Soundbites / i-cafe connection

Speaking of i-cafe in Teele Square, I just saw this little tidbit on Chowhound:

got to talking to the owner, ali, who, it turns out to be the original owner of soundbites. he sold out to the breakfast nazi 9 or 10 years ago. made me a banana crepe on the house — nice touch.

I haven’t been to Soundbites since the time the breakfast nazi threw our check at us and told us to leave, the very second that our friend John picked up his last forkful of omelette. And yet, John keeps going back every time he’s in town. It must be the crack in the hash browns.

This Sign Has Been Hacked

This sign has been hackedStuff like this is why I love working in the MIT neighborhood. On my walk to the T from work, I saw this sign on Vassar Street in front of the Stata Center. It was cycling between a message that the Mass Ave bridge will be closed from 6 am – 3 pm on Sunday, and that the sign had been hacked. Granted, it could have been more clever, especially considering that it’s going to be closed because a new Kevin Spacey movie is shooting there. Still, plain old technical chops and the chutzpah to pull it off go a long way sometimes.

I also shot a little movie, which is up on YouTube.

i-cafe in Teele Square

For as much as I griped about the demise of the Someday a few months back, I feel like a heel for not going to the i-cafe in Teele Square before now. It’s so great, and it’s right around the corner from The Curtisian.

It’s crazy— I keep hearing pretty good things about it, but haven’t gotten past the fact that it looks like it’s just a doorway to a basement. And, basically, it is, but stepping into the basement is like being teleported from Teele Square to Morocco (the owners are an unbelieveably nice Moroccan couple). It’s actually a surprisingly roomy space, all decked out in carpets and Moroccan lamps and cushions, with a space up front for live music and apparently movies. It’s very uncrowded, which would be a good thing, but I’m advertising it here, because I fear its disappearance more than I fear its becoming overcrowded at this point.

Terri and I talked with the woman who is co-owner on the way out. Apparently, they are going to have a hearing coming up where they can extend their hours until 2am and have live music; a petition is going to be in The Somerville News soon. She mentioned that the location used to house a bar called The Jumbo (sounds Tuftian), which I don’t know anything about.

Until the Someday kids get things going at Sacco’s in Davis Square (which is very much in the works), it’s worth checking out. Actually, for those of us who live nearer Teele Square, it’s probably more interesting than Someday @ Sacco’s.

Linkery, 13 April 2007

Happy Friday the 13th.

  • (Mr. Mountain Goat) John Darnielle’s blog‘s RSS feed suddenly sprang into life, and I see that I have missed pretty much everything he’s posted since I subscribed. Anyway, I think unfortunately this means I might have to give CocoRosie another shot.
  • Andrew Bird was on Letterman. (check out Dosh in a tie!)
  • Oh, yeah, and I keep forgetting to mention that the new album is great. It has not usurped Weather Systems as my favorite. Yet.
  • Bear, our friend’s cat, keeps trying to lure me into enhancing my MySpace presence with comments like these.
  • The only intelligent coverage I’ve heard of the whole Imus thing yet was on NPR this morning with Steve Inskeep and Juan Williams talking about the invisible line that Imus crossed and some of the hypocrisy therein. They even ask the question I’ve wondered, which is what’s so bad about what he said compared to all of the other offensive and supposedly funny things he’s said over the years, and why do the advertisers care now?
  • And when is NPR going to stop pretending that they’re not commercial radio? That link starts off with a 5-second *commercial*. They’ve definitely crossed an invisible line from “underwriting” to “advertising”. Maybe they should just officially change their name to the abbreviation “NPR” and never mention that it’s supposed to stand for “Public Radio”. Or, my vote would be to just change it to “The Nipper”. Personally, I decided to stop giving them a dime the day I heard what Christopher Lydon’s salary was, until the day I make more than he does. Until then, I need my money more than they do.

That is all.

Book Report: Black Swan Green

You know, the virtues of David Mitchell’s most recent novel are almost unreviewable, and it’s because of the reviews that I put off reading it for almost a year. The Globe reviewin particular put me off (“Jason Taylor, 13, is a Holden Caulfield for the Margaret Thatcher era.” GAG). I just didn’t see why I had to spend more of the finite minutes of my life reading another coming of age story about a sensitive, artistic small-town youth, despite how utterly taken I was with both Cloud Atlas and Ghostwritten. (Have yet to read Number Nine Dream).

It’s too bad, because it really does avoid almost all of the perils of cliché that the premise holds. But again, it’s almost impossible to talk about it without it sounding like it’s the most awful, clichéd crap. I think the best I can do is to say that it really reads like Mitchell wrote it without ever having absorbed anything else in the genre. Yet it feels somewhat wrong to assume that it’s all autobiographical drawn-from-life stuff, either.

All I can surmise is that much of the material has been sitting in Mitchell’s files for years, and with a few heavily praised and unquestionably non-autobiographical novels with plenty of pomo pyrotechnics under his belt, he felt safe enough to publish this without fear of being pigeonholed as an autobiographical writer of coming of age stories.

And if you’ve been put off by Mitchell’s pomo pyrotechnics in the past (I’m talking to you, Terri Wise), I’ll vouch that there is almost none of that here. Though, for those of you who enjoy that kind of thing, the rather stunning appearance of one of the characters from Cloud Atlas alone is worth the price of admission.

Circle of life, Mass Ave store pet edition

Dixie, rest in peaceOne of the things that made University Wine Shop a nice local wine shop in the area around Harvard Law School, near Terri’s old neighborhood, was the store cat. She’d walk around the store or sleep in her cat bed on the windowsill, mostly indifferent to the commercial proceedings or passers by on Mass Ave. Even though Terri hasn’t lived there for almost 10 years now, when we’re in the neighborhood, e.g. to go to Cambridge Common, we walk by the shop, we’d pop in to see her. Well, we saw this sad sign while we were walking by yesterday afternoon. R.I.P., Dixie.

Pup in window of HistoryHowever, we continued down the street and stopped into History, a new vintage shop a little bit down Mass Ave. Aside from having clever little price tags (each had a typed story fragment with period details to indicate the decade of the article of clothing), a store dog was sunning himself in the front window.