Vulcan’s Peak

Archive for the 'life in the big city' category

“A More Perfect Union” …and other links

March 21, 2008 7:44 pm

I’ve finally gotten a chance to take a good look at Obama’s speech about race that has been in the news since Tuesday. I’m very impressed.

Watch it here: the Tube of You.
Or read it here: the NY Times.

Or hear the puppets from Avenue Q deliver the same message (well, roughly, with added cheese!). I did get to go see Avenue Q on Tuesday — the house was packed, and it was huge fun. Knowing the soundtrack meant that I knew about 75% of the show, but it’s still funny and watching the puppets is a lot of fun. See? (YouTube again.)

Moving back to the campaign for a moment, I’ve been amused by these for the last few weeks: The original Obama version and the parody, a McCain version.

As long as we’re wandering around, let’s add the 10 Most Historically Inaccurate Movies. Ending with…2001??? Heh. Am also amused that Mel Gibson makes up almost a third of the list. Though of course some of these are really good movies (but I’ll never understand the appeal of 2001. Sorry, Sir Arthur. Be at peace).

To end on a totally random note, here are two photos that aren’t mine:
Everyone is Irish. No, really. Everyone. (I was not at this parade, but this is hilarious.)
And I just love the angle on this one. You can picture me here…all the time.


March 7, 2008 9:28 pm

Young rider gives MBTA board an earful.

The young man described here was also featured in an article in the Metro this morning (one of the free newspapers distributed around the city, designed to be easily read on your commute into work). The copy I saw was in the hands of a couple of teenage boys — oversized hoodies, spikey hair — maybe fifteen years old. “That guy goes to our school,” one boy told the other, clearly proud. The second boy seemed to be a foreign exchange student and the first boy proceeded to try to explain other news items to him. “Right now, there are these things called primaries going on,” he’d stumble. “And we have these two parties called the Republicans and the Democrats. And we pretty much know who the Republican guy is going to be, but for the Democrats it’s still between two people, but I don’t really care because I’m a Libertarian, which is something else. And then there’s the Nader guy, but he’s crazy, there’s people who say so…” (My paraphrasing may do him some disservice.)

Presently, the train pulled into Park Street (where apparently those wooden struts are holding up the walls that are rotting away, yikes) and I changed for the Green Line. The train was moving before I realized that my young friends had done the same.

“See, there are these people called superdelegates,” the first boy says. He’s trying to be thorough, but he’s rapidly running out of steam.

Props to him for trying. I doubt I could have done better at fifteen.

Now, for something completely different.

January 16, 2008 11:56 pm

Spamalot! So much fun.

The strength and challenge of this show is that it is so closely based on the cult-favorite film. The very mention of swallows and the first hint of a French accent got huge laughs long before a punchline was even suggested. But though some scenes are almost verbatim from Holy Grail, the story has been slightly restructured so that it can be a musical! (jazz hands!) Scenes from the movie that feature Random Person #53 become scenes about the knights — Lancelot and Robin are in the “bring out yer dead” scene (and then go off to enlist as Arthur’s knights), and the “help, help I’m being oppressed” peasant is transformed by the Lady of the Lake into Sir Galahad.

The Lady of the Lake turns out to be (A) everywhere, (B) Guinevere, and (C) a huge ham! Most of her songs are very meta-theatrical — she has three versions of “The Song That Goes Like This,” in which she explains that it is time for the lover’s duet that ends with a kiss or the torchy ballad or what have you. And naturally she marries Arthur at the end to fulfill that box on the formula checklist (no ambiguous semi-ending this time!)

Of course the Camelot dance sequence is still there, but much bigger! …And Camelot is basically Vegas. Best use of coconuts: Arthur joins a row of tap-dancing knights, but instead of dancing, he just sticks out a foot and Patsy does the taps! Clever.

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January 10, 2008 12:05 am

Things I thought about doing this evening, but didn’t:
-Doing laundry.
-Cooking something new for dinner to provide a break from the leftovers from last weekend. (Don’t get me wrong, I adore leftovers and plan for them. But variety ain’t a bad thing either…)
-Finishing The Grand Tour by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer. Sequel to a book subtitled The Enchanted Chocolate Pot, so you see where the attraction is. At least in part — Wrede is singlehandedly responsible for some of my best-loved (and most often lent out) books in middle and high school (like these and this and this one and its sequel and even this one, which I borrowed from Elf and later found a used bookstore copy).
-Finishing two letters (Only managed one.)

Events I’ve planned to blog about in the last month, but didn’t:
-The writer’s strike.
-The rally in Harvard Square for the writers’ strike, which I didn’t take time off work to go to, but my roommate did and got to meet Joss Whedon. Actually, I did too, briefly, because he was signing stuff at a little sci-fi bookstore after the rally and was still there when I got off work. It was pretty awesome.
The Golden Compass and the brouhaha that the Christian right managed to create around it. I highly recommend the book, by the way, very highly. The movie is a pleasant enough way to spend a couple of hours but is not an acceptable substitute.
-Mitt Romney’s speech about why his religion shouldn’t matter to his presidential campaign. I didn’t see the speech, I just read about it and meant to read a transcript, but haven’t. If he continues to look like a contender, I’ll get around to it eventually. He worries me, and I can’t put my finger on why, except to be flip and say that he looks like the evil Mayor from season 3 of Buffy. (Source. Not my cleverness; though I think the whole list is hilarious.)
Alex and the Ironic Gentleman by Adrienne Kress. A fun and funny YA adventure — and its author was one of three who were fantastically nice about letting me ask them questions for a paper I was writing on author blogs. Definitely another recommended read.

Enjoyable things that happened while I was home for Christmas:
-Two lovely Christmas dinners in one day.
-Going ice skating.
-Laughing at my brothers’ oddly decorated gingerbread cookies (One that stands out is a bell that B. frosted in white and spelled out “E.A. Poe” on the top in little chocolate sprinkles. (“Hear the sledges with the bells, silver bells, silver bells, what a world of merriment their melody foretells…” Yes, the poem gets darker; it is Poe.))
-Getting to hang out with Liz before her move and see Elf in the new digs.
-Teasing Mom for calling it a “white Christmas” when it hailed on Christmas morning.
-Beating my brothers at ping pong. Sometimes.
-Getting to show off my beautiful ring…did I mention that we got engaged?


November 3, 2007 11:02 am

Two weeks ago: Pumpkin festival! Last year, this festival set the record for the number of jack-o-lanterns in one place or something like that. I haven’t heard how this year’s festival compared.

pumpkin tower festival
view surrounded

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Life is hectic right now

October 30, 2007 10:27 pm

I hope to have some nice, meaty posts about the new job and last weekend’s Halloween-y events up here real soon.

In the meantime, I’d just like to say that happiness is…
…getting to school and thinking about how I don’t work in the payroll office anymore.
…walking down the street and hearing someone behind me break into the Reading Rainbow theme song.
…jack-o-lanterns. And costumes. And jack-o-lanterns in costume.

Breaking news

October 11, 2007 10:08 pm


I got the phone call this afternoon and I got the job at the previously mentioned medical journal! Yours truly is employed once again. It looks like I’ll be starting on the 22nd.

Weekend with the Pug

12:13 am

My boy was here for the weekend!

I took him to a poetry reading his first evening here. The readings are a regular thing, and the graduate students from both the publishing program that I’m in and the more traditional MFA program can sign up to read for about fifteen minutes. It’s held at the school, and the audience is mostly made up of the same pool of grad students. Anyway, I’d let myself be talked into being one of the readers for that night. It went really well! There were maybe fewer people than there might have been because of some subway problems that evening, but there was still a decent crowd, including a bunch of my poetry and publishing classmates to introduce Pug to. I read five or six poems, and the audience was appreciative.

The other big event was that we went to see Wicked on Sunday night! It’s a great spectacle show with a few especially hummable tunes, and we really enjoyed it! Compared to the book, the show restructures the plot entirely (and twists the ending to make it much lighter), but in general it does manage to stay true to the characters.

And of course in between, we had a great time wandering around the city, hanging out with my roommate and her boyfriend and being out usual silly selves.

On the job front, I’ve heard a resounding silence from one place, but the medical journal had me go out to their corporate office and interview with HR last Thursday. So now they’re doing background check-y sorts of things, ferreting out the deep dark secrets in my past… Right. Last I heard, the process is going smoothly — and I actually got a pleasant note from one of my references after they called him.

Another happy: my roommate and I decorated for Halloween this evening. Life is good.


October 2, 2007 11:03 pm

…around Boston Common: hawkers with brand-labeled messenger bags handing out free packages of Mentos. While waiting for the light to change, I overheard a passer-by ask one hawker if he had a Pepsi bottle on him, too.

Hawker says, “No. And it’s Diet Coke that works best, anyway.”

Which I thought was pretty amusing. Now, however, it’s irking me that I can’t come up with the word I want. These people weren’t technically hawkers or hucksters (I think) because they weren’t selling the Mentos, they were giving them away.

So is there a word for “people who give out free stuff as an advertising gimmick”?

Pug suggests “People who need the help of a Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm-Flailing Tube Man.” Which I love, but I want something pithier.

(Yes, Poke! I said “pithier!”)

Because Liz told me to. With good reason, too.

September 26, 2007 1:24 am

Wait. I last posted when, now? Really? Wow.

Well, when last heard from, I was with the family, nose deep in Harry Potter. Since then, I’m back in the city, back in school, and on the hunt for the elusive full-time job.

In the last month, I’ve interviewed for four positions, and the first two have already given me the “thanks, but no thanks.” The other two were both last week, so I’m waiting to hear back from those. One is a company that publishes books on religion (especially Buddhism and Hinduism), Eastern philosophies and also some fiction, poetry, and history. I certainly wouldn’t turn my nose up at the other one (a very well-respected medical journal), but I’m especially excited about the first one.

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