Tag Archive for 'Cambridge'

Google Maps: Boston Street View

It was announced yes­ter­day that Google Maps’ Street View comes to more cities, includ­ing Boston. So nat­u­rally, I looked up our pre­vi­ous apart­ment in Cam­bridge, MA. The weird thing is that myself, and our friends/upstairs neigh­bors Tyler and Sarah are pictured!


We’re hav­ing our mov­ing sale, and that’s my Saab in the fore­ground. I can prob­a­bly peg the date taken to August 11th or 12th, 2007 – the week­end before we moved.

Click the photo to see notes, look at it big, or check it out on Google Maps your­self. I am a lit­tle creeped out.

Con­tinue read­ing ‘Google Maps: Boston Street View’

Free IKEA Sofa in Cambridge

Hi – one big piece of fur­ni­ture left before our move Wednes­day. It’s an IKEA sofa/couch:


Con­tinue read­ing ‘Free IKEA Sofa in Cambridge’

Moving Sale

IKEA Rakke wardrobeLisa and I are pack­ing up our Cam­bridge apart­ment in advance of our move to Brook­lyn in early August. As such, we are get­ting rid of a lot of stuff – most of the big stuff is IKEA related.

We’re going to be doing the yard sale thing tomor­row morn­ing, and maybe sun­day as well. For more info, map, etc. check these out:

Waitin’ Tables

Can’t help but pass along this Remain­der from Jason Kot­tke – NY Times food critic Frank Bruni spends a week “under­cover” as a waiter at a [Cam­bridge] restau­rant. In the end, he real­izes the hell that is being a waiter:

try­ing to be flu­ent in the menu and the food, calm in the face of chaos, patient in the pres­ence of rude­ness, avail­able when din­ers want that, invis­i­ble when they don’t. It’s a lot, and I should remem­ber that.

Does this real­iza­tion dampen his din­ing expec­ta­tions? Nope:

I’d still like fre­quent water refills. And a mar­tini from hell. Straight up.

It reminds me of the polite lit­tle argu­ments Pres­ley & I have on whether or not to leave 20%, even when receiv­ing shitty ser­vice. Though I never advo­cate leav­ing less than 15%, I also think that the bonus tip should be reserved for com­pe­tent, polite servers. What’s wrong with that?


A cou­ple of Jan­u­ary birth­days help con­tinue my trend of post­ing to Flickr only pho­tos of my friends drinking…


Stef’s 31st Birth­day – More on Flickr »

birthday girl

Nobuko’s 33rd Birth­day – More on Flickr »

Saturday walk

23 Sydney 3Wow, another week­end with great weather. Like last week, I took another walk around the neigh­bor­hood, and snapped some photos:

One of the more archi­tec­turally inter­est­ing build­ings to go up in recent years, is the lux­ury con­dos at 23 Syd­ney. They’re really lovely, but likely inhab­ited by wealthy Aholes.

More pho­tos here.

Good News Garage This is the famed Good News Garage, oper­ated by Ray Magliozzi of Car Talk fame.

curbs A while back I men­tioned that they were tear­ing up and re-paving Brook­line Ave, near our house… well, we noticed some­thing cool — they’re going to nar­row the road by about half, extend­ing the side­walk out 20 feet or so. I sus­pect a nice bus stop will soon follow.

Don't Dump I love these lit­tle plaques, which can be found all over Boston and Cam­bridge: “Don’t Dump. Drains to Charles River.” Is that where our toi­lets drain too?

Squirrel Brand

Squirrel BrandWe dis­cov­ered an inter­est­ing urban story on a walk we took this past week­end, down Colum­bia Street in Cam­bridge map… the famous Squir­rel Brand candy and nut com­pany fac­tory, made famous by 90′s swing-revivalists Squir­rel Nut Zip­pers, (don’t let that turn you off).

After decades of pro­duc­tion, the com­pany moved on, but the city and com­mu­nity stepped in and con­verted the build­ing and grounds to afford­able housing:

The Squir­rel Brand build­ing had to be gut­ted. Its 132 6-by-8-foot win­dows, 12.5-foot ceil­ings, and wood floors had been sat­u­rated by more than eight decades of molasses steam. Just-A-Start offi­cials esti­mate a cost of $6 mil­lion to ren­o­vate the fac­tory and two smaller build­ings the orga­ni­za­tion pur­chased nearby. But they say they remain com­mit­ted to sav­ing the build­ing rather than lev­el­ing it.

Also, I had no idea just how much candy was man­u­fac­tured here… Necco, Tootsie-Roll, Squir­rel Brand:

In 1928, at the height of an era when Cam­bridge pro­duced most of the treats that sat­is­fied the nation’s sugar crav­ing, 32 con­fec­tionary man­u­fac­tur­ers flour­ished within the city lim­its. They took ships’ holds full of sugar or molasses from the West Indies and turned it into gooey, sticky, and choco­latey treats.

Unfor­tu­nately, only a Toot­sie sub­sidiary remains on Main Street…

Pressed Sandwiches

pressedPressed, Cen­tral Square
736 Mass­a­chu­setts Ave, Cam­bridge, MA 02139 [map]

Rarely am I moti­vated enough to post about food… after all, it’s some­thing I do every day (that is, eat). But, there is a newish eatery in Cen­tral Square called Pressed, which I’ve lunched at a cou­ple of times now, and I felt com­pelled to offer some observations.

Pressed is the kind of sand­wich shop that puts all the empha­sis on detail… the inte­rior is dec­o­rated very mod­ern, with an earthy green glow, black chalk­boards with the offer­ings, and nice light treat­ments. One odd thing that I noticed is that every­thing is branded with their leafy logo – from lit­tle bags of candy, to bot­tled water. Think high-end McDonald’s, with­out the playground.

Set­ting aside the ambiance, (which I will return to later), how is the food? Quite good, it turns out. I’m a fan of panini-style sand­wiches, and toasted bread in gen­eral, but often times when you order a panini at other places, you get reg­u­lar old sub-shop ingre­di­ents pressed between way too much bread. Pressed hits the mark both in the qual­ity of ingre­di­ents, and bread. Their break­fast sand­wiches are espe­cially deli­cious, made with real eggs and cheeses. They serve cof­fee with the haughty brand name of Ter­rior, and it’s pretty tasty in hot and cold form.

So, for Pressed to spend all this energy get­ting all these details cor­rect, it’s a shame they don’t put the same effort into ser­vice. I stood ungreeted for about 5 min­utes today, ready to order, while two employ­ees were mum­bling about the cash reg­is­ter. Then, after order­ing, and hold­ing out my $20-bill, the young man (who looked like an art-school post-grad), started shuf­fling menus and look­ing up prices in silence… after what seemed like all morn­ing, he announced that my $3.75 break­fast sand­wich and large iced cof­fee would cost – $5, even. After a sec­ond of pro­cess­ing, I fig­ured out that the reg­is­ter was bro­ken. Not a big deal, it would make sense to com­mu­ni­cate this to the customer.

So, I sad­dled up at a table to flip through last week’s Weekly Dig, and waited for my break­fast. After 10 min­utes or so, I finally stood up, and the other employee, (who looked and sounded like he’d be more at home in a fam­ily diner, behind the grille), turned and grabbed a bag from the counter, and handed it to me. How long had it been sit­ting there? If I had sat there another 10 min­utes, would he have called me then?

Ser­vice is a big deal to me – even in a fast-food sand­wich shop. My pre­vi­ous two vis­its might have gone smoother, how­ever it’s a shame that this one has cemented my impression.

Blizzard of 2005

Brookline Ave

I just came in from shov­el­ing the dri­ve­way of our next door neigh­bor, where he kindly let me park the 9–3… more than two feet of snow, bliz­zard con­di­tions, and very cold temperatures—reminds me of the Buf­falo bliz­zards of my youth…

Every­thing is closed, and I’m wait­ing to hear if I have to go in to work tomor­row morn­ing… in the mean­time, i put some pho­tos on “Flickr”:.


First Snow in Boston

First Snow”, by pres­ley

Is it just me, or is it not sup­posed to snow like this before Thanksgiving?

UPDATE: I’ve been fid­dling around with Flickr’s Blog func­tion­al­ity, try­ing to find a good tem­plate that works. This one was inspired by Matt Haughey’s solu­tion, which uses some inline styling to crop the photo.

I like this solu­tion not only because it is visu­ally attrac­tive, but also because it loads the image in the back­ground, hope­fully reduc­ing the ini­tial page load time. Of course, I don’t have a dial-up con­nec­tion to test this, but the­o­ret­i­cally, it makes sense.

Now, if only they would add cat­e­gory sup­port for their Blog widget…

Free to Marry

At 12 midnight, same-sex marriages were given to couples at Cambridge City HallThe Bay State is now the first-in-the-nation to grant same-sex mar­riage licenses to cou­ples, and I am proud to say that Our Fair City was the first – Cam­bridge City Hall at 12 mid­night, May 18, 2004.

A cou­ple of thou­sand peo­ple, joined together on the front lawn of City Hall, singing songs, hold­ing sup­port­ive signs (My favorite was “yay!”), and clap­ping as each cou­ple made their way up the stairs, and into the building…

It was really mov­ing. Cheers everybody!

First (real) Snow

Hastings Square, Cambridge

We in the north­east are get­ting our first snow storm of the year.

After ven­tur­ing down to Quincy tonight, it was nice to find out that my Saab is actu­ally quite good in the snow. We were back in Cam­bridge in one piece before the snow really started pil­ing up.

It’ll be a nice week­end to curl up with a bot­tle of wine, a good book, & some­one you love.

UPDATE: Snow­ste­ria! (requires Quicktime)

Temporary Digs

Due to the fire, we’ve taken up tem­po­rary digs at a friend’s apart­ment in All­ston. Plum-B is stay­ing in Maine for a while, and he didn’t need his room, which he offered to us for noth­ing in return.

His 3 room­mates (and house-kitten Alfie) have been truly gen­er­ous. And I’ve got a fel­low weblog­ger to talk CSS and XHTML with—Jason writes at yovanoff.com. And our cat Katya has another kit­ten to bully around.

Life can get pretty strange, but it’s oddly com­fort­ing know­ing that your friends can pull it together when you need them. Now, we’ve got to fig­ure out how to sue the pants off our landlord…

Fire, Part II

Fire photo albumIt took longer than expected to post pic­tures of the fire. Here are the details:

We had a lit­tle fire in our build­ing on Fri­day afternoon.

Fri­day, around noon, my girl­friend Pres­ley was at home… and she heard a bump—which she thought sounded like a neigh­bor drop­ping some­thing. Shortly there­after, the build­ing fire alarm went off and she approached the door. There was some smoke com­ing in.

So, she opened the door, and saw that the hall­way was filled with black smoke. She couldn’t tell where the fire was com­ing from, so she closed the door and called 911. They told her to stay put, and put a wet towel under the door.

She grabbed our cat Katya and put her in her crate, and opened the win­dows… wait­ing for the fire­men. Finally, 20 min­utes later, 4 guys came crash­ing through our door with axes and O2 masks, and checked to make sure she was okay. Of course she was, she just wanted to get the heck out of there.

Fire photo albumSo, they decided it was too dan­ger­ous to go out through the hall­way, so they started axing the heck out of our front win­dows, rip­ping the frames right out of the wall. They helped Pres­ley onto one of those lad­ders, and helped her walk down to safety. One of them car­ried the cat down too, who was remark­ably calm for a change.

Once she was on the ground, she called me, and I left work.

As far as we know, the cause of the fire was this:

The apart­ment next door to us was vacant for about a month—so they must’ve had trou­ble fill­ing it—so they decided to refin­ish the hard­wood floors. When con­trac­tors were sand­ing the polyurethane, they appar­ently didn’t turn off the gas. I’m not sure what the con­nec­tion was that started the fire, but the “bump” that Pres­ley felt was some kind of explo­sion. It could also be related to the polyurethane fumes and a lack of proper ventilation.

They had the entire block roped off, and as far as I know no peo­ple or pets were injured (includ­ing Pres­ley and Katya). The fire­men were really great, as were the Red Cross, EMTs and the city of Cam­bridge. With the excep­tion of glass, no win­dows, and smoke, we have no fire or water damage.

We stayed in a Bed & Break­fast for the week­end, and we are now stay­ing with friends—so we are set­tled and comfortable.

Time to look for a new apartment…


Big news in our lives at the moment—there was a fire in our build­ing and we had to move out while they clean up and rebuild.

I really wanted to post about it while I was stand­ing around on Mass Ave Fri­day, watch­ing the fire­men and EMTs. Time to set up Moblog­ging, I suppose.

Nobody was hurt, includ­ing our kit­ten Katya… more details to come, along with a photo album of the scene and the damage.