Friday, August 31, 2007

RB vs. Drunken Cop Impersonator in Davis

I was on my way downtown to buy stuff when I spotted some really cool old bikes chained up just beyond the Somerville Theatre side of the Davis T stop. I admire the design of old and quirky bikes, but I don't think I've had much success photographing them, so I decided to give it another shot with the subjects available. There was a cool, aerodynamic Taiwanese bike with well-aged fenders, a French road bike with an interesting brake cable alignment that symmetrically divided the frame, and a few other good ones. I had to wedge myself between the bikes and the brick wall in front of them to get some shots of the the manufacturers' insignia. I probably looked weird.

When I finished, I noticed a wiry, Irish-townie looking guy straddling a bike in the middle of the brick walkway. He was staring me down. He had bushy blond hair, an unyouthful face, and wore a white polo shirt and jeans. In a slow, low mumble, he asked

DRUNKEN COP IMPERSONATOR: Whattaya lookin faw?
RB: Just looking at these cool old bikes.
DRUNKEN COP IMPERSONATOR: Nah, whattayalookinfaw?
RB: The bikes.
DRUNKEN COP IMPERSONATOR: Nah, I wanna know, whea do you come from? What do you see?
RB: (Getting impatient) Well, I'm from New York.
DRUNKEN COP IMPERSONATOR: (Eyes bulging with sudden, unmistakable rage) Yah from Noo Yok, what the fuckaya doin heeya? (A strong aura of whiskey accompanies his harshening words.)
RB: Well, I live here, and I'm off today. I'm looking for some photos.
DRUNKEN COP IMPERSONATOR: I look lika regla guy, but I'm a caup.
RB: (Contemplates walking away for several seconds). Huh?
DRUNKEN COP IMPERSONATOR: I said I look lika regla guy, but I'm a caup. I look out for people. I look for people like you.
RB: You're a cop?
RB: Well, let's see some ID then.
DRUNKEN COP IMPERSONATOR: (Jumps off bike, holds the bike up with one hand, makes a fist with the other. Jumps up and down while holding the bike upright). HEEZ YA FUCKIN ID! HEEZ ALL THE FUCKIN ID YAH NEED!
RB: (Realizing he must protect camera) I'm done with you. Get away from me. (Begins to walk away, back toward subway entrance).
DRUNKEN COP IMPERSONATOR: Yah betta getda fuck attaheeya!

RB walks around the subway entrance to a large bus map on which the phone number for the MBTA Police is listed. As RB dials the dispatcher on his cellphone, the DRUNKEN COP IMPERSONATOR storms around the station entrance on his bicycle, veering between pedestrians, and pulls up to RB, shouting...

RB: I see you're a real professional, cursing at me.
DRUNKEN COP IMPERSONATOR: [immemorable expletive]
RB: I told you, I'm done with you. You better get away from me.
DRUNKEN COP IMPERSONATOR: YOU betta get da fuck attaheeya!
RB: See ya. (Enters station, redials police).
POLICE DISPATCHER: MBTApolicethiscallisbeingrecorded.

RB reports DRUNKEN COP IMPERSONATOR to police, then continues on to buy running shoes. Like a bad caffeine high, fight/flight adrenaline supply takes full hour to subside.

I didn't know it was possible to handle these without cursing or fighting. I learned that today.

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Totally Vacated

I blew all my vacation days so I could finish out this week going to the beach and waking up at noon. It's surprisingly restorative and even more surprisingly satisfying.

2000+ photos so far this week. Maybe I'll post a few when I'm "back."


Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Front Yard, Glendale, Queens

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Which ethnic food caused the poisoning?

Consumed in 24 hours:
  1. Vietnamese BBQ, North Beach-ish.
  2. Dim Sum feat. chicken feet in Chinatown.
  3. Zucchini pupusa! (much better than pork pupusa) in the Mission.
  4. Berkeley vegetarian wasabi noodles.
  5. Most of the above.

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Sunday, August 26, 2007

Fun Fact

During the past week, when my colleagues and I were busy at a conference, blog traffic dropped 55% lower than average.


Drinking in San Francisco

Also hiking, beaching, and photoing. Soon baseballing. Saw the Holmes Brothers last night. Here we see me being shocked and amazed by Wendell Holmes, 69-year-old bassist for the Holmes Brothers. His sick thumb-pluckin,' slide techniques, and ability to rule the fretboard while singing harmony with brother Sherman (amazingly dextrous strat player) and drummer Popsy Dixon (master of the snare solo and a voice like Smokey Robinson's). Laura Maestrelli, who created this cameraphone image of my head, said I had to put it here, if I'm remembering correctly.

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Friday, August 24, 2007

Drinking in the Desert

I have slept 16 hours since Monday, no joke.


Sunday, August 19, 2007

Worcester Cabbie Wisdom

In college, I always looked forward to visiting friends at Holy Cross, and especially to riding in cabs from Worcester Union Station. I've never had a Worcester cabbie who wasn't a character. Yesterday, I returned to Holy Cross for a wedding. A ride with a middle-aged, ex-military, southern transplant, African-American cabdriver in a straw hat yielded the pearls below. You must imagine each quote being slowly said in a deliberate drawl, half Virginian and half Worcesterite.

On marriage:
"Once you marry 'em, they change. Man can't live on bread alone--you need that meat! You think Bill Clinton woulda been gettin' all those humjobs if Hillary was takin' care of him?"

On cops directing traffic at a construction site:
"No wonder we ain't movin'--thah's two flat-foots slowin' everything down!"

On recent immigration waves:
"We got all kinds of immigrants here now--lots of Brazilians, Asians, Africans, lots from Africa. They must a heard that we got a good welfare program."

On crackhead guards at the famous Port of Worcester (where he had worked in security):
"Ass-holes broke into 35 containers. Some had computers, some had jewelry, some had sneakas, all kinds of shit. But they didn't know that they ship the left foot and the right foot in separate containers. Someone probably got his ass killed over that. All hopped up on the junk. I can tell; I've seen it. I've seen it in their eyes. Her boyfriend, too. As soon as she got her first paycheck, she start callin' in sick, wantin' days off. I fired her ass two days later."

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Friday, August 17, 2007

Boston Zombie March 07


Best Blog Comment Ever

Meade and I went to a Royals game in Kansas City. We drank a lot. We both blogged about a very large Beach Ball Hater, who stomped a beach ball in the left field bleachers, nearly inciting a riot. Naturally, the beach ball hater, whom I referred to as a "bearded behemoth fatass," would find this site, and provide his side of the story. It's not as good as what we inferred, but it is funny, and I apologize to the respectable behemoth for the now-unnecessary fatass appellation.

Read Meade's version of the tale, then my version (buried under June 30th), and then the Behemoth's comments below:

Hello there. I don't know if youll read this, but my brother who was at that "beach ball game" at the K related to me your story about "the bearded behemoth" who crushed the beach balls. Well I am that bearded behemoth. Not to sound like a jerk because I am actually a very easy going guy, but the real story of the beach balls was that a small child of 4-5 years had been spiked in the face with said ball. This coming after one of my friends also in attendance had nacho debris besiege him after another errant beach ball spike. When I stood up I was trying to ask the drunk fellows behind us to please stop spiking balls, and when they jeered my request I deflated the ball.

When the usher came down he was not yelling at me, he was in fact ejecting one of the said drunk beach ball spikers. I said two words to the usher as a pointed out the real jerk...."that guy."

I had no ill intentions, I had drank no beer, I was just trying to enjoy the game and keep some overly rowdy fans from hurting the cute little girl who for no reason whatsoever took a beach ball to the face.

I apologize for appearing as an unruly behemoth. It's a curse I've dealt with for years.

Posted by unruly behemoth of the K to rb at 4:07 AM


All Somerville, All The Time

My last landlord suggested that if I "find paradise in Boston," I might as well stay. I recently realized that almost everything I do--working at home, grocery shopping, dining out, working in coffee shops, having a drink, visiting friends, getting a haircut, and soon, band stuff--happens in Somerville. No 4,000-lb. auto required. Everything is literally down the block--and occasionally across the street in Cambridge. This, I think, is how urban neighborhoods are supposed to work.

I wish that Meet Under McGrath were not this weekend--otherwise I could count partying under decrepit highway overpasses on the activities list above.


Thursday, August 16, 2007

A Laughable, Illogical Trend in Blog Comments (now with new conclusion)

Several thousand people stop at this blog every week. Many come from links on other blogs or because they googled something that I trashed.

People keep reading my ideas, then trying to discredit those ideas because of my age (in reality, the two have no connection). This first instance occurred when I elaborated on the idea of "terror envy" that was described on a Boston Globe blog. My profile then said I was 25, so within four hours of the post, an anonymous commenter wrote that I should "grow up, little man." Never mind the demonstrated validity of my hypothesis that Boston (the idea of the city, not the municipality itself) actually and actively seeks a role to have had in the 9/11 attacks.

Now, people from the cities I visit on my many travels visit the blog. I don't always like their cities, and they don't always like me. For example: It isn't my fault that Calgary tries so hard to be Dallas that it's actually become an even bigger shithole than Dallas. This point is not debatable. But some anonymous person, having seen my year-old post on that vast suburban non-city, and, ostensibly, my Blogger profile, has now commented that I'm "pretty bitter for a 26 year old" and that I should "grow up."

Ideas can be relevant, descriptive, correct, and even inspiring no matter who thinks or articulates them. It doesn't matter whether you believe that or not, since it is the truth. Personally, I also acknowledge that sometimes it is necessary to offend in the process of being critical. And there's no gauge of whether a post was offensive to someone like anonymous commenters telling you to grow up.

I think that blogs about ideas are a lot more interesting than blogs about feelings, so I'll continue trying to write the former (for the most part).

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Friend me on Netflix.

I don't know anything about film. This is strange, because I once student-taught two classes on film at an expensive liberal arts college. Anyway, I don't know what to watch, so help me out.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

You Make the Call...

Number of days RB has lived in Boston (since 2004): 1,126.
Number of parental visits in specified date range: 0.
Number of days CMIKE has lived in Boston: 8.
Number of proposed parental visits (as of today): 1.


Roots Radio Battle: WFUV vs. WUMB

When you can't decide which CD to spin, these commercial-free, public radio stations will save your life. But which is better? WFUV makes sure to play heavier, contemporary soul (new Soulive today) and more electric-guitar-powered roots rock (like the Jayhawks). WUMB almost always features acoustic soul. WFUV is New York. WUMB is Boston.

Listen for yourself at or, and let me know what you think. For the record, I sound (and would rather sound) like WFUV.


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Full Circle in Flushing

I've been blogging about Downtown Flushing becoming New York's next downtown for years. Now, a great article in a nonprofit magazine called The Next American City has done a great job of summarizing the goals and challenges that will need to be met for that to happen.

I found out about this via, a real estate blog that asked to use my aerial photo in its own post about the Next American City article.

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Monday, August 13, 2007

Trouble at Revere Beach

RB in SF.

Confirmed. Aug 24-28.

Possibly followed by RB in Maine.


Additional photos available at


One day I'll make a new site that makes sense.


Sunday, August 12, 2007


I'm still here.


Thursday, August 09, 2007

Stuff I like today

  • Cabo Wabo
  • Lawrence, Kan.
  • Austin, Tex.
  • Canada and Canadians
  • new and functional AirPort base station
  • feeling like a musician

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Boston and MBTA police departments waste court resources fighting over detail pay

As you may know, Massachusetts law requires cops to be given overtime pay to read newspapers at construction sites. I consider this ridiculous, and so do most other states. Today's Globe reports on the ongoing court battle between the Boston Police and MBTA Police: they need a judge to decide which department should be paid to "protect" transit-related job sites within Boston city limits. I say neither.


Monday, August 06, 2007

This is not so bad.

Sunday, August 05, 2007


After almost three years of occasionally playing music alone, I've finally returned to playing music with others. Erich and I did an overnight session in Glendale, Queens last night. We picked up where we left off in June of 2004, when I moved to Boston to try my luck at the ladder. It was absolutely elating to discover that not only could I still play stringed instruments, but that I could do it collaboratively and sometimes effortlessly.

When left to my own devices, I used to stick to bluesy/pentatonic creations. I've made a lot more roots/rock stuff that's moved beyond that. Erich has always sounded best on piano--he writes in a totally different idiom of ethereal jazz-pop. But whatever we do has always meshed perfectly. I'm embarrassed that we took so much time off, but all became right again in the past 24 hours.

A photo tour of Deep-Southern Queens anomalies followed our session.

Brother moves to Boston tomorrow, and more music begins.


Saturday, August 04, 2007

New York is CHAOS

Fuck Manhattan; I'm talking about Main Street, Flushing. Try standing anywhere without getting knocked over by a human or vehicle. Try counting how many languages you can spot on a block's worth of signs, or how many individual types of object you can smell rotting. I wish there were a little more order, a little more planning. Main Street would make so much more sense as a pedestrian/bus way. Take out the livery and yellow cabs. Install bricks or cobblestones, drive the patternless, gridlocking vehicular traffic away from the business center.

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In getting to where we want to be, we must destroy all obstacles to our progress.

Luckily, I am very, very good at this.

Back to sleep.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Today on the Acela

This summer is a failure. This August train ride bears none of the promise of the season--like a ride in early June would have. The days may be hot, but they're getting shorter, no time to enjoy them can be carved from the days of the week, and it'll be another frigid winter before the fleeting pleasures of summer's empty promises can even be sensed again.


Wednesday, August 01, 2007

RB on the job in Reidsville, NC

Images by/courtesy of Leo Wiegman.


Abbreviated Chronology of US Airways Travel Nightmare

  • Fly HYA-BOS no problem, check bag in HYA, check in for PHL
  • PHL closed, circle over atlantic, arrive late
  • RDU flight delayed 4 hours because of no inbound a/c, then canceled
  • wait 60 minutes in rebooking line, get on 5:20 RDU flight
  • 5:20 RDU flight departs at 8:20, circles on taxiways for 90 minutes, crew times out
  • returns to gate shortly after 10, cancels
  • in rebook line from 10:30pm to 2am
  • secure Quality Inn Reservation over phone
  • get CLT/GSO rebooking for 9am, but no boarding pass available. Representative says bag will be forwarded to GSO.
  • Take ride from bitching, ripoff cabdriver who drives in a giant circle to rip me off (FUCK ALL PHILADELPHIA CAB DRIVERS. ALL OF YOU. FUCK YOU. UNPROFESSIONAL GARBAGE.)
  • Quality Inn lobby is closed and locked, must talk to woman through plate glass window in side of building. People appear to be living in the parking lot.
  • Screaming woman informs me that no rooms were left when my reservation was made and my credit card charged
  • Sent to Econo Lodge next door with 50-year old man in Barbra Streisand t-shirt who received a voucher but was sent to the wrong hotel
  • Get room, sleep 4 hours
  • Eat Uncrustable (TM) sandwich, take free shuttle 2 minutes to airport
  • Check in kiosks do not work
  • Wait 30 minutes in service line, get boarding passes.
  • Agent says I will miss connection in Greensboro and that she's booking me on multiple flights.
  • Also says my bag will be there.
  • CLT flight is 2.5 hours late, miss connection.
  • Eat bad cheesesteak. Why would I want to have a bad cheesesteak in PHL?
  • Fly to CLT
  • Agent in CLT says woman in PHL never actually booked me to GSO and that my bag is going to RDU
  • Get boarding pass for GSO flight
  • GSO flight leaves gate one hour late, immediately breaks down on taxiway, then sneaks out of the departure line and sits on tarmac
  • waits 30 minutes for a gate, then returns to gate.
  • Flight sits at gate while eerily hot flight attendant named Contessa laughs loudly
  • passengers asked to deplane, then flight is canceled
  • No luggage available in CLT.
  • I ask for number of RDU baggage office and they say we can't give that out, you have to go there.
  • Rent $500 one way car, only "small SUV" class available, attempt to drive 1hr to Greensboro
  • interstate at standstill due to accident
  • drive 21 miles in 3 hrs on interstate
  • make phone calls from gas station payphone, eat sour patch kids, attempt tp wait out traffic nightmare
  • still doesn't work
  • attempt to drive to raleigh to retrieve luggage
  • start falling asleep behind wheel in hour 4 of driving
  • retire at holiday inn express in asheboro
  • drive 30 miles to greensboro next (tues) morning
  • arrive 8:43am for 9am presentation

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