Category Archives: earth

Road Rage

In my last post I mentioned that driving was a big change for me. Since high school, I haven’t had any kind of regular access to a car. I went off to college knowing that I didn’t want to pay for a car, and later realized I didn’t even want to drive one. I didn’t want to support an addiction to foreign oil, pollute the heavens, compromise my safety, or look for parking. I found that I much preferred living in close proximity to the things I needed, and I still want to support a sprawl-free world.
The automobile basically represents a whole lists of ethical negatives for me, while offering but a few practical positives (primarily convenience and loud, rocking, music). I was a non-driver for ten years, and a devoted non-driver for the past two years, which is evidenced by my doubling my commuting time and trekked through blazing sun, thunderstorms, blizzards, and sub-zero temperatures to get to work every day. Finally, I moved (not far) on the same day that my company moved (very far by walking standards) to create a nearly impossible drive-free commute. So I gave in.
What’s next for me? TerraPass? Carpooling? Toyota Prius? Time will tell.

Warm Weather

It’s been exceptionally warm in the Northeast this winter, and for a society that generally interested in weather – enough to make it the default small-talk topic and even build a business model around its unpredictability – I’ve been surprised at the lack of commentary.
Then there was a joke on last night’s Saturday Night Live and an article in this morning’s New York Times. It seems people are thinking about the weather after all, though many find convenience in the warmth, seemingly oblivious to certain less-than-convenient truths.
It’s incredible how much the temperature, and weather in general, affects our lives and our legacy. A quick Google News search for “warm weather” reveals the following articles (selected from the first 20 results):
“Warm weather taxing some businesses, helping others”
“Warm weather continues to limit ice fishing”
“Confusion blooms in warm winter weather”
“Warm Weather Boosts Construction”
“Mild winter kind to animals”
“Early Warm Weather Wakes Russian Bears”
“Warm weather sees oil prices hit lowest level since 2005”
“Warm winter hurting Adirondack businesses”
So it can be good and bad, at least in the short term, to be warm. Maybe not so good in the long term though.

Moving House

house on wheelsSunday morning in Cambridge… the birds are chirping, the strollers are out, and triple-decker apartment buildings are driving down the street. Apparently, even with Man Ray gone, there just wasn’t enough room for the ambitious new apartment complex in central square. This triple-decker has been inching closer to my building for about a week now, and this morning they took down the street lamps and shifted into drive.
The building only traveled about five house-lengths to another lot. Strangely the new lot is clearly not prepped for a house. The building is sitting there now on top of wooden blocks – like a car in a hick’s backyard.
moving house
back of driving house

New Central Square Dining Establishment

I’ve been watching the former site of Burger King in Central Square with anticipation over the last few months as “for rent” signs were posted, construction began, and a menu has been unveiled behind the tinted glass bubble of the former ruler-of-burgers. The new restaurant will apparently be called Rendezvous, which means I will be doomed to mispell both words in its name. Day after day I have turned my head and slowed my pace, occasionally reaching a full 90 degree head turn and, yesterday, actually stopping to peer inside.
From the looks of the menu (apparently the kitchen staff is ahead of the construction crew), you can have a few drinks and not be able to remember which Cambridge square you are occupying: Central (Rendevous), Havard (Grafton Street), Porter (Temple Bar), or Kendall… wait, you’ll know you’re not in Kendall.
The next question is whether Rendezvous will benefit the neighborhood. I can see why many would say that another upscale restuarant is the last thing that Central Square needs, especially after losing a hip Cambridge destination, but there really isn’t anything bad that can come from the end of a Burger King.

ManRay Goes Down

Apparently I tend to live not so much in the path of destruction, but rather, across the street from destruction. My first Boston apartment felt the heat of a major fire (pictures), and my current abode was recently rumbled by the destruction of the building formerly known as ManRay nightclub.
The reason for the closing of ManRay is less than apparent. After some research (okay, Google) I found this Harvard Crimson article explaining that the ManRay replacement will be a large apartment building by First Cambridge Reality Corporation (let’s hope their properties are better designed than their website). I also found a mention in the Cambridge City Council meeting resolutions:

WHEREAS: Man Ray is a hip Cambridge destination that the City does not want to lose; now therefore be it
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to confer with the Assistant City Manager for Community Development and the Director of Economic Development to contact the owners of the Man Ray night club to determine if the City can in any way assist in finding a suitable place to relocate this club.

Despite the warning signs, I was surprised at just how quickly the club was demolished. I took a picture after they tore off the roof, the next day… rubble.
ManRay Nightclub Demolition
ManRay Nightclub Demolition

Nor Cal Trip

I’m back in Boston after a great trip back west to northern California. Congratulations to Graeme and Karenna for marrying each other.
Part of my trip included a visit to Lake Tahoe, the second deepest lake in the U.S.. I don’t remember ever having gone there before, though photographic evidence suggests otherwise. Lake Tahoe is a truly beautiful natural area that is surrounded, at least on the south side, by kitschy 70’s buildings. I felt as though a turquoise turtleneck t-shirt would be appropriate attire in the winter. This, perhaps, results from the confluence of California money and Nevada vice, a combination that spawned the charming village of “Stateline”, which features quickie wedding chapels and slot machines next to a clear-water lake and jagged mountain peaks.
Tahoe was my main course, but I washed it down with a healthy swig of San Francisco, my former home, and a truly world-class town.