Monthly Archives: June 2013

Boston under Siege

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19-Apr-13

 

You know your day is going to be interesting when you get a call, first thing in the morning, asking if you’re ok and whether or not you’ve seen the news yet.

Today started out like any other Friday morning – I got out of bed, packed my work clothes into my drybag to put in my bike, and started walking downstairs to jump in the shower.  But instead of getting in the shower, I picked up a call from my Stepdad Steve, when I heard the dreaded words asking about my knowledge of current events.  Boston police, MBTA police, MIT Campus police, and every other form of law enforcement agency we have here in Mass had cornered the Marathon Bombers, and the area was locked down for a city-wide manhunt…

 

  • After Steve’s phone call sent me to the internet, I realized that not only was Watertown (the main site of the “battle”) locked down, but all adjacent towns as well… including Cambridge and Waltham.  My home is locked down, my office is locked down… yeah.  Staying home today.
  • After calling Carey (my boss) and letting him know that I wouldn’t be in, I set myself down with my netbook to try and figure out exactly what was going on.  None of the news agencies had a coherent picture, but I was finally able to put together enough of what had happened
  • Seriously… what?  This was grand-theft-auto level shit going on… people driving around, throwing grenades at cops?  Officers being assassinated in their cars?  Responders running out of bullets after a protracted firefight on city streets?  Seriously?
  • Whelp, I’m staying indoors ‘till this blows over.
  • Call Marla while she’s walking Minor… thankfully she brought her phone for once, and so I let her in on what’s going down.  Her and Minor hustle their way back.
  • After making a solid and delicious breakfast, a nice little surprise on a Friday, Marla and I set ourselves up for a fairly boring stuck-at-home day…
    • The back deck becomes a pillow pit, after I pull nearly everything off my bed to make a nest for myself.  Marla’s all fancy and just uses a chair
    • With my netbook next to me, open to the news, I lay back for a bit of reading.  Bond, Blofeld, they make nice distractions
    • We learn that the action (if you should call it that) happened literally down the street from Marla’s office.  Like… less than 500ft away.
    • I get some video games in with Chirag, shoot the shit with Dave, and generally have a relaxing day… or at least as relaxing as ones day can be when you’re told not to open the doors to anyone aside from a uniformed police officer.
    • The evening finally rolls around, and minor is in desperate need of a walk.  Poor guy’s been cooped up all day with us… so after a quick check on the news tells me that it’s at least sort of safe to go outside, Marla and I head out into the war zone
    • It’s… not a war zone.  At all.  It’s quiet, but there’s no looting, no insanity.  Just… a city relaxing.  There isn’t even an aura of stress and fear – you can tell when large groups of people are afraid, and this definitely wasn’t it.
    • Once we get to Davis, which is technically in Somerville and not in the lockdown, we see where Bostonian’s are: at the bar.  Drinking and watching the TVs.  So, we grab a beer and visit with people for a bit.  It’s nice to socialize after being locked indoors all day
    • Heading home after a bit, the city is still quiet, but it’s starting to open back up again
    • On the news, we hear the end of it all.  They caught the remaining bomber in a boat a few yards from Marla’s office.  That’s all there is.  An ambulance comes and whisks him away, and we all go about the business of forgetting him.  Not what he did, or the victims of those actions… but the person himself.
      • It’s scary, actually.  I’m sitting here at the end of June, writing this journal entry.  And I think back… and no one’s heard anything about this kid since he was moved to a military hospital.  Nothing.  I actually had to search for an article that says that he was officially charged with the assault a few days back.
      • I think I’m ok with that.  Don’t forget what happened.  Don’t forget that we aren’t always perfectly safe, and never forget those hurt in the attack… but the person who did it?  He doesn’t matter.  He doesn’t deserve infamy or fame… all he deserves is a trial.

A funeral in Rhode Island

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Wednesday, 17-Apr-13

 

I got to work early for once… quite early in fact. But unfortunately it wasn’t due to me being productive or feeling energetic – it was to make up a bit of time so that I could leave early that day. I had to pick up Chirag from his office, get on the highway, and drive down to Rhode Island for Mike’s Mom’s funeral.

 

  • I get into work early, much earlier than normal. Which honestly isn’t that early in comparison to the rest of the folks who work at Artisan.

  • Get a good bit of work done before I head out to pick up Chirag at his office… where he makes me wait outside for like 15min. When he finally comes out, he’s flanked by two ladies who he works with. And I quote, “Whoa! Chirag, you didn’t tell us that you drive a Mustang!”. I didn’t have the heart to correct them.

  • The drive down? Amazing – perfect weather, just sunny enough that I was worried about getting a sunburn with the top down. I did, incidentally.

    • Entertaining note: we had three different methods of navigation going at once – Chirag’s phone, my car’s navigation, and the paper maps that I’d printed out just in case. And, of course, they all advocated different routes.

  • After a quick stop for food at Dunkin Donuts, we arrived exactly five minutes after the official start time and head inside after meeting Daniel in the parking lot.

  • The funeral itself:

    • We sit down and meet some of Mike’s friends from High school.

    • There are three speeches – A minister, a Priest, and Mike’s friend Ryan. Ryan talks perfectly – he tells perfect stories, and paints an amazing picture of Mike’s mom.

  • Afterward there’s a short reception, where we meet a few other members of Mike’s extended family; his aunt’s and cousins, his other step-brother Joel, etc…

  • But after the official reception we all jump in cars and drive out to the ocean, aiming for a bar called Ocean’s Mist.

    • It’s the perfect dive bar for us. Lot’s of seating, cheap food, good beer, and a ocean-view deck that we can sit and talk on.

    • Cigar’s come out, chicken wings are eaten, and Mike tells us about his Mom. Ryan chimes in with a few stories as well, and healing slowly begins…

  • A bit after midnight I head out with a cup of coffee in hand, aiming the steering wheel at Boston.

A bit of work, a bit of climbing, and a lot of relaxation and reflection on Patriot’s day.

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15-Apr-13

 

After the previous few days spending time with Mike and Sarah after the passing of Mike’s Mom, I felt the need to get away from everything for a bit. So I packed up the Mustang and drove out to Crow Hill, in Leominster State Park. I had planned on hiking, climbing, and hopefully doing a bit of work for Artisan, but the events of the day changed that plan a bit…

 

  • I was awake and mobile much earlier than usual. Perhaps because it was a Monday, but I think it was mostly due to the emotionality of the previous days… and my need to escape to the woods for a bit.
  • After a delicious breakfast of waffles, bacon and eggs I finished packing up the car and headed into work at Artisan, to get caught up on a few things that I’d missed the previous week and to make up some time that I knew I was going to burn later on in the week.
    • I actually got a fair bit done in the short time I was at Artisan; having a building completely to yourself does actually help creativity and ability to focus, as crazy as that sounds. Though I did miss having someone to bounce ideas off of, I’ll admit.
  • After grabbing some of my notes I hit the highway again, dropping the top on the car and taking Route 2 all the way out to Crow.
  • The drive? Amazing! Perfect weather and excellent skies, with just enough traffic to keep the driving interesting.
  • I park at the parking lot to the rocks and head on in after having a short chat with one of the rangers nearby. Slow day, supposedly, which is a bit surprising for such a propular climbing place on a Monday holiday.
  • After chatting with a few random climbers about the rock and the day so far I headed deeper into the park than I usually do – heading out to do a bit of exploring for new crags to climb
    • There was tons of wet rock and greasy climbs, but for a while nothing looked legitimate enough to bother setting a rope up on
    • Finally I broke through a whole nest of shrubbery and undergrowth, finding a massive cliff that looked perfectly open for development. I still haven’t gotten to go back yet so I won’t admit to anything about them… but I can’t wait to get back.
  • As I’m walking around and exploring, the phone calls finally start flooding in…
    • “Are you ok? Are you at the Marathon?”
    • The theme continues – no information about what’s actually happening or has happened, but I start hearing rumors that something happened at the end of the Boston Marathon.
    • As the calls flow on, I learn more and more: I slowly put together a picture of what had happened… learning about the explosion, the second explosion. Hearing that my friend who ran the race was ok. Learning how many had been hurt, and that thankfully none of my group of friends had even been in the area
  • But… I was an hour away, at max speed. And being back in Boston wouldn’t help anything… so I continued on, exploring more of the crags and scouting out a few possible new places to climb.
  • I do sit down and try to get some Artisan work done, but unfortunately for my trusty Netbook, the water bottle that I’d brought alone didn’t have a particularly secure lid… and the water had spilled down onto the keyboard. Thankfully a few days of drying cleared it out, but it was out of commission for the time being.
  • With the Netbook out of order, hiking is the option of the day. I roll out and explore to the far end of the State Park, taking my time and chatting on the phone as calls come in.
  • As darkness sets I head back to the car, having a nice drive back home as the sun dropped down below the horizon.