Archive for August, 2005

The new definition of leisure

Nearing the end of the weekend, I thought I’d let everyone in on one of the favorite pastimes of the Midwest. I had never heard of this game before I went to college in Ohio, but it looks like it’s catching on. The game is called “cornhole.” A suggestive name, I know, but it is seriously fun on a Sunday afternoon (if it weren’t raining), especially with beer in hand.

Here are the rules and regulations for the game. It’s pretty much just poor-man’s horseshoes, but if you take the time to make or spend the money to buy a good set, it can provide years of entertainment. And plus, when you have guests over, you can invite them to play this ridiculous game from the Midwest. Who wouldn’t want to play a game called “cornhole” anyway?

Too much chicken during the suspension?

Following his abbreviated suspension, everybody’s favorite Texas Ranger, Kenny Rogers was back on the mound last night against the Sox. Maybe he should have sat out a few more games. If you watched the game, you certainly saw the harsh reception Rogers got as he walked out to the mound.

After pitching fairly well in the first four innings, Manny reminded him what it’s like to pitch against the #1 RBI guy in baseball by batting in his 105, 106, and 107th runs on his 32nd home run of the season. After a bit of nervousness in the top of the 8th with Texas threatening against the Sox bullpen, the Red Sox took over in the bottom half of the inning to win their 11th home game in a row.

I’ve been a Sox fan since 1999, and this has been the first year I have been in the city to really follow the team. It has been an exciting summer so far, and I’m really growing to love the team. I’ll be looking forward to the big series this weekend against the White Sox.

Spent Some Ice Time With This Hockey Mom

Did I tell you I’m pretty hockey crazy? I even played in high school — I was just lousy, but it was fun as hell. And with this hot August weather, I went by my local rink today to see if they had made ice yet. I know it was nuts, but I was praying … and, Holy Zamboni! … they are getting it ready … and should have ice in 2 weeks!!!!

I also found out there’s an awesome hockey camp there and I’m signing my kid up for it. It’s in Lexington, at the Hayden Rink and it’s run by Steve Hoar (BC, BU and a former head coach at Tufts). It’s called the Minuteman Hockey Camp and runs from August 28 – September 2 for kids ages 6 through 14. There’s also another camp for teens ages 16 – 20 from August 28-August 31.

That last week of summer before school is a tough one for moms. The kids are climbing the walls — why not spend it at the rink with me? Call 781.862.5575 to sign up. Tell them Halley sent you — they don’t believe anyone reads blogs and I want to convince them otherwise!

And another thing, even if you don’t have a kid that wants to play hockey in August, there’s this Ice Time too, Jay Atkinson’s awesome book about coaching hockey in Methuen. It’s a great read, especially in hot weather.

Dance the Cha Cha Cha

Tomorrow night in Eggleston Square (corners of School Street and Washington) in Roxbury there is a free outdoor concert featuring the Cha Cha Cha All Stars (an offshoot of Babaloo) and other street fair fabulousness.

Cha Cha, etc from 6:00 – 8:00.

They are fun, and I’m not just saying that because I have a personal relationship with their drummer…

Tax-Free Holiday Weekend

The state of Massachusetts is giving consumers two days off from paying taxes on August 13 and 14. There’s a lot of fine print, but for the most part, any single item purchase under $2500 will be tax-free this weekend. The state did this last year as well and did see a decent increase in consumer activity. So if you’ve been eying that big screen TV, now may be the time to pull the trigger.

Waterproof Tickets

Following up on Jeff‘s post, via WSOCTV:

By the end of the month, all parking tickets in Boston will be waterproof.

That will force some people to give up a favorite excuse.

The Boston Globe says parking enforcement officers are getting $2,500 computers that print out tickets on waterproof paper. They’re expected to eliminate illegible citations.

The city’s transportation commissioner says the book-size devices will also minimize the potential for human error. They will help officers keep track of cars parked in spaces with time limits but no meters.

Boston has collected more than $62 million in parking fines over the past year on some 1.5 million tickets.

I always thought this would have made a good excuse, but also thought I’d get found out and ended up paying any parking ticket I’ve ever gotten. Of course, none have been from the City of Boston, so maybe I’m off-base. Will this really get rid of people getting out of their tickets, or just from using the “it rained” excuse?

Westport Rivers Winery

As a city dweller, I am always open to “rural” excursions. And when I realized that my favorite sparkling wine came from a vineyard just 45 minutes south of Boston, I grabbed my wife, my best friend and my pallet and made the trip to Westport, MA.

It’s about the beer

Before I moved to Boston, I had never heard of a beer called Brubaker – a light American macro brew that is extremely popular with the budget drikning crowd (of which I am a proud part when I’m not trying to impress.) Not to be confused with Brubaker, Brubaker, or Brubaker, Brubaker Beer is not available everywhere, but you can still get a 16 oz bottle of the stuff for $2 at Our House West in Allston. Two dollars for a pint? That’s unheard of! And in my opinion, it’s just as good as any of the other run of the mill standards one might find at a local bar.

But there’s something a little odd about this beer. It starts with the bottles. They’re regular old sixteen ounce brown bottles, but on every one I’ve ever had, there seems to be a lot of old label adhesive still sticking to the sides. It’s a mystery as to what those bottles previously contained, especially since I’ve never seen another beer in that type of sixteen ouncer. Also, I’ve never really been able to put my finger on who makes the stuff. I’ve heard rumors that it’s brewed in the Back Bay somewhere, but a google search turned up with some puzzling results. Beer says The Lion Brewery produces Bru, but their website has no trace of it.

Does anyone else know where this cost-conscious diamond in the rough is made?

Parking fine increases are fine with me

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I am again encouraging people to ride the T. If the environmental benefits, economic value, and ease of use haven’t convinced you, try parking your car in Somerville these days. It has just become (and will continue to become) much more expensive to park out near where I work, very close to the Davis Square T stop. The city just installed new digital meters that cannot be thwarted by the old “folded up paper mechanism-jamming” technique, and the rates have doubled. Now if you want to park your car in Somerville, it’s going to cost you a quarter for every 15 minutes at a meter. And don’t even think about parking illegally or letting that meter expire, because parking officials are like hawks around here, circling their prey, watching meters expire and then promptly writing tickets. The prices for those tickets went up a couple of weeks ago, and some fines are set to increase again beginning August 12.

This spells bad news for anyone who commutes to work in the area and doesn’t have a permit. It’s especially bad for the servers who work in the restaurant I manage. They have to constantly run out to their cars to feed their meters over the course of a shift. Even then, one or more of them come in almost daily, brandishing a bright orange violation slip.

We have a fantastic mass transit system here. If you don’t believe me, try living in a city with no mass transit system like Cincinnati (my home town) where the buses run less frequently to fewer routes, and cost $1.50 if you want to go anywhere but downtown.

If you’re still not convinced, and you get a ticket, I have no sympathy. With enough planning and a willingness to get some excercise, anyone within reach of the T should be able to get wherever they need to go – without dealing with harsh parking regulations and fines.

Whither This Withering Weather?

Or to put it more plainly, where is this horrid heatwave heading? Is it leading to our demise? One more day seems unbearable. How much iced coffee can anyone really drink? Is there no relief in sight?

Apparently today will be the end of a bunch of scorchers and tomorrow might actually be reasonable.

Nice little twist, what with it being the weekend tomorrow.

Do we Bostonians drone on and on about the weather incessantly? YES, OF COURSE?! But golly, it’s a tough town when it comes to meterological challenges.

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