New TV and a Rainy 4th

The new TV is totally awesome….  I’ve been totally binging out watching movies in HD…  Star Wars, Batman, Superman Returns, it’s been a real nerdapalooza..  I’m 9/12ths through the Star Wars series, having to stop halfway through Empire the other day out of exhaustion…  I’m sure the novelty will wear off at some point, but right now I’m really enjoying it..  Of course, this means being a total couch potato in the summer, but whatever.. =)

Yesterday, to celebrate the 4th,

really wanted to go down to the esplanade and watch the Boston Fireworks Spectacular(tm).  We are usually in Hopatcong for the 4th, but with it falling on a Wednesday and large amounts of my vacation already claimed for other things, it just couldn’t happen this year.  I really, really hate things like this, and I’m fairly ochlophobic, so while I do like a good fireworks display, I’ve never felt a desire to attend the Boston festivities.  But Corinna really wanted to go, and we really will likely only do it every few years when we can’t make it back to Jersey, so I figured what the hell…  I went along with the plan, whining and complaining, of course… :P

We got to the Esplanade around 3:30ish and it was already packed…   We managed to find a spot right down by the river really close to the barge, though…  It was on the river bank, so there were lots of reeds and some rocks, but the reeds were already matted down so we just tossed our blankets on top of them and settled in.  Fireworks weren’t until 10:30pm, so it was going to be a long day…  Unfortunately, that long day was rainy and miserable…  It rained on and off throughout the day, but it rained pretty constantly starting around 8pm and continued until about 10:30pm, when the fireworks started…  We were totally soaked to the bone…

I mean, don’t get me wrong, the fireworks were great…  But having to deal with all the bullshit just to see the fireworks?  I guess I’m just not interested enough in fireworks to invest that much in seeing them…   Maybe if it wasn’t raining it wouldn’t have been such an awful time, but I really didn’t have much fun at all… 

After the fireworks were over, all 500,000 people needed to get home…  We all needed to funnel through a few pinch-points to get out onto Storrow and start walking to the train..  People really backed up at these pinch points, and it was just a sea of people…  I got really freaked out, my heart started racing and at one point I felt like I was going to pass out.  It’s bad enough leaving a club after a show, but that’s only 500-1000 people..  This was a sea of people as far as the eye could see…  We eventually crossed the bridge and made it out onto Storrow, which was a relief….


Dad was up this weekend, both for a visit and to bring back Hawkeye.  It had been awhile since he had been up to Boston, and he had the honor of being the first overnight guest in our new house.  The house is still a complete mess, with boxes all over the place, but at least now all of our stuff is in the house now (and out of storage or my parents’ house).  Now it’s just a matter of unpacking it all and putting things in their place.  I’m trying to get rid of as much crap as I can as I unpack things, especially a lot of the geek cruft I’ve accumulated over the years…  I have several boxes which are just full of cables, and that’s just ridiculous!

Anyway, I got home from work a little early to meet with the RCN technician who was there to install the two CableCARDs into my new Tivo Series3 HD.  It took about 45 minutes, some of which was the technician waiting for someone at dispatch to pick up the phone and activate the cards…  You would think they would just do that before sending out the tech, but that would make sense.  Anyway, after the dispatch guy putzed around for like 20 minutes they were eventually up and running with almost all of the channels, but Discovery HD, HDNet, and HDNet Movies had no picture or sound.  I made an executive decision to neglect to mention this to the tech and deal with someone over the phone instead.  This morning I read on the Tivo Community Forums that those three channels were the only members of the HD Tier, so I assumed that the HD Tier was not activated on my account.  Sure enough, a quick call to RCN resolved that (in theory, I’m at work so I can’t test it.. :P).  Now I just have to get an HD television… :P

After the tech left my dad called and said he was mired in traffic on 90..  Pretty unusual, since most people are leaving Boston around that time, but who can predict traffic around here…  Anyway, Dad arrived around 5:30pm, and Corinna got home for work soon afterwards..  After a quick tour of the new place, we hit up the Summer Shack in Cambridge for dinner..  I normally might have preferred the downtown location, but I was pretty hungry and it was a home game for the Red Sox, so it tends to get a little hairy down there…  Dinner was awesome, and afterwards we headed back to the house and took a walk along the Charles before settling in for the night.

Saturday was pretty busy, we left the house pretty early to head over to the Museum of Science.  We weren’t actually going to the museum, though, instead we were picking up a Duck Tour there.  We got there around 11am, but they were already sold out until 3pm, so we ended up heading over to Harpoon Brewery for one of their tastings.  It was a pretty good time, even if I’m not the world’s biggest beer fan.  I did manage to get a case of their draft root beer, which is delicious.  The Duck Tour was OK, but I think it was pretty redundant for someone who’s lived in Boston for 6+ years..  I did learn a bit about Charlestown, which I had never really explored much…   I made some BBQ chicken and grilled veggies for dinner and we watched a movie which was terrible.  Never watch this movie, and reprimand


for making me write about it.  I now realize they hate me with every fiber of their being.  Little did they know that not only did they attack me, but their car bomb also took out

and my father.

My dad left Sunday morning, but before he did I made some french toast and bacon for breakfast…  It came out pretty good, I used half a baguette I had lying around for a few days, so it was good and stale and really sucked up the custard.  After dad left there was much napping and eventually we saw Crazy Love with the film club.  It was a small turn-out, but it was a good time.  The movie was almost unbelievable, just a crazy story..  We had a good time afterwards discussing the film and other randomness.. 

turned up towards the end, he was passing by on his way to play pool with

at Flattop’s.  After we finished chilling with the film club peeps we popped over to Flattop’s to say hi to the two of them, which was cool…

Awesome (Extended) Weekend

This weekend was all about entertainment and real estate. The Independent Film Festival of Boston is going on, and coco_b  and I hit up a bunch of screenings:

  • Fay Grim – This sequel to the 1997 film Henry Fool, which I have never seen, opened the festival. I really liked this film… Corinna and Audra have raved for a long time about HF, but I’ve never had a chance to see it. After seeing FG, it’s at the top of my Netflix queue. The story was well crafted, the characters were really interesting, and the actors did a fantastic job.
  • The King of Kong – A documentary about the Donkey Kong world record. Obviously, I had to see this film, but my expectations weren’t high. This might have been the best movie of the festival. The documentary was fantastically paced, the subjects were fascinating, and the film made the trivial consequences seem like the most important things in the world. I knew a bit about Billy Mitchell and Twin Galaxies through nerd osmosis, but I couldn’t even begin to imagine the dirty dealings and shenanigans… Even Corinna, who isn’t a gamer by any stretch of the imagination, loved this film.
  • Rabbit – A short film set in a kindergarten “learning to read” book, where all objects have their names printed next to them. It looked like illustrations from a Dick and Jane book, but with a far more surrealist premise. It was very enjoyable.
  • Fido – I really wanted to love this one.. The basic premise is this: A idyllic world, stuck in the 50s, where Zombies have been domesticated and are effectively pets/slaves to humans. And that sentence makes it sound like a winner, but it was an idea that just shouldn’t have been stretched to feature length. The movie was effectively Lassie but with a Zombie instead of a dog. Lassie episodes were only 30 minutes, this film was 90, and the stretching was evident. I really loved almost everything about this film; The concept, the characters, the acting, the cinematography, etc. was all great, it the story just couldn’t support a feature length film. I think this would have been an awesome 45 minute short…
  • Death Trike – A funny little short about a homicidal tricycle.  I don’t feel I need to elaborate much more..  Very fun…  From the director of Forest of the Dead.
  • Black Sheep  – Another huge highlight of the festival..  Genetically engineered sheep with a thirst for blood.  Very much in the spirit of Peter Jackson’s early films like Bad Taste and Dead Alive.  Very well paced, very funny, and properly gory.  Those Kiwis sure do know how to make a horror flick.
  • Monster Camp – I was afraid this documentary about Live Action Role-Playing (LARPing) would be a bit to exploitative..  I mean, I think LARPing is hilarious, but I laugh in private..  My fear for this film would be a theatre full of people laughing at the people dressed up as lizards..   But thankfully the film was very delicate and well crafted..  The filmmakers weren’t playing for laughs even if there were plenty of them in there, and when people were laughing, it didn’t seem cruel..  That could be because it was a theatre full of Boston-area nerds, though, so I’m not sure…  But I had the feeling that the subjects would have been able to laugh along with the crowd and not be terribly embarrassed..    It was a very fun film, and really provided insight into the LARPing scene..  I also think it made me a bit more sympathetic to LARPers in general…  I think playing helps many of these people in a similar way I think Computer Science House helps people;  A sort of “social primer” to help not-terribly-social people develop those skills they need in the real world.

To further Xtremeify this weekend of entertainment, Corinna and I went out to Providence on Saturday to see Stephen Lynch at Lupo’s.  Before the show, we met up with Omar, an old friend from the Rovia days…  He’s getting his Ph.D at Brown, but I hadn’t seen him in a few years, so we grabbed dinner and caught up a bit.  The show was fantastic!  Our seats were pretty good, and Lynch (who’s been on Broadway for a year as The Wedding Singer) was on his game completely…  He seemed to have really missed being on his own…  He had some verbal sparring with a heckler, but he seemed to have the upper hand..  It was a great show…  Unfortunately, Corinna’s mysterious food allergy reared it’s head again, but she took enough Benadryl to keep it somewhat in check in order to enjoy the show.  The Benadryl put her on her ass, though, so she slept the whole ride home and missed out on Black Sheep that night…  She woke up with the flu, so fate is apparently not smiling upon her.. =(

On Sunday, even though Corinna was feeling shitty, we managed to squeeze in 5 open houses…  Out of the 5, 3 weren’t even really worth considering, one was OK,but the last one turned out to be really cool.  We haven’t made an offer yet, we’re hoping to have a few more viewings in the next day or two before we make our decision, but we’re both rather excited about this place…

Peeping Tom

Last night

and I met up with

and Chloe at the Sunset Cantina for dinner and drinks, and to go see Peeping Tom at the Paradise Rock Club.  It was a sold-out show, and doors were at 7, but we decided to grab some grub as opposed to waiting outside in the cold..   After dinner, Corinna decided she was pretty tired and was going to bail on the show, so we sold her ticket and went inside..

The first opening act, Pigeon John, was real fun hip-hop, kinda no consequences fun “let me hear you say ‘Yeah!'” kinda stuff…  Everyone seemed to have a good time, especially for an opening act.  Second up was Miho Hatori, which I didn’t really enjoy at all…  Remember how in Alien: Insurrection they failed at several attempts at cloning Ripley, and ended up with a bunch of goobed out mutants?   Well, imagine if you replaced Ripley with Bjork, you’d have Miho Hatori.  She wasn’t physically goobed, but holy christ was her music awful..  It was as if someone making a commercial WANTED Bjork, but she wouldn’t sign off on the rights, so they hired someone to make a soundalike song..  Fortunately, this middle act gave me the opportunity to vote for Sanjaya 68 times. 

Finally, around 10:45pm, Peeping Tom took the stage…  I was disappointed to find out that Rahzel was missing from the line-up this time around.  Fortunately, we were introduced to Butterscotch, who you’d never expect to be a master Beatboxer, but boy does she have chops..  It was fascinating to watch this tiny little woman blow the fucking doors off the venue.  Also, this time around, Dan “The Automator” was able to make the tour (when Corinna and I saw Peeping Tom open for Gnarls Barkley last year, I believe Kid Koala was filling in on decks).  Anyway, the show was fantastic, and Chloe, who Rory kinda dragged to the show even really seemed to enjoy it.  It was crowded, but I think that the Paradise is my favorite area venue..  It’s shallow but wide, so you feel really close to the stage…

When we were leaving, I almost got into my first fistfight in years!  Some drunk douchebag behind me apparently decided that our egress rate was insufficient and shoved me forward.  I informed him that this was uncool (with my elbow into his ribs), and things got quite tense.  We screamed at each other for a few minutes and at some point Rory and someone who apparently knew this douche stepped in and separated us..   This ass kept screaming at me “all I was trying to do was pass you;  I’ll kick your faggotty purple-shirt wearing ass; yadda yadda”.  I kept trying to explain to him that he didn’t try and “pass” me, he shoved me forward and into the wall…  If you can’t handle your liquor, don’t drink in public…


  and I met up with the film club to see a special preview screening of “Hot Fuzz” at the Brattle. “Hot Fuzz” is the latest film from the guys who created “Shaun of the Dead”. “Fuzz” is officially released here in the states in about a month, but the guys (Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, and Nick Frost) are going around the US doing some screenings to build up buzz.

The screening was at 5:30pm, but our passes were first-come, first-served, so I figured we’d get into Harvard Square around 3pm, grab some lunch, and then buzz by the Brattle occasionally until we saw a line starting to form…  Well, we stuck to plan until the “buzzing” part;  After lunch, we did our first pass by the theatre and there was already a line 100+ people long..  So we got on line a bit after 3pm, and stood there until 5:15ish when the doors opened.    The show started about 10 minutes late, but Edgar, Simon, and Nick came out, introduced the movie, and then we were rolling..

Sweet Jesus is this a funny film..  It is every bit as clever as “Shaun of the Dead”, but from filmmakers that show a bit more confidence (and a bit more budget).  The film never really felt slow for me, and when I wasn’t laughing hysterically, I had a broad smile on my face…   There was a point towards the end where I thought I might be really disappointed by the ending, but then it took a fantastic right turn…  In fact, I think the actual ending was funnier in light of where I thought it was going…

I don’t want to spoil it too much, so I’ll just say that this movie is great, and you need to see it.

After the flick, the guys did a lengthy Q&A session, which was quite enjoyable…   They mentioned future projects they are all working on together, but didn’t give any details…  They mentioned they announced “Hot Fuzz” 9 months before they started writing the script, and wanted to avoid announcing anything too early again…  Whatever it ends up being, based on their first two films (and what I’ve seen of the BBC series, “Spaced”), I’ll be at the third on opening weekend!  

Answers to Brock’s Interview Questions

1. What’s the worst movie you’ve ever seen?

Without a doubt, it is Gerry. A close second is Vendredi soir.

2. What is your second most favorite beverage?

A great root beer.

3. If you could invent something to help mankind, what would it be?

Clean renewable energy, without a doubt.

4. What’s the dumbest thing you’ve ever done?

Not taking the first few months after I was laid off more seriously.. I figured I needed a bit of a vacation, and it was right before the holidays, but it was a year between when I started really searching for work in January and when I actually started getting anywhere in my job hunt.

It was also stupid to stay in Boston for as long as I did, as I ended up blowing through all of my savings and running up substantial debt. Of course, if I wasn’t in Boston, I wouldn’t have met

 , so I guess it was worth it after all…

5. Marry, boff, kill: Osama, Sadamm, Ted Kaczynski.

A) I refuse to answer a question which besmirches this glorious game by replacing the word ‘fuck’ with ‘boff’. Who the fuck says ‘boff’? It isn’t even retro-cool.

B) Who the fuck is Sadamm?

Marketing Anarchy

People in Boston are freaking out because “mysterious packages with circuit boards” have been found mounted below bridges in Boston.

It turns out, it’s looking more and more like a guerrilla marketing for the new Aqua Teen Hunger Force film:

(from Vanderlin)

And it’s not just Boston, Here’s one in Philly:

(from xjohnpaulx)

I’m not a fan of the show, but this is awesome…  I predict this will be a HUGE to-do, since the bomb squad was deployed all over the city to dismantle and destroy these “IEDs”.

Update: Here’s another closeup of one of the Boston “Devices”:


Steve is Gay

Steve is Gay
Originally uploaded by seangraham.

Corinna and I pass by this sidewalk almost every Saturday on our walk to breakfast at Moogy’s. Every week I laugh my ass off at the thought of Steve, who (in my imagination) lives in the home directly behind this sidewalk, leaving his home every day and pumping his fists in the air at the kids who mock him. I doubt whoever wrote this in the concrete had any idea of the laughs they created…

One day I will pass another piece of freshly-poured sidewalk and have the balls to put "Steve is Still Gay" into it.

I wrote a letter

I sent this letter to the city transportation department today:

As a pedestrian, it is pretty frustrating that vehicles on Parsons St. in Brighton are allowed to park on the sidewalk on a regular basis. It seems that everyone who parks on this street feels entitled to put one side of their car up on the sidewalk.

Looking at Article IV, Section 1:

“[..] No driver shall stop, stand, or park a vehicle in any of the following
places, except when necessary to avoid conflict with other traffic,

2. Upon any sidewalk.”

Now, I’m sure those who are parking over the curb on the sidewalk are doing so to protect the drivers’ side of their car from sideswipe, but the fact of the matter is that Parsons St. is a very wide street, providing plenty of room for cars parked on both sides and moving traffic. I park my car on a much narrower street which has parking on both sides and nobody feels the need to park on the sidewalk.

I’d appreciate it if the city started enforcing this regulation.