Read Tolkien, puzzlesmith

As I paged through today’s Metro newspaper, I came across this amusing entry in the letter’s section. My blurry cam made it a little hard to make out though. Here is the text:

Read Tolkien, puzzlesmith
Re: “CROSSWORD: 9/23”:
I take issue with your 43D
clue “Folklore dwarfs”
(TROLLS). It’s just not
right; dwarves and trolls
are generally different
sizes and races. I appreci-
ate precision in cross-
word clues, and this just
seemed like sloppy clue-
ing to me. I enjoy the puz-

Another Day, Another Disabled Escalator

Another day, another disabled escalator at Copley Place.

Aside from several MBTA stations, I can think of no other place on my travels around the city of Boston that has broken down escalators more often than those in the Copley Mall. Considering this is supposed to be the ‘trendy’ mall for the city, you’d think it would be quite the opposite. There are three main sets of escalators that are the usual suspects for needing to find a detour around. The set by Louis Vuitton (pictured above with blurry cam!), the short set by the Gap, and the long set at the entrance to the Westin hotel area. Admittedly, I’m not even sure the Westin set falls under the Copley Mall, but the Mall is connected and this set is by far the biggest hassle when not working. There is no alternative stairwell nearby. One actually needs to walk into the hotel to use their escalator (which is always working) to get to the second floor that connects directly to the Mall.

That being said, escalators that are not workiong are such a common site everywhere that noone gives it a second look. These things have been around since the very late 1800‘s. You’d think that the technology would have progressed over a 100 years to a point where they were at least somewhat reliable.

A series of unfortunate events

So about a month ago, my best friend asked me if I was interested in some discounted Celtics tickets. I said sure. The last Celtics game I had been to featured Robert Parish, Kevin McHale, and Larry Bird. A couple weeks ago, my friend asked me for the money and I handed it over without much thought. He had the dates, but not in any form I could take with me. I had to have him email them to me. I had remembered that there weren’t any games in October so I didn’t worry about it since I was heavily involved in making my costume for Halloween.

Today, November 1st, I got a text around 2 or 3pm saying that my friend would be at Boston Beer Works with the tickets. I panicked. I checked the spreadsheet and sure enough today was the first game. Not only that, but Red Auerback died on Saturday (possibly the most well known coach in Boston sports history) and there was going to be a big tribute to him before the game. I was certainly not going to miss this. I responded saying that I had to get a T pass first, but I’d see him there at 6pm. As soon as 5pm came, I left work and headed straight for the Back Bay station to get my monthly T pass. I then proceeded to walk all the way to Fenway Park (a decent walk) with my laptop bag in tow since I am working from home tomorrow. I got there about 5:35-ish. Gave my friend a call and let him know that I was there early, that there was noone there and that I was going to sit at the bar. After a series of text messages were exchanged between 6 and 6:15pm. One of my other friends called me. He was obviously with my other friend and asked if I was at the Boston Beer Works and I replied yes. He then asked if I was at the Boston Beer Works across from the Fleet Center. To which I responded, “There’s more than one?” I really just wanted to cry at that point. I’m not an emotional person, but I was having a stressful day at work and this was just utterly embarassing. I hung up on my friend after I heard laughing in the background.

I finished my beer and got on the Green Line to North Station. Twenty minutes later when I got there, I called my friend and he said they were still at the bar. I am at the Fleet Center already so he tried to give me directions from where I was to get to the Boston Beer Works nearby. He clearly did not know where I was, because that led me in the opposite direction. I called him again and just told him to meet me at the Fleet Center. He told me that they wouldn’t be there for about another twenty minutes. I pretty much said I didn’t care and I’d meet them there. It didn’t really matter since I spent nearly the entire twenty minutes in line to use the bathroom. Needless to say, the fury within was rising and quickly. When they finally got there, I got my ticket from my friend and we all went up to the turnstiles. As soon as I was through, I was immediately stopped and told I couldn’t go any further with my bag. My LAPTOP BAG. This is not something I can dispose of readily or just put somewhere. My job is not just at risk if something happens to this laptop, I will be fired. There is no question about it. I pretty much just turned around and went home in a furious rage. An hour and a half later, I finally got to my T stop and walked home from there and here I am, ready to tear someone’s head off.

Its noones fault really. I keep blaming people in my head, but its just a series of unfortunate events that just kept falling down a slippery slope.

Thank goodness this day is almost over.

Destroying the Carrot on a stick

I was heading home yesterday, as I do everyday after work and as I walked down and into the T station, I pulled out the contents of my pocket without thinking. The wad included the subway pass, my license and a whole mess of single dollar bills. I just needed to get my subway pass out quickly just in case my train was there. When I separated my pass from the rest of the pack, I placed everything back in my pocket except the pass. I immediately looked up and a bum is sitting there on a milk crate against the wall (where he normally is everyday) yelling at me.

I inadvertantly took the money out right in front of him as though I was going to give him some and then put it back in my pocket. I’m not sure if he thought I was teasing him or I was just being a dick or not, but he was yelling something at me. I didn’t care enough to take my headphones off, but I figure he was entitled to be a bit angry about the chain of events. I liken it to buying a new toy for a child, letting them see it and know its for them, and then immediately running it through the garbage disposal or throwing it in the trash. In other words I was holding the carrot on a stick in front of him, taunting him with it and then eating it myself. Let me tell you, it was delicious.

Permit Required

I brought my camera with me to work so I could snap a few pictures of the new Charlie Ticket vending machines on the way in. I wanted to make a write up about the new payment system being put in place. As I was taking my first picture, a large man approached, wearing a heavy MBTA jacket. He said, “You need a permit to take pictures in the station.” Fearing the instant confiscation of my expensive digital camera, I put the lens cap on immediately, apologized and claimed ignorance, not acknowledging that I had already snapped a shot with no flash. I was just waiting for some guy to come out of nowhere, tackle me to the ground and arrest me on suspicion of being a terrorist. Greg [rommate] happened to get there at that time. He must have left the house just after me. He saw what had happened and asked what I was doing. I told him I was just wanted to take a couple pictures of the new machines for the Charlie Ticket for my blog. Greg said he was just waiting for the guy to smile and say he was just kidding, but he never did.

Sometimes I think I felt safer when there was no MBTA police presence at the stations at all.

I’ll make the Charlie Ticket post at a later date using stock pictures from the MBTA website. I really have no desire to be fined or in any type of legal turmoil. Whatever happened to freedom of the press…

You won!…two weeks ago

Underworld EvolutionI read the Metro Boston every morning on my commute into the city for work. Every once in a while there is a notice in the entertainment section to email your name and address into the listed email address and you can win a free ticket for two to an advanced screening to the latest hot movie.

Two weeks ago I sent in my information for the Underworld Evolution screening as soon as I got out of my first meeting that day at work. After that, I quickly forgot about it. The day of the screening came and passed. Underworld Evolution came out in theaters and I went opening night. I liked it and thought it was a good sequel. I’ll certainly keep the movie poster up in my room.

I just came back from my parents house to pick up my mail and discovered, mixed in amongst the mailings, an envelope from The Metro Boston. I ripped it open and sure enough there was a voucher inside with Kate Beckinsdale on it staring back at me. So I won the tickets for the screening that happened two weeks ago. -_-

Rep yo' line, Boston!

After a company outting at Whiskey’s on Boylston Street last Thursday, I took the subway home. I got on the train at Copley Station and took it to Park Street. In my mild intoxication passing through Park Street Station, I passed the kiosk on the Green Line level that I pass everyday. For whatever reason, I glanced over and noticed a skull cap with the MBTA logo on it. I stopped myself on the way to the stairs down to the Red Line platform and forced myself to go back to the kiosk and confirm what I saw just to make sure I wasn’t imagining it. It was, indeed, exactly what I had seen. I asked the woman behind the counter how much it was and she replied US$10. I can’t be certain if I giggled or not, but I remember the woman behind the counter giggling at me. When she asked me which one I wanted, I said the top one would do. She held one up and asked if the silver one was ok and I was hit by a moment of comprehension. I realized the logos were different colors, each representing a different subway line. As soon as I realized this, I said, nearly shouting, “No! I’ll take a red one!” Gotta represent my Red Line after all.

Red Line, reprazent.

Car under ice

I didn’t really go out this past weekend. It was mostly inclement weather and I had some work to do. The rain was particularly bad on Sunday. As soon as my alarm went off Monday morning, I was instantly cold. Usually thats a hint thats its quite cold outside because there is a window in the basement that keeps opening and we can’t seem to keep it closed. It makes for a chilly winter. I was running on time when I walked outside and heard an ice scraper scraping away at the windshield of one of my roommates’ cars. It instantly occured to me that I did not go out all weekend and it is now 10 degrees farenheit. (32 degrees is the temperature at which water freezes for those on the Centigrade scale.)

I tried my remote starter and my car wouldn’t turn over and start. I put my key in the lock and tried to unlock the door. When I pulled the handle, the door wouldn’t budge. I tried the passenger door and the key wouldn’t even turn in that lock. The tailgate was frozen shut, no matter how I tried to open it. At this point, Eddie had come over and helped me with all of these doors. I’m started to panic a little because if I don’t get to the Braintree parking garage by 07:20 EST, the garage is full and I have to head to the Quincy Adams T Station and fight through a great deal of traffic to park there. Eddie suggested getting some hot water and pouring it over the door. In my panic, this sounded like a viable option. At that moment, any suggestion would have sounded like a viable option. So I went inside and got some steaming hot water in a glass and brought it outside. As I poured some of the water on the frame of my driver’s side door, I watched it instantly freeze. In effect, leaving me worse off. Not realizing I had gotten some water on my glove, I tried to wipe at the window. Instantly, my glove was frozen to the window. Flabberghasted, I had the option of leaving the glove on the window for the rest of the day and hope it wouldn’t get lost as my car heated up on the way to the T station, or just pulling and praying it didn’t rip the glove. Still in a semi-panicked state, I pulled quickly on the glove and it broke free without any visible damage. However, in my rage of irrational fury, I took the glass with the hot water still in it and splashed the rest of the water across my windshield. I realized immediately what I had done as I watched another thick layer of ice form on my windshield. -_-

This was not turning out to be my day. I went back inside, semi-defeated, in order to regroup and think of another strategy. Around that time, I remembered my mother had gotten me some lock de-icer as part of a big bag of practical gifts for Hannukah in 2004 and it was still in my room. I ran downstairs and grabbed one of the cannisters and rushed outside back to my car. One spritz in the lock and my key turned just a bit further. Just enough though, that I heard the door fully unlock and with a quick tug, the door opened. I started my car and sat there for about 30 minutes waiting for the car to heat up. After a while I decided I could wait no longer and grabbed my ice scraper. I went to work quickly and furiously on the windshield. Fortunately some of it had started to melt, not all of it though. For that reason, my wrists were in a great deal of pain for the next day and a half.

When I drove into the Braintree parking garage 45 minutes late, I was astounded to see that I could not only get in, but there were so many open spots that I didn’t even have to park on the roof. It was Martin Luther King Day and I had no idea. So the day turned around after that, even though it seemed like we were the only company working in the state that day.