Thursday, February 26, 2009


Bostonians, I humbly present you with a scenario.

You find a (mercifully) empty two-person seat and proceed to take the spot next to the window because you're not the kind of jerk who sits on the aisle seat trying to keep people from sitting next to you. Very considerate of you, certainly. But then at the next stop, or maybe even the same one you got on at, a crowd of people come barreling down the aisle of the car. No problem, you didn't expect to have a two-seater all to yourself during morning rush hour, right? But then this big business(wo)man comes strutting down the aisle in a huge coat juggling a briefcase, the entire New York Times, and a Blackberry. Oh no, you think. I'm going to get squished up against the window by this very large person carrying many, many things. And of course, they sit next to you, and you are indeed squished against the window due to simple mass displacement. Then the person immediately tries to spread out all their shit so they can read the paper, write notes, and tap away on their Blackberry at the same time. Completely forgetting that there's another human being sitting next to them who, you know, maybe wants to read her book but can't without pressing her arms to her sides and holding the book straight up in front of her face, forced to turn pages with her nose.

Bostonians, does this happen to you every time you're on the T? Because it sure as hell happens to me. Every. Damn. Time.

And so I say to you, Governor Patrick, that you better use the money you raise from your new 19-cent gas tax raise (not to mention some of the $2 billion MA is getting from the Federal government) to FIX THE FRICKIN' T! Pay off the $30 million in debt that you saddled them with from the Big Dig, and then use the rest of the money to:

- Replace all the trains on the Green Line that are now over 20 years old (which is all of them)
- Buy additional trains for the Green, Red, and Orange lines so there's not such a shortage during rush hours
- Hire additional operators and traffic coordination personnel
- Expand service to 24 hours a day
- Purchase some tracking hardware/software that will accurately tell you where your buses and trains are so you know if you should adjust the schedules

Maybe then, with all these improvements, the T will actually run on time, trains wouldn't have to go Express so erratically, and everything will stop breaking down everytime the temperature drops 5 degrees. Thank you, Mr. Governor.

And considering all the money that's floating around the federal government these days, maybe they can save a portion of it to hire people who are, you know, competent as Homeland Security officers.

I submit the following video as evidence in support of my argument:

Homeland Security Thwarts Foreign Sandwich Threat

Watch it. You won't be disappointed. Or...maybe you will?


I'm now 24 years old, which feels like an odd thing to say. I think, once you hit 21, every subsequent birthday just sounds stranger. I mean, I'm getting older, but it's no longer a big deal because I'm an "adult." And it's just the expected thing for adults to get older without any accompanying fanfare. Man. Sometimes I miss being a kid. (But not most of the time).

And thanks to everyone who left a note on my Wall on Facebook on my birthday! I'm far too lazy to respond individually, so I'll just stick with a shout out on my blog that no one reads. ;o)

I'm learning a new routine in hip hop! We finished the routine for "Krazy" by Pitbull, which is great because I don't think my right hand could have tolerated any further bruising from rolling over it on the floor. It's an awesome dance, though, and I will happily perform it for anyone who asks. But I need a hardwood floor to dance on, because the moves don't work on carpet. The new dance is for the song "You" by Q-Tip, which has an entirely different vibe from "Krazy." The moves are more complicated, but the song is slower so it's not too big a deal. I really like it so far!

This weekend will (hopefully) provide me time to catch up on Lost, the episodes of which I've fallen woefully behind on. But now I'm only 3 episodes behind, counting last night's, so things are slightly better. Nobody spoil it for me!

Indian Killer by Sherman Alexie
Infernal Devices by Philip Reeve

The Big Bang Theory - Season One

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

What Goes Around

For those who care, I've posted three new movie reviews on my other blog. Read if you're bored.


This entry will be a mishmash of random thoughts I've been having lately as well as a quick update on my activities. I can just feel you shivering in excitement.

I present to you the only ad I've ever seen that makes me clench my fists in anger when I come across it:

"Oh," you say. "What's so upsetting about a hot pseudo-Asian chick in a tank top?" Well, I'll tell you, reader. (Breaks out "This is what a feminist looks like" t-shirt). It's sexist and offensive. Before this ad pulled a blitzkreig on the T a few weeks ago, I was very fond of the Healthworks ads. Before, they used to feature women in awesome strong and beautiful poses: a shot of calf muscles on stairs, a pregnant woman doing pilates, a shot of a woman's back while she lifts a dumbell. They all said, essentially, "We can be strong while remaining true to our feminity."

Badass, right?

Then Healthworks plasters this ad over all the other ones, and my blood pressure skyrockets. We went from ads featuring beautiful strong women to an ad featuring a skinny, vaguely "exotic" girl in a blatant "come hither" pose with pictures of her shaking her ass like Shakira in the background.

WTF, Healthworks? Are you trying to sell your pricey women-only memberships by having men point to these posters and tell their wives and girlfriends "That's what you should look like"? Seriously! Unlike the previous ads, this one is meant to catch the attention of men. I see this in the subway and think "What, is she trying to get me to buy her a drink?" instead of "Wow, she looks like she's working out just for her and nobody else," like I used to. Now, instead of me believing that Healthworks is a gym for women by women, it makes me think they're like a women's magazine: run by men to exploit women.

Thankfully, other ads with less ridiculous conceits have finally started showing up. None of them are as great as the old ones used to be, but at least now I don't have to put up with a constant barrage of Ms. Sexy Pose every time I use the T.


Okay, so those were clearly the thoughts I promised. As for activities, the biggest one is that I visited Kenyon this past weekend. Like last time, it's strange going back to your alma mater when you still have friends as students there. They miss you, but they've definitely moved on without you and have made the campus their own. It's a little heartachy, to be honest.

Mostly, Kenyon's still the same. There are some fancy new buildings, some of the old ones are gone (most notably the Kenyon Review house), and the bookstore now sells ice cream by the scoop in addition to Kenyon gear for babies. Pierce is open again, while Gund is closed forever, so everyone must eat South now. The new Upper Demsey hall in Pierce is beautiful and reminds me of Brandi Hall in Rosse, with all it's birchwood paneling and light. Except there are no acoustic considerations built in, of course. However, it still feels like Kenyon, which I think is the most important thing.

There was no heat in the Hill Theater all weekend, so throughout the two dress rehearsals I watched on Sunday the actors were shivering in their costumes. However, I was glad to even get to see the dress rehearsals, since both shows (Frozen by Bryony Lavery and Oleanna by David Mamet) are going up this weekend and I (obviously) won't be there. It was wonderful getting the chance to stay up until 1 or 2am with folks, chatting about life and theater and the pursuit of happiness. I can't believe I used to stay up that late every night and not die the next day.

Calista was the perfect hostess, and her futon was mighty comfy. Talking with her made me miss Friday Cafe lunches, Opera Workshop, and nights out with the girls. Senior year as Drama major is still the same, with exhausting theses, upper-level class projects, frantic studying of History of Western notes, and freak outs about Comps in the spring.

Don't worry, my ducklings, you'll all be just fine come May. :o)

More than anything in college, I miss the sense of purpose. Up until I graduated, everything I did was a build up to something bigger, something in the future. But college was the culmination of all my hard work, and now I find myself in the Real World where no one cares if I achieve nothing greater in life than the title of Administrative Assistant IV at Children's Hospital Boston. Everything you achieve and pursue and accept is out of your own determination and drive--there is no advisor pushing you to do more with yourself. And that's what ultimately terrifies me about Life: that I'll accept monotonous complacency because it's easy and familiar, and trying to change anything takes an active, constant effort.

We used to joke about it during rehearsals, but now I'm serious as a heart attack--I want a Life PSM, plz. Someone to keep me on track. Do you think Kenyon would approve such an academic track for the Drama department? After all, they'll need credentials and lots of training.

On an end note, it's my birthday on Saturday. One year closer to being able to rent a car without any extra underage charges!

The Myst Reader by Rand Miller
The Domino Men by Jonathan Barnes

No Country for Old Men
Step Up

Monday, February 9, 2009

Not Coming Home

I've decided that, for my own amusement (and possibly enlightenment), I am going to list some of the things I both love and hate about Boston.

- You don't have to own a car to live here thanks to the T
- Lots and lots of theater, and many chances to see it for free or discounted
- Sports are a big deal, even (especially) at the college level, which makes for a fun excursion
- Many opportunities for higher education in the area. I think Greater Boston has at least, what, 20 colleges within its circumference?
- Higher salaries for every job
- The Charles River. It may not be the cleanest river in the US, but it's beautiful in summer and winter. There's nothing quite like taking a weekend day to just wander aimlessly around the riverbank, stopping when you want and buying food from cart vendors.
- There are a plethora of public libraries, and two public library systems to choose from. I rarely buy books or DVD's these days since I can just borrow them, which has saved me tons of money.
- Sometimes, when the weather isn't miserable and I'm not in a hurry, walking around downtown Boston is kind of awe-inspiring.
- Related, all the twinkling skyscrapers make for what I think is one of the most beautiful skylines I've ever seen.
- People will readily offer you directions or transportation advice if you ask, no matter where you are. And they almost always know how to get you to where you want to go.
- The city is very well designed for pedestrians, and Cambridge in particular is a haven for bikers. Come summer, I plan on buying a good road bike and getting to work that way.
- There is a free, good daily newspaper: The Metro. I love it, and have had three of my letters to the editor published in it.
- The Common and the Public Garden. Beautiful when covered in snow, wonderful on a sunny day in spring or summer. One of my favorite parts about going downtown.
- Lots of opportunities for just about anything you're interested in.
- Every kind of cuisine you could possibly want can be found in a restaurant here.
- Endless activities and clubs and social organizations to choose from. Unless you're lazy.
- It's extremely easy to visit and to get to other places from. Logan Airport is a major airport without being insanely expensive. Discount airlines like AirTran go just about everywhere from here. Then there's Greyhound, Bolt Bus, and MegaBus. And Amtrak, or Acela, or the Noreaster train to Maine.

- The T majorly sucks, due at least a little to the fact that they are over $30 million in debt. However, that's no excuse for why I sometimes wait 45 minutes to an hour for a train I can squeeze onto to go home after work. Or for train cars that over 20 years old that break down at the slightest drop in temperature. Or for buses that are never, never on time.
- Boston is one of the most expensive cities in America. Second only to NYC, according to a survey done by people who do those kinds of surveys. I pay $675 a month for rent with all amenities included (which in and of itself is nothing short of a phenomenon in Boston), but my apartment in total is about equal to the square footage of 1 1/2 of my bedrooms back home. And it's far away from a lot of conveniences (like groceries). And there's only one tiny window, since it's in the basement.
- Having a BA here means a lot less than it would in, say, Cincinnati or Austin. Since there are so many colleges/universities, there are huge numbers of fresh grads every year looking to snap up all the good jobs there are. And if you want something above entry-level, you are expected to have at least a Master's.
- Higher salaries = higher living expenses. So you get to keep a lot less of your paycheck than you would elsewhere.
- Trash everywhere. It's sort of inevitable in a city, and it's nowhere near as filthy as NYC, but Boston has some serious issues with litter.
- Windier than anyplace else I've ever been. It doesn't generally get as cold here as it does in OH, but the wind. Oh my God, the wind. It makes me want to shrivel up and die in winter.
- The homeless people. I know it can be construed as an awful thing to say, but I've reached a point where I only feel pity for some of them and, for most of them, all I feel is annoyance and anger. It's one thing to sit on bench jingling an empty Wendy's cup for change (that, I will respond to positively), but it's quite another to shove yourself into my space and demand money, or expect me to give you money for opening a door that I didn't want you to open for me, or ask me to buy you fast food as I exit a McDonald's. And they are everywhere you go, until you get out into the suburbs.
- If you dont' like sports, you're an outcast. (Luckily I like sports).
- So. Noisy. Where I live it's quiet, but that's because I'm in the suburbs. When I was living in Allston, or when I'm at work, there's a constant barrage of noise from outside: fire trucks, ambulance sirens, cop cars, train whistles, train horns, bus rumblings, constant honking. For someone like me who doesn't do well with loud, sudden noises, Boston has caused an uptick in my blood pressure.
- People do not mind their business. If you're having a conversation and someone overhears you and disagrees with what you say, they will butt in completely uninvited and make it known. This applies to everything from the Red Sox to politics to the best way to get somewhere. I find it extremely impolite.
- Common courtesy is nonexistent in public places. People will scream into their cell phones while sitting right next to you, they will crowd the doorways on subway trains so no one else can get on, they will stand on the left side of the escalator as you try to walk up it, they don't give up their seats to pregant women or the elderly, and they will block a bus exit with their huge baby carriages and not see the problem.
- I-90, the major thoroughfare, is a toll highway. And it's only going to get more expensive.
- In general, owning a car in Boston can be just as expensive as renting an apartment. A shortage of parking and a plethora of aggressive drivers make sure of that.

It may look like there are more negatives than positives, but there aren't. The negatives are just more narrative and longer in nature.

Thanks for letting me get this out of my system. I've slowly been reconciling myself to Boston, even though in many respects it's the polar opposite of the kind of place I thought I'd end up.

If you live here, feel free to leave your own gripes or praises in the comments. I'm curious! ;o)

Monday, February 2, 2009


Hurray, it's February! This month brings much joy for the following reasons: my birthday (the 21st) and subsequent presents, Dena's birthday (the 4th), my trip to Kenyon (13th-16th), the day after Valentine's Day (candy on sale!), a federally mandated holiday (President's Day), and it's the shortest month (which means that spring will seem closer that much sooner).

See? February is the best month there is. Obviously.

For me and many others, these past couple weeks have seen a phenomenon return to its unrivaled dominance of our lives: LOST. It's back, baby! And more confusing than ever! At this point I've pretty much given up trying to figure out what's going on. Instead, I'm just enjoying the ride and the plethora of "WTF?!" moments this show brings me every Wednesday night at 9pm EST. I've also come to realize that I'm in love with over half the characters, men and women. There are so many awesome ones to choose from! But you can keep Jack, Kate, and Charlotte to yourselves. I couldn't care less about that trio of duds.

I've seen Dylan twice in the past two weeks, and I'm absolutely amazed at how quickly the little guy is changing and growing. He can now speak (kind of), run, jump, make funny faces, dance, understand English, sing the alphabet, and name things around the apartment. He's 1 1/2. It's insane! I love seeing the new things he surprises me with every time I go over there. He's an actual (tiny) human being now with a full-blown personality, instead of just a cute human-shaped blob that makes noise and poops. Although he still does that, too.

This past Saturday I went ice skating for the first time since Yuval and I had our first date. We went with some folks from our kickball team (another reason I'm looking forward to Spring) and had a blast. I tried skating with rented "hockey" skates (they're really called "recreational" skates because they're not as nice as hockey skates), and that made a huge difference in my ability to stay upright. Plus, they didn't hurt my ankles at all since they have more padding than figure skates. After the first shaky 10 minutes, I was skating around the rink all by myself at a moderate speed! And the only time I feel was when Yuval made too quick of a turn while holding my hands and I slid onto the ice in slow motion. No harm done! I really enjoy skating--I just wish I lived closer to somewhere I could skate more often!

Hip Hop class is tons of fun. My knee was bruised completely black by the end of the second class, but I got kneepads for today so I should be fine. It's a great workout and Henry, our instructor, is really funny. Chinese II is also going well, mostly because there's a lot more emphasis on conversation in this class than there was in the last one I took. I was 30 minutes late to class last week thanks to a snafu in my grocery delivery time, but I still got a solid 1 hour in. It's dorky, I know, but I've always loved learning languages.

This Thursday I will be meeting with the Dean of the Children's Literature program at Simmons College. I emailed her asking, essentially, if an MA in Children's Lit would help me secure a position at a Children's/YA publishing house. She told me there's no short answer to this question, so I should come in and speak to her. So, I'll be using my lunch hour to meet with her. I'm looking forward to it, but also a bit scared. What if she says no, this is not the way to go for publishing? I want to enroll in this program so badly, but I'm having trouble finding "real world" applications for the degree. Sadface. :o(

Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston
Maus by Art Spiegelman

The Darjeeling Limited
Planet Earth: The Complete Series