Monday, April 28, 2008

this is how i prepare for a trip

date Tue, Apr 22, 2008 at 1:16 PM
subject Re: Boston

Hey Athena,

Welcome to Boston MA - apologies in advance for our transit system.

Wed Night at a streetwear-ish shop in Allston called LAB there is a CD-Mix release for Soul Clap (pretty rad DJs). Its from 7:30 - 9:00, and there are a lot of restaurants near by.
The same crew, plus DJ Die Young continue the party at 10:00 over at The Phoenix Landing in Cambridge (Mass Ave) - also near a ton of bars, restaurants, etc.
At my spot The Milky Way - its a free show with this collective of young noise/artpunk/hippie type kids called Whitehaus Family Record.. free show, like 10+ acts

Thursday at The Milky Way is Bass Invaders - a booty / baile / bashment style bass-themed night. usually gets going pretty awesome by 11:00 (though we close at 1:00) - really good djs, free

Friday if you like indie / mod / brit rock with a touch of electro thrown in, The Pill @ Great Scott has been going for over a decade and still regularly sells out
At Milky Way on Friday is Debo Band - an awesome Ethiopian-groove style dance band that sold out their last show - some djs opening up (i can list you, just let me know ahead of time)

kind of in a rush sorry - i will just give you some extra google keywords
clubs: milky way, great scott, the middle east, zuzu, enormous room, middlesex lounge, charlies kitchen (great dive)

I'm at 617 *** **** - let me know if I can be of any help.

From: Patrick
Date: Wed, 23 Apr 2008 12:44:46 -0400
To: Athena
Subject: Toursity Stuff to do in Boston

Eat: Union Oyster House, Faneuil Hall, It's old as balls, good, and it's where John Kerry has lunch every Election Day.
Durgin Park, also in Faneuil Hall area, it's famous for surly waitresses and traditional New England food, like Yankee Pot Roast & Indian Pudding. Reasonably priced.
Mikes Pastry, Located on Hanover Street in the North End (Boston's Little Italy) it's an awesome bakery. Try the cannoli’s. It's where Bill Clinton gets his pastry when in town.
Modern Pastry, Also on Hanover Street in the North End, it's another great bakery for connoli’s if Mike's is too crowded.
Mr. Bartley's Burger Cottage, Harvard Square (Red Line to Harvard Square)

Drink: Green Dragoon, located directly around the corner from The Olde Union Oyster House, it's the oldest bar in Boston and Paul Revere, Sam Adams and the like used to drink there.
Black Rose- Also located in Faneuil Hall area is the headquarters for St. Paddy's Day events in Boston. Though touristy, still one of the best Irish pubs anywhere.

Sight See: Duck Tour - Though I wouldn't be caught dead on this tour as a native Bostonian, it's the most popular and easiest way to see the city. People seem to enjoy it. Quack, Quack...
Freedom Trail - If you want to check out all the Revolutionary War sights, I would go on one of the organized tours. You'll get the story from the guides and you won't get lost. I highly recommend. Boston's revolutionary and colonial history is the best thing about the city. I especially like the Granary Burial Ground in Boston, which has the graves of Sam Adams, John Hancock, Paul Revere, Crispus Attacks (first man killed in Boston Massacre, African-American) and Mother Goose. I also like the Old North Church in the North End. One if by land, two if by sea.
Fenway Park - Gives tours during the day. Take the T (Green Line to Kenmore stop). Grab a beer at Cask n' Flagoon which is Fenway's most popular pregame bar.
Boston Common – Is nice in the summer. It’s very Victorian looking. Check out the Public Gardens and take a ride on the swan boats.

That should keep you busy for a day.

Cheers, (Oh yeah, Cheers is the "Bull Finch Pub" on Beacon Hill, near the State House)
Kathleen wrote
at 7:59pm on April 23rd, 2008
Check out The Middle East for good food and bands (Central Square):

TT's also has good bands (Central Square):

Also, River Gods bar (Central Square):

People's Republik bar (Central Square):

Rodney's Bookstore (Central Square):

The Brattle Theatre (Harvard Square):

Million Year Picnic comic book shop (Harvard Square):

Twisted Village record shop (Harvard Square):

That's all I can think of right now. Have fun!!!
Don (Philadelphia, PA) wrote
at 6:12pm on April 24th, 2008
Go to Bodega. It's a secret store! The front looks like a local grocery mart but there is a secret door behidn which they have coolest fashion sneakers and garments.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

in which everywhere is like somewhere else

i woke up this morning at the same time as yesterday but had a much harder time getting my ass out of bed. i don't know if it was the heffeweizen gulped down self-conciously at great scott the night before or the intense amount of walking i'd done or if my drag assiness was just due to a general dread of another morning of networking with strangers whose benefit to my own professional development is dubious at best.

i had a pretty great date with myself out on the town in cambridge and allston last night. i started with a brisk walk from my hotel at copley down dartmouth to the river. from there, i strolled leisurely along the bank, avoiding the many runners and dog walkers, both by side stepping out of their paths and their eye contact. boston is a lot like san francisco where everyone wants to look you in the eye and say hello. in the elevator the other day, a couple of women were talking about how they liked to greet people on the elevator rather than be all awkward and not say anything at all. i kept quiet and stared at the floor indicator. i think my looking uncomfortable made them feel uncomfortable which amused me a little. i will choose who i talk to in the elevator, thank you very much. anyway, i crossed the river over the the harvard bridge and walked up mass. ave. to river street. most of mass ave on the north side of the river before river street is really boring MIT area until you get to what seems to be a thriving asian city block, not to be confused with the chinatown by South End. My theory is that there's a big asian community at MIT and harvard, though i only have anecdotal evidence to support this hunch.

it all seemed like a normal suburban neighborhood until i turned on river street and suddenly entered a shanty town. i passed a cool church with pretty stainglass windows that were just big blocks of color instead of depicting any kind of scene before arriving at my dining destination of choice. i had passed a couple of other feasible options that had been suggested to me (middle east, mainly) but none of them spoke to me.

river gods was exactly what i was looking for. kitsch goth decor and hamburgers with topping options like mushroom tapenade.

the chairs all looked like they were straight out of medieval times and the bar had a bunch of gargoyles looming overhead. i sat at the end of the bar and texted with a friend of adam's who is like the todd p of boston. i'd asked if it was too late to list me at great scott where he had recommended i go for this indie electro dj set, but when he asked how many people i needed i realized he didn't know i was as unpopular in boston as i am. well maybe not unpopular so much as undiscovered. he set me up and said he'd probably stop by around 1:30 a.m. unfortunately, i planned to be in my hotel hot tub by that point (when in reality, i didn't even make it that far).

i walked all the way to great scott nonetheless, over I-90 and through allston, which is like the williamsburg of boston except less fancy and more douche-y. i passed a bar called deep ellum which gave me great mirth (steven dubbed deep ellum the williamsburg of dallas, or actually, the other way around). oh, also of note, there is a latin restaurant in South End called Orinoco (which is funny if you are a fan of Enya--so many of us are, after all). i got lost on the way right when i crossed back over the river on Cambridge St because it's all one big highway cluster fuck. Honestly, i would be up shit creek if i didn't have GPS on my phone with how twisty this city's roads are. that is one major charm of boston, i have to admit. i love all the back alleys and surprises around the historic corners. and when i got to the bar and they asked me for $5 bucks, i got to say "i'm on the list." that was pretty fun, too. being on a list where you don't even live or know anybody feels great.

i rode the T back from the bar because my feet where squealing little piggies and i passed out. like i said at the beginning of this snoozerific post, i had to be down at breakfast at 8:30 a.m. or risk starving (it was a good thing i had enough time to eat breakfast because i couldn't find anything to eat again until 4pm). one of the girls who runs the event pulled me aside for an interview with the CEO of Jazzercise. she blew my mind and i will tell you all about her in person one day. ask me about her.

the rest of my day kind of sucked because i didn't pack enough warm stuff or comfortable shoes so i was freezing and my feet were killing me even though i had a ton of energy. i tried to go to union oyster house as my coworker had recommended, but it was closed due to the city of boston gas shut off, which i'm sorry but wtf? i went to durgin-park instead but they were serving a limited menu due to the same weird just-my-luck situation. so i had a roast beef sandwich instead of the traditional yankee pot roast i had in mind. also, the lobster roll was over $20. that's totally stupid. if i want to pay over $20 bucks, i'll have the lobster without the mayonnaise. i'm kind of annoyed with said coworker for sending me to this area of boston--falieul hall and quincy marketplace--because it was swimming with tourists, dirty children, old people, fat people, and the generally unattractive. disclaimer: i might have only been seeing it this way because my blood was turning to ice in my veins and my shoes were wearing my ankles down to pointy stumps. i persevered onward to the paul revere statue and old north church and continued along the freedom trail across the river on yet another bridge into charlestown until i reached the naval yards and then the bunker hill monument. i was told this would be something i should do but i honestly don't find american history to be enthralling in the least. what was more fascinating to me was how many duck tour buses passed me today. i should have counted but i think i would have run out of numbers.

david called me while i was following the red brick trail and after i told him that i didn't know the significance of bunker hill he googled it for me and recited a summary of events. he wouldn't do any more points of interest for me though because i had not paid him $14.50. neither of us know where he got this figure, but if we go into business together we might do tours of boston based on the movie good will hunting or the show alley mcbeal since the sex & the city tour in nyc is so successful. i can't think of any other movies that were based in boston. he spent the next 10 minutes trying to convince me to go to a gay bar instead of wandering around tourism hell while i tried to remind him that i am not, in fact, a gay man.

after i got back to my hotel, i slapped on the gd swimsuit i've taken with me all over the country (san fran nor chicago nor los angeles nor austin fulfilled my pool needs this year) determined to get some hot tub action. got into the westin whirlpool and wouldn't you know it, the foam was brown. brown. and it smelled like vagina. shudder. why god why?

i'm going to my second yoga class tomorrow morning at 9:30 a.m. even though i changed my train ticket to 11:15 so i could make it to nikki's going away party in the park tomorrow afternoon. i plan to step out of the class at 10:15 to get to the station by 10:45. i'm sure the instructor will be pissed about that, and i will be apologetic, but secretly i will be glad to escape before the inversions section of the routine. (4/27/08 update: did not go to yoga class. have a year to use it, but will gladly transfer it to you if you happen to be in the area before me.)

okay, and that's all there is to report about boston. oh wait i forgot to mention the custard eclair and capp i had at mike's pastry in North End and how there was a perpetual line wrapped around the block for the entire hour i sat in there (not out of choice--the waitress was crazed and since i didn't have any where to be i didn't pester her). okay. now i'm done. bye.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

glad it went well, malcolm

started this day fairly smoothly. woke up when my clock said 7 without the help of an alarm and was in fact awake when the wake up call came. hopped in the shower, shaved, went through my uncomplicated beauty regimen (it's easier when you're naturally pretty!), ironed my shirt for the first time in years (not this particular shirt, i mean ironing in general), and was down at the registration table an hour before my first meeting. i had some time to peruse the little marketplace and check out some of the titles at the onsite bookstore. most of them were about the unique circumstance of running a business as a woman, but there were also some samples of other female-friendly books. The Secret, for instance, and publicist Sloan Crosley's new paperback. There was also a book from Reader's Digest called I before E except after C that I totally want to buy (or at least somehow get out of one of my publishing friends).

After enduring a long recital of the events sponsors, attendees to the 11th annual Women's Presidents Organization annual conference (which was why i was in boston) were rewarded with two hours of unbridled Malcolm Gladwell action. He gave an insightful oratory about two kinds of innovation--bold flashes of experimental brilliance and labored conceptual genius--framed around the life and work of Picasso compared to Cezanne's. His speech was inspired by David Galenson's book that posits that Picasso's most valuable works came from his twenties while Cezanne bloomed in his sixties. Gladwell shared other examples of the analogy illustrated by Melville (Picasso) vs. Twain (Cezanne), Orson Wells (Picasso) vs. Alfred Hitchcock (Cezanne), and a history of the band Fleetwood Mac who's arguably best album was it's 16th vs. the music industry's current creative crisis due to the emphasis on hit singles. The main takeaway point from the entertaining anecdotes is essentially that business owners should invest in a portfolio of innovation risk rather than rely on one type over the other--not that one kind of innovation is superior to the other.

One of the conference attendees pointed out that our current split democratic party fit Gladwell's descriptions of the two kinds of innovators. Gladwell used his status as a Canadian to evade revelation of his own preference between the candidates. He only disclosed that he thought it was a shame that the two couldn't share the office, which is a desire I've had since the beginning of this quagmire. Gladwell's effectiveness as a speaker derives from the clarity of his thesis point, but also from his casual relationship with the audience. He endeared himself to us and, actually, even compared one glowing question-asker to his own praiseful mother.

There were a lot of mentions of motherhood and nurturing qualities of women this weekend, which isn't that surprising when it's the one definitive difference between men and women. You can argue a lot of other statements, like that women are more caring or that women are better communicators, but no one can say that a man was born to be a mother.

After that amusing and thought-provoking session, I ventured into the South End to take an intermediate yoga class at O2. The studio was cute and there were only four other girls in the room with me besides the female instructor (and I say this because smaller yoga classes are better--you get more attention and you feel more comfortable to move around). Then, I went to this place called The Dish down the street from the studio where I interacted with my first male since the guy who checked me in at the hotel front desk. He was this adorable bartender with an Elmer Fudd speech impediment, and I totally asked him as many questions as I could think of so that he'd keep talking. "I weally wecommend this wed wine." I should have asked him when he got off work! It didn't matter that I decided against taking the flirtation up a notch, in the end, because I majorly needed to crash after just two glasses of wed.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

first stop: cream pies

it never fails. after bitching myself hoarse about the trials i must suffer, i am invariably swiftly and almost spectacularly rewarded. tuesday was a total bitch, but today went off like a rocket ship. work was a series of easy meetings where all i had to do was pay attention in case i was quizzed later, then i hopped on to amtrak for the first time in new york (i'd taken it once before from charlottesville to DC. it's a much more hectic and urban experience in the city, as i'm sure you can imagine.). after 3 leisurely hours of finally cracking book three of What Is the What (where I was repeatedly and forcefully reminded that my life IS NOT HARD), i drifted off to a quite nap before waking at just one station before my stop at Back Bay. This is quite a feat. The gods have chosen that I should not have any problems in this trip. i walked the block to my enormous hotel, checked in, and asked the front desk to point me in the direction of ice cream. and promptly after dropping off my bags in my room, and taking a moment to admire the BREATH Taking and achingly beautiful view from my 34th floor window, i headed promptly to the nearest CVS to procure some drug store products and a Haagen-Dazs vanilla ice cream bar dipped in milk chocolate. even the two block walk to CVS on the corner was dazzling with the architecture of churches, libraries, and superfluous historic buildings. i am now back in my room at a comfortable just before midnight to record the pendulum swing in my luck. tomorrow, i'm waking early early early (7) to fix myself up real nice before heading out into the city to procure a proper bostonian breakfast so i can meet and greet all these strangers with confidence and pretend like i deserve to be here.

Friday, April 11, 2008

power of positivity

i'm staying in tonight because i can't stop coughing and i still feel like a waistoid even though i just woke up from a three hour nap and i have so much work to do and so many social obligations this weekend and i had to just decline an invitation to a party that sounds super fun with a good friend i haven't seen in a while and instead i'm going to sit on my laptop and stare at a blank piece of word document until midnight when i find that i can't sleep so i decide to watch the gladiator netflix that's been sitting in my apartment for weeks because i haven't really had any desire to watch it even though i have a huge thing for joaquin phoenix and my movie night experience on sunday night watching city of lost children projected onto a big screen while reclined and swaddled while popping big chunks of fresh sushi into my piehole kind of can't be topped for a while until i finally get someone to come rent out an imax theater with me one day.

i sucked on some of the most delicious ny strip (hahhah so dirty sounding) last night at blue ribbon but only a few bites because i was still a little full from the cancun steak enchildas at a late lunch with my new coworker old buddy aviva at this little mexican place called little mexican place and i'm super psyched about dim sum on sunday because i don't think i've had dim sum since my last blog post. today, she ordered some indian, and i have to say i really enjoyed the lamb saag even though i normally find lamb to taste somewhat like i imagine stinky feet taste like. i have a renewed passion for revisiting jackson heights for another samosa wars but this time adding a boyllywood flick at the palace theater into the day trip. that would really maybe be a slight stand in for the imax excursion i've been craving. i know i won't have any time to be watching any movies while i'm in austin next week, but that's another whole whirlwind that i'm so super excited about. touching down and seeing david for the first time in literally years. sharing gossip and trash talk with lynn and keaton while indentured servants slather the dead cells off of my callused heels. getting dressed all pretty and proper for three days straight while boozing until our pores sweat gin and vodka. the asian station at the reception dinner. the cakes. the tears of sweet joy while we mourn at the funeral for keaton's bachelorette life and the end to new crazy sexy time stories.

i haven't been to the grocery store in months. sometimes all i want is a peanut butter sandwich. i'm probably going to regret writing this blog post in my current state. i certainly regret not writing one when i was in california. i had so much to tell you! there was nikki's wisdom that there are only two places to eat in l.a.: places to be seen and places with good food. she didn't mention the places you go when you are on an expense account and you just want something near your hotel downtown (sushi on the 21st floor of some office building--with the windows open!). i had my first in-n-out burger (1) and there was a convertible camero in the parking lot. i also had a convertible but it was a sebring. which i drove along rodeo drive then parked for a walk on venice beach then took to dinner with stewart at figaroa and a drink at formosa where we saw harry from sex and the city with maybe ron howard. spent my friday morning cleaning my plate at millie's of banana pancakes and apple sausage (best combo(s) possible) and shopping in silverlake before driving down to long beach to meet alison, l!sa, and merrick for seafood platters at the chowder barge. random sampling of santa ana bars after that, but the real treat was the fresh croissant in the morning followed by 4 hours of the 41st annual miss dance usa international drill team competition at UC irvine. will the rest of my life continue to be heaven like this? i want to always think of these moments i am thankful for when that other stuff tries to weigh me down.