Category Archives: local

More snow on the way

The pictures below are from the snow a few days ago. There’s supposed to be another foot or two tomorrow. After years of unsatisfying snowfall in Boston, we’re finally getting our share.

In preparation for being snowed in with my honey, I’m envisioning renting Dr. Zhivago. I know Julie Christie’s perfect tan is pretty un-Russian, but it’s still the all-time best romantic snow movie.

Portsmouth

Yesterday, we hit the outlet malls of Kittery, Maine, and had dinner in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. They’re lliterally 5 minutes away from each other, and only an hour north of here. While we were there, it started to snow, as you can see in the picture to the left, of Terri in front of the Portsmouth Brewery. The Brewery is one of the many Portsmouth sites of early Terri & Ezra show festivities.

Terri took these two pictures with my camera while we were at Uncommon Grounds, right in the main town square.

It was snowing hard enough that driving back was a bit slow going, even on the interstate. But it was very cold and swirling and pretty.

Protest

Yesterday at about noon, people were protesting in front of the church which is diagonally across the street from us. Now, maybe I’m being dense, but I had absolutely no idea who was protesting and exactly what they were trying to say. The only thing that was pretty clear was that the protesters with the biggest banner were opposed to Israel’s wall. Beyond that, I couldn’t tell if there was more than one group of protesters, whether they were from the church or against the church, whether the people with the people with the palestinian flag and the people with the Israeli flag were on the same side (maybe, we support both political entities, but we’re just against the wall), and whether it was Israel or Palestine which are really terrorists.

I do know that the protesters are the probable cause of the big accident between an SUV and a sedan at the big intersection we live at. That was what alerted us to our existence in the first place, when we looked out the window to see what the big crashing noise was. So, I guess they were successful in commanding the full attention of the traffic passing by.

The Dresden Dolls

OK, guilty pleasure confession time. I really like The Dresden Dolls. I feel like they’re a little juvenile, and that maybe I am not supposed to take them seriously because I’m not a teenage girl with a self-mutilation issue.

But it’s just so refreshing to have an alternative to guitar rock that doesn’t involve some solitary white boy making clicking and bleeping noises with his laptop. It’s refreshing to hear music with melody, odd chords, and, good heavens, dynamics, something that amplified music has almost systematically obliterated over the last 50 years. They’re also very good musicians: the guy’s a pretty good drummer, but the girl is seriously amazing on piano, and she can really wail. (It also turns out that she’s the friend of a friend and we met her at a party; Terri thought so, I didn’t think it was the same Amanda, but the friend confirmed it a couple of weeks ago. It’s hard to tell with all the make-up in the album photos…).

Have a listen to Half Jack or procure yourself a copy of “Coin-Operated Boy” and decide for yourself. Maybe Brechtian punk cabaret is for you.

They also have a song about former local NPR talk-show host Christopher Lydon. How funny is that?

A Distressed Passenger

While we were having dinner at the Bertucci’s across the parking lot, I remembered something I meant to write about our adventures in the airport. I was calling hotels from the courtesy phone in the airport. I don’t think I’ve ever used one of those before, so I was actually a little psyched. It made me feel like a grown-up. I guess I should start gauging my feeling like a grown up on how infrequently I note something that I’ve never done before. Nonetheless, the moment was noted.

I called the Comfort Inn first, and then checked it against the Hampton Inn. I asked the guy at the Hampton Inn how much a room was. He said “where are you?” If you’re also a grown-up, you also may have come to learn this: when you ask someone how much something is, and the answer is another question, you should probably not end transaction with a ‘yes’.

Still, I answered “at the airport”.

“Are you a distressed passenger?”

Oh, my goodness. I am a distressed passenger! “You know, I hadn’t called myself that until now, but yes, I am a distressed passenger.”

He offered me the same price as the Comfort Inn, so we went with them, since we had fond memories of putting people up at the Comfort Inn in Danvers for our wedding.

It actually worked out reasonably well: they’re literally next door to the airport, and they have a special park and ride deal, where we pay a little extra to leave our car in their lot and use the shuttle. Basically, if you subtract what we would have had to pay at the airport parking garage, we are only paying $30 for the hotel.

Still in Providence

Barf. We’re batting 0 for our last 2 attempts at getting on a plane. We left Boston at 2:30pm for a 6pm flight, and didn’t pull into the Providence airport until 5:40. Needless to say, we missed the flight. It usually takes an hour and a half, and we did allow ourselves some extra time for heavy traffic.

Sooooo, it being the heaviest travel day of the year, the next flight was basically not until 6:05am. After 3 hours in the car (part of which was spent on the phone to US Airways to see if they had any advice about what we’d do if we missed our flight) and a frantic 20 minutes trying to get onto a plane we basically knew we couldn’t get on, it was almost a relief to just be able to relax for 12 hours.

So here we are, at the Comfort Inn, watching BBC America. It’s some show with Judi Dench. We had basically no intention of driving back to Boston, and then driving back at 3am.

The first pleasant surprise of the misadventure was that we ran into some friends in the Providence airport, who we’ve been meaning to track down and invite to our holiday party, en route to their Thanksgiving destination. The second was that we have free wireless in the hotel courtesy of my company, which has recently joined this iPass thing which is some sort of multiple-sign-on to a variety of wireless networks. So I get to blog about not making the flight. Yee ha!

On amplified music, digital accordions, and Johnny D’s

Terri and I had dinner at Johnny D’s last week. We almost never go see music there, because for the most part, the kinds of acts they book… well, they suck. It’s all this jumble of world zydeco funk blues reggae folk roots crap. But their food is actually decent, they have a varied tap, and it’s on the way home from the T. As we were eating, a guy was setting up a bunch of gear, presumeably for his gig later that evening. It seemed like a lot of effort. And I had an epiphany. I hate amplified music. All of it. It’s ridiculous. This guy is spending hours setting up equipment to spend about the same number of hours playing music. And the room is basically the size of, say, a shoe store. Just get up and play, guy. If someone in a crowd of a hundred or so people picks up a hollow hunk of wood with strings on it, and starts whacking at it and yelling words at specific pitches in rhythm, the other 99 people are going to listen. We’re wired to.

Yes, you say, but what about bigger venues? Well, bigger venues inherently suck. So, no amplified music also means no sucky big venues.

So I toyed with this idea in idle moments the past week or so, and became more and more enamoured of it.

And then, like most ridiculous extreme ideas I toy with, I found something that made me drop it immediately. And that was the new Roland FR-7 digital accordion. Fun fun fun! But I’d have to plug in somewhere…

Before I wrap this up, I have to also soften my stance on the kind of music Johnny D’s books. I confess to owning a klezmer disc or two. And confess that I saw Brave Combo, a polka band, at Johnny D’s. More than once. So I’m not immune to the occasional allure of world zydeco funk blues reggae folk roots polka klezmer crap. I guess it’s the whole Weltanschauung and the lifestyle that goes with it that I can live without. Like if I start liking it too much, I have to grow a beard and send checks to PBS and buy an old Volvo to plaster with bumper stickers.