Wednesday, November 26, 2008

What I'm Thankful For

The train I take to work happens to continue on to Logan Airport. Today, when I got on the platform to wait, I was surrounded by the same thing: college kids with their small wheeling suitcase, heading home for Thanksgiving. A good majority were from Boston University, as I could tell by their matching hoodies, and judging by their nervousness, not many of them had ventured out to the blue line train yet.

Last year at this time I was home, having flown a Tuesday red eye from Los Angeles to Hartford. At this very moment I was probably asleep on the couch, since those flights always left me in a zombe-like state for several hours after landing. This year I'm not even leaving until tomorrow, on Thanksgiving Day. That luxury is one of the biggest reasons that I moved back to the east coast in the first place.

A funny thing happened earlier this year. A good number of my friends in Los Angeles decided to move away. None of these people were California locals, all had moved out there in the past 5-7 years and had decided that their time out on the west coast had drawn to a close. The hassle of planning a trip home from Los Angeles was always difficult - needing to know so far in advance, then practically losing two of the days because of the travel - the visits always seemed a lot shorter than they actually were.

That's what I'm thankful for, in this most hectic of years. The move was incredibly strenuous and I do miss a lot of close friends from California, but I wouldn't change what I've done for the world. I'm thankful for being closer to my family, living with my wonderful girlfriend and settling in to this new life of ours. I'm even thankful to be preparing for the dreadfully cold winter which will surely kill me.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Rainy Day Cliche

It's raining out. Harder than usual, but not completely unbearable. This kind of weather is difficult to stomach when using an outdoor subway station as your primary mode of transportation. During my junior year of college I had a similar situation over at St. Paul Street, which was actually worse, because the full express trains would pass right by. Now that I'm further down the line I can at least hop on and pray for the train to go express.

While I was outside waiting this morning there were a handful of unhappy people cluttered under the tiny bus stop awning. The braver people were out in the open, leaving their umbrellas to protect them. I waited with the brave folks. After about five minutes, a truck came barrelling down the road a little too close to the stop. I wasn't worried about the truck hitting us, but rather the giant puddle that had accumulated along side the barrier wall. Sure enough, it hit, and my legs got a little wet. The guy that was two spaces down from me got the brunt of it, soaking his backpack and legs. After that moment, everyone took a big step away from the wall, on to the yellow safety line next to the tracks. We all held out our umbrellas facing the puddle, attempting to sheild ourselves from the onslaught. Another girl made her way to the station and decided to lean right against the wall, despite everyone else standing a good two feet away. All of the umbrella holders glanced down the road to see an oncoming school bus, sure to soak the poor girl. Fortunately, the bus got caught by a red light and the train arrived, saving her from a damp morning.

The Aquarium is located right along the water, in the central wharf. There is an alley between the main building and the IMAX which creates a great place for wind to come shooting through. Naturally, while walking up the main plaza today, the wind was hard to walk against. Out of nowhere, a huge gust turned my umbrella inside out. The only reason it didn't completely blow away was that I had the wristband wrapped around my hand. It was terribly cliche and took a little while for the umbrella to be coaxed back into its normal shape.

So, the car splashed me and my umbrella turned inside out. What else could happen? I am probably going to step in a puddle that turns out to be about a foot deeper than it looks. Wayne Knight could crash his jeep on to our front stoop, only to be blinded and eaten by dinosaurs. Maybe Spider-man will hang upside down off the balcony across the street and kiss someone. Then Tim Robbins is going to tunnel out of the basement of my building, only to raise his arms in the middle of the street, victorious.

Actually, that last one would be awesome.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Emerson Quidditch Team

Emerson, Boston University clash in Quidditch

Yes, my alma mater has a Quittitch team.

No, they can't fly -- I think they are aware of that. I guess it would have to be considered similar to playing hockey in sneakers, on pavement. You're not moving around on the right surface, or as fast as you should be, but it's more like kids pretending to do something their own way.

I'm curious as to how the golden snitch works. I think maybe they hide it in the grass like an easter egg. Maybe someone in a full body camoflauge or green screen suit runs around holding it and they have to chase him. Maybe when the game gets too long, someone just chucks it up in the air and the seekers go apeshit chasing it down.

Apparently they have a well constructed plan: "In muggle Quidditch, a snitch is a person dressed in yellow with a sock hanging from the back of their pants. If a team's seeker is able to catch the snitch and grab the sock, the team is awarded 30 points; games do not end until it is caught."

Yeah. So the snitch is a person. And to win you must pull the sock out of his pants. That will teach him to mislead the ladies in the first place. Either way, I wish them luck in their next two games at the University of Narnia and home against Mordor State.

Monday, November 3, 2008

MBTA Guilt Trip

This morning apparently there was an issue on the blue line train where a passenger was holding the door open in order for someone else to make it on to their train. The driver became exceedingly angry and this is how it progressed:

"Please do not hold the door."
Fine, a nice verbal warning over the public address system. The typical warning should teach him. Assuming he heard it, we should be ready to roll.

"Why don't you just tell me when you're ready to leave?"
Stepping it up, the driver is now utilizing the same guilt tactics that most Jewish mothers have perfected over the years. The door shut soon after this was said over the speaker for everyone to hear.

Once the train started moving, we were all privy to this gem:
"Everyone on this train is now going to be late because of you. Do not hold the doors open."

Harsh. I guess there's no reward for trying to help your fellow commuter.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Hey Mister Owl...

Remember when we were kids and there were only a few kinds of tootsie roll pops?
  • Chocolate
  • Orange
  • Cherry
  • Grape
  • Raspberry.

There was a bowl of them at work this morning and I did not recognize any of them. The label colors were bright and neon, certainly different from the dull, solid colors of my youth. The new roster of flavors includes:

  • Strawberry
  • Lemon-Lime
  • Blue-Raspberry
  • Watermelon
  • Pomegranate

The idea of the tootsie pop is that the middle chocolate section goes well with one of the exterior fruit flavors. I can understand the strawberry choice, those suckers have been working with chocolate for a long time. I don't understand the rest. Lemon-Lime + Chocolate? Watermelon + Chocolate? Pomegranate?? Really? I didn't even know what a pomegranate was during my peak trick-or-treating years, and now it's popular enough to gain Tootsie pop status? Which brings me to my rant of the day: Blue Raspberry.

Not that Blue Raspberry is bad, but I guess I refuse to believe we are living in a day and age where this made up "blue" version of raspberry is more popular than the original. I know the main reason kids want this unnatural blue candy is to make their mouths match the shade, but there must be another way. Raspberry is a good enough flavor on its own, it doesn't need to be taken down a peg by this blue, bastard cousin. My thought: make up a flavor for the blue, like powerade did. "Mountain Blast" is surely nothing more than food coloring, water and sodium, but it works for them. It's a color not found in nature, so don't make kids grow up thinking that they can scamper through the woods and find the ever elusive blue-raspberry bush, it's not happening.