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…