Thursday, July 31, 2008

Boston Skyline at Night

Boston Skyline at Night, originally uploaded by southiejason.

I always grab my camera whenever I'm heading out on a harbor cruise. The results, however, are usually mixed. Bouncing up and down on the waves creates for difficult long-exposure shots.

Fortunately, I was able to capture a few pictures last night that turned out well, such as this one. There are some artifacts in the sky area on this picture, but overall I love this shot. The reflection of the lights on the water, the lights in the buildings, and the lonely buoy in the foreground.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Scheduling Time Off

Well, I did it yesterday.

I scheduled vacation time.

This will likely turn out to be my lightest travel year in a decade - in terms of flight segments, miles on my car, and miles on rental cars. That's what happens when gas prices go nuts, you spend many Benjamins on new kitchen cabinets, and being on the road is eliminated from your job responsibilities.

I suppose it fits my new green lifestyle. My carbon footprint is far less this year.

So without vacation planned, I didn't have time off planned either. Earlier in the year, I took a couple days here and there, but nothing longer than a long weekend...

...which is exactly what I'm planning now.

The amount of weekdays that I have driven home from work and seen tons of people on the beach in Southie made me wonder if they were there all day.

I became envious.

So, while the weather is still pleasant, I worked five days into four long weekends between now and mid-September, and have pledged to do something fun, something relatively local, and something for myself during each of those days.

Beach, movies, hiking, photos, museums - the options are endless. And it's strange, those are things that I would think I could find time doing on the weekends. But no - just doesn't seem to happen as often as I would like.

So long weekends a plenty are in my future.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Martini Party Aftermath

Impromptu Sunday night martini parties...

...make for difficult Monday mornings.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

New Puggle, Booze, and ABBA

On Saturday, we took a road trip to the great white, with three goals:

1. Pick up puggle puppy
2. Stop at New Hampshire State Liquor Store
3. Listen to ABBA's Greatest Hits

My primary goal was the booze, Jamen's was the pooch, and Ryan's was, well, ABBA. For the record, Ryan brought the CD along for the ride.

After a traffic-filled 2+ hour journey to Kennebuck, Maine, we arrived at the breeder's home, and Jamen once and for all welcomed Riley Cyrus into his world. I will take credit for amending her name, as Riley was simply not enough for this diva in training (the doggie, not Jamen).

This is Riley Cyrus. She's an 8-week old puggle, and quite adorable.

This is the New Hampshire State Liquor Store, a wonderland of spirits and vino, all tax-free and discounted atop that. Although NH is assuredly a purple state, and arguably a red one, they know how to drink, placating residents and passers-through with the promise of cheap booze.

It is impossible for me to leave this building without having spent under $150.

Yesterday was no exception.

But, now I'm stocked up. 8 standard bottles of wine, 1 magnum of wine, and ginormous 1.75 liter bottles of Bombay Sapphire, Martini & Rossi Dry Vermouth, and Parrot Bay, and a not-as-large-but-still-big bottle of Bailey's, all for $175.

I have never made a proper martini for myself, mainly because:

1. I technically don't know how
2. I have never had dry vermouth on hand
3. I didn't own martini glasses
4. I didn't have fruit / olive spears

I solved #2 on Saturday, and solved #s 3 and 4 earlier today.

#1 is still unsolved, but my cocktail book is now sitting on my kitchen counter, ready and waiting for later this afternoon.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Misheard Lyrics - My Name Is Jonas by Weezer

I'm have been on a major Weezer kick of late - not just their recent music, but basically everything dating back to their first CD in '94.

One of my favorite songs to play on Guitar Hero III is My Name is Jonas, which popped onto my iPod (ahem...iPhone G3) yesterday, causing me to finally look up the lyrics. I really have no idea what the song is about.

The weirdest thing - it typical misheard lyrics fashion, I thought the opening of the song was "My name is Jonas, I'm carrying the whale," which is entirely absurd because:

1. The Bible story was Jonah and the Whale, not Jonas

2. Carrying a whale? Seriously. What was I thinking.

Here are the actual lyrics, which still don't make much sense to me. But the song is awfully fun to sing, especially the lines "Hey man, we go all the way" and of course, "The workers are going home..."

My name is Jonas.
I'm carrying the wheel.
Thanks for all you've shown us.
This is how we feel.

Come sit next to me.
Pour yourself some tea.
Just like Grandma made
When we couldn't find sleep.
Things were better then.
Once but never again.
We've all left the den.
Let me tell you 'bout it.

Choo-choo train left right on time.
A ticket costs only your mind.
The driver said, "Hey, man, we go all the way."
Of course we were willing to pay.

My name is Wakefield.
Gotta box full of your toys.
They're fresh out of batteries.
But they're still makin' noise, makin' noise.
Tell me what to do.
Now the tank is dry.
Now this wheel is flat.
And you know what else?
Guess what I received,
In the mail today.
Words of deep concern
From my little brother.

The building's not goin' as he planned.
The foreman has injured his hand.
The dozer will not clear a path.
The driver swears he learned his math.

The workers are goin' home. (x4)

The workers are goin' home. (x3)
Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!

My name is Jonas.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Savannah Humid

Humidity and I are enemies. Plain and simple.

It makes me sweat. Uncontrollably at times. When the air isn't moving and it's filled with water, my skin enjoys contributing more wetness to its environs.

All I can think about with this humidity is Savannah, GA.

I believe my trip to Savannah was pre-move to Boston, and therefore pre-digital camera.

But I managed to swing a weekend there when we booked a project with a Savannah radio station. Since I had never been to Savannah and loved Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, I figured it was worth checking out the area.

I stayed right downtown on Reynolds Square, at a fancy hotel called The Planter's Inn, right near the Savannah River, and amidst the trees covered in haunting Spanish moss.

I will never forget pulling up in my rented Ford Mustang, stepping out of the car, and having my glasses fog up instantaneously. For some reason, every time that happens (such as this morning walking into Dunkin' Donuts), I think about Savannah.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Awesome iPhone Apps - Scribble

There has been lots of hype around the new Apps available for the iPhone and iPod Touch.

Deservedly so. Many of them are simply awesome.

There's the "how do they do that" of Shazam and Midomi, which can identify music by hearing the actual song (Shazam) or by listening to someone hum or sing part of the song (Midomi).

There's the "um....OK....weird, but sweet" app PhoneSaber, which turns the device into a light saber.

There's the "well of course we need THAT" app called More Cowbell, which shows the picture of a cowbell and allows the user to tap the picture of the cowbell on the screen to add, well, more cowbell where necessary.

Yesterday, I downloaded Scribble, which is a simple drawing app. You can pick from four colors and draw pictures with your finger.

Somehow, I managed to draw this as my first interaction with Scribble.

It appears to be a smiley face presiding over a blue male Christmas Tree with feet.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Goodbye, Futon Pad

Last night when Rosie took me for my final walk of the day, we spotted a Fox 25 remote van setting up for a live shot along Columbia Road (on the grassy area best known as the doggie restroom).

While I found much interest in their presence, Rosie seemed to prefer sniffing weeds and changing direction many times during her standard erratic after-dark walk.

I had intended to walk over to the reporter or cameraman and ask what was newsworthy about Southie this evening, but figured that they were busy and probably didn't want a local dog and her keeper on camera.
So, back we went to catch it live on TV.

It appears that many residences in Southie took on water and sewage during this weekend's violent flash storm. Being that I was out of town for much of this weekend, I didn't realize how bad the rain actually was. A few folks in Dorchester struck by lightning aside, it appeared to be yet another fast-moving storm. The locals that they interviewed were pointing fingers at the ongoing NWRA project that has made much of Columbia Road in Southie an eyesore, but Boston Water & Sewer isn't accepting much responsibility.

So I thought I would check our basement to see what happened down there.

Sure enough, in the boiler room, there's some water. Not a ton, but a few puddles that required two beach towels to sop up.

I then checked inside of my storage bin and found some dampness, but no water. It is, after all, a basement. But when cloth-based items are on dampness, they too become damp. That would be my futon pad that I was given in 1995 and seems to have followed me around to five post-college residences.

It's probably time to discard the now-unused damp futon pad.

So I checked on the City of Boston's sanitation department website, learning that furniture seems perfectly acceptable for curbside drop-off:

Items list below require no scheduling for collection

  • clothes dryer
  • dishwasher
  • food waste
  • furniture
  • hot water heater
  • house hold appliances
  • mattress and box spring
  • carpet – no longer than 3ft in length and tied
  • washing machine
Excellent! I had no idea that such large items were good to go.

I was always fearful that I would put large items outside and they wouldn't be removed, only for rains to come and I would have to then drag a now wet and unwanted item inside.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Bachelor Party in the Hudson Valley

I just finished eating some delicious raw vegetables for dinner this evening, mainly because:
1. I have a fridge full of them
2. I need a serious amount of detoxing after this past weekend

I haven't been to all that many bachelor parties - maybe 4 or 5 so far. This one was certainly one of the more decadent of the bunch.

In the universal code of men, it is highly inappropriate to reveal specifics unsuitable for non-PG audiences, but I can say that the weekend involved kayaking, beer, Mario Kart, and the consumption of a broken light bulb.

Friday afternoon, I picked up Brian, Kelly, and little Mabel for the drive out to Western Mass (for a pit stop to drop the ladies off with the grandfolks). After some delicious burgers and corn, Brian and I continued across the MA/NY border into the Hudson Valley. A 40 miles drive down the Taconic Parkway landed us in Highland, NY - a town west of the Hudson Valley's armpit (aka Poughkeepsie) - at Indian Ridge, our weekend home.

We put our trust in Jill the GPS, and she directed us to what seemed, on the outside, to be a warehouse in the middle of a field. Strange, we thought. This doesn't appear to be a quaint bed and breakfast in a charming small New York town.

But with the utmost degree of confidence in technology, we walked up a staircase and opened a door to find the bachelor party! It seems that Indian Ridge isn't much of a bed and breakfast or anything, but rather a huge residence rented out by its owner on occasion. The main room had a large bar with eight stools, a pool table, a large TV with seating area, two bathrooms, a renovated kitchen, a bedroom with waterbed and jacuzzi, and two cast iron staircases to large lofted sleeping areas. The entire interior was covered with lacquered wood - walls, beams, ceiling, and floor. Actually, a cool place for our home base.

Surveying the coolers, fridges, and countertops, we found an incredible amount of snacks and beer - plenty of food for the weekend.

Now, it's 10:30 when we show up, and I am exhausted. Somehow, my second wind hit me just in time, and next thing I know it's 3:30 am and I'm many beers, chips, and snacks into the night. Given out 8:30 am wakeup call for kayaking in the Hudson, I claimed an oversized comfy corner chair as my weekend sleeping quarters, and hit the hay.

Saturday began with a 45 minute drive in an un-airconditioned conversion van that comfortably seated 14 folks (but we had 15....). We showed up about an hour late for our guided kayak excursion in the Hudson River. This was a much different kayaking trip that the one in the Charles River a few weeks ago. I believe there were five guides who spent much care explaining the kayaking nuances to the group, most of whom were experienced athletes from college days. We were warned to secure and sunglasses with croakies, and to yell if we accidentally tipped over in the water.

Sure enough, one of the guys tipped immediately upon launching, losing his sunglasses. I decided to put mine in my life vest's pocket for safe keeping. We had another 3 or 4 tippings throughout the afternoon, but I managed to avoid it.

After lunch, it was on to the craft beer festival - much different from the one in Boston a few weeks ago. 12 New York brewers set up shop, and $20 landed me all I could drink. I have learned that after an hour of 2 ounce beer samples, I talk to strangers readily.

Back to the lodge in the sweatbox van, and back to Mario Kart - the most addictive component of the weekend. 4 player Mario Kart is quite amazing, and I'm a bit shocked that it sucked in many of the bachelor party attendees for long periods of time.

After a catered dinner, my lasagna baby in my belly induced a nap, and I ended up skipping Saturday night's brief excursion on the town in Hyde Park, NY. I fell asleep on the couch about 5 minutes after sitting down (90 degrees + kayaking + beer + lasagna = sleep), and the party returned to the lodge just a brief 90 minutes after the caravan departed. By then, everyone was spent. The light bulb chewing had ended, and after goodbyes in the morning...the party is on hold until the wedding in a few weeks.

The ride back was quick and painless, less the second $70 gas fillup and the revelation that the switch that regulates how my console blows air (panel / defrost / at my feet) has now failed, and I'm stuck with defrost as my only option - tons of fun when I've already put $2,500 into my finally-paid-off Jeep this year. I'm hoping that this is a warranty project, but expecting that it won't be.

Overall, an excellent weekend. Only one minor flesh wound (Brian, finger, door slam), and assuredly some bruised livers in the bunch - nothing some fresh veggies and water can't clear up!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

All Paid Up and Debt Free

It's never a good idea to have an outstanding debt with an Irishman fester for too long.

I'm all settled up.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Tiny Petco and The 99 Restaurant in Charlestown

Last night after work, I joined Jamen for a ride to the world's smallest and dirtiest Petco in Cambridge, across from the Best Buy in the Cambridgeside Galleria.

Call me traditional - but when I go to a big box retailer, I want a sprawling parking lot, lots of square footage, and soccer moms galore.

Nonetheless, there we were. Shopping for the puggle that Jamen will be picking up a week from Saturday.

After shopping, the plan was to grab dinner. On the way into the tiny Petco parking area, we passed an Afghani restaurant called Helmand, which to my surprise, Jamen - the king of chain restaurants - said that he heard was good.

Excellent, I thought....we can try somewhere new!

But no - after spending about $200 on doggie treats, collars, and poop bags, Jamen wanted to go elsewhere.

So into Charlestown we went. I couldn't remember the name of The Warren Tavern, but that was in my sights and my intended destination.

Instead, we ended up at The 99 across from Bunker Hill Community College. Oddly enough, Jamen - the king of chain restaurants - had never been to The 99?! How can that be possible?

I hadn't been to this 99 in quite some time, but used to go almost every week during kickball season, back when See You Next Tuesday (that would be our final team's name) was dominating the middle rankings of our BSSC division.

Here's Jamen noshing on some very salty but free popcorn.

They appear to have redone the inside of The 99, complete with written signs all over the restaurant with the actually "99 reasons you'll always come back for more." I thought it was pretty clever, with reasons that we appropriate to where they were posted (Reason 42 - because you can take this card and call ahead for seating, Reason 67 - you can remove this divider and have more room for your friends...I'm sure the actual numbering and phrasing differs).

So Jamen is all set with his One New Thing this week - strangely enough, it's The 99. Mine is still to come.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

One New Thing - My Facial at Viva Skin Care Center

Back in October, I went to Blogtoberfest, a local blogging event organized by blogger extraordinaire Jenny Frazier. At the event, local bloggers had a chance to mingle, and link names, faces, and blogs.

On the registration table sat a number of prizes to be given away during the free raffle later that evening.

Sure enough, I won a prize.

But not just any prize. Not a Dunkin' Donuts gift card. Not a CD from a local artist.

I won a free facial from Viva Skin Care Center in Burlington

Somehow, when they announced the free facial, I knew it was coming my way. And then it did.

Months went by. I got a dog, moved offices, and installed cabinets. The free facial was in the back of my mind, but I never acted upon it.

Until a few weeks ago, when I came up with the excellent idea of "One New Thing" as a way of combating the mundane and routine. Jamen also pledged to participate, and next thing you know he's been to two new restaurants and bought a dog.

Every week - at least one new thing. It could be a place to eat, an activity, a social group, or a new store. Just something new, something that I haven't tried before.

So I scheduled the appointment a few weeks ago, learning that my free facial had a value of $150. Wow! I figured that a facial was simply showing up at a salon, them slapping mud on my face, squeezing some pores, and off I went.

It turns out, it's a lot more.

There's the skin analysis (mine is more oily that I thought, but that's apparently good because it has contributed to the lack of laugh / forehead / crow's feet lines on my 33-year old face).

There's the astringent. Then the extraction (a fancier term for squeezing the crap out of the pores in my nose and cheeks). And the facial scrub. And the head and neck massage. Then the mask and hand massage. I'm sure I'm forgetting about some of it, but the process was interesting and relaxing.

Viva Skin Care seems to have a litany of services - laser hair removal, micro-invasive lipo, acne therapy, you name it! Perhaps I'll return a few years after I get my neck tattoo and have it removed.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Jason Purchases an iPhone G3

I must admit that I am getting sucked into the cult of Apple.

On Friday, I intended to purchase an iPhone before work if the line at the local AT&T store wasn't too long. When I drove past , I saw a few people waiting outside, and decided that I needed to get to work and would deal with the iPhone later.

That decision became an efficient use of my time, as Apple had a rough Friday with their activation servers crashing.

But Saturday morning, I walked Rosie and then decided to take a shot at the Apple Store on Boylston St. I hadn't been there yet, and heard that the lines on Friday were three deep and around the block. I figured that worst case, I would drive by, see a huge crowd of people, and head out to Natick to pick up my slate tile before 1pm (and try the Apple Store at The Natick Collection).

Well, I passed the Apple store and saw maybe 30 people in a queue outside the front door. Didn't seem too bad, I thought. I turned left toward Newbury St. and happened upon a car pulling out from a metered spot.

Perfect timing!

I went to go feed the meter with eight quarters, and noticed that it was Out of Order. Even better! Technically, there's an hour limit on Out of Order meters, but I figured I would just park there and see what happens.

On to the line outside of the store.

I'm informed that there are no more 16 GB black iPhones in stock. No worries. A white one is what I wanted anyways. Either way, there was a good chance that the case I select for the phone would mask the phone's color.

I start doing some reconnaissance. I ask the guy in line ahead of me if there have been any time estimates from this point. He was thinking 90 minutes. It appears that the line outside of the store was a precursor to another line on the second floor.

It's now 10:15 am. Plenty of time to make it to Natick to pick up tile before the close.

11:05 am - we're welcomed inside of the store. Thankfully. The sun was high in the sky, and the reflection off the building's facade made for a toasty morning. The Apple Store employees were even passing out water and sunscreen(?!)

Up to the second floor, the land of iPhones. Everything on this floor is dedicated to iPhones.

There is are people standing in another queue around three sides of the square that surrounds the central glass spiral staircase. Once reaching the front of the line, Apple reps were greeting customers and pairing them with salespeople when they became available.

12:30 pm rolls around, and finally I'm at the head of the line. Just over two hours waiting, which wasn't awful to be honest. I had my ipod and camera with me. The store was air conditioned. And I was excited.

At this point, I also stopped caring about the possible parking ticket for leaving my car at an Out of Order meter for quite some time.

In the necessary people watching, I saw a glimpse of an Apple logo tattooed onto the back of an employee's neck. This cult has deep roots.

I'm helped by Matt, who turned out to be an intern at WFNX, referred to on-air at times as iMatt. Clever. He's with me for about 35 minutes, helping explain the different packages, accessories, MobileMe, and get me all set up and activated.

A couple times, iMatt asked me a few seemingly hokey questions like "are you excited about this?" and "do you want to unwrap it?" almost like the ceremony of purchasing an iPhone builds to the exciting climax of actually owning one, which to be perfectly honest it does.

I must say that the employees at the Apple Store deserve lots of credit for being professional and patient while they deal with legions of customers, packed stores, and tons of questions. Even though I waited for 2+ hours, I felt that I received great customer service.

So about three hours after I parked, I walked out of the store, iPhone in hand, passing the line of people who probably don't know that their three hour journeys were just beginning.

No parking ticket on the car. The awesome continues!!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

11 Trips to Dunkin' Donuts

Wow, busy day. Lots to blog about. Perhaps I'll split my adventures up into a few posts, starting with the simplest...

Overheard at Dunkin Donuts this morning:

Irritated lady: "This is the 11th Dunkin' Donuts I've been to today."

Me (thinking): "Whatever this lady is looking for, there's nothing that Dunkin' Donuts sells - or apparently doesn't sell - that necessitates trips to 11 different Dunkin' Donuts before 10am"

My last 13 hours

Hour on the T from Southie to Brighton (grrr)
Lots of beer.
Late night.
Groggy morning.
Still lightheaded.
Will require nap soon.

Friday, July 11, 2008

No iphone G3...yet

It's 8:50 AM, and I do not have an iphone G3.....


There's an AT&T store around the corner from me, and I thought I would swing by in the morning at the off chance that there would be a short line.

Unfortunately, there was a line, but it seemed long enough to justify delaying the purchase to later today.

There appears to be an Apple store at South Shore Plaza - right down the street from where I work. My new plan is to:

1. Actually take lunch today, and not scarf down food at my desk or bring my laptop to the building cafeteria and continue working while eating.

2. Take an early lunch. I'm thinking 11am. Maybe the early lines will have dies down, and the later ones won't have picked up yet. Worst case, if there is a huge wait, I grab food and head down to Avon to pick up part of the materials for my tile backsplash project (they called me this week and I haven't had time to pick it up).

The phone looks great, but the real treat is going to be the App Store. Open the software to developers everywhere, and who knows what you're going to get! I haven't explored yet, but my guess is that apfter purchasing the phone, I'm going to be buying a few third party apps as well.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Out of Focus Lately

I have had a weird few weeks where I'm just losing a bit of focus.

Not at work, but rather in the rest of my life.

Every day things that I usually seem to avoid. They're happening.

I opened up a T-Mobile cell phone bill last week to find $150 of overage charges for going beyond my 1,000 minutes/month. Lovely. This NEVER happens.

Saturday night, I parked in a resident spot and watched someone slap a parking ticket onto my car while enjoying a glass of wine at Stella before dinner. This after Chris parked at a meter overnight, Friday into Saturday, and had nothing on his car when he retrieved it at 1pm on Saturday. Shame on me for thinking they weren't ticketing on a Saturday of a holiday weekend. This is maybe my 3rd or 4th parking ticket in seven years. I'm good about knowing how to avoid them and when I can bend the rules. Not this time.

Today, I logged in to my checking account to find $125 in overdraft fees. I transferred some money into checking on the 3rd that did not appear until the 8th because of the holiday.

Finally, though, I think my ship is turning around - back where it belongs on course.

I called my bank this morning, explained the issue and the fact that I alerted them last week that this might happen, and the agent refunded my $125 within a minute or two. No shouting or arguing. Simple. Done. Nice job - Bank of America. We like you.

Contrast that to my hour long conversation with T-Mobile last week, trying to get out of these overage charges. (I had been tweaking my plan based on historic usage, and I simply messed up). The first agent was courteous and sympathetic, but after much pleading, he could not do anything. When I threatened to cancel, I landed with a customer retention agent who did a great job in making me feel like a dumbass for doing this, basically explaining that I was the one who switched his plan, I had been on this plan for a couple months, and that I should have known better.

Way to make me feel like an important customer. You just took an angry one (me) and made him feel like an idiot for being so stupid.

Good thing the new iphone G3 is coming out on Friday. PERFECT excuse to get one!

I'm paying out my cancellation fee and switching to AT&T.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Pilot Ship

Pilot Ship, originally uploaded by southiejason.

Sunday was another adventure out to Spectacle Island - our second trip there this summer. Even though is was a soupy day with low clouds, lots of haze, and a generally grey color palette, I always bring my camera because I just never know what I'm going to see.

Usually my photo sets during Spectacle Island days consist of the following: interesting shots of boats, buildings, the harbor, and the Boston skyline sandwiching many shots of goofy people (us) having drunk too much wine. Yesterday's pics are no different.

So at the risk of incriminating the innocent, a photo of a colorful pilot ship cruising through an otherwise near-monochrome background is probably a safer bet.

I was searching for glimpses of color - anywhere - as the haze and low clouds made the downtown buildings mirror the colors of the sky and water. I found a few boats, including this one, that stood out, brazenly challenging and punching through the dreary background.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Kayaking on the Charles

Yesterday was the 3rd annual Kayaking on the Charles regatta - an annual summer event where a few friends and I take a leisurely gander down the Charles river and then race back.

The weather was perfect. Not too sunny, not raining, mid-70's, and kind of grey and overcast. The river was not crowded, and the currents were easy to overcome.

Jamen drove over and opted for a two-person kayak - his fatal flaw. The rest of us went with singles.

For the third year running, I was the victor, finishing a good two minutes ahead of the second place boat rowed by Todd.

Friday, July 04, 2008

My Delicious Brownies

To: All the haters
Fr: Jason, Baker extraordinaire
Re: My delicious creation this afternoon

Y'all can suck it. Brownies from scratch. I'm back in the baking game.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Old Ironsides

Old Ironsides, originally uploaded by southiejason.

I took this photo a few years ago when the USS Constitution made a pilgrimage to Castle Island during an Independence Day celebration, complete with a battle ceremony of her firing her cannons, and five colonial soldiers firing their muskets in response (well, into the air).

On Tuesday, I rode my bike out to Charlestown and saw the Constitution at port, resting up for the weary sail out to Southie tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Turtle Statue in Copley Square

I must say that I love how seamlessly integrated software is these days.

Plug in my camera to my MacBook, upload photos into iPhoto (with a plug-in), tag and name photos in iPhoto, export photos directly into Flickr, and then post to Platinum Elite.

A few clicks, and here we are.

I have this weird interest in turtles. I have never kept one as a pet, but hope to someday. They just look so odd - an organism stuck inside of a shell, limbs and head sticking out.

I'm sure this isn't the first time someone has photographed the turtle statue in Copley Square, but it's the first time I have.

I think I would prefer to think of this fella as a Koopa Troopa rather than an ordinary turtle.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Goodbye, Recliner

Saying goodbye is not always easy.

On Saturday morning, I bid adieu to my beloved recliner.

Back in 1999 or 2000, I purchased this on a complete whim from, which at the time was an online furniture retailer. I remember being home alone yet again on a Friday night in Central NJ (suburbia + early 20's + living alone + single = wrong combo).

Somehow, I took a liking to this recliner and purchased in sight unseen (less a .jpg) for about $600. Never sat in it. Never reclined in it. Had no idea how well it was built.

Click. Click. Checkout. Done.

Even to this day, it's probably one of the more expensive online purchases I have made.

The recliner showed up at my apartment a few weeks later, and it was exactly as I had hoped. It rocked. It reclined almost 180 degrees. It was perfect.

But then I moved to Boston, and this recliner did not fit up the narrow staircase of my first apartment in the city. So back it went with my father in his mini van. We set it up in my old bedroom (along with the 32" CRT television that also didn't fit), and voila - I had an inviting sitting area when I chose to visit my folks.

When it was time to enter the ranks of real estate ownership in Southie, I had no furniture. I accepted a chair from a friend who was looking to unload it. I had a folding chair. And I had this recliner - in New York.

So, back came the recliner. Back to papa.

But then, I purchased a sofa.

And a side chair with an ottoman.

And then two leather club chairs with another ottoman.

Suddenly, the recliner was out of place. It fit neither size-wise nor stylistically. It stood out from the rest of my new decor, and it made everything look cluttered.

My friends hated it.

But I continued to love it. I must have claimed that "I need to get rid of that recliner" for about two years straight, undertaking paltry attempts to sell the chair online or give it away to friends.

They told me I should just leave it on the street (Gasp! no way.)

The recliner deserved a better fate.

A few weeks ago, I heard about Boomerangs, a resale store in Jamaica Plain. All of their proceeds benefit the AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts. They accepted furniture donations and would come pick up any pieces looking for new homes.

I gave them a ring, scheduled a pickup, and that was that. Two guys came on Saturday morning and claimed the recliner. Morosely, I subjected them to a few lines about the recliner's history and how it pained me to get rid of it.

I followed them downstairs with a few bags filled with clothing, saving them another trip up the stairs.

But truly, I wanted to say goodbye to my beloved recliner one more time. It was sad - lonely recliner sitting in the back of a moving truck, covered by moving blankets, awaiting its fate.

I hope it has already found another home.