Monday, January 30, 2006

Beneath the floorboards

I met one of the new downstairs neighbors Sunday morning (I think there's more than one person living there). Because his (their) music was louder than the bar I'd been at the night before.

I nearly broke my hand knocking on his door to ask him to turn it down. To his credit, he did eventually answer the door and turned it down. Not down enough, but down. He seemed generally nice.

Now it's Monday night. Roommate and I have jobs that begin very early. Loud music in the evenings is not going to be a good thing. And it's not very good music either- I can't quite identify it, but let's just say synthesizers play a large role, as do drums. I don't want this to turn into a war, but I do not see the need to play music at full volume all the time. Oh yeah, and then they try to talk over it, can't hear each other and yell.I feel like putting on my Doc Martens and jogging around the apartment. But I'm not passive-aggressive, so I won't.

I grew up in an apartment/condo. There were four families in the building. The newest people to move in arrived when I as 6 (I'm now 26). We had respect for each other. Example- my upstairs neighbors understood that a little kid lived downstairs and nighttime was not the time to be doing loud things.


Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Locksmith wanted

Umm... Someone just tried to get into our apartment. I heard keys in the door and thought it was odd since Roommate had gone to sleep already. I thought it was a fluke. Then the door began to rattle with a bit more force. I was freaked out, yet curious. So I looked through the peephole and saw two or three men (peepholes only afford so much peripheral vision). I'm really worried at this point because the men are not letting up their efforts. I make the decision to wake Roommate. By the time he makes it out of bed and we open the door the men are gone. We opened the door and called out, but no answer.

Was another neighbor like drunk and forgot where he lived or something equally bizarre?

Not cool.

Spotted Hog

This summer I will be attending a wedding reception at place called The Spotted Hog Restaurant.
I just had to share that.

Things about Boston

Through the eyes of a semi-newbie* (at least I am as of January 25th, 2006).

Some things I find fascinating about Boston and the surrounding towns:

  • Shortened street names-which is rather practical as far as I'm concerned....once you get used to it.
  • I've long wondered- why there is no 'A' train on the Green Line? It seems to have existed at one point. (Maybe I'm just biased towards trains versus buses).
  • The Green Line moves at a glacial pace. I'm becoming a bigger fan of the Orange Line, despite the loud high school kids that seem to always be on it with me.
  • 'Express' means something very different in Boston transit terms than anywhere else I've ever been. I gave myself about an hour to get from JP to that part of Comm Ave., that should've been plenty. The 'express' train from Kenmore to Babcock St. took forever. I almost had to call and change my appointment, as the 'express' train was making me late.
  • I saw a school bus run a red light. A school bus.
  • It seems that almost all salons in the city are on Newbury St. Why?
  • General chaos of parking regulations around here
  • I saw a sign in Cambridge for 12 minute parking. That's so random.
  • That residents of Cambridge are called Cantabrigians
  • The layers of communication that exist online (outside of the mainstream media)
  • That people in the metro area have not yet rebelled or staged a coup in response to the construction, Big Dig, or the flaws associated with it. (I thought I had it bad when I lived in N.Y. and N.J. Boy was I wrong).
  • A prostitute is called a Common Night Walker

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*It's not like I'd never been to Boston before moving here. I've long visited friends and gone to baseball games while living in nearby Providence for the past few years.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Bad day at work

I thought I had some bad days at work. Not compared to this guy:

....the president of the volunteer ambulance group, has agreed to a year's probation and to undergo retraining for deciding last May that lightning victim Kevin Crandall was dead when he was actually alive.

Monday, January 23, 2006

The white stuff

It snowed today. A lot. The snow was thick and clumpy, like horrible rainy dandruff.
I spent a few years living in central New York, so I learned to drive in snow because I had to. Horrible, lake-effect, windy snowstorms. So, naturally, I have definite opinions about the way the cars around me function on the road during a snowstorm.

My pet peeves revolve around those people who think they're immune to the laws of physics and speed around the streets like it's a beautiful June day. One needs to learn to respect the snow and ice that layer the pavement, especially since salting the roads is not a concept that every municipality around here understands.

My other is about the fearful snow drivers. A healthy amount of fear is OK. Panic that is obvious to all the drivers around you is not. Someone in a Land Rover was in front of me at one point. I have a Subaru, which is a great car, but it wasn't built for roving through the African savannah (a friend who runs tours in Africa swears by Rovers). If I can get up a hill without skidding or sliding, there is no reason that the Land Rover in front of me needs to crawl up it at 15 mph. There was one person in a sedan who really should've just pulled over and let the eight cars behind him/her go. That person became a danger the moment another car tried to pass it on a one-lane road.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Farewell to West Wing

I'm saddened to hear about the cancellation of The West Wing. I must say that I knew it would not survive against The Simpsons. It was silly of NBC to move the show's time period. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

The West Wing Blog tells us that the character of Vice Presidential candidate Leo McGarry, played by the recently deceased John Spencer, will die a few days before the general election. This makes me wonder- how many times on WW can a dead guy get elected?

I'll really miss the show. Sometimes it's like a civics class, but less boring. Nothing is black or white. It's complex and has characters that can have many subtleties. Sometimes it can get a tad bit overdramatic. But it tends to do so with much more wit and better writing than other shows.

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Saturday, January 21, 2006

Don't shoot the messenger: Part II

Tonight I had to work for someone. Weeknights are busy, as this is when a majority of TV news is shot over the airwaves or through the fiber optics and into your TV. One of the reporters, who I genereally like, asked me if I could pull some videos off a server and burn them to DVD since the station doesn't keep any airchecks of liveshots. It appears Emmy nominations are due soon. I searched about and eventually ended up having to call the Boss and ask him if this was possible. Turns out it's not (complicated thing having to do with the way things are encoded... I'll spare you the boring details). Reporter looks at me. "Are you sure?" she asks. "Yes." Proceeded to tell her what the Boss had told me. She continues to look skeptical. "Look, I'm not just fucking with you. I'm not mean like that. There's no way I can do this. There's no way Boss can do this. Apparently video needs to be ordered from an outside source."

She continues to look at me skeptically. Asks if I mind if she emails my supervisor to ask him herself. I tell her that I have no problem with this (since she's just going to hear the same answer).

This is one thing I do not like about TV news. Reporter gave me the impression that she thought I was deliberately standing in her way of Emmy (or whatever award) glory. I'm not. I would've loved to have been able to help her. Now I just ant to help her deal with her paranoia issues.

I don't dislike people unless they give me a reason to. I'm not here to stand in anyone's way because that's probably not going to be so productive for me in the end. Catch more flies with honey then with vinegar, right?

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Stanley Cup

I recently ran across this pic that I took at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto while on my trip to Canada last year.

Doggy style

When my dad was in college he ha a roommate who had some sort of small dog- Yorkie, Toy Poodle, or something. Anyway, he once told me that the dog would try to jump up on a bed or couch and since it had such little legs, the poor thing would basically ram its head into the mattress or couch. And it made repeated attempts, launching itself up at the furniture again and again. If only they'd had these.


Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Boston PD takes offense... the writer of an op-ed piece saying that they had precincts. It's like they (or their publicist) were more offended by the use of that term than by the insinuation about minorities in the department.

We have heard from a number of people about several of the concerns that were raised in the opinion piece. Therefore, in our commitment to provide the community with accurate and updated information on department-related issues, we felt it was necessary to provide these clarifications.

Here are quotes directly from the opinion editorial followed by the correct information.

Quote: There is not one African- American commanding any of Boston'’s 13 precincts.
Clarification: It is assumed that by 'precincts' the author is referring to our police districts. 'Precincts'” is a term used by New York City, however it is not commonly used in Boston.

(as seen on BPDNews)

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Windy Wednesday

The jet-propulsion force wind just blew open my glass patio door. Not all the way, but a few huge gusts managed to unlock it. What shoddy construction. Luckily, we live several floors up so no one else has access to it (otherwise I'd be scared that a big ghetto raccoon, like the one I had a small standoff with early this morning, might wander in).

American Idol

It's back!

I just love watching them separate the wheat from the chaff in the first few weeks. Don't judge me. It's just like watching the Oscars to see what people are wearing. And I've reliably predicted the winners of the past four seasons (I never watched the first one) based only on the first few rounds of auditions. I guess everyone has their useless talents. (My other one is trivial trivia).


Tuesday, January 17, 2006

New Orleans mayor wishes for 'chocolate' city, Willy Wonka unavailable for comment

Mayor Nagin wants a 'chocolate' city, Willy Wonka unavailable for comment.


Saturday, January 14, 2006

Why do the TV programming deities hate me?

I like the Patriots. I do. It's nice living where a football actually wins (my family consists of long-suffering N.Y. Jets fans). I do resent the success of New England's beloved Pats when it interferes with my life (or lack thereof). I have to stay at work tonight, on a Saturday, until the Patriots- Broncos game ends to post highlights. I normally work weekend nights until around 10:30 or 11 p.m. This sucks but it also could be worse...I could, like tonight, have to be here until later than that. I barely get to have a social life as is. Now that success of the Pats is ruining the little bit of a social life that I manage to have. Why couldn't this have been an afternoon game? Why do the TV programming deities hate me?

I am so frustrated. I want a life. I want to have a fair chance to actually make friends in my new city. I am turning into one of those people that I feared- the person who doesn't have any friends because their oddball schedule keeps them from meeting anyone that they don't work with (and things aren't so great with that either, but that's another ranty post for another time).
And I had such fun plans for tonight- to go out dancing to blow off steam.

Update: Broncos buck Pats 27-13

It's a little after midnight and I am still here. I have to wait until the post-game show is done and then wait 20 minutes for the highlight tape to be edited for me. Let me tell you, the Sports guys are just thrilled about having to do that on top of dealing with producing a show with one reporter halfway across the county.... They told me (in a pissy voice full of attitude no less) that News is supposed to do that.... Hey, I'm just the messenger, please don't shoot me.

I appreciate Sports doing this for me (note- a higher up asked Sports to do it, not me). I actually don't know who is supposed to make the web-safe sports highlight tape for us normally because:
  1. it would be far beyond this place to have some sort of order to it
  2. I'm not usually here when the 'special' package is given to us webbies
  3. Someone would have to tell me that the editor who does the sports wrap-up tape every morning actually worked in one department vs. another. I have no idea what the departmental breakdowns are (unless you work in sales, then I can figure it out by the way you dress and the fact that you work in another part of the building).

The egg cream

I got a counter person at a Boston eatery to make me an egg cream today. I've been living in New England for about five years and miss those dearly. He made a fabulous one and was so delighted by my response to it's perfection that he is going to try to get the management to feature it as a drink and see how customers respond. I said that ex-New Yorkers would probably love 'em.

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Friday, January 13, 2006

TV newswear

An anchorwoman on a local TV channel is wearing a halter top today, not dissimilar in style from this one. She's got a jacket over it, but still.... there's something kind of unprofessional about it if someone delivering serious news shows too much skin.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Nice winter weather a danger to kids?

The nice weather in the middle of January makes living in Boston easier. I am pondering if it is dangerous to some kids. I spent some times today on the porch and spied a neighbor's child- maybe 3 or 4 years old- out on their third-floor porch, atop two of those plastic porch chairs, hands on the railing, jumping up and down. If she'd gotten a little more enthusiastic she would've gone headfirst over the side.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

When a member of the tribe goes too far

This is just creepy. Poor gals who've gotten that awful surprise in the mailboxes.

A few thoughts:

  • He could just buy a Russian bride
  • I wonder if he wants to actually be a father or just spread his seed? Will be be a daddy or a baby-daddy?
  • He'd probably get better responses if he offered something other than his DNA in return- cash, marriage, housing, etc...….
(via Esther)

A hooker by any other name....

Just came across this on the Boston Police Department blog (Yes, they have a blog. It's actually quite handy, we use it at the station sometimes):

New Jersey Women Arrested as Common Night Walker in South End

Police Officers assigned to District 4 in the South End arrested 21 year-old XXX XXXXX of Port Monmouth, New Jersey as a Common Night Walker early this morning. The Officers arrested XXXX at the intersection of Berkley Street and Appleton Street around 0145hrs after observing her for the third time in various locations in the South End where complaints of prostitution have been identified.

Apparently here in the capital city we refer to a hooker as a "Common Night Walker"
1. "Common Night Walker" sounds like some kind of bird -Tom and Sally spotted three Common Night Walkers with unusual plumage on their way to the T.

2. What do we call a hooker out working the corner before dusk- a "Common Day Walker"?

'Plain' and simple?

My thoughts on JP after reading this profile in the Boston Globe Magazine. I do think that the profile captured the spirit of the place. I even emailed it to friends and family in other parts of the coutnry who don't understand how I can live in the city of Boston while not residing in downtown Boston.

I'm a recent transplant to Boston and have the same ambivalence about the place that many subjects in the article expressed. I enjoy the charm and the greenery, the open-minded spirit of the community. On the flip side I was dismayed to see how many 'useful things' the area lacks. Or, as Chris mentions, it doesn't function like a normal city neighborhood should. But, rents in Boston being what they are I found an affordable place in JP and would've been silly not to take it. I'm not saying that a Starbucks is a necessity, but a more mainstream supermarket would be great. I hate having to drive to West Roxbury or Brookline for everyday food- it makes me thankful I have a car. And where does one go to rent a mainstream movie in JP?

This is familiar turf for owner Vince Petryk, who walks into J.P. Licks just as my conversation with his customers is ending. Petryk, who's wearing a black-and-white scarf and has fogged eyeglasses from the cold, says that of his eight stores scattered around Greater Boston, his "mother ship"—as he calls the JP one, where all the ice cream is made—remains his busiest. And other than a few restaurants, such as Zon's, with its delicious comfort food, from mac and cheese to meatloaf to lamb burgers, and Ten Tables, one of Boston's most romantic spots, which has just landed one of the city's best chefs in Amanda Lydon, J.P. Licks might be the only destination in Jamaica Plain that draws outsiders to the strip.

Just this year, after the tired-looking post office next door was rebuilt, Petryk spruced up his own sidewalk table space, something he wishes more of his neighbors would do. It's hard not to notice the Chinese restaurant across the street with the graffiti-scarred metal grate, or the office building with the drab, worn-down signs.

Vince Petryk is correct when he suggests that other merchants on Centre Street work on the outward appearance of their businesses and of the street in general. It's got a bunch of cute stores, but it's not a cute street. And cute streets bring in the money. (Note- this does not mean conformist with all stores looking alike, it just means less shabby and more 'shabby chic').

There's no need to completely sell out to chains stores, but there must be some sort of happy medium.

Workplace blues

Things like this frustrate me.

An employee gets a day off with pay on these holidays:

New Years Day

Martin Luther King Day

Presidents Day

Memorial Day

Independence Day

Labor Day

Thanksgiving Day

Christmas Day

But hourly (non-salaried) employees are only paid overtime on these days:

New Years

July 4th



Shouldn't I get paid overtime for working on every holiday that a 'regular' employee gets off? If I was an hourly employee in the Sales Department I'd have the day off. Somehow this does not seem fair. (Yes, I know, not everything in life is fair.....But still, this doesn't seem cool).

While we're on the topic....

I am still feeling like a fish out of water in many ways at work. It's tough to bond with co-workers when your back is to them (this thought is echoed by at least one other web person at the station) since you're not really a part of conversations, whether they relate to News or not. I feel that I am not really making friends as easily as I usually do. This also has to do with my odd schedule since I'm not really able to socialize a few nights of the week since I need to be in bed so early. Doesn't help that I work one night per weekend.


Monday, January 09, 2006

Concept cars cool in more ways than one

Some of the cars being shown at the Detroit Auto Show have options and perks that boggle the mind.
  • The Lincoln MKX has heated and cooled front your butt is always the right temperature.
  • The new Buick has individual DVD players for each occupant. Somehow this seems like a bit much. I spent many valuable hours honing my creativity skills while daydreaming on long car rides. (I also taught myself how to read using the exit signs along the L.I.E. when shuttling between the divorced parents almost every weekend).
  • A new CUV from Ford... they felt it important to stress in the press release that this is not an off-road vehicle. It's also got a 20 oz. cup holder for your Big Gulp.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Morbid curiosity of TV news

I came to work today and saw a note in ENPS that was titled "Sharon graphics if he dies"

It struck me as morbid at first, but then I remembered that success "is where preparation and opportunity meet" ( at least according to Bobby Unser). And we strive to be successful a this channel.

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Thursday, January 05, 2006

'Mining' the truth

The fallout from the' miner miscommunication' continues today...(or at least until the media get bored). Anyway, I think that while the blame seems to be placed mainly on the print media for the screw up, it is tougher to undo what's already been printed. Not to mention that they are competing with faster forms of global communications. Kelly McBride from the Poynter Institute thinks that there is another way that this could've been handled:

Mistakes made in print are cruel and harsh, much more so than mistakes made in pixels. In print, you usually can't take it back for at least 24 hours.

Readers would be even more forgiving if today's stories stated: 'Families and friends of the missing miners celebrated news of a miracle in the early morning hours Wednesday. The governor said the miners were alive. The friends and families said they were alive. Both said they were informed by sources within the rescue command center. The mining company had not made an official statement as of 1 a.m.'”

But many stories failed to provide that context. They simply reported that the miners were alive. The families were overjoyed and the choirs were singing hymns of praise. By the time our alarm clocks went off, it was all wrong. It could have been different.

Side note- It's creepy and somehow intrusive to have reporters reading text from notes left by the miners before dying. The messages were most likely meant for family and friends, not to be shared with the entire media-saturated world.

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Wednesday, January 04, 2006

'Miner' trouble in W.V.

FYI-I got to work at a bit before 5 A.M. and by that time the miners were dead.

Watching the MSNBC recap of 'how could the media have screwed this up?'

It's really hard to know who to trust on this one (and I'm saying this as a member of the Evil Mainstream Media).

Tony Macilius, an MSNBC producer made a good point when he said that not only were the mainstream media to blame for the error, but so are the bloggers who crucify the mainstream media. I can't speak for the validity of how many bloggers got the info correct vs. media conglomerates, but when I blog about something 'real' I use the same standards that I would at work. When is comes down to it I wrote it. And if it's incorrect I'm going to get blamed for it. So I want to make sure my facts are correct.

Interesting this happened this morning at work though. A bunch of people in the news room were pondering the idea of such bastions of journalism as the NY Times, USA Today, and the Boston Herald having incorrect info on the first draft of their front pages...and wondering how to counteract that, I put in my two cents- that's what you have a website for. (Sure enough, by around 7 A.M., if not earlier, the NY Times and USA Today had corrections on their website).

Ummm..and Dick Cheney picks today to speak out about the 'mixed messages' that the troops in Iraq are getting...?....For some reason this seems insensitive to me.

As I watch the press conference given by the president of International Coal Group, Inc. I am reminded of something my Intro to PR told the class- when you're in a crisis situation, stay with one spokesperson and don't lie. I imagine that the company's lawyers are upset that he's going to risk standing up against the media but it's his company an his mistake. (He does seem very upset and emotional...either that or he's a really good actor). He's also choosing to go over a timeline of the flow of information that led to misinformation being sent out into the world. And he keeps praising the rescue/ removal team. This is a good way for the company to save face in the looming 'miscommunication' that occurred.

Oh, wait. They've got a second guy. Not sure what his name is...another mining exec, perhaps? He's crying too. Mine rescuers called base and told everyone that 12 people were alive, then asked all non-necessary personnel to leave the room at the fresh air base. Non-essential personnel went out to spread the joy.... even though they were explicitly told not to do so. OOPS!

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Police puzzle

Today I was about to pull into a parking garage in Brookline.... I say 'about' because in front of me was a Brookline cop and a Jeep. I thought they were also turning onto the street I was. They were. But apparently the cop wanted to pull this guy over. So what does he do? If you said 'do the logical thing and pull off onto the side of the very broad street' you'd be wrong. The cop gets out of his car and goes to talk to the driver at the gate of the garage. Somehow they end up blocking the entrance to the garage. I swing around to use another entrance and come across them inside the parking garage. Now they are blocking not just me, but two other cars. Some things just leave me shaking my head.

Open season

It's intern season. This morning when I got to work a little before 5 A.M. the news room was seemed like it was teeming with them. I'm used to intern season being in the summer, but I guess there are more eager beavers in Boston colleges than back in Providence.
Anyway, one of the anchorpeople thought that s/he'd show off for the interns and began bossing people around and making elaborate 'suggestions'- made me think of the movie Anchorman. Also made me thankful that my job does not require me to deal with the anchors all that often (though there is a weekend weather guy I'm not crazy about...but that's for another time...).

I often wonder if other industries, besides broadcasting, experience a glut of eager young interns at a certain time of the year.....

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Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Not again

More gun shots tonight. Then sirens. I cannot live on this street much longer. Things are not getting better. I believe that it was safe for seven years. I wonder what has caused the change?
This is a Tuesday night, not a weekend night, like last time.

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Storm Central

You prepare and prepare but you can't make the snow come down as much as you'd like sometimes. TV news stations make elaborate preparations for the giant amount of snowfall they hope will come. Because if it doesn't, then they've just wasted all that time on some measly rainy and slushy weather. It's annoying when you send three reporters out in the field to show the viewers the snow and all they really have to say is "it's raining and not that dangerous."

I suppose in some way a huge blizzard, while inconvenient, is a news station's wet dream. Then the money spent on the Storm Central/Storm 2006/Storm Watch setup can be justified.

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