William Ayers or Sasha Grey?

I honestly believed that tonight's appearance on campus of porn star Sasha Grey was responsible for the police presence at our campus entrance until I saw this headline. How funny is that? Do you think they did this on purpose? Get the police presence 2-1...It's also the night before finals start for the undergrads -- seems like an awfully bad time to have such high-profile appearances, doesn't it?



I'm glad to see that Boston is trying to reclaim Edgar Allan Poe. An article in today's Globe publicizes the new plaque commemorating Poe's birthplace -- but, apparently, it's in the wrong place. Of course, this is entirely appropriate because Poe hated Boston. I think it was more professional jealousy as Poe never fit in with the Boston Brahmin set: Oliver Wendell Holmes, Longfellow and Lowell all had long and successful literary careers; as Matthew Pearl lays out in his fantastic historical novel, The Poe Shadow, Poe died in Baltimore penniless, wearing ill-fitting clothes, virtually alone in the world.

I must confess a long-held affection for Poe's writing -- I've had a book of his poetry on my shelf since I was in middle school. I've always been drawn to the macabre -- first Poe, then Stephen King and now the books of Preston & Child (they have a new book coming out next month, "Cemetary Dance."). I even set one of his poems to music in a theory class back in school -- I can't quite remember the poem, "Amelie" perhaps? But it was awesome...in fact, it was so good that the Professor asked to hear it again to help fill the remainder of class one day!

Perhaps a sly Bostonian can start a tradition along the lines of Baltimore's Poe Toaster...


"All these stupid women are the same..."

What could possibly be better than the combination of animated LEGOS, musical theater and The Silence of the Lambs?


via the standingroom blog


RBOC: Wednesday edition

Hello all,
It's been a while...I wanted to blog one of my recent soccer games, but during said game I jammed my finger (my middle finger, in case you were curious), which consequently rendered my typing ability slightly less than accurate -- or pain free for that matter. So here I am on Wednesday trying to fill in the gaps. Sounds like a RBOC day to me -- how about you?

  • First of all, the soccer game on Saturday was great: we played an undefeated team -- we're not exactly undefeated ourselves (more like un-lossed-to), so I wasn't feeling confident. But our particular team tends to play up to its competition, and I feel like we pretty much dominated this team. We scored two quick goals, which got them on their heels, and we pretty much held the lead from then on out.
  • All this positive soccer feeling drained away as we were unable to slay two undefeated teams within the span of four days -- last night's game was a big let down as we were dominated 6-0 with hardly any sustained pressure in the offensive zone.
  • It's been fun watching all the marathoners limping around the city. They're easy to spot: very skinny; lots of Boston Marathon gear; stiff legs; and zero ability to read a map! Apparently these guys (and gals) are so used to following the herd that they cannot possibly guide themselves around a city -- sans a bunch of cheering fans.
  • I'm actually teaching a class tomorrow!! I'm filling in up at a community college that I'd recently taught at -- it should be fun because I haven't taught (anything) in almost a full year. More on that tomorrow...
  • I'm nursing a strong hockey hangover today after my beloved Blues got swept last night by a (vastly) superior Vancouver team...I'm laying this loss squarely at the feet of my good friend Sarah for picking the Detroit Red Wings as her favorite hockey team...as if??
  • Did you hear about the DUI-charged classical music conductor? So many jokes, so little time -- classical music was playing on the radio? Seriously?? I know that drinking and driving is a serious thing, but come on...I'd love to know **exactly** what he was listening to.


How Weird Am I? (Please Read Before Answering)

For your consideration, and my reassurance, I'm requesting your thoughts on the following tics, habits, neuroses, and weird things that I do (or don't do) on an almost daily basis:

* I always pick up the second newspaper -- never the first -- from the pile; I imagine the second paper somehow to be cleaner than the top paper...go figure.

* I do not eat fruit -- I used to eat apples, but haven't in ages -- this stems from a childhood incident in which my mother tried to kill me: it was Mother, in the Kitchen, with a banana.

* When I'm riding the train, I try to keep my hand on the same spot -- to me, touching as little of the bar as possible seems like the cleanliest option.

* I shoot pool lefthandedly; I kick a soccer ball mostly with my left foot; and, I prefer my backhand in ping-pong (but not in tennis); but I do almost everything else righthandedly.

* I'm colorblind

* If correctly prompted, I can get a little Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde on a soccer field (it's not pretty...).

* Finally, I absolutely must -- and I'm serious now -- I must have ice cubes in my mouth as I exit a restaurant. I do not know why, but I've been doing since high school, and it's a very comforting act.

That's not too weird, is it?


RBOC: Live-Free-or-Die edition

Well, I've finally swept away the last vestiges of my 30th birthday celebration. Yesterday, TW and I returned from quick and dirty little trip up to New Hampshire -- one day & night in Portsmouth and then half a day in Manchester -- that served as TW's present to me. Overall, it was a great trip full of sweets, shoes, a sub, seafood, sunshine and sensational architecture.

What follows is an overview of the trip, in bullet points, pics and a precis...

  • The below picture shows some lucky bloke in the middle of Candy heaven. It's a little shop called "Yummies" in Kitterary, ME. They have stacks of milk crates -- floor to ceiling -- filled with every possible candy you've ever had. Their salt-water taffy lured TW back for a second visit. Kitterary is also home to a large chain of outlet stores, including a PUMA store where I bought TW a brand-new pair of (white!!) sneakers.
  • Next, we stopped at the USS Albacore -- the first submarine with a curved hull. Unfortunately we couldn't get inside, but we were able to walk around it and listen to some recording about its history.
  • After that we found our inn in Portsmouth -- the Ale House Inn. This contemporary inn just opened a little while ago, and it sits directly above the Seacoast Repertory in an old brewery building right down on the waterfront. Portsmouth itself is a cute little port town with tons of old buildings. Apparently, in the middle of a building boom in the 1960s, the town moved all the historic buildings and plopped them down in a section of town now called the Strawberry Banke. Check it out -- it's pretty cool.
  • That afternoon we checked out the Redhook brewery just outside of town. Although the tour was pretty pathetic -- although it only cost $1 -- the finale was awesome. The guide gives everyone a double-shot glass and then proceeds to fill up pitcher after pitcher of the five different beers on tap that particular day. Let's just say that TW was so drunk after the tour, she let me buy two separate 6-packs -- one each of our favorites from the tour (TW also "let" me buy this cool glass).
  • The finale of trip came the next day when we visited the Currier Museum in nearby Manchester. The museum is the curator of a Frank Lloyd Wright house called "The Zimmerman House." This is the 3rd Wright house that I've been inside (Fallingwater & Oak Park are the others), and it was definitely incredible. We weren't allowed to take pictures, so the posted pics are pictures of pictures from the actual museum. The ceiling is the most intricate design I've ever seen -- in addition to the board-and-batton style, the many swoops and dives in the ceiling create multiple corners and wacky angles. I'm glad I wasn't in charge of the mitre saw for that house -- ugh!
Overall, it was a fantastic two days...I'd do it again in a heartbeat (checkout my face-book page for more pics!).


Gray-haired Davids who sing...

Was that David Byrne or David Robertson in NYC over the weekend? See the review in the Times today of the SLSO's triumphant series of concerts in Zankel Center and Carnegie Hall over the weekend -- and all that after their delayed flight almost made them miss their Friday-night concert.


The Dangers of Alcohol...

Enjoy this little clip of our most recent trip to Chinatown. Here in Boston, (almost) everything shuts down at 2AM, which leaves few options for those still "enjoying the evening."

Starring from left to right:
Al (the not-so secret videographer);
Kenny (the foul-mouthed liberal);
Celexo (the birthday boy);
TW (silent but deadly);
Sully (the other birthday boy);
Kate (the new girl);
Ric (the broken-foot boy);
Sarah (the holy-mother-of-god-she's-drunk girl);
Ed, aka Fred, or Pete (the object of Sarah's affections)

Pay particular attention to the 1:30 mark: that's Chau Chow's signature pepper steak -- the drunk's love the sizzle. I'm particular to the General Gau's mixed w/some fried rice...delicious!


A Day in the Life...at the Booth

So today marks the 4th day in a row, and 3 out of 4, at the booth in Copley Square; needless to say, I'm having a little nutter today. On Tuesday and Wednesday, I did not have my usual morning oatmeal -- and if you know me at all, you know that I eat oatmeal everyday for breakfast (barring dire circumstances) -- so, that's thrown me off my (soccer, et al) games, literally and figuratively.

Last night, I showed up for my soccer game at 8:40, which I thought was perfect -- I get there 20 minutes early to socialize and lumber about (as a 30-year old now, I need more time than ever to warm up). I walk into the field and notice that my team is already on the field playing! My 9PM game time actually was an hour late -- arghh! I hate it when that happens; actually, I can't recall ever doing that before but that's mostly owing to my personal secretary, TW.

So today I'm here at the booth (again), and I've already had a few doozies...but right off the bat, I had a real winner. The biggest show in town these days is a pre-Broadway run of "Dirty Dancing" or as the non-English speakers like to call it, "Dirty Dance." It's been here 8 weeks, and will stick around for 2 more, so all the late-for-lifers are coming out of the woodwork these days trying to get tickets before it leaves town.

My first customers this morning were a group of 5, and they didn't speak a lick of English. So, I muddle through the transaction by writing out the cost of each ticket ($52.25!!) and then down beneath that the total ($261.25). The ringleader plunks down a hundred and three fifties, so far so good; another one drops down a single and finally a ten-dollar bill appears...at this point, a crowd is starting to form because it's the first transaction and people are fiending for their half-price tickets.

Now, here's where it gets good: I hand them their tickets and try to tell them that we're all set, despite the fact that they're .25 short! I was trying to be hospitable, but also trying to speed up the line by forgetting about the extra .25 cents. Suddenly this group of 5 customers, which previously couldn't speak a lick of English, starts demanding their change!!

"Change, change?" they clamored.
"Oh god, is this really happening?" I think to myself.

Finally, another customer convinced them that I had paid the .25 cents and that they were all set...ugh, got to love our customers!

You've also got to love our co-workers. I'm working today with quite the little peach! I returned to the booth, after running the morning errands, to find my her wildly swiping a credit card into the computer over and over again.

Now at this point, you'd have to think to yourself, "Self, why doesn't this card seem to work?" I immediately point out that the show she's trying to buy is in Florida, which we can't access here at the outlet. Problem solved, or at least the problem at hand!