Saturday, August 30, 2008

Enormous Cruise Ship

Enormous Cruise Ship, originally uploaded by southiejason.

Driving home from New York, I usually take The Pike all the way to Exit 25 for the Southie Waterfront, and then navigate my way into my part of the neighborhood. It's always a scenic end to the journey, complete with ocean breezes.

Driving across Summer Street, right after the bend where it turns into L Street, I saw this giant cruise ship.

It's the Caribbean Princess out of Hamilton, Bermuda.

I don't think it's the largest that has been docked at the Black Falcon Cruise Terminal, but it's certainly the biggest one I have ever seen there.

This photo doesn't do the ship justice. Standing on the bridge to take this picture, I was in awe of the boat's presence. It's far taller than the Boston Design Center Building (in the front background). Simply a massive vessel.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Final Yanks-Sox Game Ever at Yankee Stadium

The main reason I came down to NY last night was for today's Yanks-Sox game at Yankee Stadium. After today's game, there are only 13 regular season games remaining at the current building that is named Yankee Stadium. It's a hallowed baseball field that has played host to so many memorable moments, and has welcomed generations of people.

I'm sure that my great grandparents attended games at Yankee Stadium. I know I have been there countless times since 1981, most of them with my father.

To put it in perspective to Red Sox Nation - imagine a brand new Fenway Park being built right next to the current one, and a stadium that has almost a century of history being torn down. That's what's happening in The Bronx right now. This is a picture of the new stadium's facade.

It's not that I am against the new stadium. I have been to many baseball stadiums, and the brand new ones are usually quite spectacular facilities with modern amenities. It's just that...I wanted one final visit to the stadium at which I learned to love baseball. The stadium of my childhood. Yankee Stadium.

I went onto StubHub a few weeks ago, and paid an embarrassing amount for two tier seats opposite the left-field foul pole, nine rows from the top of the stadium. Not-so-cheap cheap seats. Nonetheless, it was a no-brainer.

When I told my father to take the day off and this is what we were doing, he was ecstatic. I figured that it was a late Father's Day and birthday present. He saw it simply as a pleasant surprise. One last jaunt to the place where we had many father-son moments, and even better that the game was against the Red Sox.

Our seats were so high, that I was able to take this picture straight across from our seats. The view beyond right field at Fenway is a beautiful backdrop of Boston's skyline. The view beyond the center field at Yankee Stadium is of the lovely tenements of The Bronx.

The stairs were so steep, that I wondered how a beer vendor of his size was able to make repeated trips up and down the stairs, and I began worrying for his well-being.

My father - a man also of not-so-svelte size, decided that once he reached his seat, he was not going to be going up and down all game. In fact, once he sat down, he was there for the duration!

Our seats were so high, that we were also sitting above the top of the foul pole.

The game itself was an excellent pitcher's duel. Mike Mussina versus Jon Lester. Yankees bats were silent until the 7th inning, when Lester came out after about 120 pitches, and Okajima promptly gave up a game-tying two-run home run to Pinch Hitter Jason Giambi.

The stadium lit up, and it reminded me of being part of other exciting moments at Yankee Stadium. Those clutch hits, monster home runs, or key strikeouts.

The Yankees won the game in the bottom of the ninth, bases loaded, Papelbon on the mound, game-winning single from Giambi.

Ballgame over, Yankees Win, thaaaaa Yankees Win!

Cue Frank Sinatra and a stadium filled with people singing the standard exit song - win or lose - "New York, New York."

It's the "Dirty Water" of Yankee Stadium, always signaling: end of game, time to leave, sit in traffic, hopefully with a smile from a Yankees victory.

To be perfectly honest, I shed a little tear hearing that song and walking down the stairs toward the exit one final time. I said to my father that it's just weird that this will be the last time I heard this song in this building after a Yankees game.

We walked past some T-Shirt vendors on the way back to the car. While I can confidently proclaim Yankees street vendors to be MUCH less vulgar in their printed messages, I did spot these two that weren't exactly personally slanderous (Jeter Swallows, Jeter Sucks A-Rod, et al), but more slings at the entire team and city.

I did not purchase either shirt. I don't feel that degree of enmity toward the Red Sox.

Plus I do live in Boston. Wearing one of these around town would be kind of bizarre.

Odometer 66666 and a Return Home

Rosie and I took a trip to New York yesterday to visit my parents. The ride itself wasn't terrible, besides a few pockets of sun glare traffic and construction zones where people slowed down.

During the ride, my car had a magical moment. 66666 on the odometer. No demons flew out of the engine.

Arriving at my parents' house, my childhood home, I opened the door and took in a distinct aroma during my first breath.

My childhood home now has that stereotypical smell associated with older relatives' homes. It's hard to describe, but it's a mixture of older carpeting and furniture, cigarettes, and a touch of musty.

They don't open the windows enough.

I know they never sit on the deck because I had to clean cobwebs off of the chair and table at which I am seated. This bewilders me, as their deck is literally enclosed by a canope of trees. It's a very serene setting - sitting outside under the trees, watching birds, rabbits, squirrels, and deer run by, and hearing the sounds of the occasional car, lawn mower, or hammer and saw.

Today my father and I are going to the Yankees-Sox game at Yankee Stadium. Our final trip to the stadium we went to at least 100 times in my youth. I would imagine many are having similar pilgrimages during these final few weeks of the current Yankee Stadium before it's retired at the end of the season.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Survived Another Cold

I think the fevers are finally behind me. We shall see this evening.

I made it through an entire day in the office. I didn't think I was going to, though. We had a 90 minute meeting in the mean locker...I mean, our conference room. I sat there with my hoodie on, arms intertwined up each opposite arm, hiding my hands from the elements. Soon after, around 12:45, a 101 degree fever hit, and my plan was to leave after lunch.

But I wandered downstairs for a bowl of soup and a chewy cookie, and after eating it at my desk, I felt renewed. The healing properties of soup are amazing. It got me through the remainder of the day, and another productive day is in the books.

My throat, however, is not 100%. I am munching on some leftover lasagna for dinner, and am looking forward to another evening of medicinal Häagen-Dazs.

Monday, August 25, 2008

McCain hearts Daddy Yankee

Up until this endorsement, I'm assuming John McCain thought that Daddy Yankee was Joe DiMaggio.

Barack, we need J-Lo. Go get her.

The Benefits of Being Sick

I have two parts about being sick that I enjoy:

1. I lose weight
2. I get to eat food and drink beverages that I often don't

My fever last night ping-pongged between 100 and 103 for most of the night, and there was a major fever breakage around 4am. I know that because I woke up in a pool of sweat. Lovely.

I was probably awake every few hours to use the bathroom. Lots of hydration means lots of peeing.

I had a few bottles of Vitamin Water in the fridge (I think it's becoming my new favorite beverage), and today I ran to the store for some ice cream and Gatorade - perfect sick food. I bought some Haagen Dazs Dulce de Leche (yum) and a new flavor - Caramelized Pear and Toasted Pecan, which I just tried and is quite delicious.

I have been working from home for much of today, but I am starting to feel my fingers get a bit cold once again. I just took my temperature, and while I have been within normal range for much of today, I'm now sitting at 99.8 degrees, so the fever is coming back for, hopefully, one final time.

Time for more DayQuil and a nap

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Excellent Time to Get Sick

Absolutely perfect day weather-wise here in Boston.

It was bad enough that I had a ton of work to do, and had planned to spend the day at my kitchen table plugging away.

It's worse that I have been tied down with a 100.7 degree fever for much of the morning and afternoon, and instead spent the day napping on the couch.

It's one of those fatigue / sore throat / achy colds for now. No coughs or sneezes yet, but these things often move through a few phases.


At least I took a shower and got dressed!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Copley Square Buildings

Copley Square Buildings, originally uploaded by southiejason.

As I often do when I'm reaching for a blog topic, I turned to my Flickr account.

It occurred to me that while I posted the Boston Skyline at Night photo a few weeks ago, I neglected to link to this one, another one of my favorites from July 30th.
Seeing the Hood blimp itself isn't THAT big of a deal. But seeing it positioned aloft at sunset between two of the main skyline landmarks of Copley Square - now that's memorable.

I wish the colors of the backdrop were a bit more stunning than the grey / pink contrast. Nonetheless, I think this is an interesting view of something that many Bostonians see daily.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Regeneration Tour 2008 - A Boston Review

I had an email from Chris on Monday, mentioning that he had a couple free tickets to the Regeneration 2008 Tour that came to Boston at the Bank of America Pavilion last night. He thought of me since I'm a "music fan."

Plus, he had "VIP passes," which we thought would get us into some free booze and food section (it got us into the section, but the beers were also $10 there. Sigh.)

Now being 33, I'm one of the elder statesmen among most of my friends. Not to say that 29 and 30 year olds don't like music from the early 80's, but it's just not usually in the wheelhouse of what people that age "should" like.

I heard somewhere that people's musical tastes are often formulated around the age of 18. I take that with a grain of salt, but often use that to calculate how old many people might be who like music from a particular year.

Last night's show featured Naked Eyes, A Flock of Seagulls, ABC, Belinda Carlisle, and The Human League - most of whom had major hits from 1981-1984, which some exceptions into the late 80's and early 90's.

I estimated that most of the patrons last night were going to be around 42 years old, in the 39-45 range.

I was right.

And there's nothing like seeing a crowd of 42 year olds erupt to "We Got the Beat."

I spent much of the night on commentary to Chris...

"This is one of their three major hits"
"Did you know she posed for Playboy in 2001?"
"This song reached the Top 10 in '83"
"The lead singer overcame Hodgkin's Disease"
"This was her final Top 40 hit in the US"
"Do you know which Smokey they are referring to?"

We didn't hear much of Naked Eyes, since we were in the VIP / non-free-beer section and inexplicably unable to hear the show from there.

The songs by A Flock of Seagulls sounded remarkably identical. Every single one of them. When they broke into a song, I said "Oh, this is one of their hits - Space Age Love Song." It wasn't. But the next one was, and I swear the bassist and drummer maintained the exact same beats from the song prior.

ABC was next, and they were the highlight of the night to be perfectly honest. They still sounded great, looked like they were having fun, and worked the crowd well. They closed with "The Look of Love," but sang their other hits - "When Smokey Sings," "How to Be a Millionaire," "Poison Arrow," and some new song.

Belinda Carlisle looked bored, and seemed rather bitter. She yelled at the lighting guy a few times ("CUT THAT STROBE! You could turn the lights on the rest of my band, there are other people up here").

Belinda ripped through everything you needed to hear - all the solo hits and three Go-Go's songs. She introduced "Circle in the Sand" as "here's a song you hear in supermarkets and elevators everywhere." She sounded legitimately irritated by that (uh, Belinda...#1 - I'm sure that song made you a lot of cash, #2 - Why did you record such crap scholck after you went solo?)

I thought her catalog would stand the test of time best of all, but she too sounded dated. "Heaven is a Place on Earth" sounds like the only solo hit that could be remade today. The rest of her solo stuff, sadly, is throwaway. Clearly, even she feels that way.

We left before The Human League (the headliners?!), but my gut tells me that "Don't You Want Me" and "(Keep Feeling) Fascination" and "Human" were on the bill.

Overall - a fun night. Thinking about some of the songs that were hits in the mid-to-late 80's, though, made me feel very old. Wow - over 20 years ago for "Mad About You?" I have that cassette at home in my old bedroom. That was over TWO DECADES ago.

But the scariest thing is that it was a hit in 1986, one year before I entered high school, and just 5 years before I entered college. I still feel like that first day of college was just yesterday. Clearly, it wasn't (unless "yesterday" means "17 years ago").

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Busted By the Lady Who Cut My Hair

I went for a well-needed haircut after work today, and was SO busted by the hair stylist.

Her, scissor cutting hair atop my head:
"You hair is all different lengths. Did you cut this yourself?"

Me, sheepishly:
"I will neither confirm nor deny that"

"You did, didn't you!!"

Me, embarrassed:
"I might have trimmed up a bit since my last haircut"

My hair grows like a Q-Tip - outward, Chia Pet style. Sometimes I like to trim the sides and back to keep things tidy between haircuts. Sometimes I'm also tempted by the hair-cutting scissors that came with the electric razor kit that it's very difficult not to want to use them.

So, I did. And I created uneven hair atop my head, which didn't even occur to me until today's professional cut.

I did admit to one other foible. I even showed her this photo, as it was taken with my iPhone by Jamen when we drove to Maine to pick up his puggle puppy. He noticed a spot in the back of my head where the hair was down to the scalp.

Not the yellow no-hair spot (that's been there for decades). The red one.

Yes, I must have slipped. And I have been walking around with a hole shaved into hair on the back of my head for a few weeks ago.

While I stopped caring about it about 15 minutes after he pointed it out, I would have never known had he not said something.

But, none of this will deter me from between-haircuts selfcuts.

Plug It In

What a process getting started at work has become:

1. Open laptop
2. Plug in secondary external monitor cable
3. Plug in network cable
4. Plug in power
5. Plug iPhone into USB
6. Plug 1/8" mini jack into iPhone so I can listen to music through my desktop radio
7. Login to work email
8. Login to Gmail
9. Login in iChat
10. Login to Skype
11. Login to
12. Login to email marketing software
13. Login to survey software

I swear I spend 5-10 minutes just launching applications and plugging stuff in.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Purple Shirt

Tax free shopping weekend in Massachusetts - I figured it would be the perfect time to pick up some more shirts and pairs of shorts.

Unfortunately, I had forgotten that clothing is always tax-free in Massachusetts. Kind of defeats the point of today's shopping (not to mention that the weather was absolutely stunning, so I certainly didn't want to spend the entire day indoors).

So we left early, and headed out to the Atrium and Chestnut Hill Malls.

First stop - J. Crew.

I purchased a purple shirt. This one. Technically, it's "deep garnet."

I believe it's now the only piece of purple clothing I own. I do remember back in high school, owning a pair of purple socks for some reason. Back then it was (arguably) fashionable to match socks with t-shirts, and the colors of the late 80's and early 90's weren't exactly of a neutral palette. Hence, the purple socks.

I don't think any of my friends were too keen on my color choice.

Ryan called me Barney.

I was thinking it was more like Grimace.

Upon seeing pictures of them, though, the shirt appears to match neither skin (fur?) color of these two lovable creatures.

After J. Crew, we crossed the street to Bloomingdale's, the land of $200 jeans. Some of the price tags there are simply absurd. But I have found a decent price point of some items with Polo / Ralph Lauren. Their jeans and long-sleeved t-shirts fit me well, and today I bought a couple pairs of cargo shorts that fit great.

I also bought a Lacoste shirt. They had a few perfect colors, and the dark heather grey one that I ultimately picked actually turned out to be marked down when I arrived at the register (what I thought was an $82 shirt turned out to be $24.99). This was the second consecutive time this happened at Bloomingdale's. In April, I bought a pair of jeans that were $112, marked down from $145. At the register, they rung up as $34.99, so I immediately grabbed the other pair they had in my size. Two for less than one!

Regarding the Lacoste shirt, I ended up buying the wrong size (Lacoste uses single numbers for their shirt sizes, so a medium is a 5, and a large is a 6). I thought large was 7, so that's what I now have. When I came home, I saw that my other Lacoste shirt was a 6. But the beauty of polo shirts and a dryer is that they shrink.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Witnessed a Crime

Wow - what a day to work from home!

Around 12:30 I hear a car screeching its brakes, then hear an incredibly loud smash. I look out my side windows to see a white guy running up the side street next to my building.

Not a second later, I hear sirens.

A chase is on!

I looked to where the car had crashed, and it smashed into a BMW X5 parking along the side of the road, and the car itself had smashed into the front of a building. There was glass, debris, and curious neighbors everywhere (it is Southie, after all...)

My inquiring mind went looking for info - seems that this guy was driving BACKWARDS down East 8th St. as he evaded police. Seems he tried to buy dope from an undercover cop.

This idiot almost killed a woman who was getting something out of the passenger side of her car, totaled a car, and destroyed the front of a residential building.

Southie Slugs

Southie has been invaded by slugs.

I see them everywhere. Well, maybe not EVERYWHERE, but certainly on the streets leading up toward Thomas Park.

A few weeks ago, I was downstairs in our building's patio, searching for a ring in the dark of night (it was dropped off of my deck). Armed with my maglite flashlight, I shined it across the ground and came across a piece of organic matter that was being devoured by no fewer that twelve slugs.

It was a slug coterie. At my house.

Yesterday, I found this slug crossing the sidewalk, by far the largest slug I have seen yet in Southie. It had to have been five inches long.

I find these slugs strangely fascinating. They don't move quickly, and I'm able to stare at them without the risk of attack.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Caption This - Boston Firemen

Boston Firemen, originally uploaded by southiejason.

I decided that my office is too quiet. Not much fun. Kind of dull.

We don't work in a funky loft building with brick and exposed beams (that would be where our web designers work...

Rather, we're in an office park.

Ample parking, surrounded by trees, vending machines downstairs, quiet common passageways, and neighbors in the enthralling fields of insurance and commercial banking.

So, it's time to spice things up. Make it fun.

I posted this picture on the wall at work for the Quincy Photo Caption contest #1. And even though I initiated the contest and am the judge, it doesn't mean I'm necessarily going to win.

I sought captions for a photo once before on here, and had quite response. So, why not again?

Comment and caption away!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Monster Petunias

In the back-porch battle between the Petunias and the Marigolds, we have a winner.

The Petunias took over the magic pot, smothering the marigolds, rendering them shriveled, dried remnants of the former living selves.

Why is this particular pot magic?

Because whenever I grow plants in this pot, they become monsters. Last year, I threw a few begonia bulbs into it, and after a difficult start due to some hungry and pesky birds and/or squirrels, the begonias grew unwieldy, crooked stalks drooping far below the pot's lip.

This year, it's the petunias.

When I planted all of the flowers, both species were about the same height. But marigolds are pretty limited - when you buy them in the store, that's pretty much it. I did not realize that petunias had the potential to gain some major height during their growing seasons.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Water from the Ceiling, Part II

For the second time this year, a ceiling above me has rained.

Thankfully, unlike in April, this time a laptop was not beneath the source of the water. Having two laptops fry in four months on account of water from a ceiling would have been inexplicable.

I was grouting the slate tile backsplash (with my hands...probably not the preferred method, but it worked for me) when Ryan dropped by and quickly noticed a water drip emanating from the light fixture above my countertop.


I ran upstairs and knocked on my upstairs neighbor's door, but he wasn't home. I tried calling him, but got voice mail.

Plan B.

I have his key.

Being the trustee, I have keys for all of our units for situations just like this. I went inside and saw a huge puddle of water in front of his dishwasher.

Problem diagnosed. That was easy.

I turned off his dishwasher and soaked up all of the water.

Problem solved. Temporarily.

It seems that his dishwasher is no longer draining, and the water was pooling up in the bottom pan and then overflowing onto his floor and then into my home.

So now, I have a water spot on my ceiling, which I'm hoping will dry.

Friday, August 08, 2008

15 Things To Do on My Day Off

Well, it's my day off, and I'm in such a good mood.

I resolved a number of issues at work yesterday, and while I have a few job-related things to take care of over the weekend, I decided that the remainder of today will be computer-free after this posting. I might twitter a few times, but that's it. My co-workers know my cell phone number if need be.

So the plans for today have already begun:

1. Long morning walk with Rosie - check

2. Drop off Rosie at the groomer's - check (two birds, one stone when the long walk ends AT the groomer's storefront!)

3. See the Southie Turkey yet again (yawn).

4. Laundry -'s in the dryer

The rest of the day looks like this:

5. Go downstairs and retrieve all tile installation equipment and tools

6. Run to grocery store to pick up olive oil (I have an INSANE amount of basil from last week's and this week's vegetable box pickups, and I plan to make pesto and freeze it).

7. Fold laundry

8. Pick up Rosie at 11am

9. Drop off Rosie, head into the Back Bay for some shopping. I haven't purchased any clothes in a while, and I'm thinking some end-of-summer or back-to-school deals might be floating around there

10. 2pm pedicure. Yes, pedicure. Why not?

11. Head to Home Depot to return a light switch, purchase thin set adhesive, and look at power tools to counteract my pedicurial emasculation.

12. Pick up Nate, my friend / tiling project manager. He helped with the first tile job, because his family owned a tile shop and, well, he really wanted to. A good friend to have when needing to tile.

13. Begin backsplash around 6pm.

14. Finish applying tile and cleaning up by 9pm (hopefully)

15. Grab dinner and welcome the weekend!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

My Friday

Today is my Friday, as tomorrow is my first of a few pre-planned long weekends. I'm very excited about this.

I am, however, going to have to challenge myself to avoid email tomorrow. It's way too easy to click on the icon and start replying to emails. That defeats the purpose of a day off.

I can't sleep in, though, as Rosie was an appointment at the beauty parlor at 8am. Her nails are way too long, and she could use a bath.

While she's there, I might hit the gym to kill some time waiting. I have an appointment myself scheduled for 2pm, but it's at a different establishment that focuses less on canines.

Maybe I'll catch a movie. It's been forever since I have been, and I'd like to check out Pineapple Express. Depends on the weather, I suppose.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

The Clean Button on a Self-Cleaning Oven

Usually, I'm excellent at noticing changes to things that I see regularly - objects that have been moved, new additions to a room, that kind of thing.

Scout's Honor - I have lived in my current dwelling for over five years now, and never have noticed the button marked "Clean" on my stove's console.

I keep a pretty tidy living space. When my parents came to visit for the first time, my father said that everything looked like a catalog.

But this "Clean" button simply evaded me. I certainly never pushed it.

On Saturday night, along with some delicious pulled pork barbecue prepared by Jamen's sister-in-law, we dined on a few sides, including Tater Tots.

I put them on two cookie sheets and onto the bottom rack of my oven. Maybe twelve minutes into the baking cycle, something smelled like it was burning. I brushed it off to the residue that collected on the bottom of the oven. (It turned out to be that AND the bottom of the Tater Tots)

"Why don't you clean your oven?" someone asked.

"Yeah, I should really do that," I responded.

"Your oven is self-cleaning."

"It is?"

"That's what that button 'Clean' does. What else do you think it did?"

Well, good question. Logic wins again.

So last night after dinner, I decided to try out this mystical "Clean" feature. I can safely say that I have never used this function on a self-cleaning oven, such as the one I appear to own.

I removed the racks and let the oven do its thing. The door was automatically locked, the oven became hotter and hotter, and my kitchen smelled of slightly noxious fumes.

I let Rosie sit on the deck so I didn't poison her.

But after a couple of hours, everything was turned to an easy-to-remove ash, and I now possess an oven that looks like this.

What a magical process. How could I have never noticed this before?

Sunday, August 03, 2008

French Canadians for Manny

I wasn't quick enough with my iPhone camera today, missing the absolute most perfect photo op...

As my car was stopped in the right-hand turn lane outside of Rockbottom in the Theatre District, two motorcycles pulled up next to me.

Both sporting license plates from Quebec

Both young male riders sporting identical Manny Ramirez #24 Red Sox T-shirts.

Perhaps they purchased them off the discount rack at the Sox Team store this weekend?

Friday, August 01, 2008

Southie Turkey Redux - Yawn

What was once a novelty - almost an anomaly - has become mundane.

"Oh look, there's the Southie turkey again."


It saddens me to think this. Just two months ago, The Southie Turkey drew crowds of gawkers, all staring at this gobbler out of water - a monster bird brazenly prancing around the neighborhood.

While I must admit that it's still weird to have an avian buddy that I would expect to live in a wooded area or on a farm, it's no longer noteworthy.

"Yep, we have a turkey. See him all the time"

Two Fridays ago, walking Rosie up to Thomas Park - there's the turkey.

Driving home from work - turkey on G Street

Call from Jamen - "I went to go walk Riley and I couldn't leave the house because the turkey was right on my stoop"

Walk up East 7th - turkey

Walk along Columbia Road yesterday morning - turkey chillin' on the grass.

Even Rosie has turned her attention to the more exciting activity of munching on grass during her walks.

I mean, I'm not wishing the turkey ill will, nor do I hope a neighbor will capture and consume it for Thanksgiving this year. We welcome the turkey into our fold. It adds character to Southie. You can stay.

But if it's strutting around looking to garner attention, well, been there done that.

Bring on the pheasant.