Sunday, July 31, 2005

Ogunquit, ME

Ogunquit has a book/puzzle store that specializes in math, a white drawbridge in front of which boats line up patiently, and a lot of French-Canadians.

Unfortunately, I couldn't get all of these elements in one shot. But there was a girl sitting on a rock who looked so creepily like me that Shannon took her picture.

The other thing Ogunquit has is the Meridian Walk, which is very much like the Amalfi Coast except you're walking instead of driving, you're much lower down than you are on the AC, and no one wants to sell you lemon-themed ceramics.

Shannon stopped to learn about local birds, or, as she calls them, "birds you won't see."

Here are some more fishers. Fishermen? Anglers, I think.

After an hour, we came to a beach on what I believe was a spit. The sand was preternaturally soft, like velvet.

Sometimes we'd stop and have a drink and play Quiddler. Shannon kept winning on all these judgmental or admonishing hands. Here's the first.

These bushes looked like they were conferring. We hoped they were conifers, but had no way of knowing.

On the way back to the cove, I found some grass to lay in.

We stopped for dinner on the way back to Sville, and I had my first lobster roll, which taste like bread, mayonnaise, and air.

It was a spectacular day.

York Beach, ME

York Beach is pretty honky-tonk.

I could have bought a horned skull with knives for teeth. The hand belongs to the proprietor, who pushed the skull forward to aid my photography.

The sand was very hot and looked like mud. I grew very interested in digging a round hole with my foot.

Then we went to this place with a very frequently photographed lighthouse.

The lighthouse is only accesible by this little white cable car, which you can't go on. Maybe it no longer works; I don't remember.

It is right by a bunch of huge rocks, maybe even boulders. You can scramble over them and watch the surf break and splash.

Or fish.

Friday, July 29, 2005

D. R.

Apparently I have not outgrown writing date reviews. I'm working on some now - please let me know if you would like me to email you the finished product(s).

Monday, July 25, 2005


1. I know I'm jinxing myself terribly, but I can't not say this: I've been doing a good bit of work here with the research team (researching usability, human factors, urban anthropology stuff), and there is a chance that my internship might be extended for 4 months so I can be the co-researcher on trips to Europe and Australia this fall.

The partners have wanted to hire a junior researcher to help the researcher who is going out to do this project, and I just today suggested to my boss that I do it - as an intern, I'm cheaper both for them and for the client, and it would allow me to get more experience in research (which work I've been enjoying more than the straight writing I've been doing, except for the naming, which is fun), and I already have experience being out on interviews and mining data and so on. If this happens, I'd finish school in the spring and graduate in May 2006 - I'll have to check with CMU about this, but I can't see why they wouldn't allow it (it probably won't hurt that my boss was an MAPW, and the other researcher has an M.A. from CMU as well).

1. Could I ever love someone who spelled "cheering" "chearing?"

Sunday, July 24, 2005

on the verge of a luff.

My first sailing class is tomorrow. I will not become very seaworthy as I'm only going to be here for another month and the club hours are designed for high schoolers during the summer and the rich and/or retired, but what might be the best 4 hours of my life were spent sailing, so this must be done. Tomorrow's class is called Shore I., and it is a "classroom presentation that teaches the basics of sailing." I hope it will elucidate some of the concepts on the Beginning Sailor's Primer sheet that I picked up in the front office, such as "TO START SAILING: Put the tiller to the center position and trim the sail to the VERGE OF A LUFF." Capitalization theirs. I look forward to learning what these terms mean and throwing them around in casual conversation. And I can tell by the captilization that I am certain to at least start out by trimming the sail until just after luffing occurs, and that there is nothing I can do about that.

Anyway, today was perfect, sunny, no humidity, 80's, and I spent it sitting at the end of a long pier that juts into the Charles, reading "Brazil," by John Updike, about which I'll have more to say later.

Friday night I went to a Moroccan restaurant with Tom Flaherty, who in looks and mannerisms resembles Tim Canterbury from The Office, which is a very good thing, although Tom is slightly more feline in appearance. After dinner I suggested we stop for a drink at Bukowski's, where we had met, "because, you know, after our time together ends in tears, remorse, and self-recriminations, we won't be able to come here so light-heartedly for a good while," upon which I think he looked at me funny. Let it never be said I'm not a sweet-talker with the gents. But the night was a success, and he is coming to the pizza and beer and board-games thing that Shannon and I are having on Tuesday.

Saturday, Shannon and I spent the day in Provincetown, which was spectacular and not nearly as tacky and kitschy as I'd been led to believe. I could have spent all day at Puzzle Me This, where I bought Canasta and a kind of card game that's like gin rummy with words called Quizzler, and,in an effort become less brutishly spatially stupid, a game called Tangoes that involves arranging little shapes to make bigger shapes and is frustrating and addictive. We took the fast ferry over first thing in the morning, and it was very windy on deck.

We did normal Cape-y things, walked on the beach, played in the ocean in our dresses, went shopping, drank cocktails on waterfront decks, and ate fried things served in cardboard boxes that pleased me so much conceptually, thematically and gastronomically that I, well, look:

Fried scallops, delicious.

okay, my wrists are starting to hurt. I'll pick this up later.

Friday, July 22, 2005


I know it's irritating to mention lexical semantics in crossword puzzles. But if the clue is "lager," the answer CANNOT be "ale." That's like if the clue were "ham," and the answer was "beef." Stupid Metro crossword puzzle.

Date last night was all right. He is indeed handsome and smart and funny and worldly and attractively-accented and the rest of it, but I just wasn't feeling it*, as they say. The building on campus where we had drinks, though, wow. Like what Gaudi would design, drunk.

*could have something to do with the following:

C: (blah blah blah) Sir John Betjamen...
A: (quickly, almost happily) No, it's BETjamen.
C: (pause) (coldly) Yes.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

okay, so

I did cancel the non-date with the guy from MIT, but it has been rescheduled for in an hour. I don't want to go, because I'm in an it's-dumb-to-meet-people-over-the-Internet phase, but the good thing is that I'm no longer intimidated because a couple of nights ago I met a Real Live Boy (TM), from Not Online, and we're having dinner tomorrow. He knows lots of esoteric things and is taking a 6-week leave of absence from work to write and produce a puppet show with friends. And he shares a name with a prominent Pittsburgh politician.

So yes. I'll update this blog with details, or not.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

scary things

You know how metro stations often gussy themselves up with a bit of personality? Mine is decorated with tiles created by, one supposes, local schoolchildren, one of whom, a sinister little creature, made this spooky piece:

It's blurry because my camera turns everything into Impressionism, but you get the idea.

Also menacing: if I don't chicken out, which I will, tomorrow I have a "non-date," because I've been very clear about not wanting to go on dates but only wanting to have drinks with interesting and benevolent strangers, with a tall, handsome, English, 44-year-old professor who is a colleague of an extraordinarily well-known public intellectual. Whom I probably oughtn't name, but whose identity is probably not that hard to guess.

Hm. I'm going to have to call and cancel, lest I drink too much out of nervousness and end up sloshily recalling childhood memories to him.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Informal Survey (I)

What is your home page (the page to which your internet browser opens when you launch it)?

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Oh, pictures on Blogger, okay.

This is me with this wild bird who has been hanging out in Cambridge, perching on top of peoples' heads, at my boss's 4th of July barbecue. The bird has been written up in the local paper.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Haaaaahh, Marie

1. They are filming "The Departed" right outside our window at work. This means we spent most of today gawking at Leo DiCaprio and getting scolded by the production people for leaning out of the window (our building is in "the shot"). Martin Sheen came walking towards us, and Marie, our concierge, who is tough and great and has more than her share of Boston accent sticks her head out the window and yells "Maahtin. Y'lookin' good, honey." He looks up, we're all grinning and waving like dummies. "Thanks. You're looking pretty good yourself," he says. Marie is our hero.

2. I have this thing where I pick up other peoples' speech patterns. I kind of like it and find it comforting and am kind of annoyed by it. To date, here:

1. "That is excellent," "...which is/was excellent," "Awesome (said as a simple statement, not like as in "duuuude", or maybe as a question, like one that incorporates the tag question into the word itself). From Shannon, 26, Massachusetts.

2. "Oh man," said with varying degrees of emphaticness. Most emphatic is "o-oh (descending) ma-aann" (starting higher than the first o and ending even higher). I picked that up from Shannon's imitation of Mike, 26, west Texas. We have both picked up "that right there" and "little bit o'okay" and she points out that their friend Daniel, also from Texas, when he meets a girl, lays on the drawl. Instead of "hi," it's "haaaaahhh." Thank God I haven't caught that yet.

3. instead of laughing - oh, this is awful - instead of laughing, my co-worker Kord, 31, Nebraska, does this sort of quiet hissing? Is that the word? Quiet toneless breathy intake thing in like the back of his throat. I can't explain it. I can't even really do it on command, but I've caught myself doing it instead of laughing. I can't tell you how mortifying this is. Do I have no soul?

And the last thing is that there is nothing greater than a second story porch the door to which you leave open all the time, and having breakfast on it, and reading on it on weekends, and having after-work or late-night drinks on it with friends. We are hosting a cookout on Monday. Shannon and I are going to work the antiquated charcoal grill. neither one of us has any more than the general idea of what needs to be done - coals need to be on fire, or really hot, that kind of thing. But we are intrepid, and if we completely botch the operation, we will order burgers from Redbones and pretend that we've grilled them.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

ethnography of product designers

Today, Kord, Haven and I were supposed to go to Fanueil Hall to do a little urban ethnography of smokers. First we had to stop by the office of the product designers who had contracted us, and we ended up spending all of our allotted time in a meeting with them, going to lunch with them, etc, so we did not get to do any urban ethnography.

Never one to not make lemonade out of lemons, I have written an ethnography of product designers (caveat about qualitative results):

1. Product designers don't know whether there has been conclusive proof that the giant squid exists.
2. Interaction designers could totally beat product designers at tug-of-war.
3. Product designers have cool stuff lying around their offices, but they don't refrigerator their bottles of champagne, which to me smacks of insecurity.
4. "Which to me" is probably not a phrase that ought to be used in ethnography.
5. Partners in product design companies are sexy but wear such beautiful, well-cut, dark orange shirts that I could never date them.
6. Oddly, product designers are more worried about interference protocol (what you say when you stop someone and demand to know what they're doing) than interaction designers.
7. Product designers are way more fashionable than interaction designers.
8. All designers wear weird shoes. These shoes may feature alien-like colors, weird materials, worrying wraps and ties, or a combination of these things.
9. Product designers profess to know a lot about moose(s).
10. Interaction designers are dorkier and cooler than product designers.
11. Product designers will consider impromptu experiments that could set things on fire until the beta-product-designer advises against it.
13. No girls are product designers.
14. Many product designers date men.

There. I'm sure you found that riveting. Also, I learned that in Italian, the word for J is "i-lungha", or "long i," which is excellent.

Saturday, July 02, 2005


I am impervious to romantic setback!

Because I have discovered....

designer consignment shops

Friday, July 01, 2005

And yet.

If you're reading this, you probably know that M. is my housemate with whom I briefly and ill-advisedly (yet, I tell you, inevitably) kind of hooked up a few days after my arrival. My therapist calls it "spontaneous combustion," and that's pretty accurate. We talked about it a few times, but only when we were very drunk, so the whole thing has almost certainly been a vertible festival of miscommunication (me and M, not me and therapist.) (Miscommunication = good theme for a party) Anyway, he'd been trying to sublet his apartment for a while, and succeeded in this yesterday and today is moving to his parents' house on the Cape until he figures out where to go next.

This he tells me last night, standing shirtless in my doorway, and then invites me to go with him to see his friend play guitar.

The thing is, this is officially excellent. He's moody and unpredictable and irritable. He's mean to S., another housemate, with whom he's been friends for years. When he's on, which is infrequently, he's dazzling; when he's off, he's like Satan's annoying kid brother. He acts one way towards me when we're alone, and another way when others are around. The significant charm of sexual tension at home is beginning to pall next to the drama he creates. Boston is exciting and fun, and I have some promising internet dates lined up. It will be good to have the house be a place of rest and relaxation and sanctuary, etc. So, yes, this is good. Very, very good.