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Warning: comments busted

Another nice thing about HONK! was that we ran into Amy C and Colin both days (the first day on purpose, the second day by accident). Anyway, Amy (gently) yelled at me for not approving her blog comments and not returning her emails. The email problem is a PEBKAC issue with me. The blog comments are a mysterious problem with WordPress that a complete reinstall and reimport has not been able to fix. But basically, if something gets stuck in my spam filter, I have to write SQL to free it. So I apologize in advance if your comment does not post immediately. Or in a week. I’ll get around to fixing this eventually, but I blog to do the things I don’t do at work, and I do plenty of debugging on a daily basis.

Greetings from the way life should be

Terri and I are up in Poland, Maine, with our gracious hosts at Summit Springs Farm. Everybody else has gone to bed hours ago, but I have not quite been able to get to sleep. Everyone else is beat, not just because some of us are a) farmers b) got up at the crack of dawn to set up at the Bridgeton, ME farmers’ market, but also because c) there was sort of a disturbing incident at 4:00am, which I probably should not go into in detail, beyond assuring you that it did not involve us or our hosts, and as far as we could tell the sherrif had the matter as well under control as possible. Nonetheless, by the time our part in the event was over, everybody needed to decompress a bit, and poor John had to get up in 30 minutes to get to the farmer’s market.

Bridgeton (Maine) Farmers' MarketBeyond that, though, we are having a lovely visit. After we got up, had breakfast, and got a tour of the farm from Sonya, we headed over to the farmer’s market to meet up with John. By the time we got back, it was 2:30 and the farmers needed to nap. Terri and I took a drive around the nearby towns and I picked up some interesting books, including one called Arithmetic for Printers which I suspect is going to be useful. Sonya made us an unbelievably delicious korma for dinner tonight, and I’m looking forward to a breakfast tomorrow from eggs that were laid by the chickens today.

Whining about my commute, which was actually sort of amusing

People waiting for the shuttles at Park Street, BostonI don’t usually whine about my commute, and there are many many MBTA riders, indeed, entire blogs, devoted to this pursuit. But today’s was amusing enough to whine about.

Preamble: apparently a Red Line train caught on fire and the MBTA bussed people between Broadway and Harvard (basically, the entire stretch of the Red Line that most riders use).

When I found this out at South Station, rather than fight the hordes, I decided to walk to Park St, take the green line to Hynes, and get a #1 bus to Harvard. But when I got to Park St, there was one of the shuttles right there, and when I heard the driver lean out the door, and — I think — say that they were going express to Harvard, I decided to jump on. It was full, but not as crowded as it could have been, presumably because it was going express.

Except, when the closed the doors closed, the driver turns around and says, “OK, does anybody know how to get from here to Harvard Square?”

Now the chances of someone knowing the way are pretty good (but not 100% because a lot of Red Line riders are suburbanites who just take it to Porter Square to catch the commuter rail). But the chances of a Red Line rider knowing the best way to go, especially the best way at 6:30pm during rush hour, are low. People generally take the Red Line specifically so they don’t have to know. The chances that someone who knew the best way would be in earshot of the driver on a full bus are just about zero. And indeed, we ended up not going express to Harvard, because we got lost in Beacon Hill and ended up at Charles MGH, and just took the normal Red Line route and made all the stops from there (which meant that it quickly went from full to overcrowded).

But honest to goodness, where did the MBTA dig this driver up? It wasn’t just like he had no idea of how to get out of Boston, he seemed to have no idea of where the Red Line actually goes and where it stops. After a while, it gets easy: you just follow Mass Ave and stop at every big “T” sign you see; and because there is no subway, there will be huge crowds of people standing outside and waving to you. But this proved too difficult for this guy. People actually had to tell him to stop at Central.

I sound indignant, but mostly I felt bad for him. He was clearly asked to do something he had no idea how to do, and everybody’s been there at one point or another. Luckily most of us don’t have to do it when we’re driving a huge piece of machinery, crammed to the gills with sweaty, tired people.

That said, my fellow commuters were taking it in stride: there was the same kind of jovial whatcha-gonna-do solidarity that is usually reserved for the first big snowstorm of the season.

I made it home by 8:15, which made the trip about double my usual commute time.

One more thing about the Berlin Filmmuseum

Casablanca is on TCM tonight, and it just got to the scene in Rick’s Café where the German soldiers sing “Deutschland Über Alles”, and everybody else sings “La Marseillaise”, drowning out the Germans.

That reminded me about one more thing about the Berlin Filmmuseum, which I mentioned last week. That scene was playing on a loop in one of the rooms in the permanent exhibition near the Marlene Dietrich section that showed all the German actors who went into exile in Hollywood in the 30′s and 40′s. How weird must it be to see a fairly propagandistic film from a former enemy country playing on a loop in one of your museums.

Currywurst at Zoo Bahnhof

achewood clipSo, we’re now back safely in Boston.

We did not keep a trip blog this time, but I plan to post little snippets as I remember them as a way of prolonging the fun.

Editrix pointed out an excellent Achewood plot thread about currywurst which mentions Bono, which reminded me that Berlin really has a thing for U2, which I guess is reciprocal since I dimly recall them having had some kind of Berlin thing in the 90′s. There’s some kind of diagram that probably should be drawn linking U2, Berlin, Wim Wenders, Zoo Station, and the year 1992.

Hier GlühweinAnyway, on our first evening in Berlin, when we went to the Christmas market near the Zoo Bahnhof itself, we heard probably no less than 3 U2 songs. The Christmas markets are sort of like the Topsfield Fair here in Massachusetts, with rides, carney games, food stalls, and such, but also with booths with more artsy craftsy Christmas gift kind of stuff, different cookies and foods, and alcoholic drinks, like Glühwein, which is a hot and somewhat stanky mulled wine. Many cheap meals involving sausage (or various vegetarian options) were had. This is the currywurst I had at a fast food type joint in the Zoo Bahnhof on our last day in Berlin: