Friday, August 29, 2008

Local Spice Sighting

This posting is written in regard to a siting of true local spice in Central Square.

Location: Eastern Trading Company, Central Square, Cambridge, MA.

Setting: I, along with two fabulous coworkers, are in Eastern Trading Company, a Central Square vintage/thrift/etc store (it's really cool), looking through the various crazy merchandise. FYI, if you're a belly dancer, this is your store! Also, if you need fairy wings around Halloween, then this is your store.

Crazy Man, a customer, is looking at the many men's vests (who really wears a vest??) and he is VERY excited.

The scene is insane. Crazy Man is aggressively FLIPPING through the vests. The vests are made of various materials, from leather to tweed, etc. This guy is bat-shit crazy and excited, it's as if he's found Jesus in the form of vests. He's white man, medium height, sorta pudgy, and he found a leather vest that made his day!

Here's the dialogue, seriously, it happened:

SALES LADY: That vest fits you very well! You look so nice in it!

CRAZY MAN: I know!!!! I love it! Will you take $10.00 for it??

SALES LADY: Oh, that vest is already such a good buy at the price it's at right now! It's such a good buy! (she says in a very upbeat, supportive, positive manner)

CRAZY MAN: But I bought a vest just like this in Daytona for only $10.00...

SALES LADY: This isn't Daytona.

(There wasn't a sale)

Love it.

Open Letter to Red Line freak

To Whom It May Concern:

Let's face it, you struck quite the nerve with me that I am inspired to create a blog post regarding this week's circumstance.

It was quite obvious were are a local, and that's great, I'm from a region of the country full of local spice--I celebrate it! However, do not lift you shorts leg again. In the future, when referencing your strong legs to the children you're escorting to Where-the hell-ever, MA, please make that reference simply verbal. There is no need to life the legs of your shorts (why are you wearing gym shorts as everyday-wear?) to show off what you consider to be "strong legs."

Speaking on behalf of the facial expressions of EVERYONE else on the Red Line train car while crossing the Longfellow Bridge, we do not ever want to see your fat, sweaty, hairy thighs again. We also did not care to have you underwear choice made known to everyone on the train. We were all on our way to work. And apart from your clothes-lifting shenanigans, we would have appreciated you standing still instead of flopping about the damn train like an idiot.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Spice at the DNC

Democrats love dancing to Motown. Apart from the many lovely speeches, so far, I enjoy watching the insanely excited politicos dance in their convention get-up's (see pic). I'm not going to blog on what I think of Ted Kennedy or Michelle Obama's speech, however nice. However, I will say that there was some bat-shit craziness last night, and I can't wait to see what sort of insanity will be on tonight.

World's Greatest Speed Bump

Why I love McKenna's Cafe

So apart from the very tasty food McKenna's Cafe serves, I like their iced coffee. I'm posting this because I am happy that when I ask for iced coffee with skim milk, their general practice serving iced coffee is to pour the coffee/milk/etc into a 2nd cup in order to thoroughly mix everything together. More coffee shops should adopt this practice. To me this place is the epitome of Local Spice, it's true to their neighborhood, who they are, etc--it's a great place.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Clue Parties, Baltimore, and Playing Restaurant

That's right. Listen to the Boston Globe interview with crazy "Clark Rockefeller" posted this morning. This is the fella who claims to not remember his real identity, and who apparently killed people years ago in California. I'm not sure what to think of the Ray-Ban eyeglasses, either, I'm scared it may start some sort of trend amongst the hipsters of America.

In the interview he said he used to give Clue parties and that his favorite city is Baltimore (is it his favorite, or his favorite for kidnapping his daughter to?). While he had his daughter kidnapped, he said he had six (6) glorious days of "playing restaurant" where they wrote menus and recipes. Now I just want to see OJ Simpson try to pull this crap and we'll see what happens.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

My love of The State

While some may consider me Generation Y, I'm not so young that I don't remember MTV when it didn't suck. I was there for the first seasons of the Real World (Heather B was the rapper, Julie the country girl from Alabama who hooked up with Eric Nies, etc), I was a fan of Daria, My So-Called Life, Yo! MTV Raps, and the lovelies Duff, Kennedy, and Tabitha Soren. Yet the one short-lived show that, along with In Living Color, that shaped my life was The State. So I am showing a clip from the very Web 2.0 YouTube. And yes, I'm a huge fan of Reno 911!

Some wikipedia author hates Boston

Do I look like an undergraduate?

It's that time of year, again, in the lovely Boston, Massachusetts--the time when thousands of eager college students flock to the city for the fall semester. This fact became very apparent to me today when I visited the local Bed, Bath, and Beyond, fine purveyors of cheap shit made in China for Americans to cram into their homes (or dorm rooms). I was greeted at the door by a lady offering a map of the store (I declined, it's a small store). In the 30 minutes I spent buying 2 pillows, a new sheet set, a hand towel, 4 trouser hangers, and a Pyrex measuring cup, I encountered 6 sales people all making sure I was all set. I did appreciate the customer service, and the one thing I asked for they did not carry (I asked for screw-top Mason jars because I want to make iced coffee). It was still a good time, sorta nostalgic seeing college freshmen there buying stuff with their parents, etc.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Get your pirated DVDs while at the laundromat

Being new in my 'hood, I'm slowly discovering new places for the every day tasks. Yesterday I took several loads of dirty laundry to a Dot Ave laundromat. Everything was fairly standard, so nothing amazing to report, apart from the fella who showed up selling pirated DVD's out of a garbage bag. He had dozens of DVDs of every genre for only $5 a piece! I didn't buy any, actually, as I'm momentarily on a budget--it's rough economic times, my friends. Regardless, it was nice to see that the black market is, indeed, alive and kicking.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

How good are you at knowing different accents?

Play the Accent Game! It's a great online game designed to test one's ability to recognize a person's country of origin by their accent. How good are you?

2008 What if''s -- from the Boston Globe

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Homies: The next Precious Moments

This is my favorite piece, so far, in my ongoing Homies collection. I always look to see if there is a Homies vending machine at every grocery store I visit. I love these mini figurines, perhaps they are the modern answer to Precious Moments.

Sandra "18 Wheeler" Hester

Sandra Hester was one of my most favorite "facets" to life in New Orleans. I religiously watched here public access show, titled "The Hester Report." I know she relocated to Missouri after the storm, and in a published article she said he was staying there because her children were in good schools there. I was happy to see her speaking before the New Orleans City Council regarding the always ongoing corruption in New Orleans--who knew!?

Ladder-like horizontal exterior building features

I just had to post a few pictures--there are so many buildings that suffer from this horrible aesthetic. Why, for the love of sweet Jesus, do so-called architects continue to tack up on buildings these horrible ladder-like exterior horizontal features? Seriously, it was cute the first 1,000 times the world saw it. Stop it! Most especially horrible is the rounded, tower-like corners they love so much. Who is the architecture professor who dreamed up this crap? Don't these design-snob professors get off on tearing apart students work? So who is the stupid student who got away? If it's the clients to blame, then, architects, stand up for yourselves, and refuse to do this crap! Surely SOMEONE could have nipped this style in the bud a long time ago. Now the world is plagued with this ugly look for decades to come--thanks! These features will be the asbestos of the future.

Demotivators for Urban Planners

Not that the field needs demotivators, as anyone who has worked in the field of urban planning can surely attest to the many aspects that grind at you from the moment you begin your job: the thankless work and pay, stupid and inept politicians, uncreative, lazy, developers with their amazing sense of entitlement, attorneys who think they're planners, mind-numbing bureaucratic red tape, archaic GIS software (depending where you work), a general lack in the local culture of what is exactly "urban" so you feel that you're a "sub-urban planner" and, of course, the public (NIMBY's). I discovered these lovely demotivators at Cyburbia, and now I'm inspired to create my own at

God help the planners fighting the good fight in various community planning offices! For the above picture, I mean those slaving away in Design Review and Code Compliance. Where the hell is this sidewalk going? "Don't come in here, we hate you!" it says to me. No need to say anything about that crappy mis-matched masonry wall. It's developments like this that make America ugly and make Jane Jacobs turn over in her grave.

Public participation is an integral part of proper planning we all strive for, supposedly. To be brief, no one likes it when no one is informed, consulted, or asked to participate in community planning initiatives. Personally, I love community meetings and hearings--it's when the crazies come out for show! Many moons ago I worked for a community planning commission and I always attended as many meetings as possible, for it was the best show in town. I'm also the nerd who loves public access television. Nevertheless, the above picture properly shows an concerned citizen making her case, and the case on behalf of the children, whoever they are, wherever they are, who knows. I loved to hear this craziness at meetings, right up there with "I don't think poor people deserve to live near me," and "I don't want people to walk in front of my house"--it's right up there with this supposed responsibility planners have to protect and maintain the value of private property. At a recent meeting regarding a new affordable housing development, one nearby resident stated "poor people don't deserve a green roof" (we're trying to employ many LEED standards in the building's construction).

When I think of Brutalism, I can respect the idea, the movement, and how the style and theory MAY have been artistically and beautifully executed. That said, I can't reside and work in the Boston area and not make the obvious statement regarding the very ugly Boston City Hall. This structure is amazingly horrible, it's rather shocking and sad--sad that such an amazing city has such a disappointing City Hall. If you like this building, or if you want to read positive reviews, please look here. The pictures I always see online don't show the side facing Faneuil Hall, which features a huge brick wall facing a very popular public space. The current mayor, who I've been told does not even keep his office in the building on purpose, but rather on Beacon Hill, has advocated the structure's demolition and relocating City Hall to the supposedly up and coming "Seaport District" -- it's South Boston but that's the new, fancy term the real estate industry has dubbed it. The plaza surrounding Boston City Hall is pretty pathetic. It's a big expanse of red brick, pretty boring, actually--maybe a good metaphor for the night life in this city, among other things local. I think it would interesting to see someone paint parking lot lines all over it.

As an aside, I think moving Boston City Hall to the Seaport District would be a mistake. There's no real transit there except the insufferable Silver Line (it's a bus, but they call it a line, bus rapid transit). Government Center is an ideal location for City Hall, it's just tragic that architectural decisions made years ago have rendered the site such an embarrassment.

North End Parading Season

It's Catholic Saint parading season in the North End. Well, it's has been for a while, but I caught a picture of one this past Sunday from Ristorante Fiore on Hanover Street. I will avoid numerous snarky comments despite being a fallen Catholic, and say that I do enjoy the pomp, the colors, and the festive atmosphere of these parades, and of all parades. However, instead of screaming "throw me something, mister!" you're expected to pin cash onto the ribbon attached to the statue.

Cambridge Potholes

No, I'm not coining a new name for the locals, aka Massholes. Looking through the Cambridge Chronicle's website today, I noticed that they offered for public information a map highlighting the location of nasty potholes on Cambridge streets, AND users may add new potholes, too. Now, this begs of the question of how many public infrastructure-related problems could possibly be posted? I think a map of cheap, developer flip-jobs should be made, as well as the location of convicted white-collar felons to match the location of convicted child molesters--both just make me so angry! Or an interactive map of where people have almost be run over by a bicyclist on Mass Ave.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

We are really THAT stupid, eh

I swear Americans will buy anything. God bless the man (or woman) who first decided to sell bottled water. Now an equally-genius fella or lady is selling HOW to make small hamburgers, i.e. sliders. I love sliders. I order them whenever I go to 21st Amendment on Beacon Hill. That bar makes 'em right nice. Now, the website for the Big City Slider is quite amusing, with a hilarious video showing the apparent perils associated with forming small patties out of ground beef. Happy children and parents are shown eating these small burgers after thoroughly cooking in this utterly and amazingly stupid device. The video even shows how to dress a hamburger with cheese, pickles, etc--who knew!?!? Thank the sweet Jesus for another stupid product to fill the mis-used kitchens of America!

Shanghai 2020

From Very Spatial, this post about an awesome model of the future of Shanghai. I love seeing scaled models of cities, and this one looks to be on crack.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Sidewalk Sam at Government Center

I noticed this Sidewalk Sam work while at Government Center this past weekend. I love to see his work around the city. It's great to see the community supporting such an intriguing and unique artist. It's also nice to see something worthwhile at Government Center, after the city completely wrecked the area building that god-awful "city hall" years ago.

Man with a Van Moving

This post is a review for Man with a Van Moving. These guys were great, and it was quite the deal! They showed up a 7:30 a.m. on the dot and were careful and quick loading the furniture. I recommend them to anyone looking for a good mover at a good price.

Divine Nine Diva

Maybe this picture would be better featured on, but I found it, so I'm posting it. I'm glad to have been made aware while shopping at Target that this JEEP driver is, in fact, an AKA, the pretty girls. Either her name is Ivy, or she's now at one of the Ivy League schools, OR she's Also Known As Ivy. Who knows, it was just another stupid personalized license plate. Sweet Jesus, help this person!

DNA Lofts

I'm not hating that someone is developing new housing in Boston, that's a good thing. I am amused by their marketing posters. The one above depicts a handsome white guy, casually relaxing, untying his neck tie, because after all, he's living the easy urbane lifestyle so many want...right? Supposedly this development's design is very nice, very lovely amenities, but priced beyond what the Dorchester market can support at the moment, so we'll see. In this market, it's still cheaper to rent than own.

Some people are best not making their own signs

This picture was taken recently as I was moving out of my old apartment in East Boston. I was amused by the crappy landlord's crappy hand-made sign equal in quality of the trash they are trying to avoid on the sidewalk. Do they think a stupid sign like this will make the East Bostonians avoid trespassing on the property? Do they actually think any sort of sign will prompt the East Bostonians from littering? I lived there for 2 years and I was always amazed at the amount of litter on the streets, literally beyond imagination at times. Nevertheless, I had to post this pic.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

I want my 10 cents!

I am a big fan of using reusable grocery bags. I love not having a cabinet full of wasteful plastic bags, and the majority of those which do make their way into my apartment do end up in the recycle bin. Not that I don't dispute the usefulness of plastic or a plastic bag--my garbage can is currently lined with one, thank the sweet Jesus. Plus plastic bags are still used by pet owners clean up after their adorable, spoiled little ones.

What gets at me sometimes is how I don't get the tiny 10 cent discount at the grocery store UNLESS I am using a fancy reusable shopping bag. It seems that I can't imply that my messenger bag is sufficient to carry groceries, AND it had been made abundantly clear that agreeing to carry my groceries (or even a single, simple item) by hand and not in a plastic bag does not constitute deserving a 10 cent bag discount. I just think the discount should apply to anyone who chooses not using another stupid plastic bag.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Palestinian Scarf Situation

It's summer here in Boston, FINALLY, and this Southern Boy is enjoying not having to wear the coat/hat/scarf/etc combination very common when it's crazy-ass cold. I still see this fad holding on, like that aunt who wants an extra hug. For the love of sweet Jesus, please, Bostonians, abandon the Palestinian scarf fad. Don't me wrong, scarves are functional and keep you warm. Palestinians are great, wonderful people, and I recognize and appreciate the history and symbolism of a Keffiyeh. But it's August, it's hot, and I hate looking around and seeing everyone with fabric wrapped around their damn necks in this heat. Bless your hearts, I know you're all trying to make a fashion statement, but sometimes statements are best not made at all. Plus, you people are not Yasser Arafat.

And while I am at it, let's say that when it does become cold, let's all shop for scarves in places besides Urban Outfitters. Apply that to sunglasses and those pseudo-ironic and reproduction vintage t-shirts.

Boston-area higher ed MBTA Advertisements

This one is from a while back, but I had to post it. It's a fabulous Suffolk University advertisement commonly found on the MBTA. I hated this ad. I hate all their ads, although sometimes they do have rather striking models. Nevertheless, I had to snap a quick picture of the caption added by some fabulous person. As you can see, all of their information cards have been taken, so it was certainly a hot ticket.

Sarah made the New York Times!

My dear friend Sarah Lewis was mentioned in the New York Times due to her work with Squandered Heritage, and their successful work to expose the corruption surrounding the former New Orleans Affordable Homeownership . Congratulations, Sarah and Karen!

Tupac Shakur as a subject of suburban artwork.

I took to the train out to Ipswich, Masschusetts and while walking around I discovered a tagger had so graciously posted an image of the late, the great Tupac Shakur. I am sure there are so many Ipswich residents who look at the life of Tupac and can easily relate to his art, his life, and his legacy--? Something about Ipswich screams "Thug Life!"

Central Square Foot Locker has closed

The Central Square Foot Locker is no more. So are we now forced to shop at the nauseously trendy The Attic? Not that the Foot Locker was in decent shape. I went in there a few times only to find the selection was dismal. There just isn't a middle ground nowadays. Thank the sweet Jesus for DSW in Downtown Crossing.

Eames Toilet Seat

A current project at work is to renovate several handicapped accessible units at a senior citizen development. I came across this picture while doing some research. If only I could pass this along for serious consideration! I feel the elderly of Cambridge may appreciate a bit of mid-century flare added to their newly redesigned bathrooms, plus I bet this design may offer more support for those needing it most. I doubt this design made it into the code.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Pigeons need to drop a few.

I applaud any effort, any attempt, to get the Bostonians to not throw trash on the ground. This sign I saw on the new Rose Kennedy Greenway in downtown Boston.

Why not just get comfortable...

Not that getting comfortable is unheard of at MBTA stations, but I thought it was interesting/funny how the pose of the man on the bench mirrored the iPod advertisement in the background. This scene was taken from the Park Street MBTA Station.

World's Most Obnoxious Pet Store

Within the boundaries of SoHo is the World's Most Obnoxious Pet Store. Seriously, it's as if they raided Elle Woods' dorm room. I've never seen so much pink crap and chihuahua-related "artwork" in one place. It was almost a cliche' of itself. I found a great NY Times article discussing the changing neighborhood of SoHo, too, which makes mention of the area "going to the dogs" when Bloomingdale's moved in, among other comments.

Rabbit Child in Wellfleet

I think I like this sculpture. It's a kid with a rabbit head. Who knew!?!? Wellfleet is quite the place. It's a beautiful Cape Cod town filled this time of year with artists and tourists, but it's not as bad as the rest of the Cape.

Make Coffee, Not War

I was apartment hunting in Jamaica Plain and I came across this bumper sticker--and I'm the one who will take a picture of anything, btw. It made me smile. Now I just need a "Make Cold-brewed iced coffee, Not War" sticker.

God Bless MBTA Advertisements

I promise this is not the last post regarding craziness witnessed on public transportation. I most love when Bostonians either edit or alter the copy in subway advertisements. In the attached picture, which is a few months old, the added text to the Macy's ad says "I need help I vomit and starve to be this thin. I need to accept my normal body. I need food." Fabulous.

New Neighborhood -- Savin Hill

After two very long years in the lovely Boston, Massachusetts, I am relocating to Dorchester, specifically to Savin Hill. I look foward to the move, to twice the space as my previous apartment, and to the easier commute. FYI - I work in Cambridge, and the Red Line will be an incredibly short distance from my home. I was very amused and happy to see the painted fire hydrant on my street. It gives me hope that Boston has not been so redeveloped to push out all sense of local originality. I admit it, I dig the folk art, but more so, I dig the effort someone(s) took to paint what would otherwise be a fairly average and unremarkable facet of urban infrastructure.

new blog!

To whomever may read this:

The purpose of this entry is to serve as the initial post on the new blog entitled Local Spice. The purpose of this blog is to exhibit various facets of urbanity, suburbanity, and insanity I find amusing and worthy of posting on the internet.

Postings related to my everyday and professional life will most likely occur on this blog.

Very truly yours,

The Blogger