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.