This is going to be an interesting post to write. Why? Because I’m going to write it over the course of almost a month, whereas most of my posts (even those crazy long ones) are written in one, at most two, sittings. The reason for the structure is partially a matter of time. Some of the things I want to talk about simply haven’t happened yet! But, thanks to the magic of the internet and magnets, I can actually start writing a post now and finish it at some point in the far-flung future (but prior to the Matrix being reset again). So, while this portion is being written at the beginning of July, this post probably won’t actually pop up until late July or early August. Fun!
So, with that said, consider this post the chronological follow up to my graduation post. While my “5 Years of Dinosaur Bear” post is technically the most recent post to this, it’s sort of out in its own timeline, whereas this post picks up right after the graduation post ends. To be even more macro, this is actually a follow up to my “Boston Pre-Game” post from 3 years ago (wow). I figure if you have a pre-game, you should probably have a post-game as well. So here it is, the twilight of our Boston chapter! 🙂
Truth be told, most of what has been happening is the super-awesome-magical-rainbow-adventure of studying for the bar. I considered writing about that in this post, but I think – if time permits – that I’ll write a post about the bar exam in the future. There’s a lot to talk about and I can probably share more insight after I’ve taken the exam. In the meantime, just know I’ve been studying 5-6 days a week doing full-time job type hours (and I’m still getting my ass handed to me by practice tests). Sadly the bar exam is like pretty much every other test on Earth and is (statistically) far more difficult now than it was 10 years ago, let alone 20 or 30+. But I digress!
In addition to bar studying, things have actually been pretty dang busy. A lot of it has to do with the fact that we’re getting ready to move – but it’s not an ordinary move. It’s a move 1000 miles to the west, followed by an immediate move 3,100 miles back to the east. Yeah, odd, I know. To make things even more wacky, that move will eventually be followed by a move 4,000 miles back to the west. We’re silly like that.
The relevance of this is that we are downsizing – a lot. Why? Because we are going to be getting another moving truck! Yes, one of Lillian’s family members! In fact we’ve preemptively named our truck Lucy – though that is subject to change upon meeting the truck (for instance we didn’t know Beckett was Beckett until we met him). We’re actually getting another truck the same size as Lillian, so truck space isn’t a huge concern (though things that were in boxes then are now built). The reason we’re getting rid of things is two fold. First, we have not forgotten the hell that was moving into this apartment. Sure, this time we’d be going down the stairs – but both SB and I very much decided that that was sort of a “Hahaha, woo that was a funny memory, haha, fun times, but never again. Nope.” kind of moment. By slowly getting rid of things leading up to the move, it makes the move itself much easier. Second, we’ll be storing pretty much everything we own and FIL was kind enough to offer space. Subsequently, we’re trying to downside as much as feasible in order to use less of his space.
Out with the old and in with the nothing, I suppose. Though in fairness we did have to acquire a few new things for the move – but a $335 gift certificate for Amazon that I had redeemed some LexisNexis (a legal research tool – I should have gotten $340 but nope they stopped letting me accumulate points after I graduated, bummer) research points for more than paid for all of that. 🙂
The good news is that we got some money by selling things. The bad news is that we have to deal with people and that we have to part with beloved items such as Philip, the TV SB and I have owned since shortly after moving in together and the first “big” purchase of our life together. Aside from one little bout of sickies – which occurred within the warranty period (thanks Philip!) – Philip has been great. Philip was also the last of his line to be built in the U.S.A., so he is a special TV. But alas, Philip is huge and isn’t getting any easier to move. So Philip was on the list of items that had to be sold. Fortunately the person who bought him was really nice and I feel good about Philip’s new home. It started pouring rain right as we got Philip down the stairs, but I had saved the big foam/plastic bag Philip had been inside of inside the box (pack-rat for the win! – I still had the box too) so that wasn’t much of an issue. I had forgotten how heavy Philip was, he was a big boy.
Other items included some tables we’d had since before Philip, as well as bunch of other things ranging from <1 to more than 9 years old. I even ended up selling my Playstation 3 (which I’d had since it launched in 2006) as well as my entire weight set. I (and Tristen) was a bit mixed on selling them, but I decided I might as well because we needed the money and it was less stuff to move. Most of what we sold was furniture or furniture-like though (the only things of that nature we are keeping are our bed and small couch).
The real issue with selling stuff is the fact that you have to deal with other humans to, you know, get money. I don’t know what it is, but I’ve sold things in several different places now and by-and-large, people kinda suck. I think as a general rule, you can say that 90% of all sales will fail. Heck, it’s so predictable that I feel like you can safely classify potential buyers – who ultimately don’t buy – as follows, they are listed in ascending order from least to most annoying.
- The “I’m interested in this item” Buyer – They message you with interest, then never respond again. These people are: not really that annoying, just weird.
- The “I want to buy it” Buyer – They message you affirmatively wanting to buy the item with a price. You agree or make a counteroffer and they never respond. These people are: not really that annoying, but even more weird than the first category.
- The “I agree to buy this and pick it up, but I want to ask 500 questions after the fact” Buyer – These people are the first that get annoying. They want an item, tell you they want an item, you agree on a price – and sometimes even a pickup time – then they proceed to ask 500 questions about the item, such of which are super freaking specific. Questions are fine, but ask them before you agree to buy the item. These people inevitably back out, but only after they’ve wasted like an hour of your time. These people are: kinda annoying.
- The “I’m not going to read anything in the description but offer to buy the item anyway” Buyer – These people are either stupid, lazy, or illiterate (or all three). They will not only ask you questions explicitly answered in the listing, but they will contradict you on your own item. They are also prone to ask for photos already in the listing. The worst is when you state – twice – that the item is pickup only, but then they demand delivery. Chances of a sell are usually zero with these folks, and they are even more annoying than category 3 because these people seem to think they know more about the item than you do, whereas category 3 just wants to know how many atoms your desk contains. These people are: pretty annoying.
- The “I’m going to lecture you on why you’re wrong” Buyer – The first of the real assholes. These buyers will express (or feign) interest in an item just so they can tell you why your price sucks and that you should probably pay them to take it from you. Common response are “But I could buy I NEW item for [insert random amount of money here], what makes you think your piece of junk is worth that much!” The annoyance is compounded by the fact that they are, unequivocally, either lying or stupid. I do a lot of research into an item’s value prior to posting, and the numbers they throw out, quite simply don’t exist outside of people giving stuff away for free (which certainly happens). It’s mostly an aggressive bargaining tactic, but what makes it “next level” annoying is when they realize their ploy didn’t work, so they get pissed off at you. This category also includes people who take the moral “high ground” when something happens that they don’t like – sometimes right even after they’ve screwed you, which is actually just as funny as it is aggravating. This people are: Very annoying.
- The “Scammer” Buyer – Kind of straight forward, they try to scam you. Some are really dumb, and want you to wire them like $200 so they can pay you $500 at some point in the future for a $40 item. Others are more intelligent and have adopted trendy payment platforms such as Venmo. The good news is that scammers are also really predictable, and you can largely eliminate them by dealing solely in cash (I’ve yet to be given counterfeit money). Scammers are inherently annoying, and the reason I rank them above category 6 is because scammers are like a combination of categories 5 & 6 once revealed as scammers. These people are: very annoying.
- The “Want the item, agreed on the price, agreed on the time – but never shows up” Buyer – F*ck these people, no seriously, they are scumbags. The only exception to this is if they are dead. Outside of that, f*ck them. These are the people who who go through the entire process, right up until they are supposed to show up, then proceed to fall off the face of the Earth. Most modern messaging systems allow you to see if a person has read your message, and these people always do, they just don’t respond to it. They, in all their narcissism, choose simply to just not show up and then ignore you, rather than let you know in advance they’ve chosen to back out of the deal. Of course you have a legally enforceable contract with these people, but is it really worth the time to sue their asses over $60? Actually I think I probably would, lol, but maybe at some point in the future when I have more time to be bitter. What makes these people so infuriating, aside from just being assholes, is that they inconvenience you because you adjust your own schedule, but they also cause you to miss out on other people who want the item – and who might actually have showed up. And lest you think I’m being the asshole, they could literally avoid the entire situation by sending a single message, but nope, they choose to be pricks. These people are: extremely annoying.
Now, to counterbalance that, some people end up being really nice. Other people are odd.. in that they show up to buy one thing, but then claim they are here to buy something else which wasn’t even listed (this actually happened, but they paid full price for the other item, so I can’t complain too much). But at the end of the day, it’s still a mostly frustrating process, and I stand by both my 90% number and the seven categories listed above. Fortunately there’s that last 10% of people who allow you make some money before you move.
So, anyways, we’ve been selling a lot of stuff. As a result our apartment is in that phase where your furniture begins to get slowly replaced by boxes and shipping crates. It’s around this time that you start to realize that, yes, you are in fact moving. Indeed, a lot of what’s been keeping us busy has been related to moving. But that doesn’t mean it’s all been about moving. There’s been a lot of fun little things going on as well, such as enjoying our newest beer classes courtesy of FIL!
Which of course are much better with beer than they are empty.
Speaking of beer we tried a “Buttered Beer” recipe from 1588. This is not to be confused with “Butterbeer” for your Harry Potter fans, this is an actual recipe that was first recorded in 1588 but probably predates that by quite a bit. It was.. interesting. Can’t say I’d make it again, but if you were a starving peasant I’d imagine it would be quite tasty and more importantly quite filling.
In an effort to use some of our ingredients before moving, we’ve also been digging into our stockpile of things like flour. As a result, the boys have been getting treated to quite a few things like pancakes. Here Valentino and Pig can be seen being a little impatient for breakfast.
We’ve also even had a sighting of the “Harvard Turkey” (a solo female turkey that even has her own Facebook page – though there actually quite a few turkeys around Harvard)!
Though I wasn’t with her (study-time), SB did spend a Sunday down at Pleasure Bay where she got to see some little crab buddies! The buddies excited me enough that we decided to make it down there again together (read on!).
In fact, after our really rainy, relatively shitty Spring weather-wise, the weather has been pretty decent the past month or so.
As such, and due to the fact that we are in our “Post-Game” period after all, we sat down and made a list of things we wanted to do before we are gone at the end of the month. The first of which was to celebrate Murka’s 241st birthday! While we didn’t actually go out for the 4th of July, it was still pretty exciting because this was SB and I’s first 4th of July together in 3 years (though I had at least one or two neat ones in the interim). That said, we did go out and get some very American things like hotdogs, chips, beer, and pie. Valentino even dug headfirst into some cherries we had!
For the booze we already had some Harpoon in the fridge, but I wanted something in a can – seemed more Murka’ – so we headed over to Broadway and SB picked up something called “Mighty Swell” which is a sparkling cocktail (though Untappd oddly considered it a malt beer) and I got some “Fresh Cut” from Peak Organic.
The Mighty Swell is the type of alcohol that normally isn’t my cup of tea, but I actually liked it. The Fresh Cut, which is a pilsner, was also really good. It has a crisp, almost grassy (thus the name) taste to it as well as a smooth body with just a bit of foam on the edges. It’s good from a can, or maybe that’s just the freedom talking.
As mentioned, we also got a pie. We went with a mini-blueberry pie and decided to have that with some cinnamon graham crackers we already had at home (merica’).
The boys for their part were very eager to dig into the pie.
So we had hotdogs, chips, guacamole, blueberry pie, graham crackers, and booze. It was a good 4th of July. What’s cool is that we can see a good chunk of the Boston fireworks from where we live. There’s one tree that blocks a decent chunk of them, but it’s good enough and close enough for us. The whole show, plus the Boston Pops concert leading up to it have traditionally been on the local version of CBS, but this year they switched it to Bloomberg TV – which we don’t get despite Comcast saying we do (go figure). Bloomberg did offer a web-stream of the show, but the stream sucked – I mean suuuuucked. Constant commercials of the same thing and cutting to stock market data in the freaking middle of the fireworks.
It was objectively terrible – and also over a minute behind the actual fireworks because they had to get their stupid self-advertising in. You’d think Bloomberg would do better than a relatively small regional news network, but nope, it was horrible. That said, between the stream and the real fireworks outside we got to see a decent amount of the show, and with our window open we heard all of it. Plus, despite the stream being terrible, we still enjoyed each other’s company (and the yummy viddles). Even though the stream was behind, it was still fun to have the live fireworks outside and the steam on SB’s laptop.
So, not a bad 4th of July at all!
Another testament to summer was some wonderful sunflowers SB and I found near the Cambridge Rindge and Latin School.
They were super upright and not bent over at all, and had a really vibrant color. Even though I’m already someone who “stops and smells the roses” so to speak, these sunflowers caught my eye to the point that I had to cross the street to look at them. 🙂
Another fun summer-esque event was the appearance of a something quite odd on top of the utility poll behind our apartment:
See it? How about a closer photo?
Yep, that’s a piece of pizza – on top of a utility pole.
And that’s how it got there, silly squirrelly! Not sure how long it was up there, it’s gone now, but it was up there for a couple of hours at least.
Aside from squirrel pizza thief, the next fun event (since studying and working aren’t really “fun” in the normal sense) after the 4th of July was going to Pleasure Bay again! We’ve been a couple times before, but this was likely our last trip to our favorite Boston-area beach. We got up early on a Sunday and headed down there, and Pigsten was pretty darn excited.
In addition to playing around a little bit in the (very) cold water, enjoying some iced coffee, and sunbathing we also made a little motte-and-bailey castle with a huge (by Pigsten size standards) pit in front of it (to throw plebs in, according to Tristen).
Pigsten also gathered up some rocks and chose the newest one for his collection.
It was a really fun day. The weather was amazing, and there were only a few lingering clouds in the sky. They are also doing construction on one of the runways at Logan Airport, so there weren’t many planes flying over Pleasure Bay (which is actually kind of weird, though I’m sure the people who nearby like it), so there wasn’t a lot of noise either. For lunch we strolled out to Castle Island to get some food from Sullivan’s and relaxed near Fort Independence.
Which in turn was kind of fitting, because the next day SB and I had planned a trip down to Quincy (another item on our Boston Bucket List)! What’s nice about Quincy, is that unlike Lexington and Concord, it’s really easy to get to via public transportation. In fact you can just hop on the Red Line and take it all the way to the center of Quincy. So that’s what we did! The subway really does pop you out right near a lot of historical sites (the stop is appropriately titled “Quincy Center”). For instance, the old town hall and new city hall are just a short jaunt from the station.
After getting our bearings and grabbing a few brochures from the NPS Visitor Center we settled in for some delicious bagels and coffee from a placed called “Gunther Tooties” – which was admittedly chosen mostly for the name (kind of like “Cooter Brown’s“).
After brunch we headed over to the United First Parish Church.
We got really lucky and were able to join an in-progress tour (our tour guide was really good). What makes the church special is that it’s closely tied to the John Adams and John Quincy Adams, our 2nd and 6th Presidents, as well as to Reverend John Hancock – father of the John Hancock you are probably familiar with. In fact, the United First Parish Church is one of only two churches in the entire country that serves as the final resting place of a U.S. President. The other is the Washington National Cathedral in Washington D.C. where Woodrow Wilson is interred. However, the United First Parish Church has two Presidents interred within it: both John Adams and his son John Quincy (as well as both of their wives – who also feature prominently in the church’s history). Turn’s out John Quincy Adam’s birthday was the very next day, talk about timing on our part!
The crypt lies under the main entryway of the church and is actually still owned by the Adams family trust rather than the church itself. The crypt consists of two rooms, one with John Adams and his wife Abigail Adams, then the adjoining room with John Quincy Adams and his wife Louisa Adams (learning more about Abigail and Louisa – especially the relationship between the two of them, was really interesting as I knew essentially nothing about them prior to visiting).
We also got to tour the main part of the church, where we got to set in the pew that the Adams family had purchased!
It’s still an active church and the interior has been kept in amazing shape, especially the intricate roof.
Pretty much everything is original in the church.
In fact, per our tour guide pretty much the only thing that wasn’t original was the “hideous” carpet that someone “saw fit” to put down at one point, haha.
After departing from the church we headed right across the street to Hancock Cemetery, which is named after the aforementioned Reverend John Hancock.
Inside the cemetery is the Adams family tomb, which originally held all the individuals who are now under the United First Parish Church, though several family members are still interred in the tomb as well.
I’m kind of a big fan of New England cemeteries, so it was nice to visit another one.
Of course like many really old cemeteries the town grew up around it, so Hancock Cemetery is literally right next to the Quincy City Hall and the rest of downtown. In fact this is next photo is just about 20 feet from the cemetery entrance.
After the cemetery we took a break in the shade of the Old Town Hall for a minute then started heading up towards Peacefield, a historic manor once owned by the Presidential Adams family. Along the way we passed the Quincy History Museum which looked pretty cool.
We also passed the Woodward School for Girls, which had a bunch of cop cars outside of it, which led to a lot of jokes and Matilda references. After a little bit of a walk (in the blazing sun) we made it to Peacefield or “Old House” as it is also called.
The grounds were gorgeous. They had a garden that reminded me of the one at Longfellow House (and thus Meem).
It was nice because walking around the grounds was totally free and open to the public, plus it was just SB and I and the occasional NPS volunteer.
What wasn’t nice was the fact that we couldn’t go inside the house. I have to say, I wasn’t a huge fan of how the NPS decided to structure the Quincy sites (though I’m almost always a huge fan of both historical sites and the NPS and I will gladly pay money to see them). The way they decided to do it, is rather than allow you to go to all the historical sites (Peace field, Quincy Homestead, John Adams & John Quincy Adams birthplaces, etc.) individually, you had to go to a downtown NPS location and buy a ticket there. Now, the price wasn’t bad, but it was a 2.5 hour long trolley tour with brief stops at a series of locations – and it wasn’t hop-on-hop-off, it was structured. So, say you wanted to spend more time at Peacefield, tough luck, you’re on a schedule. I don’t like being “locked in” to a rigid tour unless it’s just geographically impractical to get to the sites yourself (e.g. The Boston Light). So, if you went directly to a location, you couldn’t even buy a ticket there. You literally had to go anywhere from .5 to 1.5 miles back downtown to buy a ticket, then wait on a trolley and then have to go on a 2.5 hour restricted tour – if you didn’t do that, you couldn’t enter any of the homes.
If you’ve followed many of SB and I’s adventures you’ll know that we like to do things our own way. I’m sort of the “let me pay you money so I can walk around on my own” type. Yes, I realize most people are really shitty and have zero respect for historical sites or national parks, which is why it’s probably this way. But I just wish they would have at least let you pay for the tickets at the actual site rather than forcing you into a 2.5 hour centralized tour. I’d have gladly paid more just to go in Peacefield since we’d walked all the way there, but nope.
So that’s a rare NPS rant out of the way. Really that was my only complaint about the whole trip, other than the U.S.S. Salem being closed despite their own brochure saying it was open that is (though even the NPS employees told us that the volunteers who run the U.S.S. Salem’s museum run a very unpredictable schedule).
But the outside of Peacefield was lovely.
On our way back towards the city center we walked along a green-way which was both much prettier and had more shade than the concrete corridor we had came up on.
After returning to the center we got some much needed water and some wanted-but-not-really-needed pops and chilled for a bit in “The Galleria at Presidents Place.” While cooling off we got to watch some window washers, Tristen thought that was pretty manlies.
There were a lot of really neat graves in Mount Wollaston, including quite a few with statues.
We followed along a few of the roads (all of which were named after trees) and eventually found the big granite ball we were looking for – turn’s out it’s a grave as well.
Some cursory Google-fu on SB’s part revealed that the Kings were a wealthy family in the area – with a lot of their money coming from the granite and banking industries. I see now how a giant ball of polished granite is appropriate. In fact, Mount Wollaston has even been called a “museum to the granite industry” which makes sense having walked through it and seen many of the wonderful granite markers.
As we made our way through the cemetery I performed by “Good Taco Deed” of the day, which was fixing a broken flag and veteran marker on a grave. I don’t even know the name of the person who was buried there, but all it took was for me to notice a flag and a veteran marker (World War II) lying on the ground and I knew I couldn’t just walk away from it. The whole thing looked like it had been hit by lawnmower of something, but with some clever maneuvering (i.e. brute force) I was able to get it all back together and fixed.
After the cemetery we really changed our surroundings and headed towards a Dunkin’ Donuts. But not just any Dunkin’ Donuts, the original location – which was established in Quincy in 1950 (technically 1948 but it didn’t gain the “Dunkin’ Donuts” name until 1950). It was a hot walk along a big highway (in typical fashion I had led us – on foot – far away from the tourist areas), but it was worth it.
So SB and I have now been to both the original Starbuck’s location and the original Dunkin’ Donuts location.
We celebrated our scorching walk by getting a DELICIOUS frozen s’mores coffee.
The original location of Dunkin’ Donuts wasn’t nearly as touristy as Starbuck’s original location was, and in fact it was fairly muted – which I liked. The interior was pretty small and had a retro design as well as plaques all over the walls:
But other than that you could probably pass it by without even knowing its significance. Whereas the original Starbucks had like 3000 people in it, the original Dunkin’ had like.. 5, and it shouldn’t be hard to know which location I preferred – even if I prefer the other’s coffee.
Once done with our second round of coffee for the day we called a Lyft (SB’s foot needed a break – she’d end up putting in around 20,000 steps – though I did 25,000 because I walk around like a 4 year old on speed at historical sites – what kind I say history excites me). Our Lyft driver took us over to a place called “Kelly’s Cellar” – or rather he dropped us off and then we had to walk a block due to some construction confusion. Anyway, it was really good – and despite being near the tourist areas, was NOT a tourist bar at all. In fact it felt very local-ish, and since we were there in late mid-afternoon, it was pretty much just us (the tourists) and a handful of locals at the bar. That said, the bartender was really nice and our food was delicious, also we both got Samuel Adam’s Summer Ale on draft – a wonderful beer on hot day with a lot of walking!
Another exciting thing that happened during our late lunch was that I got a call to schedule a clerkship interview. The bad news is that they wanted to schedule it less than 24 hours from then (very little time to prepare for a clerkship interview) but the good news it was a phone interview and also that an interview is and interview!
After lunch we mosied our pompoush bellies back up to the T station and then made the trek home. The next day SB was back to work and I had my interview and was back to the final stretch of studying (ugh), so nothing too exciting happened for the next few days – unless you consider work, studying, and trying to prepare to move exciting that is. That week also saw me return to the law school for a meeting (like I’ve said before, the place has a way of drawing you back) and on the way there I noticed they were having some sort of outdoor lunch with live music.
To be fair I don’t even know if the lunch was associated with the law school or if it just happened to be on the law school’s campus. Either way it was a stark contrast to the usual atmosphere around the law school. I was actually fairly surprised by how active the law school was. Sure, a lot of the occupants were people from other schools, tourists, and normies – but there were still quite a few law students around. I guess a decent number of them probably work in the various clinics, etc. over the summer. That sounds objectively terrible to me, because then you’re literally at the school all year. But to each their own.
On the way back from the law school I noticed that Harvard was in the process of tearing down one of the various houses it owns.
I have no idea why they are tearing down the house as there seemed to be nothing wrong with it (I’ve walked by this house at least 600 times). I can’t remember which one it was, but one of Harvard’s various centers used to be housed there. In fairness maybe they aren’t actually tearing it down, but whatever they are doing is pretty damn substantial, especially when it was actually a pretty nice house prior to this project.
Aside from random demolitions the next exciting event was that SB and I made it to Bergamot! Bergamot is a local, farm-to-table restaurant that I think – but am not sure – is named after the bergamot orange. Bergamot was special for SB and I for a few reasons. One, it marks the completion of our “food triangle” – a feat we didn’t think would be possible until Meem stepped in. Second, it was the single most expensive restaurant SB and I have ever eaten at (though Meem paid for most of it). Third, it was the first time since things got crazy this summer that SB and I took time for a nice dinner. We’ve both been really busy lately, and as a result a lot of our Friday date-nights have been more akin to “let’s go pick up food from the market, eat it on the couch, and SB goes to sleep at 9pm” sort of nights. 😉
So, Bergamot was a special occasion – and after walking by it approximately 150 times we were finally able to join the ranks of the sweater-vest old people inside (SB and I have a running joke that every time we walk by Bergamost the patrons are 90% old people in sweaters). We showed up a little early for our 6pm reservation and other than a few people at the bar were the only people in the entire restaurant. By the time we left around 7:30 it was packed, but we got the party started – us and Pigsten that is!
Because Meem/Grandma Reem had gotten SB and I a $150! gift certificate we took it upon ourselves to “live message” Meem our dinner with Pigsten acting as the star.
While deciding what we wanted from the entirely local, all freshly-made menu, SB and I treated ourselves to some adult beverages – beer for me and wine for SB, of course! My first beer was the wonderfully titled “Rainbows and Unicorns IPA.” I’d be lying if I said I ordered it for any reason other than the name.
We then decided to start with some bread as well as some small plates of “chickpea fritters” (with whipped Ricotta and onion jam) as well as the “sweet potato raviolo” (with smoked Turkey, mole, morels, poblanos, and cotija).
After finishing those up I moved on to my second beer, “Zoe” which was much more stout than the ole’ Rainbows and Unicorns (which was calculated since I now had food in my belly).
We then progressed onto our entrees. SB went with the “crusted haddock” (with ritz crackers, yukon gold potato, ham, scapes, and red pepper fondue) while I opted for the “striped sea bass à la Plancha” (with roasted squash, pine nuts, castelvetrano, and vegetabe brodo). I have no idea what most of those words are (though I’m sure Aunt Sommelier would), but it was all DELICIOUS.
I’d never had sea bass before, and I have to say, I now know why the grey poupons like it so much – it was delectable. Both SB and I agreed that while her haddock was good, my sea bass was the star of dinner. By this point we should have stopped eating, but noooooo we just kept going with dessert and coffee.
I had the “berry crisp” (with whipped cream and oat topping) while SB ordered the “peach & almond tart” (with blueberry compote). We also had a couple of coffees – and it was right about the middle of sharing our deserts that we got ULTRA POMPOUS. My GAWD. But more on that in a second. You may have noticed the little chocolate “Congrats!” in the above photo.
Our waitress had asked us if we were celebrating anything, and we sort of realized that yes we were! Lots of recent achievements and lots of big changes coming. So when they brought us desert they surprised us with the little plate. Pigsten was a big fan.
Speaking of Pigsten, he wasn’t left out – he even got his own Pigsten-sized coconut blondie brownie.
Yeah, when they brought the bill they brought two little coconut blondie brownies with it, and we ate them. The final bill with tax and tip was $170. Meem paid for the vast majority of it, and I really only bring up price because at $170 it makes the meal the most expensive SB and I have ever consumed. But it was super yummy and we were able to complete our triangle (and support a local business). Thanks Meem!
Now, after dinner was over we had planned to make the rest of the trip up to Whole Foods to do our grocery shopping for the week. But, yeah, that didn’t happen. We were SO POMPOUS and miserable that we waddled home and plopped down on our bed for the next 1.5 hours (seriously) – Pigsten also succumbed to the pomposity.
In fact, we were so fat and miserable that I didn’t even eat any food again for the next 17 hours. That is a long time for yours truly. I really think it was the most food I’d consumed in one sitting in years, both SB and I seriously regret eating that second piece of bread, but the butter was sooooo good (it had little bits of jam in it!).
Anyways, believe it or not I actually managed to get some stuff done after the 1.5 hours of digestion, though SB didn’t really recover from her food coma until the next day. 😛
After that we had a fairly normal weekend, complete with work for SB and studying for me (we do our weekends in style these days). I guess one sort of exciting thing was that I started trying out some compression sleeves for my legs (from Amazon, also paid for by my legal research points, haha).
My Doctor – who retired literally the same day as my last appointment with her, because you just can’t top Taco – had recommended them for my varicose veins, but I’m curious to see if they help with my other issues too. Time will tell, though these aren’t the first compression-type things I’ve tried.
Oh, and we did have a couple of cool acquisitions in the Taco household over the weekend as well. For starters, we got some pretty sunflowers from Whole Foods!
After finding the sunflower outside of the school they’d been on our minds, and when SB saw them in Whole Foods the deal was sealed. Valentino was of course pretty pleased about the addition, and he’s even refrained from eating them.
Sunflowers are pretty beefy, but the stein we got in Munich is heavy enough for them.
The other addition was much less pretty, but equally exciting. Someone who moved out of our building left a fully functional Keurig in the basement. It was in desperate need of being cleaned, so we cleaned it inside and out and gave it a few test runs. It works just fine. I checked online and this model of Keurig is one of the older ones (that doesn’t use the technology that keeps you from using generic K-cups) but it’s still selling for between $110 and $125. So that’s a score in our book.
I considered trying to sell it, but we’re actually going to keep it for future use and use the refillable K-Cups (regular K-cups are oh so bad for the planet).
That weekend was also Daryl 2’s 21st birthday, and while I was obviously too far away to join the bar adventure, I did join the revelry by drinking a beer 1000 miles away.
Speaking of which, that beer, pictured in my awesome “Beer” huggie from Alaska, was really weird. It’s called “Ready Set Gose” and is brewed with salt and coriander. I didn’t notice the salt part until after I’d bought a six pack. Despite liking other offerings from Unita, this was one of my least favorite beers I’ve had in a good while as the salt is just too strong for my taste. In fairness it grew on me a little, but it’s still not one I’d go back to very often.
That said, another weird beer I got at the same time was “Wicked Watermelon” from Owl’s Brew Radler. Now what makes it weird isn’t that it’s a radler, or that it has tea, or that it has watermelon. Nope, it’s the fact that it combines all those things into one can. So it’s a beer-tea-watermelon mixture. It’s also really low in alcohol (3.8% ABV) which is common for radlers. What isn’t common is the whole tea and watermelon thing, generally its lemonade (or something similar). However, curiosity got the best of me, so I had to get some.
Turns out it was pretty good. It’s very unique and hard to compare even to a normal radler. It’s kind of like an Arnold Palmer of beer, except watermelon. Lots of “excepts” with this brew, but I’d recommend it. Also you could literally drink the entire 6 pack and probably feel nothing, though that’s a lot of sugar (ah the downside of radlers, the alcohol basically never adds up, but too many and you’ve basically eaten a cake’s worth of sugar).
And speaking of sugar the weekend also brought around National Ice Cream Day (3rd Sunday of July) so we had to get ice cream – as if SB ever needs an excuse.
Pigsten is a big fan of the lemon flavors.
After the weekend we did something fun which was one of those “Escape the Room” games. I’d mentioned being interested in doing one to Meem, but I had no idea where the nearest one was located. Turns out there was one located like a 6 minute walk from the Park Street station in Boston. Meem got SB and I a gift certificate way back at Christmas, it just took us over 7 months to use it due to life.
It was pretty fun. You have an hour to escape a themed room. This involves teamwork, puzzles, more puzzles, some logical leaps (but these should be minimal – our room had one logical leap that I thought was large enough to be poor game design, to be honest), more puzzles, and probably a lot of locks. I recommend reading the “Escape the Room” link above if you are curious to learn more.
Our room was simply “The Apartment” (and boy did it look like your generic Boston apartment – good design!) and we didn’t make it out (bolding that because I own my failures) – though In fairness I think we would have made it out had we had 10-15 more seconds. We were literally on the final keypad/lock when time ran out, and we even knew the code it was just a matter of putting it in. Of course everyone says they almost made it (other than those who do, of course), but I feel like we have a factual grounding to our claim. We felt pretty good about making it to the end, even if we didn’t make it out. It was challenging! Definitely not something you can just waltz your way through. I’d definitely do another one (there are three “rooms” at this location, but tons of locations nationwide). I also think it would be really fun to be a “clue-master” for a room, similar to how I think D&D would be fun if I could just force myself to devote the time to learn how to play.
The one thing I would caution is that you really need to choose your team wisely. I don’t mean you need to pick “smart” people (and in fact I was doing some reading and “intelligence” doesn’t actually correlate to Escape Room success rates very well), but rather you need to pick people who understand it’s a game and it’s supposed to be fun. That’s the one downside to being a smaller group, is that there is a good chance you’ll end up paired with strangers (though they might end up being a blast to play with). So my suggestion is to 1) gather a group of friends/known-persons large enough to fill (or nearly fill) the available slots to a room, and 2) [Even more importantly] make sure that the people you’ve selected are actually fun to play with. If you get the 6 year old sore-loser in an adult’s body, there’s not only a decreased chance you’ll actually escape (though only like 1 in 5 groups do anyways) but there’s also decreased chance you’ll have as much fun as you should (and TBH “losing” should be just as fun as winning given the way the rooms are set up).
I sadly have no photos to share of our escape attempt, because it’s obviously against the rules to take photos (gotta keep it secret!) but I did have fun. Just seriously, choose your team wisely.
That said, if you know me IRL and want to do an Escape Room, let me know! I currently rock a 0% success rate. 😀
Also, props to SB who figured out a really cool puzzle involving the stove!
When we got back from our Escape Room we were all pretty hungry as we missed dinner while locked in the apartment. Pig, in his hunger, happened to notice a tasty-looking lady bug on the wall..
..and that began a very, very lengthy hunt. In fact it lasted well into the next day.
In fact Pig is sitting in the middle of the floor (as I type this section of the post), keeping a keen eye on the lady bug.
Actually, update, the hunt has now progressed to the windows and a second lady bug has joined the fray.
Aaaaaaand make that one lady bug again.
You’ll notice that our apartment is getting increasingly bare. In fact, since I’m writing this post in segments the apartment becomes more and more empty as the post progresses (though 90% of people still suck). Yesterday we sold my weight set (they are a pain to move – though they ended up bringing more money than anything else, even Philip) and Tristen has been kind of depressed about that (newfound lack of manries). So he’s been watching some guys working out in the heat on a roof a block over from us as a way of vicariously absorbing their manliness.
While we haven’t really been working out in the heat we have used it as an excuse to get things like matcha lemonades!
Nope, as mentioned, most of our work has involved bar studying or moving-related craziness. Speaking of which, we recently got a secondary backup external HDD. The last one we had purchased was in 2010 or 2011 when a hard drive failure almost caused me to lose 7 years worth of photos (thank you Linux for helping me save them). Now I have two-tier backup scheme, but with my upcoming move I wanted to increase that to a three-tier backup scheme. So we purchased another external HDD (thanks again LexisNexis points!), and man, they’ve really decreased in size over the past 5 years or so.
Same capacity, but way smaller. That isn’t an SSD either, just a traditional mechanical HDD.
Anyways, back to the heat. Despite Valentino’s strong protests, we haven’t been able to avoid going out in it entirely. A few days it was up around 97 here (with humidity) so it’s been pretty rough. The good news is that even though we’ve had a heatwave, it’s been accompanied by mostly awesome weather. Which sort of transitions into my next point, this is actually my first real summer in Boston. Yes, despite being here for 3 years, I’ve never actually seen this area of the country in that gap between late May and August (spoiler: it’s hot and humid). As a result, I’m seeing some things in a new way.
For instance, it’s safe to say that my walking route to the law school is deeply ingrained in my brain. In fact, I’ve told SB on more than one occasion that if you could remove traffic (an impossibility, I know) that I think I could make it to the school with a blindfold on. But alas, I’d inevitably be pwned by one of the various drivers who feels the need to go 50+ mph down a 20mph side street (roughly 75% of the drivers out here it would seem), so it’s a trial I’ll never be able to partake in. Back on topic, I know the route well. However, I needed to return to the law school to print some things and pick something up (as I’ve said, it always sucks you back) and while walking there I saw a new “side” of a tree I’ve never seen before.
I’ve walked by that tree a gojirron times and I have never seen it all fuzzy like that. So cool! Also, this is the first time I’ve been around to see all the landscaping that goes on around campus during the summer. Some of which I am not a fan of. For instance, this walkway below used to have a bunch of ferns and ivy on the right side, and for some reason they tore it up and put down ugly-ass gravel.
I felt bad for the squirrelies and birds who used to live in there. On my way back home I passed by that house I mentioned earlier (remember I’m writing this over the course of a few weeks) and I no longer think they are actually tearing it down. If they are, they are going about it in a really weird fashion.
They seem to be meticulously not removing the frame, which leads me to believe that this isn’t a full demolition scenario – but again I defer to more knowledgeable people than I.
That little law school trip (which at this point probably honestly is my last – at least for the foreseeable future) was actually on Friday the 21st, which was a memorable day for far more exciting reasons. Namely it was SB and I’s final date night in Boston. So, in order to properly celebrate we did something we don’t normally do, which is actually go into Boston-Boston for dinner. Generally speaking after a long week the prospect of leaving our immediate Cantabrigian neighborhood is quite unappealing, but this was no ordinary Friday.
After some deliberation we decided on a pub called The 21st Amendment, which is kind of a funny/well-thought-out name if you know what the 21st amendment did (it’s ok if you don’t, Taco knows that most people know much less about the U.S.C. than they claim to). It was also fitting since, you know, law school brought us here. So having our last night-out involve a pub with a legal-themed name was pretty gosh-darn fitting if I do say so myself.
What made it funny is that since this evening was sort of our preemptive “Goodbye Boston” night, it was only fitting that the Red Line be delayed. As a result, it took me about 3x as long as it should have to get down there and meet SB. Ah the T, offering up the realest of Boston goodbyes.
As for the pub, it was pricier than what we can really afford, but it was a special occasion. I had a new (to me) beer called “Shark Tracker” from Cisco Brewers while SB went with their classic “Whale’s Tale Pale Ale.” Both were good.
For food I went with their house burger while SB tried a sandwich. My burger was HUGE and delicious (Pigsten helped me eat it).
They also actually cooked it medium rare, it seems like so many places these days when I ask for medium rare they bring what is at best medium, if not medium well. The pub was divided into a bar area and a table/dining area. We ate in the bar area and up above us was a really cool (and really big) Budweiser sign.
Some day when I have disposable income (LOL) and space I’d like to collect beer stuff.
After wrapping up dinner we made our way down to Park Street Station which had to have been over 100 freaking degrees. It was awesome with a full stomach. From there we jaunted on down to Copley Square where we then made our way towards the Prudential Tower or as it is more commonly known, “The Pru.”
One of the things on our bucket list (which dated all the way back to before the “Pre-Game” post) had been to go to the Skywalk Observatory at the Pru. We figured that going up and getting a bird’s eye view of Boston would be a good way of saying goodbye. Now, I’ve actually be up in the tower before, but that was for law school and was much less fun. However this was SB’s first time getting a lofty view of the city, aside from airplanes that is.
When we were in line to get tickets up to the 50th floor (which is where the observatory is) we saw a security robot drive by, which cracked me up after one such robot recently attempted suicide in Washington D.C.
This one was apparently more content with life as it just sorta beeped and booped around and then headed off on its merry way. After we had our tickets we headed down a floor before heading up to the 50th floor (this actually isn’t that uncommon, I think I remember having to do the same thing in at the
Sear’s Willis Tower). Once up on the 50th floor we got to take in some great views – thanks it part to the aforementioned nice weather.
Originally there was a chance for rain, but the gods decided to cooperate with us (but not the T god) and as a result we got a great viewing day.
If you were wondering what that other tall building is, it’s the building formerly known as Hancock Tower and which still colloquially known as “The Hancock” because changing building names is stupid. The Hancock is the tallest building in Boston (and all of New England), while the Pru is the second tallest. Here is a nice panorama facing Northeast to East-Southeast .
And here’s a shot facing Southwest.
And then one to the West. If you look closely you’ll see Fenway Park.
And then, finally, as you swing around to the Northwest, Cambridge enters your view.
And here it is in it’s entirety, a panorama of my home for the past 3 years.
You’ll need Eagle eyes (and good spatial awareness) to spot even the big ticket items (e.g. Harvard, MIT, etc.) and even SB and I struggled to locate the approximate area where our house is. We even paid the 50 cents for the binocular thingy, and I was almost to the point of finding our house (I found the block it was on) when the timer ran out. Oh Boston, 50 cents for like 30 seconds of magnification. What’s sad is that we had bought binoculars, but didn’t think to bring them.
Looking out over Cambridge I was reminded of the Carl Sagan quote about our Pale Blue Dot. Now, granted this is on a much, much smaller scale than our Dot, but the same concept applies. Aside from my three external internships, everything about law school – all the misery, the woe, and also the good times – had happened right down there. More than the vast majority of my non-law school life these past three years had happened right down there as well.
For instance, right down there is where SB and I first explored MIT’s campus on foot 3 years ago.
And just over there is the Longfellow Bridge, which has been under construction pretty much the entire time we’ve lived here and which we’ve crossed over a zillion times (and a few times under it – via boat, kayak, and duck). If you look closely you can even see the Red Line crossing it!
We even got to watch a few planes fly by, which is something I’ll be doing very soon on my way to the Land of Enchantment for a very un-enchanting test.
And of course this is not to mention 3 years worth of Harvard-centric stuff that happened, just click a random post on the blog for a sampling of that. 🙂
The point being, that despite being quite ready to proceed to the next chapter in our life, I couldn’t help but feel a bit melancholy looking down on our home for the past 3 years. While we’d certainly had adventures before our move out here, to say that SB and I’s life went into the “Wow” zone after arriving in Cambridge is an accurate statement. So, it’s kind of hard to leave this chapter and move to the next. Yes, onward and upward and all that, but it’s still difficult to make that first step towards a new horizon (and this coming from someone who is more than ready to make said step).
But that sentiment is kind of why we chose our final date night to go up and observe our “home.” It always amazes me how the mundane can be made extraordinary if you only take the time you change your perspective.
And we weren’t alone in our lofty-introspection. Ole’ Pigsten was with us and he was having a serious “mindblown” moment.
Of course Pigsten’s been up mountains and on airplanes, but we think this was his first time in a skyscraper. Pigsten, taking after Clifford, is a big fan of construction, digging, mining, etc. So the little fellow seemed really fascinated by being up so high, yet being able to touch the “ground.” That, or maybe Pigsten was having his own reflections on the city he has called home. 🙂
As for the other boys, they were up on the next level at the “Top of the Hub” restaurant (extremely expensive), Tristen always has to “one up” me and SB. 😛
After hanging out up there for awhile and watching the sun start to set, we decided to start making our way back home. We wanted to get a “Prudential Tower” magnet for our collection, but the observatory’s gift shop was actually pretty pathetic, it was all generic Boston tourist stuff, with hardly anything specific to the tower. I thought that was really odd, you’d think they would capitalize on that shit, all the other skyscrapers we’ve been to sure have. In fact the lack of magnet ended our “skyscraper-magnet” streak we had going. The only magnet they had that even interested us one one of an Orange Line T car, but the Orange Line is far more ancillary to us than the Red Line has been (they didn’t have a Red Line car) so we ended up with nothing. I even checked afterward to see if I could find a magnet online (which is what I had to do to get our Boston Light 300th Anniversary magnet) and found nothing.
On our way out I snapped a photo from within the Prudential Center Mall, looking up at the Prudential Tower (the very next day SB came back to teach a yoga class at the Prudential Center!).
After that we made our way back home via the bus and ended up making it to Broadway Market 12 minutes before they closed (for treats!). After that we just chilled at home for the rest of our Friday evening. I spoke to someone about buying my desk, but they ended up flaking (big surprise). The next day was back to (fairly last-minute) bar studying, and in order to fuel our brains I made us some more pancakes. This time I made us Rainier-cherry-raspberry-orange-chia-whole-wheat pancakes (a mouthful, literally and figuratively). Valentino was ultra happy.
Bar studying was kind of rough that afternoon because I was having to set on the floor to use my desktop. While I still have my desk, I had cleared everything off of it to take pictures (and also because 3 people said they wanted it, all of whom backed out, naturally) so rather than put everything back on it I’m just leaving everything on the floor. It hurts my knees, but moving everything back onto my desk is a PITA [Edit: SB later sold the desk while I was taking the bar, in case you where deeply invested in that saga for some odd reason].
One cool thing that afternoon was that Aunt Train came down to bring us pressies (one new, one old) and some beer. Once she was down we utilized the power of her car to go to a place that had been recommended to SB called “Highland Kitchen.” We hadn’t been ourselves because its sort of pain to get to on public transit, but such is the magic of a personal automobile.
Naturally we got some drinks. However I started off with something that you probably did not expect, a Zima.
Yes seriously, a Zima. If you were alive in the 90s you probably remember Zima, or, if not, I almost guarantee that some negative thought about it is locked away in your subconscious. Since I wasn’t of legal drinking age in the 90s, I never had Zima (and to be honest this wasn’t something that bothered me). However, when I saw it on the menu I knew I had to try it, just because. Turns out its part of a limited re-release that Coors did starting on July 4th, so if you have some odd hankering to have a Zima, now is your time. At Highland Kitchen they even serve it with the apparently “necessary” Jolly-Rancher which you drop into the drink for fizz + flavor. They gave me a grape jolly rancher (objectively the worst) but I used it anyways. Was it any good? I guess it wasn’t terrible. It was sort of like a Smirnoff Ice, but actually kind of better – which of course isn’t saying much.
For dinner, things got even more interesting than a Zima for me. I had goat, yep goat. I mean its not that crazy, lots of places eat goat, it’s just not been normal fare in my life thus far. So, when I saw “Spicy Coconut Curried Goat Stew with Jasmine Rice and Fried Sweet Plantains” (mmm plantains) I had to go for it.
I’m glad I did. It wasn’t really spicy, at least not to me, but it was very yummy. SB had something called “Quack and Cheese” which had duck, I thought the name was pretty good.
I was able to enjoy my Zima and goat all while being watched by the stuffed rooster above our table.
Stuffed chickum overlord and goat flesh sustenance with fermented wheat beverages. Good times.
For dessert we had some coffees and a delicious caramel vanilla bread pudding.
It was a good dinner with good drinks and good company!
Once Aunt Train had returned us to our apartment we settled in for the evening. Which brings me back to our pressies. First up, a “Himalayan Salt Lamp,” but this wasn’t actually a new present. Nope, my Dad and Stepmon got this thing for us over 2.5 years ago at Christmas. Of course it’s heavy and we can’t really fly with it, so it ended up voyaging out here with the family when they came to visit for Thanksgiving the year after that Christmas. And, also due to weight, there it sat until July 22, 2017. So it took us from December 24th, 2014 until July 22, 2017 to get it home, but we did, thanks to a lot of assistance along the way. The boys enjoyed the lamp quite a bit.
It’s really awesome. I like chess, I’m not great at it, but I like playing it. I have a standard fare chessboard, but until this acquisition I’ve had nothing super fancy. My dad has a really awesome Civil War chess-set but I’ve not had anyplace to set out a nice set like that. So now I have a nice set, but I’m still working on the place to put it. I really like the colors on it. To be truthfully honest, if it wasn’t for an obscene amount of hours logged in Minecraft I probably would have never heard of lapis lazuli. So to actually have something made of it is really neat. The board is also really, really heavy, so it can double as a home defense instrument if necessary.
After examining our pressies I played a video game with a friend until like 3am. It’s probably the last time I’ll be able to do that for awhile since I don’t even know what’s happening with shipping my computer right now. So while I probably shouldn’t have stayed up that late this close to the bar, it was the first time we’d played games in about a month, and might be the last time in months, so no regrets.
And that, dear friends, brings us up to today. Today is melancholy for a lot of reasons, one of which is that I had what is probably my last piece of cake from Broadway Market.
But more profoundly, it’s also the day before I leave for the bar exam. I have a lot I need to do today, but instead I’m blogging. 🙂
But in seriousness I do need to go get some things done, and plus this post still needs to be edited (believe it or not I actually do edit these posts! …sort of). So, since I’m at nearly 11,300 words I think I’ll call it a day.
When this gets posted, if everything has gone correctly I’ll be in a Penske driving across the country (again). I’ll also have finished the bar exam (praise baby Jesus) and who knows what else will have happened, I’ve seriously learned that plinko is hard to predict, so I don’t dabble much in prediction-ry these days, and instead focus on doing (especially on those things I’ve been told can’t be done). I’ll post about all of that eventually, but rest assured that Dinosaur Bear will be back after a summer interlude.
This Post-Game post was written over the course of July 5th to July 23rd, 2017 [Edit: with the final edits made on July 29th in Baltimore while on my way back to Boston] and has a whopping 110 photos, I hope you’ve enjoyed it!
Until next time,