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Archive for May, 2008


Over the past few weeks, I have been deeply concerned about the fate of poor Reston the Rooster, the beloved neighborhood mascot who disappeared from a Somerville yard on May 7. It’s a heartbreaking story. I can only imagine how horrible it must feel to have a rooster choose to live in your house and bring joy to your whole neighborhood, only to end up vanishing without a trace 7 years later. (I can also only imagine how it would feel if Reston showed up at my house, and I’ve gotta admit: I imagine it’d be hard to give him back.)

I’ve been thinking a lot about this, and every scenario makes me sad:

Birdnapping: Well, obviously. This is sad because it may imply that a neighbor did not appreciate Reston and wanted him out of the picture — and into a pot pie. It also may imply that someone coveted Reston and stole him for his/her own enjoyment. That would be just plain mean. Get your own rooster!

Wanderlust: It makes me so sad to think that Reston simply didn’t like his home anymore and wandered off in search of greener pastures. (PSSST … hey, Reston! Try my house! Green is overrated.) I’d like to think that Reston understood how good he had it. That woman loved him so very much!

Animal shelter: There’s a theory that Reston was “rescued” on the street (also lends credence to the wanderlust scenario — double sad!) and brought to an animal shelter. Knowing what happens to unclaimed dogs and cats in an animal shelter, I shudder to think about what they’d do to Reston.

I’ve gotta stop reading the stories — it’s enough to make your heart break. He’d eat pine nuts right out of your hand! You could pet him and hold him like a dog! He was like a friend! Everyone misses him very, very much!

Oh, Reston. Please find your way back home!

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Holy crap, dudes! Flavor invader!

Check this out! Can I make dinner that tastes like dessert? Crap that tastes like culinary greatness? Sounds like a fun party. Who’s in?

Sure, them there “miracle fruits” are expensive, but at $2 a pop it might be worth it … especially if said “miracle fruits” were available in small quantities (though I suspect they’re not).

Admittedly, as a person who prefers sour and/or spicy over sweet, this phenomenon might be something of a waste for me. But still, I want to get my hands on this stuff. Regardless of your palate’s idiosyncrasies (and mine has many), it’s still so fascinating to imagine tasting the opposite of what your mind expects.

New York friends, I’m waiting for a hookup. All the syrup and hot sauce in my refrigerator will be yours.

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Valid unless invalid: I love you, MBTA

The T, According to Me: A Week in Review

MONDAY: Holiday. Mercifully spared from taking the T.

TUESDAY AM: Sunrise medical emergency at Central. Arrival at work delayed 15 minutes.

TUESDAY PM: Fire on the Red Line! Shuttle buses running on the majority of the line, even though only two stops were closed (with trains — not passengers? — mysteriously allowed to pass through). Arrival at home delayed 1 hour. Bonus points for onion armpits (NOT mine), possible decoy infant (again, NOT mine), and losing my coveted seat to a disabled man. (MINE. Damn you, disabled man!)

WEDNESDAY: Green Line crash! 7 injured … and one dead. Bonus points for me not being involved.

THURSDAY: This happened:

The backstory: As much as I hate buses (shuttle buses in particular), the #1 bus can be a godsend for those of us living in Central Square. Namely, if we’re shopping and dining with our moms at the Pru, we can simply walk to Mass Ave and catch a bus straight home instead of Green Lining it to the Red Line. Not bad!

Now why is it that I always wait for this bus ten times longer than I expect to? Here is my answer!

I arrive at the bus stop at 8:18. According to the schedule, which is oh-so-helpfully posted right at the stop, the bus left its hub at 8:17, and is due to arrive at my stop 6 to 11 minutes later. Fine.

8:35, and I’m still waiting.

With traffic seeming to be a non-issue, I decide to take a closer look at the schedule. And what does it say in the upper right-hand corner?

Valid Dec. 2006 until superseded. (Emphasis unfortunately mine.)

The hell? Obviously, 2006 was a long time ago. This schedule has probably been “superseded” 10 times over by now … but at least we have been warned! MBTA, might I suggest a few better ways of phrasing this casual disclaimer? Yes, I think I might:

Valid until it’s not anymore. (And it’s probably not.)
Valid until we say so … though not necessarily to you.
Schedule below is an example only. For exact times, please wait. (And wait. And wait.)
Artist’s rendition of actual schedule donated by Mass Art Class of ‘07.

Sure, I could bitch and moan about the near-tragic fire on the Red Line or the totally tragic crash on the Green Line. But those are both getting plenty of media attention. Instead, all I ask is this: either update your fucking schedules, or don’t post them at all.

In conclusion,

THURSDAY: Impressionist #1 bus schedule. Arrival at home delayed 30 minutes.


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That oughtta learn ya!

I was walking from the train to work this morning in my typical speedy fashion when I heard an annoying little rustling behind me.  Hark!  The unmistakable sound of someone considering an attempt to pass me!  Unwilling to slow my pace, I listened as the interloper crept gradually closer, wondering if there is, in fact, someone who walks faster than I do. 

As it turned out, there is … kinda.  She was right on my heels as I reached the small flight of stairs that leads to the alley behind my building.  I figured if she was stupid enough to try and pass me on the stairs she was more than welcome to do so.  Which she did …

… and fell promptly on her ass.

She slid down about three stairs before coming to a stop and collecting herself.  “Are you okay,” I asked.  (I was not stifling a laugh.  Really!  I wasn’t!)

“Yes,” she replied.  “Those stairs are dangerous!”

“They are very worn down and slippery,” I said knowingly.  I let her walk ahead of me this time, limping ever-so-slightly.  Apparently she works at my company, as she reached the back door of my building just a moment before I did.  I could see she was having quite a bit of trouble getting in.  She pulled on the door forcefully and repeatedly.  Why oh why would it not open?  I wonder!

I reached past her and gave the door a little push.  It opened without incident.  “I’m having a rough morning,” she said. 

Umm, yes.  Clearly.

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Wii Fit: Don’t quit your day gym?

I’ve been looking forward to Wii Fit for a really long time.  Once I got bored with Wii Sports, I ceased getting any aerobic benefit whatsoever from the Wii.  (News flash: you don’t burn many calories playing Endless Ocean.)  It took a 10am visit to MicroCenter on shipment day to actually track down the game — which makes one think, “this had better be good.”

And it is good.  I like it.  It’s fun, and a lot of the exercises got my heart rate up a little, even after just a few minutes.  But could it be considered a real workout?  That remains to be seen.  I feel like I’d have to spend an hour with Wii Fit to accomplish as much as I could in 30 minutes at the gym — and even then I can’t imagine gaining significant muscle definition from it.

Which brings me to my Major Beef.  It’s obvious that Wii Fit could have fantastic benefits for a couch potato/video game addict who doesn’t really get much exercise otherwise.  But for someone like me, is it a waste of time?  Case in point: The Wii asked for my height, weighed me, and calculated my BMI.  Then it bitched me out for being underweight, and told me I had to gain weight … through strength training, of course. 

Now, I’m a small-boned person, and I never seem to gain weight even when I’m good about strength training, so this diagnosis didn’t really surprise me.  What bothered me was being forced to set a goal to remedy this apparent problem.  I told the thing that I “hope” to gain 2 pounds in 3 weeks — which would be a fine goal, if the thing had any way of measuring muscle mass.  But it doesn’t.  Instead, I could just pig out for a weekend, hop on the Wii scale, and have it tell me I’m awesome.  Which is probably what’ll end up happening, especially after Memorial Day weekend.

Regardless of its inability to track my true progress, I think Wii Fit will be a good supplement to my regular workouts — it definitely can’t hurt.  I’ll just run the risk of becoming a paranoid scale-watcher.  A great thing, I know!!  And really, how often is it that one gains weight and actually gets congratulated for doing so?  This could do wonders for my self-esteem … even if it does nothing for my muscle tone.

Anyone down for some virtual hula hoop?

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Dangerous website du jour: Shanalogic

I am both blessing and cursing the coworker who turned me onto this awesome site. On the one hand, I will soon be the proud owner of an octopus baby doll tunic. On the other hand, do I really need an octopus baby doll tunic?  Regardless, a lot of the stuff on this site is really fun and I hope it gets more people in trouble.

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Jicama: My New Summertime Friend

After getting a bit too accustomed to the unexpectedly warm temperatures this morning, I became fixated on making a light and refreshing summer dinner — and even after the day turned (predictably) to crap and I was windblown and damp upon arrival at Whole Foods, I was not to be deterred. And I must say, it doesn’t get more light and refreshing than this. The tilapia with mango salsa, though pretty (and pretty tasty!) is an old standby of mine. What ultimately pleased me most about this meal was the salad.

Tilapia with mango salsa and cucumber jicama salad

I am a big fan of cucumber salad in its many glorious forms. I make them Italian, Asian, and Mediterranean. This time I decided to give it a Latin flair … and for that, I dove into the depths of the unknown!

Well, not entirely unknown. I do know that jicama is extremely yummy. I love its crunchy texture, something akin to an under-ripe pear, and its just-a-bit sweet flavor. I did not know, however, that jicama is a total pain in the ass — and pretty damn ugly, too. I peeled its tough skin off with a paring knife, and used all my muscle to cleave it in half with a chef’s knife. From there, however, it was pretty smooth sailing towards the yummiest and prettiest salad I’ve made in a while.

Cucumber, Jicama, and Lime Salad
Serves: probably 4?

1 English cucumber, thinly sliced
1/2 medium sized jicama (mine weighed about 2 lbs), peeled, quartered, and thinly sliced
1 clove of garlic, finely minced (or lazily pressed)
Juice of 2 limes (I zested one in there, too, ’cause it looked pretty)
1/4 cup scallions, finely sliced (both white and green parts, methinks)
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely minced
Big splash of white wine vinegar (maybe a tablespoon? Probably more?)
Healthy pinch of salt
Drizzle of olive oil
Black pepper to taste

You’ll notice that just about everything is “finely minced” or “thinly sliced.” This is the hard part. To put it all together, combine everything in a big ol’ bowl and toss. Easy!

Per usual, I’m thinking about what could make this salad truly awesome had I not been trying to be healthy. Queso fresco would be amazing, as would diced avocado. I would consider cilantro, and only omitted it because I was worried about overkill next to my salsa.

I’m also thinking about how this is most likely one of those salads that’s better the next day … and if the cucumber doesn’t hold up, the jicama definitely will. I’ll find out at lunch tomorrow!

Did you know … ?
You can slice jicama into wedges or matchsticks and dip it in guacamole for a healthier alternative to tortilla chips! Yay, potassium, vitamin C, and dietary fiber!!


eBay Litmus Test WINNER! (yawn …)

With all auctions completed, things stand pretty much where they stood yesterday.  Joe is the winner by a landslide with a bid of $15.50; Donnie placed second with $6.50; Jordan just barely placed, with one person willing to pay the starting price of $5.99; and Danny and Jon were both shut out.

What have we learned from all this?

  • Joe has timeless appeal
  • Donnie’s stint on Band of Brothers appears to have served him well
  • Too many of us were scarred by images of Jordan dancing spastically in front of a ferris wheel during his comeback attempt (what, you weren’t? Don’t pretend you don’t remember …)
  • Danny is still gross.
  • Jon is better off “living quietly in Florida” and developing real estate — which is probably what he’d prefer to do anyway
  • It’s likely we won’t see 6-inch New Kids buttons ubiquitously gracing the backs of jean jackets anytime soon
  • I have way too much time on my hands

While I’m pleased to have seen this experiment through to fruition, I’m looking forward to leaving the New Kids behind and ignoring them for the rest of their reunion.  I’ll leave you with this surprisingly unscathing review of the Kids’ new single that a friend of mine wrote for Bostonist.com.  “Totally inoffensive,” she says.  Have I written them off too soon … ?

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Joey Joe: Setting the bar higher than “Please Don’t Go, Girl”

After a thrilling, last-minute bidding war, Joe scored a grand total of $15.50!  A tough act to follow, but hardly an upset.

In other, unrelated New Kids news, Danny’s middle name is “Rashleigh.”  Who knew?

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New Kid standings: the first results are in!

Donnie: After 7 heart-pounding bids, Donnie earned a total of $6.50 — and the winning bidder was even willing to pay $2.00 shipping (though shipping is not included in scoring)!  You might think that sounds impressive, but already far in the lead we have …

Joe: Bidding doesn’t end until this afternoon, but already Joe is worth $10.50.  Perhaps it’s the romantic heart motif that makes this button an early favorite, but I think all the credit goes to little Joe’s sultry stare.

Even Jordan is already catching up to Donnie with an early bid of $5.99 (not even a bid, really — just someone willing to pay the starting price), but with more than 9 hours of bidding left, it’s still too soon to call this one.

And (shocker of all shockers) no bids yet on Danny or Jon.

Will Jordan catch Joe — or even Donnie, for that matter?  Will anyone shell out even a paltry $6.01 for Danny or Jon?  Check back this afternoon for more thrilling results!

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