Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Arrival in P-Town

Last weekend.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


As of 3:55p.m., 4/28/09 has broken a Boston temperature record. I wonder what the Somerville cabbie who told me that global warming was a liberal myth makes of this.

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Monday, April 27, 2009

Parting Shots, Monday, April 27

  1. Why is it going to 90 degrees outside tomorrow?
  2. Do I have to bring my air conditioner out of the basement?
  3. Why are all the people at the shows CMike and I go to in their 40s?
  4. Why did it take over 24 hours for the latest Breaking Bad to show up On Demand?
  5. Is the fact that I traveled/worked for 17 days straight the reason that I can't stay awake anymore?


Sunday, April 26, 2009

Old Zamboni, Norwood, Mass.

This past evening.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Sun City Mortuary, Perris, Calif.

I went by this place for a second time two weeks ago. The sign you see in the picture is now gone, and the name of the establishment is more normal.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

the only thing that made the cue decent was the squirt bottle of vinegar sauce at the end of the serving line. Over and out.
I'm eating airport barbecue in charlotte and it's not that bad. The frozen fried pickle was a touch of cheese, however. Come to think of it, I wonder if

UP #219: Paper Plant, Munising, Mich.

The UP archives are a gift that keeps on giving.


I got to my hotel outside Miami pretty late. I'd been entrapped in "secure" areas for almost ten hours, so I decided to explore the quiet stretch of Route 1 outside my air-conditioned tomb. Large American cars whizzed by. There were no pedestrians in sight, just two separate hispanic guys biking down the sidewalk, apparently coming home from work. A few people waited for a downtown train at the elevated platform across the street.

Not fifty feet from the entrance of my hotel, I spotted this... ancient-looking concrete street sign embedded in the dead grass at the corner, the letters eerily calling out to the ghosts of the city's past. Calling back, in my imagination, to the time when the city was largely caucasian and agricultural and the original carpetbaggers came south to meet their fortunes. Now Miami is a totally mixed hodgepodge of humans. The agriculture is gone. The Cubans that the city became famous for have been supplanted by waves of northern retirees, suits, asians, central americans, etc. And each wave has shaped and nudged the city into its present form.

If there is one thing that American cities do, they change. I enjoy trying to understand the changes, and I try half-assedly to honor the ghosts of the past. Some American ghosts are horrible, and some are inert. But every square mile of America is haunted by something. I suppose the same could be said about anywhere, but many Americans willfully ignore this country's past, in favor of nothing, or, worse, in favor of neverending bourgeois obsessions with overseas ghosts.

But ignorance is bliss. Still thinking about that concrete street sign, which could be one year old or one hundred years old, I stepped into the only nearby business open, a TGI Friday's. I had a beer and two delicious sliders. In that frat boy-laden atmosphere, the only ghosts conjured were those of girls I didn't like anymore. I went back to the hotel.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Txt blog test!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Gold Star Chili made my day.

I was supposed to fly on the same plane from Seattle to Boston, but Delta decided to swap in a replacement 737 during the stop at CVG. I got off the first plane hoping for a quick snack and soon spotted the words "A," "fil," and "Chick" revealing themselves to me in that order as I stepped around a row of flight status monitors. "Yes!" I thought. "Nothing can deter me from Chick-Fil-A!"

As I approached the counter and prepared to order a standard combo, something behind me caught my eye--a Gold Star Chili! The major competitor to Skyline, Gold Star is the other pillar of the bizarre institution called Cincinnati chili.

Pictured above is a four-way: spaghetti, cheese, onions, and, yes, chili. As I dug in, I remembered my lovely outing in Cincinnati last month and longed for a night of chili and Bell's Two-Hearted Ale and local music. When I got on the plane in Seattle, the last thing I expected was to have a Cincinnati experience. After this four-way, I could barely bring myself to get on the plane to Boston. Cincinnati is a cool town, I say. That thin chili messes with my heart, and I let it and I love it.

Plus, I can have Chick-Fil-A during my three hour layover in Philly tomorrow.

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Gold Star Chili Hot Sauce Applicator Tip--CVG Airport

UP #218: Cranes, Munising, Mich.

UP #217: Munising Mist, Munising, Mich.

Back to the UP, even though I'm in Seattle. I guess I'm not going to blog every decent trip photo after all, just the best remaining ones. You can see the whole UP trip on Flickr.

Now I'm going to read more early Steinbeck and be depressed about the lack of progress with my band.

In the morning I fly across the continent once again. Avoid complacency.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

4:26 EST

1:26 PST

more of the same.

Friday, April 17, 2009


is getting old.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Four Corners

Last 7 days: San Diego, Boston.
Next 7 days: Seattle, Miami.


Monday, April 13, 2009

Future Public Radio

I'm home for a night. I just picked up a rental car in Harvard Square to go somewhere else tomorrow. Whenever I pick up a rental car in Harvard Square, I tune the car radio to the MoFo, Tufts' 91.5 WMFO, to see what might be on. There is a great dance/funk music show on tonight, and now it is playing on the stereo in my house.

Back in the diz-ay, I played with my blues rock group on one of the MoFo's most famous shows, On the Town. I also used to make weird guest appearances on some kind of show with Phil Erner that was on from 4-6am on Saturdays. The highlight was meeting Alex Piandes, then host of the 6-9am show "Coffee and Smokes with Alex." Alex introduced me to Hound Dog Taylor.

I've said it before: I'm going to need to do a show one day.


Thursday, April 09, 2009

Bus Boneyard, Murrieta, Calif.

Bus Boneyard, Murrieta, Calif.

Bus Boneyard, Murrieta, Calif.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

3349 Cahuenga, LA

Starlite Room, LA

Taco Stand, LA


Tuesday, April 07, 2009

From Teele Square to Logan Terminal C in Eight Minutes

Today's Green Cab driver did just that, averaging exactly 60.0 miles per hour over the entire trip. As he flew from the inside lane of the Zakim Bridge to the outside lane at 5:50 a.m., I said, "Man, you're gonna break a record."

In a heavy Hatian accent, he replied: "That's what I DO, baby. I know how to DO IT."

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Sunday, April 05, 2009

Annual April Pilgrimage to Revere

Every year, when we can't stand being inside anymore, and the gray weather that started in October is just starting to let up, Dan M. and I head up to Revere Beach. The oldest public beach in America has a lot to offer: it's transit-accessible and caters not only to locals but to all sorts of urbanites. There's plenty of roast beef and pizza, bars I would never enter, and scary motels that seem to be raided frequently by police. There are people and dogs of every size and color, varied as the litter on the sand. When the weather is warmer, the strip becomes American Graffiti, with all types of choppers and roadsters cruising day and night.

I love Revere Beach passionately and defend it to naysayers whenever the opportunity arises. It's an extremely urban experience, a mirror of the diversity America enjoys and the challenges it faces. In other words, Revere Beach is as real as it gets.

I put my photos on Flickr, but here are some highlights:

Transferring to the Blue Line...


People do the darndest things at Revere Beach, like sunbathing on the wrong side of the beach wall. So I was not terribly surprised to see this woman sunbathing on the wall directly outside the men's bathhouse:

"IF YOU TAKE A PICTURE OF ME, I'LL F**KIN' KILL YOU!" she shouted, as I rather suavely maneuvered my lens to set up a shot of Dan (who is sitting on the wall in the above photo).

"Nothing to worry about," I said.

"You dumb f**kin' kid. We've lived here a long time, and this is OUA TURF! I'LL F**KIN SLICE YOU UP FROM HEAD TO TOE!" she continued, still lying atop the wall. Then, to a crowd of about ten shirtless men grilling in the shade of a house across the street: "SULLY! SULLY! WATCH OUT! HE'S GAUT A KEAH-MRA! HE'S GAUT A KEAH-MRA! WATCH OUT, SULLY!"

Someone across the street mumbled something, and many laughed. I've been going to Revere long enough to know how to handle myself there. To get out of trouble, I did what no lower-Revere Beach denizen ever does: I crossed the wall onto the sand. Meade, who was sitting on the wall, stepped off onto the sandy side as well. The sound of waves and seagulls resumed and the restroom lady resumed her blissful rest.

Lots of groundwater was seeping through the sand and cascading down to the ocean. I'd never seen this before.

A laceless, washed-up shoe caught my eye...

...and we whiled away the afternoon at Santorini, the best restaurant on the strip. We got fried clam strips and sunburn.

After a few hours at the ocean, we headed back to the Blue Line at Wonderland and journeyed headlong into another work week, Dan's in New York and mine on the Left Coast.

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We are making the annual April pilgrimage to Revere Beach,

to find out whether it is truly spring yet.


Saturday, April 04, 2009

Dog Terrorism

Dan and I were returning from yet another Rangers loss at the Garden, about five minutes ago, when we found ourselves passing Sabur in Teele Sqaure. One of those freaky joggers who always runs with their shorter-limbed dogs approached us rapidly. The jogger was male, 40ish, and about four foot eight. The dog approximated Spuds, of Bud Light fame, and was considerably shorter than his human companion.

I love dogs, and as the duo passed us on the sidewalk, the dog panting heavily, I swooped playfully torward toward the panting pup. The dog lunged and barked at me as she passed. Dan and I laughed, not having wanted to cause the dog any anxiety. Then we heard a human ranting angrily at us from behind.

"Did you just terrorize my dog?! You think that's funny?! I saw you laugh! You terrorized my dog!"

I turned around and witnessed the four-foot-tall man, paused in the sidewalk on the other side of the Sabur parking lot. His dog stood there and didn't care, panting at the sidewalk during an unexpected break in her run. I asked the guy if he had a problem.

Suddenly, the jogger grabbed the leash and ran toward Dan and me rapidly, covering a distance of about forty feet and stopping almost in my face. The poor dog came along for the ride, her leash in the short man's hand.

"I saw you lunge at my dog!" said the pyscho. "You threatened her! You think that's funny? You think that's funny?!"

"You need to get away from me," I said. Dan lay low and silent, waiting to be provoked. Native New Yorkers know how to win in court.

The dog-creep stepped even closer to me. "You threatened my helpless dog! You think that's funny?! You think that's funny?! Let me tell you something--"

"You need to step back," I said. The guy kept fighting, his adrenaline all up from his jog. I stepped back, and so did he. But he continued to make threatening hand gestures, seemingly suggesting that he would sic the hapless dog on me if I continue to mouth off.

"I think you're a creep," I said, staring the guy in his soulless blue eyes, "threatening me with your dog. Chasing me down with your dog on a leash." I leaned on a parking meter like I didn't care, continuing to stare down the jogger.

The guy froze for a second, then lunged at me once again, stopping mere inches from my face.


"You are a fucking creep," I said, not raising my voice at all. "And you need to get away from me. You need to stop following me now."

"Was I supposed to just leave her there?" the creep said, tugging at the leash. I felt sorry for the dog. "You terrorized her! And you seemed to share a laugh afterwards," he said, looking at Dan, as if we had planned an attack on his pretty dog.

"You need to stop following us NOW," I said, as he pursued us uphill. The pyscho stood there in his jogging attire, leash in hand. I half-hoped that he would lunge at me again so I would have full legal authority to kick the living shit out of him.

But the psycho just jogged off toward Davis, with the dog in tow, and Dan and I returned to my apartment. I hope I don't run into this guy anytime soon.

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Friday, April 03, 2009

Chelsea Cops Illegally Cracking Down on Legal Photography?

Upon arriving home tonight, I was very disturbed to see that both Bostonist and Photography is not a Crime had published posts about a man in Boston's "inner ring urban suburb" of Chelsea being coerced by Chelsea PD to delete photographs he took in a public park. But not just any public park--O'Malley park, one of my favorite parks in all of urban Boston.

O'Malley park is great, and the entire city of Chelsea can be very photogenic. I've biked through many times, and was even stopped en route by Boston officers once, who were extremely professional, courteous, and well-trained. They were responding to a call about a "middle eastern male videotaping the powerplant"--when in fact my white ass had taken a photo of a passing tugboat. They were so professional that I didn't mind that they had followed me into Everett, outside their jurisdiction.

But back to Chelsea. O'Malley Park provides great views not only of the Tobin Bridge and much of Downtown Boston, but of the hardworking docks in adjacent Everett. Among the many activities that go on at the docks is the import of highly flammable liquified natural gas (LNG). Since the ships are large enough to see from space, and since the ships are threaded through downtown Boston and then dock in the bull's eye of a metro area with a population of 5 million, it seems to me that taking pictures of the ships--which I have often done--should be the least of anyone's worries. But, as always, anyone with a camera is cast as a would-be terrorist, who would prefer to conspicuously wander public streets with an SLR rather than just look up targets on Google StreetView or Windows Live Bird's Eye View. Makes no sense.

I'm making it my mission to get out on my bike more this spring, and I always have a camera with me. If I look suspicious to you, feel free to say hello and ask me some questions. But if you ask me to destroy my own legally acquired property, that's not going to happen.

Here are a bunch of images I've shot in Chelsea during my tenure in Massachusetts:

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