Monthly Archive for March, 2003

The Big Dig

Pres­ley, Tbone, Meg­ger, Chris and I just got back from the Mid­west Grill in Inman Square, where we cel­e­brat­ed Pres­ley’s 23rd birth­day. She real­ly is get­ting quite old.

But, on the way home, we con­vinced Chris to dri­ve down to South Boston, so we could come up the new I‑93 N tun­nel– that’s right, the Big Dig is open. Well, par­tial­ly open. The tun­nel is wide and bright, with actu­al sig­nage that gives you some actu­al notice about your exit before you dri­ve by it.

But the real treat was emerg­ing from the tun­nel, and dri­ving onto the Zakim Bridge. It’s real­ly beau­ti­ful. I stuck my head out the win­dow in the rain, and just gawked up at the tow­ers. Even with the neon pur­ple lights, it is real­ly some­thing to appre­ci­ate– espe­cial­ly at night. Noth­ing about it says “Boston”, except for its name.… but, you real­ly should take your own trip. Every­body is doing it.

Cocaine and Attitude

Over­heard in our build­ing, from Annoy­ing Unpleas­ant Girl Who Lives Down the Hall, on her cell phone, after my “hel­lo” went rude­ly ignored:

I need to ask you some­thing.… did you tell such-and-such that we did coke?

This is What Democracy Looks Like, Part II

Anoth­er day, anoth­er protest. I am dis­turbed by the num­ber of Boston motor­cy­cle cops buzzing around here in Cam­bridge. Isn’t any­one else bugged by this over­lap of law enforcement?

This is What Democracy Looks Like

Last night, Pres­ley and I were smack in the mid­dle of paint­ing our minus­cule Cam­bridge bed­room a love­ly polar blue, when I noticed a gath­er­ing of Police cars on Mass Ave. They were direct­ing traf­fic away from Cen­tral Square, which I thought was odd. My ini­tial impulse was to think that some War Hawk had called in a bomb threat on the Peo­ple’s Repub­lik

But, no. Alas, there were war pro­test­ers mass­ing down the street, and they intend­ed to march on Har­vard Sq. Watch­ing the cops deal with this group of 200 or so kids was amus­ing– rerout­ing traf­fic, and stuff. I love cops on motor­cy­cles… it’s just so urban.

We fol­lowed them a bit, and I wish my pics were bet­ter. I had to leave the shut­ter open for a while because there was­n’t much light. Blur­ry or not, it’s pret­ty fuck­ing great when 200 kids parade by your apart­ment at 9pm on a thurs­day night. I was uncom­fort­able at being led by duel­ing French and Pirate flags… but, hey, This is What Democ­ra­cy Looks Like. No?



Annoying Floating Flash Ads

I real­ly like what Boston Com­mon does– col­lect­ing snip­pets from Boston-area blogs, and dis­play­ing them in aggre­gat­ed meme-like fash­ion. I get a lot of hits from the site, and I appre­ci­ate the work Adam Gaf­fin does every day.

BUT! Today, I noticed that Boston Com­mon is now run­ning float­ing Flash (Rich Media) adver­tise­ments from Trav­e­loc­i­ty. Hov­er­ing over the con­tent! I find these things irri­tat­ing, espe­cial­ly when it specif­i­cal­ly delays your access to the information.

I under­stand the need for online adver­tis­ing, and rev­enue, but sure­ly this is more of an annoy­ance than an effec­tive mar­ket­ing tool.

Eye­blaster was, I believe, one of the first com­pa­nies to con­vince clients that ban­ner ads were pass?, and that has made Eye­blaster an indus­try leader.

Hon­est­ly, for me, it’s enough to make me go make hotel reser­va­tions at Expe­dia. Until I see a float­ing flash ad from them!

Still, I guess I’m will­ing to endure the ads, as long as Adam keeps doing what he’s doing. How can you bite the hand that feeds you?

Cronenberg’s Spider

Over the week­end, I saw David Cro­nen­berg’s new Film Spi­der with Tbone, who wrote a review. One thing I’d like to com­ment on, are Miran­da Richard­son’s sev­er­al excep­tion­al­ly note­wor­thy per­for­mances, as both Fiennes’ Moth­er and Stepmother.

The first char­ac­ter is a mod­el of 1950s restraint and beau­ty, duti­ful­ly prepar­ing din­ner for her fam­i­ly and accom­pa­ny­ing her hus­band to the Pub, though she’d rather be at home. This is the boy’s (Fiennes) ide­al­ized vision of his Moth­er. Richard­son plays the role much like Julianne Moore did in Far From Heav­en. As an audi­ence mem­ber, you can’t hard­ly resist her virtue.

The sec­ond char­ac­ter, is a trashy pub-girl that Fiennes’ father picks up for a lit­tle action, and even­tu­al­ly becomes the boy’s Step-mom. Wear­ing a leop­ard print coat, and stained teeth, this char­ac­ter casu­al­ly gives a hand­job to the boy’s Father under an over­pass. She encour­ages the mur­der of the boy’s Mom, and becomes the object of the boy’s vin­dic­tive inten­tions lat­er in the film.

In addi­tion, she also steps into the role of the half-way house-mas­ter, where she tor­ments Fiennes.

What is tru­ly incred­i­ble, watch­ing Richard­son, is that you real­ly aren’t sure if it’s the same actress. They are so dif­fer­ent in appear­ance and behav­ior, that the screen­writer and Cro­nen­berg must’ve been jump­ing for joy.

It’s a creepy film, about a creepy guy. But, while Ralph Fiennes is mum­bling into a jour­nal for an hour, I think Miran­da Richard­son deserves the cred­it for hold­ing it all together.

Job Update

Just a lit­tle update on my cur­rent employ­ment — I’m being tak­en off “con­tract” sta­tus, and made a tem­po­rary employ­ee, which is ter­rif­ic news. That means I don’t need to sub­mit for a P.O. every week, which takes around a decade to process.

I need cashola. Unem­ploy­ment ran out in Sep­tem­ber, don’t even ask me how I live. And the sad thing is, since I’ve got this gig, I’ve been spend­ing like a mad­man. Good thing, that.

UPDATE: Miria, anoth­er con­trac­tor that I shared my cube with, quit today. I don’t think she liked sit­ting in front of a com­put­er for 9 hours, doing tedious, repet­i­tive work. God Speed… I wish I could afford to have standards!

Imminent War

In an effort to jump-start the crew over at Suck­ahs, I post­ed a lit­tle item about the upcom­ing war.

Blur’s Think Tank

blurReview: A+
First off, I have to say that Blur was my favorite band when I was in High School in the mid-90s. I’ll con­fess that, back then, I had a case of exag­ger­at­ed anglophil­ia, only fed by the band’s iron­ic lyrics, “la la las”, and quirky compositions.

But that was then.

Since the days of Park­life and The Great Escape, I’ve real­ized that Eng­land real­ly does have an inflat­ed impres­sion of their cul­tur­al impor­tance… uh, wait, that’s France. I’m an Amer­i­can, so I need­n’t be walk­ing around in Fred Per­ry shirts and keep­ing up on the lat­est & great­est new band. Truth be told, and hype aside, the major­i­ty of British bands are pret­ty mediocre. In con­trast, there are hun­dreds of tru­ly excep­tion­al Amer­i­can bands that bare­ly ever get noticed. <insert your favorite here>

Which brings me to the new Blur album, Think Tank, of which I’ve received an advance copy, (avail­able in record stores May 5). There have been con­flict­ing reports about the release, so I thought that I’d just take a minute to dis­pel some rumors:

  1. 1. It’s a dance album. Not real­ly. It cer­tain­ly has more of a “pop” feel, but that’s noth­ing new for the band.
  2. 2. It’s a world music album. Not real­ly. The Moroc­can and West African influ­ences are accom­pa­ni­ments, and they’re ful­ly processed and inte­grat­ed into the mix. It ful­ly sounds like a 21st cen­tu­ry LP.
  3. 3. Blur sucks with­out Gra­ham. Ok, fir­ing your gui­tarist, espe­cial­ly when he’s as bril­liant as Gra­ham, is tough. But the songs don’t real­ly suf­fer. Besides, he appears on one track.
  4. 4. This is Goril­laz, Part II. Hell no. Goril­laz was fun. But, on this LP, Damon’s lyrics and vocal deliv­ery is straight for­ward, in the first-per­son, with­out pre­tend­ing to be some­one he’s not.

So what of the new LP? It’s the most con­sis­tent­ly good album of theirs since Park­life. Part elec­tron­ic, part folk, & part Bacharach… with a few rock­ers to sat­is­fy the Song 2 crowd. It’s real roman­tic stuff, with­out being irritating.

And the video for the first sin­gle uses doc­u­men­tary footage of a female US Marine, on duty in the Per­sian Gulf.

A very good record, indeed.

Shoddy Flash

So, my new job involves local­iz­ing and updat­ing Flash demos of prod­ucts by a pop­u­lar soft­ware cor­po­ra­tion. The orig­i­nal eng­lish files were pro­duced by said cor­po­ra­tion, and I’m sur­prised at how tru­ly spot­ty they are.

We were giv­en a spec­i­fi­ca­tion doc­u­ment to use as a ref­er­ence, yet the orig­i­nal files rarely match their own spec. So I find myself rebuild­ing the movies, tweak­ing and writ­ing action-script, and debug­ging… more than just swap­ping out a lit­tle Eng­lish for Spanish.

It’s hard to imag­ine how these things get past their qual­i­ty assur­ance peo­ple– the eng­lish movies are being used with the gen­er­al pub­lic, as we speak. It makes me think that it’s, a) not so hard get­ting a job at huge soft­ware corps, & b) they don’t require you to do good work…

Although, I could be talk­ing about the work of one per­son. I guess that should­n’t count for too much.

Damn the Flavia Machine

I’m absolute­ly addict­ed to the Flavia machine here. $0.50 a cup, but a cup is like 6 oz. It’s Yum.

UPDATE: Note to self: Cafe­te­ria clos­es at 1:30. You will not eat a late lunch, unless Dori­to’s and Ramen out of a machine count.

A New Era

Today marks a change– I’m final­ly work­ing again, albeit as a con­trac­tor, for a local­iza­tion com­pa­ny west of Boston. Which means sev­er­al things:

  1. It actu­al­ly mat­ters when I get up in the morning
  2. I have some­where to be
  3. I am in charge of some oth­er people
  4. The words “Flash” and “Spe­cial­ist” are part of my job title
  5. I have a cafe­te­ria that sells all kinds of hot and cold meals, very cheaply
  6. I like every­one I meet here
  7. My dead­lines are intense, and there are whis­pers of required weekends
  8. I don’t care about that, because I’m paid hourly.

That is all. Oh, and I feel just awful com­mut­ing 20 miles every day. I am not doing my part for the envi­ron­ment, and I am dis­ap­point­ed in myself.

Suckahs, Version 7

New Suck­ahs.

Email bugs to me, please…