gnomi: (boston_skyline (shoegal-icons))
So, it's that time of year, when the students return (like swallows to Capistrano) to Boston. And thus it is time for yet another "gnomi explains it all" post. Not that any of the people this post is directed toward will actually see it, but it'll make me feel better.

1. You see that thing in front of you? It's a Really Big Street. Running across it while those fast-moving things (we call them "cars") are barrelling down at you will hurt you more than it will hurt the cars.

2. Moving trucks, while useful, should not completely block any of the following: driveways, sidewalks, crosswalks, intersections. We know you have to move your stuff. However, some of us have to live here, too.

3. Speaking of crosswalks, please learn how to use them. No, really. They're not there purely for the amusement of line painters.

4. Ah, the T. Yes, it's a subway system. Yes, it gets you and your obnoxious friends from place to place. But it is not solely yours. The other commuters might want to be able to, say, read their newspapers free of your loud, obscene comments at 7:15 in the morning. Or even at 5:30 at night.

5. Also, you see those big signs in the T stations that say "There is no smoking permitted on MBTA property?" Those do apply to you. And they apply regardless of what you're choosing to smoke. I'm just saying.

6. We know you're eager to get on the train. But you and your aforementioned obnoxious friends are just making it harder for everyone if you're blocking the door, keeping those of us in the train from getting out. This also applies to people blocking the doors when inside the train; if you move out of the doorway, people will be able to get off the train and you will get to your destination faster.

7. While we're talking trains and etiquette, let's tackle getting to and from those trains. You see the escalator? It comfortably accommodates two people per stair. But here's the deal. Stay to the right if you want to stand and let the moving stairs propel you upwards. Stay to the left if you wish to walk up the stairs. This is established local tradition, and there's no need for the commuters to have to slalom purely because you and your aforementioned obnoxious friends can't be bothered to notice all the people standing to the right of the stairs.

8. Bicycles are great. We're all for them. In fact, we have bike lanes on some of our major streets. Please, however, pay attention to the following important fact: Bicycles are subject to the same laws as the cars if you're riding on the street (which, for the most part, you should be; many municipalities have laws against riding on sidewalks). This means that you have to stop when the light is red and allow the pedestrians to walk. This does not mean that you should barrel through the crosswalk and curse out the pedestrians who have the gumption to get into the crosswalk when you want to be there (despite the fact that they, not you, have the light).

So, welcome to Boston. Keeping these things in mind will make your life much simpler and will also prevent me from thwacking you with my elbow as I strive to get to or from work.

Thank you,
The management.

*Or, whenever I remember to post it or am reminded to post it.
gnomi: (boston_skyline (shoegal-icons))
So, it's that time of year, when the students return (like swallows to Capistrano) to Boston. And thus it is time for yet another "[livejournal.com profile] gnomi explains it all" post. Not that any of the people this post is directed toward will actually see it, but it'll make me feel better.

1. You see that thing in front of you? It's a Really Big Street. Running across it while those fast-moving things (we call them "cars") are barrelling down at you will hurt you more than it will hurt the cars.

2. Moving trucks, while useful, should not completely block any of the following: driveways, sidewalks, crosswalks, intersections. We know you have to move your stuff. However, some of us have to live here, too.

3. Speaking of crosswalks, please learn how to use them. No, really. They're not there purely for the amusement of line painters.

4. Ah, the T. Yes, it's a subway system. Yes, it gets you and your obnoxious friends from place to place. But it is not solely yours. The other commuters might want to be able to, say, read their newspapers free of your loud, obscene comments at 7:15 in the morning. Or even at 5:30 at night.

5. Also, you see those big signs in the T stations that say "There is no smoking permitted on MBTA property?" Those do apply to you. And they apply regardless of what you're choosing to smoke. I'm just saying.

6. We know you're eager to get on the train. But you and your aforementioned obnoxious friends are just making it harder for everyone if you're blocking the door, keeping those of us in the train from getting out. This also applies to people blocking the doors when inside the train; if you move out of the doorway, people will be able to get off the train and you will get to your destination faster.

7. While we're talking trains and etiquette, let's tackle getting to and from those trains. You see the escalator? It comfortably accommodates two people per stair. But here's the deal. Stay to the right if you want to stand and let the moving stairs propel you upwards. Stay to the left if you wish to walk up the stairs. This is established local tradition, and there's no need for the commuters to have to slalom purely because you and your aforementioned obnoxious friends can't be bothered to notice all the people standing to the right of the stairs.

8. Bicycles are great. We're all for them. In fact, we have bike lanes on some of our major streets. Please, however, pay attention to the following important fact: Bicycles are subject to the same laws as the cars if you're riding on the street (which, for the most part, you should be; many municipalities have laws against riding on sidewalks). This means that you have to stop when the light is red and allow the pedestrians to walk. This does not mean that you should barrel through the crosswalk and curse out the pedestrians who have the gumption to get into the crosswalk when you want to be there (despite the fact that they, not you, have the light).

So, welcome to Boston. Keeping these things in mind will make your life much simpler and will also prevent me from thwacking you with my elbow as I strive to get to or from work.

Thank you,
The management.

*Or, whenever I remember to post it or am reminded to post it.
gnomi: (kitty)
Every year on 1 September, the Boston/Brookline/Brighton area gets new fauna. It is very temporary and very annoying. Come with me on a short survey tour of the new fauna. They can only be seen for a couple of days (thank goodness)!
Many Different Types )
gnomi: (kitty)
If you hear about an explosion at the Boston Marathon finish line, which is about 500 feet from [personal profile] mabfan's office building, don't worry about us. We were all safe in Brookline: Muffin and Squeaker didn't have school, [personal profile] mabfan stayed home, and I am working from home. Everyone in our family is safe. My heart goes out to those who are directly affected by the incident.
gnomi: (boston_skyline (shoegal-icons))
Today is the 70th anniversary of the Cocoanut Grove fire, the deadliest nightclub fire in US history. A new group, the Cocoanut Grove Coalition, has set up a website with significant historical information on the fire and the aftermath.

The Boston Fire Historical Society has an extensive collection of information, as does the Boston Public Library. The BPL's collection includes witness statements released by the Boston Police Department.

The Cocoanut Grove fire has always fascinated me. It had significant impact on Boston as a city and on how fires are handled around the country. From the Grove fire came new building safety codes, new techniques for treating burn victims, and many other small changes that have made their way into our daily lives. I'm not 100% sure why the fire has fascinated me so, but I am interested in Boston history, especially the history of the period from the 30-50 years before I was born.
gnomi: (boston_skyline (shoegal-icons))
This morning, the Boston Globe reported that transcripts of witness reports from the Cocoanut Grove fire have been released. I have been fascinated by this piece of Boston history for as long as I can remember, so I am looking forward to combing through the digital archives.
gnomi: (boston_skyline (shoegal-icons))
My letter to the editor was published in today's Boston Globe.

(Basically, I write in reference to this article, with this as a starting point.)
gnomi: (Default)
From the boston.com letter submission page:

To submit a letter to the editor electronically, send an e-mail to [the Globe's e-mail address] or fill out the form below. Either way, make sure to include your full name, address and a telephone number for confirmation purposes. Letters should be 200 words or less and are subject to condensation.


Me, I'd recast the sentence: Letters should be 200 words or fewer and might be condensed. While my ear is saying "and may be condensed," the tech writer in me is arguing that "may" could be construed as ambiguous ("and may be condensed" implies, possibly, "you are allowed to" and not the intended meaning of "this could possibly happen").
gnomi: (boston_skyline (shoegal-icons))
Seen and photographed near the Old State House during my lunchtime walk:


Paul Revere Buys a Hot Dog
Paul Revere Buys a Hot Dog



(Click to enlarge the photo.)
gnomi: (correct_grammar (elfgirl))
I realize that the desire was to write an article about the upcoming retirement of Smith College's president, but did you really have to go with a Dek (subheadline) of "Search underway to replace Christ"? Don't you think religious issues have been making headlines enough recently?

Yours most sincerely,
The freelance editor who giggled loudly on the Green Line this morning

ETA: The obligatory screenshot (click to enlarge):


gnomi: (transportation_local)
Last night, as I was leaving the grocery store, I realized a card that I usually carry in my wallet was missing. This was an annoyance but not calamitous, so after checking the logical places around home, I figured I'd check the environs of my work desk and then, if I couldn't find it, I would replace it.

This morning, [personal profile] mabfan and I were running slightly late due to the vagaries of the Green Line and the subsequent impact on our babysitter's commute. We were discussing something I cannot remember anymore, but I stopped in my tracks when I looked at the light pole near where we were standing. There, tucked into the top of a random flyer taped to the pole, was my missing card.

We then got on the train that arrived. Now, I have a habit of saying "good morning" to the train operator (though I am usually one of the only ones who do so), and this morning was no different. I greeted the driver, and I realized it was a driver I knew, whom I'd seen a number of times while I was unemployed and taking the T back and forth between home and Coolidge Corner. But this morning was the first time he'd seen me and [personal profile] mabfan together in a while. And he remembered that he had last seen us together when Muffin and Squeaker were tiny. In fact, he was the T driver the first time we took Muffin and Squeaker on the T, when they were all of five days old. He was so excited, he asked about how the girls were doing, and he was very surprised it had been almost 2.5 years since he'd seen them.

It was a lovely way to start my morning -- not only did I get back some lost property, but [personal profile] mabfan and I got a chance to take some extra pride in our girls, seeing them through the eyes of someone who had met them and been charmed by them.
gnomi: (correct_grammar (elfgirl))
This morning's hard-copy Boston Globe had the following headline on a story about recent violence in Dorchester (they changed the headline for the online version):

Police Bear Down After Killing

[livejournal.com profile] mabfan and I had a conversation about the police bear and what might have happened to make the bear so sad.

(For more on crash blossoms, see this "On Language" column or Wikipedia.)
gnomi: (mousie_with_bear (lanning))
-- I like being able to use technical skills I haven't used in a while. In the course of one project, I used my knowledge of UNIX, Emacs, and HTML.

-- It's Wednesday, and I'm not sure at all what to make for Shabbat. I shall ponder, because it would be ideal if I could shop tonight and cook tomorrow night.

-- Still pondering the next knitting project. I'm thinking socks, mostly since I haven't done any in a while and they're a good portable project. Also, sock season is approaching (for some values of "approaching," inasmuch as it's mid-September and still in the 80s F).

-- Still no velociraptor attacks in the office since the last (purported) one.

-- Construction season continues apace, as they've torn up the area in front of the main entrance to my work building. For the next few weeks, I'll have to walk around the corner to enter the far entrance.

-- How is it possible that Rosh Hashannah starts two weeks from tonight? Wasn't it just Tisha b'Av?

-- I've started wearing tichels to work (I'd been wearing berets/a baseball cap previous). I'm not 100% sure why I waited until I'd been here almost two months; I'm much more comfortable in the tichels than I was in the hats.

-- Muffin and Squeaker have started attending a playgroup four days a week. From all reports, they're enjoying themselves. We're hoping they'll make some friends who are less than 20 years older than them.
gnomi: (Default)
-- This morning, when [personal profile] mabfan and I headed out to work (the first time I'd been out in daylight since Saturday afternoon), we saw a large tree in front of one of our across-the-street neighbors had been felled quite impressively by the storm. It didn't look like there was any damage to the house itself, which is good.

-- We have the best friends. During our power outage yesterday, friends who had power offered us the use of their home if we needed to decamp due to an extended power outage. Later (before the power was back), they brought us a pizza for dinner, since they live closer to the kosher pizza source and were able to get to us (we have no car and the T was offline all day, so we were stranded even after the storm had abated).

-- To their credit, the T was up and running this morning and the commute was straightforward. Those on the Green Line D were more out of luck, but that's not atypical due to the abundance of trees lining the D line tracks.

-- This morning, coworkers were greeting each other with queries of how they had weathered the storm. Some are still without power, but mostly folks seem to have come through the storm pretty well.

-- After a brief walk to the post office, I'm pondering a "historical plaques" photo essay based just on what I find walking within a couple blocks of my office.

-- Years ago, [personal profile] osewalrus shared his chemistry-based explanation of the kosher laws, using "milchigons," "fleishigons," and "treifons." Today I learned about something that fits perfectly into the schema: lardons. (Yeah, most people probably already knew about this; I'm kosher-from-birth, so what do I know from pig fat?)
gnomi: (boston_skyline (shoegal-icons))
This morning, I saw three guys advertising Men's Wearhouse's National Suit Drive. And how were they advertising this? By standing on the corner of State St. and Broad St. in boxers, shoes, and ties. As I said to them as I passed, this weather (it's currently 82 F with an anticipated high of 86) is at least conducive to this type of advertising. Much better than December, one of the guys agreed.

Ah, Boston

Jul. 29th, 2011 11:03 am
gnomi: (boston_skyline (shoegal-icons))
(I wanted to post part of this a couple of days ago, but Mr. LJ was uncooperative.)

-- Between Sunday and Monday, I gave a bunch of tourists directions. I helped folks from Kansas (no indication of city) and Detroit, plus some people on State St. near the Old State House who didn't indicate where they were visiting from. They, however, confused me at first by asking for directions to the capitol. What can I say? We locals refer to it as the State House, and I was still pre-breakfast.

-- At 4:30 PM on Tuesday, the Green Line D train I was on derailed. "Switch problems, they said. Ten minutes later they told us we had to get out of the train (we had not quite pulled into Kenmore). There was a Red Sox home game on Tuesday night, so cabs were plentiful. And I even got home in time to relieve the babysitter.

-- I've seen a *lot* of touristy people around my new place of employment. That makes sense, given that I work between the Old State House and the Customs House (which is now a hotel). Yesterday, in front of the T stop entrance at Government Center, three people were standing hunched around a map. "Can I help you?" I asked (I always ask confused-looking people if I can help them find places; it frequently means, when I'm sitting in Park St. station waiting for someone, that I end up giving directions on how to get from the Inbound side to the Outbound side ("Go down these stairs, turn left, go up the next set of stairs, and you'll be in the right place). "Can you tell us how to find Faneuil Hall?" they asked. "See that big brick building?" I asked, pointing. They nodded. "That's Faneuil Hall."
gnomi: (yeshiva_stewart)
Per e-mail I received this evening, the Boston eiruv will be down this Shabbat. Storm damage to the eiruv was too great to repair before Shabbat; remaining repairs will be performed on Monday.

This of course means I now have to make Shabbat lunch as we have had to cancel our Shabbat lunch plans due to strollers being unusable outside the eiruv. Grrr. Stupid snow.
gnomi: (Default)
-- Sorry I've been kind of scarce around here recently. I'll try to be better about posting more regularly.

-- I've been knitting much more in recent months. Something about Muffin and Squeaker having a real, set schedule and an actual bed time makes my free time more free. I've made four winter hats for the girls, two pairs of mittens, part of a baby gift, and I have a couple of projects on needles. It feels good to get back to a hobby I love but didn't have brain space for.

-- Our most recent Patch column is up, this time written by [personal profile] mabfan about cars. Or, more precisely, about no car.

-- This is a weird winter so far (yeah, I know it's not yet actual winter; I'm using the colloquial sense): everywhere, it seems, has had snow except Boston. Though [profile] lcmlc reports a dusting of snow on the driveway this morning, and we're supposed to get something this week.

-- Muffin and Squeaker continue to expand their vocabularies. Beside "banana," "this," "that," "Mama," and "Daddy" (or, as Muffin says it, "dah-DEEEE!"), they now say "go," "done," "down," "baby," "beep," and many other words that we're still not 100% sure what they mean.

-- Chanukah is over, and this year -- like other years when the Jewish holidays fall early in relation to the Gregorian calendar -- I have again the dilemma of how to respond to greetings of "happy holidays." My default is "and to you as well."
gnomi: (yeshiva_stewart)
-- As I alluded to last week, I again have the "Early Erev Shabbat, Too Much Stuff to Do Before Licht Bentchen Blues."

-- While doing some of my Shabbat cooking on Wednesday night while [personal profile] mabfan was out at Town Meeting, I started composing a new musical: "Vegetable Cooking Spray!" (the more health-conscious sequel to "Grease!"). Two songs from it: "You're the Bowl That I Want" and "Greased Bundt Pan" ("Oh, greased bundt pan/I'll bake a lemon bundt cake in you.")

-- The reason I was cooking on Wednesday was that last night (since there was no Town Meeting, the issues having been covered in two nights) [personal profile] mabfan and I went to see a real movie, in a theater (or theatre) no less. We saw "The Social Network," which we'd both been interested in. Good film, and a fun night out thanks to very good friends who gave us the gift of babysitting. We left them with a sleeping Muffin and Squeaker, so they had a relaxing evening of videos while we had a night out.

-- We went to see the movie at the Chestnut Hill AMC, and on the way out of the movie we saw a bunch of folks lined up to see the midnight premiere of "Harry Potter." As we walked back to the Chestnut Hill T stop, we saw all sorts of people in Gryffindor scarves. It took me a minute, but I realized why Gryffindor was the most represented house: Gryffindor shares its colors with Boston College, which is within walking distance of the cinema.

-- Today I attended a mandatory seminar at The Work Place (mandated by the MA Department of Unemployment Assistance. I'd been concerned, because a Friday class in Standard Time, even a morning class, makes things tight for Shabbat prep (which is another reason I cooked on Wednesday). But much to my amazement, and very much appreciated, while we started ten minutes late to accommodate late arrivals, we ended at 10:57, giving me time to do the errands I was worried I'd have to skip if the class went long.
gnomi: (Default)
-- While making French toast on Sunday, I ran out of custard half way through the last piece of challah. I therefore created what I am now calling Quebecois Toast: half French toast, half Anglo bread.

-- Entertainment Weekly did a poll recently to see who people think would be the best actor to play the next Superman. The six choices were Matt Bomer, Henry Cavill, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jon Hamm, Brandon Routh, and Tom Welling.

-- Thanks to everyone who voted in my poll yesterday.

-- Anyone looking for a technical writer? Inquiring minds want to know.

-- I think we have successfully gotten Squeaker to sleep through the night (she was doing what the medical professionals consider sleeping through the night -- 6 hours of sleep -- but I don't consider a baby who wakes up at 3 AM to be sleeping through the night). Now her biggest impediment to sleep is Muffin, ready to play, waking her up at 6:45. If Squeaker had only said, "Mommy, Daddy, I want a crib tent" ten months ago, we wouldn't be so underslept.

-- On Monday I discovered that no matter how good the map you're carrying, it is still very possible to get yourself on totally the wrong street in the Beacon Hill/West End section of Boston. While walking from Government Center to the Mass General area, I managed to almost end up on the Suffolk University campus, at the Garden (it will always be the Boston Garden to me), and in an apartment complex behind Charles St.

-- I am watching with interest the increased scrutiny of late hits/helmet-to-helmet hits in football.

-- The combination of more sleep at night and a bit more free time in the evenings is inspiring me to get into writing regularly again. Beside the Patch column, I am hoping to get back into regular fiction writing again.

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