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March 9th, 2005


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03:59 am - making the scene
The snow has died down, which is nice. For a while there things were especially windy up here on the hill and we had some of that sideways snow which you hear about from time to time. Now we're quietly waiting out the night, taps on a drip so the pipes don't freeze, and maybe tomorrow I'll tromp down the hill to the bus and find, much to my surprise, the 90 actually running. On the other hand, I may have to take the train. The 90 is pretty much useless in the snow.

I made the most of my day off today by sleeping in late. Ah, extended uninterrupted melatonin-enhanced REM sleep, how we love you. Around 5 or so, as the snow was beginning to fall, bex77 and audioboy picked me up and we headed on down to the S&S for a little knish-n-gab. I had the knish but we all had the gab, and it was good to see them again after a while, as I didn't get much chance to talk to either of them much after Talley's Folly. Neil's got a great idea for an experimental anthology kind of radio drama series, and I'm thinking about dreaming up a little contribution in the form of handy 10-minute chunks. I'm looking at some kind of pulpy sci-fi Flash Gordon kind of thing. 10 minutes is enough to push a serial forward, that's for sure, and if it's a comedy, which I'm sure it will end up being if I have anything to do with it, 10 minutes will be more than enough. (Miz Beth, if you'd be so kind as to see me after this post, would be much appreciated, thank you.)

Sadly, CAT TOWN IN SPAAAAAAAAAAAAACE won't work here because nobody wants to holler for 10 minutes straight, unless they're reactionary talk radio fans.

After finishing knishing, I hung around in Inman Square with Neil to catch a benefit for modpixie's feature film project, a retelling of the Celtic ballad "Tam Lin." I had an insanely good time at the show, and was glad that it went on despite the rotten weather, even if that meant the turnout wasn't as good as it really should have been. Nevertheless, I was very happy to see the live production of a transcribed Lights Out radio episode ("The Revolt of the Worms") replete with sound effects (minimalist compared to 1940s radio standards, but just as effective, if not moreso) and appropriately earnest expository dialogue. The best pulpy horror tales were done with defeatist interior monologues, weren't they?

But I was really surprised, and truly psyched, to see and listen to the live performances of ukulele and banjo tunes. There seems to be quite the scene in Cambridge and Somerville these days of retro 20s-style acts, and that's quite all right by me. I'm always happy when the older fellow with the tuba or euphonium or what-have-you is doing his thing in Park Street Station, singing and playing old standards from yesteryear that nobody else around remembers the words to. I loved Jean Shepherd's iconoclastic fixation with playing tunes of nickelodeon pieces on his radio show, as well as "Sheik of Araby", "Bei Mir Bist du Schoen" (which he'd sing as "The Bear Missed The Train") and "After You've Gone" on the jew's harp. I've noticed that no matter what "modern" era since WWII, there's been at least one fringe cultural group still keeping that kind of jazz standard around, if only for their own benefit. I admire that. I respect that.

The music played was a mix of standards such as Paper Moon and Mr. Sandman, and newer pieces, including one that began with "Houdini always thought outside the box" and an incredibly wonderful memento mori-tinged ode to Tutankhamen with some excellent internal rhyming (such as "You make a terrific hieroglyphic...") Craig Robertson, the main ukulele player, dressed nattily for the occasion and had a voice that sounded uncannily like Tom Lehrer's in the upper notes. Just as I was about to note this to Neil, Craig mentioned "a mathematician who lives in Cambridge wrote a few songs in the 1950s" and proceeded to perform a version of "The Masochism Tango." Un-canny. Very entertaining. His accompanist in the first act was a member of The Sob Sisters, another act devoted to perpetuating the songs of yesteryear in excellent flapper-inspired getup. Honestly, what's not to like? This is a scene I can very easily make, if anybody ever says "make the scene" anymore. Well, maybe I'll just have to start.

It was also very nice to speak to modpixie for a bit before and after the show. It's pretty clear she's a shameless nostalgian, too, and that's wonderful. I've always maintained the world needs more of this and I can't wait for another chance to play the "D'you Remember?" game with her again. Ever prodigious, she's just started a new Boston nostalgia blog after a thread in the b0st0n community, and it promises to be entertaining and enlightening for those of us who have been known to chirp "I can walk like a pen-guin!" whenever we see a tuxedo bird, and who mourn the loss of such venerable banking institutions such as Baybank or Shawmut.

(Actually, I never was one to mourn Shawmut's demise, as I never had any good experiences with them. I wonder if tikva still has the Wheelchair-Accessible sign that we tore off the ATM with the too-narrow doorway in a collective fit of pique one night. Aw, we were young, no one could tell us we were wrong, and ain't no way was a wheelchair gonna fit through that door without some power tools and a bit of moxie.)

The wind's still shaking the house around a bit, causing the water level in the toilet to rise and fall and the cats to stare pointedly at the deck door. It'll be a nice setting to doze off in while the lava lamp burns. This was an exceptionally good day off and a welcome change of pace, I must say. Makes a fellow feel alive.

(11 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:gilana
Date:March 9th, 2005 11:30 am (UTC)
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OK, the universe is just too small. How the hell do you know tikva?
[User Picture]
From:coffeebeanben
Date:March 9th, 2005 02:58 pm (UTC)
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Everybody knows tikva! How do you know tikva?

Tell the story, unka-Spatch!
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From:derspatchel
Date:March 9th, 2005 09:32 pm (UTC)
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How don't I know Tikva? (Whoa hey, tee hee) I so could have sworn we've had this conversation before, perhaps during AitT. Tikva and I met at UMass, dated for a year and a half, lived half-together through one of the most fucked-up summers in existence (summer of 94! Crash House! drunken Gulf War vets, cokehead twinks and psycho hose beasts, oh my!) and somehow managed to stay good friends throughout it all. Now she's in DC and that's sad cause we can't go tromping around (TROMP TROMP TROMP) as easily as before, but I'm glad she's where she is. NOW JUST COME BACK TO BOSTON SOON RAY-CHO
[User Picture]
From:cheezdanish
Date:March 9th, 2005 02:17 pm (UTC)
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You rang, sir?
[User Picture]
From:derspatchel
Date:March 10th, 2005 08:43 am (UTC)
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LIVEJOURNAL COMMENTING IS HARD

(IM?)
[User Picture]
From:coffeebeanben
Date:March 9th, 2005 02:52 pm (UTC)
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> "I can walk like a pen-guin!"

Hey, mom! The dolphin show!

wow.

Oh and hey, CREATURE DOUBLE FEATURE! CREATURE DOUBLE FEATURE!
[User Picture]
From:minkrose
Date:March 9th, 2005 05:46 pm (UTC)
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I miss BayBank. I may have been too young to really have bad experiences with them but I certainly hated Fleet. Any bank that charges me for using THEIR ATMs is stupid.
[User Picture]
From:bedfull_o_books
Date:March 9th, 2005 07:38 pm (UTC)
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Oh my goodness. I knew fleet sucked, but I didn't know they were also that lame.

Is BankAmerica any better? Doubt it....

I bank with Wainright. Yay Sum network.
[User Picture]
From:minkrose
Date:March 9th, 2005 07:48 pm (UTC)
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http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&safe=off&q=fleet+sucks
There are a lot of sites out there documenting horror stories, though I can't find my favourite at the moment.

It was an ATM that was in the parking lot of a Honey Farms or something like that. It WAS a Fleet ATM, but I was getting charged a dollar to use it (same with the one on campus). I believe that's because it was not on bank property - but BankNorth doesn't charge me for crap like that. Fleet just charges extra on anything they can, and they aren't very organized.

I'm not familiar with Wainright but I hope it is serving you better than Fleet. I have no experience with BoA, I switched last year.
[User Picture]
From:derspatchel
Date:March 10th, 2005 08:42 am (UTC)
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Egads. Fleet has rightfully gained the title of Prime Evil (as opposed to Prime Lender?) from Citizens, which I thought was bad enough for temporarily buying the naming rights to the State Street station and being very underhanded with the SUM Network when it bought out my favorite bank USTrust (which was a mortal sin in and of itself, mind you.)

Basically Citizens agreed to join SUM as part of the deal to acquire USTrust. (For those from not around here: SUM is a good-guy alliance of banks who have agreed to network together and eliminate ATM fees. Any member of the SUM network won't pay an ATM fee if they use an ATM at another SUM member bank.)

So, if I, as a lowly Citizens customer, decided to use the Winter Hill ATM, the Winter Hill Bank could not charge me a "convenience" fee for using their ATM, since we're both a part of SUM.

Citizens, however, did a neat end-run around these restrictions to still wring pennies out of someone. Since they could not charge other bank's customers, they decided to hit their own customers. I, as a lowly Citizens customer, am charged a "foreign ATM fee" should I be so bold and impetuous as to demand cash from a non-Citizens ATM.

There's a name for a bank like this and it rhymes with "hat pasturd."
[User Picture]
From:minkrose
Date:March 9th, 2005 07:53 pm (UTC)
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