Saturday, May 31, 2008

James Hook & Co.

James Hook & Co., originally uploaded by southiejason.

Just last Friday, after my first Southie turkey sighting (I have since seen the turkey two more times), we went to The Barking Crab for dinner. I brought my camera along and snapped some photos along the Waterfront.

One of those photos - this one - was of the James Hook & Co. building. I didn't know what this business did, but figured it had to do with seafood. I thought the crude signage and industrial feel made for a great photo composition.

Then, at work yesterday, Karin pointed out that the building caught fire and was destroyed. Such a shame.

It's difficult to predict fate. Just days after I took this photo on what appeared to be a typical Friday evening, the building is now gone.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

My New Office

I had this odd illusion that today, the first day working from our new office in Braintree, I would be able to show up soon after the movers arrived with our stuff, sit at my new desk, fire up my laptop, and resume business as usual.

Instead, we arrived to an expansive new office in a beautiful complex, with freshly painted walls, and the old company's furniture neatly pushed to the center of each room.

See, we negotiated a deal with the old tenants to purchase their unwanted office furniture and possessions, which turned out to be practically everything.

The desks, bookcases, and cabinets are in usable condition. They're not new, they're not gross, but they are somewhere in between. Workable is the best way to describe everything.

But what amuses me is that our phone system hasn't been connected yet, nor our Internet, our authenticating server, and our office equipment.

Why did I assume that the infrastructure was going to be intact and ready-to-go?

Silly me!

The beauty of productivity in 2008 is that my laptop, cell phone, and wireless card are just about all I need to continue. A flat surface for my computer is also nice, but not necessary.

I'm not being critical about the situation. It's rather amusing to me.

Overall, the move is a good idea. More functional work space, a standard, usable environment, and I believe a shorter commute for me. This office is about 7 miles south of my home, pretty much a straight shot on I-93 to the South Shore Plaza exit.

It's a reverse commute that, barring accidents and unforeseen traffic, took me 13 minutes to drive from 6:12 to 6:25 this evening.

I have never made it back from Kenmore in 13 minutes.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Final Day in the Kenmore Office

Upon looking at my calendar again yesterday, I quickly realized that I was a day off. Perhaps it's the short week, or my general inability to keep days straight.

Today is our final day in the Kenmore office.

What I thought would be a victory lap around the Kenmore eateries this week has become a complete avoidance of them. Uburger, Boca Grande, Ankara Cafe - I think I've enjoyed my final Big Papi Burger, Chicken and Corn Tamales, and Chicken/Eggplant/Mozzarella/Red Pepper rollup at your respective establishments.

Yesterday, I went up to the Packard's Corner SuperCuts for likely my final haircut there (not because of their performance, but rather I can't see myself going out of the way to have my hair cut, and this ill now be out of my way).

Then, as usual, I hit up the Super 88 Food Court for lunch. I always love coming to this place - it's like a mini pan-Asian food court. Korean, Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese, Indian - all present. I landed at Pho Viet once again, my favorite of the bunch, and ordered their Shrimp & Chicken Summer Rolls and Grilled Lemongrass Chicken with Vermicelli. I ate half of that for lunch, and the other half for dinner. If it wasn't so warm outside, I would have had a huge bowl of their delicious noodle soup.

The drive back to Kenmore, however, left much to be desired.

Comm Ave has become a war zone, scarred with orange barrels, potholes, and construction equipment. It's an eye sore, and has been for the entire two years I worked in Kenmore. Add that to the joke of a construction project that the city calls Kenmore Square, and you have a high-profile part of the city that has been unacceptable for so long.

If I went to Boston University and was in a 2-year Master's Program, my memory of the area surrounding my campus would be nothing but an eyesore and a headache. Way to leave some students such a distasteful image of Boston.

I will most certainly not miss this part of town.

20 minutes after navigating this nightmare, I was back at the office.

A midday drive from Packard's Corner to Kenmore should not take this long.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Final Tuesday in Kenmore

This is our final week in Kenmore, as our office is moving to the South Shore Plaza environs. I'm still unsure of the official address and whether or not it's technically in Braintree or Quincy. Nonetheless, it's south of here right near I-93, and I've been there once before.

Rather than fill this week with rants about the subtle nuances that made working in Kenmore irritating, perhaps I should remain on the optimistic and positive tip, and celebrate the unique elements that made working in a Kenmore-area brownstone a memorable experience.

Today - it's parking.

I have a love-hate relationship with parking here.

The hate component is far usurped by the love element.

Hate because when everyone is here in the office, we're stuffed in tandem spots, and often playing musical cars if people have to escape early or head somewhere midday.

Love because, well, there's free parking for us a block from Kenmore Square.

The trip via the T entails either a 15 minute walk to the red line, boarding an already stuffed train, transferring to the Green line, and arriving at work having stood for about 50 minutes straight, likely an uncomfortable, sweaty mess, or catching a bus to the red line and following the aforementioned process (substituting a 15 minute walk for a 5 minute wait for the bus). Having a parking spot here allows me to dump my car somewhere for free after a 15-25 minute drive in comfort.

It's also nice to know the building owners, and have somewhere to park for Red Sox games or evenings out in the area, not to mention my Spanish classes at Boston Language Institute if I resume those this year.

While I won't assume anything, I have a feeling that given my history with the building owners, I can probably continue parking here in the future.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Photos from Earth Day Concert 2008

I went to the Earth Day concert today. Along with the beautiful weather and great music from The BoDeans, The English Beat, Cracker, and Cake, I spent much of my time taking pictures of random people around me.

No, YOU da man

Skanking to The English Beat

The only other guy around me singing along to "Teen Angst" by Cracker, a song released in 1992.

I am currently 33 years old. This guy looks much older.

Do I really have more in common with him than with the legions of other 20 and 30-somethings at the show?

Hey, yo...yo, hey I don't know what to say. The chicks dig me.

More unbridled dancing to The English Beat

Does anyone know why a police officer caused Cracker to stop mid-song? There was some conversation, and then Cracker resumed with another song. Strange.

The Southie Turkey in Photos


Turkey Photos from my street.

I was with Karin yesterday, and on the way from her home inspection to meeting the rest of our group at The Barking Crab, I had to go home and take Rosie out for a walk.

My first attempt at parallel parking was thwarted by a turkey in the parking spot.

Of course, now I'm all excited to grab my camera and catch the turkey in photos. It's not often you see a bird walking around Southie that's taller than toddlers.

We go inside, grab Rosie and my camera, and go turkey hunting.

Walk up to E. 7th St, and I see a lady staring eastward at nothing in particular.

"Did you see the turkey?" I shouted?

"Yeah, it went down H St."

We scurry over to H and look north to find nothing.

When I turned around to look southward, I saw many people mulling around. Some had cameras. Some were just gawking. Moments later, all of the patrons from the pub on the corner flooded out the door and occupied the sidewalk.

There it was. The turkey.

I've never seen anything like this. Not just a large wild bird in an urban environment. But simply the amount of people and cars who stopped what they were doing simply to point, photograph, and gawk at this turkey.

When Rosie finally got an up-close look at the turkey, her immediate impulse was to pull violently toward it. I'm not sure if she was going to chase it, as she seems to do with most birds, or if she wanted to sniff its butt, as she seems to do with most dogs.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Memorial Day Weekend

Here it is, Memorial Day weekend, with Monday being our first official weekday off since New Year's Day. MLK...Patriot's Day...Presidents' Day - all work days for us where I work.

One year ago today, Brian and I woke up in Vicksburg, Mississippi, and later in the day made it to the end of the Great River Road in Louisiana.

For some reason, I had it in my mind that the GRR Trip began this weekend last year, and was going to post about today being the one year anniversary of the trip's beginning. But just as I was posting about that, it occurred to me that this weekend marked the trip's end, and one year ago we spent the weekend in New Orleans.

I remember thinking how our planning of the trip coincided poorly with the high gas prices of last summer. It's hard to believe that they are even higher this year.

So this weekend, I'm looking forward to spending time here in Boston, and most likely outside, as the weather here is supposed to be terrific.

Karin has a home inspection today at 4PM, and she asked me to join her, since it's right down the street from me AND the perfect excuse to get a jump on the holiday weekend.

My plan on Saturday is to hit up the Earth Day concert tomorrow at the Hatch Shell. Even though I posted about the poor decision to change the old WBOS to the "Radio 92.9" that's on right now, I think they were smart to hang on to the Earth Day concert, and they put together a lineup this year that looks great - Cake, Cracker, The BoDeans, and English Beat (or, as Ryan calls it, "an extremely boring afternoon of sitting on the ground listening to bands that were popular in the 90’s.") Needless to say, he's not coming.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Guest Blog - Anti-American Airlines

Today, I turn over Platinum Elite to Ryan (he's blogless, otherwise I would link to his). Ryan has much to say about American Airlines' most recent checked-bag fees...

The start of this guest blog on Platinum Elite began as a rant about how ridiculous American Airlines is to actually charge $15 to check a customers’ FIRST bag (both ways by the way. For the details click here.

After doing some research my anger towards AA turned more into confusion.

According to their 2007 Annual Report, the AMR Corporation (the company that owns American Airlines) reported a Net Profit of $504 million. This was an increase of $273 million from their prior year’s profits. Yet despite what most companies would consider a stellar year, I thought American Airlines actually has the audacity to charge a customer $30 (again, $15 both ways) to check a bag. Just a side note, the only reason I would check a bag is because airlines insist on making their overhead compartment just large enough to fit a third graders’ backpack. Note to self, write a letter to each airline about their inadequate size (of overhead storage that is).

So, as I progressed through my research of how idiotic, greedy, and purely evil American Airlines actually was, I found myself in somewhat of a predicament. The further I dug, the more I found that American Airlines really isn’t that evil. For example, AA reported a 2008 first quarter net loss of $328 million (or approximately 65% of their entire profits from the previous year). So, being the accountant that I am, my first instinct was to look at their most recent financials and Proxy Statement. I kind of enjoy reading these as they give a detailed account of executive compensation (something that I find to be completely over-inflated today). After review of their overall compensation package, along with checking the compensation packages of some other airlines, I found that while I can’t appreciate the figures, I can certainly see how they can justify them.

The problem isn’t compensation, and additional review of their financials didn’t reveal anything out of the ordinary. I began to think that maybe AA’s latest maneuver actually is in response to higher oil prices. As an investor, I would expect this response from AA’s management. However, I am also a consumer and this new baggage policy (while it really isn’t going to brake the bank) irritates me to no end. Why are we as consumers the ones who have to bear the brunt of increased oil prices? Ticket prices have increased steadily, and now I have to pay to check a bag. Are you kidding me? Ridiculous!!!

After getting fired up at American Airlines for another time, I calmed down and asked myself two things. The first was, “Who am I supposed to be mad at?” Is it the oil companies, OPEC, the President, Congress?? The other question was, “Once I do find out who’s to blame, what can I do about it?” After hours of reflection I still have no idea. Is it easy to angry at AA? Of course, they’re charging me an extra $30 to check a bag. Will it do any good to be angry with them? No, especially when I other airlines will follow suit. I can’t fight all of them!

So, it’s back to square one for now. I wonder if I ever do find the answers to my questions if it will make me feel better about paying $30 dollars to check my bag when flying American. I guess if I don’t, I can always stuff my week’s worth of clothes into my backpack and pretend like nothing has changed.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Canceling My XM Radio

I'm doing a little test with my XM Radio Subscription.

I'm canceling it.

I have nothing against XM. They have a great programming selection - Ethel, Fred, and Lucy (uh..get it?) are my three favorite channels. Good diverse playlists, unobtrusive personalities, and decent imagine.

And while my early-generation equipment purchased in 2003 doesn't allow me to listen to the channels at the highest fidelity (when I listen via DirecTV through my stereo speakers, it sounds much, much better), my decision to cancel has nothing to do with the XM service.

I simply don't listen to it much anymore.

With gas prices soaring, and life simply becoming more expensive, I'd love to find a way to shave an obvious $100 off of my monthly expenses, curtailing discretionary expenses. XM would save me $15 per month, I believe. And while this expense is one of my tax write offs, I'd rather simply not spend the cash than spend it and receive some of it back around tax time.

My test with XM, however, is seeing how long it takes them to respond to my email request to cancel. Nowhere on their website is there a big red "cancel now" button (that would be an obviously bad decision to have one). But there's also no small hyperlink to cancel through a few clicks. No section in the FAQ about canceling. No direct email box for cancellations. Just ambiguous options that route my question to...who knows? Customer Service? Account Services, perhaps?

What's odd is that I haven't even received acknowledgment of the fact that I emailed them. Usually companies have an immediate bounce back email mentioning that an email was received and will be responded to, regardless of the subject.

I have heard that XM makes it quite difficult to cancel, just like what AOL was doing back when their model involved subscriptions.

If I don't hear from them today or tomorrow, I'll try giving them a ring. My gut tells me I'm going to have to take another active step in this process by calling them, going through a phone tree, and probably getting frustrated along the way.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Yes, I voted

Not only did I vote after American Idol this week (I NEVER do this)...

...but I voted for Archuleta (who really irritated me during the whole season)...

...he was truly that much better in the finale.

Oh, what have I done?

Monday, May 19, 2008

Four Tet - Everything Is Alright

I definitely have been listening to NPR too much these days. But I do find it cathartic, informative, and addictive.

There's a show called "On Point" with Tom Ashbrook, which is broadcast in the mid-morning and replayed again at 7PM, which is the broadcast I usually catch when I hear the show. I believe its station of origin is 90.9 WBUR right here in Boston, but it's also syndicated nationally.

This song - "Everything is Alright" by Four Tet - is its theme music.

I had NO IDEA until I was surfing around itunes this evening and stumbled into an iMix called "Indie Electronic." A bunch of the songs were tracks I had downloaded (Hot Chip, MIA, Justice, LCD Soundsystem) so I figured I would listen to the hooks of the other songs recommended, most of which were by artists I had never heard before.

I click on Four Tet and almost jumped out of my chair - it was the NPR song! I just finished listening to the show during dinner, and then randomly found the song they use going into and out of local breaks. How coincidental!

Bizarre Dream from the 80's

So my dream last night was quite bizarre and chock-full of 80's TV characters!

I didn't realize this, but the owners of our present office building were having a benefit on what I believed was a typical day at the office.

I happened to wander around the pathways and gardens behind our building (pathways and gardens which do not actually exist), and I stumbled across Betty White and Rue McClanahan who were walking somewhere together.

I fumbled for words but somehow came out with "You're...the two....yeah!"

I followed them into the auditorium where a fund raiser was underway.

At the auction table, I met Joanna Kerns and Judith Light. I kept calling Joanna Kerns "Maggie Seaver," to which she responded but didn't seem thrilled. Soon after Alan Thicke walked over.

It's not like I have been watching 80's sitcoms all that much lately.

And I do find it odd that all of the characters in my dream were in parental (or grand parental) roles.

What does this mean?

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Aaron bleepin Boone

I realize that the Yanks are in last place now.

I realize that the Sox have won two World Series since the Yankees have last won one in 2000.

I realize that after an emotional ALCS and this walk-off series-ending moment, the Yankees forgot to show up for the 2003 World Series, losing convincingly.

But isn't is still an insult for Fox to broadcast this particular moment in their countdown of "Great Moments in Yankee Stadium History" during the 8th inning of today's nationally televised Sox-Brewers game?

Even I, a self-admitted Yankees fan living in Boston, realize this.

My Fight at Home Depot Watertown

I had such an unnecessary disagreement today at Home Depot in Watertown, and while I'm now less irritated by the dispute, I'm still amazed at their lack of customer service - totally contrary to every other experience I have had at Home Depot in Dorchester.

When I ordered my cabinets, I ordered cabinet hardware that I believed matched the existing ones.

When my order arrived, the hardware was close, but not exact. I happened to bring one of the existing knobs into Home Depot last week, and found a very close if not exact match with some off-the-shelf hardware. Only problem is that I needed 14 knobs, and they had either 10-packs or just one single knob at the Dorchester store. I bought two 10-packs, but later decided to try another Home Depot at some point in the future, and return one of the 10-packs along with some other items that needed to be returned (some face plates, screws, etc).

I figured that I had to make a trip to Tile Showcase in Watertown today, and I would check out the knob inventory at Home Depot Watertown, and if they had single knobs, I would make my returns there. It shouldn't matter what Home Depot I return items at, should it?

For in-stock problem. For special order appears that they only accept returns at the store of purchase.

Only problem is that nowhere on the receipt does it say that, nor does it indicate it on store signage.

When I returned a few stock items along with the special order item, they took back the stock items without problem, but then informed me that I would need to go to customer service for the special order items.

No problem, I thought. Three people behind the counter, two people being helped now, a short line of two people waiting.

No joke - 20 minutes later (I verified the time on my return receipt), finally I walk up to the counter. It's now my turn.

They took one look at the receipt and said they could not accept special order items purchased at another store.


I told them that I was sent over to Customer Service from that lady over there (I pointed) and had been waiting for twenty minutes in a line of practically nobody.

Nope, can't take it back here.

I'm now getting more vocal, insisting that they call the Dorchester store and figure out a return over the phone. That didn't work.

I mention that this is a stupid $20 return on an almost $4,000 order and insist on a gift card in the amount of the return.

Nope. Now the clerk throws the receipt back at me (to which I responded "You DO NOT throw this back at me.") and summons a manager.

At this point, in my still hoarse-from-sick-yet-yelling voice, I'm drawing the attention of others. Some douche customer walked up to me and mentioned that he had been waiting an hour to return something on a $10,000 order (basically his way of suggesting that if he can wait, I can wait).

"This does not concern you." was my curt reply. Dude, go away.

The manager came over, listened to the problem, said there was nothing he could do, and told me to have a good day.

Thirty minutes wasted, all because the very first clerk did not take the time to realize that my special order item was not purchased there, and they would not accept the return at that store.

How am I, as a customer, to know this policy, when it's not spelled out or explained anywhere else but verbally at the Customer Service desk?

Before I left, I ended up staring down the douche who interjected (after 10 seconds of being stared at he finally gave me a facial expression of "um...yeah?" to which I yelled over "that was none of your business.)

I also had words with the first clerk, telling her about my wasted last thirty minutes in the store because she did not correctly explain their return procedure to me before sending me over to Customer Service.

After listening to me, she said "I'm Sorry," which to be perfectly honest was all I needed to hear from someone who worked there. Nobody else said anything else that was close to apologetic.

Oddly enough, the same person who sent me down the wrong path is the only one I have forgiven.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Bathroom Bible Verse

In the men's room at Cottonwood last night, I found a blue post-it note with the following inscription:

Repent of your sins
and turn to God
For the Kingdom
of Heaven is Near

Matthew 4:17

I took the note and showed it to my friends. They laughed it off, but then I wondered....

Why would someone put this in the men's room of Cottonwood?
Is there a person distributing Bible verses all around town?
Is he (assuming it's a guy...being that it was in the men's room) posting the same Bible verse everywhere, or does he have a cadre of different verses ready to roll?
To whom is this directed?
Why this verse?
Should I repent?
Is tequila the devil's juice?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Dunkin Donuts Free Iced Coffee Day

Today is Dunkin' Donuts free Iced Coffee Day (after 10am). Usually I don't hit up these free events (free cone day, free burrito day) because it just seems like too much of a hassle to receive a free item of nominal value. I suppose part of the charm is community - waiting with others also seeking free stuff. But the lines usually offset the value, and I can't get myself to wait thirty minutes for a scoop of ice cream.

But this is different. There are Dunkin Donuts everywhere. I can't imagine that all of them will have long lines for the full twelve hours of the promotion.

I'm almost tempted to hit up each of the four or five Dunkin Donuts here in Southie just to see how long it would take to receive four or five free iced coffees. Unless they embed microchips or ask for our social security numbers, I don't know how they plan to prevent people from receiving multiple free iced coffees from different stores or at different times during the 10am-10pm window. Perhaps they're fine with any customers who are so excited about the free stuff that they are willing to keep hitting up Dunkin Donuts outlets throughout the day.

Which reminds me of a link from Universal Hub to a YouTube video posted by a couple guys that hit up 40 different Dunkin Donuts in one day.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

City Hall or City Hell?

If I was damned to hell, I'm assuming that my workplace would be somewhere that looks like City Hall.

At the risk of insulting the good workers who go there everyday, it just such a depressing place. Concrete jungle. Dark and cold corridors. Decor from thirty years ago.

I had to drop by City Hall yesterday for a couple matters, and I could not help but think that many people spend over forty hours each week in this building. If the imposing vacant corridors aren't enough to drive one mad, spending time in an interior cubicle with overhead fluorescent lighting might just do it.

Years ago, on my one and only Duck Tour with my friend Brian (roadtrip Brian), I remember the tour guide asking if he had any locals with him, as we drove north on Cambridge St. A handful of us raised our hands. He asked us what building in the city was the ugliest and most out of place structure in a city with such great architecture, and without hesitation, all of us yelled "City Hall," which we then drove past.

I realize much has been written of City Hall's legacy. At one point, I'm assuming that the design plans were considered a good idea by many, though realize that the criticism has existed for decades, and remains today.

I'm amazed that this design won over 255 other entries. It just makes me scratch my head. What were they thinking?

Monday, May 12, 2008

My Weekend




Saturday, May 10, 2008


Note to self:

When shaking a bottle of orange juice in the car, make sure the lid is closed, otherwise the juice will spray everywhere throughout the front seats, dashboard, console, and clothing.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Dining Out - Burmese Cuisine at Yoma in Allston

Wednesday night, I was driving through Kenmore (source of this post about the bicyclists) for a meeting of the Boston International Dining Association.

This month, we had some delicious Burmese Cuisine at Yoma on North Beacon St. in Allston.

Burmese does have a better ring to it than Myanmarese. Nonetheless, the food was outstanding.

The restaurant is very small and casual. Probably ten tables in total. No booze. Sodas served from cans with cups of ice (you might have to ask for double ice if you want more than a cube). This week, had an article about the effect of the cyclone on the Burmese community here in Boston, and they included a photo of Yoma's interior.

I even took a menu to remind me what we ate.

The flavors mixed amazingly. The highlights:

ThaYetTheeTho - a green mango salad with shredded cabbage, shallot, diced shrimp, ground peanut, garlic sauce, and cilantro

ShwePaYonTheeHin - sweet pumpkin with jumbo shrimp, tomato, ginger, shallot, lemongrass, and cilantro

AaThotSone - vermicelli, somen noodle, wheat flour noodle, rice, shredded cabbage, fried tofu, steamed bean sprouts, potato, ground peanut, chili flake, shallot, and dried shrimp

Coconut Rice - rice with coconut milk, jasmine rice, and shallot

I had never eaten Burmese cuisine before, but I'm always game for new dining options. When we sat down and reviewed the menu, we almost expected the food to taste like Thai. I can seem the similarities, but both Burmese and Thai are certainly distinct.

Yoma is having a benefit on Saturday from 12 noon - 4pm to benefit the victims of the cyclone in Myanmar. I'd go back if I wasn't wrapped up all day on Saturday already.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Mac Features / Weeding Out Contacts

Now that's I'm up and running with my Mac, I find some of the completely intuitive features necessary, and can't understand why Windows never integrated such actions. Thanks to my co-worker Sean, I assigned the action of "move cursor to the corner" with one of three functions - upper left is hide all applications and show desktop, upper right is show all open windows to select which one you want to use, and lower right (I think this one is default) is my widget dashboard. I just dipped my toe into the widget world, but love what I have installed already.

I'm still integrating data, and have determined that this is a terrific time to clean out my contacts. Just this morning over coffee, I was able to delete contacts who fit into one of the following buckets:

1. Left job, now MIA
2. Haven't spoken to in years
3. Will very likely never speak to again
4. Douchebag

It makes for weeding through contacts quite simple. If you're not in one of those categories, you're still in my Outlook (...I mean, Entourage...)

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Boston Idiots on Bicycles

I love this service called Jott. Basically, I have it linked to my cell phone and email, so I can call it, "jott" myself (or others), and it turns my speech into text, archives the original voice message, and introduces a sharable element by making the URL to the audio public, should I so choose.

Often, I'm jotting notes to myself ("Don't forget Mother's Day") or wacky things that I think might make for interesting entries here ("Asparagus pee" or "What is the appropriateness of someone farting out loud while at the urinal when you're the only two people in the bathroom?") While I haven't followed up either of those related jotts with a posting here, I did jott something during my drive to dinner last night that I must post.

The weather was great yesterday, which seemed to cause more bikers to hit the roads. By bikers, I mean Trek and Schwinn, not Harley-Davidson and Suzuki.

Last I checked, bikers are responsible for abiding by the rules of the road, just as car drivers are.

Yesterday, in the span of a minute, two idiots blared through red lights in and around Kenmore. On both occasions, I was the first car stopped, so I had clear views. And on neither occasion was the light changing from yellow to red.

One guy bolted through a red light, literally through a stream of pedestrians. Two people had to jump back to avoid being hit.

At the very next light, another biker sped through a red light almost plowing into a poor little old lady crossing the street in her violet pants, sun hat, and cane. At that light, waiting right next to me, was a Boston police officer on a motorcycle. He did nothing. Yet, if I proceeded through that same light right in front of him...I'm guessing I would have been cited.

When on a bicycle, it's one thing to come to a dead stop at a red light, and then cautiously proceed through. While still illegal, it seems safer.

It's another to ride through at full speed.

Lights are there for reasons, guys. And while the cars usually win during bike vs. car collisions, it's the people that get hurt during bike vs. pedestrian.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Brimful of Asha

I know there's a ton of songs in my regular iTunes rotation that are far off the radars of 99.44% of others, but are part of my usual every day entertainment....

"Devil's Diary" by The Caulfields
"Work For Food" by Dramarama
"Do You Remember the First Time?" by Pulp
"Jeepster" by T. Rex
"Let the Day Begin" by The Call

..and on...

This is usually the soundtrack of my day, mixed of course with some more familiar and current music.

I'm citing off-the-beaten path music because I heard a great song from the 90's not once, but twice in the past few days - on two separate radio stations.

One local, 101.7 WFNX
One Internet, RadioIO Alt Rock Classics (via iTunes radio)

That song is "Brimful of Asha" by Cornershop, bearer of one of the best lyrics from the 90's:

"Everybody needs a bosom for a pillow, everybody needs a bosom."

I bought this CD back in 97, and it's not terrible. But over the years, it just kind of drifted away from regular rotation.

When I heard FNX play it this weekend, I was surprised. It's not the kind of song you hear much of from terrestrial radio. But, FNX is still pretty cool, so kudos to them. I turned up the radio and sang out loud.

Internet radio, however, is a different animal. I discovered this RadioIO Alt Rock Classic channel last week, and the music is basically everything I remember from my days in radio from 91-96. Lots of weird stuff that, at the time, was in rotation on my radio station back then...

"Ruined in a Day" by New Order
"Get Out of Control" by Daniel Ash
"Groovy Train" by The Farm
"X, Y, and Zee" by Pop Will Eat Itself
"Real, Real, Real" by Jesus Jones

Songs that live mostly in my memory and my iTunes. It would be great to find some others who remember and still love this generation of music.

Jamaica Plain Pub Crawl

Well, it was certainly a weekend of excess, capped off with an unofficial pub crawl through part of Jamaica Plain on Saturday. Brian and Kelly are soon going to become new parents, and about 8 of us (bros, not....ladies) got together to celebrate one of his final weekends before dirty diapers and middle-of-the-night wakeups.

I had never been on the Samuel Adams Brewery Tour, but that is where we began our adventure. Our guide seemed pleased and mellow during the entire tour. I wonder what's really in those hops?

At the end of the tour, they hoarded us into the tasting room, where we sampled three 7 ounce glasses of draft beer - the mainstay Boston Lager, the Summer Ale, and a third one whose name escapes me (though we were told it is not available on draft anywhere else, and is only sold as part of a sample pack).

As many of the tour attendees were from out-of-town, they recommended that folks could continue their drinking at Doyle's. While that's almost always a good idea, we opted for a different next step - Brendan Behan.

I hadn't been there in quite some time, but Brian reminded me that once before, he, Kelly, Meghan, and I came up with our famous idea for a store that mixes cereal together, and served it in a casual setting. Of our list of names (including "Wheat Make You Breakfast," thanks to Brian himself), we settled on "Cereality."

Too bad that exact concept and exact name had already been operational and franchised. Whoops.

No grandiose ideas this time, simply a few pints of excellent microbrew IPA's - they have about 10-12 really interesting beers on tap that you don't see in many places - and our viewing of the Kentucky Derby. Before the race, someone collected 10 bucks from 20 people, then assigned numbers for horses. One of the guys in our party won, and soon after had an envelope of $200 in front of him. Not a bad investment!

Onward across the street to The Milky Way. It's a shame that this place is closing - it's always busy and has tons of character. The candlepin bowling was pretty busy, and it would have been a long wait for a lane. Good thing, I'm not all that skilled at candlepin. So we stayed for a few pizzas and more beer. By then, our band of merry men had whittled from eight to six.

We walked over to The Alchemist, a restaurant I had been to once before. I think it's such a cool environment inside, with the high ceilings, exposed brick, and casual atmosphere. I'm not sure how many pints we had there, but am guessing I left after the second one.

In all, JP is a great place to drink - a wide variety of beers and friendly environments within stumbling distance of one another. It would be nice if the places in Southie ventured off the tap beer beaten path, and included a number of excellent microbrews.

No hangover whatsoever...thanks to staying within my limits and my friend, Advil.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Nobody Under 26 Allowed

We noticed this sign today at Ankara Cafe, a small sandwich place in Kenmore.

Is the sign simply that old, or is this truly a place for the 26-43 year old crowd?

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Southie Wild Turkey

I completely forgot to mention this during my post about the sweaty bus/T ride to work on Tuesday, but on the #11 bus, driving up Dorchester St., we were halted for about 15 seconds by a giant wild turkey making its way across the street. I seem to recall half-standing up from my seat, and pointing at the turkey for all who cared to be roused from their ipods, which was likely nobody.

I swear I read a mention of a Southie wild turkey on Universal Hub, but can't seem to find that posting now.

Nonetheless, I have no photo, as I was seated toward the rear of the bus, perspiring profusely. People behind me were probably wondering "who is this sweaty crazy guy pointing at an alleged turkey in Southie?"

Digging my MacBook Pro

I am totally digging this MacBook Pro - I think I need just a few more days with it before I'm entirely comfortable with the differences between this and a Windows-based machine.

The quick keys are intuitive and easy to remember (where's my bookmarks? Oh, Command-B. Need a new browser tab? Command-T. Cut/copy/paste? Command-X-C-V... just like windows). The lack of a right mouse button is still a bit weird to me, but I am quickly remembering that Control-Click is the way to go.

One of the most awesome design features is that the keyboard illuminates in darker environments. What a simple yet useful idea - backlight the keys and the characters on the keys. No I can computer in pitch black and save on my energy bill.

This laptop is also super fast, and will make my work much more efficient. My Dell had reached such a snail's pace that I was ready to throw it over the balcony had our office's ceiling not permitted the rain to fall onto my desk.

Once my data is fully integrated, I'll be thrilled. There are some frustrating elements of the data migration, such as MS Entourage not allowing for simple integration of a .pst file from MS Outlook. I believe there's an add-on which we're going to purchase today.

For now, I have a few projects I must forge through today and tomorrow.