Sunday, April 29, 2012

No news

no news today... (that sentence always reminds me of this song, which i only know because it was once used in a dutch commercial for... milk). i still didnt look at the pics i took yesterday (grrr!), and i didnt take any new today. it was time for some house cleaning. i keep finding it frustrating that this task is never ending. it takes so much time to do, and it can be tiring. worst of all...  the reward is... that you have to do it again, eventually. and again. hmppf.
ah well...
(this pic was actually taken at the occupy boston-camp, but i didnt find out what you are supposed to tell all your friends)

Freaky image

who doesnt know this image? i never entirely saw the movie, but i think more or less everyone knows this scene, and to which movie it belongs...
today we drove a bit around boston, and went to see the remains of a psychiatric hospital. once, the grounds were huge, but now only one building remained. it is abandoned, but it was interesting to see... i actually wanted to post a picture of it and write something about it, but i spend the entire evening reading about hospitals for the "mentally ill", looking at other blogs, reports of such places being haunted, photographs of people more brave than i am who went inside such buildings to picture all the creepiness. there are many huge psychiatric hospitals in the us, and many are closed by now. many abandoned, others converted to luxury apartments... highly interesting (but also sad) to read about all that stuff! but.... its way past midnight and now im too tired to look at the photos i took myself. grrr...  so... you will have to do it with this freaky iconic image of jack nicholson that we saw in new york last weekend. 
good night!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Free ride!

saw this on the window of some shop, quite a while ago... 
the week has gone by so fast! this evening me and tim both started with (almost) the same ingredients for making bread. only he used yeast and i used a sourdough starter... and... he is better at kneading the dough it turns out than i am. tomorrow morning we will bake them to see which bread tastes better. im very curious!! perhaps soon we wont be buying bread anymore...

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Police car

somehow (unattended) police vehicles have a huge attraction on young people (i feel very old writing that), numerous times now i have seen scenes like the above. why? because its fun to have your picture taken in some weird pose with a police car in the background? because if there would be an officer inside the car it would be totally unacceptable? i dont know! whenever there is a parade or whatever going on and a lot of policemen are present, people also often ask to have their picture taken together with the officers. they usually oblige. passersby see that happening, and immediately ask for the same. i dont think this happens that much in the netherlands... :)
the girls above were really crazy. i managed to capture them at their most decent pose, somehow... when someone saw me taking their pic as well, he said; "yep, their real classy...." this was on st patricks day, back in march. the brown bag on the ground most likely contains a bottle of alcohol of some sort...
we are back to wearing jackets, and its a little rainy...

Center of....

...attention! in the brooklyn botanic garden. under the blossom trees... :)
just by being a (cute) baby, you get all the attention... nothing more is required. some people strive their entire life to get that attention back... how many actually achieve and/or earn it...? i think its funny....

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Utterly indecisive....

indecisive as to which picture to post, from which cemetery, which grave, what to write.... grrrr.
eventually i choose this angel. i think it is absolutely gorgeous. it is in the holy cross cemetery in malden, not too far from our apartment. in fact, we biked there (the route was something like this, with some sidestreets here and there). our first bike ride on the streets this year! there are some 3 or 4 cemeteries close to each other in this area. i actually intended to go to another one, but my internal gps system was not working very well, and we ended up on this one. it was huge! rows and rows and rows of stones that were more or less the same shape, either black, brown or grey. only on the sides were some more elaborate stones, like the one above, perhaps placed there so that everyone can see them easily when driving by (most other visitors were by car). on the back of this stone is the family name, but i could not find anything about them on the internet, unfortunately. its the bertagna family, the first person buried in 1932, the last in 2001. 
the holy cross cemetery is a catholic cemetery, and most names sounded italian to me. one of the actors from the movie the godfather is buried at this cemetery too, but i think without knowing at least approximately where his stone is located, it will be impossible to find.. anyways, i never saw this movie and am more interested in what i just happen to stumble upon (preferrably something beautiful or something weird, haha...)
i really didnt know how to capture the beauty of this angel. and i also didnt know which pic showed it best, i.e. none does; i settled for this one. i placed 4 more on flickr, which you can see here.
for more taphophiles, go here!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Flowers, flowers!

in the brooklyn botanic garden this saturday we mostly saw scenes like above. everyone frantically taking pics of the (beautiful) flowers. or posing in front of the flowers. it was quite amusing to see.... seems like almost everyone has a real big camera, or even bigger.. :)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Two wives...

new york seemed bombed with ads for the new movie with johnny depp; dark shadows. at first i didnt even recognize him and thought it was for some weird tv series or whatever. i like johnny depp (the rum diaries was great! i guess that was his latest), but this one does not particularly interest me, certainly not after seeing this advertisement, or when tim told me it is about some vampire that is set free. but... its with johnny depp... so, i just looked it up, and even watched the trailer, and it might be quite funny! besides, its from tim burton, so his wife helena bonham carter is in it too, and these 3 people usually make for great movies, or at least interesting... (someone once mentioned johnny depp being the second wife of tim burton, which seems sort of true... :D).
this year we havent gone to the cinema much, which is unusual, but there is really nothing interesting playing. this one comes out in may, so i need to have a little patience...
oh, and now i see that originally dark shadows was indeed a tv series, playing during the end 60s, beginning of the 70s. the actor who played the vampire in that series just died april 13th (a friday), at the age of 87...
in boston we have horrible weather right now; heavy wind and rain (since hours already)...

Blossom snow!!

have you ever been surrounded by so many blossom trees that their branches formed a beautiful roof? i had not, until yesterday! as the wind blew lightly through the trees, pink snow was everywhere.... the cherry blossoms in the brooklyn botanic garden where at their peak so we went to see them... we had been wanting to go to new york since a few weeks, and reading about these blossoms was the nudge we needed to finally really get some bus tickets... we decided to do another 1-day new york trip, like we did in december. at 4.15 the alarm went off, and at 6.15 we were in the chinatown bus to new york! jeeejjj! before 11 we were in the botanic garden, and for whatever reason we did not have to pay the 10 dollar entrance fee... (when we left everyone did have to pay, we were lucky once again). it was soooo beautiful! and there were sooooo many people. and kids. and cameras.... and flowers, ofcourse. it was the perfect place for people watch... and i took a lot of pics..
after that we went to see some other stuff in new york, which i will show you soon, probably! when we got home around 11.30 last night we were too exhausted to do anything and also today will be a pretty slow day... :)

Friday, April 20, 2012

The flowers

and here are THE flowers i was allowed to snatch from a table after wednesday's dinner... arent they pretty?! or actually, tim had to take it off the table, it was so heavy!! but then i proudly carried it most of the way home. 
and they fill our entire apartment with their fragrance... nice!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Boston skyline

boston is visible from many smaller towns... above, for example, we were in lynn, some 11 miles from boston. we hiked a bit in lynn woods, and this photo i took from a tower we climbed. as it was such a clear day, we could see pretty far!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Harvard apparatus

i saw this machine in the lab and found it very funny. those pursuing a phd/having one will understand what i found so funny about it. does this machine really infuse and/or withdraw a phd? and in this case a harvard phd? tim is one of those "unlucky" ones who performs his phd work at harvard, yet will get the actual doctorate from the much less "prestigious" utrecht university in the netherlands.... (thats where i got mine too, haha).
anyways. unlike me, tim is a genius, as he won a price for his work. his work was selected, as well as 15 others, from a pool of some 300 harvard scientists. the price; 1000 dollars. not directly for him, but to spend on /towards the costs of a scientific conference (so that includes the travel/accomodation/conference fee, etc etc). on top of that, we had the honor this evening to dine with the scientific research committee, and other important harvard-people (i guess there were 100 or so). it was extremely fancy, and the entire affair probably costed more than a yearly postdoc salary.... which i somehow found extremely sad (as a postdoc salary is very meager (and does not include retirement savings. not even if you are american, i found out recently); but to spend it to feed some grey men from the scientific research committee and some "chosen" scientists at some fancy location it is quite a lot...!)
but well... for me the evening ended delightfully, as i joked to one of the ladies from the organization that i just saw a lady walking away with one of the bouquets from the dinnertable, and her reply was; please, take one too! otherwise they go to waste! and so we now have a beautiful new vase at home, with probably at least 50 dollars worth of very nicely smelling assorted flowers..... :D

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Indelicate & unladylike

one of these stones is from sally morse, whose stone i showed you last week. this cemetery, the central burying ground, was actually established to alleviate overcrowding of the nearby cemeteries that i showed you earlier. as this burial ground was the furthest away from the market center of boston, this was the least popular cemetery. the graves here are from british common soldiers who died in combat or of disease during the revolution, foreigners who died while in boston, and some american patriots.
 a few commenters last week said something like "imagine everyone would would have their cause of death listed in such detail on their grave!" well yes, that probably would be weird. although i really didnt mind in this case. i guess they were just really surprised that "some stomach cramp" for just one hour resulted in her sudden and unexpected death. so much so, that they (her husband?) wanted it engraved on her stone...
a little more googling around about sally morse (thanks julie for pointing out she was named morse, and not morfe!), and i found the same article in 3 different newspapers, published around 1921, about a lady who apparently was not happy about sally's stone either. this lady went to the cemetery office and demanded that sally morse's stone be destroyed as the inscription is indelicate and unladylike! the secretary replied that he is in no position to destroy a stone. the lady then demanded that some sort of action will be taken while she waits in the office, to which the secretary replied, as it is the best/first that comes to his mind: "madam, that stone is of great value. harvard university has just been making an investigation and has pronounced that stone important evidence of the first authentic case of appendicitis. madam, that stone cannot be destroyed". "at the magic name of harvard the visitor retreated, vanquished, and went forth to tell her friends of the "appendicitis stone" as it came to be called". 
i have no clue whether this story is true, or when exactly it happened. i could not find anything about that, nor the original article in the detroit news to which this article refers, but surely it was an amusing find... . here you can read the entire article for yourself (and look at the advertisements too, they are funny!)
for more taphophilia, go here...!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Marathon Monday

the entire weekend it was pleasantly warm. but today, monday, it was HOT! it was some 30 degrees celsius (86 F). being the third monday in april, it was patriot's day in massachusetts, and the boston marathon. a day off for some, but not for everyone... (although this morning in the subway it seemed we were the only ones headed for work).
in between work, we went to finally catch a glimpse of this famous marathon. by now it was the third time that we were in boston during this day, and we had never seen it! it was hot! so hot. and all we had to do was walk a little and watch... that was almost too much for me already.. imagine all those that just ran 26.2 miles (some 45 kilometres!!) in this weather.... unbelievable... but 27,000 people did just that today.
most of my pics were crappy, so above a picture that tim took. amazing how so many runners still could smile while at the end of the race. or perhaps just because of that; this was at the 26 mile-point, they were almost there...

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Happiness is....

... a little something to think about!! :)
saw this alongside the road. somewhere between lynn and revere, where traffic always seems to be congested. at least during the weekend. gave me time to take a picture of this sign. wonder if it was inspired by the coke advertisement behind...

Self portrait

we spent the entire day out exploring! today it suddenly was very warm again, like summer! first we went to an abandoned restaurant along the highway (pics some other time), then a hike in the woods, and then some biking around our neighborhood as you can see above in the traffic mirror. it was ages ago that i biked on a real bike on a real street. i do it several times a week in the gym, but this was very different. and scary! can you imagine?! i found it scary... because of all the traffic, and when we went downhill.. (much too fast and not enough control). but it was nice at the same time...
just see that i hadnt done a self portrait since december! tim is running sooo fast..

Friday, April 13, 2012

Cheapest produce...

... in the city can be found at haymarket, an open-air fruit and vegetable market close to government center in boston. this picture is quite old by now, i took it on the very first day i had a "real" camera.. :)
we actually never go to haymarket. we were there a few times, and had some cheap stuff, some ok, some good, some really bad. its easier to just drive to our favorite supermarket (the market basket!) once a week and get everything there. the produce selection there is very good (i think there is a wider selection than in the netherlands. and many things are much cheaper (but not the mushrooms..)).
haymarket has been open since 1830. nowadays every friday and saturday...

Thursday, April 12, 2012

You decide...

this piece of art is in the de cordova museum in lincoln. a museum where we have been quite a number of times now. it has an outside sculpture park, and a museum with rotating exhibitions of modern art. the grounds are absolutely wonderful, and i am never bored there. there is "weird" stuff too. but i like weird stuff. since this year, every first wednesday of the month entrance is free, so last month we left work a few hours earlier and went to the museum.
the above is made by the american artist steve lambert (1976). as a visitor of the museum, you can, if you want to, vote whether capitalism works for you or not. as you can see, the votes are counted. currently, this work is traveling through boston, together with the artist, and people are asked to vote and i guess think more/discuss about this question through this piece (i wonder if he notes down the votes. if he sees a difference in outcome depending on where he is. i think for example harvard yard vs eeehhhmm... revere or so). glancing at his wikipedia page, the artist seems interesting. in 2006, for example, he launched "why they hate us". "this project invited users to tag photos on flickr with "whytheyhateus", acting as a display of pictures that users suggest contribute to a negative view of the United States or have the potential to be misinterpreted as negative. Some of the themes include gun violence, war, crude humor, consumerism, obesity and big government and big business". hmm, im curious to see what kind of pics are posted there. apparently they are uncensored, and anyone can post.
but... its bedtime yet again. i will check it out tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Traffic enforcement

somewhere close to the museum of science, when it was a little warmer outside.
i always wonder how fit they are. could they run, if they had to? they must have gotten their nickname "officer cupcake" from somewhere, right? :)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Indulgent wife

another cemetery in the center of boston, that is relatively close to the ones i showed you last week. this one is in the boston common, a large park in boston of which i already posted many pics on this blog. yet it was only this february that we "discovered" this park has a cemetery (next to the tennis court, baseball field and bandstand). we were waiting for someone to join us for the cinema but were too early and decided to have a small walk on the side of the park we dont see that often. and there it was! a cemetery; the central burying ground! it was locked... but a few weeks later we were there during the day and it was open. as opposed to the other cemeteries, this one does not seem to be much visited. its more than 100 years younger, established in 1756, but the stones looked more or less the same and equally old.
the above stone was found by tim. and since then i think about it every now and then. although you can read it, you can do so only barely, so it was more or less by chance that he found this one. this is what we read: "in memory of mrs sally morfe, wife of mr samuel morfe who died july 25th 1799 of the cramp in her stomach after about one hour illness aged 26 years & 2 months". i just asked tim what could have caused her sudden death (he is the medical doctor, not me), but his list of probable causes was pretty long... and i have to say i forgot which one he thought was most likely (it is late and, as usual, he went to bed already). but poor sally, only 26....
then.... not very well visible on my picture, but underneath all this, in smaller, italic script it says: "complete (? about that word im not sure) she shone through every scene of life, the tender parent and indulgent wife"
i think that is very sweet. especially in 1799.
for more taphophilia, go here.

Well, hello!

i found this angel at a cemetery in salem. at first sight i thought it really ugly, but when taking pictures i kind of liked it...

Monday, April 9, 2012

Photographing food

as you might know, i currently am kind of obsessed with cooking. once i found out most dishes are really not that hard to make... im constantly looking for new recipes.. of course, im initially drawn to recipes when i see pictures of the end product. amazing pictures of not so amazing food already have fooled me, though luckily not too often. mostly, i am amazed that people can take such great pictures of their dishes! how do they do it?! and often from every step of the process. howcome their kitchens are so well organized and uncluttered? the surfaces all so clean? (i like clean, but when cooking its often quite a mess!), and do they have special lights? whenever i try the light is never ok! i also find it takes a lot of patience to take all these pics. i rather just eat than having to take numerous pictures... or.... i think of taking a picture when im done, or half done. but even then, others manage to take beautiful pictures. how can they take a bite off a cupcake and still make it look perfect?! and whats with all the fancy (and matching!! although i have to say i actually dont like matching) tableware, and stylishly set tables... (also without any magazines, books and other stuff i still need to read or file away properly..)?
anyways... this weekend we did not do too much. so i had time to try some recipes. above a lemon tart, with a delicious, and very, very easy, crust. i could just bring up enough restraint to take this picture, before throwing on some whipped cream. yes yes, not healthy! but we went to the gym before this..! 
also, i made bread today. with my hands. easy for some, perhaps, but a big deal for me. i dont like the sticky dough and how it makes everything dirty. how do you knead something that remains stuck everywhere? somehow i managed (with a little help from tim every now and then. releasing me from the dough, hahahaha). and it tasted not too bad either! here some pics, but i dont think photographing food will ever become my hobby...

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Grandma's way??!!

this evening we walked around the brick desert, and i suddenly saw the above streetname. its pointing towards the city hall plaza that i pictured here. empty on that pic.. now it is entirely occupied by a tent from the big apple circus (i guess this tent is allowed, as opposed to the tents from "occupy boston"; anyone ever heard anything from them recently?!). i am pretty sure this sign is new.... really?! grandmas way?! how could i ever have missed THAT?!
so... i just googled a bit. first google maps, but there seems to be no such thing as grandmas way in boston. then i went to google streetview and zoomed in on the above lamp post (at least i think i did); no green sign (btw; can you imagine the world without all these tools?! how did we manage without the internet?!). then i just googled and found someone else who pictured it but no info. back to my beloved wikipedia; apparently in 2001 the big apple circus best known performer joined; clown grandma, (barry lubin) (because of that i now also know there is something like the ISCHOF; the international clown hall of fame and research center, dedicated to the preservation and advancement of clown art and achievement... really?! would they hire scientists like me...?). but... still no answer as to why its called grandmas way. is it always there when the circus is in town?! its in the same style as all the other street signs in boston.... then... i found an article stating that clown grandma is leaving, having been with the big apple circus for 25 years. i gather from this article that this is his farewell tour with the circus. so... i assume it is a tribute to him....?
pfew. im tired of all this research on my free saturday evening... ;) now i would like a confirmation that my hypothesis is right!!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Another week...

.. raced by. so did this evening. suddenly it is past 11 again... time for bed..
good night!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Pretty tulips

buying flowers here in the us is too expensive (probably they are shipped from the netherlands... so they will cost a LOT more and will last less long...). back home i would often buy flowers, and i really miss that here. going to the market and get a huge bunch (not some fancy bouquet, i really dont like those) for less than 10 dollars! i think flowers can really make you feel better, just by looking at their beauty....
but.... last weekend we got flower-plants, they are much more affordable and their (ugly) plastic pots are nicely wrapped in shiny, colorful paper. a yellow wrap for the daffodils, a pink for the tulips and a green wrapper for the... ehhhmm... white huge flowers that smell pretty good (im too lazy to get up and see what they are called). unfortunately i think the tulips are soon done blooming. i tried to take pictures just now, but none was to my liking. maybe they will last till the weekend so that i can take some pics in natural light...
hmmm... i remember now we also bought soil so that i can repot our plants (some are almost 2 years old now, as we are here in boston for 2 years since april 4!). too bad plants dont repot themselves....

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Kiss my....

... irish ass! 
well... that was on st patricks day in boston. the day where you apparently can dress as ridiculous as you want, as long as it is green... 
i wouldnt, but who am i...  ! :) (i had nothing, really nothing green that day. only some purple (as usual) and felt kind of out of place)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Beautiful headstones

as i may have mentioned before, there are not that many statues of angels and such in most of the cemeteries i have been so far around boston. by now, i actually have been to some where they do have statues, but the very old ones in the center of boston have none. instead, i noticed that the graves have often beautiful motifs on the stone itself, below which there is a short text listing name and (often) the exact age of the deceased (e.g. "49 years,  5 months, 12 days"). when we were at the most visited graveyards of boston, i actually mostly focused on the imagery, i see now. above pic was taken at the king's chapel burial ground, which is very close to the granary burial ground where servant frank is buried, as i showed you last week. the kings chapel burial ground is the oldest burial ground in boston, established in 1630. many headstones had toppled over and/or were broken, and visitors were asked not to walk around the graves, but to remain on the path. many english puritan colonists are buried here (as well as the first girl to step off the mayflower (she was only 13 or so! actually the wiki-entry is quite interesting..)), and that is probably the reason for the absence of angels and stuff; puritans did not believe in religious icons or imagery. so instead... the people of boston used the headstones to display their creativity and ideas about afterlife. the most popular image was the soul effigy; a skull or head with a wing on each side that is a representation of the soul flying to heaven after death. or like above; an image of death and father time. i thought it was really beautiful, and so well preserved!
i have to admit i do not even know whose grave the above image belongs to. i was too focused on that image! i uploaded a few more pics on flickr from both burial grounds, as you can see here...
for the other taphophiles; go here.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Another homeless

this man was sitting in his blankets somewhere on commonwealth avenue (i think) in boston, close to the mc donalds. he was just sitting there, and not asking for money (at least at that moment), as most others do. unless, ofcourse, they are sleeping...
i recently learned that such a person is called a "tramp". i thought that was slang, but it is described in the massachusetts general law (Chap. 272, Sect. 63)! the definition of a tramp: "Whoever, not being under seventeen, or a person asking charity within his own town, roves about from place to place begging, or living without labor or visible means of support, shall be deemed a tramp. An act of begging or soliciting alms, whether of money, food, lodging or clothing, by a person having no residence in the town within which the act is committed, or the riding upon a freight train of a railroad, whether within or without any car or part thereof, without a permit from the proper officers or employees of such railroad or train, shall be prima facie evidence that such person is a tramp."
hahahaha. clicking further you learn what the punishment is for being a tramp, and i now also know what a "vagrant" is and a "vagabond", as well as their respective punishments... hahahaha.
there are quite some homeless people in boston. some more annoying than others.... recently one got mad when w refused to give him "some change". well... maybe he should change a little first...

Sunday, April 1, 2012

So sleepy!

days go by so fast... then its suddenly past 11 again and time for bed. i never want to goto sleep in the evening and never want to get up in the morning, like a little kid. but when i do get to bed early, i usually cant sleep.
ah well. this guy just dropped down in the park. homeless? drunk? both? it was a little weird. this was a week or 2 ago, i already forgot! but it was not too cold out.
this weekend was rather chilly, especially yesterday. this morning it seemed we would get a great spring-like day. until the sun disappeared again.... and is it really april again?!