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.