Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Dear Boston cop

... who stormed onto westbound Storrow and nearly ran us off the road...

You're an asshole. A dangerous asshole. Ever heard that phrase "To protect and serve?" Yeah, you're 0-for-2, dickhead.

Jesus. I know you people aren't all that competent and all, but try not and kill the innocent civilians. If you're gonna run people over, you could have done that before to those dipshits who tried to blow up the marathon or that guy you let go who killed the girl.

This is a Public Service Announcement.

Thursday, July 25, 2013


For the second time, I deactivated my account. This time it might stick.

I've got a lot of problems with it. I really don't like being their product and I don't like the selling of my privacy. Or the arbitrary exposure of it without my approval. I don't want to have to work so hard at it.

And lately it's just causing more trouble than it's worth. I feel like I need to stifle myself, and that rubs me the wrong way.

So I just nuked it from orbit. Problem solved.


I had a dream about my student the other night.

I was sitting with a group of people scattered about in lawn chairs. The old fold-up kind that had the knitted vinyl meshed seat and back. Do they even make those any more?

We were in a grassy undefined area... I didn't see a fence. It was a barbecue. Like a family outing.

There were some kids sitting behind me, and he was one of them. He was older, taller -- a teen. I turned over my right shoulder and was surprised to see him there. I asked him how he was doing. He said he was better, different. That he doesn't "do that" any more. I knew he was talking about the problems.

However the kids he is with strike me as trouble. Later I will see that they are in a strange vehicle... it's like a truck/van combo of some sort, almost like it was hand-made. It's white with a blue vinyl interior, and beaten up. It has four doors and an extended cab area that goes all the way to the rear of the vehicle.

Later I go to my vehicle, which is parked in a huge angle-in parking lot that is empty except for two vehicles. One is what I am driving, my stepfather's old, orange truck. I can't get into the driver's side because the van the kids are in has been parked against it, crumpling the driver door and part of the left fender.

Next I recall seeing them drive behind the lawn chairs, and try to get them to stop. They do not.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The hiatus

....was not planned.

But a lot has been going on. I got a job. A great job. I started July 5, have been at it three weeks now, and it's beyond amazing. Great, professional people, all rowing in the same direction, all invested in the success of the mission. I feel so fortunate to be there.

A good post would have been about the overnight trip to Provincetown at the tip of Cape Cod. It was a quick jaunt and fascinating; worthy of more description. I've got to come back to that.

Another Boston-specific post could be about more use of the T system, which, I'm finding out, is pretty damned good. People here beat on it a lot, and it isn't without problems. But with a million people a day riding the system, it's pretty good.

And of course we've had a ridiculous heat wave, although as I type in this darkened room, a gentle breeze is occasionally wafting through the window. We've got a good chance of lows near 60 the next couple of nights. It will be nice to relax a bit.

Another new experience was the first trip toward Rhode Island Saturday. Destination: Mansfield for the Americanarama concert. A splendid time.

So there's a lot on my mind. I missed you...

Friday, July 5, 2013

The Opportunity

I start my new job tonight.

It's a great opportunity. In a couple of ways.

First there's the job itself. It's with a reliable company that has been in business almost 200 years. My two visits onsite have revealed a commitment of resources and a professional, talented team. I'm thrilled to start work with my new colleagues.

But there is a bigger opportunity.

When I started my dream job in LA, there was a flicker of self-doubt as I began. I was in a relatively new industry, among top-flight practitioners, and I was clearly the greenhorn of the bunch. Yet, I had tremendous responsibility. Was I up to it? I wondered.

But then I had to give myself a pep talk. It was a little Stuart Smalley-esque, but relevant anyway. I knew I had the ability, although still much to learn. I had to give it time and trust my instincts.

I think it worked. My last point to myself was: "You're in Hollywood. Play the part."

A new job is an opportunity for a truly fresh start. You haven't made any mistakes. The shine is totally on your star.

What will you do with that?

Don't squander it. Don't give anything away. You never get a second chance to make a first impression. I want to wow these people. I want to have them come away from our time together and have them say "Wow, we struck gold with that one. What a great addition to the group."

How do I accomplish this? These things are on my list:

  • Have a great attitude. Be positive, encouraging, and involved. Don't bring your personal problems into the mix.
  • Be a team player. Help out whenever, however you can. Take on more.
  • Be reliable. This means things like being punctual count.
  • Listen and learn. Even an old dog can learn new tricks -- if you're open to them.
  • Push yourself. I've got enough experience that I know a lot and don't go into this job as a rookie. But coasting is a mistake. Develop your talents. Find ways to improve. Set lofty goals.
I'm ready. Let's go.

Go Fourth

Looking west from the BU Bridge at dusk, 4 July 2013.

In 1976, the Bicentennial was a huge deal. As it should have been.

I was in Fort Smith at my grandparents' house. We'd had a sort of family reunion and all the kith and kin had assembled for a big visit.

That night, us boys were going to go out and hustle girls; I remember the girl's name I was interested in, Cheryl -- she had zero interest in me.

But before that great washout, I remember seeing a televised event from Boston. Arthur Fiedler conducted the Boston Pops orchestra at a bandshell overlooking the Charles River. Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture and Sousa's Stars and Stripes Forever were stirring, and I remember an aerial shot of boats on the Charles near the concert site and an unbelievable fireworks display.

It was very... American.

Last night I thought of all those things as we ventured out to get a view of the amazing spectacle. Storrow, which runs immediately adjacent to the concert venue, the Hatch Shell, was closed in either direction. I don't know if this is SOP or just something implemented since the Marathon attacks. Memorial Drive was closed, too, as was the Mass Ave. bridge. That bridge would be the best place to watch, but we knew unless we wanted to camp out for several hours, that was going to be a nonstarter.

So we opted to try and get on the BU Bridge just a bit further upstream. Our plan was to snag parking on Comm Ave and walk to the bridge.

It worked perfectly. There was plenty of parking after 8 p.m. and the bridge was a few minutes' walk. Once there, the east side was crowded but we could have managed. The West side was wide open and we had our pick of spots. Perfect.

Throw in a nice breeze and it was an inspired choice. Beginner's luck.

The only drawback was not being able to hear the music, but as for a vantage point, it couldn't have been much better. In future years, if we do this again, this is a good spot.