Friday, October 29, 2004

Myster Science Theater 3000

Last night was Amy's annual pumpkin party. Jen and I carried are pumpkins on the T and then walked down Newbury Street. We were both exhausted, which caused me to be extremely hyper and Jen to be overly giggly. Thankfully we kind of settled down by the time we got there. As always everything was set up when we got there including the food, pumpkin carving tools and the table cloths we sit on to carve. Everybody showed up within the next half hour and we began carving pumpkins. I decided to just use a pattern this year because I couldn't really come up with any good ideas on my own. We carved them while watching Survivor, which was interesting because Mark had never watched a full episode before. I think he is now confident in his decision to not watch it ever before. Once we completed the carvings and lit the pumpkins up it was time for a little Trivial Pursuit: The 90's and a little drama care of me. Haha, you people didn't think I would let it rest after just twelve hours did you.

We split up in to two teams one with four people the other with five. At around nine o'clock the game got under way with our team rolling first. It took us a couple of turns but we finally landed on a pie piece question for the Wired category. The question was about a Science Fiction television show that underwent major changes or something in the early 90's. My first instinct was Myster Science Theater, so I checked with my team and it seemed to be the correct answer.
So I said, "Myster Science Theater."
The other team then said, "What is the number after it?"
I looked at my team and we discussed for a minute. We had it narrowed down to 2000 or 3000.
In a complete guess I said, "2000."
The other team apologetically replied, "Oooh I'm sorry its Mystery Science Theater 3000."
I came back and said, "Come on that is close enough."
Diligently they retorted, "No its not if it is for a piece of pie."
I couldn't believe what I was hearing. Somehow we had magically been transported to the Trivial Pursuit World Championships and only the exact answer was going to get you anywhere. Now don't get me wrong I am all for accuracy, but seriously is it necessary to be so particular about the most insignificant part of the answer. The game of Trivial Pursuit typically takes a long, long time to complete. Now it was already late and I think if there's anything we can do to make the game move along faster, go for it. Its not like we answered with Horror Sci-fi theater 3000. Nobody would agree with me so we went on playing. At first I passive aggressively gave everybody a hard time about their answers, making sure it matched exactly to the answer on the back of the card. It was truly all in good fun and while I was still a little bitter about the incident I really just wanted to keep playing.

Fast forward a few turns back and forth and my opponents were up for a piece of pie. The category once again was wired and I volunteered to read the question. Basically the question said What destination did Jennifer Ringley create using webcams? They pondered the question for a while and then answered JenniCam. I asked if that was their final answer, they affirmed and I said in a completely serious tone, "No, I am sorry its" I didn't say anything else and was ready for our roll of the die, but not more than two seconds later people are making comments about how I am still bitter. At this point I flipped out. I was just trying to play the game by the rules they had established thats it, I wasn't trying to be vindictive, but they apparently thought so. I don't see how my adherence to the standards they set up make me a bitter person. I just said they were wrong using my judgement solely based on a precedent that had been set. Would I have given it to them using my rules? Of course, you got the point, one out of ten times the questions are poorly worded anyway. Did I overreact? Well yes a little bit, but I felt like I was being attacked after just playing by the rules and I was extremely tired. Will I ever play again? Yes only if we have a third party judge who completely understands the rules as determined prior to the game.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Curse Reversed

Keith Foulke fielded the ground ball ran towards first base and nervously threw the baseball to first ending a lot more than just the inning. Once the ball landed in the glove of Doug Mientkiewicz it was the end of the inning, the game, the season, the World Series and the Curse. It had been 86 years since the Red Sox last clinched a World Championship, year after year people have watched this team religiously only to be left disappointed and waiting for next year.

So I am left to question, why now? Why should I be so lucky to get to experience this especially at such a young age? Unlike some of the older fans I have only had to live through two major disappointments the '86 World Series and the '03 ALCS. The World Series loss was difficult because I was only nine at the time and it was probably one of the worst things to ever happen in my life. Fast forward to last year, I was 17 years older and unfortunately had experienced a few things worse than the Buckner incident of '86. It was still a tough night watching them lose to the Yankees, on the Boone homerun, and had a major impact on how I watched this year. Over the last few weeks it has always been in the back of my mind that they could easily lose it all even though they were doing so well. It was difficult, because as much as I wanted to watch the game and see the drama unfold, it was still scary to think of the drama actually unfolding and the impact it would have on my poor stomach. I would make jokes about how they would not lose the ALCS in four games because it would be too easy on us. Later I felt them winning the first three games of the World Series was just a giant teaser to the biggest let down yet. Always lingering in the back of my mind, as was the case with most in Red Sox Nation, was the thought of the impending possibility of failure.

We all tried to counteract this anxiety with crazy superstitious actions. For instance, when the playoffs first started I wore my Red Sox hat on game days, but once they started losing to the Yankees I stopped wearing it and made a point of grabbing a different hat on the way to work. Other superstitions I witnessed over the last few weeks included watching games at the same bar, sitting at the same table, not paying the bill until the last out, anger towards people counting outs to go and the list could go on and on. It was strange to see people in this day and age having their behavior influenced by otherworldly forces. I guess with a history like this you need to think outside the box and try anything no matter how small and insignificant the gesture may seem.

I don't know if all of our little oddities worked together or maybe, call me crazy, the Red Sox were just a well skilled team of baseball players, but it doesn't really matter now. We can finally rest easily and not worry about hearing the 1918 chant at Yankee Stadium anymore. I might not have emotionally earned it, but I am going to take it and enjoy every minute of it. I am going to enjoy it for all of those who went through years of pain and never got to experience the thrill of victory. For people like my grandfather who watched more baseball than anybody I know, although he was around for the 1918 World Series (when he was three years old), he still endured all of the other heart aches. It was funny as I was watching the celebration on television last night, Tim Wakefield came on the screen and the first thought I had was of my grandfather cursing at the television because he couldn't stand how slowly Wakefield delivered his pitches. I was happy to know that he had been with the franchise long enough for this connection.

Now we must look ahead to the winter and reflect back on this monumental victory. I don't think it has sunk in for many of us yet, it is a much different feeling than the pain of losing. I think in losing you feel the pain immediately and it slowly fades, but in winning the joy comes in waves. There is an immediate joy when the final out is called, but then it subsides only to reappear at the most random of times. Thankfully the joyous times will occur, now and then, for the rest of our lives always with a nearly equal amount of joy. I look forward to being an old man climbing a mountain somewhere and being briefly reminded of the year the curse was broken and how I was so lucky to be a part of such an amazing event. I am sure there will be more Red Sox disappointments between now and then, but I will always remember the 100th World Series when the Red Sox did the impossible and came back from a 3 game deficit in the ALCS against the Yankees only to move on to the World Series and sweep the St. Louis Cardinals. We all "Kept The Faith" and were rewarded with an "Unbelievable" performance by a bunch of "Idiots".

LJ Entries of major BoSox games of yore
'03 ALDS LJ Entry
'03 ALCS LJ Entry

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Sunset --> Moonrise

For a little change of pace last night I went back home and stopped by the Salisbury Beach State Reservation for a few pictures. It had been a while since I walked the beach and enjoyed the waves pummeling the shore. It was a long drive up from Somerville, but I got to the beach just in time for the sunset. The sky was very clear and made for a beautiful end to a long day. After taking in the last few rays of light from the sun I turned my attention seaside and took pictures of the moon. It was nearly full and looked wonderful over the extremely rough ocean. After enjoying the ocean I had a little beach pizza before going home to visit my mother. I hadn't seen her for a while so we caught up for quite a while and then the baseball game was on. I watched some of the game there and then drove home. Jen was driving through my neighborhood, just as I got home, so she stopped in for a little while. After she left I turned the television on and saw the BoSox had won their third game in a row against the Cardinals and now are only one win away from the World Championship. It is just unbelievable. I am glad Pedro had such a strong outing. He really deserved to have a good start for such a special game. Let's hope D-Lowe can pull through tonight and make magic happen. THE CITY WILL COME ALIVE!!!

BTW The All For One Ski Pass is still available on the website even though October 25th has come and gone. American Skiing Company is such a scamming company. Next year I am skiing at Mt. Cranmore or Gunstock, no more ASC.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Commuting Annoyances

I know it has been over twelve hours since this happened, but I am still annoyed by it a little bit. This morning while riding down the escalator in Porter Square towards the trains I noticed a huge mob of people lining up at the turnstiles. Some were running other were impatiently waiting behind somebody who couldn't seem to get their T pass to work. Who was this conglomeration of annoying commuters? The commuter rail riders. I have a love hate relationship with Porter Square, I love that it is so close to Boston, I love that it is close to my apartment, but I hate the steep stairs and the annoyance of it being a commuter rail stop. Everyday they appear out of nowhere just messing up my commute and forcing me to wait for yet another train. The worst thing about them though is how impatient and in a hurry they always seem to be. I have never seen so many people running for trains as I have here. Somebody should let them in on a little secret another train will be buy in a matter of three minutes, there is no need to run. Ahhhhhhhhhhh they drive me crazy.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Series Set To Begin

The St. Louis Cardinals were crowned the NLCS champions yesterday after 5-2 vicotry over Roger Clemens and the Astros. In honor of there victory here is a link to My St. Louis Trip Slideshow. I went a few months ago for a Dave Matthews concert and thought it was a good time to put back the pictures of the Gateway Arch.

Go BoSox!!!

Question of the Day
"What flies when on and floats when off?"

Thursday, October 21, 2004


They did it!!! The BoSox are going to the World Series for the first time since 1986. I don't even know what to think anymore. Last night we watched the game at Johnny D's in Somerville. I was still recovering from my wisdom tooth extraction, which probably wasn't great since I think the high blood pressure from the game has prevented my mouth from clotting. Anyway they won and became the first team ever to come back after being down 0-3. During the game I was so nervous especially once they had scored a bunch of runs because there is one thing the BoSox do best, losing big leads. I refrained from cheering too much during the game until the very end when it almost seemed certain. Okay I am going to stop writing since these sentences are very incoherent. I think I might go home because I am really not feeling well.

Go BoSox!!!

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

BoSox ALCS Game 7 Again?!?!

Its true the BoSox are going to game 7 of the ALCS again and will once again be playing the Yankees. After Saturday night's blowout, like many other citizens of Red Sox Nation I vowed to not watch game four. Unfortunately I missed a good game. Fast forward ahead two games and 21 innings later and I have witnessed some of the most stressful, but successful baseball to date. I just can't believe they have come back from a three game deficit to tie the series at three. Unbelievable!!!! I actually never intended to watch Game 5, but Jen had it on so I decided to watch the rest of it. Little did I know it was going to go until the 14th inning. Finally, all of the stress I felt last year was back in place, including the cold sweats and nervous Francona'esque rocking. When Ortiz hit the double I almost had a heart attack. Tonight I was on the fence about watching the game, on the one hand I knew it would be difficult, but I also needed to feel the anxiety. It has almost become like a drug, the constant need for an adrenaline rush. Being a BoSox fan is like participating in an extreme sport, the only difference is that while the risks are high in both only in being a fan do you guarantee you will get hurt. I prepared myself as best I could and went over to Melissa and Ben's to watch the game on a fat projection HDTV. Oddly enough we went ahead, but of course the Yankees slowly clawed there way back. Curt Schilling pitched a spectacular game, the perfect set up for the let down we have all come to expect. I will cut to the chase and go right to the ninth inning with Foulke on the mound. After a couple horrendous calls by the umpire there were men on first and second with the game winning run at the plate. The wind up and the pitch, strike three the Red Sox win and force a game 7. You heard it right, here we go again the roller coaster ride we have all been excitedly dreading.

Go out there boys and show Tim McCarver how his statistics are irrelevant. After tomorrow night I want him to have to say only one team has come back from being down 0-3 to win the ALCS and that was the Red Sox in 2004.

Monday, October 18, 2004

More Apple Picking

A bunch of us (Mark, Kate, Amy, Jen and I) went apple picking up in NH. We made some pies and then had a nice dinner at the Winnen's. Afterwards we watched the sad sad showing of the Red Sox. In the morning we went out to breakfast and then Jen and I went to Vermont to see her cabin. It was very busy and I am too lazy to update a complete story right now, but there are pictures and they are worth one thousand words. Enjoy!!!
Vermont Cabin Pictures

Thursday, October 14, 2004


Yes I know the BoSox lost again last night. I don't think Pedro did too bad, the problem seems to be the hitting. What happened to the offensive machine that was the BoSox? Thats all I have to say about that for now.

Now I want to talk about the newest telvision show I am hooked on called Lost. It is about a commercial airliner that crash lands on a remote island. The survivors have to do the best they can to make it on their own. Okay I know what you are thinking, "What a boring show?", they are probably going to be saved in a number of hours. It turns out for some reason they had their transponder turned off and the rescuers are looking in the wrong place. I have really fallen in love with this show, for many reasons, but the number one reason is the need to know more information about the characters and the island they are on. I would say there are about twenty survivors and every week we learn a little more about them and better understand the motives behind some of their actions. Just when you think you have somebody figured out, you learn something new about them to completely blow you away. The island itself is also a character you learn about in this way. So far we know there are some very odd and large creatures, a polar bear, an outgoing distress signal that has been broadcasting for 16 years and some sort of magical man that appears and then disappears just as quickly. Yes it is a bit strange, but through the entire hour I am constantly looking at the timer on my VCR wishing there were more than just ten minutes left. The only problem I have with the show is it feels a lot like a movie and I can't take the stress of seven days in between scenes in this movie. I am also nervous about this show because it seems like one of those amazing critically acclaimed shows that will be cancelled due to lack of viewers, like My So Called Life, Once and Again or Freaks and Geeks. I just don't want to invest in a great show that won't end properly. Bottom line is its a great show and you should try to watch it on Wednesday nights at eight.

What else was there? Oh yeah the new google desktop. Hopefully by now you have all downloaded the Google deskbar and the Google toolbar and if you haven't then you should. The latest advancement out of the Google labs is called Google Desktop. Basically what it does is runs on your computer and scans your files and stores the information. You can then do a google search of everything on your computer. It will search emails, text files, Office files, IM chats (optional), or just plain old files. It is super fast and its amazing how much stuff it comes up with. Try out the Google Desktop

Monday, October 11, 2004

Autumn Weekend

What is more Autumn than apple picking and eating cider doughnuts at Cider Hill Farm? Well thats just one of the things I did this past weekend. The weekend kicked off with the BoSox game at John Harvard. I am sure most of you watched and know it was a crazy game. The highlight of the night was definitely Mark yelling at Terry Francona for putting Foulke in so early with the score tied. I thought it was hilarious, well everybody else there was a bit frightened. Haha, oh yeah Ortiz's home run was also pretty cool.

On Saturday Jen and I went to Peabody for the Real Sale at The Limited. So we went clothing shopping for a couple hours and also ate a nice lunch at Bertucci's. Afterwards we drove out to Halibut Point State Park to see the quarry and sit at the seashore. It was a bit cloudy, but the it was warm enough that it was quite enjoyable. I got a bunch of pictures and even a couple decent sunset pictures. The new tripod my dad gave me is fantastic and makes my life a lot easier. After the beach we drove back to Somerville and rented two movies, "Safety in Objects" and "The BFG: Big Friendly Giant". We watched Objects, because the giant movie is actually for Jen's third grade class. SiO was really weird and a little bit depressing, but it was the best thing left at 7:30 on Saturday night at Blockbuster Video.

At eleven we picked up Ben and Amanda for an afternoon of Autumn activities. The first stop was Cider Hill Farm in the 'Bury. We climbed up the hill and began picking apples. Jen was quick to climb into the trees and grab apples from the top branches while we stayed down on the ground catching her pickings. We ended up with ten pounds of apples, I don't know what we are going to do with them, hopefully some sort of apple dish will be in my future. After picking it was time for some apple cider doughnuts, which of course didn't disappoint. After a brief pit stop at Burger King we went to the Topsfield Fair. I forgot how expensive that stupid thing costs. The ticket to get in was $12 per person and the parking was $7. Once inside it was the same as it has been for the last fifteen years. It was great to be back for the first time in years, but I don't think I will be back next year. After walking around for ten minutes it became apparent that we did not fit into the demographic range of the fair. We were too young, too thin, don't eat half of the food they offer and don't have awful Boston accents. My favorite quote, "Where is that lahhgest pumpkin?" We made quick work of the place and then went home. Mark I took several pictures just for you so you can see what you missed.

The week is now beginning, and with it brings the stress and emotional difficulties of another ALCS series with the Yankees. Everybody find a wishing stone and toss it in to Boston Harbor and wish for an end to the BoSox drought.


Thursday, October 7, 2004


I now have a Super NES up and running in my apartment thanks to my cousin OJ. I drove up to Amesbury last night and tested out my system and it didn't work, so I borrowed OJ's until I get my second console from the ebay seller. I got home last night and popped in Super Mario Kart for a little Mushroom Cup Grand Prix action. It didn't take long before I was jump sliding the turns and leading Koopa Troopa to the Gold. It was strange how quickly it all comes back, similar to hearing a song on the radio you haven't heard in years and you remember all of the words. Next up was F-Zero, which once again I got the hang of after only one lap. When I woke up this morning the first thing I did was begin playing Super Mario World and had finished the first world before leaving for work. My goal is to start at Super Mario Brothers and go through each level of each game without using a warp. I don't know how long it will take me and I am hoping it will take weeks.

While sleeping last night the heater was loud once again, but I am beginning to get used to it. It just makes some really weird noises. I have noticed a problem lately now that the sun rises later it is hard to tell when I wake up whether the night is over or if it is still the middle of the night. I have a really bright street light outside my window that is actually brighter than the dawn light.

I missed BoCaNO last night because I was really tired and didn't feel well. I also never ate dinner, which is an ugly pattern I keep falling into right now. Hopefully I can turn that around because while it is great to only weigh 158 pounds I'd rather be closer to 170 pounds. I need to eat more pizza.

Tuesday, October 5, 2004

Nobody Told Me

I was just searching for Amesbury High School, because I wanted to look at the academic calendar, but why is unimportant. So I came upon a page for Amesbury Pride Homecoming Weekend. I didn't know we had a homecoming weekend. There is also a soccer game on Saturday for alums to play in vs. the current varsity team. Anybody from the 'Bury going to this thing.

In other news, my new Super Nintendo finally arrived in the mail yesterday and of course as is my typical luck it didn't work. So now I have to send it back across the country or find one on craigslist that is in the Boston area. All I want to do is play my Super Mario Brothers and be done with it. Ahhhhhhhhhh!!! WTF!!!!

Monday, October 4, 2004

On The Streets of Philadelphia

It was road trip time this weekend and we made the most of it. On Friday morning, Andy, Kate, Mark and I piled into the car and drove to Penn State for the first Vote For Change concert featuring Dave Matthews Band. The drive down was great and relatively traffic free. I was able to do some reading and crossword puzzles I had been storing for a few weeks. Once in State College, Andy gave us the walking tour of campus including a visit to Old Main the building that houses the President's office as well as a tower which overlooks the campus. We went up the tower and took some pictures, before going to the President's office for some desserts. The next stop was a bar Andy used to frequent "when he went there". The beer was cheap even if they only offered Bud, Bud Light, Coors, Coors Light and Miller Lite on tap. We then left for the Bryce Jordan Center to catch the show. On the way there we passed several Bush supporters and Kate was quick to take off her sweater and show off her Kerry '04 shirt. Andy and I went to our seats in the fifth row and enjoyed Jurassic 5 and Ben Harper. Shortly afterwards DMB came on and played an amazing set. After the show we went to the Ramada and went to sleep, despite Andy's request to go out again.

In the morning we were rudely awoken by a soccer team dragging their luggage down the stairs of the motel. After dropping Andy at the airport, Mark, Kate and I made our way towards Philadelphia. Unfortunately, we missed a turn and ended up driving through the ghettos of North Philadelphia. It was scary, but eventually we found our way to Tiffany and TJ's. We had a little lunch and then hung out for a bit before going for a walk along the river. We saw a bunch of cool statues and went up to the Frican art museum. The view of the city was great, as can be seen above. It was time to eat again and we went to a really cool restaurant that had a very European feel to it. They also had a bunch of Belgian beers, which made me consider drinking, but in the end I knew I would still end up not enjoying it. It was a cool place to eat and hang out, I wish it was in Boston. After dinner we went back to the house and played Cranium, boys vs. girls style. We really did well and the girls struggled on the trivia questions. It was a lot of fun hanging out and just having a relaxed night.

We woke up on Sunday and had a yummy breakfast of french toast. Next up it was time for some touring of the Old City. We hopped in the car and drove downtown to Independence Hall. We got tickets and waited for our tour. Andy showed up from Scranton and joined us right before the tour. We saw the Liberty Bell and then had our tour of Independence Hall. It was really cool to see such an important place in our history. Once back in the car I requested that we drive by the Real World house(bank). I snapped a picture and we were on our way back to the house. We left in the afternoon around two. It was so nice of TJ and Tiffany to host us for the two days we were there. Thank you guys so much we all had a great time.

The drive back was fairly smooth except for our stop at a rest area on the NJ turnpike. For starters my coffee from Starbucks was a dollar more than usual. Mark was hungry, but the two food options were Roy Rogers and Nathan's, which are two of the nastiest fast food restaurants you can eat at. He decided to pass and we went to get gas. Now it is a law in NJ that all of the gas stations have to be full service. This caused lines similar to those I have seen from the gas shortage of the 70's. The station had 12 pumps, but only six of them were turned on and three men were working the six pumps. It took forever to get through the lines. We finally made it out of that god awful state. We finally made it back to Boston at around nine. It only took about six and a half hours to get home. I will admit for the last hour we were a little crazy, talking about the Frican museum, my idea for a fantasy hurricane league for next year, a parrot voice, the beeping of Philadelphian car horns, listening to the same CD over and over again and many more things.