Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Prudential Center from Dorchester Heights

After work, I brought my camera and Rosie up to Dorchester Heights for an efficient bathroom break (for her), doggie play hour (for her), and some pics of the city at sunset (for me).

Easier said than done.

Technically, dogs are not allowed off leash at Dorchester Heights. The area is a National Park, and rangers often patrol the grounds passing out warnings and fines.

That does not seem to dissuade the locals all the time.

Yesterday, for example, there must have been 15 dogs running around. It's an area offset from the street, and if the dogs remain in one clump, nobody seems to wander off.

That is, except for Rosie yesterday.

Usually, she's great there. Other dogs keep her focused, and she's always checking for where I am, staying by my side more often that running into the doggie fray.

I took her off leash and attempted to take some pics of the city at sunset. The views from Dorchester Heights are terrific. With one eye on Rosie and the other through my view finder, I took this picture of the Prudential Center, looking toward the northwest.

Then I watched Rosie wander off. She jogged down toward the north-facing railing, ignoring my stern calls of her name, and then proceeded eastward, around the bend, and down the stairs to the street.


Luckily another dog owner was walking up at the time, and Rosie naturally stopped to sniff the dog. He grabbed her collar and I leashed her.

Every other time at Dorchester Heights has not been an issue. I'm still a bit peeved that she blatantly ignored me, yelling her name, treat in hand, not even turning to find me.

We walked home quickly on a very short leash and she was punished by having to sit on her rug without moving. It's the same rug that she peed on a few times after she moved in. The final time she peed on it was in December, two hours after a walk. I forced to lie next to her pee for an hour. That was the final pee accident in the house.

When she followed me into the kitchen twice, she heard yelling that she's not used to, and has heard just two other times, one being the aforementioned rug peeing.

I went to the gym, and upon my return - enough time had passed that we were once again friends.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Pickle Faces

Pickle Face Art, courtesy of Doug.

First, we have Happy Pickle, complete with monobrow and shrimp-tail tongue.

And next we have Sad Pickle.

One more Pickle Face exists, but is inappropriate for the PG-ness of Platinum Elite.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Real Head of Household

Nursing some soreness from football and grogginess from a late night of boozing, I attempted to take a schnoozer during the Jets game today.

Rosie decided that I was in her space.

She hopped up on the couch, selected her seat, plopped down right between my legs and proceeded to fall asleep on my ankle.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Yes, I am Superstitious

I freely admit that I am superstitious.

I don't walk under ladders. (bad luck)

I ALWAYS put my right shoe on first (bad luck otherwise)

I put cash into my wallet all facing the same direction in order of denomination, low in the front, high toward the back. (probably just OCD)

I say "rabbit, rabbit, rabbit" as the first words out of my mouth on the first day of each month - either right after midnight or right when I wake up...either counts. I get angry with myself if I forget and say something else first. (good luck for the month)

I NEVER kill spiders intentionally. (bad luck)

And I am a big proponent of heads-up coins. For example:

All of the change in my car's change holder is heads-up. Guaranteed. Honestly, I didn't even realize I did this until a friend of mine years ago bet that it was all heads up. Sure enough, it was. (definite OCD)

When I see a coin on the ground, if I choose to pick it up, it must be heads-up. If it's not, I'll flip it over first, ensuring that one edge is always touching the ground, then pick it up. (good luck)

I was lucky enough to find two legit heads-up pennies yesterday, and another two today. (very good luck!)
Buena Suerte!
Yes, I realize this behavior is odd.

Redux - Pleasure in the Misery of Others

I should clarify my posting from yesterday, as I noticed some traffic from Universal Hub (who used an awesome term - schadenfreude - that I fully admit was heretofore unfamiliar to me) and a few anonymous commenters at U-Hub and at this site proclaiming their dislike for me.

While I find much cowardice in anonymously slamming someone, sometimes it's warranted. Sometimes it's amusing. To each his own. Call me an a-hole if you wish. I don't know you.

So with that, I retract nothing from yesterday's post. Again, fully aware that I don't have the full story and that it's unfair to pass judgment, the fact that this car was being seized from a non-handicapped, non-construction, non-fire hydrant, non-moving truck, non-fire lane, non-anything-but-a-typical-resident-parking-spot, the owner probably did something to cause this.

It would be one thing if I was laughing at a lady who just had her purse snatched, or an upset child who just dropped his ice cream, or a guy who injured himself on the basketball court.

This is simply being amused that someone skirting the law has been caught. I am all about paying my taxes, insuring my vehicle properly, and paying my fines if they occur. People who DON'T do this SHOULD be penalized, and I stand firmly behind that.

To me, when law breakers are caught, that's satisfying.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Pleasure in the Misery of Others

Why was I so smugly satisfied when I saw some dude sprinting down the street at 8:30am in business attire, clearly about to head to work?

He was running toward his car.

His car, resplendent with orange warning sticker-of-seizure as issued by the City of Boston, was attached to a tow truck, and being removed from a residential parking spot where it sat between two other parked vehicles.

I shouldn't take pleasure in other people's misery. But sometimes it's warranted.

I don't know what he did to cause a parking official to seize his car, but am assuming it has something to do with what he hasn't done (i.e. pay his parking tickets, perhaps?) Yes, this could be an unfortunate misunderstanding for this guy.

But, while assumptions with incomplete information are dangerous, I'm going to ignore caution and assume that it's not.


While my car has never been towed (knock on wood), I have received a few tickets. Not many in my time in Boston, but a few - maybe 4 or 5 in seven years. When I get a ticket, either I pay it or contest it as accordance with the rules established by City Hall.

I don't ignore parking tickets.

The Duomo in Florence

Duomo, originally uploaded by southiejason.

September 26, 2008 - Rainy Boston

September 26, 2007 - Sunny and beautiful Florence, Italy

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Riley the Puggle

Riley the Puggle, originally uploaded by southiejason.

Usually I upload photos from my camera into iPhoto soon after I take them, but this morning I realized that I hadn't uploaded pics in a while.

Last week, Jamen invited me over for dinner. In exchange, I told him that I would bring my camera and take some pics of his puggle puppy Riley that we picked up in Maine about two months ago.

It's amazing how this dog and this dog's personality have changed. I recall this tiny little thing, sitting on Jamen's lap in the back seat, sleeping for most of the drive back.

Fast forward to today, and Riley is a yippy bundle of energy - a typical puppy. But it's funny to see how she interacts with other dogs. It seems that Chris' dog Sam does NOT like Riley, probably because Riley spends most of her time jumping up and down in Sam's face.

Rosie seems indifferent, but does turn to me every so often with this look on her face that speaks volumes, something like "uh, why is this THING leaping up in my face? I keep turning away and she keeps following me. Let's go back inside." One of those looks.

So between last week and this past Sunday, there are now many quite adorable dog pics on my MacBook. I like this one because of Riley's facial expression - it's a cross between staring at a treat or thinking she has been naughty (I think Jamen was simply getting her attention).

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

New Diet

After a weekend of flag football and a workout on Monday, somehow I managed to injure myself brushing my teeth yesterday. It's one of those stupid muscle aches, where I feel a knot on the right side of where my neck meets my back. I think I turned to the right a bit too quickly, or my neck was in the wrong position, or I was breathing. Who knows. Being that I'm knocking on the 34 door, I fully anticipate more aches and pains from simply going about my everyday business.

I just popped an Aleve, a drug I have heretofore always skipped, and I'm already feeling better. I love magic pills.

I have begun a new diet today that feels very much like a modified version of Atkins. While dropping a few pounds would be very excellent, this diet was Mike's idea, not mine. I don't even know what it's called. All I know is he told me to pick between 15 and 30 foods from this list on some website to which he subscribed, and next thing I know, I have a menu of 4 meals per day for the next 11 days.

Why not, right?

I will be eating plenty of vegetables, meats, cottage cheese, nuts, and fruit. I'm staring at this mass quantity of apples, pears, oranges, bananas, and grapes on my counter top. There's also a pineapple in the background.

Today's breakfast was sausage. That's it. I could have had bacon as well, but opted for just the breakfast links.

My remaining meals today are very protein rich.

#2 - turkey slices and ham slices
#3 - chicken, hard boiled eggs, and orange slices
#4 - roast beef slices, pinto beans, and cashews

I believe tomorrow is some strange fruit-only day (except for a sandwich).

Diets and gym are easier to maintain with someone else sharing the pain, so that's the plan here. 11 days of pre-determined meals, then 3 days of eating anything, then back on the 11 day schedule (during which I can alter the contents of those meals). Repeat. Rinse.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Male Bathroom Efficiency

The Men's Room at my office is mere steps away from my desk. 30 feet to the back door, and the bathroom is another 5 feet from there in the outside corridor.

Give the amount of coffee and water I drink during a typical work day, I'd say that I average 4 trips there each day.

The Women's Room is all the way on the other end of the building. Down the hall, past the elevator, down one more corridor, and there you are.

Men usually take less time in the bathroom than women do, assuming nothing else but a quick pee and hand washing. It's just easier and quicker at the urinals than it is with toilets.

So, doing the quick math, let's say that I save 1 minute for each trip out of sheer biological efficiency, and another 2 minutes per trip that I don't have to walk to and from a bathroom far from my desk.

That's 3 minutes per trip x 4 trips per day = 12 minutes saved per day x 5 workdays per week = 1 hour saved per workweek x 48 workweeks (accounting for vacation / sick / holiday time) = 48 hours per year

So, according to this math, guys in my office work a full 48 hours more than women do. That's basically a full additional week or work.

I think all men in my office should campaign for 1 more week of vacation to account for this discrepancy.

I also think that my logic will be quite unpopular to any female readers of this blog.

Sports Sunday - Final Game at Yankee Stadium

I spent yesterday nursing my sore muscles after three flag football games this past weekend. The timing worked out well because there were plenty of sports I cared about on TV, and I didn't have plans otherwise.

After about an hour at the dog park, Rosie and I came home and watched the NFL pregame and a Pats game where the defense must have been stuck in traffic on 95 South.

Bummer that the Giants game was not on TV in Boston, but after the Patriots blowout, CBS switched over to the end of the Giants-Bengals game - just in time to see the Giants score the go-ahead touchdown, the Bengals tie (and almost win) the game (which they might have done with far better clock management), and then the Giants win it in overtime. Excellent.

Sports are just about the only thing I watch live on TV these days. Almost everything else, I DVR and skip the commercials.

While NFL week 3 continued, another once-in-a-lifetime event was broadcast on ESPN - the final game at Yankee Stadium. I have to say that their interviews of past Yankees players and managers, decades of highlights, and general revelry were tasteful and emotional.

I strongly identify with the Yankees teams from the 1996-2000 era, which feels like just yesterday. Tino Martinez, Paul O'Neill, Scott Brosius, David Wells, Wade Boggs, Bernie Williams, and David Cone all made it back for final trots onto the field, all to rousing ovations from the fans. I could not determine if O'Neill's or Bernie's was louder, but both were amazingly emotional. Of course a few players from that era - Rivera, Jeter, Pettitte, and Posada - are still playing. What a crew.

To Boston fans - give or take a few players, think current Sox incarnation if they win two more World Series this and next season. 4 titles in 5 years isn't easy to accomplish. Sox fans' mindsets right now are likely where mine were in '98 after winning for the second time - on the verge of feeling destined to win. For me, it happened twice more in two seasons....and then never again (yet). I don't think I accepted that the golden years were over until about '04. In '01, after an emotional series after 9/11, I still can't believe we didn't win it. '02 was an early first round exit, and '03 was the Aaron Boone incident (after which the Yanks forgot to show up for the World Series).

Losing to the Sox after being up 3 games to 0 was the exact moment that the baton was passed to Boston.

So, it was nice to see a proper sendoff for Yankee Stadium to add to the memories of my final trip there.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Curbing Underage Drinking in Southie

Yesterday, I did my part to curb underage drinking in Southie.

While headed out the door for dinner, I was stopped by a teenager, who asked if I could do him a favor.

Whenever that question is posed, cash in hand outside of a corner store, it usually means one of two things:

"You want me to buy beer for you?"


"You want me to buy cigarettes for you?"


"Um, OK."

"Can you buy two bottles of vodka for me and my friends (n.b. group of teenage girls standing on opposite corner?"

Now at this point, I'm running late for dinner. I could buy the booze for this kid, but what benefit does it serve me? I could appear cool in his eyes (um...don't really care about that), I could make 5 bucks that he was willing to pay me (nah), I could help this guy have a fun Saturday evening with his female companions (which he could do without the booze).

Or I could just not do it, which is what I decided.

My small donation to the Southie community to eliminate underage drinking, although I'm sure he found someone willing to buy him the vodka moments later.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Southie War Zone

Southie has been a war zone of construction for the better part of the past six months.

It has been tolerable yet irritating because much of the building and road work has not been centered on my street.

Until now.

I came home last night to find my block engulfed with heavy machinery. What's odd is that the folks from the city or National Grid - whoever posts the warning sides along the sides of the streets - did not such thing for this current project.

What if I parked right outside of my home - legally - and carpooled to work today. Would I have found my car towed? My guess is yes.

I took this shot after realizing that it appeared the truck had crashed into my front steps from this vantage point (it did not, but was indeed up on the sidewalk).

This hole materialized at some point during the day. I would have stopped for a closer look, but didn't want to raise the ire of the police on detail or crews inside of it. Plus, a tiny part of me was afraid I would fall in.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Monster Beets from The Food Project

I must say that my weekly locally grown vegetable box from The Food Project has far exceeded my expectations this year. Never have I picked up a box that wasn't full, and many weeks, there have been items that didn't even fit in the box (melons, huge bunches of basil and dill, and squash, for example). It's awesome to have had prepaid fresh vegetables for months.

This week's box was yet another good one. Peppers, edamame, broccoli, red cabbage, hakurei turnips, garlic, onions, potatoes, tot soi, chard (of course...this year's weekly item that I just don't seem to use), and these Monster Beets.

The beets in the foreground were from last week or the week prior, and this week's Monster Beets are propped up in the background.

These suckers are huge.

I'm sure if I hurled them at passing cars, I would do some major damage - not that I often throw vegetables at vehicles.

Good thing I like beets. The ones I have cooked this summer have been sweet and delicious, either cold or warm.

I'm thinking of finding a recipe this weekend that involves something other than simply boiling or roasting the beets, though either of those methods seems to really bring the flavor out in the beets.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Whoopie Pie

I rarely post during the workday, but my blood sugar is quite wacky at this moment.


The Whoopie Pie.

I decided to go to the cafeteria at work today and grab lunch there.  While waiting for my sandwich, I saw their baked good counter, which included a few of the largest Whoopie Pies I have seen.

I needed the Whoopie Pie.

It's now 3pm, and I'm still grazing on it.  This is all that is left, and probably represents 1/18th of the size of the initial Whoopie Pie.

My legs are bouncing and I feel lightheaded every few minutes.  I'm also a bit jittery.  Coffee at 7am, coffee at 11am, Coke Zero at 1pm, Whoopie Pie from 1:30-3:00pm.

No wonder.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Monster Bug of Death

Monster Bug of Death, originally uploaded by southiejason.

I was listening to NPR during my drive home today.

Story after story about our floundering economy, and all I could think about was this.

The Monster Bug of Death.

Amidst the bad news, I heard that the United Nations was again in session in Manhattan.

This, of course, reminded me of The Monster Bug of Death.


Well about three years ago to the day, in 2005, I was working in New York for a few nights, and the UN had just begun its session. Hotel rooms were amazingly expensive, and I could not justify expensing $500 per night for a marginal room.

My friend / co-worker Stuart was traveling internationally that week, and said I could stay at his place on the Upper East Side.

Great idea! Staying there for a few nights was actually the longest amount of continuous time I have ever spent in NYC. Growing up about 20 miles north, there wasn't much of a need to stay overnight, and most of my business trips to the area involved staying in the suburbs or with my family.

One night after work, I came back to Stuart's place, turned on the light, and The Monster Bug of Death attacked me.

I had never seen a flying insect this large, and New York City was not exactly where I expected to encounter a beast such as this.

It appears that when screenless windows are left open, creatures can fly inside. Apparently, the fauna twenty stories about the ground level resembles that of an Amazon rainforest.

After ten minutes of this sucker flying recklessly throughout the apartment, loud thuds resonating every time it collided with a wall, it settled on this light fixture.

Enough time for a photo.

Soon after, it flew onto the fridge, and I was able to cup it, cover it with a bag, secure the monstrosity, and dispose of it.

Whew. Crisis over.

New York City exhausts me. It's just too much of everything - Too expensive. Too crowded. Too stinky.

And the flying bugs are too frightening.

Monday, September 15, 2008

My Corner. The Hot Corner.

My street corner seems to attract a lot of attention these days, especially this evening.

Just about a month after a coincidental work-from-home-come-crime-witness afternoon, I arrived home today, followed soon after by two ambulances, one of which parked on the sidewalk corner outside of my house.

Like the, um, interested Southie resident that I am (word choice of interested, most certainly not nosey), I surveyed the scene for information. No gurneys. No blood. No noticeable injuries. I was running late for the gym, so I simply went on my way.

Fast forward a few hours to 9:30 pm. Me, having finished dinner, dishwasher unloaded, checking email, sitting on the couch, watching WWE RAW (in other words, a standard Monday night), I notice flashing lights outside and hear sirens.

Great. Now what?

Sure enough, two fire engines come roaring to a halt outside on my building.

At the hot corner.

Rosie and I went out to the back deck for a better view. Firemen were sauntering up the same side street that I saw the criminal run up just a month ago. I couldn't tell what they were looking for, so of course I figured the worst (gun-toting psycho firestarter looking for his next target).

I decided that the deck wasn't yielding enough info, and I needed to put myself into the fray. I brought Rosie inside (against her will - things were far too exciting for a boring kitchen floor), and ran downstairs.

I spoke with the first fireman who I saw. While he seemed less than excited to speak with a civilian like me, he did offer up the information that someone called in an odor of smoke. I was advised to check my building (by my neighbor), which I did. No smoke, no smell.

For a few minutes longer, I waited downstairs in my shorts and t-shirt, apparently ready to pitch in if need be(?!) One fireman concluded that someone in the neighborhood was probably using a meat smoker and the wind was blowing in this direction (uh..sure, OK).

Cops, ambulances, and now fire engines. I'm assuming all that is left is the National Guard.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Wedding in NJ

Well, another friend is hitched.

Last night, I went to my former roommate Mike's wedding in northern NJ.

Rosie and I drove to my parents' house, where I dropped her off and changed for the 5pm wedding, strapping a necktie on for the first time in well over one year.

I checked with Jill (the GPS), who told me that the ride to the church would take 50 minutes. Perfect, I figured. I'll leave at 3:40-3:45 in case there's some traffic.

Shame on me. How could I forget that traffic in the NY Metro is God-awful? I grew up here, I lived in Central NJ for 4 years, and I have done countless client visits and projects in the area.

I should have known better.

Rush hour in NJ on Fridays begins at 6am, and ends at 9pm. Maybe there's a break around noon, but otherwise some roads are simply terrible.

Jill took me on the Garden State Parkway (mistake #2 - I should have taken 287 South), right into 20 miles of stop-and-go traffic.

The torrential rain didn't help the cause.

5:50 rolls around, and I finally pull up to the church. Oh well. I'll have to assume that nuptials were being exchanged inside.

So, I decided to wait in my car and listen to some Houston radio through my AOL radio app on my iPhone. I have this strange fascination with hurricanes, and find myself seeking info from as many sources as possible.

About 10 minutes later, people began walking back to their cars and I heard bagpipes. This was my chance to scoot inside and say hi. I walked into the atrium (rain kept the receiving area inside), and saw Brian and some others. I fessed up to running late, but it was no big deal. My gut tells me that with 5pm Friday weddings, not everyone is always able to attend the church ceremony, and many head straight to the later receptions.

Off to the reception, which was excellent. Great wedding and nice venue.

I'm a bit surprised that I stayed until midnight (as I tend to bolt early, especially given my hopeful 50 minute traffic-free drive home), but I did. Too many people I wanted to spend time with.

And yes, the drive home was much shorter. While 12:30am bumper-to-bumper traffic is sometimes a reality in the area (I remember sitting in that traffic at 3am on the FDR once), I had a straight shot back to my childhood casa.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Veto List - Sbarro

I would like to submit another entry to the Veto List.


Yesterday, I had to run to the bank during lunch, and ended up ducking into the food court at South Shore Plaza for a quick bite.

We have a number of chain restaurants nearby that are perfectly suitable for lunch - Cheesecake Factory, Bertucci's, Friday's, Legal Sea Food, The 99, Pizzeria Uno's - but they are all sit-down restaurants. I could call ahead, but that requires planning. And often, I'm grabbing a quick bite and eating at my desk. Hour+ lunches are very difficult these days at work.

So, that leaves me with our corporate cafeteria, Chipotle, Au Bon Pain, D'Angelo's, or the South Shore Plaza Food Court (which is terribly lacking), or bringing my own lunch (which I do often, but just can't do every single day).

I thought I would give one of their food court restaurants (Sbarro) a shot yesterday.

Now I have been to Sbarro before. And while it's not terrible, I'm always left wishing it was more than it was. Similar to why I veto'ed Qdoba, it just should be better.

Eating my ziti and chicken parmesan lunch, I thought about the Italy trip from last fall. At times, our coach bus would stop at highway rest areas called AutoGrill. Rather than forcing motorists to cram McDonald's or Papa Gino's down their gullets, AutoGrill welcomes patrons into a truly delicious eating experience - freshly prepared Italian dishes, excellent salad bars and desserts, even beer and wine.

It's possible that the Italians equate the food there with how Americans equate rest-area food in the US, but as a foreign traveler, it was awesome.

As you left, you HAD to walk through a market with fresh pasta, cheeses, salami, and Italian groceries (crackers, cookies, condiments, etc). It was the only way out. And we stocked up on snacks, skipping Chex Mix for Rustic crackers flavored with olive oil and rosemary.

During yesterday's lunch, thinking about Italy, I decided that when rest area food is better than what I'm eating, then that is my final meal with that establishment.

So, Sbarro gets the veto.

The Veto List now stands at:

1. Chili's
2. Qdoba
3. Brasserie Jo
4. Laurel
5. Bruegger's Bagels in Kenmore
6. The Publick House
7. Sbarro

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Misheard Lyrics - Stand by R.E.M.

I had another misheard lyrics moment this morning. This one's a doozy.

In an email, someone at work referenced the song "Stand" by R.E.M. and I had this witty response about how the song, released in 1988, had political lyrics against the incoming George H. W. Bush administration.

I was about to hit send on this email with my interpretation of the lyrics:

"If Bushes were trees, the trees would be falling
This is the reason, season is calling"

and then chose to verify the words online.

Was it "reason" then "season," or vice versa? I figured I should double-check.

To my shock, I wasn't even close to the correct lyrics, which are:

If wishes were trees the trees would be falling
Listen to reason, reason is calling"

How could I be so wrong? For twenty years, I swore this song was anti-Bush.

Chain Barrier on Boston Waterfront

Chain Barrier, originally uploaded by southiejason.

Opening the door to let Rosie hang on the deck this morning caused the September chill to rush in and put a big smile on my face.

I love the fall.


Back to school (yeah...I know), leaves changing, football, World Series, my birthday, Thanksgiving, and then Christmas, New Year's, and a brand new year soon behind.

Autumn ushers out the current year, and gets us ready for the next one.

I took this photo from where we usually catch the boat to Spectacle Island, one of our favorite not-to-secret-anymore summer haunts in the city. Unless Indian Summer hits one of the next few weekends - which is quite likely - the trips to the Boston Harbor Island are probably done for the season.

This shot reminds me of those warmer summer days past, wearing a tank top, waiting for the next ship, camera in hand, and bottles of wine in cooler.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Irish Irony

The beauty of the iPhone when using their bundled earphones is that incoming calls cause the song that's playing to fade, and a couple keystrokes later, you're now speaking to and hearing that caller through those same exact earphones.

So my phone rings last night when I'm at the gym last night. It's Karin, my off-the-boat (or technically, off-Aer-Lingus) Irish friend.

Me: "Hey what's up"

Her: "Where are you?"

Me: "At the gym. Um, are you staring at me somewhere?" (Karin now also belongs to my gym)

Her: "No, I'm at Shaw's. What kind of potatoes are best for roasting?"

Me: "The red-skinned ones are good, as are the white skinned ones that look like the red ones but with white skin. Fingerlings are good too. So are Yukon Gold. Not Russet - use those for baking or mashed."

Her: "OK, great."

Me: "Do you see the irony here?"


Me: "An Irish person is asking ME about potatoes."

Laughter ensues.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Another Trip to BJ's Wholesale Club

I'm happy to report that I made it out of BJ's Wholesale on Saturday with a bill under $200.

In fact, it was just over $150, and would have been south of that mark if it weren't for an impulse tub of cashews, which are delicious.

Most of what I purchased this time was necessary. Paper towels, G2 (along with Vitamin Water, G2 is my new favorite drink), Gillette Fusion razors (while $40 for 14 of them seems pricey, the drugstores usually sell 4 of them for $14-$15), dishwasher liquid, AA batteries, and a few other items. Considering the fact that I was not the driver, I also saved a few bucks on gas.

When I was looking at my BJ's card, I realized that my one-year membership is almost up, which got me thinking about the first time that I posted about a trip to BJ's last November during which I purchased 14 bars of Dove soap and a huge can of peanuts.

Well, almost a year later, I still have some of those peanuts, and at least 10 bars of Dove. The offer remains. Moisturizing soap for anyone who wants some....

Items purchased at these wholesale clubs sometimes seem to last forever. I remember when I first moved to my place in Southie five years ago, my very first trip after my closing was to Sam's Club. To this day, five years later, I still have some plastic Solo cups from that trip, another factoid I remembered just as I was about to spend $10 on a mass quantity of more Solo cups this past weekend.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Car Alarm - License Plate MA JAMANU

I have decided to institute a zero-tolerance policy with unattended car alarms within ear shot of my home.

If it's an unreasonable hour - after 10pm or early morning - and I'm near my camera, I'm uploading license plate photos here. I don't know what that will do, but perhaps if the car owners / douchebags themselves happen to see photos of their precious vehicles published here or elsewhere, they might think twice about how a blaring car alarm in a densely-populated residential neighborhood is a nuisance to many.

This morning's perpetrator is the owner of this Mazda MPV, license plate JAMANU. Your alarm went off once just after 6am on a Sunday morning, and once again around 8:20.

While I was up early for a very retro morning (buying the Sunday Globe and going to Mul's Diner...two things I hadn't done it eons), I'm sure many of my neighbors were attempting to sleep in.

Were, being the operative word.

I'd be a tiny touch more tolerant if you were a Southie resident, but given that there is no residential sticker on your car, I'm assuming you are not.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Attack Squirrel

Attack Squirrel, originally uploaded by southiejason.

It's been a while since I have posted a Rosie photo on here.

A few weeks ago, Ryan was nice enough to bring a new toy for Rosie the Dog.

That toy is Squirrel.

I swear I didn't think that Squirrel would last a week, as she has torn into other plush toys and forced me to toss them, fearing that she would begin swallowing the stuffing.

Squirrel has survived almost a month of constant attention. It's without question her new favorite toy. It squeaks in two places - the tail and the body.

Rosie prances around the house with Squirrel in mouth. When it's time to go for a walk, she always has to grab Squirrel, bring him to the door, and then drop him. Who knows why, she just does it.

I have even seen her attempt to pick up other items with Squirrel still in her mouth. Once a tennis ball, another time a treat.

When she wants my attention if I am standing up in the kitchen, she often nudges me with Squirrel in mouth for maximum nudge.

This photo is indeed staged. Squirrel did not attack Rosie. But, since Rosie is quite a ham when it comes to having her picture taken, she did not mind posing.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Welcome to Southie. Have a Phone Book.

I didn't think phone books would disappear entirely, even with my crusade earlier this year, interview in the Boston Globe, appearance on Fox 25 news, and invitation to City Hall.

Case in point - I saw this on my neighbor's front stoop yesterday.

And the day before.

And the day before that.

And over the weekend.

Yes, more unwanted phone books.

One of the condos next door sold recently, so OF COURSE the phone companies ASSUMED that the new owners wanted their directories.

I'm going to go out on a limb here, but my sense is that these books, like most phone directories, were unsolicited and unwanted, as it's rare that people order items and leave them on their front steps for days.

Who knows? Maybe I'm wrong. After all, there is an invoice shrink wrapped into the package.

Sigh. The battle continues.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Orange Barrels in Southie

For the better part of the Spring and Summer, my part of Southie has been under construction.

The elderly home on my block has been undergoing a major face lift, with crews drilling and replacing its entire brick edifice.

I Street has been torn to shreds.

And the mother of all projects - Columbia Road - has been an ongoing eyesore. Massive concrete blocks, heavy machinery, steel plates, and diverted traffic all welcome pedestrians and drivers as they attempt to saunter to or drive past the beachfront. I understand that we have about another year to deal with the Columbia Road nuisance.

All of this construction at the same time. It's a bit much.

When I walked outside of my home last week, I saw three orange construction barrels at the foot of my steps.

Great, I thought. They're going to be working right outside of my house.

But then I looked around and saw no other orange barrels.

I looked on the "No Parking" sign taped to one of them, and the period of time blocked off ended on 8/21.

So why are these orange barrels outside of my house?

The only thing I can think of is that they were pilfered from a site and placed in front of my building.

But why??? Who knows.

Here's the problem - how do I get rid of these? I doubt the trash men will take these today (while they are curbside....are they actually garbage?) I suppose I could just move them to stand in front of a neighbor's house, but that's just like sweeping dust from one room into another, moving the problem instead of eliminating it.

I thought about moving them to my basement and using them for parking space savers during snow removal. Gotta plan ahead! We're probably only four months away from the first snowfall.

If they're still on the sidewalk in a week, that's what I am going to do. City of Boston (or National Grid, or Boston Water...whoever owns them), if you want them, you have a week to take them back.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Exuding Manly - The Axe Shower Detailing Tool

Over the weekend, I fell victim to the marketing muscle that is AXE.

I see their products advertised in magazines and on TV all the time - body spray, shower gel, and the item that I purchased - the Axe Detailer Shower Tool.

Why not? I was shopping at Target, the land of unnecessary impulse buys.

Now this thing isn't and ladies' loofah. It's a man device. It's a scrubber that won't emasculate a dude while using it.

No sissy sensitive shower gel applicator. It's basically, a loofah inside of a tire, and it's supposed to make guys feel more manly while using it.

Girls don't use loofahs in tires. Men do.

OK, so it's all a bit silly. I think the device itself is amusing - throw a black loofah inside of a black rubber sheath, add a red scrubber pad - and watch out. This this looks dangerous. It looks masculine. It's no pastel-colored girly loofah.

Throw it in the male marketing machine.

The only problem is that the pastel-colored girly loofah that I have is much more comfortable.

I have learned to turn the half-tire inside out and grab its edges while using the macho loofah. During the in-shower usage, however, the half-tire tends to rub against my skin at times, even while turned inside out.

I might feel more manly for owning this shower tool, but I much prefer my girly loofah.