Monday, May 31, 2010

Endlessly repeating

we were in the museum of modern art today. the entrance fee is 20 dollars, but today it was free because of Memorial day (which we in fact totally missed.. :( ah, and we did not have to work today!). above a part of a huge piece of art, called "Endlessly repeating twentieth-century modernism". it was really beautiful. with special mirrors the artist created a seemingly endless repetition of the objects; depicting the capitalist notion that all objects are eternally repeatable, that everything can be remanufactured endlessly without regard to era, geography, or culture. im not sure whether i agree with that (in fact i dont), but it was fascinating to look at. it had 4 sides, but it was placed stupidly, so one side you could not really look at. below there was a normal mirror, in which you could see yourself, from waist to feet. it was funny that most people totally ignored the beauty, and walked by, just looking at their reflected selves....
maybe another day i post a picture of the entire object.

Smart marketing

prudential center does not have that many nice shops. but it does have zombies once a year (see yesterday), and it has a food court where they have one shop that sells good coffee (which is rare), and very very tasty cookies... so we wanted some cookies. since it was almost closing time, you got 2 cookies for the price of one, that was nice!. we thus choose 3 cookies and got 3 for free. but then the lady said: ah, if you have 6 cookies, you get another 6 for free! and thus we were so stupid to choose now 12 cookies, resulting in us paying for 6 cookies, instead of the 3 cookies we initially wanted.... now isnt that a smart sales-technique.... she got rid of her last cookies and she made us pay for them without us realizing it at that moment.
but the box she put the cookies in was sooo nice and i liked to walk around with it.. :) and we still have many cookies.. (1 cookie is almost like a meal....).

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Bostonian zombies

sitting in the subway there was a couple putting blood stains on themselves with red paint. the guy wound a bandage around his head, and the girl was putting one around her knee. a party, we thought?
somewhat later while leaving prudential center, many, many scary-looking people were walking towards the food court entrance of Prudential. the stream of people seemed endless... and the wounds all over their bodies looked very real.... must have been scary, sitting in the food factory, eating your fries.. and suddenly all these zombies coming in. i think there were like 500 zombies flooding prudential center. but as sudden as they appeared, they were also gone again.
what it was? no clue! and so far i have not been able to find anything on the internet about it..
in this pic the girl is "handing out" blood......

Friday, May 28, 2010

Proud graduate

during lunch i saw this. he is in front of the nice building... :)
and his girlfriend takes a picture. after many more pictures followed.... real fun to see.
glad i did not have to wear something like that during my PhD defense!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Bus stop

as told before, to get somewhere, we need to take the bus first. what i do not understand here, is that the bus stop is merely a sign for the bus to stop. and, ah yes, it says which bus number stops there and what its final destination is. but a schedule? o no, that you will not find... and thus you can never just pass a busstop and think: ah, lets check whether a bus might come in 5 mins.. and depending on that, either walk on or wait for it.... grr....
good we're moving to a place close to the subway...

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Harvard tent

the view onto the Harvard medical school is currently blocked by an enormous tent. since thursday they are working on this tent continuously. it really looks ugly. i found out why its there: for the graduation ceremony. also weird: here, you defend your PhD thesis. but you do not graduate yet.. no, that is together with ALL other PhDstudents during a massive ceremony and i now know it will be in this massive, ugly tent. it now has tables in it, and even ceiling fans (lots of them; it actually is very hot since a few days now). when i passed today, i saw that each entrance is guarded by two poles that at first glance reminded me of ticket validating machines (for the soon-not-existing-strippenkaart!). i already wondered why the hell those would be needed for a graduation ceremony (maybe to validate your PhD-degree?). but then i saw that of course these are hand-sanitizer-dispensers...
crazy americans!! everywhere, at any place, these stupid things are present. maybe to ensure that you receive your PhDdiploma with clean hands.....?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Lab picture

defrosting the freezer goes very quickly with a hairdryer. the noise is gruesome, however.... well-known problem in the US is the limited labspace. is that why in my current lab nobody ever cared to defrost the freezers? i think half of the freezer's space is taken by ice. i never saw a worse -80 before (not in the pic.. :) ). tomorrow a bigger freezer is to be defrosted. yeeey.
luckily its hot outside.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Magic words

when walking to work, there are usually people in my way. they walk so slowly! ofcourse... being used to biking... i could just ring my bicycle bell whenever someone was in my way. now... i miss this bell... hahaha! but it would be a little weird, i guess, to use that to get people out of my way. i however refuse to resort to these magic words that are ubiquitously uttered here: "Excuse Me". if only it would be meant as these words were originally intended. it is nothing like a gentle "pardon". it means "get the F*CK out of my way right NOW" without actually having to use any swear-word. its being used at any given moment, in any given situation, regardless. sometimes it feels like this hissing sound is everywhere around me. then i have to suppress the impulse to just pinch these people; those familiar with the magic words must agree with me it often sounds like "squeeze me".

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Man Fish

a colleague of tim went with us to the beach in Newburyport, an hour from Boston or so. that was nice! there was heavy fog and it looked real pretty on the ocean. but i did not manage to take good pictures of that.. :( saw a lot of fishermen. i asked this man whether i could take his picture, and as you see i could. they told us the fish was meant for the BBQ later that evening.
they say that dog owners look like their dog. but can fishermen look like their fish?

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Fruit & Vegetables

we went to Haymarket today. market! only fruit & vegetables and much cheaper! especially bell peppers.. they are so expensive here.. ooh, it was such a huge mess. empty boxes and rotting stuff everywhere. this pic is actually when the market was closing. then it was really chaos. people taking their merchandise back to their cars, stuff that was left as trash.. and people going around trying to find some free edible vegetables left behind. some had huge amounts (i then understood why so many people had brought their shopping carts). we were looking at some boxes of mangos, and then a woman accused us of stealing them... haha!, while another woman was indeed trying to run away with a few (dont know if she managed?). people looked like ants scrutinizing the street.....

Many cards

Since i am here my wallet got overloaded with cards... discount cards mostly. but last week i also received 3 cards for my insurance and i will have 4 (if i fnally get the Harvard ID) just to enter the lab. as you see, for esprit i have a red one again... :( but who knows, maybe i get it to platinum? and i still do not have cards for some shops where i just did not buy anything yet (Macy's, Shop rite... ). luckily i got such a nice wallet with so much space!
it happened already i was in one shop, presenting a card from another shop... there are just too many.. but without cards... no discount!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Fun nuggets

so we had "fun nuggets" for dinner... they are not so good with meat here (or we didnt discover it yet?), it tastes spongy and they shaped it into dinos.....? or sausages with orange peel in it... yegh! usually no meet for us, unless its a burger at the phoenix landing with peanutbutter and apple slices :)
at least im good with veggies....! although that sometimes turnes out not so nice either... hahahaha.

Harvard ID

this tree i posted before, but then it was full with blossom. i passed it to try to get my Harvard ID once more. the previous time i could not, because i was not yet in the system. that took more than a month (why?). in that month i officially could not access fulltext papers in Pubmed (had to use Tims ID), and could not leave or enter my lab after 7 in the evening, or in weekends. and.. security was annoyed sometimes i dont have one, and for registering trainings, i also need it. yesterday again it was not possible, since i was in the Harvard system as "Cathleneyne". i either could get a card with that name on it, or first get my name spelled correctly at yet another building... arrrghhhh..., since the lady making the badges was not allowed to make changes to my name herself... aarrghhhh!!!!
maybe when the tree has lost its leaves... i will finally have this stupid Harvard-ID......

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Green line

this is the tram, the Green Line, i have to take to get to the lab (to get there, we first have to take the bus, and thats the problem; it doesnt run very frequently). it is very old, and very very noisy. and... very slow. the reason it is so slow is because it is mostly not underground, and it is the very first tram in the world, or so they takes almost 30 minutes to get to the Longwood-stop, sometimes longer, depending on the traffic. good thing is, i get on at the very beginning, so i can always sit. then later it gets very crowded, and when i get to Longwood, it is almost empty again. also very frustrating is that often trams come by, but do not stop, or that just a few stops before the last, it suddenly is taken out of service, and i have to transfer to another tram. nice thing: i have read already several books since we are here.....

Monday, May 17, 2010

Many steps

at Porter square subway station you have these very long stairs... once walked up them instead of taking the escalator. once youre up, there is another set of stairs... yesterday we went from porter sq to park street. all the way there was a man telling stuff in a very very loud voice to a guy who seemed really interested, but only was nodding.
at park the talkative guy also got out, continuing his story until the metro left. and then this is what he said to some girl he certainly did not know: "hey you. jeezz, you look like a kid! you know that? you really look like a kid! you must hear that a lot! how old are you?" '20'. "ah well, you really look like a kid, like 15 or so..!" and then he walked on while she got up the stairs. weird, no?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Time consuming

without bikes (or a car) everything takes soooo much time... i really do miss my bike. but i am afraid to bike here. maybe in the neighbourhood would be fine, but to work, no way, far too crowded and the cars so big and so little space on the bad road with all its holes.. but it means we really walk a huge amount. weekends are far more busy and tiring than work, at the moment. today for example we first walked to Market Basket (favorite supermarket), in total that takes like an hour. then we walked to Porter square in Cambridge (i like that area a lot, nice shops etc), then we walked to the house of a colleague of tim, who celebrated getting her PhD (that was nice), and then we had to walk back home again. i think at least 2 hours of walking today, and yesterday no less. worst is, usually we walk with so much stuff we buy here and there and everywhere.... :)

Two packages

jeeejjj! my parents sent me these 2 packages..! more clothes, and some stuff i could not find here but really wanted to have. of course they delivered it at home on friday but then i was at work. thus i needed to come get them at the post office. luckily we just got this typical american (!!) shopping cart this week, otherwise it would have been a little difficult to transport them...
unfortunately both packages were ripped open on one side (why/how/when?), and they hadnt bothered to tape them again... so now i keep wondering what all i lost... :(( (for sure one bike-light. i only have the red one; they are soooooo expensive here, like 20 dollars at least for a set). ah yes, the word "like" i should use more often to become a real american!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Same building

different angle and no chinese tourists.... still a very nice building.. :)
its raining very very hard at the moment! and i had my first presentation. but that was a little boring. do have a lot to do in the lab from now on... although every day i still discover things i need before i can do the planned experiment for that day... luckily most orders arrive the next day, causing not so much delay, unless i again discover i miss yet something else (which happens a lot).

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Harvard Medical

on my way to the lab i always pass this building (harvard medical school). usually there are people in front to have themselves photographed. here i actually wnated to have a pic of me in front of the people who were getting their pic in front of the nice building.. but tims phonecamera did not work... :(
just heard from fikadu that the inside of this building is not as nice as you might suspect from the outside...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

New apartment

we just heard that we are accepted as tenants at this apartment complex. we are working for "preferred employers", which means that we do not have to pay a deposit nor a last month's rent! besides.. we can have 2 walls of our new apartment painted for free, hahahahaha! i am thinking of purple for the bedroom... the apartment is smaller than the one we have now, but the livingroom is big, and it is on the subway, so no more buses!! there is a typical american kitchen (jeejjj!) with a bar, a dishwasher, and an OWN washer and dryer. we had a special offer and do not have to pay rent in august, sept and oct..... there is a "resort-style pool" onto which we have direct view, 24 hr fitness and free internet around the pool and in the "community room". it all seems perfect, no? our apt is the one on the corner, upper level. so thats the only minor thing: there is no elevator; moving the couch will be heavy......

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Nice neighbour

across the street, they have this sign in the garden. it is under a big american flag, which is illuminated during the night....
US flags you see everywhere, in fact. but this....?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Real symphony

this is the actual symphony hall. we stood in front of the ticket office and thought it was funny that you have to buy tickets in this building, while the symphony is across the street (the church on yesterday's pic...). ah well... next week you can celebrate the american spirit there with the orchestra playing patriotic tunes ( maybe that is fun to watch, if tickets are not too expensive...?

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Church building

i was still one pic behind, so now i make up for that. this building is at the T-stop "symphony", and so i thought this is the actual symphony. already searched for cheap concert tickets, as i was so curious to see this building from the inside. today we discovered this is not the symphony at all; it is a church!! we could go in and a woman showed us around. it was really beautiful inside!!! apparently it has the biggest organ in the world, and we were welcome on Sunday morning 10 for the service (maybe just once to hear that organ). we also went to the "Mapparium" (, owned by the church as well. that was really cool...!
maybe tomorrow a pic of the actual "symphony", but that was a disappointing building (at least from the outside), in my opinion....

With boots

yesterday it rained, a LOT. so it was good i was wearing my new boots! and yes, they are available in all kinds of colors and patterns... really funny to see. i choose the ones that many women actually have.. doesnt that make me a real american?
after drinks and dinner we heard a weird noise while walking home: dont know how, but a car suddenly was upside down (yes, lying on its roof), a little further down the road. tim did his duty and dialed 911, but they already knew (he called max 2 minutes after it happened) and were on their way. indeed, within 5 mins we saw a policecar. we decided it would be better not to get mixed up into things and went home... (aside for the car being on its roof it didnt seem to be really bad, luckily), and in the lab they had already warned tim its better not to help when something happens on the street.. (lawsuits and so on?)

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Rainy day

it is raining since 5 this morning... (the bed is so crappy, i dont sleep well)!!! here they sell a lot of nice rain boots. as soon as there is a drop of rain, everyone is wearing the most colorful pairs! so in my process of becoming a real american, a pair of rain boots obviously is a must. i bought these, and now it finally rains... we go see some apartments again, so i will view them wearing my boots... yeeyy!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Blossom tree

this tree reminds me of a painting... i presume the owner of the painting knows what i am talking about! :) the area around my lab is very pretty, i defenitely will post more pics of it here...
yesterday another round of apartment viewing... pff. we saw 5, 2 were disgusting (students were living there), never ever saw something like that, not even on tv. 2 were very nice, but also very expensive. and there is a lot for us to learn: you can negotiate about the monthly rent, they prefer people that will stay there years and with good jobs (our jobs are considered very good), if you want an apt, you have to give the agency immediately the first one rent on a cheque, so negotiations can start. and.. we discovered that you can even get some discount on your rent if you will always put the trash out, or shovel snow. these are landlord responsibilities, but if you are willing to do it for them, you pay f.e. 50 dollars less rent per month (thats why nobody at our house puts out the trash! so surely we will call the landlord and tell them we want to do this stupid job in exchange for a lower rent...)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Treasure couch

This is what i wanted to post yesterday, but i had left my laptop in the lab; we went to view an apartment (yet another frustrating experience).
anyways... the beautiful couch we got for free, also harboured some treasures, we discovered. on the sides and behind the pillow there was some space, and it was stuffed with things! as you can see on the pic... there was more, like a plastic fork and other stuff that belonged in the trash... :) hahahaha. i emailed the previous owner to ask whether there was something he wanted back from this, and he sent me a pic of his son, the guilty one that enjoyed hiding stuff in the couch..! now isnt that cute!
oh, and no, we didnt find a fortune in there....

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Lazy neighbours

Our house has 5 apartments, 4 trashbins, and 1 recycle bin (for paper, glass and plastic). the latter nobody uses except us. the other bins are actively filled, but nobody every puts out the trash on tuesday-night. so far, only tim did it, and otherwise it did not happen.... yegh....

Monday, May 3, 2010

Big TV

this TV is huge. and we got it entirely for free. the man who gave it away bought it in 2004 for 8000 dollars. just like that! i dont think that i am that nice..... it is not entirely sharp, but yesterday for watching the "water-news" it was good.. it is really soooo big and heavy. and i am not even interested in watching TV (but tim is)..... space-filling?

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Boston water

this pic was made yesterday from the beach. every few minutes another plane was flying into Boston, and there was continuous noise- not from the water, but from the planes. i now flew twice into boston and i dont like that you are descending until very low above water, instead of ground...
today it was very hot (above 30 degrees), and we could not get a soda: there is a problem with the drinking water in boston since yesterday, we just saw it on our free tv. some pipe broke and a state of emergency has been declared by the boston mayor. you are not allowed to drink the water, unless boiled for 1 minute, and you should also not brush your teeth, or shower. if you do shower with it, you should use handsanitizer afterwards.. (that stuff is everywhere so thats no problem). they are distributing bottled water at certain points..
in fact it all seems a bit funny! (but i only drink bottled water....)

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Busy day

we did a LOT today. did laundry at the laundromat one block further, seemed to work better than in the basement. then there was a yard sale.. there people put all furniture etc they dont want anymore in their yard and try to get some money for it (so we had our little queen's day rommermarkt here!). we got a beautiful table!!
then we walked really far to see an apartment that was not worth our time at all. :( most stupid thing: here they dont tell you the actual address until 30 minutes before or so (WHY?! but it seems a common thing; same will happen tomorrow). pic here was taken on the way; next to yard sales people also just put stuff outside they dont want anymore. tim tried on the free shoes (maybe another day i put a pic of that..). then we went to the Natural Museum of History (free entrance), and then we went to the beach; it was hot today!! back home we cleaned the apt, so now im exhausted....