Today in Arm-Wrestling Squirrels

Trip Start Jan 02, 2013
Trip End Jun 05, 2013

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Where I stayed
Brother Rylan's House
What I did
That Boston City

Flag of United States  , Massachusetts
Monday, January 7, 2013

Heyo! Since we last met, I traveled from the Bay Area to the Boston Area. Read on, be dazzled and amazed, enjoy the pictures, and reconsider your lives a bit. 

My day in Walnut Creek/surrounding areas was nice. Got to run into my amazing cousin, Jewel (or the future Dr. Love), and spent some time catching up with him. I highly recommend having a cousin quite as articulate and interesting as he is. If you don't have one on hand, and don’t have the direct means of coming by one, they're making incredible strides with test tubes and amoebas. 

My past few days have been spent in Boston, either doing quite a lot or very little, depending on how you look at things. I'll highly the important bits, but first, a brief snippet from my mental journal the morning of my red-eye across the country: 

6:30 a.m., St. Paul Airport, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Just arrived at St Paul airport. Have world’s biggest crick in neck, and strangely several cricks in other places that cricks don’t generally hang out. Slept 2 hours on the plane, but eventually woke up shivering and dehydrated with the deepest feeling of sorrow and depression, like I had lost someone or something irreplaceable. I looked next to me to find that something, but saw only a large woman, passed out and snoring under a red airplane blanked. Her seat reclined. Why wouldn't mine recline. The button was broken. Dammit. I wanted to recline too. 

A small crack formed in my heart, and I held back a sob. 

Now, Sitting here in the airport, I can perceive visual rays of despondency seeping from my aura into the general atmosphere. I cast a gaze of doom at all who pass. They look at me. Why. I don't know. Maybe it's because I look at them first. With my doom gaze.These people. They are evil. All evil shall perish. 

I'm a religious studies major, I should know. 

 I wish they would shrivel where they walk, and decompose swiftly into manure, leaving only their shoes splayed out along the walkway, filled with the putrid soil of their corrupt flesh. Or they could just turn into puppies for me to kick. 

And then, there's this place. This…place. What is this place. This…Minnesota? It is cold and gray and technologically advanced. I don't like it here. I don't like Minnesota. 

A bongo sounds. 


I bet some of you wonder how I ever made it out of Minnesota alive. Really it comes down to some nonsense about how difficult it would have been to accomplish all those important life goals—like falling in love for the first time, or becoming the esteemed Dr. Dr. Rabbi Stewart—in such a bleak and destitute land. In the end, my future aspirations got the better of me, and I made my Boston flight in the nick of time (but with a 3 hour lay-over to spare).  

So…Boston. A magical place, this. My first few days in Boston (which I call Cambridge, but is actually Somerville) have mostly involved lugging a suitcase back and forth around the city, and sleeping.

The first thing I learned about Boston, is that when it gets cold in the winter, the city develops large thick piles of this icy white stuff on the ground, and on the tops of bushes and cars. At first it is fun and interesting, but then it gets quite annoying, and eventually turns many nasty colors. I believe I have experienced this phenomenon once before, when I was maybe 8 years old, and still felt wonder in the world. Here, in Boston, the stuff has once again caught my attention. I want to play with it, and throw it at people, and build things out of it. It is so versatile. So intriguing. 

Bit chilly, too

My first night in Boston I attended a party with a bunch of 2010 (mostly Pomona) graduates who wanted to relive their glory days of college with red cups and cheap beer. The night can only be referred to as a quaint and touching display of post-graduate nostalgia. As a college student among a student body that often hosts parties with themes like “middle school,” and “prom,” it was mildly amusing attending a party themed “college.” And they didn’t do such a horrible job. In fact, the main difference between college parties and ‘almost-proper-adult’ parties is that the grads wash the red cups between rounds. 


The next few days were spent mostly loafing around my brother’s apartment and the city. Here are a few highlights for the future visitor:

When visiting Somerville, I would earnestly suggest that all people try to experience the cafe called The Biscuit. The scones are life-changingly delicious. It took me 30 seconds of scoping the place to find the exact person I should talk to—he had a stack of books about religion and Unitarian ministry. I assumed correctly that he was a student at Harvard Divinity, and we chatted for a few minutes about the graduate programs at Harvard. Turns out he's studying to be a Unitarian Universalist Minister. I love any place where I can know exactly who to talk to based on the books on the table. 

I visited Boston Common (a lovely park—pond, bridge, and weeping willows included) once before, but found it quite different this go-round. For one thing, seasonal changes allowed me to perform a miracle: I walked on water. 

It was so awesome. 

Frozen ponds are a novelty for me, and slipping my way across this one was one of the most exciting things I’ve done all month. If you never have before, I highly recommend it. It is not overrated. 

I traipsed around Harvard a bit—an interesting experience, and I enjoyed the old buildings, but like the jerk I am I’ve got to attest that Claremont is much prettier. Also, I genuinely expected everybody’s heads to be much bigger to accommodate for their legendary brains, but alas, I found the people quite normal looking. Pity. 

Did spend some time in a well-attended coffee shop in downtown Boston called Thinking Cup Coffee Bar, which was packed with people, and made me feel incredibly stylish. In fact, I have a feeling that if my brother and I had snagged one of the highly coveted window seats, we might have been mistaken for celebrities. As it was, we were packed in at the back by the bar, where we made a business of looking aloof and intellectual, as trendy coffee shop types are wont to do. 

And those are the highlights for Boston! Planning on having a nice dinner with my adored brother tonight, and then off for the land of the Scots tomorrow! 

Hope you are all well, and I’ll leave you with this excellent quote from Philip Roth, open to your interpretation/discussion:

“Moral: Nothing is never ironic, there’s always a laugh lurking somewhere.” -Portnoy’s Complaint

Love, Lils
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emma on

I like the walking on water bit. And the bongo was a nice touch. Truly.
Lastly, have a deep, intellectual quote in response to your deep, intellectual quote, because we have to keep up with the Harvard kids:
"Let me remark, by the way, that there is no better starting point for thought than laughter; speaking more precisely, spasms of the diaphragm generally offer better chances for thought than spasms of the soul". - Walter Benjamin

lilyface on

You know all about bongos, Emma.

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