Missing the Boat…. er…. Train
Mar 31st, 2008 by Mike

Sometimes you have to love hating the MBTA. Today is one of those days.

Since I have to get to the Comcast Service Center, I told my boss that I was going to try to catch the 2:20 train and then work from home the rest of the afternoon. I left the office about 1:50, giving me 30 minutes to get to North Station.

Of course, the Silver Line was delayed, and after waiting for ten minutes, two buses showed up at once. Of course, I then walked into the New England Medical Center station as the Orange Line train was pulling out.

By the time I got to North Station, I missed my train by two minutes, forcing me to wait another 50 minutes for the next Newburyport train.

Commuter Connections
Mar 27th, 2008 by Mike

If you live in the Boston area, you probably love to hate the MBTA.  It’s a good system that’s unfortunately run by monkeys.

One of the nice things about living in Salem is being able to take the train into work. What I really like is that during peak times, there is a train running every ten to twenty minutes. If I miss a train, like I did this morning, the next one isn’t too far off. My commute is interesting because I take the train to North Station, where I connect to the Orange line. Then I take the Orange Line to New England Tufts Medical Center. That’s where I pick up the Silver Line to Union Park Street, a couple of blocks from my office. In the afternoon, I do the same thing in reverse.

What would be really nice are monitors in the Orange Line station that show the commuter rail lines. That way I can tell if I need to hurry or not to my train’s platform. Today, I took my time getting to the train platforms only to find that I almost missed the 4:45 Beverly train. Other times I rush only to find myself waiting ten minutes. Monitors in the subway station would really help.

Will the T ever do it? I doubt it.

Mar 18th, 2008 by Mike

Not being from Boston, I didn’t realize that Beth Israel used to be a pretty bad hospital. My first experience with them was when I started seeing a primary care doctor at Fenway Community Health.  What I love about the BIDMC system is that all of my doctors have access to the same information. My surgeon was able to see the notes of my visit with the neurologist. The neurologist was able to see the results of my visit with the optometrist. This is all really cool stuff.

Until today.

Today was my pre-surgery interview with a nurse in the anesthesiology group (who never gave me her name, just “one of the nurses”) and she had no clue of my medical history nor medications. One of the things that every doctor has done is gone over my list of medications to ensure that it’s absolutely current, including the vitamins I take. My neurologist (who I absolutely adore) tells me that it’s a big push for the hospital to ensure that every patient’s list of medications is current. So when “one of the nurses” is doing the pre-op interview, not only did she ask what medications I was taking and what special needs I had, she was totally missing out on a valuable resource that was probably right at her fingertips. Now I understand the need for her to ask what medication I’m on, but wouldn’t it have been easier for her to ask if I was still taking Strattera 25mg twice a day and 44mcg of Rebif three times a week instead of asking me to list all of the medications I currently take? She was surprised when I told her that I had multiple sclerosis. What? It’s been part of every discussion with every doctor at every visit. Even a cursory look at my medical records should have indicated that to her.

I’ve really had a great experience with BIDMC and I’m hoping this one situation doesn’t drag down my opinion of the entire system.

Truth Hurts
Feb 18th, 2008 by Mike

One of my favorite places to take visitors to Boston is Belle Isle Seafood in Winthrop. It’s “off the boat” fresh seafood, and unless you don’t like seafood, it’s really good stuff.

I was standing at the counter this afternoon, waiting to order. I could see into the kitchen from my vantage point, and what I saw horrified me. I watched a guy open a bag of frozen shrimp, put it into a strainer, run it under some water, drain it, and then put it into a container in the display case as if it was fresh.

BIS never claims that all of their stuff is off the boat fresh, but I just assumed it had been caught recently. After all, they’re on a little shack on the water. Wouldn’t you assume it was caught fresh as well?

New Blue Line Cars
Feb 18th, 2008 by Mike

Originally uploaded by mikehillwig

The T has had new cars for the blue line on order for years. They finally started taking delivery of the cars but they haven’t been put into service yet. I understand that this is due to some regulation that requires the cars to be tested for 500 miles before being put into revenue service. The first of these cars was due to be in service the first of the year, but I hadn’t seen one yet.  They’ve been testing the cars on the test track near the orange line.

Today, I saw one of the new cars operating on the blue line, but I don’t think it was in service. The interior lights appeared to be off, and I didn’t see any people in the cars. Still, it’s exciting to know that the crappy old blue cars are going to be retired soon enough.

This is a pretty bad picture, but it’s hard to get a picture of a moving vehicle through a shrub at a distance.

Bread and Milk
Jan 13th, 2008 by Mike

We’re supposed to get pounded with snow overnight, something like six to nine inches between midnight and morning.

There is this phenomenon in New England that is really hard to explain, but when we’re supposed to get snow, everyone flocks to the grocery store for bread and milk. Now, when we’re supposed to get snow, I tend to get stuff to make a nice dinner because I like to cook when it’s cold outside. But seriously, the Revere Stop and Shop was practically out of milk. I had to buy a quart of organic whole milk because they were out of 1% and 2% milk.

Don’t people normally have enough stuff to get them through a week anyway with their normal shopping? Is it really that necessary to buy out the store, literally?

Jan 2nd, 2008 by Mike

I just spoke to my landlord and gave him notice that I would be vacating my apartment at the end of March. My lease says the end of April, and he wants me to stick to that. I’m simply not willing to stay that long.

Now it’s time to find a new place to live and it’s certainly time to get out of the city.

The Red Sox are keeping me up
Oct 21st, 2007 by Mike

I always have trouble getting to sleep on Sunday night. Tonight is no exception.  I went to bed at 10:00 thinking I’d be able to get a good night’s sleep. Wrong.

Thinking I’d be able to sleep while the Red Sox were in the playoffs was just plain dumb. The whole neighborhood must have been watching the game because there were tons of shouts, screams, and other various noise keeping me awake. Heck, even Reggie was woofing at the noise in the neighborhood, and he never woofs at much of anything.

It’s a good thing they won. At least my sleeplessness wasn’t in vain.

Oct 21st, 2007 by Mike

The meth addict downstairs is gone. When I got back from spending the weekend at Beth and Paul’s house, the apartment was empty. He packed and moved in a weekend! Obviously, my landlord has got to be happy he’s gone. I’m curious how many thousands of dollars he lost on this one.

While it’s good that he’s gone, it also means that I need to return my lease. I told my landlord several months ago that I would return my lease when this guy was gone. I need to keep up my part of the bargain.

Oct 14th, 2007 by Mike

My friend Steve is here from London for the weekend.

Friday night, watched the planes coming in while we ate fish and chips, American style.

Yesterday, I cooked breakfast and then we drove up to Maine. That was fun. On the way to Ogunquit, we hit up the Stonewall Kitchen company store and cafe. I picked up a whole lot of little mustard, jams, and stuff. A lot of it appears to be Beth-friendly. The drive through New Hampshire and Maine was pretty as the leaves are starting to change colors.

On the way back, we stopped by the Hilltop Steakhouse’s butcher shop for some chicken to make Parmesan crusted chicken. Then we just chilled at home last night.

Today, we got up kind of early, and I met the owner of the dog walking company. He was really nice and I’m meeting with the woman who will be walking Reggie tomorrow. After that, we went into the city and had brunch with Seth. Then we jumped on the T to look around the North End. We picked up canolis at Mike’s Pastry before making the trek from North Station to South Station to pick up Steve’s tickets for Tuesday. Then we went back to the South End to get my car.

Steve is now taking a nap, and we’re going to be making dinner here shortly.  I picked up a few fillets yesterday at the

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