Daily Archives: November 9, 2011

A “Souled Out” show – Boston Decom party

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Sat, Nov 5th 2011

Mike, Cosimo and I were hanging out at Mikes place after getting back from camping on/around the Cape, just cooling down from the drive back into Boston. Mike and I had planned on heading to a show that night, put on by Boston Decom, called “Souled Out”. I honestly didn’t know much about it, but it had come highly recommended and supposedly would have some really cool pieces of art from Burning-man… definitely something that usually piques my interest. Cosimo was less sure, but after a bit Mike and I were able to convince him to come along, mostly by bribing him with the possibilities of cool music and cool girls, hehe. We ate a quick dinner, showered away the dirt from camping, and headed over about an hour after the official start time.

And… an hour late wasn’t nearly late enough, in the opinion of this engineer. While we did get the chance to see a pretty good band that we would have missed otherwise, the party itself didn’t actually get moving until about two hours after we arrived. ’till then we spent our time checking out the art installations and people-watching, and there wasn’t a lack of either. Art-wise, there we ten or twenty different installations, the best of which I’ve listed below. People-wise, it was a really interesting group, due to everyone being uniquely the same. To explain what I mean – the vast majority of people there were white, 20’s to 30’s, and science-types. But they all wore such crazily unique outfits that watching them was really fun, so I think it evened out in the end. And some of the outfits… damn, I saw one group with LED outfits that must have taken weeks to put together.

Some of the Art Installations (I apologize if I miss-spell them):

  • Tensor – a really cool piece made up of a huge board of LED squares. Reacts intelligently to nearby sounds, and thus was placed behind the main stage, so it would synch with the bands.
  • Siezodrome – a yurt-type tent made up of reflective material, with a LED ball in the middle. A small remote controls the LED ball, setting patterns and rate of blinking. Siezure-inducing 🙂
  • Driving-laser-display-thing – I don’t know the name of this one, but it was amazing. A laser show is controlled by a car-like set of buttons and steering wheels. Nothings labeled though, so you have to figure out how to work it yourself. Cool!
  • Multi-colored lights sand table – your usual sand table, which lets you draw cool pictures using the ever-changing lights below.
  • Collect-o-scope – a kaleidoscope tube, but instead of having a set series of colors / shapes that you look at through the mirrored tube, people can put random stuff into it. Very cool.

Aside from the art pieces, there were some amazing entertainers that put on shows throughout the evening. The dance floor was set up so that you could pull various pieces of equipment from the ceiling, so every hour or so they’d pull down the trapieze, ribbon, or hoop and have someone go at it. The people were clearly professionals, and I’ll admit that the acts were really intimidatingly impressive in terms of strength, body control, and general “WOW she is hot!” from the women. They started off with a couple doing a trapieze act together, before they split off and each did their own shorter act; the guy did another trapieze set and the woman did a ribbon-dance… and all three sets consisted mostly of me going “wait, you can do that? How… whoa”. The last piece was performed by another woman crawling in, over, and around a hoop suspended from the roof, and she was the most impressive in my opinion, mostly due to a combination of crazy poses and crazy outfit.

Once the party was going it proved to be a rather impressive one, and the three of us spent the rest of the night rocking out and enjoying the unique atmosphere. I, for one, had a fun time playing this little game that the hosts set up – everyone was given a card on a lanyard, and the goal was to get the highest value card possible, the Ace. Anyone could challenge someone to swap cards by asking for a dare, thus the way to get higher cards was to find someone with said card and complete the dare that they offered you. Over the night I had to flash a girl, do a handstand in the middle of the dance floor, learned how to pole dance, spanked Cosimo, and leapfrogged across the dance floor with two other people. I was dared to strip on the main stage to get a King, but… I decided that discretion was the better part of valor and declined that one. In return I lost my highest card to a girl who did a 30s pole dance for me… totally worth the lost card, in my opinion.

We stayed until the very end when the bouncers started kicking everyone out, though it took us a while to actually find Mike… instead of leaving with the last call, he ended up sneaking into a corner with a chick for some last minute “conversations”. In the end Mike left to get a taxi with the girl, since she couldn’t drive herself home, and I grabbed Mike’s keys to drive Cosimo and his new girl back to his apartment. The drive was made much more interesting due to the cars insistence that the lights were turned on, while there was absolutely no illumination coming from the headlights. So we drove home slowly with the hazards lighting our way, and before I knew it I was bunking down in Mikes apartment for the night.

The next day went quickly; I finally had my brunch when Mike got back from the girls apartment (turned out that she was a lesbian living with her girlfriend, so Mike spent an awkward night in the guest room). We tried to take the car to the dealership to get the lights repaired, but were foiled by the “closed on Sundays” rule, so I just headed back to NEU to meet up with Allison for a bit before heading back out of the city. I checked out a neat model-airplane show that my Stepdad had entered, then him and I headed home to chill out and have some late dinner before I jumped back into packing up for my next trip.

Camping in November? Lets hit the Cape!

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Fri, Nov 4th, 2011

Its the last weekend before my trip gets its second wind and I leave again for Tulsa. Its a tough decision, whether to stay home with the family for one last relaxing weekend together, or to head out with friends for a final huzzah. I’m much for of a “go out with a bang” kind of guy anyways, and when I heard that there was going to be a huge burner/art party in Boston on Saturday I knew which one I was going with. I called my friends Mike and Cosimo and we planned out a scheme for a rather fun weekend – Camping near Cape Cod on Friday, then partying Saturday night.

And so it went. We all met up in Boston Friday night after the guys got out of work, meeting up at Mikes place for a quick dinner before heading out to Scusset Beach, one of the only beach campgrounds still open in the off-season. Mike had dinner cooked by the time Cosimo and I got there, a really good combo of super-moist chicken and sweet corn, so we chowed down quick before packing up Mike’s car and jumping onto the highway towards the Cape.

Scusset turned out to be ridiculously easy to get to, and so after a quick stop to get ourselves some hot coffee (it was FREEZING out and we knew we’d need it) we arrived at the campsite. It wasn’t nearly as deserted as I expected it to be though, and there were at least a dozen RV’s parked around the area, and a nice little knot of people around a communal fire pit. So we set up our tents quick (or slow, in Cosimo’s case… that guy has a wicked complex tent), unpacked the car, and headed over to the communal fire with a six-pack in my left hand and my coffee in my right.

When we got there we saw flashing lights instead of flickering firelight however; I still don’t know what actually happened, but one of the older folks needed an ambulance, and no one was at the fire when we got there. After rescuing a chair from the flames (the wind had knocked it in) we decided to leave the EMTs to their business and walked our way over to the freezing-cold beach for a quick chill-out. It was perfect, in my opinion – bitingly cold wind whipping up the surf, a moonlit sky with just enough clouds to look cool, and the beach was completely empty besides the three of us. We hung out for fifteen or twenty minutes before heading back to the warmth of our campsite, though I seriously debated pulling the firewood down to the beach and trying to get a bonfire going.

Since we clearly didn’t have enough wood for a beach-fire we made one in the little firepit near our tents, stacking the wood up high and tossing some white gas from my stove onto it to help it go quicker. It worked wonders, and before we knew it we were drinking down beers and roasting marshmallows for S’mores. We burned clean through two full bundles of wood that one night, but the fire kept us warm enough to chat long into the night about pretty much everything under the stars and you could see the stars well from the beach. I would guess that we finally ran out of wood and headed back to our tents around 3:00 or so, but I honestly wasn’t looking at the time – the conversations were going really deep, at least in our beer-and-s’more filled minds. But once we did run out of firewood the evening ended real soon afterward, thanks to us not having any more protection against the cutting ocean winds.

The morning… wasn’t. It honestly just didn’t happen, and we finally woke up around 1:00 or so on Saturday morning, each of us slowly hauling our bodies out of our tents and warm sleeping bags. Once we did realize what time it was we pretty quickly packed up the car and headed out towards the main town in search of delicious brunch. For some reason I still had my craving for pancakes and bacon, but unfortunately it was not to be today, since every. freaking. place. Was closed already. Seriously… at 1:30 there was not a single brunch place open anywhere near the bridges onto the Cape. We finally cut our losses and stopped in at a fancy looking lunch place for some seafood, seeing as we were nearly on the Cape after all.

Lunch was actually amazing, though not the pancakes and bacon that I so craved. We each picked up some kind of fishy dish (fish and chips for me) and ate, chatted, and the ate some more. Eating some more was the key since it seemed that this place catered to the starving, and their only portion size was “holy hell that’s a big portion!” I was not complaining, since the fries were excellent, but it did take us a while to work our way through the meal and then drag ourselves back into Mikes car. Him and I swapped out driving duties on the way back to Boston, reminding me how much I love driving a standard, and I had a blast rocking our way home.

Halloween 2011, Part 3 – Boston

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The drive down to Boston was quick, and I actually took it as a time to meditate and reflect on the last few months of insanity and adventure. It’s strange, honestly, to go for a long drive with just your thoughts. The radio (or an iPod/CD/etc) are such constant companions on the road that turning them off and sitting alone with your thoughts it a pretty unique experience, and its one that I very much enjoy when I’m in the right state of mind.

My thoughts wandered pretty impressively – from my previous relationships to the unknown of traveling New Zealand, and from the last few hours at the Loj to the first time I had seen the glow coming out of the window as I walked up the trail. My mind hovered around a cool little project that I’ve been tumbling around in my head, giving me a chance to smooth out the edges of my plan to design a personal banner, an “honor standard” like those that old-school knights used to carry. Its an egotistic idea, but I figure that its a neat idea. And honestly, why shouldn’t I be proud of my achievements? I’ve worked hard for them, and I think they deserve to be put on a banner.

I broke with my thoughts for a short detour to Tilton Diner, one of the favorite lunch stops on the drive from Gorham back to Boston, and had myself a very nice breakfast-for-dinner meal. I’ve been going to the Tilton Diner for nearly six years at this point, but I’ve never ordered the “fancy breakfast meal” special… until this time. For some reason I had been craving pancakes and bacon (not the good thick kind, the diner kind) for a few days, and this was a perfect excuse to have some. (Ed Note: As I’m writing this I’m still craving Bacon. Damnation!).

Once I left Tilton my thoughts and I had endured enough of each other, and so I cranked up the tunes and sped my way into the city. The night turned out to be an amazing time – I met Mike, Daniel, Chirag and Cosimo at a restaurant called “The Asgard” where Mike had already gotten a reservation. Since I was first I got to sit in the AMAZING king chair at the head of the table, and spent the night cavorting with the guys, catching up, and drinking down an amazing red ale that they had on tap. All the while lounging around in a chair that could fit a giant. Yep, life was good.

After the waitress told us we had to head out because her shift was ending Daniel and Cosimo headed back to their places, and Mike Chirag and I headed to Chirag’s place to hang out for another few hours, since none of us had to be awake at any crazy hour. We hung out, smoked a bit of Hookah, and chatted for a while before powering up my Laptop, attaching it to Chirag’s TV, and rocked out to Gangs of New York for the rest of the night. Seriously… if you haven’t seen this movie then you need to. Daniel Day Lewis, Leonardo DiCaprio, Cameron Diaz, and directed by Scorsese… damn its a good one. Made for a very nice night, especially with Chirag and Mike, and the Hookah set up in the middle of the room.

I crashed in the big attic above Chirag’s place, and slept like a baby for the few hours that we had before the sun came up. Once morning rolled around Chirag and I headed out and I gave him a ride to his job at Best Buy. Like I said, not too early, but earlier than I’d been getting up recently… its actually kinda nice to get up early every once in a while, you know? Tasting the crisp air and the new sun is pretty solid, at least if you don’t see it every day, hehe. Though I’ll admit, my favorite part of working at Biogen was quite possibly the bike ride in every morning – fighting against traffic and tearing through the city just an hour or two after the dawn had broken.

After dropping Chirag at his work I found a semi-safe parking spot and started wandering around the city. It was definitely safe in terms of theft, but only semi-safe in terms of parking tickets… nowhere in Boston is truly “safe”, except for parking garages where their more likely to get dinged. Anyways, I spent the morning wandering around trying to find myself a good breakfast, finally ending at Chicken Lou’s on NEU’s campus. I got myself a “cholesterol on a bagel” (bacon, egg and cheese) and then headed to Curry Student Center to write and read for a bit.

I chilled, relaxed and ate my bagel, and reminisced about the living on campus, studying for finals in Curry, and how much everything had changed since then. Seriously… I don’t know why I was being this introspective, but it was kinda nice and a bit melodramatic at the same time. Either way, a facebook message lead to me meeting up with Allison on campus, which led to hanging out with her for pretty much the entire rest of the day until I headed out from Boston. We chatted, wandered around campus, and got ourselves caught up with where each others lives had gone in the two months since we broke up. She had just gotten out of a Co-op interview, so we talked about interview strategies and tactics, swapping stories about horrible interviewers and insane job questions. After almost five hours of kicking it I headed out, aiming to meet with my Mom and Grandma for dinner.

Before leaving the city I took a quick side-trip to Occupy Boston to satisfy my curiosity as to what was actually going on, and I have to admit that it’s pretty impressive. The Tent City is at least a hundred tents strong, and it takes over an entire section of the public park. There were a few protesters hanging out and chanting, but to be honest it seemed a bit deserted for the number of tents. The police presence was rather intimidating though… it seemed like there was at least one cop per protester, and they all had some form of heavy riot gear on them, though they were just sitting outside the Fed building and watching with amusement. And I honestly was mirroring their amusement, to a lesser extent; while the protesters were definitely organized in that they were all in one area, and seemed to be sharing food and supplies, they were definitely not organized in their message. Each tent had its own sign and its own stated goals, some of which were logical, but some were a bit strange. And the goals weren’t focused on just the economy or Wall Street either; some were calling for the political parties to be dissolved, some were calling for Coca-Cola to be banned, and others were against an undefined “The War” (not mentioning if it was terror, Iraq, Afghanistan, or just all war in general.

After hanging out and taking a few pictures I headed out from Occupy Boston and jumped onto the highway towards my Grandparents place. The drive was quick, and before I knew it I was having some rather stellar dinner while chatting about my previous trip and my future trip plans. My Grandparents traveled extensively when they were younger, although not in one go like me, and so she told me a few stories of her own with my mom’s backup stories from her perspective. It was actually really neat seeing three generations worth of travel ideas; how its changed and how its stayed the same. Neat 🙂

A good weekend, no doubt about it, and a very fun way to spend Halloween.