Monthly Archive for October, 2003

Car Swap

I can’t even believe that I drove into Saab City today in my beaten and bruised ’93 Subaru, and drove out with a near-mint 2000 Saab 9-3… It should be a crime. Go see Krissy if you need a car — she is the Internet Sales person.

That was the sweetest 10-minute drive of my life. 70 degrees outside, sunroof open, and my first CD was… Blur‘s Leisure.

Saab Story 2000 Saab 9-3I started out looking for a used Golf, but I’ve realized they are really crappy cars– especially if you’re not buying a new one.

After test driving a honda, and deciding I wasn’t ready to give up all fun in my life, I drove a used Saab 9-3. Wow.

This is your basic entry-level Saab — but with leather seats, sunroof, and a 180hp turbo engine to all but ensure that I won’t become an ardent environmentalist — although it is a 4-cylinder.

My only problem is that I’m worried that I’m going to look like a toolbox in this thing. I mean, can you legally listen to punk rock in a Saab? Is it considered “gauche” to eat Wendy’s and belong to the Democratic party, as a Saab owner? Am I crazy?

Buy Our Couch

We’re selling our small couch (loveseat) — come see it this weekend, and take it off our hands.

Snow Expected Tonight?

I almost choked on my pretzel when I saw this weather report on

snow?Accumulating snow is predicted for much of western and central Massachusetts late this afternoon and tonight and forecasters say there could be snow showers early tomorrow in the Greater Boston area.

It’s October 22nd, people!


VW GolfI bought my current car, a green ’93 Subaru Impreza wagon, in the winter of 1998, after I received an inheritance from my grandfather. Since then, I’ve grown attached to it, not least because of my grandfather, but also because it was my first manual transmission, and it was my first foreign car.

I hate cars — I hate what they’ve done to our cities and our country in the past 60 years… but, they are sometimes a necessary evil. Presley and I have hauled our lives from Buffalo to Boston, Boston to Cambridge, and back again over the years, and it’s always been good to us. Our most impressive haul, in my memory, was a 7-foot tall wardrobe from IKEA in Ontario, to Cambridge. Not only did it fit, but there was room for Presley, a kitten, and a huge oriental rug.

Still, it’s a ten year-old car, and its starting to get expensive to repair. And I’ve got an oil leak up the wahoo.

So, it’s time to suck it up, and buy another car. My friends have offered their advice. Albany Dan said do not buy a Volkswagen, under any circumstances. Something about bad reliability… My boss’s boss suggested a pickup truck. Other friends suggested boring old Toyotas and Hondas.

I think I’m going to go with my gut, and look for a used VW Golf. Besides being small and cool (good for city driving), it’s safe, relatively inexpensive, and fuel efficient.

Though I won’t be able to haul another 7′ wardrobe, I’m sure the hatchback will come in handy.

And, the best little secret of all, is that AAA offers low-interest car loans — I was approved for 4.19% for 60 months… Now, time to go shopping!

Happy 30th Birthday, Jason

Jason turns 30Our good friend Jason turned 30 years old last weekend, and true to form, he was drunker than all of us.

Still we managed to capture a few pictures — though not, sadly, of Patrick sleeping under the deck for what seemed like two or three hours…

Larry got it Right in Mystic River

salonlogo.gifAn open letter to the author of an otherwise good review of Mystic River in Salon:

Hello Ms. Zacharek,

I did enjoy your review of Mystic River, and am looking forward to seeing it this weekend. I especially enjoyed your observations on conceptions of neighborhood, and on the film’s sense of place.

While it’s true that Boston’s many neighborhoods are more self-contained than most cities’, I think it’s a leap to assume that this clannishness is total. It’s equally true to argue that all of Boston is insulated from other parts of the country. There is a distinct common Boston culture, which includes things like language, values, and traditions (red sox).

And while there may be an evident us vs. them dynamic between certain groups in the city, there is always a circling of the wagons when Boston is facing outward to the rest of the country. So there must be more to this place than the sum of its parts.

Which leads me to ask you about this:

His partner is played by Laurence Fishburne, who wasn’t told, unfortunately, that black people in Boston don’t speak with a Boston accent.

I know it’s a minor bone to pick, but what experience or knowledge did you use as basis for that comment? An assumption that only Irish-Bostonians drop their Rs and As? Michael Dukakis certainly would debunk that statement.

Visit an elementary school in Chinatown, and you’ll see the children of Chinese immigrants saying cah and pahk, just like many of their teachers. Maybe not to the exaggerated degree that you’d find on the South Shore or in the Kennedy family, but it’s there.

Would you similarly argue that blacks born and educated in Chicago don’t speak with a Great Lakes Mid-West accent?

The Boston accent originated in East Anglia, when the first English colonists came from. It’s been refined and extended by a immigrant groups of all kinds (not to mention a few of us transplants from other parts of the country). I think there is a mistaken assumption here, and I’d hate for non-Bostonians to get the wrong idea when watching this film.


Now, I’m not a native Bostonian, but I have been here for nearly a decade — and I know many people that grew up in this town, and share the local accent– be they from hispanic, black, or other backgrounds. Does anyone disagree? Am I overreacting to a small bit in an otherwise good review?

UPDATE: Ms. Zacharek kindly responded to my letter:

Hi Ned — Thanks for your letter. I actually took great pains to make it clear that the clannishness shown in the movie isn’t total — the neighborhood of the movie seems to me very much like South Boston (though plenty of people are writing in saying, “No, it’s Charlestown!” or “No, it’s Dorchester!”) I think the point is, there ARE pockets of Boston that are particularly clannish, and Lehane’s story is predicated on that.

And the L. Fishburne line…I just went in and cut that from the piece, because it seemed to be a bone of contention with several people. I lived in Boston for 15 years (it was only four years ago that I left), and I never heard a person of color speak the way Fishburne does. Then again, all of Boston is set up so that a white person (like me) never needs to come into contact with a person of color unless he or she makes a great effort to do so. So it’s entirely possible that there are African Americans in Boston who speak like Mark Wahlberg and I just never heard them. In any event, it did seem like a misguided acting choice to me.

Anyway, thank you again for taking the time to write in with your thoughtful comments, and best wishes —

Stephanie Zacharek

I’m humbled that she responded so generously, but now that I think about it, I’m feeling a bit like the PC Police. I didn’t want her to self-censor herself, but I thought that I should say something.

Rally Cap

I’ve been wearing my rally cap since the 5th inning.

Wow. Trot wins it in the 11th inning on a home run to the deepest part of Fenway.

Powerbook en Route

My 12″ Powerbook 12.1/1GHZ/786/80/CMBO/BT/LL is enroute from Taoyuan City, Taiwan, and you can bet that I’ll be watching the FedEx tracking page every moment.

It’s expected on 10/9, only one day late.

UPDATE: It’s here! And boy is it fast…