Monday, October 29, 2007

Dear City of Boston...

Fuck you.

You tried to take away my car twice in two days. Both times I had to defend it.

First you have the gall to give me a $75 ticket prior to towing my car to a lot that costs $120 cash to get the car out of that jail, on the outskirts of Somerville, replete with barking dogs, lack of public transport, and generic film noir feel.

Towing my car from a designated resident parking spo
t that you'd decided OVERNIGHT should become "special event no-parking zone" in order to defend Fenway Park from crazed crowds slated to descend upon it should the Red Sox win Game 4 of the World Series.

What resident in their right mind removes their cars from a street that at midnight on Saturday was normal parking, and by 5 pm on Sunday had become a tow zone? Most people in my neighborhood don't move their cars until Mon am, when they have to go to work.

Fortunately for you, Boston, and for me, I was the last car in the street you tried to tow, and the tow operator was a total sweetheart and relented to my crying pleas after me running after the truck for a good block, and let me have the car back.

Then, dear City of Boston, I re-parked in front of my building, which I assumed was safe from the war zone that post-game was slated to become.

Oh, how wrong I was.

You see, in 2004 I did not HAVE a car, so the rioting that was so ugly everywhere else in the neighborhood only resulted in some broken bottles and pee on the steps of the brownstone we lived in at the time. So of course, I was totes naive about the whole "celebration" as it might affect my life.

I watched the news coverage, and tried to stay calm. For all my not really giving a
shit about the Red Sox, it was pleasant to feel the city so proud of its team, and even watching the game on the tee-vee was kind of fun. Then I saw a crowd gathering literally a couple of buildings down from me (on the news) and went outside to check on the car.

Just in time to see this:

(images courtesy of News Channel 5 website - I did not have my camera at 1:30 am while outside in my jammies)

Or rather, the truck being in the process of being overturned. You can't see my car - it's three spots away from the truck, behind the camera in the picture on the left.

Imagine a huge crowd (2000 strong, by all estimates,) heaped like ants around multiple vehicles (that red MINI next to the truck? totaled as well) and surging around them, looking for release.

Now imagine at least 100 cops in full riot gear, pushing the crowd towards LK and I, sprawled on the hood of the Saab, and people running away from the cops over the hoods and roofs of parked cars. At least 9 other vehicles that I saw in the morning had serious damage on them - dented roofs, hoods, shattered windscreens. We got lucky again. Because we were there to protect the car, nobody jumped on it, or tried to flip it.

At one point I called 9-1-1, and the dispatcher replied to my anguished cries of "they are going to destroy my car, and there is nothing I can do about it!" - "well, dear, we are doing all we can. you can thank the college students for this. why don't you speak to an officer on the scene?"

The closest officer to me at that point was 50 yards away, on the OTHER side of the psycho/drunk crowd. When the riot-gear-outfitted line finally reached the Saab, and I agitatedly explained to an officer what I was doing, he was at least kind enough to escort us to the door of the building, protecting US from both the crowd and other cops (who kept trying to get US to "disperse")

Now, dear City of Boston, did you really think it was a good idea to contain a "celebratory" crowd on a street corner between two gas stations? And then push it into a residential area with potential property damage, instead of into the empty street to the right you so carefully emptied of cars at 5 pm?

Shame on you, the City of Boston.

And I am not paying your ticket.

Monday, October 22, 2007

left brain.right brain

Ok, for some reason this test has been making all the blogging rounds.

I saw it a couple of weeks back, and saw that I am dominantly right-brained, but the switch happens randomly and without my trying. If I deliberately try to switch the direction, nothing happens.

I guess I don't have much control over my own brain. Quel surprise...

Also, why is she nude? Is that essential to the test?

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Hacking IKEA

There is a wonderful blog called IKEA Hacker. It is for/by people who like to customize IKEA furniture. Consider this my entry into this category of (somewhat crazy, always handy and imaginative) people.

This room was an unhappy storeroom for properties, when my theatre was dearly lacking space for dressing rooms. Moreover, we also lacked money. Fortunately, I had about a month of summer to figure out what to do about all this. There was an odd space in the basement that could house the props, if they were condensed and organized.

My assistant and I spent a couple of weeks sorting through the contents of the properties storage, and came up with enough items we could sell/give away. Amazingly enough, through a combination of eBay and Cragislist we made enough money on the unused props to buy shelving for the new storage room in the basement, AND to supplement some of the new furniture for the dressing room.

With budget still a concern, there was only place to to turn - IKEA.

We created space for 12 actors to put on makeup, as well as storage for wigs and shoes.

The counters were hacked from shelving units
Udden, combined with Vika Kaj legs. The niche was created from the Udden units as well, but the metal sides left over from the units used for counters were used as spacers, creating the correct height for wig heads.

Other products used in the said hack were:

Mirrors Kolja
Mirror Minde
Mirror Raan
Chairs Herman

Dressing rooms always need lights surrounding the mirrors, and an inexpensive solution was found in undercabinet lights Liesta
, plugged into power strips Rabalder

Unfortunately, since the hack was complete, IKEA discontinued these particular undercabinet lights, so when the bulbs burn out, we have dark spots. Other mini halogens are quite pricey, but I am considering replacing the burnouts with their current incarnation, Non lights. I believe they accept the same power connections, so it won't be much of an issue.

Liveblogging Red Sox

I don't care about baseball. At all. So sue me. I guess I will never be a true Bostonian.


I can look into Fenway Park from my living room window. The window having been chosen for its proximity to work and affordability (the latter surely owing to the fact that no sane person would want to face a baseball park for a prolonged amount of time.)

And as it is the middle of the 8th inning, they are singing Sweet Caroline. And the Sox are winning. And there are literally hundreds of cops in the street, on horseback, on foot, and on bikes.

I doubt I will go to sleep anytime soon. When they win (and they will) I will take pics of the madness and update.

This level of sport fanaticism fascinates me, it really does.

Update at 11:30 - it's 6-2, bottom of the 8th, the madness is almost over/just beginning.
Update at 11:42 - it's 9-2.
Update at 11:46 - umm, it's 11-2.
11:57 - Red Sox had won the ALCS. Gotta go take some pics.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Min geselle chumet niet...


Wa ist min geselle alse lange?
Der ist geriten hinnen - hinnen - hinnen - hinnen...
O wi, wer sol mich minnen?

I don't usually like MetaFilter - too much random info that is not tailored enough to my tastes. But the following (learned through MF) illustrates my feelings Sergei Rachmaninov precisely.

Rachmaninov Had Big Hands

Click through. It will make you laugh.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Sciurus vulgaris...

I was reading this article in the NYTimes today, and for the umpteenth time was struck by how little we know of the world outside of us until we are exposed to it.

I grew up with red squirrels. They were ubiquitous, as squirrels are wont to be, and never warranted a second thought. They also changed colours with the seasons, as bunnies in Russia do as well - red in the summer, mostly grey in the winter (the bunnies go from grey or russett to white, in case you are wondering.) If you ask a Russian kid to draw a squirrel, you will get a blazing orange critter with tufts on its ears. They have a long coat and a glorious tail.

Because they don't usually molt until October or November sometime, when there is already snow on the ground, the most striking vision of a squirrel from my childhood is an orange red squirrel in the bright white snow stealing bright red
mountain ash berries.

It never occurred to me that squirrels could be grey all the time, have short fur, or not have any tufts. If you are in the US right now, ask yourself - what do you think of when you think of a squirrel?

And then ask yourself - what would you never see and know for yourself if you did not experience it in another town/ another country/ another continent...

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Mihi cordis gravitas res videtur gravis...

Amor volat undique,
captus est libidine.
Iuvenes, iuvencule
coniunguntur merito.

Siqua sine socio,
caret omni gaudio;
tenet noctis infima
sub intimo
cordis in custodia:

fit res amarissima.