Sunday, November 05, 2006

Apropos of Nothing

This weekend, I welcomed Chad from Drowned in Ink to the Greater Boston Area. He is a nice guy who can give me a run for random pop-culture references in everyday conversations. Because I love my adopted city, putting the best face on Boston is always a priority for me with visitors.

Speaking of priorities, why is Boston having such a hard time with the upgrades to the T? The transition from tokens to paper cards (which strikes me as an environmental disaster given the number of discarded paper tickets that I have seen flying around the city already) has to be one of slowest and most poorly executed public projects I have seen in years.

Speaking of malfunctioning trains, Amtrak seems just as slow and unpredictable as ever. Don’t Americans feel shame when they meet European or Japanese tourists? They probably get off their planes and expect to find the most powerful nation in the world with super 190 m.p.h. bullet trains and elaborate public transportation systems. You know, like the stuff they have in their own countries. Instead they find a crumbling Amtrak huffing and puffing at 80 m.p.h trying to get out of the way of a CP freight train on its ass. What do we say to these tourists? “Gee, We could have had a functioning train system, but we decided to put all of our money into highways instead. Of course, now the highways have become hopelessly overcrowded. We Americans, though, like to spend two hours to travel ten miles on I-5.”

Speaking of crumbling infrastructure, after having just told Chad about how reliable the T’s Red Line usually is, we were forced to exit and take a bus to downtown that added an extra half-hour to our journey. The T authority claimed that they were repairing track and building a station, but, whatever.

Speaking of downtown, I still get consistently lost on Boston streets. At some point, I should really work on getting a map when visitors are in town.

Speaking of showing visitors around, many of my suggestions for Chad seemed oddly geared to death. There’s nothing like visiting cemeteries to think, “Hey, my host borders on the peculiarly macabre.”

Speaking of cemeteries, I find it impossible not to try to scare, or at least startle, people while walking amongst the graves. Yes, I am ten.

Speaking of the dead, Mt. Auburn cemetery really is pretty, especially for a town of the decomposing. Alas, we couldn’t locate Mary Baker Eddy’s grave. Little did I know, either, that Isabella Stewart Gardner resided in this cemetery.

Speaking of Isabella Stewart Gardner, that woman had too much money. Don’t get me wrong, I am happy that she left behind her nifty little museum for the people of Boston. Still, how much cash did that woman have?

Speaking of museums, Chad’s visit finally got me to the Fogg Museum at Harvard. While at the Fogg we saw a painting of John the Baptist. How did we know it was John the Baptist? Oh, that would be the severed head with the blood pouring onto the floor. Christianity has such cheery iconography.

Speaking of art, I am a total adolescent when it comes to viewing paintings or statuary. Many of the paintings were total masterpieces. If they involved a naked man, however, I instantly focused in on the dangling bits.

Speaking of dangling bits, why are men buying the Wonderjock©? Well, okay, I understand the desire for things to look bigger. The Wonderjock’s claim of having a “ball/extension support technology” looks overly optimistic. The Wonderjock also promises to "lift and separate," which suggests that they don't know men's bodies at all. Is it me, or does that sound really, really uncomfortable?

Speaking of being uncomfortable, as the temperatures steadily drop in Boston I am starting to think my time in Texas really has left me unprepared for chilly winters after all. Don’t get me wrong, I am much happier to be spending winter in Boston than the dreaded Texas. Still, it’s darn cold out there. At least liquor keeps me warm.

Speaking of drinking, if I keep up drinking at this rate, am I going to end up looking like Colonel Tigh?

Speaking of Battlestar Galactica, how happy am I that Jamie Bamber finally ditched the fat prosthetics and showed off his amazing body again?

Speaking of my obsessions, Chad merely suggesting that he was considering getting a Ph.D. lead me to strongly advocate for such a pursuit. I think completing a dissertation results in the same mindset as joining a cult. We all seem to go out and evangelize others to do the same as we did, despite our own suffering in the process.

Speaking of creepy cult behavior, I wonder if Chad realized that visiting me would result in learning an ungodly amount about Wonder Woman.

Speaking of visiting me, when are the rest of you folk coming to Boston?


dykewife said...

it's such a relief to hear that the profs i've spoken to aren't aberrations. every one of them, except one, wanted to know when i was going to go on to do my master's. *sigh* now i know for certain it's a weird cult thing...or at the least an academic conspiracy, upon the successful completion of the oral defense of the dissertation, y'all have to sign a declaration to draw in as many prospective grad students as possible.

Earl Cootie said...

Hmmm. Someone's been drinking. Why, yes, I have, GayProf, thanks for asking. No, wait. That's not what I meant.

If I make it to Boston, I want to visit all the cemeteries. Or at least the good ones. On one of my two visits to Chicago, a friend took me to a cemetery (in the frozen, snowy, cold) and that remains one of my very favorite memories of the city.

Earl Cootie said...

Haha. I said "remains".

(Someone's been drinking.)

ChristopherM said...

I'm preparing the only mode of transportation a law student can afford just to come visit you, Gayprof. Just do me a favor, and come downstairs to sign for your package when FedEx calls.

tornwordo said...

I must be ten too, lol. Cold? You've seen nothing yet. And when are you visiting Montreal? Tit for tat and all that.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of getting around Boston... my sister and her family have been living there for years and still have problems every now and then. And, is liquor the way to keep warm here? Being from Florida, this will be my first winter in New England and from what people tell me (Chris included), I should be very, very afraid. The thing is though, I don't drink. Yikes.

Anonymous said...

Don't get a map when visitors come! I can attest to the fact that getting a little turned around is more fun than walking from point A to point B.

Anonymous said...

I'll buy 200 of whatever that model is selling.

Holy shit, what a why to kick-start the week!

Now I'm totally not able to think in ... in an order... you know what I mean.

Doug said...

I feel better. I'm not the only one who focuses on the dangling bits in priceless antique masterpieces.

During the winter, you come visit me in Florida. During the spring or fall, I'll come visit you in Boston. During the summer, we'll go visit Torn in Montreal.

Will said...

When Isabella married Jack Gardner, she married SOOOOOOOO much money. He indulged her through several years during which he lived and worked here while she studied and collected art in Europe. The result is that splendid, quirky collection.

She was a renegade from Boston Brahmin society which is why "The Palace" was built out in the Fens area rather than in the Back Bay or Beacon Hill. She hung out with the great high creatrives and academics of the area (virtually all gay) and was a special pal of John Singer Sargent. I really love Isabella, she must have been hell on wheels.

The conversion process for the T has taken months and is still a patchwork of stations that take the new cards and those that don't because they've not yet been converted. And the conversion is both a lengthy process and inconsistent--some machines process your card and tell you how much you have left while other machines in other stations have no screens. And I haven't yet seen a feature like they have in NYC where you can go to a separate machine just to give a read-out of the remaining value.

vuboq said...

Creepy cemetaries are cool. The Necropolis in Glasgow was amazing. I still haven't been to Highgate Cemetary in London though. Maybe next visit.

I haven't been to Boston since I was a college student. I have a vague recollection of my friends and I re-enacting the Battle of Bunker Hill with a snowball fight. Bunker Hill is in Boston, right?

GayProf said...

Dykewife: That reminds me, have you taken your GRE yet?

Earl: I encourage my readers to drink before opening CoG. It makes me seem much more entertaining.

Christopher: I would love to get a law-student-in-a-box.

Torn: As soon as I dump the Texas house and have more financial flexibility, I am so in Montréal.

Steve: Well, if not liquor, I seem to also overdose on caffeine as well. Coffee and tea are my new best friends. Liquor is more of a family member.

Jeremy: Well, I suppose if we eventually reach the liquor, it's okay to be lost for a bit.

Laura: Only agree to buy it if the model comes to your house and shows you how it works.

Doug: Florida would be sweet -- See my comment to Torn.

Will: The theory behind the switch sounds good, but it does not seem to be going well. Not to mention, the new bus readers take forever. There are lines to enter the bus while people feed their cards into the little machines.

V.U.B.O.Q.: Yep, Bunker Hill was the battle over Boston. So, which side were you on?

Anonymous said...

heh heh... it's already beginning, apparently. Yeah, they're just mild irritations with the city right now. But just you wait, oh yes, you'll see! MwaaaHaHa!!!

The card thing has been messy (on multiple levels) but once it's done and the kinks are out, it should be ok, I think. I mean the BART in SF and the DC Metro have similar paper type things.

And I give the T this, those red-line stations really DO need repairing. They're actually making them reasonably nice.

Anyway, separate and lift? WTF?
About Jamie - Oh yes, I so agree!! Yummmmm!

As for the cold - well, same as above: Just you wait :)

Elizabeth McClung said...

speaking of comments, did gayprof write this blog after doing pixie-sticks shooters because the reference to being 10 isn't about graveyards, more like attention spans.

I like cemeteries too, in fact, they were usually my first date - and Linda and I still go around them when travelling, usually looking for strange and bitter comments carved into the headstones like "Maybe someday I'll understand" or odd deaths, like Cardiff cemetary's 1906's 11 year old being dragged and drowned in the bristol channel by a balloon.

I'll come to boston as soon as you visit me - no, I'm lying, but I'll visit Tacoma, is that close enough (only a 4 day Amatrak journey from there).

Isodice said...

My mother likes to take me to museums so I can help her figure out which saints are which. We've moved beyond John the Baptist and are working on the more obscure iconography now. (I challenge you to tell Sts. Anthony and Zeno apart if Zeno's fish is hard to spot.) But yet another example of the Euro-centric focus, I suppose--I know nothing about non-European Catholic imagery other than those candles they sell at Safeway. Somehow I doubt they tell the whole story . . .

Anonymous said...

Isabella Stewart Gardner actually wasn't that rich in Gilded Age terms. Her husband only ("only) left her about twenty million dollars, if I remember correctly. Compared to the Vanderbilts and Rockefellers, et al., she was downright lower middle class!

I, too, am happy to see the Bamceps and Bamabs back. Let them never be covered by prosthetics (or, even better, clothing) ever again. So say we all!

Honey, you got YEARS of binge drinking to go before you catch up to old Saul Tigh. And do you really want to lose an eye and poison the love of your life? I've always thought of you as more of an Ellen (minus the dead part) myself. *LOL*

Yeah, "lift and separate" doesn't sound quite right when talking about the male genitalia.

I'd like nothing more than to visit you in Boston (would you wear the sailor cap?), but A) I'm beyond broke, B) I'm kinda scared of travel, and C) I should probably work on actually getting my ass into the city I'm only a half-hour away from before I tackle going up to Beantown.

Dorian said...

I'm stalkable? Cool.

Anonymous said...

Ooh, we're historians. We're all steeped in death (and, of course, gravitas).

Seeker Onos said...

Speaking of Jamie Bamber...

...I wouldn't mind having the Hollywood-like ability to drop about 20kg of fat "prosthesis" inside of three or four weeks.

Or being able to afford a personal trainer/have oodles of time to stay in a near-perfect physical condition.

But in the mean time, I console myself with having a little extra cushion on me bum when I slip and fall. :P

Adam said...

Public transport is so embarassing here. I'm always fielding the question asked with the largest amount of incredulity, "you don't have trains here?"

On first glance the fat suit had me totally convinced and I was very very worried.

GayProf said...

Atari: We all know about your anti-Boston agenda. ;-)

Elizabeth: Short attention span? Me? I don't think... Oh, look! Something shiny!

Isodice: Well, given most museums in the U.S. don't bother to collect or display more than a scant amount from Africa or Latin America, it's no wonder that most people find it hard to identify their imagery. The struggle continues. **Sigh**

Frank: Are you crazy? Get your young queer ass to the city, son.

Dorian: Sure, it's flattering right now. Just wait until it gets to the restraining order stage, though.

Chad: Gravitas: It's what's for breakfast.

Seeker: Yeah, I was annoyed ny the ease and speed of Apollo’s weight loss. At first I thought we lost two years in the show. Then I scoffed at the idea that “jumping rope” would lead to such results. Hey, though, why look a gift horse in the mouth? Who cares? He's back to his muscle-bound self.

Adam: We all had the split-second of terror in the season-opener. Thank the goddess that we got through it together. It's over now.

Kalv1n said...

I just love the image of you jumping around in cemetaries trying to scare people. Maybe you could do it in a wonder jock next time. I'm beginning to wonder why I kept going to school for so long. I should have just read books and saved some major money, but you know what they say about the grass on the other side of debt's cruel crushing embrace.

brett said...

i have a pair of those undies.

and i rather like them.

and more importantly, i bet you'd like them, too.

CT said...

*eyes Jamie Bamber pic* holy cow! So that's what he's been up to since Horatio Hornblower... I don't watch TV anymore, so I have not kept up on such things.

Oh and hi, you don't know me, but I've been lurking for a bit. Awesome blog.