Daily Archives: March 25, 2011

Thursday, 24MAR11


Today I went Ice Climbing in Boston.  No, not solid vertical ice, not even slopey solid ice… instead, I went climbing on one of the “glaciers” of snow / ice leftover in the parking lot of the Chestnut Hill Mall.

Last weekend my friends and I had been climbing at Hammond Pond when we first noticed these monsterous formations of ice and snow… a good 20-25 feet tall, with some sections of vertical choss nearly 15ft high.  I tried climbing them the first time I saw them (using a stick and a piece of a shopping cart as tools), but wasn’t able to get very high.  So I planned ahead, borrowed ice tools from a friend, packed up my crampons, and headed out.

The ice itself was a mixture of snow and ice, fairly random as to its strength, but that that didn’t stop me from climbing over the entire formation.  I did a few mid-height vertical sections, but generally stayed away from the truely technical sections for fear of falling uncontrolled with two ice axes leashed to my hands and a set of crampons attached to my feet.  I had a blast though, and reminded myself how athletic ice climbing really is – my arms hurt more after messing around on the ice for an hour than they do after 3 hours of climbing.

The best part of the evening was the unexpected though; very likely convincing a pair of unexpecting high school kids that they were in a horror movie.  See, when I first arrived I noticed a car parked in the secluded section that the ice-mounds kept hidden from the rest of the lot.  I looked, and seeing no one in the car assumed it belonged to some employee of the stores nearby and didn’t think about it anymore.  After I had been climbing all around the car for about 45min, and had summited half a dozen times, I looked down at the car again.  And saw a naked chick riding a dude like he was a prize-winning pony.  Yep.  I had been clambering around with a pair of ice-axes while some poor couple had been trying to have sex in daddy’s car.  I just laughed to myself and kept my distance from the area until I saw them leave, but as the car pulled out of the lot I made sure to give them a salute with the ice tools, just before the tires squealed and the car screamed away…


Yep, a successful day 🙂

Weekend of 18MAR11


Weekend of March 18 – 20th
Friday – Friday night was one of a rare breed; I really didn’t do anything major or crazy.  Most of the night was taken up by cleaning up my room, playing video games, and going over my climbing gear.  I headed to sleep around 1:30 or 2:00, so I’d be able to get up semi-early enough to meet my Aunt in the morning.Saturday – Today is where the fun of the weekend started; I went to the Boston Flower Show with my Aunt (the keynote speaker), and did some pub-crawling and cigar-smoking.  Ohh, and made two people cry in pain for a good 30min straight. :)Saturday started off when I met my Aunt at Riverside at 10:30, and we took the pike to the seaport convention center.  She was scheduled to speak at 1:30, so we took our time checking out all of the presentations and displays, taking lots of pictures and generally just being impressed at the work that people put into these exhibits.  One exhibit had a full-on treehouse, massive pinwheels, and seven types of tree that aren’t normally in season (the gardeners had “forced” them into season via a multi-year-process of heating and cooling the trees).  One Exhibit even had freaking OWLS in it; a barn owl, a great horned owl, one other, a Peregrine Falcon, and a Turkey Vulture.  Yeah, impressive, to say the least.My Aunts talk itself was very cool, though it was stuff I had heard before from her when I had stayed over.  The real interest to me was how she talked, more than what she actually said… she is an amazing public speaker, and her strength lies in her ability to adapt to the situation and change her talk as the situation demands.  First off, she mentioned me and did a quick bit about the traffic and insanity of driving in Boston.  The real kick though, was when HAIR started singing and dancing outside to promote their new show and my Aunt just rolled with it and actually answered questions during the talk, instead of waiting for the end.  I’m definitely looking forwards to seeing more of her talks.After my Aunt and I parted ways, I headed back to my place to chill for a bit, then headed over to Daniels house to pre-game for a friends birthday party.  I arrived perfectly as he got in after biking over from campus, and we chilled out for an hour or so; relaxing, drinking some scotch, and talking over everything thats been going over.  I’ll admit, I had been a bit worried that he was getting pissed at me for how much of an ass I was being to his girlfriend, but I thik he understands where I’m coming from, and he see’s exactly what I see in who she actually is… the differance is that she is madly in love with him, instead of just using him as a stepping stone.After our chill-fest we jumped in the car and headed downtown for the birthday party.  I was expecting something akin to a pubcrawl, but it turned into a “take over the back corner of a bar and just fortify our position with pitchers of beer.  I, of course, was having none of that so I spiced everything up by getting the Birthday Boy (and Daniel’s brother, since he asked) a shot: Devil’s Piss to be exact.  I’ve mentioned it before, but Devil’s Piss is a shot of Tequila with HALF A BOTTLE of Tabasco sauce poured in.  Sam (the Birthday Boy) didn’t stop crying for 25min, and didn’t stop randomly yelling out in pain for a good 45min.  Brian (Daniel’s Brother) fared slightly better, in that he didn’t cry too much, but still had a very dazed look nearly an hour after taking the shot.The rest of the night was fairly slow, and so Mike, Daniel, and myself headed out around 11:30 to meet Dave at Cigar Masters.  Daniel left us right after we left, since he was just using our exit as cover so that he could head home to crash early before climbing on Sunday.  Mike, Dave, and myself spent the rest of the night relaxing and smoking some amazing cigars: rew Estate Java’s, to be exact.  I’d never heard of them before Dave brought them up, but DAMN were they good… very strong coffee / chocolate flavoring, with just a hint of smokeyness and bite.  I didn’t drink any more that night, since I had spent too much already, so I drove Dave home once we finally left at closing time, and then crashed as soon as I got home.Sunday – Sunday started out way too early for a Sunday; I had only gotten about six hours of sleep by the time I dragged myself out of Bed, packed my gear, and was on the road to meet Kittie at her place.  Dave was coming in on the green line where Kittie and I would meet him, and then we’d move and set up at Hammond Pond.  We only had one harness, so Dave made a quick Swiss Seat while I racked up, and I was already dropping the toprope to Kittie by the time Daniel arrived with Amanda, Ashley and Stef.  Kittie did really well on her first outdoor climb, although she did end up changing shoes after the first attempt, since Daniels little sport shoes were way too small for her (impressive, since she’s a Ballerina).  With the right shoes though, she busted our two really nice climbs by the time I took her and Dave back (Work for Kittie, studying for Dave).  We ate a quick lunch from Chipotle, I said my goodbyes to Kittie, dropped Dave at his place, and then headed back.The rest of the days climbing was really solid, but fairly standard-issue; theres really no routes at Hammond I haven’t lead.  I tried messing around with some teaching and other fun, riding Rebecca’s bike around for a little while, but by four or so everyone was tired / cold / bored enough that we headed back to the cars.  After some fun climbing up and surfing down the massive ice formations in the parking lot everyone parted ways; I drove Ashley and Amanda home, while Daniel and Stef headed back to the hill and Rebecca rode her bike back to her place.The rest of the night was really low key and relaxing; I got some Laundry done and played some video games, cleaned up my gear and organized my room, and just generally kicked back after a weekend well spent.

Weekend of 11MAR11


Weekend of Mar 11th – Mar 13th
Friday – Friday evening was the celebration for Stef’s birthday.  Her actual birthday had been on the previous Tuesday, after we had all gotten back from Vegas, and I had done a fair job of ignoring everything having to do with said birthday.  However, I was told that one of her friends was planning on going to the bar-hopping section of the party; not generally something I would care about except for the fact that said friend had told Stef “If you don’t jump Ben, I will”… And thus I planned on making an appearance in hopes of meeting this Nicole.Well, life never works out right, does it?  After about 20min of trying to talk to “Nicole”, I found out that she hadn’t shown up, and the girl I was talking to was some other friend of Stef’s who’s nearly engaged to her boyfriend (who was by far the most entertaining guy there, aside from myself).  After that Bombshell I took my leave (with Mike, since he had agreed to wing for me that night), and headed out.  We stopped in at City Bar to case the joint quick, then headed out to Fanieul Hall to find Dave.We finally parked and headed to Clarke’s, the bar that Dave and his dorm were partying in after a night at the Improv Asylum.  First thing I did was head towards the bathroom, but I was intercepted by a rather annoyingly drunk guy, who jumped infront of me and started yelling when I bumped into him.  Now, I’m not an extremely aggressive type of guy, but I am extremely stubborn.  And if someone tells me to fuck off, I tell them to stop being a pussy and just wear a tampon.  That… didn’t go over well, and he bumped himself into me again.  Again, I informed him of where he could shove his head, at which point he pushed into me a third time.  By that point, I’d had enough, and actually put my shoulder and elbow into pushing him away, knocking him back a few feet.  And, it turns out, alerting his friend, a bouncer, that I wasn’t backing down.  The bouncer reached over, and tried to grab me by the shirt while telling me I had to leave.  I didn’t let him touch me, but he also made it very clear that I was going to leave, either under my own power or by flying through the door, propelled by him and his friends.  So I left Clarke’s, chalking it up as a win since that was the first time I had been fully kicked out of a bar for fighting.  Really, the first time I had been kicked out at all, as far as I remember…  But anyways, that brought Mike and I into an awkward situation; our friends were inside, and we were not.  So we headed over to an Oyster Bar that we had seen earlier, since it had a live band doing a pretty good Eagles cover, and chilled out for a bit until Dave got back to us, telling us to meet them at a new bar called the Purple Shamrock.This didn’t fare any better than the previous bar, but for a completely differant reason; the closed the doors right as Mike and I got there, very effectively locking us out of the party yet again.  After a few minutes of searching for a new bar we threw in the towell and headed home, planning on hanging out for a Scotch Night later on in the week.
Saturday – Saturday started nice and slowly, when I woke up at around 13:00.  I vegged out for a bit, making myself some quick lunch and playing a quick game of Starcraft, after which I packed up my gear and headed over to Quincy Quarries to meet with Daniel, Stef, Rebecca, Brian, and Erin.  Erin was back up from Las Vegas for the week, so Daniel and I had promised to take her climbing on Saturday, and the weather didn’t disappoint; it was perfectly sunny and just warm enough that a heavy jacket wasn’t necessary.  When I got there Daniel had set up a 5.10b, which no one besides Stef and Himself could do, so I quickly set up one of my all-time favorite routes at Quincy: Sorority Rock. This climb was named after the heel-hook move that helps people get over the small roof, causing them to apparently hump the rock.  One person makes it funny… Ten people in a row makes it a sorority slut.  Hence the new name to the old climb.  Nearly everyone got a chance to climb the route, which starts with a good bit of manteling and delicate toe-work and then moves into a beautiful roof with a few good juggy buckets to help the afforementioned Heel-Hook.  But, by the time everyone had been on Sorority, the sun was already setting and the wind was starting to bite through my jacket… so we packed up our gear and headed back towards Boston.I drove back solo; my night was taking me to Rosie’s apartment for her “World Famous Trivia Night” party.  I picked up some party supplies, in the form of extra food for dinner, and arrived at Rosie and Wills place almost exactly as dinner was finished.  They had cooked up pasta with red sauce, chicken sausages, seasoned beef, and steamed broccoli to go with the impressive array of beers, wines, and sodas that were arranged on the table.  We all ate and chatted about pretty much everything for an hour or two, generally enjoying the meal and the entertaining company.  No offence to my normal groups of friends, but hanging out with Rosie and Co is really a refreshing change of pace; while me and my friends are recent graduates or still finishing school, most of Rosie’s group have graduated with advanced degrees and are either doctors, or professors / teachers.  Its a fairly subtle change (and means that pretty much everyone is in a long-term relationship), but its nice to have people who are in a higher age group again… Conversation topics don’t change as much as you’d think, but their a lot more introspective and crazy, leaning on lots of good life stories.Trivia Night started around eight, when we were “randomly” assigned to teams.  Randomly meaning some people were actually random, and a few couples cheated their way into being on the same teams… but we finished it all out and finally decided on who would be on what team, and with whom.  Trivia started off good for my team, where I was able to guess that a group of porcupines is called a “Prickle”, and a “Height” is a group of Giraffes, among other things.  The night degenerated as two of the teams started showing their trivia muscles, racking up a depressing DOUBLE what my team was able to score.  But we all had fun, and ended the Trivia with some more relaxing and drinking, while talking about random subjects of the day (some of which included the “fun” of firing people, what its like to teach pregnant pre-teen girls, and some funny stories from Physics classes at Northeastern).After Rosies party I headed to Cambridge to meet Mike, Maureen, Big T, (and a random couch-surfer who was staying at T’s place) at a bar called Foundry.  I started the night by talking to an older woman at the bar for about 10min, getting to know about her and what the nightlife in Davis is like.  After I got my drinks I headed back to the table, and shot the shit with everyone for a bit longer.  At one point Mike and I have a fairly entertaining conversation with the girls at the next table; it all started with an argument about whether or not Brookline was part of Boston or not, and escalated when I told Mike to just ask the girls behind us.  “Why don’t you ask?”  He countered, at which point I pushed away from the table, slid my chair over, and started talking with them.Turns out they were from all over the country, one from Texas (with a cuper-cute accent), two from Maine, and one from Vermont.  We talked through whether or not Brookline was part of Boston, started into the “its so wierd having smart phones” thing, Mike joined in for a bit with the “Bullshit, its TOTALLY it’s own town” follow-through, and we generally had a fun time.  The girls were a bit standoff-ish though, so in the end I excused myself, and went back to hanging out with everyone else.  Once the bar closed up we kicked it at Mikes place for about an hour; the guitar kept swapping hands between Mike, myself, and Maureen and T’s couch-surfer, with me getting completely owned by the two of them jamming out.  At around 4:00 (thanks, daylight savings time!) everyone headed home, and I finally got some much-needed sleep.
Sunday – Sunday was pretty much a failure of a “get stuff done” day, and a resounding success of a “relax and get a few things done”.  I vegged around the house, took a long walk to find a good steak and cheese (and then ate in on the way back), put some pictures together for my photo-book, and cleaned my Bike up.  The bike-cleaning was really the keynote of the day, since I had to take two heavy scrubbers and a power-washing-hose to the bike in order to get all the dirt and grime off of it.  In the end it was amazingly beautiful though; just as clean and shiny as when I first picked it up from EMS.  After finishing, I walked around a bit more, and then headed inside for some extra-vegging.I did do some grocery shopping too, but the majority of my day (after walking and cleaning the bike) was taken up chilling out, making cool cocktails, and playing video games.  every once in a while I need a really low-key day, where I take random naps and just do whatever I feel like at the time… especially after a week of insane California adventure.  Time flew by, as it tends to do, and I ended up crashing fairly early, after spending some time talking to friends on Skype and catching up with people on Facebook.