Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Since 1980

this is a picture of tim taken at my birthday, posted on his birthday. isnt that original? ;)
its taken at the hot dog stand in coney island, new york. the business was started in 1916, when you could buy a hot dog for just 5 cents. the stand next to mr nathan's sold hot dogs for 10, and nathan used to work there. just copied this from wikipedia as it is so funny: "At a time when food regulation was in its infancy and the pedigree of the hot dog particularly suspect, Nathan made sure that men wearing surgeon's smocks were seen eating at his stand to reassure potential customers." my question; why surgeon's??! because they are doctors.. or? anyways, now nathan's famous has many stores spread over the us, and each year at coney island there is a hot dog eating contest on the 4th of july. this year, for the fifth time, it was won by joey chestnut, eating 62 of them in 10 minutes. yegh... if you click on his name, you can read all about his technique, as there apparently is a special technique and training required for eating so many hot dogs in little time.
ah well... we went out to dinner tonight, just not for hot dogs...

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Crazy weather

the crazy weather continues! tomorrow is the last day of november, and you can go out with just a cardigan, no real jacket required... its so warm. im not complaining!! i like it! i just remember from last year.. i was wondering when the real cold, and ofcourse snow, would come... the weather remained so mild for so long. especially when compared to the netherlands, where it was much colder. but then the snow came, and it stayed cold for sooo long; i think only by the end of may it was warm again. 
but... this year its more extreme than last; as a result, the skating rink at the boston common had to close early today, and some trees in the public garden started to blossom again, as you can see here.
above was at the cemetery behind our apartment. there is this little pond with a green lawn around, perfect for sunbathing....

Monday, November 28, 2011

Steaming chimney

i have had this pic in my "to-maybe-post-someday" folder for quite a while now, until i saw this beautiful pic today, and a link to more info about the steam you often see in new york streets. now i spent most of this evening reading about steam, haha!
what did i learn today? well, first check this diagram, showing whats all going on underneath your feet in new york, as if whats around you isnt yet enough... steam is generated by heating water up to 1000F, turning it into... steam; every hour, approximately 125,000 gallons of water are turned into more than one million pounds of steam, which is then delivered through the steam pipes underneath the ground to many buildings in the city. its used to heat, cool or supply power. since 1882, steam has been provided to manhattan. sometimes you see steam coming from the manhole covers, which allows for nice pics (as you can see in the first link). interestingly, manholes were renamed "maintenance holes" somewhere in california, out of concern for for gender equality. hahaha! this steam can be dangerous too, as you can read here, steam pipes sometimes explode sending hot steam up in the air; the average steam pipe is 54 years old, but some are as old as a 100 years!
so what are those orange chimneys? they surround a steaming manhole and are there to make sure that nobody gets hurt; that steam vapor is very hot and could burn you!!! also, these  stacks elevate the steam vapor above street level so that drivers can maintain visibility. so... if you see steam vapor coming out of a manhole that is not protected by such a chimney, you have to call the steam company immediately, there could be a leak.... (although usually its caused by water falling on a steam pipe).
hmmm... dont know if i feel safer, knowing all this.. :) certainly i will stay farther away from those pipes, from now on, i was not really aware of how hot that steam could be and saw them as mere photo opportunities...
(the crazy glow behind the steam chimney above comes from times square, which can be seen well ahead..)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Men only

whats there to see? no clue, but it seems to be for men's eyes only...
this was in chinatown, i thought just a few weeks back, but it was in june already. how fast is time running?!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Summer day

a summer day at the end of november.... can you believe it? i didnt.... i hung out of our window for a bit this morning and decided it was quite nice, but then put on a t shirt, vest, scarf and light jacket, as we were going for a walk in the breakheart reservation, a 10 minute ride from our apartment. we hiked up some steep hill and it was hot! off went the jacket, the scarf, and then also the vest. t shirt was enough, and its almost december! just 2 hours up north they have snow and here it felt like an early summer day.... (but with leafless trees).
up at the first hill we found this piece of rust. tim tried it; the front wheels were still perfectly turning!! just googled around a bit, and here i found that it is a car engine that was used to power a rope tow for a ski hill that once operated there! (im just curious when that was) we intended to go for a short walk, but walked around for nearly 4 hours, the weather was just too perfect...

Shopping fever

the day after thanksgiving is called black friday... most stores have lots of discounted goods for the real americans. some stores opened at 4 this morning, others already at midnight... and some fanatics just skipped their thanksgiving to camp out in front of whatever store has whatever discounted product they want to buy. as you can see here; those people planted themselves in front of a store at 1 in the morning of thanksgiving, and spent 24 hours just to be the first allowed inside upon opening. why? because the most heavily discounted things will run out, and what if you miss out on all those amazing deals?! but well, nobody is harmed when you sit outside a mall for 24 hours, while everyone else is enjoying a nice thanksgiving.. :) on the other hand... in los angeles there was a lady who pepper sprayed 20 people as to prevent them from getting stuff she wanted to buy. other than that, there were some shootings and burglaries, as you can read here. we were briefly thinking to go and check out some mall at midnight yesterday, just as observers... but the thought of so many shoppers gone crazy... made me tired and we just went to sleep.. anyways, i found some pis of crazy bargain hunters here..
of course, occupiers around the nation had some opinion about this day too (actually the pic above i took at occupy boston; this is the tent where they make signs, to state the obvious). i just saw on the occupy boston facebook page that some occupiers went to meditate in some mall, apparently around a vending machine (to prevent shoppers from buying something to eat/drink?), and one got arrested.
they are all crazy!!! the best bargain would be when staying at home, buying NOTHING!! but i have to admit, this evening we went for a little shopping ourselves. it was quite crowded, and the discounts not that amazing, so i only bought a pair of shoes... as if i needed those... ;) (but they were only 14 dollars!! from 55 originally...)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Turkey butcher

today all the scientist europeans around boston gathered (or so it seemed), prepared heavenly dishes and an entire turkey (like the real americans!) and enjoyed thanksgiving like the americans do.. :) i just enjoyed and had lots of food... jeejjjj (there was not one american present, that was kind of funny, being in the us of a)
thank you all!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Food mania

tomorrow its thanksgiving here in the us.... the supermarket was overflowing with turkeys again, and this evening the whole foods (also named whole paycheck as it is probably the most expensive supermarket around) was filled with people trying to get their last shoppings done for the big day tomorrow... as tomorrow will be food, food, and food... ah, and of course about being together and thankful.
more about thanksgiving here.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

But mom...!

i know... for this its really too cold now (even this past sunday, i guess), but i was going through my pics recently and had forgotten about this one. i actually posted one of the girl before (in june). here she is with her mom... i just love it... :)
few months later i saw them again, this time they were on their way to the fountain at the boston common (this is at the christian science church or center or plaza or whatever). it took me a moment to realize why they looked so familiar, but they were gone when i remembered..
today was pretty chilly.... there will be snow in some places tomorrow, but i guess not here... probably somewhere higher up.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Hell no

every now and then there is someone with a large sign telling you about jesus. jeejjj. this was last week in the boston common. jesus or hell. why that? surely i did not go and ask them. its all so negative. no jesus? then hell. what kind of choice is that! i really dont get why those fanatics impose their faith on others. ofcourse, you can just ignore them. but is that what they really believe? jesus means no hell? whats the fun in that? does that mean they only believe in jesus because not doing so means hell? thats quite a bad reason to believe in jesus, if you ask me...

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Lovely weather

today, november 20 already, it was 17 degrees celsius (63 F)!! it was beautiful out.... so we went running (which was not easy at all. we did this trail, which has quite some uphill parts... and this time i really did not do well and had to stop during, or right after each hill. grrrr... but we did run an extra loop... jeejj!). but each time im running, i wonder why the hell i am doing that.... :) (somehow i find it much easier to run on a treadmill). 
well, anyways.... the weather was so amazing that it was a waste to spend it inside, so.... we took the subway all the way to the other end (haha, that was quite a while), and then we walked there in a park we hadnt been before. too bad its getting dark so early nowadays... around 4.15 it became too dark to take pics, and by 5 it was entirely dark.. :( but my pictures were boring anyways, so above a picture from the cemetery! i was fascinated with this angel and took many pics... (and forgot to even look whose grave it was on. very bad. will look at that next time...). haha, and i now see that there is some snow visible in this pic, it was 2 weeks back, when we had a few days that were sooooo cold, while today felt like a perfect spring day..

Harvard only

since november 9, harvard yard is "occupied" as well. some 30 tents have been placed right in front of the famous statue of harvard (see above). in reaction to this, the harvard administration closed the gates of the yard (they are so lucky to have it totally surrounded by gates!!), allowing entrance to only those with a harvard ID. well, arent we privileged, both me and tim have such an ID, and thus we went to the yard this beautiful saturday afternoon (while we had absolutely no business there other than to feed our curiosity). normally, this place is full with tourists, so in that respect it was really cool to be there... as one of the very few... :) while we were photographing around, we saw the real tourists behind the gates, most likely wondering how the hell we managed to get in.
and yes, there they were. the tents.... looked pretty cute. but i wonder how many "occupiers" were actually present. we saw 2. and 30 tents. the other occupiers were most likely enjoying the harvard-yale game, those 2 told us. well... is that really necessary? arent they there for a cause? is watching sport helping their cause?! i dont think so.... but... usually there are around 12 of them protesters they assured me! (12!!) i also asked them WHY they had put up tents there, as for me it seems like they want to separate themselves from the occupy boston at dewey square. i did not get a satisfying answer, but part of it was.. "some had never been there, and we want to make people aware everywhere, also here.. and its easier because we work around here, and its very dirty at dewey square... so many homeless, but mostly to make people SEE it also here..."
anyways. im wondering how long they will remain there in their little tents. and im wondering how long they will keep the yard locked. all those poor tourists... being denied their picture next to the harvard statue! perhaps the harvard administration did it to isolate those occupiers, being seen by harvard only, whats the use of their protest?
some people say those spoiled harvard students have no right to protest, as they are the 1%.  attenting harvard costs you approximately 56,000 dollars per year (!!!). who can afford that? but.... around 70% of the harvard students receive some form of financial aid (more here). well, the harvard occupiers want a university for the 99% (as you can read here). but.... i found this article in the harvard crimson that articulates very well whats wrong with exactly that: "occupy harvard seeks to trivialize the meaning of a Harvard education. In protesting Harvard as an instrument of elite financial oppression, Harvard students uncouthly slander the source of their financial aid, their educational experiences, and—most importantly—the abundant opportunities this institution provides them. For better or worse, Harvard students did not commit to attending a “university for the 99 percent.” EXACTLY!!! ah, and this article was very interesting too (and funny).
hmm... that was a long post. those occupiers get way too much attention. grrr....

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Occupying anonymously

boston is still occupied, but the owners of the park now want them out.... i guess sooner or later they will have to go, just like in other cities. on their facebookpage they ask for warm coffee and pizza, but then other occupiers complain that they dont want pizza but rather have vegetables... blabla. just go home and cook something yourselves! and if you really want to make that change... take a homeless with you and feed him as well. grrrr... but who would do that?!
anyways... the first time we went there we saw several occupiers with their faces covered, as above. this is because there are so many people with cameras.. and they dont know where all those pictures end up, and some are afraid to loose their job for identifying themselves with the occupiers.... they are afraid to be filmed by policemen who might use that footage against them later on... etc etc.
they should all just go home!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

American flag

the flag of the usa has thirteen horizontal stripes, alternate red and white, and 50 stars. but... the us flag code provides for expansion: "On the admission of a new State into the Union one star shall be added to the union of the flag; and such addition shall take effect on the fourth day of July then next succeeding such admission". 
when a patriotic effect (!!!) is desired, the flag may be displayed twenty-four hours a day provided it is properly illuminated when its dark..... the flag should be displayed every day on or near the main administration building of every public institution, in or near every polling place on election days, and during school days in or near every schoolhouse. in other words; there should always be a flag. everywhere. (well, there is...!)
however... the flag should never touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water, or merchandise. it should never be used as wearing apparel, or as a covering for a ceiling. besides, no part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform. however, a flag patch may be affixed to the uniform of military personnel, firemen, policemen, and members of patriotic organizations. "The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing. Therefore, the lapel flag pin being a replica, should be worn on the left lapel near the heart." in other words: you cannot put it on your ass!! :DD 
ah well, here you can read more about the flag code, and if you want to see the "wall of shame", i.e. examples of how the flag should NOT be used, go here...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Grey day

while we had very cold weather and snow in october, november has been mostly mild, so far! some people dont even wear a coat..... its been so warm that opening of the skating rink at the boston common will be postponed, until it gets colder.
but today there was a lot of rain, together with very grey skies. it looks something like this, although this is in new york, and not in boston.. :) and i was in boston today and not in new york..

And this... the new state house. or rather, the current state house. that golden dome there... :) its next to the boston common. you can visit it, but i never did (yet). you can see this dome from quite far, if you go to cambridge, at the other side of the charles river, you can see this dome shining..
the old state house (see yesterday's post) is from 1713 and was occupied by the british during the revolution (dont tell occupy boston! they might want to occupy it, but its far too small for all of them!!). on july 18 1776, citizens gathered in the street to hear the declaration of independence read from the building's balcony, the first public reading in massachusetts. the royal (royal?) governor presided here until the new state house (see above) was built on beacon hill in 1798... (i stole this info from here)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Between giants

i have posted a picture of the old state house before, but i guess never in such a way that you can see how cute and tiny it actually is. the afternoon sun was falling through the tall buildings just to illuminate it, and i thought it was so pretty! (in reality it looked better, of course)
i think i wrote it before, but i will write it again: its not the state house anymore, its now the entrance to the subway, orange line! (upstairs there is a museum). it is not really obvious that it is a T stop (at least not to me), so the very first time we went there it was only because i had seen a picture of it in some travel guide, telling me that it was the "state street" stop. and how delighted i was when indeed there were the turnstiles allowing you entrance to the subway downstairs, well underneath the building...
normally there is quite some traffic on this road, but it was temporarily blocked for the veterans day parade... good for me, otherwise the big cars would have blocked the view! :)
 nowadays its dark before the clock hits 5, buuuuuhhh!! :(

Sunday, November 13, 2011

While sleeping...

.. in the park you become an easy target. me from one side, two ladies shooting him from the other... 
this was yesterday at the boston common. it was very bright and sunny, but windy and thus quite chilly. many trees have lost their leafs, like the tree right next to the window of our apartment that lost all its leafs from one night to the next, but there are as you can see, still some trees with bright red leafs. its sooo beautiful! 

Peace veterans

a little after the veterans parade was over, another group of veterans (and some occupy boston people) marched by, the veterans for peace. advocating peace, instead of war. but thats stating the obvious, i guess. so good night... its late!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Veteran's donuts

today it was veterans day, honoring.... the military veterans. the people in the parade were mostly extremely young, i doubt they were older than 20...
i would have thought it to be veteran's day... , but the official spelling of this day is the attributive case (veterans). however, the us government allows the possessive case as well (veteran's). after the parade, some got donuts from their chief, as you can see here... and that was for me the highlight of the entire parade (perhaps for those girls as well) :D

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Covered pool

i at least learned from my previous post that "kiekeboe" in english is peekaboo, and in swedish its "tittut".. :) i was hoping for more, but i guess it will be a long wait. another post then...  finally we have internet again (jeeejjj!), so that makes things easier as well. i was looking for a picture from the fall colors... its beautiful currently, but my pictures dont show it... :( and while yesterday was a beautiful, almost summerish day, today it has been raining constantly, and it was very dark outside. by 4 it was dark, it seemed! yep, we also turned the clock back, this weekend, but i still didnt get to changing all the clocks in the apartment. tim was away to a conference in san francisco the past few days, and i convinced myself that by not changing the clocks, it seemed like i had an extra hour every day! he found that foolish, as most people, i guess...
anyways. no fall picture, but the pool, covered. this was on a bright sunny day 2 weeks ago or so. ugly. uncovered the pool looked so much nicer..! but i guess in this way it will remain nice longer... here you can see my pic of the uncovered autumn pool.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Playing kiekeboe

when i saw this little boy (i think?) i thought "kiekeboe". of course, wikipedia has an entry about kiekeboe (here), and this is what they say: it is a game you play with babies between the age of 6 months and 2 years. you try to get the attention of the baby, and then laugh; this will make  her or she laugh back. then... you hide your face (behind your hands or whatever), and after a few seconds you "come back" while saying "kiekeboe!" the baby will be surprised and laughs again. it is thought that such little kids really think you are gone when you hide your face, and they are surprised when you show up after a few seconds. as such, you can do it over and over again, and the baby will be surprised each time.... supposedly, it is a good way for the baby to develop face recognition.
now, im just disappointed that wikipedia does not tell me how this game is called in other countries. so... anyone? i cannot imagine its something only dutch people do.. :)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Battery empty

i have to be very quick since the battery of my laptop is empty. the charger is in the apartment, but i am in the common room/clubhouse with free internet.... :( yup, still no internet and it is really, really frustrating... :(((((((
above an advertisement you see here very often for the dutch beer heineken. you also see it often on  (free) magazines..... someone once told me that for americans this is rather fancy beer, and something special. but i dont know if i should really believe that! anyways, i dont understand it; drops in holland? how do they become pints here in the usa??
this building is a mystery to me as well. its right behind the TD garden. just this one house. it always has a huge advertisement on it (or i guess 2, 1 on either side), but i dont think someone lives there. were there more houses before? what are they going to do with it?
ok, battery really empty...

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Vanity plate

saw this a few weeks ago when we were driving to some place, or another (i forgot). i saw it at the last moment, so even though he was stopping here at the toll booth, i did not have time to take a more decent picture...

Friday, November 4, 2011

In time

i was fascinated by this guy's hair, but whenever i was ready to shoot, someone walked into my frame. grr.. now i tell myself this is interesting too, as you can see how different hair styles can be. but he looked interesting, and now i only have his interesting hair... :(
last night we went to the movie "in time". somewhere in some future they discovered how to turn off the aging gene, and nobody ages beyond 25. once you turn 25, you have only one more year to live (unless you already have debts; then you will have less time) however, you can earn more time, as time is the currency, instead of money. everyone has fancy green numbers on their arm, indicating how much longer they have to live. but this can change; if you work, you get paid in time. if you buy a coffee, you loose a little time. just exchange money for time. it was a very interesting, and freaky, concept. it was also funny that everyone looked 25, but some were living already for 75 years. the world, or the town -whatever, was segregated in time zones. the poor people, where everyone is always running out of time; they rarely had more than 24 hours, forcing them to live day by day. this zone has a lot of crime as people are trying to steal each other's time. then there is the middle class, and the really rich people, not caring about time, as they have more than enough of it..... (some had thousands of years). you could call them the 1%, which makes this movie very up to date. as they said; many have to die for a few to live eternally.....
i think they could have done a better job, but i guess they rather wanted to be cool, fast and fancy, than to make it into something really mind blowing (the people behind us were indeed mostly impressed by the fast and fancy parts "oh man, this is sweet, this is sooooo sweet! (and they were very much annoying us with their brainless comments)). nevertheless, it was a really interesting concept and it really made me think (im still thinking... ;) ), in a way we are already paying for a lot of things with our time, or life, whatever you want to call it. we just are not always aware of it, since we dont have such a fancy green clock ticking on our arms... hmmmm....
so i do suggest you go see this movie!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Fruit bowl

once a week, we goto the supermarket to get groceries (i still miss the dutch model where i could just walk to the supermarket and buy for just a day or 2). so usually, when we forget something, it means we wont have that for that week. this saturday we forgot to buy fruit. we always buy apples (we didnt forget those!), but then i also want some other fruit. which one depends ofcourse on whats for sale... and we then put that in the fruit bowl... ah well, we still had some canned fruit, so i put that in the bowl instead, doesnt it look nice? :) it represents (american) laziness, i think. a small cup, just enough if you feel like eating something, and well, its fruit, so it must be healthy! nevermind all the plastic....
speaking of artificial..., i just saw an article about a man who is not happy about his wedding pictures, back in 2003. the last 15 minutes of the wedding were not documented, and years later, he decided to sue the company. he does not just want his 4000 dollars back, he wants some 48,000 dollars to re-enact the entire wedding!! re-enacting?! yes, he wants to recreate the entire wedding. he wants all the guests to be flown in, etc etc, to get all his perfect wedding pictures. but the weirdest part of this story; this man is not married anymore! he and his wife separated in 2008, and his now ex-wife is back in her home country, latvia... eehhhmm... ? yes, everything is possible in the us of a.... (here is the article; the comments are funny too)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Both shooting

this was in california this august, when we took a boat tour.... both of them were experiencing most of the ride through their lenses. they were not there together, and it looked so funny, sometimes they were both shooting one way, then the other, and sometimes it looked like above.... im curious who ended up with the better pictures.
currently, we dont have internet at home, which is very frustrating. so sometimes i goto the common room at our apartment complex, or, as right now, im forced togoto the mc donalds, and eat a sundae icecream while updating my blog... ;)
(as a result, i also cannot visit other blogs as often as i want... :((( , i hope we have internet soon again)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Poor tree

last week we were walking around at the apartment complex when we saw this funny shaped tree. then we realized it is because of the fence! but it got over it and survived the fence......
theme day this month is fences; but nature won!