Saturday, June 30, 2012

Fisherman's memorial

above part of an 8 foot tall bronze statue of a fisherman that looks out over the gloucester harbor. its known as the fishermans memorial, but also named "man at the wheel". here you can see it in its entirety. apparently, its often confused with another iconic image; that of the gorton's fisherman, the logo of the company that sells fish sticks (also from gloucester), present on its packages since 1964... haha.
but no, this monument was placed in 1925, to commemorate "they that go down to the sea in ships" (taken from the bible), honoring 300 years of gloucester losing fishermen (thats quite a sad way to say it...). for example, in 1879, 249 fishermen and 29 vessels were lost during a terrible storm. and in 1991 6 fishermen died in a storm that formed the basis for the book, and later movie, "the perfect storm".

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Poor dog

the poor dog was being laughed at when he (she?) didnt dare to cross the bridge. normally, only cars pass ocer this part of the bridge, but it was closed for all traffic for some festival where tim had to play. well, those grates were indeed quite scary, and the dog was not the only one not wanting to go there (when i took a leisurely stroll with tim, i had to hold him the entire time as i was too afraid to walk by myself. hahahhaaha. seems so stupid now, as the grates were definitely smaller than my shoes, but it does something to your brain that makes you walk funny. just like when you are on an escalator that doesnt work....). eventually, the dog went... slowly.... 
i didnt post for 2 days. i was just.... beeehhhh. so tired every evening. and then just for bed i "had to do my blog", and just didnt want to. my computer is still soooo slow, so just watching photos to decide which one to post is really annoying.... so i went to bed instead. but i actually like doing my blog... so.. its weird. i want to, but i dont want to. blablabla. lets goto bed again.. :) good night!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Magazine stress

above all magazines from a 1 year science subscription. how proud i was when i signed up for this, it was so cheap, a special for poor postdocs like me. i imagined myself reading many scientific articles, not necessarily related to my own topic, and finally not from my screen as i used to do, but from the real thing. perhaps in the subway, or at the pool.....  ofcourse, that didnt happen. the magazines came in every week, and i hardly ever looked at them. worse; i also stopped looking at it online as i used to do once a week, "since i now was receiving the hard copy"... at least i was wise enough to cancel my subscription after one year (yet they continue to send me mail and emails to please come back. grrrr). and just a few months ago we finally decided to also trash the magazines. it was a huge pile in our (for that) too small apartment. but before that, i decided to throw them all on the ground and jump on them for a bit (i do not always behave as a 30-year-old). then we realized many covers are actually really beautiful, and tim ripped them all off, they are still ling around somewhere....
nowadays i do have a subscription to time magazine, which was actually because of this post. i discovered that the artwork i had photographed once was a cover for time magazine, and on their website i saw that a subscription is real cheap. i instantly felt more american upon ordering it... :) moreover, finally i would learn everything about american politics, what they think about europe, and what-not... then.... there was a groupon-action for newsweek, another magazine similar to time; one year, 52 issues, for just 10 dollars. as a real dutch i couldnt leave such an incredible deal, and thus ordered that one as well. and guess what?! now i suffer from "magazine stress". those magazines keep coming in every week, and although i read in the subway to work and in the gym, i cannot keep up. i am now 1.5 issue behind with time, and even 3 or 4 with newsweek (somehow i feel i have to read those things from beginning to end, and wow, do i learn a lot! (i do prefer time over newsweek)). so theres the dilemma; should i just not read them when too far behind? at some point its not relevant anymore anyways (like about republican candidates, theres only one left by now, but i somewhere still have an issue on... eehm, whats his name again...?). 
ah well, i guess i should be happy my current distress just concerns magazines that keep coming in at a relentless pace....

Sunday, June 24, 2012

In white

when the light indicates its safe to cross the street, i always say "ah, its green!" (except when im alone, i guess), even though its always white here. i just cant get that out of my mind, being used to red and green lights.... this was in new york, last monday, while we were just wandering around a bit.
yesterday i was (once again) too lazy to post. we had a nice, but very hot day. some swimming in the morning, grocerie shopping, some biking around (quite aimlesslly but we managed to bike in a circle and ended up where we started, haha). then came the clouds. many, many clouds. and very dark. tim said "ooh, the wind is blowing them away from us, it will be fine..". but when we were in the supermarket, the rain started. not just rain. pouring rain, huge drops. in no time the parking lot became a swimming pool, and the supermarket turned out not to be watertight, trhough many cracks water was coming down. but it was sort of fun, as we were not biking anymore! back home we went for some more swimming, as swimming in the rain is even more fun, i think. and then... we were ordered out of the pool, as the entire community lost power, and you cannot swim with power, apparently.... (?!). ah, it was dinner time anyways... we drove to melrose; everything out of power. a little further to saugus; all out of power. then we drove even further and had a very late dinner.... 
luckily for us the power at our apartment got back on quite quickly. so far that was the first time we lost power, even though this happens so very often during even the lightest storm (but this was albeit short, a pretty heavy one), since most power cables are above ground...

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Lightpole face

somewhere along the charles river....
it was yet another hot day. but with some rain in the early evening. much less heavy than expected (or than it seemed to be with the big clouds and think rain drops..... but at least it seems a tiny bit cooler right now.
good night!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Water fun

this picture was taken at the frog pond, during a hot summer day.... (just like this one, perhaps it was the same day? i dont remember!). just like yesterday, it was (and is, its 11 pm now and still above 30C) very hot, perhaps even hotter.... luckily we have the pool to cool down a little bit. unfortunately, it closes at 8 in the evening, and this is strictly enforced. at 8! who wants to stop swimming at 8 on a hot day/night like this?! but no, there is no discussion. pool closes at 8. (while it gets dark here around 9, so i would think they at least could keep it open till 9!). 
thats something else i miss from the netherlands, there it gets darker so much later in summer.... buuuhhhh!
and guess what, we are having the AC on right now, and i am cold!! i am about to switch it off (dont like it during sleeping), will probably be another difficult night of sleeping again....

Heat advisory

today it was HOT. really hot. it was hot already this morning and it just got hotter and hotter. i guess it was around 36 C (little less than 100F?) and a little humid. but well, i was inside and didnt notice much. until i stepped outside into a hot blanket.... ah well, we went to the pool for a bit (and when not swimming it even became a little chilly!), and then out to dinner, as the mayor of boston sent out a heat advisory that we ofcourse obeyed exactly. one of the points is; "avoid cooking".
a quote: "Mayor Thomas M. Menino has issued a heat advisory reminding residents to stay safe and healthy during this first stretch of hot summer weather.  Mayor Menino and the Boston Public Health Commission are urging residents to stay hydrated and in shaded or air conditioned areas whenever possible. Residents can cool off at several Boston Parks Department water spray features throughout the city and in air conditioned community centers." (note that mister mayor menino personally warns us here!) and: "everyone should remember to limit their activities during very hot weather, drink plenty of fluids, and avoid beverages that contain caffeine or alcohol.  When outdoors, limit strenuous activity, wear sunscreen and loose, light-colored clothing, and rest often in cool, shady areas. Additional measures to beat the heat include avoiding cooking, taking cool showers or baths, and staying in air conditioned areas whenever possible." (stolen from the boston city website). unfortunately, it doesnt tell us where to get our food when avoiding to cook (or did he mean it literally?!). luckily we do not yet have a ban on large sodas as proposed in new york, but i presume that next to our assisted living, heat advisories and soda bans, we soon also will be told (and checked) when we have to go to bed.... but surely i will be having trouble sleeping, even more so now that its hot and will stay hot for at least tomorrow... 
above pic was taken at the hoover dam, which we visited while in las vegas.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

9/11 memorial

we went to new york this sunday (i stayed on for another day with my sister who is visiting us from the netherlands, while tim went back in the evening), and finally got to see the 9/11 memorial. you have to make reservations in advance, and every time we went to new york since its opening in september 2011, there were no tickets available. around 11.30 (our scheduled time, you have a 30-minute window for arrival; but you can take as much time as you wish once inside) we arrived and went through security (just like at the airport), had to show our visitor passes every now and then, wait in line here and there and finally got to the memorial park. 2 pools, with water falling down from all 4 sides, where once the towers stood. surrounded by bronze panels with all the names of the 1993 and 2001 terrorist attacks. 
2983 names.... (here you can read how the names were arranged; it is not just random). the pools are so huge (as were the towers), surrouded by many oak trees. i thought it was simple yet very beautiful. i was mostly touched by seeing names of 3 women that were pregnant, one of them you can see here. "jennifer l howley and her unborn child".  born in 1967 in lincoln, nebraska, she went to live in new york city when she was 18. she started out as a nanny, but eventually got to work in the insurance industry. with only a high school diploma, she just got promoted from senior vp to director and was pregnant with her first child when she died in the south tower of the world trade center, only 34 years old...
now... i just hope that in the future you will be able to visit this memorial park without prior appointment, airport style security and standing in line. i wonder if they will ever do that.... but i think that only then this park will truly be a place for remembrance where you can just go for a bit if you feel like going...
this is my contribution to this weeks taphophile tuesday. and here you can see a few more pictures that i took at the memorial.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

I was.....

in..... New York! i guess that was not a very difficult one....
my sister is here and we went for 2 days (tim joined for one day). and now i am soooo tired!! so, more tomorrow, and perhaps in the coming days... (havent checked my pics yet).
if you are curious about the steaming chimney, i once blogged about that already (here). now i just want to sleeeeeeppppp!!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Here goes...

the band in which tim plays...
they played at some festival in chelsea, on a bridge closed especially for today for traffic... (as you can see, they are walking on the middle of the road). here they were just done..
it started out as a great sunny day and we were in the pool this morning by 8.30!! then somehow the sun disappeared and on the bridge it was really chilly.... i was not dressed for chilly....:( 
ah well, it was fun anyways...

Friday, June 15, 2012

Wedding chapel

many people asked us, after coming back from las vegas, whether we got married. well, we didnt.... if it even had been an option, it wasnt after i saw the chapels. it was all just so sad! placed a long busy roads, with a cheesy motel attached to it... beehhhh. here you can see one. its not even pretty!
but.. according to wikipedia, las vegas is the "marriage capital of the world". getting a marriage license is very easy, and costs very little, and thus many couples get married here ( i read somewhere 120.000 marriages/ year, that is more than 300 weddings per day!! i just calculated it 3 times as i couldnt believe more than 600 people get married each day in vegas.... we sure didnt see any happy couples coming out of wedding chapels...)
apparently, there are even drive-thru weddings in las vegas... can you believe it??!! here is the link (check the costs of different packages they offer... named "fast, faster and fastest" the "fastest" is the cheapest... is this the speed with whih you drive...??). you can also be married by an elvis impersonator... here a list of some "famous" people that got married in vegas (how many are still married..?!), and here the website for the above wedding chapel, because... forever starts now.... (ugh!)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Self portrait

i simply was too lazy to post last night, and today i dont have my computer (and i am lazy again), so here a self portrait, while we were in the desert in las vegas....!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Sobering epitaph

few weeks back we were heading home from a beautiful ride along the shore, around gloucester and rockport, an hour away from boston. we happened to drive by a cemetery and stopped to have a look. as you can see, the cemetery faces the ocean. it was just a small cemetery on a piece of grass, in between houses, and most of the stones were very old (i think the cemetery dates from 1630!), named the "old first parish burial ground". the late afternoon sun was still warm and i really liked to walk around this cemetery. most stones had interesting, down to earth inscriptions. some were hard to read, but it was really worth it to take a moment and decipher them. others, like the one above, were, given their age,very well readable. taking a readable picture ofcourse was yet another problem.... :)
the above stone belongs to the grave of ebenezer, died in 1793, aged only 1 year and 3 months. son of john v, and hannah cleaveland (i found it funny that when cleaveland didnt fit on the stone, they just put the remaining letters above; i saw this on several stones on this cemetery). and then the epitaph; "come mortal man, cast an eye, read your doom, prepare to die".
i have collected a few now, and i guess every now and then i will show you one. (unfortunately, i couldnt find anything else about ebenezer or his parents...)
a collection of taphophiles can be found here.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Pretty amazing

here a distant view of las vegas.... when the sun was about to set. isnt it beautiful? too bad i had to take the picture through the window of the car, as you can see....
our hotelroom was unfortunately not too high up (only the 23rd floor or so... haha), and we didnt face the strip (bbuuuuh), but the advantage of that was that we faced the desert (and an awful deserted parking lot and a hotel that probably wont be built soon, only part of it was..), and we witnessed 2 amazing sunrises. i usually wake up very early (only togoto sleep again), and these times it was just around sunrise. the first was a perfect deep red with some purple (i woke up tim, in the end i think he did like to see that sunrise), and the second was greenish like above. really beautiful... just for that i wouldnt mind spending some more time in the desert. (but the desert is pretty cool anyways...)

Tonight's movie

i took this picture very long ago, somewhere in the very first months we arrived in boston. i found it funny and put it in my "to post" folder, but i never did, as i thought, well yes, i post it, and then what do i write....?
tonight we saw a french movie "the intouchables". it was impressive. sad. very funny. i really liked it. you just have to go and see it. i didnt really know where it was about when i went; i didnt want to watch the trailer as it sometimes reveals too much. and now all i can say; just go and see it!
and dont read the review in the new york times (i just did, its here for the curious...). its a stupid review, on many levels. yes, the movie is about a very rich handicapped guy who hires someone to take care of him. that someone turns out to be poor, and very different and despite, or probably because their differences they really get along, eventually. yes, the idea is cliche (but based on a true story!!), but i think its execution is more funny, and more touching than anything i saw in a while (also, i suggest the writer of this review should watch more south park, this episode in particular). anyways, i think the pic somehow fits the movie.... so i can finally post it!
and now its again very late and time for bed....

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Watching whales...

i guess yesterdays sunflowers helped; it was very sunny and warm today! we got up quite early, baked some bread (yumyumyum!!) and drove to gloucester. an hour or so from our apartment. there we got loaded onto a boat with many, many other people. whale sighting was guaranteed, and if not, you would get a season's pass to come back whenever (i dont know whether the whales ON the boat were regarded as sightings...). finally, we set off... for... cape cod... hahaha. we first drove an hour north just to sail down south.... it was more than a 2 hour boatride before we arrived at the whales territory where they were having lunch, dinner and breakfast.... despite the sun it was pretty chilly! the sea however was silky smooth, without any waves. we first saw a huge shark, which was amazing... click click click. and then we saw a few whales. click click click again... :D i kept thinking; should i watch, or should i watch through my lens...? i did both. it was really cool to see. they are sooo huge! their breathing ofcourse was funny (just like in the movies, hahahahaha), and their diving down. only one we saw did a tiny little trick, that you can see above. i could "just" see it; there were too many people in front of me to take a picture of it, but tim did! (a photoshopmaster then would magically erase and refill the right corner... but im not. so ijust give it to you as is). isnt that cool? it was quite spetacular to see them, even without any tricks orjumping in the air or whatever.i canonly imagine how amazing that would be!!
and then after a while of wathcing them swimming around, and saying ooh and aaaahhh! and tons of pics with a huge black shiny thing in the ocean, sometimes their fins, it was time to get back again, another 2 hours.... so now i have a tiny little sunburn and a lot of sleep! good night!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Sun flowers

its been pretty rainy the entire week. just today, around the time most people wanted to leave work, it suddenly started raining like crazy.... its often here like that. when it rains, its not just some rain, but downpour so heavy you will be soaked in seconds. sometimes that can go on for quite a while, but today it lasted only a few minutes (enough to make big puddles everywhere though).
i hope for some sun tomorrow! i want to have some pooltime... :) and then we go for whale watching, which ive never done before, 4 hours on a boat while sunny seems a whole lot nice to me than while its raining.. perhaps posting these sunflowers will help....?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Blue man

this is an old pic, from august last year when i was with sylvia in santa monica, california. as i was there again just 2 weeks ago (but now it was dark), i thought i could post this... :)
i was fascinated by the blue man, and he seemed fascinated by someone as well... :D

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

All shooting...!

when we were in san diego last weekend, me, tim and sylvia all had a camera.... but we didnt compare pictures! im actually curious how different they were....
during the week i hardly take any pictures. actually, i take none... :( so i always have to go through previous pics, and then i cannot decide at all which one to post. maybe i should install that on a set day each week i have to post a picture that i took that day.... in the weekend that will not be too much of a problem, so to make it harder perhaps i should choose a weekday.... ? lets see.... and which day? any suggestions?

Hidden cemetery

the now-apartment-complex-but-previously-state-hospital that i showed you yesterday also had its own cemetery, as was very normal, i have learned by now. above one of the (many) pictures i took. like this it just looks like a green field, but row after row of flat stones are hidden in the grass, spaced not too much apart (i guess you sort of can see the horizontal rows here). ever since we went to that first abandoned mental instution in waltham, i am sort of "obsessed" with them. i had no clue that there were so many in the us, the history and ideas behind it. the successes and (probably more) failures. but since then i have read a lot, really a lot, and my head is completely stuffed with information i would like to repeat here.... i guess it will come in bits and pieces, as its far too much!
anyways, when we presented ourselves as possible future tenants of the beautiful apartment complex, we were truly amazed how nice it all looked (pfew....). the guy showing us around didnt mention what the building used to be, and we didnt ask. i did wonder how many people already had taken a tour just to see the building, knowing it used to be an asylum...... we also wondered whether they actively do not tell people about the history of the building, as it might scare away potential tenants. moreover, how many current tenants are aware of the building's past? after seeing the apartment, we toured the grounds by ourselves. the building you saw in yesterday's post is just a fraction of the original building, which was built according to the kirkbride plan. (i would love to elaborate on that, but the link will explain it better than i can!). i do want to mention that the place, opened in 1878, was designed to house 500 to 600 patients. but by the late 1930s..... it had 2000 patients, some of them were held (yes, i can only call it held) in the basements.....  
now in its place are small 2 and 3 story buildings, ugly in design and made of cheap material (as all new apartment complexes around here).
and then... it was time to find the cemetery. as i had found some good directions on the internet, it was not that hard to find. we passed a place that looked like some sort of memorial, but the actual plaque was still missing. in other words; nothing was there yet!! i later found online that this is meant to be a memorial dedicated to the hospital and its patients (written in 2008!!). why was that still not done? again not to mention the past too much, strategically "forgotten" by the management of the apartment complex...?  we found the small path and finally were on the cemetery. it was hot that day. and so quiet there. had i been scared (really, i was scared) when we were driving to the complex, i wasnt anymore after visiting the brand new apartments and now being on the quiet cemetery. it did make me sad..... again row upon row of numbers. only later a special committee dedicated to improve this cemetery had added stones with names and year of birth and death....
here on flickr some more pictures of whats left of the building, the new apartments, and more of the cemetery (it does start with the bread we baked that day, im so proud of it...). and here the other taphophiles!
sorry for making it such a long read and still not telling you that much!!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Luxury & convenience

in danvers, which is not too far from our home, used to be an enormous building on a hill, rather isolated from the rest of the town. its roofline, with many sharp angles and spires, is visible from the highway. part of the building you can see above, as we visited it last month....
the evening before our visit we watched the horrormovie session 9, filmed when this building had been abandoned for some years. the plot; a group of men, hired to remove asbestos from the building after it has been abandoned for some time, seem not to get along, and it ends with the crew getting murdered one by one in the creepy hallways. in the movie, but also in reality, this used to be the danvers state hospital. built between 1874 and 1878, and also named "danvers state insane asylum". the movie was disappointing (although it did scare me, but more of what i imagined i was going to see than what i actually did see...); i expected creepy, but beautiful abandoned hallways that had been subject to years of neglect.  instead, most of the shots of the place were pretty bad. they had access to this building and could film anything they wanted, and they.... just... failed... :(
officially the hospital closed in 1992, and was left abandoned until 2005, when an apartment company bought the property and destroyed most of the original buildings, much to the dismay of many people (there was even a lawsuit, but they wanted and were allowed to demolish it as it was too expensive to renovate all of the buildings). at least they renovated the part above... now its the avalon apartments in danvers. everything new, everything fancy. i guess this company likes to buy abandoned psychiatric hospitals, as they also converted the hospital grounds i showed you recently into apartment complexes. i was somehow nervous when we went there. i really wanted to see what they made of the building, but i also thought it creepy that what once was a place everyone wanted to stay away from now was a "luxury" place to live, complete with basketball court, pool, gym, kids playground...  we pretended to look for an apartment and got a tour in the above building. gone was the feeling of creepiness! it was beautiful. yes, just like in our apartment complex the appliances were cheap, but the building structure was not, beautiful bay windows, high ceilings, lots of space. hadnt it been in the middle of nowhere, we would even considered moving there! (with a rent significantly lower than our current place).
tomorrow i will show you another picture, and a set i will post on flickr....

Movie poster

this movie poster was still hanging in chinatown, now with some drawings on it, somewhere in january, for the movie the rum diary with johnny depp. i dont really get why they choose this image... as during most of the movie he is "just" the pretty boy.... this is the scene the film starts with, showing johnny depp in a state i didnt really ever wanted to see him, haha. but it only gets better after that. 
we watched the movie again in las vegas, before we wanted to go out and see the casinos one last time again, and have something to eat. instead, we fell asleep. so much for vegas. or the movie...
so we saw it again last week (ofcourse we also saw it in the cinema!). its really great. and funny... i hope i somehow convinced you with this boring post.... :)

Sunday, June 3, 2012

South boston

this is in south boston, taken quite a while ago. just saw it again and i like it, with all those cherrypickers or whatever you call them and 2 seemingly lost musicians.... (but i guess there were just going home after the st patricks parade)

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Assisted living...

when we had friends coming over last month, the first thing they said upon seeing our apartment complex was; wow, that looks like an eldery home! and when in the staircase; oh, it even smells like one.... as they are real americans, i was surprised... :) (although we agree with them, haha!).
above the trash receptacle. atually, its better nowadays, but there was a time it looked like this quite often. then we got letters from "management" that we need to put the trash INSIDE the container, not next to it. but... how to do that when its already overflowing? in summer, these things also become inhabited by raccoons who rummage around and throw out quitesome garbage (probably the stuff they dont like). there was also a warning; if they would find trash outside of the container, they would go through it, identify the person and you would get a fine of a 100 dollars (if i remember correctly). never mind the raccoons, right...? they then also put up a sign (barely visible here); "private property, no trespassing", but i doubt raccoons can read....
anyhow. the rent is pretty high and in return theres quite some nitpicking (haha, what a funny word; i hope im using it correctly, in dutch it would be "betuttelen", or "bedillen"). other than the trash; its not allowed to paint the walls of your apartment, there is a door in the apartment thats locked, behind it is the heating system (during a heavy rainstorm water once started to seep out; pretty freaky if you cannot check whats going on!! we thus had maintenance coming over just to show us that the roof was a little leaky jut above the locked door), we cannot (temporarly) leave shoes outside the door, they could block the hallway! (or anything else for that matter, not even a doormat), and today we got the rules for the pool..... there were many, many rules for the pool. i will not bore you with them.. :) but it sometimes just frustrates me so much that i really had to dedicate an entire post about it, sorry.... :) assisted living can be quite tiresome, i now know!
despite all those rules and regulations, management cannot prevent that some *sshole smokes cigars in the garage, nor that one of our bikes got stolen from the garage. yes, the garage is locked, and so was the bike.... (their reaction; oh no, how terrible! we hope you have insurance...). 
good night! (at least i can determine what time i goto bed myself, although tim is complaining that i go too late)