Urban (mis)Advantures

Urban Adventure with Arthur — July 4, 2014

Urban Adventure with Arthur

Due to the Mother Nature celebrating her immense freedom of slamming the Eastern Seaboard with Hurricane Arthur, the Boston Firework Spectacular was moved to July 3rd. Seeing that it was a quick decision and being on a business day, we guessed that it might not be as crowded as our first adventure to the show a few years ago. So we parked at Alewife, took the subway into Cambridge and found a spot right in front of the barge on the Charles River.

The Boy and I playing Trash while waiting for the big show.  Good to see him not glued to his phone.
The Boy and I playing Trash while waiting for the big show. Good to see him not glued to his phone.

The Boston Pops performed, a children’s choir sang that “Frozen” song, and the Beach Boys played three songs.  Everything needed to be slightly rushed as the skies grew darker.  For some reason, right before the fireworks began, Fenway’s lights came on and illuminated the entire river.

Yes, the firework show was indeed dazzling, even though the Pops did not get a chance to play the 1812 Overture. And no, I do NOT have any pictures or videos of the spectacle, as I am NOT a dee-oosh who blocks everyone’s view of the fireworks with their stupid phones!!!  You know who you are dee-ooshes!  Yeah! You show up at the last minute, standing in any crack you can find, totally in the way of spectators who claimed their spots an hour ago and aren’t jerks who set up camp on the sidewalk!  Seriously, does the show look better through your tiny damn phone screen?!

Deep breath. But the fireworks aren’t the story we will be telling our family at Christmas or our future grandchildren.

With smoke still lingering in the indigo Boston sky, everyone packed up chairs. We froze when hearing a commentator over the loudspeaker thanking everyone for attendance, but we needed to

E V A C U A T E.

Like cattle, hundreds or thousands of people herded across away from the river and towards the Kendall train station. First, the sky lit up again.  But the fireworks were over.  Lightening illuminated Boston’s cloudy, churning sky.  Thunder rumbled.  We reached the outbound train station and within a couple of minutes, people began screaming like a tidal wave was spilling into the streets of Cambridge, Mass.  We could then hear rain pellets pounding the buildings.  Then, WOOSH!

As Arthur’s edge collided with fronts from the north, huge rain drops pelted us poor souls.  More screams of unnecessary panic rang through the wet streets as people dashed to the Mariott hotel, towards the Chipotle, or under whatever covering they could find.  We crowded the entrance to Kendall Station, and my heart beat raced as I feared the impact of panicked humans, and the Mister voiced that someone may get hurt. Umbrellas fanned out, but quickly folded backwards as Arthur’s winds gusted.  Raincoats began wearing people instead of the other way around as the water fell relentlessly.  The Boy, frustrated by drunk or rude spectators during the show, donned his Ramones sunglasses in the blackness of the storm and stood defiantly out in the downpour until the crowd slowly piled into the safety of the train stop.  When the wind died down, he opened the umbrella.  As the weather and people calmed a bit, the Mister got out the camera.

Caught in the storm! As you can see, the Boy was not amused at first.
Caught in the storm! As you can see, the Boy was not amused at first.
Soaked to the bone while waiting for the train!
Soaked to the bone while waiting for the train!

My husband and I laughed loudly as our wet clothes clung to our skin.  My Chuck Taylor shoes turned into puddles that splashed with each step.  Finally the crowd started moving under the direction of the T’s security.  I was bumped and shoved as we inched towards the steps and called out politely for people to remain calm and not trample me.  It worked, as others scooted away from me. Hanging on to the Mister’s hand so not lose him, we carefully took each slippery step down. The Boy predicted the ride on the subway to be “soggy human soup.” And he was right. Soaking people sat in chairs and hung on to rails, but all were in good spirits, at least on our car.

Four stops later, we reached Alewife where the Beetle was parked. While waiting 45 minutes in line to exit the parking garage, I took off my shoes and rung out my sopping socks.  Not many radio stations came in under the garage, so I slid in my Ramones collection CD and we rocked out to American punk to make the wait easier.

Although I will always have the fireworks beautifully exploding in my memories, Arthur’s July 3rd storm will was the moments that brought on the most laughs and memorable moments.

Enjoy your holiday weekend, America!

There’s No July 4th Celebration Like a New England July 4th Celebration. — July 5, 2012

There’s No July 4th Celebration Like a New England July 4th Celebration.

Image from ABCnews.com

These beautiful moments are brought to you by New England communities, fireworks, and our founding fathers.

I do not travel anywhere for vacation during the July 4th Holiday.  Why should I, since I live in the best place to celebrate our nation’s birthday:  Massachusetts.  In the past few years, we’ve watched fireworks in the darkly historic Salem and the big show itself, Boston, which is pictured above.  We went the year Neil Diamond performed (woo-hoo!).  But, we’ve discovered that we can just stay in our backyard of Chelmsford.

This year, my Independence Day holiday began on July 3rd, by strolling around Chelmsford town center at the fair.  Local vendors set up booths with games, raffles, and great food, including chocolate covered bacon (though I could not muster up the stomach to try this).  The newly renovated arts center displayed local artist’s drawings, sculptures and paintings, where a few people I know took home some ribbons for anime type drawing and a painting.  To end the evening, I lounged with many other townies in the cool grass and listened to the community band play patriotic anthems.

Independence Day began with the 45th Annual Chelmsford July 4th Parade.  I awoke to heavy rain that morning, and was nervous the parade would be cancelled.  Yet the rain stopped pouring, yet a few clouds remained, providing relief for those of us that forgot our sunscreen.  Ahem.  I love a good parade, from home-grown Christmas and Mardi Gras, to Macy’s Thanksgiving Day, and especially this ID-4 spectacle.  Veterans, senate and congress hopefuls, and Boy Scout Troops march down the streets along with area high school and cultural bands.  This year, a few characters joined in on the fun:

Charlie Chaplin
Darth Vader

Yoda and Vader caused quite the gap in the parade, as people ran out in the street to get pictures taken with them.  One of the bands of Minute Men had to scatter around Vader at the last minute.  Other characters included Spider-Man, whom had too many excited kids around him for me to snap a picture.  I was upset when the pic I took of B.A. Baracus from the A-Team did not come out.  He was pretty awesome.

As I mentioned earlier, what makes a New England July 4th parade so awesome is the Minute Men.  At least three groups of these heroes walked down the street with muskets and drums, all the while the crowd hoping they would stop and fire their guns.

I shot a great video of these guys firing the muskets, but the video does not show up when I go to select it. Shrug.  Moving on.  Later in the parade, when the crowd spotted a squadron of Redcoats heading our way, we could not help but shout:

“The British are coming! The British are coming!”

I’m sure these men heard this yelled throughout their five kilometer trek.

An Independence Day jubilee would not be complete without fireworks.  This year, we did not commute to the Charles River for the gigantic Boston show.  The affluent people in our Heart (Hart?) Pond community blast some really impressive fireworks over the pond.  So for the past couple of years, my little family has spiked mosquito-repelling torches in the ground and lounged in lawn chairs to watch the Heart Pond boat parade, followed by fireworks at around 9:00.  I’m not talking about Roman Candles and sparklers here.  Thousands of dollars of screaming sky flowers are shot in our backyard.  In the distance, the town of Littleton’s display blooms over the treeline, and the distant thunder from each boom boom mixed with our own fireworks.  Also, Mother Nature lit up our sky with lightening last night, threatening to dump another round of rain.  But Heart Pond was spared from a down pour.  But, lightening and the possibility of violent storms caused an evacuation of the Boston Esplanade during the Pops performance, yet the firework spectacular went ahead as scheduled.

I greatly look forward to a few more Massachusetts July 4th celebrations before the Mister and I decide where to settle down.

Tunes to Add to the July 4th Playlist…. — June 30, 2012

Tunes to Add to the July 4th Playlist….

Image from Indie Music Filter.

‘Tis the season where we Americans celebrate our independence.  Our freedom to choose religions.  Our freedom to say what we want.  Our freedom to make stupid decisions.  And our freedom to listen to alternative, punk, rap, country, or rock ‘n roll music.  One way to celebrate this independence is by blasting your favorite tunes.  Now this list of patriotic tunes is not the run-of-the-mill, totally predictable songs like “Born in the U.S.A.” or “God Bless the U.S.A,” because those songs are given guesses.  This list of tunage includes songs from all across these united States, songs disagreeing with Uncle Sam, and even a few picks from artists on the other side of the Atlantic.

First ones on my list celebrate these United States of America, singing about towns and cities from sea to shining sea:
“Born on the Bayou” by Creedence Clearwater Revival.  This is my first choice because I was born kinda sorta close to the bayou in Louisiana.
“Johnny B. Goode” by Chuck Berry.  Deep down in Louisiana, close to New Orleans….
“Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynyrd Skynyrd.  Lord, I’m coming home to you….
“Hey Dixie” by the Dixie Chicks.  One for the proud Texans.
“Take it Easy” by the Eagles.  Standin’ on the corner in Winslow, Arizona…..
“California Girls” by the Beach Boys.  And by David Lee Roth.  And by Katy Perry.  But mostly by the Beach Boys.
“Dani California” by Red Hot Chili Peppers.  Although this song ends in Dani’s death, it takes us from her being born in Mississippi, a black bandana in sweet Louisiana, and robbing a bank in Indiana.
“An Open Letter to N.Y.C” by the Beastie Boys.
“Miami” by Will Smith.
“Empire State of Mind” Jay-Z and Alicia Keys.  Broadway, the Knicks, Nets, and Yankees, let’s hear it for New York.
“Shipping Up to Boston” the Dropkick Murphys.
“I’ve Been Everywhere” by the Original Man in Black, Johnny Cash.  Fargo, Chicago, Little Rock, Jacksonville, Knoxville, Shreveport, Dodge City, Colorado, Idaho.

Let’s explore the flipside of patriotism.  These next few artists exercise their freedom of speech by disagreeing with the government, pointing out racism, protesting war, and telling it like it is for many of us Americans.
“American Idiot” by Green Day.  I’m talking about the whole album, y’all.  From not wanting to be part of a ‘redneck agenda’ to walking down the Boulevard of Broken Dreams.
“Words I Never Said” Lupe Fiasco featuring Skylar Grey.  This song is not for the right-wingers.  He takes on the war against terrorism, budget cuts, and how we spend our money.
“Wretches and Kings” by Linkin Park.  Steel unload, final blow, we the animals take control.  Wretches and kings, we come for you.
“The Catalyst” another by Linkin Park from A Thousand Suns album.  God bless us everyone, we’re a broken people living under loaded gun.  God save us everyone….
“Stand Up” by the Flobots.  Stand up, we shall not be moved…..
“We’re a Happy Family” The Ramones.  There are no white picket fences in this part of Queens, where they eat refried beans and make a fortune selling Daddy’s dope.
“Not Ready to Make Nice” Dixie Chicks…remember when they were ashamed of W?
“Cowboy” by Kid Rock.  He’s not straight out of Hampton, but straight off the trailer, folks.
The Dead Kennedys.  America’s in-your-face punk band, who fought the law and sing about a foul-mouthed old lady who speeds from Pasadena and through Nevada.

There are a few artists whose majority of songs give us that patriotic feeling:
The Presidents of the United States of America.  Duh.  They move into the county, eat a lot of peaches, and sing about bo weevils.  They are officially elected “to rock your asses until midnight.”
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.  Everybody knows the lyrics to these tunes, from Free Falling to American Girl.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers. Many of their songs are about the not-so-glamourous life in California.  Some include references to lead singer Anthony Keidis’ Apache heritage.
Kid Rock. Although born in Michigan, he has a very Southern sound.  And he has a song called “American Badass.”
John Cougar Mellencamp.  This long time supporter of American blue-collar workers completely captures the life in our country.  Plus, there’s R.O.C.K in the U.S.A

Okay, so July 4th is when we Americans celebrate our Independence from an old empire.  But freedom should be universal.  And the British have some great songs that also reflect a desire for independence and a better life.  Here’s just a few.
Born Free by British rap/alternative artist, MIA.
United States of Eurasia by British alternative band, Muse.
I Still Believe by British folk artist, Frank Turner.  A great song about rock and roll.
Where the Streets Have No Name by U2.  This song reminds me of freedom.
Bullet the Blue Sky U2.
For Those About To Rock by ACDC, the Scottish/Australian rock legends.  This tune became the anthem for our soldiers who served in Iraq.

There are many, many more.  Feel free to add yours to the list!