Monday, October 31, 2011

Road hazard

today its halloween, so all real americans put on some weird outfit or another and go out...
i pictured this front garden somewhere close to our house once before (here and here), but then it was filled with christmas decorations. this picture does not even remotely show how it looks in real; totally over the top with i dont know how many illuminated and inflated halloween decorations. i think this person is really obsessed with having the most freaky front garden.... the house is placed a little further backwards than the other houses on this road, so when driving by you see this freakshow at the very last moment. and it is soooooo extreme that you have to look. many cars slow down while driving by, and some even stop, on the middle of the road, just to check (i think) whether its real what they are seeing and that they are not hallucinating.... so that could result in dangerous situations....
ah well, happy halloween!!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Playing chess

i never learned to play chess, but im also not very interested. this was in new york, at union square, while behind him there was this rally for the slutwalk going on, they were just playing chess as if nothing was going on...
there was still a lot of snow this morning! some cities even got a lot more than we did... it was all over the news, and many people were without power. brrr, it was so cold today, and very windy. so different from last year, when i saw my wintercoat for the first time when we went back to the netherlands, half december. perhaps this time i need it a little sooner....

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Winter storm!

currently, it looks like this outside!! the morning started out chilly, but dry, so we went for a run outside (we now ran 45 minutes, of which i am very proud.. :) then we went to eat pancakes; well-deserved, no?). but.... a storm was clearly approaching, the sky was soo dark, and yes, the afternoon started with heavy rain and wind, and in the early evening this turned into snow, covering everything with a little layer!! october has not even ended! apparently, many people are without power (almost 300,000), and a state of emergency has been declared.
perfect weather to stay inside and watch a movie... but the movie we saw was sooo boring, beeehhh...
other movies we recently saw: "real steel". about fighting robots. it was so awful, bad acting, overly sentimental and terribly predictable. in new york we saw "drive", about some guy in car turning into lunatic killing machine, that was awful too and i almost left the cinema before the movie ended (but many people like it a lot, for whatever reason). then we saw "toast" with helena bonham carter; i like her a lot, so that was the main reason we went. the movie was ok, the beginning was funny, the middle was good, but the end was disappointing. i however was obsessed with the lemon meringue pie they make in the movie, and so last week we made such a pie ourselves (recipe).... not bad! we also saw "ides of march", pictured on a billboard in new york, above. that one was really good, george clooney running for president and dirty politics..... (here wikipedia will tell you about the origin of ides of march)
the internet stopped again, so thats it for today....

Friday, October 28, 2011

Interesting sky

last week we had a very interesting sky! it looked as if it was about to rain, storm or whatever kind of bad weather, but in the end not much happened..
just discovered i can just cut out m fisheye pics, then they look much nicer!
this is at our apartment complex, with the perfect green lawns..... clean streets, and just cars.. (you are not allowed to park your bike somewhere outside; it will make it look ugly and less perfect, as you may understand)

Some snow!!

no..... it doesnt look like this, yet. but... last night rain suddenly turned into snow! and while here it didnt really stay on the ground, in some other places (further inlands) it did! and now its really cold., it looks like it has been freezing overnight... beeehhh. apparently, its not normal to have snow already in october.... so i hope the temperature will go back up a little again.
(the internet did not work yesterday, and now its also not working very well.. :( )

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Reinventing society

today occupy boston was again in the news, but this time because the health conditions at this new city were being questioned. so many people on such a small space, without showers or toilets, and without proper places to store food, is that healthy? well, dont worry! they have a health committee and they keep everything as clean as possible, there is hand sanitizer and there will be a free flu clinic and there are condoms and... 
yes, they have committees for everything. just like in normal life. you are asked not to just take the food, but have someong from the food committee serve you. and... since there have been many thefts, people in the tent city have been thinking of putting locks on their tents. moreover, someone has been arrested just last week for dealing hard drugs from one of the tents. as a result, they assembled a safety committee.... in other words, they are just re-creating society, only on a little more primitive scale. as such, you will be evicted from the place if you are using drugs or alcohol. while in regular society, there are places to help such people, the advantage of this primitive society is that they can just expel whomever is annoying; there is always the "real world" out there. but... one day or another they will find out, i think, that they just have reinvented society. the people in their little committees will become the new 1%, and the rest will not be happy with them, sooner or later.... it just takes them a while; in new york they are already in tents since half september! or.... perhaps the odor problem will get them to their senses before they get upset with their mini-society. we noticed on sunday that the bottom 1% of society is very well represented at occupy boston (perhaps because of the free food and a tent to sleep?), and apparently they dont mine urinating freely, adding to the smell..... or perhaps the cold weather that is coming; we might see some snow tomorrow already!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Dig safe

the other day i was at the cemetery behind our apartment complex. i thought it was hilarious that they had written "dig safe" at a number of locations.... :)
"dig safe" is actually a system that you are required to follow, before you dig, to ensure the digging  occurs safely. before you dig somewhere, you need to get determined what underground facilities are present at that place, as it can be dangerous to just plunge some hole somewhere, not knowing what is down there; what if there is an electric or gas line present! it seems like they are digging, or about to dig, all over boston, as i saw it written on many streets. i was not aware of the fact that there is a color coding system involved; telling you exactly what facility lies below. red for example is electric, and yellow is gas, oil or steam. white means "proposed excavation", so i guess then they have yet to find out whats down there.. ? in case of the cemetery that seems pretty obvious to me... ;) (here you can see what the other colors mean)

Monday, October 24, 2011

99% clumsy

1% fancy shoes....
this looked rather clumsy to me. they were about to do some filming of the occupy boston-circus. dont know whether they were outsiders or there to make some propaganda for the 99%.
i wanted to write more today, but im too lazy! perhaps tomorrow.. :)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Fake cleanliness

i learned something today: also (fake) hippies, homeless people and other occupiers of boston want to keep their hands clean.
yes, we finally went to see "occupy boston", i have seen occupy wall street (here and here), and occupy amsterdam (here), and so it was time to check it out here. it was not scary, just smelly. my pics turned out rather crappy; it was so grey out today, and not that much going on. yes, many tents in a very small public piece of green, smelly people, and many signs. signs on how to behave in the tent city, and signs to protest one thing or another... i will post another pic of it soon (when i made up my mind about it all, and decided which pic is the least crappy one). as you can see here, occupy boston has hand sanitizer, just like every other public building, supermarket and what-not here in the usa. as for me, as long as they have not given up on hand sanitizer, even amidst a stinking mess of rotting food (just opposite of the food stand) and smelly homeless people, i think its not that important. if they are not willing to give up their fake sense of cleanliness, this obsession with killing real or imaginery germs.... they cannot really have a cause... 
i wish south park would dedicate an episode to this, i think it would be really funny... (this is a fine example)

Boston bruins

this evening we were fortunate enough to see a game in the td garden with frank & manon. it was very interesting to see real americans during a sport event. of course i did not know the rules and i missed the first 2 goals. but i did notice that americans cant sit still. they get up, they leave, come back, go again.... and they say f*ck very, very, very often. also, they scream a lot and called the players f*cking douchebags (especially some guy behind us got very agitated during the game. he might have lost his voice...). i am certainly not going to take up ice hockey as my new hobby; everything seems to be allowed and it was pretty rough. the excitement was at its top when 2 players started to hit each other, and if i remember correctly, the boston guy managed to pull of the shirt from the san jose guy.
when it was clear boston was not going to win, there was a massive run for the exits, something we have noticed before with any event.... as soon as something is ended, or rather, is about to end, real americans leave... perhaps to avoid getting stuck when all the other people are leaving as well?

Friday, October 21, 2011

Hancock tower

i think i never posted a picture of the hancock tower. i never really tried to picture it, although you can see this building from about everywhere around boston. but actually its nice when the clouds reflect in the glass, and on this picture i think the tower almost looks fake!!
its construction was not without problems; opening of the building was delayed from 1971 to 1976. i read for example that entire window panes came down, weighing 227kg each! whenever the wind reached more than 72km/hr, the surrounding streets had to be closed off. so... during its construction it was decided that all of the 10,344 window panes had to be replaced for safer ones. 
although it is boston's tallest building (and also in entire new england), there is no observation deck anymore; it was closed after 9/11 in 2001. it used to be a popular attraction, but the building's owners say security is the reason for the continued closure. interestingly, a public observation deck was a requirement for the original building permits to gain public benefit from the high tower. however, they have not been able to locate the documentation of this requirement (hahahaha), and thus it remains closed.... making prudential tower the tallest building to visit in boston (ofcourse, i stole all this information from wikipedia). we still have not been up that tower. there is actually a fancy restaurant on top. if you go there, you dont have to pay entrance to the tower, but have to spend a certain amount of money in the restaurant. but as its fancy.... its expensive...

Exotic animal

well.... a seagull is not really an exotic animal, but i have been trying forever to capture one in flight... i think the camera course helped me with finally capturing it! and this one was pretty close for a bit... :) this was on coney island, new york, on my birthday!
i just saw on the news that somewhere in ohio an exotic-animal owner committed suicide. but before he did that, he freed all his wild animals!! some 49 animals were on the loose, including 8 bears, 18 rare bengal tigers and 17 lions. it took the police 24 hours to get all the animals (or rather, to kill them all), so that was quite a scary situation; it was getting dark while many of those animals were still out and about. people were advised to stay indoors and it took them till the next day to get them all. yuk... here i read that the owner had a lot of debt ($68,000 in unpaid taxes), but it does not make sense to my as to why he would free all those animals...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Rainy day

its colder again, and it has been raining the entire day! perhaps autumn is really coming now.... they closed down the pool entirely today, now its ready for winter... i will try to take a picture someday, but actually it looks really ugly with that cover on it.
above was during the harvard football game few weeks ago, when it was raining so much as well. i think this was a steward that was there to make sure we all behaved properly.... he doesnt look too happy, maybe because hes facing the crowd rather than the game?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Autumn pool

the pool at our apartment complex is closed since a while.... buuuhhhhhh :( its unheated and even in the middle of summer not many people were really using it. but i did! quite a lot..! now its defenitely colder, but i think it would still be pleasant for a swim (today it was 18 degrees for example)..... 
but its very pretty with all those leafs in it. in reality it was much prettier, but you will have to do it with this. soon they will cover it entirely, and at some point you will not even know there is a pool as snow will cover the cover... :)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Five guys

i took this pic in san diego while i was there in july, somewhere close to the beach. i just liked this wall painting from john lennon and presumed this was some men's clothing store. only this week i found out its actually a burgerplace, and that there is one relatively close to our apartment; we often drive by it, but i just never saw it. this evening we went there as we were lazy and i was curious, it was supposed to be "really good". well, it is more expensive than mc donald's. but you can choose your toppings (although i dont always like having to do that). it was just that they did mine wrong and i got pickles instead of bacon (i do think thats quite a difference), and they thought we wanted to share 2 drinks and not 1 drink and 1 fries. thats a large number of mistakes in one order.... ah well, in a way it was ok, as we ordered a large fries but now got a small one; that was already too much for the 2 of us.
i was googling around a bit about this mural above. what does john lennon have to do with burgers and fries? nothing, it appears. even worse, the mural was there before five guys was. instead of five guys, it used to say imagine. and, tourists apparently often take pictures of this painting (including me).

Autumn leaves...

..but before it does i would like to post a nice shot of the autumn leafs. so far i have not been very successful. perhaps tomorrow. now im tired, so good night!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Sexy legs

now thats a pair of legs... :) and heels..., and tight fitting pants...
you can check the statistics of your blog. how often is it visted per day/week/month. from which countries are the visitors? how did they get to your blog, where do they go afterwards? even, how long do they stay? as such, i found out that this is my most popular post. because.. most people fnd my blog through keywords like "short skirt high heels", "girls heels shorts", "too young for high heels", "really short skirt and high heels", or even "pictures of 50+ women in high heels".
so... im disappointed. and i guess the people that search images related to those terms are disappointed as well, when they land on my blog....
ah well.... :) i guess collecting all these search terms here might make this another well-visited post...

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Police interceptor

the honor of driving in this vehicle probably goes to the policeman that handed out the lowest number of tickets....

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

MFA evening

on wednesday nights, the museum of fine arts in boston can be entered free of charge, you only have to politely decline their request "do you want to make a donation?" (or not), and you can get lost in this enormous museum that seems to be expanding every time we visit. 
above was in the new wing of contemporary art. this piece of neon text was particularly interesting, as only in the picture you could see that the words actually have different colors. you could not see that in real, there it was just all white neonlight. i dont know how its done, but im sure it was on purpose. i forgot the name of the (danish?) artist, and could not find it back on the MFA website, so i cannot find out more about it....
we also went to the relatively new wing "art of the americas" where they had a lot of paintings from john singer sargent. this painting is in their permanent collection, and every time we go, we go see it, i like it so much! (in reality its much better than this picture of it). im not that much into "old" paintings, but his i really, really like, and im always happy to recognize one in one museum or the other. i just checked the blog of the sartorialist, and his latest post is of some lady in paris that reminds him of a living singer sargent painting. i agree!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Speeding elephants

the circus arrived in boston. and therefore their elephants, 6 of them, walked from cambridge to the TD garden, where the circus will be. i had read this on universal hub, so me and tim where present to witness it all, in front of the museum of science. we were wondering how it would all happen, as traffic was just buzzing by. but at some point, big policemen on motors stopped all the traffic, and there they were, 6 elephants, one little one, holding each other's tails while they were walking by. ehmm... actually they were racing! they went so fast!!! universal hub did not warn me about that! i was so surprised by their speed, but then realized i never "walked with elephants" (another great title for a movie?!), so what do i know?
before i knew they had passed us, and this first shot was actually the best. we had to run but never really caught up with them (i cannot take pictures and jog at the same time!). well, that was funny.... although i had expected an entire parade... it was just those speeding elephants and their guards, and many, many fat policemen on motors...
i realize i once wrote about elephants and testing bridges, you can read that here. well, this bridge surely passed the test!
here some more pics that i took.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Summer weekend

a summer weekend in autumn. this entire weekend (extended until monday as it is columbus day today, a national holiday. but everywhere it seemed business as usual), temperatures were well above 25 degrees celsius! we went to new hampshire to see the colorful autumn leafs... with summer weather. that was funny. we were there last year somewhere in october as well, perhaps even the same weekend, dont remember.. but then it was a little more chilly, and we were the only people up there. the skilift was not working (as you can see here). this time it was quite crowded, and the lift was working... but we walked up and down (i think a little faster than last time; perhaps running 3 miles every now and then is at least a little bit useful).

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Jesus' investment

another wise question from the church, as im yet again not in a writing mood. well... when you invest in something, you usually hope for some interest, right? since jesus in this case invested his life... the interest should be.... more lives? well, he certainly got that. wikipedia just told me there are almost 7 billion people on earth at the moment!! in the year 1350, there were only 300 million, and by 2050, between 7.5 and 10.5 billion people are expected to populate the earth.
whether it was worth the investment is an entirely different question..... currently i would say no, but that changes every now and then.
good night!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

WTC memorial

the 9/11 memorial at the WTC site opened this september. fountains have replaced the 2 towers, as you can see here. lit during the night. i took this pic from our hotel room, at 7 in the morning, new york just waking up on a sunday.... they are still working there, as you can see.
to visit the memorial, you need to reserve passes in advance, (they are free, however) specifying date, time and number of people. i tried (here), but it was booked until end of october. since we could see it from our window, that was ok. you could also stand in an enormously long line at the day you are there, to see if there are still any passes left. why isnt it just open for everyone to see? perhaps its just temporary, and they dont want this place to be overcrowded. there are 2 entrances, one for normal visitors, and one for family/friends of the victims. both require an airport-style security-check.
the two fountains have all the names of the victims engraved, also those of the attack on the WTC in 1993. here you can read more about it, also how they arranged all the names. 
on saturday, we went to the international center of photography in new york (free entrance with our bankcard!). i wanted to go there since they had an exhibition about 9/11, to mark the 10th anniversary. however, there was also an exhibition of the danish photographer peter sekaer, who photographed the usa between 1935-1945. those were really good. the professional 9/11 photos did not impress me that much. but... there was also a small room with many, many photos having something to do with that day or the WTC site itself, which were taken by "people". this was a project, i forgot the details, but they asked everyone who felt like it to send in their pictures of that day, the aftermath, or how the WTC looked before... and those were really impressive. some were really good, and many of them really sad. i didnt understand why they put those in such a cramped room....

Friday, October 7, 2011

Sport field

there are some sport fields behind the apartment complex. this was last week, or the week before, in the early morning.
this weekend its supposed to be 27 degrees celsius! but the pool is closed... today it was cold. and im in no mood for writing, as you can see...

Thursday, October 6, 2011

All yellow

from above all i saw was yellow and i liked it so much! then i was curious to see what wikipedia has to say about yellow, and thats a lot (here). i see yellow as a positive color, but i do not have any clothes in that color (i do have a pair of shoes. i do have a lot of purple clothes, and purple is the RYB (wiki can explain you what that is) complimentary color of yellow). however, wiki tells me that yellow is associated with the word "caution, as well as with aging for both people and objects ("yellowed" paper).
well, with all that yellow you would almost miss the enormous piece of art in the midst of it. here you can see it from the front. i actually do not know whether i like it. its interesting though. its titled "Companion (Passing Through)". passing through because it came from hong kong, and with several stops along the way, ended up in the meatpacking district in NY, but only until this month. it is made by an artist named KAWS, who grew up in jersey city. originally, he was a graffiti artist and later worked at disney (the sculpture does remind me a bit of mickey mouse, but tim does not agree). but what i really wanted to know was why he has covered his eyes! what kind of companion is that? it took me a while to find it out. some suggested he is playing hide and seek, others that he does not want to see evil (here a lot of pics from the sculpture). well, originally KAWS was invited to make  a piece of art to be displayed in harbour city (the biggest hong kong shopping mall). when he went to look at this location, his immediate thought was “God if I had to sit out here, I would just be mortified if this many people walked past me.” since wikipedia tells me that yellow is also associated with cowardice, i guess that explains why everything around the sculpture is yellow....

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Three ladies

i was fascinated by these 3 ladies in new york, but each time i was ready to shoot, someone walked into the pic... grrrr...
i actually wanted to post another picture. i looked up everything i wanted to know about it, but that took so much time that now im too lazy to write it all down. some other time then..
good night!

Slut walk

on saturday we also witnessed the SlutWalk NYC. above some participants are being interviewed. this was at union square, where they held a rally after they marched through the city. (just before we had lunch at some sandwich shop and that was sooooooo goooooddd!!). mostly young women participated with little or no clothes (a few were topless and they were photographed most; im not sure that was the purpose of their protest). the first protest march took place in toronto, canada, in april this year. they protest against explaining or excusing rape by referring to any aspect of a woman's appearance. why? it was incited by a toronto police officer who suggested that to remain safe, "women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized". he later apologized for this remark, but the slut walk was born: the founders of the slutwalk observe that historically, "slut" has had negative connotations, and their goal is to redeem the term. on april 3, they organized a protest, and interestingly, they requested women to dress in everyday wear (to symbolize ordinary women, sexually assaulted in ordinary life), yet many women dressed as "sluts" in provocative clothing. since then, slutwalks have been held in many cities, with women dressed as above.
just last week, NYPD police officers warned women in Brooklyn not to show too much skin after a recent string of 10 sexual assaults in that neighborhood. well.... i dont know what to think. i think i agree with some opponents that say women should not protest for the right to be called slut, and i think it would be better if they protested in ordinary clothes. we, for example, just went there to see how crazy some people were dressed. on the other hand i do understand that a police officer cannot say that you should not dress too sexy as otherwise you yourself are responsible if something happens to you.  at the same time there were protests at wall street, already since 2 weeks, demanding to end the modern gilded age, end joblessness, stop political corruption, end health profiteering and ending war. on saturday they went to the brooklyn bridge and it all became a huge mess, resulting in the arrest of some 500 people. so i guess its good we did not go to either of those places!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Chinatown bus

as mentioned yesterday, we went to NY for my birthday! while the past 2 times tim drove us, we decided to take the bus this time. since we were staying in manhattan, it would be really expensive with a car (parking costs at the hotel; 55 dollars/night). many bus companies can drive you to new york, but a little search told me what i already knew; the chinatown bus is the cheapest, and the most frequent. 15 dollars per ride per person! and during weekends buses leave every half hour.
many times i have been warned about fung wah (the name of the company). riding with them is dangerous! their buses are crappy and you risk your life just to save some money! many accidents have happened in the past! i never checked whether any of this was true, but.... having been on a terrible busride to canada and back with greyhound pretty recently (they also drive to NY ), i decided that such busrides are scary no matter how much or little you pay, and booked our tickets with fung wah.
our bus would leave at 6.30 on saturday. we got at the bus station a little after six, and were hushed into the bus. thats the only thing the lady said; hurry, get on the bus!! else they were speaking chinese... we just landed into our seats when the bus took off. 15 minutes ahead of schedule. no word from the busdriver (as opposed to greyhound where the driver was giving a 15 minute monologue that was really, really irritating, and he did that at every stop). this bus did not have any stops (perhaps the brakes did not work?!), not even a short bathroom-break. but... bathroom was all around us, sitting near the back of the bus, we were close to the toilet and the entire ride the bus smelled like ass. my goodness.. it was really bad. luckily i had something to cover my nose and mouth, as i saw many other passengers do as well. on top of that, the bus was making a terribly loud sound during the entire ride (tim said there must have been some mechanical problem, which scared me a little). but... before we knew it we were in chinatown, at 10 in the morning already! not at some fancy bus station, but just somewhere, along the street. they had already thrown out my luggage, and the bus disappeared as fast as it came....
well, that ride was shitty, literally. but we arrived quickly without any unnecessary stops in between (other companies have stops where more people get on or off). the entire process, although in chinese, seemed very efficient and everyone in the bus was quiet (perhaps all were too sick and deaf.. :) ). we were making jokes about "fung wah". perhaps it meant shit-ride from hell? or terrible smell for cheapos? or.... just shit bus? well, my beloved wikipedia just told me what it really means:  fung wah is the cantonese pronunciation of the Chinese name, 風華, which means "magnificent wind." HAHAHAHAHA! even better than we could imagine.... including both the shit and their speed... :D
here you can read about the accidents with fung wah buses (not as extreme as you might think from the bad reputation fung wah has, although im glad i was not in the New York-bound bus that lost its back two wheels), and here you can read reviews from passengers (they are pretty funny sometimes).
above a picture on bowery, but more about that some other time!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Birthday weekend

it was my birthday this weekend. and therefore, tim and me went to new york! tim booked a very fancy hotel, next to the wtc-site. or now, rather, the 9/11 memorial. our room was on the 42nd floor, with many huge windows, giving us an amazing view in 2 directions (we were on a corner, so more windows!). it was really beautiful.... yes, i went up on rockefeller center, and the empire state building, but this was a totally different experience. seeing manhattan during the day, at night, in the early morning, during sunrise. waking up during the night and seeing this incredible view.... really cool (too bad there was this enormous flatscreen blocking some of the view.. :).
to my left you see the tower that will replace the twin towers. if i understood correctly, they are now halfway with it.
more tomorrow!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Mystery object

i cannot sleep and thus turned my computer on again.... then i realized its theme day! above my picture, do you know what this mystery object is?
its 1.30 now, at 4.30 the alarm will go off and we will have to get up.... to catch the bus to new york! yesss... we are going to NY for the weekend! is that why i cant sleep? i wish it was.... :) (and i hope i can make up for it in the 4-hour bus trip). very much looking forward to it, and to taking, hopefully, a lot of crazy pictures. hope there wont be too much rain, although here its raining like crazy since a little while.

and the mystery object? its a rather old photo, taken january 2008, to be exact. i was at home, in utrecht, looking up, and took a picture of my lamp!!