Sunday, August 06, 2006
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
Monday, May 15, 2006
Nothing left to do now but sit here refreshing the grades page.
Monday, May 01, 2006
It has also been proposed that we all bring in 1950s-themed dishes to eat while we're listening to people explain their topics. Someone has already spoken for Mamie Eisenhower's Million Dollar Fudge, so I'm trying to come up with some other uniquely cold-war-era recipe that I can make. Any ideas?
UPDATE: For some reason, Blogger apparently ate this post and it never made it online. So I'll just give you the post-action report. After a not-massively-helpful discussion with my cold-war-era parents, the only really good idea was Tomato Aspic.
I was looking for something with a little more pizazz and a little easier to transport, so on Sunday I stopped by the library at Simmons. Unfortunately, the library is in the middle of a massive, multiyear renovation project, and something like 2/3 of the collection is now stored off site and takes a day or two to retrieve. It seems that the 1950s cookbooks didn't make the cut for staying on campus. So after browsing every cookbook that was left, I headed back to my office to ponder my options.
But then, while aimlessly wandering the web, I found this reprint of Betty Crocker's Picture Cookbook from 1950, and it has the "search inside the book" option! So I searched for "appetizers." Booya! Pages of classic 1950 party food.
I desperately wanted to make the "flaming cabbage." But alas, it seems that Sterno is harder to come by than it was in 1950. (I tried the drug store and grocery store at Porter Square before giving up.) So I went to plan B, which was essentially a layer cake made of out bologna and mustard/chive flavored cream cheese, and garnished with sliced olives. The cookbook calls this cholesterol and nitrite laden delicacy "wedgies." Yum.
When I got to class, this was definitely the most, umm, unique food there! A few brave souls actually tried it. No deaths have been reported.
Oh, and the part where I talked about what I wrote in the paper that I hadn't written went pretty well too. (Apparently all my research this semester has paid off -- let's hope I'm as loquacious when I actually sit down to whip out 20 pages this weekend.)
After Monday I should have a lot more time -- no classes for a month! So perhaps blogging will become a bit more consistent.
Thursday, April 20, 2006
Monday, April 17, 2006
Trot, trot, to Boston;Well, I wasn't precisely trotting, and I certainly didn't make it as far as Lynn or Salem. But I did make it to Boston proper on my bike today. (Charlestown, where I went on Friday, is technically part of Boston, but it doesn't really count since it's on this side of the Charles River.)
Trot, trot, to Lynn;
Trot, trot, to Salem;
Home, home again.
Today was going to be another study day. I had toyed with the idea of having some folks over for dinner, but the timing didn't work out. By 4:00 PM the sun was peeking out and I was sick of the inside of my apartment. So I lugged my bike down the stairwell and set out. My original plan was just to head in the direction of Harvard Square, since I figured that if I could get the hang of riding there I could take the subway from there to work. (Thereby getting a workout and a shorter subway ride.)
I made it to Harvard and sat on one of the quad-like areas for a bit. I was still feeling pretty chipper, so I decided to push onward. After getting lost in the windy little European-style streets between the university and the river, I finally found the Charles. Since the river has relatively flat bike paths on either side, I kept going.
Next thing I knew I was on Commonwealth Ave. near BU. From there it was only a short ride to Kenmore Square, where, to my surprise, there were still marathoners jogging the mile 25 marker! People were cheering like crazy, and the beer was clearly flowing. I pushed through the marathon crowds for a bit with the idea of possibly seeing either the finish line or a red-line T-stop where I could hop a subway home. When I got to Copley Square, the whole square was barricaded for finish-line VIPs, so I didn't actually see the marathon at that point. (Did see lots of exhausted runners heading away from it, though.)
At this point I found out (through a call to a friend) that a group of friends who had gotten up early to watch the marathon were still wandering the streets of Boston. We agreed to meet up at India Quality in Kenmore Square. So I headed back in the other direction. I was thrown off by the marathon barricades and ended up going past Northeastern, the MFA, and then up the Fenway and around Fenway Park. (This is actually about 3 blocks from Simmons, which proves that I could realistically bike there!)
Dinner was very good -- I had lamb kabob type thing. My lawyer friend explained to us that if we could build a hut and live on someone else's land for 20 years without anyone evicting us, we would own the land thanks to the doctrine of adverse posession. (Note to self: if housing prices keep going up, seriously consider this!)
After dinner, it was starting to drizzle, so my first thought was to find the nearest bike-friendly subway stop and head home that way. But I ended up missing Kendall, and was still going strong when I hit Central Square. Made it to Harvard, and from there it's not too far to Porter. Next thing I knew I had ridden all the way home! In the dark, in traffic, no less! (This is something that would have terrified me a few weeks ago.)
Hard to say for sure, but my guess is I rode at least 14-15 miles -- and I have the butt-bruises to prove it! (I think I may need to look at alternate saddles at some point.)
I'm really getting down with the whole bicycle transportation thing. Remains to be seen if I can keep it up when the weather gets hot, but for now it's definitely a good way to get around and get some serious exercise at the same time. (I've lost something like 5 pounds in the last week since I started riding regularly -- not surprising when, according to the computer, riding at 10-12 MPH with "light effort" burns something like 1,000 calories/hour!)
Now that I'm home, I've seriously got to work on the archives management paper I've been avoiding. Ugh.
Saturday, April 15, 2006
This, my friends, is how I've spent a major chunk of my holiday weekend Saturday. It could be worse -- LC classification makes Dewey look like a walk in the park! Luckily I've gotten most of the LC stuff done with my study group.
I also took the bike out again and rode up to Spy Pond where I watched the geese and read a chapter from"The Invisible Man" for my history class. From there, on to Arlington Center where I ate an orange croissant and did some more reading. After that I followed the path a while longer to roughly the border of Lexington. I felt like I was losing steam, so I turned around. At that point I realized that I'd been pedaling up a shallow grade -- which is probably why I was feeling sluggish. The return trip went a lot quicker. At Arlington Center I got off the bike path and rode back along Broadway, which was also a pretty easy ride despite the traffic. I don't know how far I actually went -- I've got to get a cycling computer for the bike so that I can keep track of these things. (The real question is am I brave enough to attempt the 6-mile ride into Boston to get to school.)
When I got back, I vegged on the deck for a with Ralph Ellison and a beer, then headed back to Dewey Land.
Tomorrow's Easter, but I don't really have any plans. I was originally considering going home, but I had too much schoolwork stacked up to give up the travel time. So it's probably going to pretty much be just another day, other than the fact that I may actually go to church for once.
Today I got up a bit early and biked to my internship in Charlestown. I think this was a longer trip than the Tuesday ride, and also involved far more hills and intense traffic. I made it on time, and made it back without major injury. Go me!
For my last 9 months or so in Nashville I'd gotten in the habit of going to the gym 3-4 times per week. Since it was at work I could get in at any hour, so it wasn't a problem to stop in even if I was heading home at midnight. And it was working -- I've shed close to 100 pounds in the last year.
Now I'm relying on the gym at school, which keeps "normal" hours. I'm often in work, classes, or study groups until late evening, so it's sometimes hard to make it to the gym. I've probably been averaging once a week since I started going again a month or two ago.
The fact that I'm walking a lot more than I used to certainly helps. On most days I walk about 30-40 minutes as part of my daily commute. But I'm hoping the bike will give me another way to keep up the routine.
Friday, April 14, 2006
Hoisting furniture over up to my balcony on an unseasonably warm day, January 2006.
Another move in photo. Note that I'm now showing my Tennessee pride. I bought the sweatshirt in Nashville years ago, but never wore it there for fear of being mistaken for a Vols fan! Honestly, officer, I have no idea where that sign came from!
Making good use of gravity to get the moving blankets back to the truck.
That's just how important I am up here. I even have my own port-a-john!
Hiking on the freezing cold beach, March 2006.
Later in the hike we discovered the mansion of some filthy rich turn-of-the-century industrialist.
On the chairlift at Jay Peak, March 2006.
My friend Marty doing his level best to burn down his newly-remodeled kitchen, April, 2006.
Thursday, April 13, 2006
(actually written a week or two ago, but I forgot to post it!)
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
In any case, the commute is interesting because there are a thousand new things to notice every day. Sometimes they're really obvious -- like the day I was bringing my mom back from the airport on the T and a couple was having a knock-down, drag-out, yelling and screaming argument at the other end of the nearly-empty subway car. Other times you catch more subtle things. Like the house on College Ave. where someone has laid out giant poetry words on the ground like refrigerator magnets.
Here's another one: The subway platform at Davis is made up of dingy red bricks. Etched into them is a faint message -- easy to miss if you're not looking for it:
At 7am watching the cars on the bridge
Everybody's going to work. Well.
Not me. I'm not
Going to work
When I stand amid the swarm of people milling around the platform and see this, it makes me smile.
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
The bad news is that I put it in the back of my pickup so that I'd have it handy when I needed to dig the truck out. Now the back of the truck is frozen shut and buried behind a 5-foot high snowpile.
If I had the shovel I could dig it out, but...
Got a day off from work on Sunday, which is a mixed blessing. The extra holiday was nice, but when I don't work I don't get paid! The workload and crazy schedule have been killing me, but we've reworked some of my hours and I think that will help. I'm hoping to do some catch up posting on this blog sometime soon, including photos of the move in and more details about what I've been up to since I arrived.
Sunday, January 29, 2006
this is also a reminder to me that life needs to be lived to the fullest. that each day is a gift - not to be taken for granted. and i am trying to remind myself that. never hang up mad. never leave without a hug. those are my cardinal rules. never regret. everything is an experience to be learned from - and this is what i'm taking....
man. i almost went up to a total stranger on the train the other day and told him he was cute.
My thoughts are with her, her family, and the others who have suddenly been asked to deal with the unthinkable.
Sorry for being so scarce. My life has changed radically almost overnight, and I'd like nothing better than to chronicle it all here. But I'm still waiting on Comcast for my Internet hookup. My main net access at home is coming through my cell phone, which isn't conducive to writing your life story.
I do now have an actual desk, phone, computer, etc. at my new job. But I haven't had much time to blog there.
So, anyway, there is much to say, and I'll try to catch you up once my apartment gets plugged back into the matrix.
I will say one thing now: I've seen more snow in the last week than I'd seen in years in Nashville.
Monday, January 23, 2006
I spent most of the day at work being shown around and filling out paperwork. Still don't know precisely what I will have to do in the job -- we're supposedly going to go over some of that tomorrow. I'm essentially an assistant to the acting IT director for the Library School. The actual job is probably whatever she needs done. It's a small office, but seems to be staffed with nice folks.
I also spent the day making phone calls trying to shut down Nashville utilities, start up Mass. utilities, etc. I've been parking illegally on the street for the lastt few days, and I was hoping to get a resident permit today. I called about this, and was told I would need a Mass. auto registration and driver's license to get the permit. So I called the DMV, and was told that I would need proof of Mass. insurance to get the registration. So I called the insurance company, and they said I would need a Mass. driver's license to get insurance. Urgh! (Actually, turns out I can call back with the license info later, so this isn't a total catch-22. But when it all shakes out, I'm probably going to have to risk parking tickets for another week while I wait on all the paperwork.)
Despite the fact that I have a longstanding beef with Comcast (about running my own server at home), I signed up for their Internet service after Verizon told me they were overloaded with DSL subscribers in my area and couldn't currently take anymore. I guess I could have looked into other options, but I was too lazy. Also signed up for cable television. That may be a luxury on my student income. But the Internet costs a lot more without it. I even added the basic digital package for $5.95/month because this means they'll waive the installation fee. I can then cancel it in a month or two if if turns out to be pointless. I'm not thrilled about sending close to $100/month to Comcast, but I'll survive.
Only problem is, it will be almost two weeks before they can install it. So I'm stuck without reliable Internet at home. (Occasionally I can pick up someone else's WiFi router at night, but it's spotty.) Currently camped out in the lounge at school, and I can also go to the coffee shop around the corner. But still not as good as having it at home.
The apartment is still a mess, but I'm slowly getting it more organized. My office is more or less put together (although the computer doesn't really work due to the lack of Internet), and the living room is getting there. The kitchen still looks like a bomb went off -- need to tackle that this week.
Sunday, January 22, 2006
Friday, January 20, 2006
Thursday, January 19, 2006
Monday, January 16, 2006
Friday, January 13, 2006
I spent the entire night staring at my computer screen watching nothing happen. What a way to ring in the milleneum.
"Help Me Unload A Moving Van" PartyHost: Yours Truly
Location: Casa Nueva de Me
When: Saturday, January 21, 9:00am
Featuring "Boxercize" -- the fitness craze that's sweeping the nation!
Ever been at a party and thought "Man, this is a drag. All these people are boring, and the guy in the corner is totally plastered and making an ass of himself. If only there were some heavy boxes here, I could at least be keeping fit by lifting them and carrying them up a flight of stairs."
Well, this is the party for you! Not only will there be no drunk guy in the corner, but the host is thoughtfully providing a Penske moving truck stuffed to the brim with physical fitness opportunities! Simply show up, grab an armload, and soon you too will see how you can boxercize your way to a new you!
But wait, there's more! For example, we could watch TV... after we unload it from the truck. We could could cook delicious food... after we unload the kitchen stuff from the truck. We could look at nifty art... after we unload it from the truck. And, of course, you'll appreciate all of these things more after having hauled them up a flight of stairs!
If you can't make it, that's fine, but I'll tell you now that this is a hot ticket around Metro Boston. We're even considering hiring a bouncer to keep out the riff raff. (However, if you have friends that want to come, we'll put them on the VIP list. But only because we like you.)
The boxercize madness will start sometime around 9AM, and will go until the first ER visit. Don't miss out on what Men's Health magazine called "The U-Haul Miracle!" Respond today!
Wednesday, January 11, 2006
Well ladies and gentlemen; it's that time of the year again. The time of the year where the grass grows faster than Vin Diesel's career. If your household works like mine then you will be the one who has to cut the lawn, while dad sits inside the nice air conditioned house watching sports highlights.
Over the last weekend, I was preparing to meet my friend Lyle at the local Cineplex to see the latest installment of what I can tell as the next big action franchise "XXX". This one features a great action star named Ice Cube (he was SWEET in Torque). Anywho, as I was getting ready, dad interrupted me and commanded that I cut the grass before I leave. I still had about an hour and half before the movie started so I was okay with it.
We have a decent size lot, so it takes a while to cut the lawn, plus my dad is pretty anal about how the lawn looks. He makes you cut the grass in a criss-cross pattern something like a golf course. Everything was going good, I was making good time. Then, it happened. While I was cutting next to the house I ran over the droppings of my dog Morris and due to the side discharge on the lawn mower, no joke, dog poop was flung all over the front of the house.
Dad came out and started yelling at me because a piece of Morris's offerings splattered on the window next to him. He made me clean-up the mess and after I finished cutting the grass. None-the-less I ended up missing the movie and had to reschedule for the next day.
In conclusion, The Black & Decker Lawn Hog (I love the name, Lawn Hog, it's so tough) has the capabilities to cut grass like any top of the line lawnmower, plus has the added feature of flinging poo like a primate. I have big plans for this thing when he leaves for work. I can mow trashbags on trash-day, flower-beds, pretty much anything. I'm also seriously considering going up to the baseball field at the school, so I can run the bases with the lawnmower to throw all of the gravel into the outfield. The possibilities of this thing are endless. I can do anything I want to with it, to anything. If dad is going to act like a slave-driver, then he can be responsible for whatever I do. It's his Lawn-Hog anyways. Later.
Friday, January 06, 2006
- Free rent department: I'm on a quixotic quest to convince my landlords that they shouldn't charge me rent in January. (Would sure be helpful financially, since I've already paid January rent in Boston, and am paying an equivalent amount to rent a truck next week.) So far I've offered up my washer, dryer, and bunch of phone and home networking improvements to them as incentives. Don't know if they're biting.
This morning they said they definitely don't want the appliances because these would then have to be maintained for the next tenant. But they might be willing to make allowances if I leave the complete home network. Some of it is probably going to stay anyway simply because it's impractical to tear out several hundred feet of under-floor Category-5 cable. But if they don't cut me a deal I'm certainly taking the router, modem, etc. So this morning I wrote a big manifesto (with photos) describing what I'd done and laying out how the stuff I installed would sell for almost $500 on the open market. We'll see what happens.
- Cat yakk department: Scheduled a pickup for my dining room rug to go to the cleaners. This is my cat's favorite place to deposit hairballs, dead mice, and other feline detritus. So it definitely needs help. Plus, if the cleaners bundle it up all pretty when they're done, it will be easier to move.
- New job department: I've been pretty ambivalent about the fellowship I applied for in Boston. The good news was that it would hugely reduce my tuition and give me a (tiny) bit of actual income. The bad news was it has lousy hours and involves doing still more of the techie stuff I'm trying to escape by going back to school. However, a lot of my ambivalence evaporated when I got a $10,000 tuition bill over the holidays. Clearly I'm on a fast track to the bread line if I don't come up with some sort of get-solvent-quick scheme. So when the school called back today and offered me the job, I didn't hesitate too long before saying yes. Unfortunately, they want me to start two days after I arrive in Boston. So much for a leisurely transition.
- Brain dump department: Over the holidays I set up MediaWiki and started creating an encyclopedia of everything I know at my current job. This has turned into a grueling task because a) despite appearances, I actually seem to know quite a lot, and b) there is nothing more tedious than trying to write about boring stuff you already know. That said, I'm pushing on in hopes of cutting down on the frantic phone calls from Nashville after I'm gone. I spent a big chunk of today camped out at my favorite WiFi-equipped neighborhood coffee shop tapping away on this. The only good part is that I've gotten more familiar with how MediaWiki works, which should come in handy in the future.
- Furniture department: I have a dresser that my grandmother gave me when I moved to Nashville. It was pretty banged up when I got it, but is a solid piece of vintage furniture. About five years ago, I talked to a neighborhood furniture maker about fixing it up. Last month I finally got around to handing it over.
He brought it back to my house earlier today. My wallet is now $125 lighter, but he transformed a dull hand-me-down into a pretty slick looking home furnishing. A good investment, I think. Add it to the shelf I finished repainting a few weeks ago and the clean rug, and I may not recognize my new place.
- Magical furniture department: Needed a stress reliever after driving to Green Hills to pick up my glasses only to find out that LensCrafters had screwed up the order. So I stopped at Wild Oats to grab dinner and then popped over to the movie theater to see the Narnia flick. I'm not normally a fan of fantasy movies, but I thought it was phenomenally good. Made me want to go back and reread the books, which I last looked at sometime in grade school.
- Evil empires from Redmond department: Now at work, where I popped in just after midnight to try to get some things ready for tomorrow. Thought I'd be here for maybe an hour and then perhaps go to the gym. It's been more than two hours now and I'm still digging around in e-mail looking for stuff. Outlook is a piece of crap when it comes to finding things you wrote six months ago. Microsoft could sure learn something from Gmail.
Apropos of nothing department: After seeing an exhibit at the airport the other day, I've decided that I really want to get one of these Anderson Thomas Nashville posters for my Boston apartment. Still waffling... Maybe this one, this one, or this one. I also really like this one, but I think I'd feel weird having it on my wall because I've never actually been to the Bluebird. Maybe I'll have to fit that in before I leave.
Tuesday, January 03, 2006
- When I got home last night, my first tuition bill from Simmons was waiting. Suffice it to say, I am in severe sticker shock. I knew it would be bad, but somehow it hadn't percolated that it would be this bad. I'm suddenly more interested in that fellowship that would pay a big chunk of the tuition. Otherwise, I need to start applying for student loans real soon now.
Part of the damage comes from getting slammed for Massachusetts-mandated health insurance. I think I need to investigate whether it would be cheaper to hang on to my current insurance under COBRA until this summer. Hmm.
- My Linux box (which was becoming my primary desktop computer) seems to have died a horrible death. It started out with much unexplained sluggishness. It then became clear that there was a problem with one of the drives in the RAID. When I rebooted the first time, the system attempted to reconstruct things and then froze. Now it can't even find a bootable partition. Argh. I don't have time for this right now.
- We had a grand plan where my brothers were coming down to help me move. Only problem is that they had booked their flights on the soon-to-be-defunct Independence Air. So my brother is now trying to book replacement tickets on Southwest (the cheap ones have already been snapped up), and we're trying to rearrange the plan to fit the new airline arrangements. (For any volunteers who may be reading this, the plan is still to load in Nashville on Sunday the 15th and unload in Somerville on Saturday the 21st.)
- Speaking of all that, I'm realizing how much I have to get done in the next two weeks, which is when I'm supposedly leaving Nashville. I started making a list on a sticky pad last night, and then decided it was going to take too many pages. Seemed like I had tons of time before Christmas. Now it seems like there's no way I'm going to get it all done.
Have to go walk to work now, because my car is still being held hostage at the body shop. The door was starting to fall off, which should have been covered under the CarMax warranty. But the CarMax people said they couldn't do it and to take it to a body shop. Then the body shop people said they couldn't deal with the CarMax warranty people. Much telephone hillarity ensued last week. Supposedly it's all worked out now, but I guess I'll find out later today.