Beantown Diaries

I’m in Boston.

As I tweeted upon my arrival:

I’m in Boston, tweeps.  Hello Harvard Square.  Hello Newbury Street.  Hello stomping grounds of my misspent youth.

Whenever I’m in town, I always find myself remembering all the crazy shit I did when I lived just an hour, exactly, from this place.

What? What’s that you say?  You want me to regale you with crazy tales of my crazy exploits in crazy Beantown, Boston Mass, birthplace of the nation?  Just a hop skip and a jump from Lynn, Lynn, city of sin?

Well.  Have yourself a seat, little buckaroo, and I’ll dangle a couple tasty morsels of high school chicanery in your general di-rection.

Like the time I was waiting in Harvard Square for my best friend Kim.  I was fresh out of my first month and a half at Syracuse, on my way home for Thanksgiving break.  I was mohawked.  I was purple haired.  I was disillusioned youth-ed.  I was so punk rock.  I was going to hang out in Boston with my friend Kim for a day before heading home.  I was 100% rebel.  I was also going to Syracuse University on partial scholarship as an aerospace engineering major.

Right.  So in retrospect, I suppose the Boston street kid task force didn’t pick up on the whole engineering student vibe.  I tried telling them I really didn’t need any clean needles or a place to stay, thanks.  But the sandwich wasn’t half bad.

Then there was the time I totally ditched work the summer before I left for college and Kim and I headed down to Boston for a night on the town with some other friend of hers.  We went to a goth club and were gothy.  We emo’d all night long.  I met a boy named Derrick who I fancied.  He was very pale and full of angst.  WINNER!  I pined over him for a week or two, despite never seeing him again.  I remember walking back to my car, about 2 miles away.  Kim and our other friend were fast walkers, and sorta left me behind.  Drunk, you know.  So, I was walking down Comm(onwealth) Ave, at about 3am, essentially by myself.  I had my knife out, in my hand.  Ready.  Because I was not alone…and it was dark…and not well lit…and not a good part of town.  Plus, there’s the whole I’m-a-total-badass thing.

I also discovered Clannad that weekend.  Still, my favorite Irish band EVAR.  Maire Brennan is the shit.  Makes her sister Enya sound like a walrus needing an epinephrine shot.  (Total exaggeration there, in case you were wondering.  Enya is fab.  Just, her sister is More Fab.)

And of course there was the day I skipped school and Kim and I and a couple others (Kim was quite the bad influence on me, wasn’t she?  Wish I could find her 😛 ) We hung out on Newbury street generally being nuisances and having just a grand time being Not At School.  Being Not At School makes everything more fun.  It’s like…cinnamon.  With cherries on top, and a dollop of homemade whipped cream.

Now I’m here to visit my new nephew.  See my baby brother as a father for the first time.  Meet my sister-in-law’s parents, who are visiting from Brazil.  That makes them my inlaws, right?  Right?  Because I kinda like them.  Can I keep ’em?  I foresee a trip to Brazil in my future.  Who knows, maybe I won’t come back.

Anything’s possible.


Just look at everything that started in this little colonial town.

But I do miss Portland.

And my dog.

Old Model Army, or Why I’m Not Emo Anymore

I was an angry, disillusioned, totally emo chick in college. 

I’m not exactly sure how it happened. 

(Translation: it would take far longer than this blog post to explain, and I’m not sure we’re at the stage in our interwebs relationship where I open up that much.  )

Right.  So, angry.  Emo.  My writing 101 prof called me a nihilist existentialist. 

Wow.  Really?  No, really?

Well.  What sort of music does a nihilist existentialist listen to?

Why, New Model Army, of course.   My favorite album of theirs, The Ghost of Cain.

They were angry.  Oh, so very angry.  I submit the following selections from the track list as evidence: 

The Hunt – Vigilante-ism at its finest:

“No police, no summons, no courts of law | no proper procedures, no rules of war | no mitigating circumstance | no lawyer’s fees no second chance”

“We can spend our whole life waiting for some thunderbolt to come | Or we can spend our whole life waiting for some justice to be done | Unless we make our own”

Lights Go Out – The worker’s lament:

“I went to my father, said please make me king… | He said son, well you gotta do your time | I’ve done 53 years and I haven’t yet done mine | You’re just one of the millions waiting in line”

“Though we asked for the money, and money they gave | God how that made us easy to enslave | So today at the office, we picked up the check | A chain of gold, a stab in the back | The old men went home, silent and bowed | And the young men went drinking, drowning it out”

51st State – Great Britain’s anti-american anthem:

 “Yeah tip your hat to the Yankee conquerors | We’ve got no reds under the bed | We’ve guns under our pillows”

“Here in the land of opportunities, hah | Oh watch us revel in our liberty | Well you can say what you like, but it doesn’t change anything | Cause the corridors of power, they’re an ocean away”

All of This – Western foreign policy rant:

 “Frustrated and impatient and intelligent sharp and twisted like a child | Death is an aphrodisiac now | There’s fuses on the table slowly wired”

 “Soldiers out at the discoteque pick up a girl and drink to home afar | Spending money like water on the watered drinks available at the bar | The ones who never were given much never asked much of anything in recall | But there’s a black bag in the corner and it doesn’t bel0ng to anyone here at all”

“In the name of the people, all of this done | In the name of the people”

Western Dream – i.e. the american dream, uh, is a dream, but media is gonna shove it down your throat:

Gather round and listen and I’ll tell you how it’s done | How they managed to make idiots out of everyone | Take a human population with their hunger and their pain, and the weaknesses that cripple them again and again”

“All lies all lies all schemes all schemes | Every one of you is a loser in the western dream” 

Ballad – Most depressing “we fucked up the world” song EVAR, complete with sad harmonica:

“When they look back at us and they write down their history | What will they say about our generation | We’re the ones who knew everything | Still we did nothing | Harvested everything | Planted nothing”

“Floating in comfort on waves of our apathy | Quietly gnawing away at our body | Till we mortgaged the future | Buried our children”

“Well I stand on this hill | And I watch her at night | A thousand square miles and a million orange lights | Wounded and scarred she lies silent in pain | Raped and betrayed in the cold acid rain”

“Not foolish and brave, these leaders of ours | Just stupid and petty, unworthy of power | Just a little leak here, and a small error there | Another square mile, poisoned forever”

Master Race

“And the opposition, well we ain’t doing so well | Our understanding is weak here, and  knowledge is small | Though the kids scrawl frustration on a backstreet wall | Well most of them can’t even spell ‘bastard'”


 Ouch.  Ouch ouch ouch.  Sometimes, it’s hard to listen to this album. 

So where am I going with this?

I listen to this album still.  And I enjoy it, for the memories, and the emotion, but so many of these songs just don’t ring true for me anymore.  And that makes me glad…nay, grateful.  Thankful.  To be  perfectly honest, I really must give some of the credit to our newly elected president for laying much of those feelings to rest.  Not that last year I was all RAWR I HATE MY COUNTRY, but it sure was painful to watch the things that were happening.  They’re still happening, it’s true, but there’s a pervading sense of hope now. 

Thank you, my country.  I’ve always loved you.  But as Michelle Obama said, I’m once again proud to be an American.