How to eat pig and live till tomorrow

Seriously.. the media in Europe is going completely bonkers over the swine flu, causing people to stockpile flu medication and masks while hiding in their basements and covering every door and window with silicone. I should start selling masks online, because they are not in demand here. I remember somebody said that the American media fed off peoples fears, but this time it’s the media back home who are really putting it on thick. Oh well, I suppose it’s better then reading about muslims or jews, every. Single. Day.

Nice to know where to go when the zombies come.

Good to know where to go when the zombies come.

As for Boston, we’re in the middle of a totally sweet heat wave. Interestingly, it was pretty much the same weather exactly one year from now when we were here last time, yet people are still surprised at the heat. Enjoying it while it lasts, we headed for the Italian quarter to get some quality food but only got half way there before we had to stop for beers to lull the heat. A few beers and a monster appetizer later at a place where disgruntled waiters was part of the image, a rain shower hit and we figured it was time to get back home. Italians will have to wait till tomorrow.

Beacon Hill.

Beacon Hill.

New England perfection.

New England perfection.

Walking back we went over Beacon Hill, the most posh place in all of Boston. With it’s rugged cobblestone roads, gas lamps and old building it’s high on my list of places I would live if money weren’t an issue. Time to start working towards that million dollar. 

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Summer in the city

Saturday spelled heat and a long drive from New York to Boston. The heat gradually increased the closer we got, and by the time we hit Providence it was closer to 25 degrees. We dropped by a pretty cool place called Tazza, enjoying a burger with pesto and mozzarella while the likes of Sisters and Smiths played in the background. We have yet to find a place like that in Boston.

Posing by the town hall of Providence.

Posing by the town hall of Providence.

Next up, city driving. While getting in and out of New York proved easy enough, not so much for getting in to Boston. With numerous underground tunnels where the GPS doesn’t work, and a lot of one-way streets paired with a lack of sunlight, we spent a good 30 minutes driving around trying to find where to drop off Vigdis, Lasse and Magne. In the end it proved easier to just travel all five of us to the airport to return the rental car before taking the T back together. GPS 1 – Frank 0. By then it was closer to nine, and the air was warmer then ever. We got them settled in, dropped off our luggage then went for beers in the heat. Our round trip around New England and two day visit to New York was officially over. 

Green indepencende celebration.

Greek indepencende celebration.

Sunday was more of the same and we spent the day in the park, where we stumbled across a celebration of Greek independence. However, as one of the Greeks there could inform me, “it was actually last month but we waited till the weather got better”. Clever them Greeks, and apparently not too worried about dates. Now it’s time to get back out and enjoy the weather.. have to enjoy it while it lasts.

East Village People

Stepping out of the subway station in East Village is like entering a new town. The sky is open, the lanes are still wide but less trafficked, and the general feel of the place is completely different from downtown New York. We found a nice Italian cafe where we had breakfast in the back yard, before heading off to do some shopping. The sun was shining, the air warming up. Perfect.

Random street in East Village.

 

While I don’t mind riding subways the one here smells like a urinal, which I suppose also is one of it’s functions seeing as there are hardly any public toilets and “Customers Only” prevails throughout the city. We got off at Central Park, which more then made up for the trip. Still sunny and warm we threw ourselves down on the great lawn and, for a while, forgot that we were in the middle of a filthy, concrete jungle. The night ended with awesome pizza and the tasties tiramisu I’ve had in a while at yet another Italian restaurant.

My world!

 

Now we’re in the process of packing before heading back up through New England destination Boston. Not sure about the route yet but whatever we chose, our Garmin Nüvi will get us there safe and sound. GPS, I haz it.

It’s up to you, New York (NY)

NYC. The big apple. The city that never sleeps. The scene of countless alien invasions, zombie attacks, epidemic outbreaks, riots and terrorist attacks. Home of Wall Street, some French statue, two holes in the ground where there used to be towers, and about 7 million people. A reputation it can’t possibly live up to. Because it really is just a city, with tall building and supposedly unfriendly people.

GTA 5?

 

I’d describe the first feeling I got coming into the city as claustrophobic. Locked in, between huge buildings that blocks my entiere pheriphial vision, it’s a new experience for me. I quickly realize that something is wrong.. usually I’m floating behind the car when I’m driving these streets. San Francisco is GTA 3.. this is GTA 4. A sports car stops at a red light, and I have to fight the urge to switch cars. A valet outside our hotel parks the car for us. Must be a new feature.

Decent view, I suppose.

 

We spent the first part of the day doing tourist things, went up Rockefeller building, looked at the teeny weeny Statue of Liberty, checked out the place where World Trade Center used to be. Here we actually learned something.. a homeless guy named Harry, armed with a home made book of pictures and burning enthusiasm, told us how it wasn’t two building that collapsed. I figured him for a conspiracy nut about to blame it all on the government. I couldn’t have been more wrong. A brief lesson in mass and uncontrolled demolition later, and it doesn’t take a genious to figure out how the third large tower fell. Actually, seven buildings got destroyed when the towers collapsed, as the mass of the two largest buildings in New York tries to find somewhere to go. We tipped the man for his story, and went on our way.

Damn you, liberty!

 

Dinner at Planet Hollywood? Oh yes! Seeing as we live a few blocks off Time Square, places are either horribly expensive or horribly shabby. We went for horribly commercial, and live to tell the tale with our vallets intact. Night ended with drinks at a place I never catched the name of, where, upon inquiry into the content of a large jar with yellow tinted liquid standing behind the counter, our blond little russian bartender fished out a few pieces of what looked like pineapple and offered it to us in a shot glass. We got the short end of the stick. As she put it, «the pineapple tastes like vodka, and the vodka tastes like pineapple».

Playboy, catholic yoga and 80ies hits

Radio is a dying medium, or so I thought. However, when you find yourself driving for hours with no music of your own to play from the stereo, that old relic suddenly becomes your savior, a beacon of hope in an endless line of electrical shavers on wheels. After going through a few rock channels and a metal channel we were in the mood for some good old talk radio. First up; Playboy channel. Who would have thought playmates talking about their sex life would get boring so fast! The religious nuts over at the catholic channel proved to be much more entertaining, preaching about the evils of finding inner peace and strength within yourself. That kind of thing should come from Jesus, you heathens! Ah yes, stupid us.

For transportation we chose this Dodge Caliber (5 XT, whatever that stands for).

For transportation we chose this Dodge Caliber (5 XT, whatever that stands for).

Province town, or Ptown as the locals like to call it (shunning its real name, Innsmouth), proved to be almost as interesting as I had hoped. A sleepy little coastal town just waking up from it’s winter slumber, rain hanging heavily over the city and a tower in the middle where gargoyles watches over weary inhabitants. It felt like I was walking through a Lovecraftian novel, houses and back alleys just as I have imagined them so many times before.

A taste of Lovecraft.

A taste of Lovecraft.

As the locals starts eyeing us we figure it’s about time to move on, not to mention the fact that we had a lot of ground to cover. We set the GPS for New London, and by the time we got there it was already dark. Realizing that finding a place to park and eat would be a problem in a town we simply set course for New York hoping to find something on the way. Not five minutes later we pass Outback Steak House, the place said by Terje to be “the only thing I miss after living a year in the US”. Cheap, and man if it delivered. Steak was best I’ve had in quite a while, and the dessert was totally sweet!

Tasty!

Tasty!

Now we’re on a motel roughly two hours outside of New York, dizzy from hours of 80ies hits. Tomorrow morning we’re off to New York and hoping to hook up with our guests as early as possible. NYC in two days, they say it can’t be done but we’re doing it anyway!

In Soviet Russia, you eat Cthulhu!

Tomorrow we’re off to New York to pick up Kristine’s mother and brother who are coming to visit us for a while, and we’ve rented a car for the occasion. Seeing as we have a car, it’s also a perfect opportunity to do the Lovecraftian round trip of the small villages around New England and Cape Cod. I’m hoping for rain, a minimum of sun, empty taverns and grumpy fishermen who tell me to avoid the house on the hill as they look at me with glassy eyes and floppy ears.

We’ll be staying at a random place on our way down to New York, which is really only a 4-5 hour drive if you keep to the main roads. Once there we’re staying for two nights, getting a feel for the city and doing touristy stuff. And, granted we make it out alive, will be back on Saturday.

Other then that, we went to dinner with our landlord today and had oysters (at least two of us did) at a restaurant downtown. Tuesdays has the food variety of happy hour, with quality oysters at $1 a piece and low prices overall. I’m not one to turn down ocean tasting slime, not to mention that Evan is a pretty interesting and well connected guy. The rest of the evening was spent dying hair and laughing at leftist jokes over at Pundit Kitchen.

Nom nom nom in the park

After a day of just chillin’ at home we went to the park where we gathered up a group of more then 20 squirrles by handing out shelled peanuts. Too bad I didn’t bring my camera, but we’ll throw a proper picnic when the summer comes for real and make sure to document it. 

The whole thing played out something like this…

Protesters, parties and me

Walking home from the gym yesterday we saw a peculiar sight. Outside the church of Scientology was what at first seemed to be a carnival; people dressed as transformers, ninjas, maids and Guy Fawkes’ yelling and screaming. As we draw close we see the signs: Tax the cult, Scientology kills.. you get the idea. Realizing that I don’t have my camera and that I’m wearing my workout outfit (grey Miskatonic University t-shirt and a pair of grey shorts) I hurry home and hop in the shower, hoping to be back in time to talk with the group. No such luck. 30 minutes later they have scattered, and the fraternity which is having a BBQ next to the church doesn’t prove to be useful interviewing subjects. They also had no sense of humor, and disliked when I commented on the fact that while Scientology might be despicable, so are most modern religions. So far, fraternities are not living up to their reputation as fun loving pranksters. 

In other news I’ve grown somewhat fond of shopping, and have rather enjoyed looking for new pants, shoes, ties and shirts over the last few days. I even got a chance to wear some new stuff at Doris’ birthday party last night. Hanging out with the usual gang at a private party was a nice change of pace, too bad our place is too small to handle guests or we’d probably be throwing a few parties ourselves.

Besides clothes we also got ourselves a GPS unit for the upcoming trip to New York. It’s getting warmer in Boston, and more enjoyable by the day.. the sun is shining and as soon as the GPS gets a little more juice we’ll be taking it out for a test run.

Psycho Killer

Last night we were out with Doris and some other people from the Gambit lab, celebrating her birthday. We went to a place called Grendel’s Den, where Kristine and I shared a pretty awesomely large bowl of cheese fondue. Yes, bowl. While the food was good the service was crappy, and voting with our feet we finished off the evening with beers across the street. Me and Jesper gave the arcade machine a go, shooting wild life with a shotgun while scantly clad ladies where dancing on the loading screen. Strangeness. 

Having eaten nothing but cheese and bread last night we did our best to work it off at the MIT gym today before going off to look for some new shoes. I found a pair of slightly over the top footwear I am seriously considering going back for even though they require a new pair of pants to finish off a complete outfit. I also need to find a place to go shopping for some accessories.

On my way home, walking along enjoying the sun I met a homeless guy calling himself Uncle Richie who took it upon himself to sing me a song. Even had a list I could chose from. Sadly he didn’t know “Psyhco Killer”, the happy summer tune by Talking Heads which had been running in my head all day, but he sung me a jazz tune and I gave him two bucks for the effort. Turned out he was 49 and lived in a tunnel underneath Boston. I made a mental note to visit the Boston underground system, and to not find myself there at 49. 

Fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fa far better.. *hums and walks away*

MIT hacking culture

MIT. Clever. Geeky. Creative.. fun? With an unofficial motto like this, who can resist?

I’m going to let the pictures do the talking on this one, they do a much better job then me. 

 

"In case of zombie attack. Break Glass."

"In case of zombie attack. Break Glass."

 

The statue of John Harvard.

The statue of John Harvard.

 

Some hacks are simply alterations of signs.

Some hacks are simply alterations of signs.

 

Others, a little more elaborate. Yes, that is a police car.

Others, a little more elaborate. Yes, that is a police car.

While some settle for a laugh.

While some settle for a laugh.

The list goes on, here, to be exact. These are all what is commonly known as hacks, clever pranks by MIT students to amuse fellow students and staff alike. The dome is a favorite, but other buildings have been hacked as well, with one even getting a working toilet installed. The rules are simple, don’t destroy anything and don’t get caught.

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