Weekend with Pop: Day 1

So Friday afternoon my Dad rolled into town to visit my sister and me. We had a jam-packed weekend filled with fun activities! Dad lives down in Annapolis, MD, but is originally from Massachusettes. So, he likes to come up to visit his daughters every so often…but I think it is just an excuse to get his fix of REAL fried clams (with bellies) not the crappy clam strips you find everywhere else in the world.

Saturday started off EARLY when we made our way up to NH to volunteer for a biking event. E. is riding in the Great Mass Getaway to support MS next week and this was a fundraiser to help the team make their donation requirements. We met the bikers and then got to hang out and hand out water and snacks to the riders.


The biking gang pre-ride


Dad and E. at the checkpoint


Some say I look like my dad…

Our next stop was to Ipswich to get Dad some REAL clams at the CLAM BOX. Dad said they were some of the best darn clams he ever had. After gorging ourselves with fried food, we went to Crane’s Beach for a walk along the water. By then the sun had come out and it was a beautiful day.


at Crane’s Beach


Sailboats


reflections in the sand

During the day, E. and I got to catch up and exchange in some pretty deep conversation:

E: Saskatchewan.
T: What?

E: Saskatchewan.
T: What are you talking about?
E: That’s a funny word.
E: Saskatchewan.
E: Say it. Sas-Katcch-e-wan.
T: No.
E: Say it. It’s funny.
T: Leave me alone.

So, that’s all for Day 1 of Pop-alooza 2005. Stay tuned for Day 2!

Encore!

What a fun-filled jam-packed weekend! Finally we had a few beautiful days and I took full advantage of it.

Saturday I biked the Minuteman Trail (“America’s Most Celebrated Bike Path”) along with Mr. V who rollerbladed the 24 miles proving once again that he is the pillar of physical fitness (except for the fact that I carried his heavy manly-man pack and gave him my much lighter girly-girl pack to carry so he wouldn’t hurt himself) . I had a great time, and it was good to be out in the fresh air for a while. I was bummed to find out that my beloved bike needs some major work done on the gears, so I’ll have to take her in soon for repairs. Or just ride this one into the ground and get a new one. Saaadddd….

I got home with just enough time to shower, change, and get my rock-and-roll mojo on to see Keane with Ann and Dabney. I didn’t know much about Keane and could only recall one song that I heard a few times on the radio. I rarely listen to radio these days (thanks to my Ipod) so new bands easily slip me by. They have just one disk out, so their playlist is pretty limited. There were lots of pauses between songs and they walked off stage to encourage the faux encore after only 30 minutes of play (more about encores in a moment). But they sounded great– amazing just piano and drums, no guitar accompaniment. The evening was warm with a nice breeze and a killer sunset, perfect for an outdoor concert. I wish I had been more familiar with their songs; I realized that concerts are much more fun when you can sing along, preferably at the top of your voice which is exactly what I’ll be doing at the U2 concert next month in Amsterdam.

So about Encores: I don’t like that encores are now built into every concert. I remember going to see Springsteen several years back; after 4 hours (!!) of playing he has every right to just be done with the performance. So when people start demanding the encore, you aren’t really sure if he’ll come back out and do one more song. He’s Tired! He’s Performed Almost Everything! He’s Given Us So Much! BUT we want MORE! The anticipation is thrilling! But when you know the artists will come back out, with an “aww, shucks, sure we’ll give you one more tune (especially in this case where they had only played 10 or so tracks)since you clapped real loud for us”…it seems so… fake. Well, it is.

Sunday was even warmer than the day before so I took a blanket, book, Ipod and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich down to the Esplanade to read, nap and people watch. It was glorious!! It was incredibly relaxing just to sit and enjoy the day. I finished off the day with a date with my favorite 80’s cover band keyboardist at Solas, my favorite little Boston bar. And I swear that it isn’t my favorite Boston bar because the bartender, Sean, is a god-like Adonis of an Irishman. No, that’s not the reason at all.* It was fun to catch up with Mr. Keyboardist, who I hadn’t been out with in a while. Sounds like the band is doing well and will be opening for Cyndi Lauper later this fall– how cool is that?

*Yes, you all know that’s the reason I keep going back. And because he gives me free drinks. A hot bartender and free drinks? Who would say no to that??

Pic of the Day: Westerkerk

This weekend I am definitely going to get my bike tuned up. It’s time to start riding to work again. I used to love zooming around the canals of Amsterdam on my little bike with back-pedal brakes, just the one gear, and a wicker basket to hold my parcels. That bike had personality, so much so she even had a name: Betty.


In Boston, biking is a whole different story. You need a lot more gear– a helmet, multiple flashing lights and, a rear-view mirror, and if you are smart, a glow in the dark bright orange jumper (OK, that might be taking it a bit too far). Drivers here just aren’t aware of bikers and I have heard one too many horror stories. Lucky for me, most of my work commute on the bike is on the quiet paths of the Esplanade, but those 4 or so blocks in traffic on Mass Ave are treacherous. Boston drivers are famous for their aggression and lack of care towards other vehicles, pedestrians, motorcyclists, small pets and bikers. Last year a car barely bumped me at a stop-light, and the driver had the nerve to yell at me.

The City of Boston even published this little public service announcement towards drivers:

Be Nice
City traffic can be slow and frustrating. Don’t take anger out on others. Threatening other road users with your voice or your vehicle is impolite and illegal. Bicyclists have the same right to the road as you do.

So why risk life and limb 20 minutes each morning and evening? As I mentioned before, the T just sucks the humanity out of you, and biking seems to do the reverse. Or maybe I have become addicted to the adrenaline rush of dodging maniac drivers.

Full of Hot Air

This morning as I was crammed into the greenline T shoulder to shoulder with what seemed like a few hundred other commuters I was thinking about the luxury of space (or lack thereof). Now don’t get me wrong, I am a city girl, no doubt about it. I love the beat and rythym of the city living. But I do get really cranky when my personal space is invaded for long periods of time, like this morning. Riding the T puts me in a really foul mood (thankfully in the summer I ride my bike to work). I get so pissed off at people who exhibit poor T manners.

The top 5 offenders:

1) Those who rush getting on the train before others have had the chance to get off
2) Those who do not give up their seats for those who need it more than they do
3) Those who leave their bags on the empty seat next to them even when the train is getting crowded so no one can sit there unless they have the balls to ask them to move their shit
4) Those who hog the “hang on” pole so others have nothing to latch on to (and on the greenline you better hang on or you are going to either slam into another passenger or bite it completely).
5) Those who just don’t take consideration for other travelers: playing loud music, eating stinky food, talking loudly, etc. etc. etc.

So there I was crammed in shoulder to shoulder and, as I mentioned before, I was thinking about the luxury of space. I closed my eyes (in a very Zen-like way) and let my thoughts wander back to my visit to the plains of the Masai Mara in Kenya. Now, that’s what I call Space. In fact, I don’t think I had ever seen before or since such a wide expanse of uninhabited land. No crowds, no strip-malls, no traffic, just… grass and the occasional zebra. It was amazing. Beautiful. At the same time, all that space and beauty made me feel rather small. This feeling of smallness was magnified while taking a balloon ride over the area. God, that was one of the best days of my life. I expected the views, the wind, and the altitude. I didn’t expect the silence. While in the air no one in the basket spoke, not even the pilot. All you could hear was the breeze and occasional burst of gas lifting us skyward. It was like floating. Actually, it was almost like being underwater, where your body is freed of weight and all you can hear are the currents and your own heartbeat.

Maybe I should quit my job and become a professionalhot air balloon pilot.

Pic of the Day: ballooning over the Masai Mara in Kenya:

12 Angry Men…errr I mean 35 or so bored people

So today I performed my civic duty, I answered the call for jury duty. I’ll be honest… I bitched and moaned pretty much every day for the last month since I received my summons, but secretly I was rather looking forward to it. I had elaborate dreams about what a good juror I would be; certainly the courts upon recognizing my superior skills of objectivity and reason would surly assign me to a truly exceptional case, or even fly me to California to replace some moron placed on the Michael Jackson fiasco. I would be humble in my juror-perfection, well coifed, professional…simply, the beacon of justice.

The day went a little differently then I had expected…

6:45. What? The alarm is going off? 30 minutes early? Oh why did I stay up late watching GI Jane last night?? Damn Demi Moore. And Ashton Kucher. Not that he was in the movie, but damn him by association.

7:00. Shit shit shit. No time to wash and dry hair. Will find classic tortise shell clip and fashion a french knot or chignon or whatever they call it.

7:10. Crapola. Cannot find fancy clip. Rusty barette will have to do. So much for visions of being well coifed. Fuck it.

7:15. Mascara, check. Lip liner, check. Blush (a nice gel made by Hard Candy that I am partial to), check. Lip gloss? Hellloooooo lip gloss where are yooouuuu?

7:19. Does Jury duty have a dress code? What if I finish early and want to go to the office? Nah. Jeans will do. And my favorite (aka old) black sweater and boots. Professional…? Maybe not. Whatever.

7:20. Officially late. Run to the T.

7:40. Arrive at Park Street, change trains to the Red Line. I feel like I am going to throw up. Why didn’t I get a coffee??? I can’t see straight. My eyes feel Soooo heavy. Damn Demi Moore!!

8:20. Arrive in Dorchester. Yes, Dorchester, that’s almost an hour from my apartment. Why couldn’t they assign me to one of the many downtown courts that are practically within walking distance??? Legal system jerks.

8:35. Arrive at the courthouse 5 minutes late. Not bad. I look like crap and I might smell. Oh well.

8:36. Security Station. I put my bag through the machine. I walk through the detector. I set the bells off. They confiscate my camera. I asked for some kind of receipt for it, so I could claim it later. They laughed at me. I am sent to the jury pool room which is half full already. I grab a diet pepsi (egh. pepsi) in lieu of a coffee. I wait.

9:00. waiting.
9:05. waiting
9:10. you get the point. This was a major theme throughout the day.

10:00. The jury liason comes in, tells us the rules. Shows us a tape shot circa 1978 showing us the rules again. She repeats the rules one more time. Alas, the magic words… at 11:00 a coffee truck will be outside and we will get a break.

11:00. A trial needs a jury. Coffee break is cancelled (damn!) and we are led into the courtroom. The defendant is on trial for drunk driving and leaving the scene of a crime. He’s the only person in the room who looks like he is having a worse day than me. I am sure he is.

11:10. I am picked as one of the 6 jurors for the trial. Then the lawyers start striking us down (or whatever they call it). They strike anyone who looks even vaguely non-caucasion… and me. The judge said not to take it personally. I should’ve worn a suit.

11:30. I start chatting with the two girls behind me, Lori and Amanda aka Mandy. We bond in our jury pool room. They also had to trek from Boston out to Dorchester. The rest of our conversations are punctuated with various explamations of exasperation the rest of the day.

1:00. We are sent to lunch. Lori and I go to the only place within walking distance… a KFC. You may be surprised to know I had never been to a KFC before. And I have no future plans to revisit.

2:00-3:00. Spend time staring at the door below in picture of the day #2 hoping the jury liason will come back and take us somewhere (note the comfortable chairs). Finally she does. She lines us up and leads us down the hall towards a court room. Just as we are about to go in, she yells, “Stop! Go back to the jury pool room” and she ushers us back to our cave. No explanation is given for the retreat.

3:30-4:30. Waiting some more. The fried chicken isn’t sitting well.

4:30. We are quickly lined up again and marched through the hallway. After we are all seated, the judge outlines the case for us. The court clerk reads the list of witnesses in this case, of which there are over 20. This is going to be a long case… the judge tells us it will take 2 or 3 days. I pray my number won’t be called again, but of course #03-02 is called to the bench after 2 others. That’s me. I take my seat in the jurors box.

4:45. The lawyers review our papers and start to strike the jurors they don’t like. I am the first one called to return to the jury pool. I am relieved, but also a bit offended and disappointed. What’s wrong with me? Oh why am I being rejected again? Can’t they recognize that I am the epitome of objectivity and reason? Are they blind? My two jury buddies are called as well, and are not stricken. I am sent home.

And that, my friends, was my big day in court. I guess my superior juror skills will have to be proven another day. Next time I’ll be sure to shower first.