work, we took Katie out for drinks, since today is her birthday and she (rightfully) has done what we all should do in life...take our birthday off!

We went to Lower Depths in Kenmore, a cool little bar that's beer heavy, wine light, and devoid of hard booze (I'm assuming due to their license). They had their patio doors open, and the scene on the patio was smoky and very "bike messenger," if that paints a picture. I hope we didn't stick out too much because I thought the vibe was cool. They seem to play music off of a MacBook, and we heard lots of Judas Priest and Muse while there (oh...side note...I have an extra ticket for the Muse / Cold War Kids show Sat night, and if any Platinum Elite readers want to join me, just drop me an email at

I left around 7:45 to join Chris and Jamen for dinner, who invited me to Sibling Rivalry. It's Restaurant Week, and always a fun time to explore new digs.
I had never been there before, and must admit that their Restaurant Week menu was the best one I have seen - way more than 2 or 3 choices. They supplied 8 or 9 appetizer choices, and another 8 or 9 entree selections. I had a salad with pancetta and fig to start, then a delicious halibut with escargot, ending with a lemon tart dessert. Add some wine, tax, and tip, and $33 Restaurant Week becomes a $60 debit (that always seems to happen...), but this time well worth it.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Dust Mites

I am overly cognizant of radio marketing these days as we compose our next ad campaign, which will begin soon after Labor Day.

For the past few weeks, there's one ad stuck in my head, that I really don't want to hear any more. I'm not sure how many stations are part of Jordan Furniture's new campaign (WBZ and WBOS are definitely two of them, since that's what i listen to in the mornings).

The crux of their campaign is to buy a new mattress because of dust mites, the excrement of which can double the weight of a mattress after ten years, because they feast on dead skin cells and are the leading cause of asthma.

Interesting angle - gross us out into buying a new mattress. Yuck!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Ambiguously angry

My mood today is angry, for a specific reason.

I would prefer not to articulate why, but my anger has nothing to do with anyone who is reads Platinum Elite.

We'll just leave it at that. Have a great day, readers!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Mean Streets of Southie

The mean streets of Southie have struck me again.

My car has officially been broken into for the first time in my life.

When the dust settled, and I cleaned up what remained of my stuff, I learned that the burglars took....


At first, I thought it was a friend pranking me. But on further thought, I think someone did indeed invade by Jeep.

I don't get it. No forced entry. No broken glass. Perhaps I left the doors unlocked, which I wouldn't put past me, but I do so rarely.

Reading the police blotters, I realize how hot GPS units are these days. Turn around and blink, boom yours is gone. I like my GPS. It was a present from my parents. It was expensive. It got me from Minneapolis to New Orleans. Her name is Jill. I never leave Jill in the car. I don't even leave her cradle on the windshield when she's not helping me (as to not entice situations like this....however my friend Brian told me that it was a good strategy after some of the rubber from his wife's GPS cradle suction cup fused to her windshield during high heat).

I returned to my car Sunday afternoon to find my miscellaneous items scattered about the seats and floor. Tissues, a couple CD's, my sunglasses case, my ipod car player - everything was simply somewhere it didn't belong, but it was all there.

Even the spare change - untouched. There was about $3 in quarters ready for the taking. They passed.

Thieves are becoming less discerning these days. People walk around on trash days and take 5 cent deposit cans from recycling bins, but a robber won't even take coin money right in front of them. I suppose that's a bit unfair, because the logic of that assumes that can collectors are thieves, which they are most certainly not synonymous.

But, next time, I should leave my GPS, meth, or heroin on the front seat for them to find. I won't have to reorganize the rest of my possessions.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Fire at Hackley School

Yesterday, I learned that there was a major fire at my high school, Hackley. A friend of mine emailed me, as did the school. My parents saw the news on the local NYC newscast (which often covers the suburbs), and in our conversation today were amazed that I had heard already (they are still pretty old-school when it comes to realizing how news can travel very quickly in the Internet world we live in).

It appears that the library was struck by lightning overnight last week, and 21 (?!) separate fire departments responded to the massive fire.

We had our commencement photo (I'm in the front row, naturally) taken in front of the library which has now been completely gutted and reduced to nothing but the facade. The building had stood there for over 100 years.

I'm extremely fond of Hackley, even more so than Brown, as I spent 10 years of my life there, and I credit my parents for finding the means to send me to such a great institution. Taking nothing away from those who received public schooling, I believe that Hackley was very instrumental to helping me get to where I am today.

Friday, August 03, 2007


I'm probably about a week or two late with this, but I finally Simpsonized myself yesterday.
For some reason, I'm wearing all black at the Kwik-E-Mart. Going for the urban hipster / ironic writer look, I suppose.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Word of Mouth 101

We have some folks in from out of town this week at work, and usually that involves lots of business meals.

Last night, we went to Bouchee - a restaurant I haven't been to since last November.

It appears that in the time between visits, our CEO and his wife have become well acquainted with the restaurant's menu and staff. During our meal, numerous employees greeted us, stopped by the table, or chatted at length with us.

The food is quite good, but the customer service was the real winner last night. After asking for the check, we were brought four plates and not one, but THREE complimentary desserts to share.

If our CEO and his wife arranged for that in advance (which I don't believe they did), that was a smart move, making them look well-connected and well-known there.

If the restaurant did that on their own (which I do believe is what happened), that simple gesture made them remarkable in my mind. Very smart business move.

You never know who your talkers are. Get to the talkers, give them good things to say, and let them talk about you. Word of Mouth 101.