Saturday, July 31, 2010

Beach boy

this picture was taken 2 weeks ago, at Nantasket beach, while i was sitting in the lifeguard chair. this boy was sooo cute! there was actually a huge family, and everyone was playing and chasing each other in the water. the youngest of the family however was just mostly observing them, standing there with his red shovel, in which he was most interested... i took many pictures of him, hopefully unnoticed by his mom.. :)
many beaches are closed, or rather, you are strongly advised not to go into the water, due to too high bacteria levels. as stated in a newspaper: "Officials dealing with closed beaches said the high bacteria levels were likely caused by heavy rains washing contaminants into swimming areas." or, in other words: due to huge amounts of rain in a short amount of time, waste pipes overflow and everyone's waste (i.e. shit) gets into the water. yegh....
no, i have not been in the sea yet, and havent been tempted to do so either (the water is much too cold!!). besides, just came across an article about Massachusetts shark sightings...

Friday, July 30, 2010

Fancy building

yesterday we went to a "networking seminar". in fact i was not aware that the purpose of the meeting was to network, i was just interested in the topic presented. the presentation was good, however short and very much about protein structures, but i learned something new. besides, it was in a very very fancy building with extremely expensive furniture and very nice glass-walled seminar rooms. the view over the Charles river (see above) was beautiful. we were only on the first floor, so higher up would be even more perfect.
surely it was not a research building. i just discovered Microsoft is in there so i assume the space we were allowed to use was from microsoft. interestingly, i also found out that there are City rules preventing Microsoft from putting up their logo atop the building; it would ruin the beautiful skyline along the Charles river (article in boston globe)
after the seminar was done and all the free pizza (but cold) was finished, everyone left rather quickly; i dont think much networking has occurred. surely i will attend the next seminar as well, if only for the fancy building! :)

Cleaning apples

a month ago or so i posted about the apple store and everyone very busy touching all these fancy apple-design-beauties and the absence of handsanitizer. thursday we were in the cambridge side galleria (but i call it the "Malleria") to have cheesecake at the cheesecake factory. buuughh, it was too much, even without a decent dinner. anyways, when we left the shops in the malleria had just closed, and all the blue-shirted apple store employees were frantically cleaning all the ipads, ipods, ibooks!! it was really fun to see, but hard to get a decent picture.. and then they noticed me taking pictures and started to pose...
btw, i dont understand why their shirts are blue! apple green would fit soo much better and they would also stand out of the crowd more. but well... im still not an apple store manager...

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

People photographing (2)

it seems this is the perfect spot to picture the old state house (see previous post). im not sure it was.... didnt check... :) besides, i really wanted the old lady with the pink shirt and hat in the picture. (thats why i got the lamppost there for free.. ah well, you cannot have it all)

State house

the small cute building is the old state house. our travel guide uses such a beautiful sentence: "dwarfed by the towers of the finacial district, the old state house.. etc etc". it was built in 1713, and is the oldest public building in boston. what i like about it, is that it currently is the entrance to the subway! originally wine cellars, now function -since 1904- as a downtown subway station. upstairs there apparently is a "sound and light show" about the 1770 Boston Massacre (gezellig!).

Monday, July 26, 2010

Abandoned carts

this is completely normal here, and i HATE it. people shop. people use a cart. people put their stuff in their cars and they just leave the cart where it is. despite the many places closeby where you can bring your cart. often its windy and the carts just dance around...
why is it soooo hard just to bring it back? dont they care about their own/other people's car?! so wherever we go, there is always someone from the shop busy collecting all these carts to bring them back to the entrance. maybe people just leave them to create more jobs...?!

Kennedy library

on sunday we had a more or less random walk along the Dorchester bay. in one of our many travel guides it was said to be a nice walk, and beach. well, the beach was very shitty and looked so dirty! i think we then went the other way than our guide advised. they really made an effort to construct a nice path along the sea... closeby there is an apartment complex, the first apartment we almost rented while still in the netherlands.. luckily i read some reviews before we made a nonrefundable payment.... now we could see for ourselves, it just did not look nice there despite the nice walkway, the views remained shitty, and the beach non-existent (they have this advertisement: live by the sea, close to the T; both is NOT true!!)
walking along we stumbled upon an interesting building, which turned out to be the JFK library! from the outside it looked already interesting, from the inside it was impressive...! i am not sure whether we had to pay for this (we didnt). there was also a museum about Kennedy, but it was closed already. anyways, there was this huge glass construction, looking out over the sea, with an enormous american flag hanging from the ceiling. looking at the pictures i took i am sooo frustrated! none of them captures how it looked.... :( therefore this one, the guy in the corner was really making an effort while photographing. he placed himself in all kind of gymnastic positions... but honestly, i am not sure whether his pics were any better...

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Very American

saw this sign saturday when we drove to Saugus. we especially stopped there on the way back to take a picture. its sooo huge! and soooo american!! wonder how it looks like when its dark.... i think the steak house was well visited, but we ate something at home.. :)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Nantasket beach

i have been asking tim since May to drive to Hull with me. or Nantasket, i do not entirely know where one small village starts and the other ends (like boston: i thought cambridge, somerville etc is all Boston. but NO; these are separate towns. this already led to quite some confusion. all these small towns have the same limited set of street names and it happened already that we were in street so-and-so in boston, while we were supposed to be in Roxbury..). anyways, there is a long shore drive and a nice beach. with sand instead of pebbles. and the people there are superinteresting!! :) i took quite some pics. the entire beach was full with huge families and i guess they just sit there the entire day. me and tim climbed in a lifeguard seat, and from there i perfectly could observe this large family in the front of the picture...
oh, that was a nice evening. we got a pizza (a very GOOD one) which we ate on the rocks while it started to get dark (and the musquitos came.. buuuhhh), together with a beer brought from home. but i just learned that alcohol actually is not allowed on the street/beach. luckily there was no policeman on horse wanting to be photographed...

People photographing

one of the things i like to take pictures of, is other people taking pictures... i like to photograph the entire scene, or only the photographer.
this is in a park but i am not sure of the name, it is next to the boston common (the park with the frog pond in it), and you often see these police officers on a horse. i think they are there only for show, and whisper to all kids and parents that they are available for pictures (im not sure about the whispering but i assume they do, how otherwise would anyone want to be pictured with a machoguy on a horse? (what was the joke again, Per? Ein Bull auf einem Pferd? oder so etwas?). this poor boy obviously does not want, although both his mum and dad are taking pictures.. :)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Playing lifeguard

this was saturday, at revere beach. the boy was sooo cute! he was really into his role of lifeguard. i tried to take a piture of him while he was holding his hands like binoculars, watching out over the sea, but i was too slow and got this instead, which i liked even better (too bad its not entirely sharp.. :(
on sunday we went to another beach, and there i climbed into such a seat (pretty difficult to get off!); an excellent place for people watch and taking pictures!! surely you will see more of that one day or the other... :)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Self portrait (4)

i thought it was time for another self portrait (its a double self portrait, im also in tim's glasses)
we finally bought a mirror!!!
now i know before i leave home how i look.... :)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Enormous cinema

when bringing sylvia to the airport- :( - we passed this enormous cinema. ofcourse i wanted to go there, what is more american than a HUGE cinema? (too bad we didnt discover it earlier, we actually wanted to go see a movie with sylvia, but the cinema we went to was closed due to power outage). you cannot really grasp the enormousness of the building, and the surrounding parking lot from this picture, unfortunately. but it was huge. many of the people in the cinema were also huge, btw. there was a LOT of food also. i took one picture inside, but it was crappy, and just as i was adjusting my camera to take another one, an employee came to tell me photographing was not allowed. why? "ah well, management does not want it". there was also a police officer with a gun at the entrance. i didnt ask why.
we went to see Inception. but the movie only started at 10.30 and i was rather tired already. the chairs were comfortable and the movie quite difficult to follow... thus i slept a bit.. :( i couldnt help it! besides, in the movie they sleep all the time!! :) and i liked how it ended!
also funny, people here IMMEDIATELY get up as soon as the movie is done. no contemplation while the "aftiteling" is passing by, as happens a lot, especially if you go to more "arty" movies in the netherlands. that always annoyed me, but to be rushed out of your seat while the movie is not even fully ended, is more annoying, i now know...

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Revere beach

yesterday we were at Revere beach. there was a sand sculpture competition going on since a few days, and on the last evening there were fire works! the sand sculptures were nice, and the people interesting....
during our first weeks in boston, i hoped we could get an apartment at revere beach, until we went there and saw the building and the location...... the beach is quite nice, but is said to be dangerous after dark, and the neighbourhood looks awful and i can imagine it is dangerous there. but this evening it was all fine, with everyone being on the beach. as opposed to the 4th of july, we had a perfect spot, very few people around (everyone was accumulated around the sand sculptures as it was right across the fire works, but our spot was definitely much better!), and i could even take some pictures.... i liked the reflection of the fireworks on the water, and the large family sitting all together at the beach.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

By boat

a picture of Boston as seen from a boat! not a pic form last night, it was too dark already, and i generally do not like night pictures of cities. this was last week, when we were on a ferry with sylvia! very cloudy... and rather heavy rain can come from them quite suddenly (luckily it happened after we left the ferry).
today its very sunny and hot, and i am in the lab. yegh... but about to leave!!

Electric six

yesterday we were on a boat. to listen to electric six, a band from Detroit. ah well, i dont know them, but tim was crazy when he founc out there were cheap tickets, and that the concert would be on a boat floating around Boston. i liked that latter part and joined, as the music is rather ... well.. whenever he sometimes had it on, i asked him to switch to something else. :)
ah well, the views of boston were nice, unfortunatly no romantic sunset, it started raining instead. it was fun to observe all the different people there. 2 were in gala-outfit; they looked rather out of place. but maybe so did i, not going crazy on their music, but rather watching the sky, the planes taking off (one came really close!!), and the lightning! this is a pic of the guitar player, right after they were done. at first he was just walking "freely", and i found that soo weird! wasnt there no one who wanted to tell him how great it was? or whatever... but just as he started to go through the crowd (to get some attention?), a girl grabbed him and they talked for a while, then i lost track of him (ah, its the one in the white shirt on the left). according to tim he looked less impressive without his guitar (maybe thats why no one spoke to him; didnt recognize him anymore?), but this is all i saw from Electric six...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Police control

when from a country where police is usually absent, or only there to give you a ticket when you cross the red light on foot, or when your bike light just stopped working because of the rain, the police in the US, as mentioned before, can be rather frightening, yet at the same time ridiculous. this morning we left our perfect apartment and walked down the perfect path leading to the subway station (this path being especially constructed for our living community). arriving at the station, there were some policemen and a notice that people at random could be subject to "search" and that refusing this could lead to "arrest". the woman in front of me was picked, we luckily werent.
its good that i lunch with some real US citizens who explain me these kind of things. this is something the Transit Police can do, because as soon as you enter the railway station, you are on their property, and thus if they feel its necessary, they can force you to open your bag for example so that they can see whats in there. similarly, the harvard police can "search" everyone present in a Harvard building, if they feel to do so. but what if you then say: "ok, i do not want to be searched, i rather leave the building/subway station, this is ridiculous"? well, then you have a problem, because people who have nothing to hide, will not refuse such a thing, and they thus have a reason to arrest you.
i find that scary.... and not enhancing my safety. but maybe you will disagree with me on that...?

Post 100

yesterday should have been post number 100, and a reason to celebrate and/or contemplate... no? instead, the neighbouring lab convinced me that unplugging a freezer diminished in size by half due to ice was a good idea. at 5 in the afternoon. then i could let it defrost overnight and in the morning i would have a clean freezer! at least they were helpful. but when the thawing began, the water started to flow. and it was not a little bit of water..... in fact, i was the only one really worrying about that water; they all said: so what? then tomorrow there is a pool. doesnt matter, right?! but i thought it did matter, and around 7 i hammered away already quite some chunks of ice, finding in there loads of eppendorf tubes and other stuff i do not want to remember. tim came to help me (my 2 colleagues long gone) and an hour hammering later we went for dinner (Panera Bread: i love it! although it is a little too much, as usual), and then we continued. i felt like being on a gletcher expedition. but i didnt enjoy it and surely the view wasnt as nice.
after ten it was when we left, the freezer still not being entirely ice-free. but now its empty and i rearranged it all, and all the old stuff, scattered over the entire thing now easily fitted on one shelf; all the other shelves left for me! jeeeeejj! now i can finally do (more) experiments.... ;)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Common sense

when dealing with "officials" here, i often have the feeling that common sense is lacking. like at the liquor store.
this billboard is at the highway leading you out of boston, next to the fenway baseball stadion. at first i could not believe it, but i think it is actually meant to be against guns. i have been reading a little about gun possession in the US, and now i feel less comfortable, i have to say. in 1997, 40% of the households in the US reported to have a gun in their home. in total, there were ~44 000 000 gun owners, which means that 25% of all adults have a gun!! every fourth person!!! 11% of them say they just (?) use it for hunting, meaning the other 90% use it for.... ? i also found a pro-gun website where they state that it is ridiculous that guns are not allowed in schools.
well, let me just have my alcohol, then....

Oranje oranje!

orange line, american flag, 2 dutch and 1 german (taking the picture) in orange... ready for the soccer match... ! and then we lost... :( ah well... maybe it was because the bright orange bag i am holding in fact is our laundry bag that says "grimy". but it is the most orange thing i possess!!!
too bad weekend is over.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Sylvia weekend

so this is why tim wanted to get martini!! he knew sylvia was coming over from San Diego.....!!! on saturday early morning, there suddenly was someone in our fancy apartment, while i was showering (tim told me i had to get up immediately for a surprise, and i had just heard him talking on the phone). and then... there was sylvia!!! jeeejjj!! we had a swim in "our" pool, we went to boston and got in a heavy rainstorm causing flooding of the subway (later another post on that), and we went to amherst to visit patrick and his wife anne!! we had a perfect dinner on their porch and when we left it was late.. when we got home, a 2 hour drive, it was even later.... :)
on sunday more sightseeing- we took a ferry-, watching the soccer game with yvonne & wouter who were here to apply for postdoc positions! saw harvard square and all, dancing & singing spanish girls in the subway (buuuuuuhhhhh... we were the only orange there), more swimming and then the weekend was gone again, it went soooo fast even though we cut back on sleep... :(
it was a great surprise!!!! :)
(and surely more pics later about everything and nothing)

Liquor store

unlike the netherlands, here you have to go to a liquor store to get your wine. annoying! last friday tim really wanted to get martini. i wondered why, since we had agreed we would make mojitos with the limes and mint we just bought (the rum already waiting in the fridge). but he insisted, and i anyways wanted to go here to take a picture and look inside this enormous store that looks soooo typical american to me! we then ended up with quite a lot of alcohol (gin for gin tonics and the bottle looked so nice!), martini, wine, beer. as if there would be a party... :)
but then at the counter we were both asked to prove we were above 21 (yes, we look young!). i gave my passport, but tim only had his dutch driver's license. and that was not allowed. a US license; OK. a dutch passport; OK. but a dutch license?! no! a harvard-id with doctor on it? NO! even the manager came to tell us NO. since we could not both prove we were above 21, buying alcohol was not allowed. even when i suggested i would again go into the store-alone this time- to buy it, they said: NO. because it was obvious we would drink the alcohol together, and tim couldnt prove his age, and thus they could be violating the law by permitting me to buy alcohol for him...
did you get that? i did not...
we thus went to the next Kappy's, a little further down the road. i went in alone, couldnt find the martini (buuuuhhh!), but the gin etc i did find. and.... the girl at the counter did not even look at me.... and surely she did not ask me to prove i was above 21.....

Friday, July 9, 2010

Fresh pond

this is the frog pond at Boston Common (see previous post). of course i did not understand at all why everyone was in the water while all around the water there were signs clearly saying "pond closed". when i took this pic i had not yet witnessed that disobedient citizens wading through some water can get arrested for that, otherwise i would have been even more worried about all those people with small children....
i guess the water was 30 cm deep, and probably around 37 degrees; thus the perfect E. coli incubator. yegh!! not such a fresh pond, i think. and all those children lying in that dirty water.... yegh! but they obviously all were very much enjoying themselves.. it was really cute to see...

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Crowded central

after the spectacular fireworks on independence day, we all had to go back home at once, ofcourse. there were sooo many people! normally the T stops around midnight, but this night its service was extended, and free. we were offered a ride back home by Berk, with whom we had dinner and watched the fireworks with. ofcourse i rather preferred to take the T back home... :) we walked to central square T stop. our side of the platform was rather empty, and on the other side a train was just loading people. i could see it was overcrowded. so when the train left, i expected an empty platform there as well. instead, it was still soooooo full! i had to take a picture of that. while we proceeded further downtown, our train also got more and more crowded. at some point there was a drunk guy close to us, spilling his drink everywhere. yegh... luckily only on the floor. it was quite difficult to get out of the train at our stop, and then we still had to take the orange line. it was all going soooooo slowly. but well.. it was interesting to see all these tired people, so many exhausted children also... quite cute, but i didnt dare to take more pics.
anyways, i guess next year we will skip the fireworks. i heard its quite comfortable to watch it on TV... ;) (we however dont have a TV)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Groovy oak

our "living community" is called oak grove village, but i always refer to it as the "groovy oak". since we dont have internet at our apartment (or only when i manage to pick up the signal with my macbook, and usually it only works for a few minutes), we just went down to sit by the pool... in which we swam every evening the past few days!! our apartment is in the right corner, those five windows (the right 3 are living room, the left 2 bedroom). isnt it lovely.....
but then the security guard came and said that the pool side is closed after 20.30. after that time it is too dangerous to be close to the water, or something like that, apparently....

Oranje you..

...glad that the Dutch won? (as is on the front page of the Metro newspaper). it took tims explanation for me to understand that it is a funny word play: or arent you happy that the dutch won? so that was my first soccergame in a boston cafe together with all the other bostonian dutch..
as the article says: "after decades of failure, the netherlands is just one game away from world cup glory" and: "the Oranje celebrated heartily after the victory. television shots showed similarly raucous parties in the netherlands" (should i inform them about the S missing?).
anyways, it was fun to observe all these dutch people, unfortunately all the pics i took were rather crappy. and i am pretty sure the dutch here did not go as crazy as the dutch back home. in fact, it was a little lame... :) now i do have to get an orange tshirt to watch the finals in! (i was one of the few not wearing an orange shirt; although there was some orange in my new skirt!).

Monday, July 5, 2010

American girls

they actually posed for me!!! :)
real american girls... on the 4th of july!

Independence day

so yesterday the US of A celebrated the 4th of July. people gathered at the charles river for the fireworks, probably already hours in advance, sitting side by side on blankets (like resevering a spot for the "rommelmarkt" in Amsterdam for queensday). sooo many people, many with small children. they must have been so bored! the fireworks only started at 11, were over pretty quick, and in my opinion not very spectacular. this apartmentbuilding is at the river more or less, so these people had a good view without having to stand amidst the enormous crowd. i guess some people didnt understand why my camera was pointed that way, while the fireworks were behind me! :)
at some point they closed the bridges and you could net get on or off the small island anymore. one daring couple decided to strip to their underwear and cross the water to get onto the island. police was there immediately and ordered them to go back, which they didnt. they then got handcuffed (can you believe it!!!) and they were forced to sit on their knees whilst handcuffed and in underwear. it was horrible to see and totally unnecessary. wondered what happened to them... i guess they should never send the policemen on an internship to the netherlands during queensday, they will get crazy. this event confirmed my fear of the US police, not ever do i hope to have to deal with them....

Saturday, July 3, 2010

July 4

in this country you see the american flag everywhere.. on many cars it is accompanied by the text "god bless america" (what about all the other countries? they dont need gods blessing?). this ragged exemplar was on the rocks at the beach in Winthrop. currently many houses are entirely decorated with flags and stars and stripes (from the outside; how will it be inside?), most probably because tomorrow it is the 4th of july! im very curious about it, and we will defenitely go watch the fireworks...
btw: we were swimming already few times now in the pool of our apartment complex... hmmmm, very nice!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Prudential center

prudential, as seen from the first (or last) stop of the green line, lechmere. actually only yesterday (after already almost 3 months!) i noticed that you can nicely see it from there. but thats most likely because im always reading, except yesterday, when i had forgotten my book!

Orange line

this is the first (or last) stop of the orange line, and close to our new apartment! the complex is thus called "oak grove village". the orange line is much much faster than the bus and/or the green line. unfortunately, i still have to take the green after the orange... most likely there is a faster route, but i am a bit lazy to explore, and actually enjoy my pre- and after work reading.
today the netherlands won from brazil! i missed the game yet again, but i saw many people dressed in orange, and 2 girls in tiny orange skirts (bavariameisjes?) and enormous dutch flags. i promised to watch next game... maybe together with all the other dutch here. im actually very curious to see that... but surely i wont wear orange (dont have any orange!).

Thursday, July 1, 2010

King Donalds

on saturday we had dinner at burger king or mc donalds, essentially its all the same... at least we learned one menu for each of us is really too much (although i know we shouldnt eat there at all! its just convenient, when u are tired, had a long day, were moving...), so we now take one menu, and an extra burger. this however always causes confusion, and usually the ordering takes a while before they understand... but it seems many workers at mc burger do not speak that much english (ah yes, u can see from this our visits are too frequent, but now that we moved into a place with a decent kitchen.. we will cook ourselves again, promised!!).
it seems that these fast food restaurants are gather points for the most weird people; an excellent people watch place! dont dare to take pictures though, most people arent a little weird, but reaaallllyyyy weird. like on saturday there was this old lady with very long hair so dirty it seemed she had mopped the floor with it. besides, she had an enormous beard.....
here at least u can take as much ketchup as you want, as opposed to the netherlands where you have to pay for your stupid little "bakje fritessaus".

Traffic light

to divert a bit from our amazing, exciting, fancy new apartment, a picture taken from the car, in the center of boston. as mentioned before, here everyone thinks: i am first, no matter what. and see, the lights are green for the car, yet all pedestrians just cross the road. this happens all the time!! everyone just crosses (sometimes also cars), paying no attention at all, no, just going! even so a car is coming at full speed. even so the car is honking... people just walk, and at their choosen speed. really, its unbelievable...