Friday, November 28, 2008

Old Man

My 20th high school reunion is today. Holy piss. This is distressing not in the "where has the time gone" kind of way but more like "there's no fucking way I can really be that old, can I?" Oh hell yes I can. And am.

Until recently I was really only in touch with about 5 people from high school. With the advent of Facebook I've been in contact (sort of) with some more people (come to find out that one of them actually works for the same company I work for. Small world). My high school experience was one of non-participation. I just didn't buy into anything really. Maybe I should have, I dunno. It may have made the time there more interesting certainly. The friends that I hung around with back then also weren't really interested in doing typical high school stuff (well, typical sanctioned high school stuff at any rate), so we just kinda didn't have a real involved connection with the school. It was just a place that we had to go to.

It's only with hindsight that I can see the benefit of having a more involved school experience. High school for me wasn't an awful time but it wasn't particularly pleasant either. It just kind of ... was. I didn't have a choice so I went. It was kind of like having a crappy job. But along the way I met some pretty cool people who made it tolerable. I didn't keep in touch with a lot of those people over the last (jesus christ) 20 years though and seeing some of them might be interesting but I don't want to make those reconnections at an official reunion. Maybe that's due in part to the not having a connection to the school. I don't associate places with time or memories. I'd rather go grab a beer or something. That way we can fully enjoy the uncomfortable silences and awkward lulls in conversation more fully.

I know that some of the people that I've seen on Facebook are going to this reunion tonight and that's great for them. I just can't do it.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Cost of Living Here

Ok, so living in this part of the country is expensive. Last year I tried (and failed) to cut down on my commuting costs by taking mass transit. That didn't work out so well. Economically it makes the most sense for me to take the train in but ... I really can't take the train and not end up in prison. Plus, they recently upped the parking lot fees at the train station from $2 to $4 per day. That's significant.

I drive to work (car-pooling with the Wiff) and while not the cheapest way to go, it is by far the quickest and most likely to let me retain my sanity. We live north of Boston so in order to get to our office here in Cambridge we have a few options: One is the Tobin Bridge which is constantly under repair or painting or some other bullshit and therefore almost constantly choked with other cars. There's also the fact that in order to get to our office we'd have to go over another littler bridge that is also choked with cars. It's not a quick route. And the toll on the bridge is $2.50 (since we have the E-Z Pass doo-dad).

Another route is to take Rt. 16 all the way from Revere to Everett and then jump on Rt. 99 and even typing that sentence made me cringe. That route would also dump us onto the shitty little Gilmore bridge over by Bunker Hill that is constantly choked with cars. Not a decent option but, no toll. Just lots, and I do mean lots, of lights. Please to remember that I drive a 5-speed and stopping and starting sucks balls.

The third option is our current one. That is to take the airport tunnels (Sumner and Callahan). As of right now the tolls (which are only for going INTO Boston not LEAVING Boston thankfully) are $3 (again with the doo-dad). However, these are poised to increase to $6 come February or March of 2009. Holy fucking fuck people. That is some Grade A bull poop. That will mean that our current toll costs will increase from $60 a month to $120. This irks me.

What to do? Aside from winning the lottery (please baby jeebus? please?), it looks like I'll be choosing option #2 or some variance come next year. Why not go with the Tobin? Well I figure that the bulk of the people who, like me, refuse to pay the increased toll for the tunnel will be taking the Tobin instead. I already didn't like taking the bridge to begin with so adding another say 20-30,000 pissed-off drivers per day onto that dilapidated structure isn't an option I'm willing to consider. I'll do the stop-and-go portion of Rt. 16 to 99. I won't like it, but I'll do it.

There is also talk of increasing the state gas tax rather than increasing the tolls. I'm more in favor of that because it more evenly spreads the burden across all of drivers in the state. Plus, we have a pretty low (based on national average) tax as it stands right now (23.5 cents/gallon). I guess the biggest annoyance is that all of this debate over whether to raise the tolls or the gas tax is all due to the amazingly shitty job they did managing the cost of the Big Dig. All $15 billion+ of it. I'm sure the peeps in the state who never even use the "improvements" that the Big Dig made would much rather have the toll increase but this isn't their blog so f 'em. Heh.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Found Some Pictures

I was poking around in the batch of pictures that I have and I came across a couple of gems. The first one is of my dad at my sister Theresa's first birthday party (this is the apartment where I grew up. I still have dreams that take place at ol' 70 Linwood Street). I just love the look on his face. I can't decide if it's just a really happy expression or a "Holy shit this is for real now, thank god for beer!" look. I'm gonna go with the former. Plus I like the super-pale legs blending into his white socks.

The second one is my mom with what appears to be a gang of angry teenagers. The pic says it's from 1958 so that would make her 22 or so here. My mom is the one in the center of the pic with the dark shorts and pudgy knees. Even though she looks like she's about to kick the ass of whomever is taking the picture I'm pretty sure it's just the sun in her eyes. Plus, she only kicked ass with a wooden spoon in her hand. And I don't mean cooking. That shit hurts.

I miss them a lot.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Obama Gets My Vote

I voted for Barack Obama today. It felt...right. It felt as good as voting for Clinton in '92 (and waaaaaaay better than voting for Kerry in the last election..nevermind Dukakis in '88 when I broke my voting cherry. He wasn't gentle at all). But this was different. I think I can say that this was the first presidential election where I was honestly voting FOR a canidate rather than AGAINST the other canidate. Now all I (and everyone else too I suppose) do now is wait. And worry. I just want to plop down in front of CNN and make myself crazy. Must...resist. I'm gonna put up the new insulated shades in the dining room and pretend that I'm not freaking out.

UPDATE: Hoooooooooraaaaaaaaaaaaay!!!!!!!!!