Friday, July 27, 2007


I found this little critter on the hood of my car when I was leaving work yesterday. Despite my driving at relatively fast speeds on both Memorial Drive and the Jamaica Way, he was still on my car when I arrived at the restaurant for dinner last night. Except by that point, he had crawled up to the roof.

I think that he would have had a better time of hiding from predators if he had been in a tree. At the same time, I felt like I was part of a nature special with creepy crawlies!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

When the tidyness has left... all I have is chaos

I am drowning in paper. Literally. My desk is covered with file folders, Post-It notes and random scraps of e-mails, purchase orders and even a set of airline tickets.

I have a real problem with clutter and mess so dealing with this has not been easy. I like it when I can put things away in their proper place. Thing is, none of this stuff has a proper place. Yet.

This all happened this week when I transfered all of my neat and orderly file folders to my new co-worker's desk and transfered everything from (former) Co-Worker Nina's desk to mine (as I am taking over her old responsibilities.) Except I didn't really prepare my desk for all the new stuff. I certainly did not have a system in place to handle all of this extra paperwork.

And so I am drowning. But I got a good start on things today, and I think by the end of the week, I will be back in my orderly, structured comfort zone. Thank goodness.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Who Was Your Harry Potter?

(The New York Times has a review of the new Harry Potter book; Ms. Rowling is not happy, despite the fact it is a good review.)

ANYHOW, there is a blog poll up asking NY Times readers if they experienced anything like the Harry Potter phenomenon when they were kids, and the answers coming back from Times readers are awesome. I want to meet some of these people based on their answers.

So here is the same question posed to my blog readers: What were your favorite books when you were a kid?

Mine include: Little House on the Prairie series, the Bobbsey Twins, The Westing Game!!!, Chronicles of Narnia, Harriet the Spy/The Long Secret/Sport, the Shoes books by Noel Streatfield, (I think the only one I didn't have was Skating Shoes), the Betsy books by Carolyn Haywood, the Misty (pony/horse) books by Marguerite Henry and the Beezus and Ramona books by Beverly Cleary! As I got older, I loved the Anne of Green Gables books, the Time books by Madeleine L'Engle and Nancy Drew Mysteries!!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Finding the Right Balance

This week, it has been virtually impossible to escape the blitz of information about Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows on the internet. And it has also been impossible to escape people posting their feelings about the blitz of information about Harry Potter.

The patterns that seem to be unfolding are: 1. people are afraid of being spoiled, 2. people are bouncing out of their skin, or 3. people are utterly annoyed at the people who are afraid of being spoiled and/or bouncing out of their skin.

And then you have the people who are deliberately going around revealing plot points, who really should have their own personal circle of hell reserved for them. That is just deliberately cruel or incredibly thoughtless. (Why don't they go and tell a room of kindergarteners that there is no such thing as Santa Claus while they are at it?)

The whole thing makes me really sad, truth be told.

It is a book. It is supposed to be fun. It is supposed to be a wonderful escape from a world where there is war, poverty, hunger, disease, climate change, prejudice, ignorance and inequality. It is a couple hundred pages of a journey through a world where the good guys and the bad guys are clearly defined, where magic is alive and well and not just relegated to the imaginations of our childhoods. My own enthusiasm for the Harry Potter series doesn't just come from the books, which are certainly great stories, but it is the connection with the little girl in me who delighted in the Chronicles of Narnia and A Wrinkle in Time and who would creep quietly down the stairs early Saturday mornings to watch cartoons and who would fly into the bathroom so that I would be washed and pajamaed in time to watch "The Muppets" on Saturday night.

I personally think that it is wonderful to have adults taking childlike delight in something as simple as a book. But it also disheartens me to read the conflict that has been created over something as simple as a book.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

RIP: Mr. Butch, the Mayor of Allston

I just read the news that Mr. Butch, the former "King of Kenmore Square" and current "Mayor of Allston" was killed today when he rode his Vespa into a pole.

Okay, so he isn't the real Mayor of Allston, but one of the homeless people who have become fixtures in Allston. And I suppose the good thing is that he didn't injure anyone else with the Vespa.

I have watched this man play his guitar on street corners for years (not to mention sleep and urinate in my parking lot.) But he was totally harmless guy, and really a character and a true fixture of Allston. For me, Mr. Butch is a symbol of my time in Allston as a member of the ska scene, going out at night, listening to live music, drinking lots of beers...being YOUNG. This man was AGELESS; he could have been anywhere from 40-70. He always seemed to be having a good time. And now he is gone.

For some reason, I feel really bad about this. It is like an era has just passed. The place will not be the same without him. I am just glad that he made it to Bostonist. He deserved the recognition as being a symbol of the neighborhood, what ever that really means.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water

The film Jaws has been shown on TV an awful lot this summer. In fact, they ran all four Jaws films sequentially on Memorial Day on Encore. Last night, the first Jaws was shown on Turner Classic Movies, and it is just one of those things that I HAVE to watch every time it is on tv.

There is something about that film that doesn't get old. First off, it was filmed on the Vineyard, which always makes me think of (Former) Co-Worker Nina, who I miss A LOT. But despite the fact that the clothing, hairstyles and cars are pretty dated, the experience of the characters in the film never really ages.

Nothing really changes on a touristy island like Amity in the summer. My own experiences on Nantucket are very much like the day to day in the lives of Sheriff Brody and his family (including our own experience of seeing a shark fin in the distance and not going ANYWHERE near the water that day.)

And the shark never stops being scary. No matter how much you know about the "making of" the film, knowing the shark was a robot named Bruce and that he sank the first time they put him in the water... when that shark surfaces as the sheriff is throwing the chum in the water, that is still incredibly scary. "You're going to need a bigger boat" indeed!

I think a big part of the charm of Jaws is the score by John Williams. There is something unsettling about it. (There is something about horror films with simple scores that just makes them the strings in Psycho.) Case in point: I went with JR and RH to see Maestro Williams conduct the Pops back in May and one of the things they did was a tribute to the Spielberg/Williams films, complete with film montage. The first bit they played was Jaws, and when they begin to play that "dun-dun-dun" shark theme, an awkward and uncomfortable chuckle went through the crowd which morphed into a quiet murmur of "this music scares me, are they going to play Star Wars soon?" Compare that to when Star Wars started and the whole place erupted into a cheer.

There is something nice about a "horror" film that has the ability to last, that is still able to scare and thrill its audience thirty years later. Even the most jaded horror film buff probably thinks twice before blindly running into the ocean at sundown for a little skinny dipping.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

O, Beautiful for...

I had a dream last night that I was driving down the Mass Pike when all of a sudden it was taken over (the whole highway) by terrorists from a drug cartel and I was pulled from my car and shot. My friend EP assures me that was a nightmare, not a dream.

In any case, I think that it was a premonition of the traffic nightmare that I was to experience this morning. It would be nice, oh construction workers on Commonwealth Avenue, if you had warned the general public that there was no access to the BU bridge from Comm Ave eastbound today. My colleague Honkycat and I commiserated over our disastrous drives in this morning over a cup of Pete's. Needed the strong stuff to get the day going after terrorists and traffic.

I am not terribly excited about the Fourth of July this year. At one point yesterday, I actually wished that the US was still part of the UK. I am so proud to be an American and appreciate the opportunities that my family received by coming here from Ireland and from Eastern Europe. And I am proud to be a Bostonian, part of a strong tradition of independence. But this whole Scooter Libby sentence thing has me disheartened (heck, even Paris Hilton served her time) as does the war in Iraq. Even Michael Moore's new film, Sicko, is depressing me. And all the crime in Boston of late doesn't make me feel any better. Just yesterday, I saw someone being arrested in the parking lot at Whole Foods!

Where is the America of yesteryear? The one with tickertape parades and local heroes and the hometown team winning the state championship and neighbors being neighborly and kids selling lemonade on the sidewalk? Did that ever really exist or was that just part of the Eisenhower propaganda?

Of course, I am sure that once I see the fireworks and hear the music of the Boston Pops tomorrow, my spirits will lift, and I will believe again, even if it is just for an evening. And I won't even mind because that feeling is so worth it.


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