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Boston social

Mad New Year's party; Mad Sunday geek night; dancing; geek night; dinner with Riiich tonight; possible dinner with Mad and B tomorrow; contact from V and others. Didn't try to be more social due to the cold last week, and now I'm waiting for the frigging phone to change numbers. It's been 30+ hours since I called in the request. Also got a resume request from Samson, I should polish that up.

The geek dinners have been pretty awesome. Haven't met anyone in the exchange-emails sense, but the conversations have been quite cool. Last night someone had just read Jane Jacobs' Death and Life of Great American Cities and was burbling about that, Chris and someone had a conversation going about ethical theories, the indirectness of MRI BOLD got mentioned, and EEG-MRI combo research.

Went over Chinatown today. It's small. Still a bunch of restaurants, some blending with Vietnamese or Japanese. No walk-in dim sum bakeries, those seem unique to San Francisco. One all-day dim sum restaurant, bunch of other dim sum places. I got as far as Boston Common before aborting to meet Rich Rich the Bicoastal Man, visiting from Cape Cod or Santa Cruz, depending on how you look at it. Then he whisked me back to Cambridge so he could ask them to stop taxing his dead car in California, and we had some Vietnamese food in the Garage. I've liked my entrees there, pork and spring roll on vermicelli this time, though whatever I had last time was improved by mixing in some spicey sauce. Their spring rolls are low-grade for Vietnamese egg rolls IME, which still leaves them superior to most Chinese ones.

Rich claimed nothing happens, no one lives, in Boston itself. This seems odd, given 600,000 people. He thinks the wealth distribution might be particularly bimodal: rich people (old and finance money) downtown and on Beacon Hill, poor blacks and immigrants in Dorchester. Not that I take Rich as a definitive expert.

Yesterday the apartment complex I'm in had a fire alarm in the early afternoon. A friend had her house in Tennesse burn down over Christmas, which had prompted me to check fire safety (no extinguisher in apartment; ones in or near stairways; two stairways; no posted evacuation plan but I figure go for the stairs; lots of carpet) and to put essential in my pockets or easily grabblable. I didn't expect it to pay off... I probably violated strict safety by pausing at all to put pants and shoes on and grab stuff, but given not smelling smoke, two stairs, I figured I could take the risk. Turned out to be a false alarm, or someone being smokey; knowledge of such things also informed my decision. Still odd, to have my preparations put to use so quickly.

Mad's relocation book said how transit was mostly good in slices going toward downtown, and poor between sslices, and planners had been considering more circular routes to deal with the new high-tech suburbs. That was back in 2002. Lonely Planet noted that public-access toilets were rare. Rich considers public toilets nigh non-existent. The relocation guide also noted Boston's inferiority complex about being a world-class city or not. I'm tempted to write a letter to the editor: "IME, world-class cities have public toilets and high-frequency nigh point-to-point public transportation. So no, but you could fix that."

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Damien Sullivan
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