camwyn: (bike)
Found out today what it takes for me to start using my New York vocabulary again: a guy oh-so-slowly trying to drive his car in the bicycle-only side of a protected bicycle lane. As in, he'd turned out of a driveway or something and rather than cross the bike lane and join the car lanes, he opted to navigate in the one narrow lane of territory between actual physical poles and the curb until he got to the corner, and then merged into the car traffic. Never mind that that lane had the bike lane images and icons painted on it, or that like I said, it was separated from car traffic by multiple vertical poles to make it impractical for cars to use it, or that the traffic in the car lanes wasn't even all that heavy and he could have crossed the bike lane and merged into it- no, this schmuck was so fricking special that he was ENTITLED to take what little protected territory bicyclists get in this city.

Schmuck. I hope you find yourself stuck behind a Critical Mass rally, and I don't even approve of Critical Mass.
camwyn: Me in a bomber jacket and jeans standing next to a green two-man North Andover Flight Academy helicopter. (Default)
Signs I have adapted to living in the Boston area: during my last flight lesson I used the phrase 'wicked nasty' to describe weather conditions on a prior lesson to my instructor.

Signs I have not adapted to living in the Boston area: the Boston Globe.com alert email that just came through had a headline involving Tom Brady's lawyers filing an appeal of some kind and my gut response was 'whoopty bleeping bleep', followed by deleting it without reading.
camwyn: Me in a bomber jacket and jeans standing next to a green two-man North Andover Flight Academy helicopter. (Default)
Which of the following two things that happened to me this week is more of a Sign That You Are In New England?

A: You get onto an Orange Line train and head for a group of three empty seats. They are empty largely because the woman sitting opposite them is an apparently homeless woman surrounded by bags and ranting to herself or anyone who will listen, or if not ranting, at least talking very passionately. She is talking about someone's marriage. Upon listening a little more closely it turns out she is ranting about Abigail and John Adams' marriage, with an added side bonus of distrusting Thomas Jefferson and something about Alexander Hamilton that you never quite hear.

OR

B: You are waiting to meet someone near the harbor seal display outside the New England Aquarium. Just as you are thinking about the idea that seals are dog mermaids, a group of people who have been taking photographs of the seals comes up to you and asks if you can help them with a scavenger hunt; they need someone who is not a member of their group to sing "Sweet Caroline" with them on video, because they are in Boston and that is a Thing. You do. The video ends with "IIIIII'VE BEEN INCLINED / TO BELIEVE THEY NEVER WOULD, mnnh mnh meh" because neither you nor the strangers can remember the rest of the song.

Ladies and gentlemen, my Wednesday and Thursday evening encounters, respectively.
camwyn: Me in a bomber jacket and jeans standing next to a green two-man North Andover Flight Academy helicopter. (Default)
Much to my sorrow, my flight instructor wasn't available this weekend. No helicopters until next Saturday.

On the bright side, I got to go to Spectacle Island, which I'd been meaning to do for ages. Turns out there's wild turkeys. I've been looking for any kind of indicator that they may have been introduced to the island as part of turning it from a hell-pit landfill into a national recreation area, but no, they didn't do that; the turkeys got there under their own power. Apparently while they normally only fly up to 100 yards at a time, they can do up to a quarter of a mile at once under some circumstances, plus they can swim. Perhaps they were island-hopping from Hull or something. Who knows.

What surprised me was that when I mentioned the bird to the next people I met on the trail, as they were headed in the direction I had just come from, they asked if it was the kind of turkey that attacked you. I thought they were joking. I later found out that the wild turkeys that have turned up in the Boston and Brookline area over the past few years have been very aggressive and very territorial towards humans. This one, not so much; it looked up from what it was doing in the rock-lined ditch by the side of the rail and that was that. I mean, I did apologize to it for interrupting, but that was it.

(I'd been picking up what little trash there was along the trails as I went. You're not supposed to discard anything on Spectacle Island; the only trash containers on the island are in the stalls of the women's restroom. I'd just grabbed my third or fourth bit of stuff that wasn't supposed to be there when I encountered the turkey. Couldn't help but feel that the bird wouldn't have shown itself to me if I hadn't been taking the trash away.)
camwyn: Me in a bomber jacket and jeans standing next to a green two-man North Andover Flight Academy helicopter. (Default)
It snowed again.

Inch and a half, two inches, maybe. Can't really tell. It's mostly noticeable on the cars that people cleared off and on the sidewalks that people shoveled out. It's not really something you can make out on top of the existing heaps and yards full of snow.

As long as it ends eventually, I'll be all right. I'm not really looking forward to a Fimbulwinter.
camwyn: Me in a bomber jacket and jeans standing next to a green two-man North Andover Flight Academy helicopter. (Default)
My niece's first grade class just read Flat Stanley. I am not familiar with this book but apparently it is about a boy who travels through the mail and sees the world. They have done a project in which the kids make Flat Stanleys on paper and send them to people and ask that people take pictures of Stanley in places near them and write a little about the experience so the kids can learn about the area. I have been asked to take Stanley to the Boston Children's Museum, which I intend to do, but I will probably ask the staff there if one of them can take Stanley in and take some pictures, since the Children's Museum frowns on adults unaccompanied by kids. (It can be done but I don't want to impose.)

I am going to take Saturday and just do the Boston tourist thing so i can take Stanley to as many places as possible. I'm thinking a trip to the Mapparium at the Mary Baker Eddy museum might not be a bad idea, just to show the kids what the continents look like in proper proportion- you stand inside a three story globe, which puts things in perspective. Going to go to other places, too, but that seems like something you don't normally get to see on a tourist run.

Any suggestions for other places? I intend to hit the Tea Party Ships museum, the Old State House, the Aquarium, and Faneuil Hall in quick succession since they're all easily accessible from the same Blue Line station.
camwyn: Me in a bomber jacket and jeans standing next to a green two-man North Andover Flight Academy helicopter. (Default)
Went to Best Buy the other day after my REI camping class. I was interested in looking at laptops, but they only had Windows 8 models; when the salesman asked what I disliked about Win 8, I told him that if I wanted AOL as of 1996 I'd build a time machine, that I didn't particularly like the 'oh, you don't need a start button' attitude when the start button was possibly the smartest thing Microsoft had ever put in Windows, that I didn't like the weirdness of having to shuffle from one interface to the other when I wasn't planning on buying a touchscreen, and that if they had a copy of Windows 7 on the shelf I'd buy a laptop and that and blow the hard drive away and install the older OS. He apologetically told me he understood and that they used to have Win 7 on the shelves, but that Microsoft recently 'cleaned them out'. I told him I'd wait and see how Service Pack 1 made Win 8 before buying anything and wished him a better day.

On the way home I took my sweatshirt off. I'd dressed in a base layer, a T-shirt, and a sweatshirt for the class, as well as a base layer and a pair of trousers from REI. The T-shirt got me a startled look and a call of "Hey, wrong city!" from a guy I passed on my bike.

I had to laugh. It was the t-shirt they gave me for my Climb to the Top fundraising, and it said I [insert graphical rendition of a flight of stairs here) NY. I'd've explained to him, but I was on a bike going one way and he was pushing a stroller the other way.
camwyn: Me in a bomber jacket and jeans standing next to a green two-man North Andover Flight Academy helicopter. (Default)
Anybody on my friends list feel like visiting Worcester, MA next weekend? I just found out about the existence of the Higgins Armory Museum. I can't get to Worcester during the week and they're closed on Sundays, but next Saturday there's an arms and armor show, and a bunch of stuff about Elizabeth I at Tilbury as part of their Women in Armor series, and they also have classes in hitting people with pointy things but those require advance reservations and separate individual payments... anyway, the museum itself sounds fascinating enough, so is there anyone else who wants to go?
camwyn: (killer spleen)
Now that I'm living in Lovecraft Country I figure I might as well take advantage of the fact. Last night I went out after work and visited the oldest bookstore I could find and came home with a small, battered, vaguely funny-smelling volume of ancient lore for my troubles.

'Course, ancient in this case means copyright 1859, and the lore in question is all kitchen stuff. And I don't think Mrs. Cornelius was mad or just got these headaches, either, but then I haven't gotten more than about twenty pages in yet... it's called The Young Housekeeper's Friend, and the lore in question is all about buying appropriate food, drink, and household tools (mostly for the kitchen) and setting up and maintaining a proper household when one might not necessarily have been properly educated in how to do so by one's mother/governess/whatever. The book's old enough that it doesn't use the word 'recipe'; all the instructions on how to cook this or that are 'receipts', and each section is promised to start off with a minute set of instructions on the techniques used in each receipt, although I haven't gotten out of the introduction yet so I can't vouch for how accurate that is... It just seemed like it would be a really fascinating window on a past age, to see what they thought was important to know and to be able to make.

But, yeah. When you go to a bookstore five minutes before closing and the woman behind the counter tells you "Don't worry- we've been here since 1837, I'm pretty sure we'll be here tomorrow", and you buy something nearly as old as the store on a later visit, it's kinda cool. At least for someone from my part of the States, anyway. Maybe it's different for people who live somewhere older-established.
camwyn: Me in a bomber jacket and jeans standing next to a green two-man North Andover Flight Academy helicopter. (Default)
I need to get myself some tights. It was twenty-one degrees out this morning and I wasn't up for the overcoat, so I wound up with plenty of nice warm layering on top and basically just my trousers for my legs. Given the wind here, this is not good. Either I wear the overcoat more often or I get tights and wear those under my trousers. (Pantyhose I ain't touchin' unless I absolutely have to. Experience has proven me incapable of keeping a pair of those for longer than three or four wearings before they start laddering like crazy.)

I also need to get a bottle of AnyGlove, which is apparently a solution that can be applied to the fingertips of virtually any glove to create a conductive section that makes the glove work with a touchscreen phone. I could just buy touchscreen compatible gloves, but I LIKE my current gloves thank you very much. If AnyGlove actually works once I get it I'll let you know, and if it doesn't I'll let them know.

One more thing I need to find: the top to my water bottle, or to any resealable bottle I have around the house. Making cold-process coffee overnight so I can have iced coffee in the morning without having to futz around with a coffee maker is fine, but I'd like to be able to bring it with me to work.

(This message brought to you by the Yes I Know All Of These Are Incredibly Minor And Stupid Things Foundation.)
camwyn: Me in a bomber jacket and jeans standing next to a green two-man North Andover Flight Academy helicopter. (Default)
Skipped the stairs yesterday because I got a phone call- my new bike was available and the store was only open until 7. To make up for it, I took the bike on the T today so I could get to the office and finish a few things that had to be done in off hours, then rode home, stopping at Charlestown Navy Yard and the Bunker Hill Monument along the way. The monument's only 294 steps but I figure if you put that together with a total of about 12 miles of bicycling it probably counts as enough quad exercise to make do.

Side note: I've only been up the monument once before. I'd forgotten how absolutely unnerving it is to climb a lot a lot a lot of stairs with no means of seeing anything above or below you. Kudos to the masons who built that thing, though. That had to have been one hell of an engineering feat in the 1800s.

Also, I plan on going back to the Navy Yard when it gets warmer. The Constitution and the museum on the premises and such are all free of charge to visit, and it's not that hard to get to, so why not.
camwyn: Me in a bomber jacket and jeans standing next to a green two-man North Andover Flight Academy helicopter. (Default)
I'm signed up- as usual- for the MS Society Climb to the Top 2013, which means that on March 6th I'm going to be in New York City expressly for the purpose of climbing 66 floors' worth of stairs and then not throwing up all over Rockefeller Center. I've also taken the step of signing up for the American Lung Association's Climb for Air, which is on February 2nd this year and happens to be held at Boston Place. That one's forty-one floors. Figured I might as well give it a crack just to see how I was doing training-wise, and also because I like the look I get when I tell people I do stair climbing, and anyway it's right bloody there. The fundraising minimum on that is $100 and I've already kicked in my first $25, because I was at the World Trade Center site for the first two days after 9/11 and I've never felt entirely safe about my lungs since. If I have to, I'll donate the rest of the money as well (I don't want to detract from the MS fundraising, since MS killed my grandma and, well, vengeance). If any of you happen to feel like showing up in the Boston area for the second of February to do the "hooray, Cam didn't throw up" thing, that's cool, I'd love to see you after it's all said and done.

On a completely unrelated note, last night I tried lobster roll for the first time, because I believe I should make at least some kind of effort to try local foods where I can. I keep hearing about them, reading about them, etc. so I figured they were probably a good idea to at least try, whether I liked them or not.

You'd think I would have noticed somewhere along the way that they're served cold.

No offense to Boston but I don't think I'm going to try that again. I'm not that fond of the texture of lobster to begin with- the taste is okay, but the texture's not my thing- and the temperature kinda put me off. The one I got was pretty well made, it's just... yeah. Oh well, some other time perhaps.

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camwyn: Me in a bomber jacket and jeans standing next to a green two-man North Andover Flight Academy helicopter. (Default)
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