athenaltena: (adjust glases)
Luckily I don't get too many outright nasty people at my job, but they do stand out when I do get them. Especially the guy yesterday who was pissed off about his wife's bill and seemed convinced that I was really somewhere in California so he asked where I was from. I replied that I was from Massachusetts, and he replied that I didn't sound like it.

I was sorely tempted to go Masshole on this guy, since despite lacking an accent due to being from the Western part of the state I sure as hell am. In fact, considering I have an ancestor (on my mom's side, no less) who was here nearly 400 years ago back when it was a colony and has a frickin' statue at the State House (yes really) my ties to Mass probably go back further than this jerk's. And my dad's family's been here since the mid 1800s.

But I resisted, since we're not supposed to sass the customers, no matter how much it's deserved. And by my rules, you just do not treat people the way that guy did, especially when they're trying to help you.
athenaltena: (lethargic)
Well that didn't work. Went to take a walk to clear my head, and thanks to a combination of dumbfuck tourists, an overcrowded subway and the fact that the entire city turns dumber than usual thanks Marathon weekend and the Sox game I came back more pissed off than when I left.

Turns out I clocked in about three and a half miles total, which I can see thanks to a pedometer I installed on my phone, so at the very least I got some exercise.
athenaltena: (Bored)
I'm not sure I ever really woke up today due to allergies. I also can't tell if my face is puffier than usual or if I'm just noticing it more than usual. The good news is that I was with it enough to go to the staffing place and do a computer test, so they can submit my scores to this one job. It was some basic stuff like if you can copy a passage, listen to a story and then remember some important details, and know the difference between certain words like dessert/desert*. According to them I did a lot better than most people, including the spelling part, even though it had a few words that always trip me up like (ironically) embarrassment. I can never remember how many Rs are in that word.

When I went out to do some laundry I also had a surprisingly deep conversion with a local guy who works at the laundromat about that Zimmerman asshole, since the news conference where they announced the charges they're bringing against him was on while I was in there. This local guy had a great line when the reporter said that Zimmerman's gone set up a webpage asking for donations and talking about how scared he is, to which this local guy responded "That's funny, I bet that's how that 17 year old black kid felt right before you shot him!" The Italian folks up here do not seem particularly sympathetic towards that guy, including another guy who works in that same laundromat who looked up from his paper just long enough to say "fuck that guy" the last time I was in there, and I agree. We also made some snarky comments about how we wouldn't trust a Fox News poll further than we could throw it.

Right now I'm catching up on the second season The Wire since it's OnDemand, and I watched the DVDs of the episodes before the ones OnDemand while I was out in Western Mass. Cross-referencing a lot of things I like, including Games of Thrones,  I seem to be drawn towards stories with huge casts full of characters with complex motivations and relationships and very grey morality. Makes sense considering that's also the type of story I tend to write. And since I'm working on the backstory of one character who's more or less an antagonist I realized that I'd started picturing him as Jimmy McNulty from The Wire, which makes sense since this guy is basically what would happen if McNulty got away with everything. I actually came up with the character long before I ever saw that show, but they're definitely in the same mold.

*The trick I always use with that one is "I'd rather have two desserts than one desert."
athenaltena: (adjust glases)
Well, post Super Bowl Boston seems to be nursing a hangover from drowning their sorrows last night after the Pats lost, but people seem to have behaved themselves. Although I can already tell that people are going to savor the chance for revenge next season. And I was actually watching from the safety of my apartment, so I know exactly how painful that was. Oh well, revenge!
athenaltena: (Haruhi)
I'm rather proud of myself for managing to install the mobile version of Opera on my phone, since the browser AT&T provides you with is a piece of shit and they've now decided to charge you for checking your Yahoo mail. I said "fuck that" and through this I found a workaround. I did have to play around with the Java settings to make it accept the security certificate and not tell me every time I went to a new page that it needed permission, but I eventually got it to work. It's a lot better than the default browser on the phone, much faster and displays stuff right. Now I just have to figure out if I can get Flash onto it. I'm glad because I was getting annoyed at the limited capabilities of the default browser, and this has added some life onto this phone before I get a new one.

Today I met up with my friend Sam and two of his friends in Chinatown where they were having the New Year's celebration. There were lots of people in the dragon suits going around to the different businesses and blessing them, and fireworks. Later on we went into a Japanese Shabu-shabu restaurant as a late birthday lunch for Sam, since his actual birthday was when we were all on break, and it was funny when one of the dragons actually came into the restaurant itself. The meal itself wasn't too expensive either, though it was kind of funny when the guys were trying to figure out what the vegetables they'd given us were. Luckily I knew and could help them out.
athenaltena: (writing)
I just wrote what's probably one of my favorite paragraphs in the history of my writing for one of my fiction class assignments.

"Everyone in Southie knew Shannon Flaherty. She was the fourth of seven kids, though only five had survived to adulthood. She was in her late twenties, and the mothers called her a spinster behind her back, since she lived alone and her sisters had all married before her. She also never went to Mass, hung out with odd types, and had the nerve to occasionally wear pants."

For context, it's set in the 1960s, when a woman wearing pants really was on the same level as those other things. I still love it.
athenaltena: (Gil)
Today on my lunch break I went over to get a new skirt, since my old black skirt was from when I weighed about 10 pounds more and consequently doesn’t sit at my waist anymore (more like just around my hips, which means that it moves around and I have to constantly be straightening it) and I heard one of two of the employees, a guy and a girl, talking to each other. The guy was flamingly gay and describing how he surprised his boyfriend at work on his birthday by showing up with a boombox playing Lady Gaga and took him to Machine (a well known gay nightclub) when this exchange occurred:

Girl: Wow, I didn’t think you could get any gayer, but you somehow did.
Guy: Honey, this is Fagachusetts, no one even raised an eyebrow when I did it!

And despite myself I burst out laughing. I'd heard people refer to Mass that way derisively, but it seems that at least this guy is reclaiming it and using it as a point of pride.
athenaltena: (thoughtful)
My roommate K was born in the U.S. but has spent most of his life living in the Philippines, so the other day he pointed something out to me that I'd never noticed.

Mainly, that when Bostonians say the word "Suffolk" (as in the name of my school or Suffolk County) the L is silent, meaning that it's pronounced "Suh-fuck" with the second syllable sounding, well, exactly like the swear.

K told me that when he first came back to the States and was trying to get some information someone on the phone told him to contact the Registry in Suffolk... and he thought the clerk was swearing at him over the phone. It doesn't help that K's originally from California and not used to the Boston accent, the thicker versions of which can be near unintelligble if you're not used to it.

So yeah, people might think whenever I say the name of my school that I'm swearing at them. Never thought of that.
athenaltena: (Rakka)
Today as part of my CrimJ seminar we went up to the State House, which is literally right around the block, and had a tour. I'd been in the State House before and seen some of it, but this was a different sort of tour and in parts I hadn't seen before.

We had a more specialized tour where the legislative process was explained, and it was mentioned that there used to be a person who every year tried to submit legislation that would outlaw poodles. They happened to be from my part of the state. Yeah, I wasn't especially surprised by that one.

We all saw the Sacred Cod in the House chamber, as well as the other fish that's in the Senate chamber (which the Senators apparently like to call the Holy Mackerel) since after the Cod was moved into the House chamber the Senate wanted their own fish, and are rather proud of the fact that their fish has never been stolen. In fact, it's said the House won't meet if the Cod's not there, and when it got stolen as a prank by the Harvard students they didn't meet until it was returned.

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, ladies and gentlemen.

I also paid a visit to our friend Stan, who works there, and arranged to drop off the cinnamon bread I've been promising him since we were on the Cape but didn't get around to making while he was there. I didn't actually see him since he was in a meeting doing important Senatorial business, but I arranged it with his secretary. Now I just have to make it. I feel kind of silly that I've been in the area for four years but haven't visited him until now, but hey, most people are smarter at the end of college than at the start, so that's my excuse. I also couldn't actually find a full-sized tin bread pan (so he doesn't have to bring my pan back to me) so I'll make him two mini-loaves instead.

And it's definitely the school year again since I'm fucking exhausted, though that's partly allergy-related. And having to adjust to a new sleep schedule, which isn't easy. I have actually managed to get up and get to classes and work on time, but I am not a morning person in the least so I've been a bit zombie-like. Give me two weeks or so and I should be a bit more with it.
athenaltena: (kurama)
I'm predicting that August 31st and September 1st are going to be a clusterfuck considering that I have one roommate who has to move his stuff in on the 31st and another who's leaving on the 1st, and due to truck rentals there has to be overlap. We might have to resort to putting some stuff in the basement, but at least the incoming roommate is staying in a hotel that night so we won't have to somehow deal with three people try to sleep here.

I'm glad I already took those days off. Luckily my classes don't start until the 6th so I have a bit of time to adjust before that starts again. And both the new kid, K, and my landlord have confirmed that the application process is moving ahead, so if all works out it should be settled well before we have to move stuff in and out.

After an appointment I had today I walked around the Back Bay, and witnessed an asshole on a cellphone step into traffic and nearly get hit by a duckboat. Luckily the driver was quick enough to slam on the brakes, but the asshole kept walking and didn't even acknowledge that he nearly caused a traffic accident. Now, there are two major rules of jaywalking in Boston that he ignored:
 
  1. Do not step out into the road when there are cars. Wait until there are no cars. This is because you cannot count on them stopping, and indeed in many cases if it seems that the drivers are trying to kill you, they probably are. We are not referred to as Massholes for nothing.
  2. Do not step out in front of a duckboat. Those things were designed to withstand artillery fire. If it's you versus a duckboat, you will lose. This also applies to other cars, since a couple times a year there are stories about some asshole cutting a duckboat off in traffic and getting into an accident. Again, armored military vehicle versus regular car = the car loses.
 
Also while I was in the Back Bay I looked into a little boutique that had pretty curtains. Do you know how much those curtains cost? $280. I actually gagged a bit when I saw the price tag. It also reminded me why I never buy anything in the Back Bay.
athenaltena: (adjust glases)
Stupid ninja marching bands. I honest to God got ambushed by a marching band while I was out earlier today. I was just walking along the street, not even with my headphones in or anything, and *boom* marching band out of nowhere and suddenly I'm swept up in a parade with a bunch of Italian people. I have no idea how that even happened, since a marching band is about the last thing you'd expect to be able to sneak up on you, but I honestly did not see or hear them coming until they were right on top of me.

I'm also so freaking tempted to just take a pair of wire cutters to our smoke detector since it's hardwired into the apartment and the damn thing goes off basically every time we use the stove. Which is several times a day. And it's not like we're constantly burning stuff either, it just goes off with no prompting, so I've placed a broom next to it so we can just reach up and hit the "off" button. I'm pretty sure actually taking wire cutters to it would be breaking the lease, so that's what stops me, but it is really tempting. Especially since D gets up before me so when she makes breakfast I get woken up by the damn thing beeping. The real irony is that I'm pretty sure they installed the new ones because the old ones weren't up to code, but considering how fucking annoying there are they're actually going to make the building less safe because people with fewer scruples than me are just going to disable them. Talk about backfiring.

The good news is that the new alarms seem to have curtailed the activities of the stoners on the second floor. I know it's more or less decriminalized in this state, but come on, people, not even Hampshire College goes through as much pot as those people do. They seem pretty harmless overall, but it's just one of those "Really people? Really?" things.
athenaltena: (shinra)
I finally managed to outwit the rain and not get rained on for the first in about a week! Score one for Ro!

The one bad part about being so high up in my building at work is that you can see the weather coming, so I tend to have at least an hour to watch the weather develop outside and dread having to go home in it. But today I managed to get back and pull my laundry off the fire avoider in time.

Speaking of fires, after last week's incident where the basement smoke detector kept going off they went and installed new smoke detectors in all the apartments, so now every room has one. The good news is they work. The bad news is they get set off every time we make toast, and I've now been woken up twice by them going off in response to D making breakfast. Ugh. I also think that four smoke alarms in one apartment may be a bit of overkill, but I think they technically weren't up to code before. Which, given that this building is 112 years old, isn't too surprising.

And randomly, the other night I caught a bit of Blazing Saddles on AMC, and D had never seen it. Her jaw was on the floor and soon she was laughing as hard as I was. Of course for the AMC version they had to bleep a particular word. Guess which one. This resulted in some awkward pauses in the dialog, though they didn't have to change the "bell" gag, which is one of my favorites.

I'm also dealing with a very whiny cat who seems to think it's a national emergency if I don't pay attention to him for five minutes. He doesn't seem to appreciate my imitation of his meowing either. But I don't think cats get humor. At all.

... Huh?

Jul. 29th, 2011 07:10 pm
athenaltena: (WHUT)
Had a good laugh today over seeing this in the break room.

What. The hell. on Twitpic

More of the WTF-ness on Twitpic

What. The fuck. These are Keurig coffee cups flavored chocolate glazed donut. And what I find hilarious is that it blatantly rips off the Dunkin Donuts logo and even use the same blasted font. And if you weren't convinced, on the box it says "a fresh chocolate glazed donut, dunked into your mug."

I see what they did there. -_-

As I was staring at the box another woman came in and said that she brought those in because she ordered them by accident and brought them in. Because I'm a masochist I tried it and it's as terrible as it sounds. I hate flavored coffee in the first place, but this was just bad. Even my coworkers who like flavored coffee had to admit how bad it was. And I sometimes like sweet coffees, but not like this!

The whole thing reminded me of one of Denis Leary's riffs about how hard it is to get a cup of coffee flavored coffee nowadays.

And yes, I consider this to be weirder than the peanut truck that was in Government Center.
athenaltena: (Ritsuka)
Since LoudTwitter seems to be having issues, some highlights of my exploits today.

Just for kicks I looked up the property info for my apartment building, and discovered one thing that wasn't surprising and one thing that was. The thing that wasn't surprising is that it was built in 1899 and was last renovated in the 1970s. That I could guess just by looking at it. But it's actually kind of cool in some ways, and given the location people were lining up to try and become my roommate for this place.

The surprising part was that even with all the "character" the building is still worth close to a million dollars. Considering that "affordable" houses as defined by the law my agency works with to build developments generally run about 170k it was a bit of a spit-take moment. And just shows you what Boston real estate is like that even a comparatively rundown place is worth that much. Location location location! Just for kicks I also checked the last place I lived, and it was built in 1910 and worth two million dollars, but it has about three times as many apartments in it, so the per-unit value is significantly more up here.

I then mentioned that to a kid I worked with, and for a moment he seemed surprised that I could get at the property records to see that. He didn't seem to get that this stuff is public record, and that anyone can look at it since it's kind of the law that it has to be publicly viewable. I then made his eyes cross when I said that you didn't even have to FOI it, FOI being the Freedom of Information Act, and I was reminded that despite my best efforts I've picked up some of the jargon of this field and that most people don't know what this stuff means. Incidentally I was amused when I heard someone on NPR say that they "FOI'ed" something (pronounced "foy-ed") since it's now become a verb.

When I mentioned that I'm in the North End to some other coworkers both of them -- completely separately  since I talked to them at two different times -- joked that I certainly don't look like I've been living the North End while pointing at my stomach, with the obvious insinuation being that living up here will make one gain weight because of all the good food. In fact the opposite has happened to me since I moved here, and when I told D that she remarked that people tend to say that, but for both of us we're usually too broke to buy all the delicious food! That said I did in fact go to Bova's, a 24 hour bakery, and get a chocolate stuffed croissant today when I went to get some bread because it had been a shitty day in general, not helped by the fact that I got caught in a downpour on the way home and had decided this morning that I hadn't needed an umbrella. Wrong.

Before the downpour I went to the gym after work and might have overdone it a bit, since I had a lot of frustration to work out. It was a good pick-me-up until the aforementioned rain, and at least I'll sleep well tonight as a result. Though I have a distinct feeling I'll be sore tomorrow.

I was also glad I set the slow cooker before I left since I had hot soup waiting for me along with fresh bread and salad, and a little white wine because why the hell not. So even though it was a frustrating day it more or less worked out.
athenaltena: (feed birds)
For the next entry in odd things I've found in the North End, a giant jar of Nutella.



Oh, and according to the guy at the shop, it's not just a prop. It actually contains 11 pounds of Nutella. And comes with its own little shovel!

I also asked them if they're related to a guy who has a playground named after him a little ways up the street since they have the same last name, and the two guys said he was then got into a humorous argument about whether he was their first or second cousin, and they said that they're related to several of the families who own some of the famous places in the neighborhood. I told them I could relate to the part about huge families, since that's very much what my dad's is like, and mentioned that it gets pretty confusing because at one point we had two brothers of one family marry two sisters of another, or something like that. I honestly can't keep it straight half the time.

And today I stuck my head into a produce shop I walk by all the time but have never gone into, and found that they actually have green onions! It's surprisingly hard to find them in Boston, and I told the guy as much. I also got some celery and was pleasantly surprised that it only cost me $3. Just the other day I was talking to D about how it's hard to find decent, cheap produce in Boston outside of Haymarket, but that's only two days a week and it can be hit or miss in terms of quality. I'll have to tell her about this place.
athenaltena: (Hakkai)
So I went walking for a bit today since this damn heat has finally broken, and went up to Salutation Street to see if I could find the site of the police station that was bombed in 1916, since it's mentioned in a book I'm reading called The Given Day. I did eventually find the street, but the site either isn't marked or I overlooked it. Odd, I would have expected them to mark that considering how gung-ho Bostonians are about history.

I also walked by a club that has alleged links to the mob, but the shades were drawn. Naturally. The last time I was up there with Dad there was a guy sitting out front who looked like such a stereotypical mobster that I almost laughed, but wisely held my tongue.

But holy crap it is nice to not have this damn heat, I've been able to open my window and turn off the AC for the first time in a week. *flops*
athenaltena: (relaxed)
So for some reason I more or less hit the jackpot at work today, and 4/5 developers, some of whom I've been chasing for months, finally got back to me and gave me a straight answer. The odds of that are about as good as me winning the lottery. And in fact I was kind of tempted to get a scratch ticket to see if I could push my luck but decided against it.

Oh, and HELLO BRAIN MELTING HEAT. In the 10 minutes I was outside going to and from work I felt like keeling over. Twice. When I got home the cat was meowing at me for five straight minutes like he was demanding I turn down the sun. I told him I couldn't do that but turned on both ACs (one in my room and one in D's) and got the place cooled down. Irish people were not designed for this level of heat.

But I felt really sorry for the folks at work who volunteered to do the field day. Holy crap, there will be some sunburns tomorrow.

And my good deed of the day was finding a ring someone had left in the bathroom and giving it to the front desk to hold onto until someone claims it, just in case someone who had fewer scruples than I do came along and just pocketed it. I also put a post-it on the mirror where I found it saying that if anyone had lost a ring to go to the front desk, and I didn't specify what kind of ring it was just in case someone tried to falsely claim it. I do hope that whoever lost it finds it, since I could tell it was a really important piece of jewelry just by looking at it.
athenaltena: (oh hai)
So I was walking across the Greenway the other day and suddenly was hit with a very familiar odor. Mainly, horse manure. I probably know that smell better than most people seeing as I've shoveled it multiple times, and that's a smell you don't forget.

So I sniffed and covered my nose, since it was about 90 degrees out, and someone standing next to me on the curb said "What is that smell?"

"Horse manure," I replied, and they gave me an odd look.

"There are no horses in Boston!" they said.

I then pointed to a bag of fertilizer next to the flower bed.

"Oh," they replied.

I decided to not be a wiseass and point out that we do indeed have horses, mainly the ones who pull carriages and the police horses.

City folks.

Ay ay ay!

Jul. 5th, 2011 12:47 pm
athenaltena: (D:)
So it was probably a good thing I stayed in last night, since 13 people were shot or stabbed during a period of five hours last night. To be fair none of those took place near me (maybe due to the fact that Downtown was staffed by the better part of a brigade's worth of police), but still...
athenaltena: (relaxed)
So I had a dream a few nights back where I was in Japan again and had to speak it, and it was a pretty stressful experience. Especially since I kept lapsing into Russian. Needless to say, hilarity ensued.

That part about crossing the languages doesn't actually happen in real life, amazingly enough, since I think the two languages are filed in different parts of my brain. It also helps that I tend to "see" the words written in hiragana/cyrillic respectively in my head as I'm speaking them, and they look pretty different so there's little opportunity to confuse them. That was actually the reason I forced myself to learn the hiragana rather than use romaji (words spelled out phonetically in English characters). It also means that sometimes when I'm trying to remember it I "write it out" in the air which probably looks weird to people watching me.

There's going to be the big fireworks thing tonight on the Esplanade, but I've been there, done that, and the last time I went to that I spent hours trying to find a decent place to stand and was reminded of why I don't like crowds. I'm also entirely surprised that I didn't get mugged last year since there were about a dozen people who did. And of course my idiot neighbors will probably set off their own fireworks so I won't miss much.

I'm also glad I locked in our electricity rate at $35 a month since I've been using the AC so much, albeit on the energy saver mode (i.e. it turns itself off when it doesn't need to be on full blast). D told me about that, and knowing how high the bills could get in the winter it was probably a good idea. Basically if I do go over that amount they'll bill me at the end of the year.

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