Archive for the ‘Around Town’ Category

Star Trek @ Brattle

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

Star Trek - 118 - ArenaI’ve been in a Star Trek mood since seeing the movie last week and subsequent debates about it’s merits with the handful of people who I saw it with. So when I heard that the Brattle Theater in Harvard Square was going to show six episodes of the original series on their big screen tonight for cheap, I decided to go and see two of them. I just got back.

Wow, am I glad that I didn’t pay to see all six. I mean I know there is a reason why I’ve not bothered to ever watch them (I have them all), but they were pretty bad. Although, as with Indiana Jones, seeing them with an enthusiastic audience probably did help. Also, the source material was the remastered DVDs, so the quality was much improved over my recorded from the G4 channel reruns. In any case, I saw:

  1. Star Trek – 118 – Arena
  2. Star Trek – 126 – Errand of Mercy

I feel that perhaps I’ve been too hard on Star Trek 11, it was much improved over the originals. But then I suppose the next level up is to compare it to the original movies, which I haven’t seen in many years.

Star Trek (11)

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009


I just got back from seeing the new Star Trek movie! How do you ask, well Celeste, told the xkcd forums, who told me. It seemes the Internet and the theater knew nothing about it otherwise. I still don’t know how she found out about it, but not many people did. It was not packed. I don’t quite understand why you wouldn’t promote a sneak preview enough to pack one showing. Anyways. I don’t want to give away any spoilers so the rest will be quite generic.

The movie started out strong, and quickly established a great action drama balance. I was drawn in well before the opening credits. The opening credits lacked a certain familiar tune. I mean, what they had, it’s similar, but it did not fulfill my desire to hear the music. The closing credits did so that was good.

So the movies going along just great and then there is a major plot point, something bad happens, and after that the movies just not the same. However, due to the continuities involved, there was a choice the writers could have made; that I would have made, but they did not. This takes them down a road towards a disappointing conclusion.

There is one gripe I can be specific about, because it was in the trailer. In the trailer they show a starship being constructed on the ground, on pylons. This utterly ridiculous. First, it is not consistent; all other star trek ships have been built in space. Second, if NASA didn’t even want to launch all of the international space station at once cause it weighted too much, imagine a star ship. Finally, star ships are not made to fly in the atmosphere, and it sure as hell ain’t gonna be rocketed up there, and they don’t have that kind of transporter capability at that point in the timeline; so how the hell does it get off the damn planet! I’m sorry there’s just no way that is realistic at all.

So this movie, being an odd one (11) was bound to suck (as all the odd numbered ones do), and so it did, although I will continue to applaud the strong start it had. And if you claim that this was really a different movie sequence then the other one then it is number 1, also odd, also bound to suck. This movie will not reboot the franchise. I’m not even sure the tag line “The future begins” is appropriate.

I do want to end on a high note. I really liked all of the new actors for the major characters, and they really did a good job of working in everyone’s lines from the show. They also hit all the classic elements but they did some of them in different ways. This is very similar to how Get Smart did things, and is applaudable. I would see a squeal involving them, but not in the time-line that extends from this film, which is the real problem with it.

Highs and Lows

Sunday, April 5th, 2009

I met a really awesome girl named Celeste tonight, but failed (via not asking) to get her number. This was at Information Superhighway Five.

I lost my glasses during a crazy, enormous, pillow fight this afternoon.

EC in Boston

Sunday, March 15th, 2009

Climbing a Pedstal at MIT

Wow, am I behind. EC was in Boston a week ago, to volunteer for the Boston FIRST regional and hang out with all her Boston friends. Instead of detailing the whole thing I’m gonna start allowing myself to write in a more short form. In hopes that I can keep the blog more in sync with my life.

  • I had to skip out on EC friday because I had a date. We went to a comedy show, which was funny, would go again, but there won’t be another date :-/
  • Saturday I met up with EC. I got to be a tour guide without a plan; using my geography and local culture knowledge to great effect. I’ve been spending a lot of time boning up on local culture, news, and ‘things to do’ knowledge; it felt good to use it. It validated all the time I’ve been spending. We went to Sunset in Allston and later Miracle of Science for the record.
  • We hung out at MIT for maybe two hours, being cool, failing to provide directions, and snooping around in classrooms. One of the classrooms had some thermodynamics/aeronautical stuff on the board. EC was thrilled.
  • I met two former classmates of hers, they were both cool.
  • All of us went to party in East Cambridge. Tim Hwang was there, I’m the biggest fan of the show he does with Diana. I met them at ROFLCon last year. He remembered my name! He invited me to come to some talks hes organizing! So awesome.
  • At the party there was an RIP 2am card for everyone to sign. Good call, otherwise I’d have forgotten about the time change. Which is bad when your friend is flying out in the morning.
  • After 2 hours of sleep I drove her to the providence airport. We made it in perfect time. It was a great weekend. Then I came back and did some spring cleaning that really needed to be done.

Boston Symphony Orchestra

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

About a week ago my room mate and I went to see the Boston Symphony Orchestra. The tickets were cheap thanks to the < 40 = $20 program. That made it an excellent opportunity to check off Symphony Hall from my list of Boston landmarks to visit. I went as much for the architecture as for the music, but I forgot my camera. I did manage to take enough shots with my phone’s camera to string together this panorama, taken from my seat before the concert.

The music that night was Mozart’s 19th, 20th, 21st and 25th symphonies. Apparently, of those, only the 25th is commonly played. The 25th was also my least favorite. Of the others, a week later they all seem to run together. They were playing the more uncommon peicies because they were in the middle of a series of concerts in which they were playing all (or most) of Mozart in chronological order. I was glad that I didn’t goto one of the later on chronological shows, which include more like the 25th (so I’m told). My most interesting thought at the concert was how much it might suck to be a room mate of one of the performers, many of whom were young looking. Then I decided that the BSO could probably afford to provide practice space.

I would go back under any of two conditions:

  • I was on a date
  • It was a tour of the building including history and not a concert

Mystery Science Theater 3000

Sunday, January 18th, 2009

The creators, Joel Hodgson and Trace Beaulieu, of Mystery Science Theater 3000 gave a talk at MIT on Saturday the 17th. I took it as an opportunity to go do something unique and convinced my friend Mary to come along. We started early, watching an episode she had on dvd to get in the mood and then headed down to see the talk. It was in 26-100, the same lecture hall in which many of the ROFLCon events took place. The hosts/moderators opened with a montage of their favorite MST3k clips. It was hilarious. The unexpected part is that it was hilarious even though it was entirely out of context, which I previously thought necessary for that kind of humor. Perhaps they slipped just enough context in under my nose to make the clips work.

There were some other interesting clips, mostly from before they made it big, on to comedy central. This included the first few minutes of the pilot, which they used to sell the local station in Minneapolis on the show. That is the station they were on before being on cable . They also showed the entirety of the “best of” clip reel from the 22 episodes they made there, which was used to sell comedy central on the show. I certainly learned a lot about the history of MST3k, of which I was previously not at all aware.

The creators, stand up comics by training, took every opportunity to make a joke, which made for a fun evening. After the talk we came back and watched another episode, which I think made for just enough MST3K for one night. I also learned that they have a new similar project called Cinematic Titanic, which is straight to dvd, includes the full original cast, and also includes a live tour. They will be at my favorite, the Somerville Theater on February 20th and 21st. Mary and I are totally going!

Handbell Christmas Concert

Monday, December 22nd, 2008

The second time I ventured out into the snow on Saturday was to go see my buddy Krishna play a holiday concert with his hand-bell quartet.

Start MBTA Rant

This time the bus was more than 25 minutes late. It is as if they just didn’t run one of the buses. I waited at my stop for a about 15 minutes, about half of which were early, just in case. Getting tired of waiting I walked down a few stops until I found a girl who’d been waiting longer than me. We chatted for a bit and I decided to continue walking up to the major street, which has more than one bus running on it. While I was doing this the bus passed me going to other way, but I made it to Concord Ave. and caught a different bus before it caught up to me. The subways didn’t help me make up time forcing me to wait as long as possible for each train and so I was 15 minutes late and missed 1/4 of the concert. Thanks MBTA!

End MBTA Rant

The concert was fun. The quartet plays almost 5 full octaves, which being more than one octave per person involves a lot of running around and other interesting ways to play more notes more often. They do a lot of the arrangements themselves because many of the songs they wanted to play are not commonly arranged for such small groups. Some of the songs they played:

  • Deck the Hall
  • Jingle Bells
  • You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch
  • Sleigh Ride
  • O Tannenbaum

Sleigh Ride was particularly good. They had some help with the background sounds, the whip and the snow falling. That helped to prevent me from noticing the notes that they dropped from the song in order to be able to play it. They followed up the concert with an encore performance of Sweet Caroline / Take Me Out to the Ballgame, which is the quartets signature song arranged last spring to honor the Fenway Park tradition. I was glad I ventured out to see them play. As I learned at dinner afterwards half of the quartet is leaving Boston, so this was likely their last performance.

Halloween 2008

Tuesday, November 4th, 2008

This year’s Halloween was a lot of fun. I went to a party hosted by Mary, a new friends of mine whom I met through another new friend of mine, Sparky. They were both on the hike in the blue hills a few weeks back. After Paul told me about his awesome Dr. Horrible costume I decided that I needed to get creative this year. My old stand by priest outfit never did me much good, and it is definitely lame. After some significant brainstorming on the way to a Wednesday Night Dinner at Pho Pasteur in Chinatown I came up with my idea. I would go as the Red Line (the subway line serving Cambridge). I dressed in all black, the priest outfit actually, and pinned a red ribbon from my feet along my legs and back, over my shoulder and onto my arm for the line. I marked and labled each spot. I think it came out pretty good.

I was greeted at the party by an Obama pumpkin, and a scary Sarah Palin pumpkin, among many others. I didn’t carve a pumpkin this year. I went upstairs and found a room full of good costumes. Mary was a tropical bird, which after a short demo I was able to guess; apparently, I was the only one to guess right all night. There was also a girl with a green double ended triangle over her head which I deduced, after some pause as being from The Sims. There was Able Lincoln and his girlfriend sexy Darth Vadar (in combat boots). There was a Mormon (with biblical flash cards), a fairy godfather, Colonel Sanders, and Whitney made a convincing butterfly, even if she doesn’t think so. The best costume at the party was a guy who came with a home made KISS costume, including home made 6 inch platform boots. The party was fun, the highlight of my night was schooling Mary in Wii Tennis, Bowling, and Golf before she came back and beat me by a slim margin in golf.

50 States Party

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

Last Friday I attended a 50 states party, an attempt to better educate ourselves about the 50 states during this election season. In reality it was just a party, with some pretty tame costumes. There were about 25 people there, but not quite 25 states as many people just assumed no one else would dress as California. I went as Kentucky (pictured) and was pretty happy with how my costume turned out. Actually, the cheap Kentucky bourbon was not mine, but it fit the theme. The chicken doubled as dinner and a costume, so I think that’s worth extra points. A few of the other states and the costumes that I remember being there.

  • Kansas – John Deer Tractor Driver
  • New Jersey – Indian Gas Station Attendant
  • Louisiana – Make Levees, not War
  • District of Columbia – Beltway
  • Ohio – Joe the Plumber
  • Hawaii – Hula Girl
  • Maine – Lobster
  • California
  • Alabama
  • Missouri
  • Maryland
  • North Carolina
  • Pennsylvania
  • Texas

That’s about all I can remember as far as the represented states go.

What Have I Been Doing?

Tuesday, July 29th, 2008

Well, on the Saturday after seeing The Dark Knight on my birthday I was invited to go to an all night beach party in Newburyport honoring the full moon with a fire. It was a blast. I met a bunch of new people and got to know a few kids I met on the 4th of July a bit better. One of them even managed to remember my name from then, which made me feel bad that I didn’t remember his. The weather was cloudy so there wasn’t a great view of the moon, but there were professionally done fireworks from a nearby by that we could see. As the night wore on batches of fog rolled in and out as the wind shifted. The wind off the water was quite cold, for about a minute once we could see our breath, but the wind off the land was comfortable. At one point the fog was so tick that you couldn’t see more than 15 feet it seemed. I arrived back home at around 5:30 am, by which time dawn had begun.

Lets see, what else… On Thursday of last week I went to that awards dinner for work, dateless. I wanted to take pictures of the supposedly lovely estate at which it was held, but it was raining quite a lot, as it had a tendency to do last week in Boston, so I just gave up on the idea that I’d get any nice looking pictures. The rain also turned what I was hoping would be an exploration of the land into a social event requiring copious amounts of small talk and pretending to like beer. The food, however, was quite good, so no complaints there.

On Friday of last week I went to see the Free Shakespeare on the Common production of As You Like It. I didn’t know anything about it going in, luckily they summarized the play in the program, which made it easier to follow along. It was really enjoyable, and seemed well done; the music was especially well suited. There were two lights operators, who climbed the towers to man the lights for the show. I really liked the whole idea of having them climb the towers, It seemed like they had really good seats as well (being so high), I wanted to be them. I was surprised to learn that the quote from Civilization 4 for when you discover drama, “All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players: They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts,” is from this play. I must say that the quote is much more enlightened sounding without the rest of the monologue that follows. The play was preceded by a picnic dinner; it was a date actually, but that’s you get to hear about it.