Saturday, December 29, 2007

The end is near

A year ago, I was piling into an Amtrak train with a handful of friends, preparing to ring in 2007 in New York City.

A year later, I am packing to leave for Fort Lauderdale, FL, and while away it is highly unlikely that I will add anything to my blog so I wanted to extend my wishes for a happy, healthy and peaceful 2008 to all who read this.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Viva La France

I love the new French President, Nicolas Sarkozy. I'm not sure what his politics are like, but I love the press he generates. Yesterday he was seen arm-in-arm with his model/singer girlfriend, Carla Bruni, landing in Luxor Egypt for some rest and relaxation.

The ability of the French to differentiate between a leader's intelligence, ability to lead and personal life is a subtlety the United States has yet to appreciate. Our current President is a man who stands on very high moral ground. Yet, he has not shown himself as a man of intelligence or capable of leading.

Americans chose our President because he expressed fidelity to his wife and praised God. The public's fixation on these issues has resulted in a President who has remained faithful to his wife, but has little else to show. Given the choice, I'll take Sarkozy. Presumably he was elected because people thought he was smart and capable of leading... who cares if he is sleeping with an ex-supermodel.

Christmas Hangover

Today I came back to the office after being out for the past few days to celebrate the Christmas holiday.

The sheer gluttony I showed overeating at nearly every meal the past couple of days is sickening. Suffering from chronic food coma, I have come back to the office seeking solace from my refrigerator which has so much food it could feed an entire African village.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

We hosted our first Christmas Eve dinner party tonight. The company was excellent, and I could not have been more pleased with how delicious everything turned out. If there was a criticism it was that we purchased far too much meat and fish. No doubt most of the salmon will be tossed and we will be eating pork loin for the rest of the week.

In honor of the Christmas holiday, I thought I would end tonight's blog entry with an excerpt from one of my favorite holiday tales...

...The Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood
puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came
without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and
puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he
hadn't before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store?
What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more?


Sunday, December 23, 2007

Victoria's Diner

Victoria's Diner is one of my favorite places to grab breakfast on the weekend.

Recently this diner in a doublewide was remodeled, menu revised and hours extended (open now 24-hours on the weekends). The waitstaff told me that a male couple who recently bought the diner were responsible for the changes. Aside from the change in decor in the front room (which still is a bit off in my opinion), there must have been a change in the kitchen as well because everything being served looks far fresher and has much more taste.

Because the new owners have not changed the affordable prices and large portions Victoria's regulars can still be seen lining up in the cramped foyer of the diner waiting for a seat every weekend. Lines tend to get a bit long by 10:30am but everyone always seems to be quite friendly about the wait. Victoria's clientele boasts a large cross-section of Bostonians. On any given weekend you are likely to see young, old, gay, straight, latino, black and asian. My favorite patrons are the African-American women who come after church decked-out in their Sunday finest. They add a touch of elegance if not over the top fashion 'a la roxbury' which I never was exposed to growing up in the suburbs.

An added bonus previously not mentioned if you happen to be a 30- or 40-something is that the music played during weekend brunches is 80s only. I'm sure for the younger clientele, this retro feel fits in just fine with a dining room in a trailor but for someone like myself who grew up during the 80s it is an unexpected and pleasant touch not overlooked and definitely appreciated; brunch always tastes better listening to the likes of Prince, Madonna, and Cindy Lauper.

How to get to Victoria's
Victoria's is located on Mass Avenue on the Dorchester / Roxbury line, at 1024 Massachusetts Avenue. It is easily accessible off of I-93 and as the address indicates, on Mass Ave.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Visit with Nana in the hospital

My grandmother - Nana - suffered a stroke in February and her health in recent months has been sliding. For weeks my mother has been indicating that Nana has been having trouble focusing and not always been 'present'. I had not seen my grandmother since I visited her in mid-October. At that time, she looked weak but was still very much aware of her surroundings so when I was told she had suffered another mild stroke earlier this week and had been admited to the hospital, I decided to call in sick and pay her a surprise visit.

The 20 minute drive into the suburbs looked like a winter wonderland and provided me time to contemplate what I would say when I saw her. I was concerned that due to the stroke or medications she might not be alert, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that nothing was further from the truth. We had a wonderful conversation reminscing of stories from the past, talking about family members and the current holiday season.

At times the conversation was tinged with sadness, and it made me realize how very aware she was /is of her mortality. When sadness would enter her voice, I would acknowledge what she said and let her know I shared her sentiments, but I did not let her dwell on the moment or forget about how lucky we both were to have our family so close (both in proximity and emotionally). That was what our morning together was like; conversations about nothing in particular and enjoying our moment alone together. If I noticed she was sad, I would use my humor or wit to lift both our spirits.

However, when it was time to leave, I could not help but notice that the vivacious grandmother I knew most of my life has in recent years seen her spark dim. My grandfather passing away a decade ago followed by an accident a couple years ago that resulted in her taking a bad fall and now most recently her faltering health has changed the grandmother I have known most of my life. Today's visit made me long to be back in my grandmother's house like when I was a child. My memories of those years bring me tremendous comfort, and I will continue to wrap them around me like a thick blanket to ward off the cold feeling I had when I turned my back to leave her room in the hospital earlier today.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

What A Cool Bank

I love this story which my mother just e-mailed me and immediately wanted to post it. I wish more of these stories were shared so people could hear about all the great things companies do in their communities. My employer has never done anything on such a large scale but they make an honest effort to give back in meaningful ways too. Too often stories of corporate greed and deception come to mind so kudos to Michael Solberg and State Bank & Trust. Here is to hoping that their efforts are acknowledged and others will follow their lead.

Bank to employees: Pay it forward

FARGO, North Dakota (AP) -- A bank is giving its full-time employees $1,000 each and part-time employees $500 each. There's one condition -- use it for people in need. State Bank and Trust Chief Operating Officer Michael Solberg said each full-time employee will receive $1,000 and each part-time employee will receive $500, as part of a $502,000 "Pay it Forward" initiative. "We're going to really see some huge impact on our community," Solberg said.

Employees were told not to use the money for themselves, their families or families of other bank employees. The bank asked each employee to document the good deed with a video camera. The deadline is June 30. The employees were told they may choose an individual cause, pool their money for a larger project or collaborate with donors outside the bank. The privately owned bank has more than 500 employees, he said. The bank made the announcement over the weekend.

In previous years, the Fargo-based bank has taken 5 percent of the company earnings and divided it up at holiday time among employees.

Winter Blues

I returned to Boston approximately 2.5 weeks ago, but the weather has been so awful that my vacation seems like a distant memory. Since returning, I've been cold; I'm cold in the morning when I get up to take my shower (the tile in my bathroom floor is so cold that I actually hop into the tub); I'm cold walking to and from my work (not to mention slipping and sliding - I'm sure to fall face first any day now); and I'm cold when I get into my PJs at night which now consist of socks, sweats, and a long sleeve shirt.

All this has proven too much and resulted in a bad case of the winter blues. I can't wait until I will be warm again - maybe then my stiff neck will finally go away.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

8th Annual Santa Speedo Run

Each year hundreds of Bostonians participate in a short road race in nothing but tiny little speedo bathing suits to raise money for charity in something called the Santa Speedo Race. Now if Boston was in a more temperate climate this might be considered quite festive, but anyone who has ever visited Boston in December knows this is not the case. Earlier this week our fair city received a sizeable snowstorm and since that time the mercury has not ventured far above the freezing mark. Despite the frigid temperatures spirits were high (as were some of the runners no doubt -- or at least a bit buzzed to be able to brave all the ice and snow), when they took off yesterday in the 8th Annual Santa Speedo Run. If you would like to see pictures from this year's race visit Edge Boston.

According to the Santa Speedo Run website, the run has raised over $150,000 over the past 7 years for the following charities:
September 11th Children’s Fund
Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research
Children’s AIDS Program at Boston Medical Center
Children’s Hospital Boston
The Ellie Fund
Eliot Community Human Services

No estimates for the number of runners or the amount of money raised for this year's charity, Women's Lunch Place,was published initially but you can check the Santa Speedo Run website in a few days and I'm sure the information will be available.

Saturday, December 15, 2007


Earlier this fall I set up an account on TripAdvisor, and recently I added some reviews about my trip to Brazil so I thought I would note the activity here on my blog. I have not written reviews for most of the cities tagged on my TripAdvisor account, but I do plan on revisiting many of these destinations and in the future I hope to take better notes about my trips so I can add more entries. It seems like a great way to document and hopefully remember all the great things I experienced.

You can check out my account by linking here.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Moving on Up - Boston Ranked 8th Busiest Travel Destination in U.S. by Orbitz

According to a recent survey conducted by Orbitz, Boston jumped two places in their annual ranking when they were named the 8th busiest travel destination in 2007. In 2006, Boston was ranked the 10th most popular place to visit. Orbitz bases rankings on bookings from the website. This leads me to conclude either more people are travelling to Boston or those who liked travelling to Boston in 2007 preferred to use Orbitz. Regardless, I think it gives Boston bragging rights - our little city or big town (depending on your perspective) ranks as the nation's 24th largest by population so to crack into the Orbitz top ten is impressive.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Morro de Sao Paulo, Brasil

Morro de Sao Paulo

After leaving Salvador we flew to the beautiful island of Morro de Sao Paulo where we stayed at Pousada Villa dos Corais which is nestled between beaches three and four.

About Morro de Sao Paulo
For those unfamiliar with the island, the beaches are numbered and while most of the activity on the island is centered around beaches one and two, you can easily walk to these locations (10-minutes by beach) from Pousada Villa dos Corais. The island does not allow cars and most of the foot traffic can be found on the beach as people explore the pristine island. Our pousada and many of those out on beach four provide transportation into the town, but we opted to walk along the beaches each evening. The island is extremely safe and clean so walking even late at night was common. I would highly recommend anyone considering a trip to Morro de Sao Paulo to stay at Pousada Villa dos Corais (pre-season rates were $150 / night and includes breakfast). The grounds are meticulously maintained, accomodations are spacious and secluded, service is impeccable and the food delicious. For those who like to treat their stomach when they travel, we found that most of the restaurants on the island were somewhat lacking, but our Pousada did not disapoint. Next door to the hotel is a delicious restaurant (only open for lunch) that has beautiful views of beach four called Pimenta Rosa and next door (about 100yards away) is a large two story bar that looks like a Brazilian version of a log cabin. I've included both in the picture gallery above for visitors to see. The bar is open until about 11pm each night and is a great place to go grab a drink. We actually split our time fairly evenly between the beach and the inifinity pool with the swim-up bar at Villa dos Corais.

Cars are not allowed on the island which is probably a good thing because the roads (what few there are) are in horrible condition. However, it is very easy to get to the island and it is equally easy getting around once you arrive. Most people who arrive opt to take the boat which leaves from Barra in Salvador. The boat ride is relatively cheap (approximately $25 each way) but takes 2.5 hours. We opted to fly which is more money (approximately $100 each way) but it takes only 15 minutes. Flying is not for the faint of heart. Although one can hire a pilot to fly them to the island (there are two tiny landing strips) most who fly use the services of Addey Taxi Aereo or AeroStar (we used AeroStar). Personally, I loved the flight and had a good time but on both legs the weather was beautiful - I'm not sure I would feel the same if we were flying in bad weather.

Salvador, Brasil

Dois Dias em Salvador, Brasil

We spent two days in Salvador Brasil, which according to Wikipedia "is a city on the northeast coast of Brazil and the capital of the northeastern Brazilian state of Bahia. The city is one of the oldest in Brazil and the New world." The city, founded in 1502, is large by American standards with a metro population of approximately 3.5M. Pelourinho, which translates as pillory (a horrible device used to shame and punish slaves), is high above sea level and the oldest part of the city. The neighborhood offers visitors an excellent example of Portuguese colonial architecture and is very well preserved. Pictures of the churches and architecture above show how beautiful this neighborhood remain despite its shameful name.

Salvador claims to have 365 Catholic churches (one for every day of the year), but easily the most impressive must be the Church and Convent of St. Francis which was built in the early 1700s and includes 37 beautifully tiled mosaics and a profusion of carvings covered in more gold leaf than I have ever seen in my life. The affect is awesome (to use a truly Bostonian adjective).

Truthfully, Salvador was not one of my favorite cities to visit, but it was one of my favorite places to eat. While in Salvador we ate at two restaurants that anyone visiting should try. The first and more famous restaurant is Sorriso da Dada (loosely translated as Dada's Smile). Located in the Pelourinho district, the restaurant is not fancy but provides a very warm and welcoming atmosphere. The woman for whom the restaurant is named leaves a lasting impression and represents the best of traditional Bahian cuisine I have ever had. We also ate at a newer restaurant in Barra (pronounced ba-ha) called Pereira. The restaurant is across from the beach and provides a more modern take on Brasilian cuisine in a very cool setting. Here you will see tourists mingling with young, wealthy Bahians enjoying an evening out. It is next to a Japanese Sushi restaurant (same owners) called Sato which we did not eat at but also looked fun. Sato was busier at night but Pereira always had people out on their beautiful patio / deck.

While in Salvador we stayed at Grande Hotel de Barra. The hotel was conveniently located across from a small beach, and while the accomodations were clean I found the rooms lacking in almost every creature comfort. The rooms were spartan and old (despite being assured we were in a newly renovated room). However, for two days - it was easy to deal with and the location was both safe and seemingly fairly central. Moreover, the hotel was quite affordable costing approximately $90/ day (keep in mind when I was in Brasil the US dollar was quite weak - the rates in Brasilian currency was 190 / night). If one were to book a room at the Grande Hotel de Barra, I would strongly recommend requesting a room facing the beach. We stayed in room 511 which was a corner room, closest to the beach and five stories above the street noise and smells. While walking through Barra, we stumbled across Pousada Manga Rosa which looked beautiful from the outside. According to the B&B website, rooms range from $70 - $100/ night.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

A Visit to Pampulha and Inhotim, Minas Gerais, Brasil

The past two days have really shown me more of Belo Horizonte than I have seen on previous trips to the city. Yesterday I was in Pampulha, a wealthy neighborhood of Belo that has more of a suburban vibe. We went to look at several buildings of note that encircle a man-made lake, of particular note are: Igreja Sao Fancisco de Assis (Church of Saint Francis of Assisi), Museu De Arte Da Pampulha (Pampulha Museum of Art), Iate Clube (Yacht Club) and Caso Do Baile (Ballroom House). When I return home I will add photographs to show the buildings, artwork and landscaping all of which were meticulously thought out in advance and showcase Oscar Niemeyer (architect/designer) and Roberto Burle-Marx (landscape architect/designer) genius. Oscar Niemeyer is Brasil~s most celebrated architect and is still alive and working. He celebrates his 100th birthday this year. To acknowledge his contributions, the Brasilian government has placed a statue of a man (presumably of Sr. Niemeyer) with a large red balloon in front of buildings he designed. Belo Horizonte is awash with Niemeyer buildings and any fan of his should certainly consider making a stop here if only to see Igreja Sao Fancisco de Assis.

Today, Thanksgiving, I ventured about 30km south of Belo Horizonte, to the small town of Brumadinho. Brumadinho happens to have a rather extraordinary contemporary art museum & gardens. The more than 85 acres of Inhotim contain approximatly a half dozen 1-story buildings to showcase their semi-permanent collection of modern artwork (the collection changes every 2 years); many eye-catching outdoor sculptures; and a delicious restaurant. By far, my favorite art installation is from the Canadian artist Janet Cardiff. 40 Part Motet, originally housed in the Tate Museum in London, the exhibit is now at Inhotim. The installation is set in a sterile white room with chairs in the center. Surrounding the chairs are 40 speakers aligned in a large circle clustered in 8 separate groupings of 5 speakers set side-by-side. Each speaker represents a single voice in a church choir.

Although the drive is a bit remote; it was worth the trip.

Happy Thanksgiving

I wanted to acknowledge the Thanksgiving holiday which has always been a personal favorite of mine. In recent years I have used the time off to travel abroad and visit new places. This year is no exception. My partner and I find ourselves back in Brasil celebrating the day with his family. Later this week we will leave to travel to Salvador, Brasil.

Happy Thanksgiving

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Beautiful in Belo

Well we arrived in Belo Horizonte yesterday afternoon. Our flights in the U.S. all took off without a hitch and we were able to stretch out a bit more comfortably in the EconomyPlus section of our United Airlines flight. Sadly, these seats can not compare to the comforts available in First or Business Class and after becoming accustomed to such travel for the past several years, it is difficult to be thankful but after travelling to Brazil in economy for the first time last year - the extra leg room and the empty seat between my partner and I was heaven. We had to wait for a few hours in S.P.s busy city airport while heavy rains fell. After the tragedy at the airport a few months ago, everyone who works at Congonhas aeroporto is rightly cautious when the weather is bad. The landing strips at Congonhas are much shorter (or so it seems) than the ever so short runways at NYC LaGuardia airport so we did not complain much when rain caused the airport to close briefly.

The picture above shows how urban Belo Horizonte is. The city which has a downtown population of approximately 2.5M is very modern with architecture to match, and has some of the steepest hills I~ve ever seen in a city. For those who have travelled to San Francisco, you will appreciate my description when I explain that parts of Belo are far steeper. Combine the fact that many of these cobbled streets can have rain come gushing down these massive inclines and you will understand why driving in bad weather in this city is not for the faint of heart. Hopefully I will be able to log on again and have something more interesting to write about then our flight down to Brazil or our two-hour delay in S.P. airport.

Incidentally, it is warm and sunny here today...31 degrees Celsius or approximately 85-90 degrees Farenheight with a gentle breeze and plenty of sun.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Boa Viagem

This weekend I leave for Brasil, and I can hardly wait. The two week trip will take me to my partner's hometown, Belo Horizonte, as well as to Salvador, Morro de Sao Paolo, and Sao Paolo.

I think travelling to Brasil this time of year is perfect. The weather is already warm and inviting but there are far fewer crowds and it is easier to make hotel and airline reservations.

While on vacation my access to a computer will be limited so I don't think I'll be adding many posts while travelling. However, I will make it a point to post some pictures after I return.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

What are values?

I hear a lot about values in the news and from political and religious leaders, so I looked up the definition on and it reads, “any object or quality desirable as a means or as an end in itself”. After more thought I came up with my own definition, “a quality which one holds dear and helps define the character of an individual”.

Let me explain... Based on my definition, a person can value honesty but not always act honestly. However, one does not ‘value’ that trait conditionally by only exhibting that 'value' when it is convenient. I believe that is an important distinction. I don't think one would 'value' honesty if it was contextual. An individual might think honesty is a noble trait, but if a person is only honest when it suits them then maybe it is not "a quality they hold dear and which defines their character" to paraphrase my definition. The idea that one's values change based on context I find frightening. I recognize that I am an audience of one reading my blog, but I can not help but ask back, “Do you agree?” Am I the only one to find this troubling?

The reason I have been thinking about this is because I am bothered by what I’ll refer to as “shifting values”. An example of this is the current issue of waterboarding by our military to extract information from terrorists. I understand that for many Americans they no longer are bothered by the idea of torturing terrorists – esp. if it might yield life-saving information. It is true that I find this change in attitude troubling – but I get it. The problem I have is when people start changing the definition of what constitutes torture because they are uncomfortable saying “I support torture” or to be more offensive "I have no problem torturing people". This is what I mean by "shifting values". Most people (including many who would support waterboarding in certain situations) are uncomfortable verbalizing their support for torture so they place caveats on the practice to intellectualize or justify their position. I don't buy that argument anymore than I agree with a person who says they value honesty but justify situations where it is palatable to lie.

Something I find interesting about values is that we sometimes delude ourselves into thinking we value honesty, integrity, human rights, (insert whatever value-language you like), but until those values are challenged it is hard to say with certainty if we really live them. Anyone can be a pillar of integrity when posed with an hypothetical - when we are forced to live those values is when I think you truly understand the character of an individual. When tested - do you live your values or do you momentarily forget about them or make exceptions because you find them inconvenient?

I’ll get off my soap box as I continue to work through this and maybe in time I’ll be able to more eloquently explain my concerns – I feel I’ve done a poor job, but it has been a bit cathartic to get it out on paper (well its not exactly on paper…)

Monday, November 12, 2007

Everything they sang was magic...

On Sunday, November 11th I went to see the Police on the second leg of their farewell tour. They came to Boston earlier this summer and played Fenway Park, but I was unable to get tickets to that event.

This weekend, I was able to score tickets to see the band as they rocked Boston one last time and it was worth every penny. They played most of their hits and the show was great. If you get the chance to see them on any of their remaining dates, I would definitely recommend seeing them.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Party, Party, Party...

On Wednesday, November 7th Emporio Armani hosted a party to celebrate the opening of their new store in the Copley Mall, Boston. The store is a definite step down from the space previously occupied on Newbury Street but you would not know it from the smiling crowd which jammed themselves into the store. The event, co-sponsored by Boston Common Magazine, included a DJ, plenty of passed champagne and pretty pink drinks along with two bars. I was pleased to see the former GM for Emporio Armani, Boston – Mary Nobile-King – now the current boutique director for Chanel-Boston. Former co-workers, fashionistas and others made Mary seem like a local celebrity so I was touched when she came over to say hello and find out how I was doing. The store’s party exceeded my expectations even if the actual storefront is a bit of a disappointment.

The following night, Thursday, November 8th, I attended the opening of DScale which according to the website is a “new and provocative luxury furnishing atelier”. However you want to describe it, I want to thank Dennis Duffy, Duffy Design Group, for opening such a beautiful store on Harrison Avenue in Boston’s South End neighborhood.

The opening party was absolutely packed on Thursday night. Passed hors d’oeuvres, white wine and champagne provided by Rocca (a restaurant designed by Dennis’design firm) helped make the party a feast for both the eyes and taste buds. Dennis has raised the bar with the opening of DScale and it will be the envy of retailers in the neighborhood.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Gay or Straight?

If you meet someone for the first time and you find them attractive or interesting do you find yourself automatically assuming they are gay? I noticed and not for the first time that I do and it is terribly distracting.

Earlier this morning such a situation occurred. I was attending a class and I thought one of the guest speakers was quite charming. Within the first few minutes of his speaking, I found my attention wandering looking for clues to either affirm or challenge my assumption. My attention wandered from the subject matter - to how handsome he looked - back to the subject again - to how soothing his voice sounded and so on and so forth all the while quietly asserting or refuting my initial assumption that the speaker was gay.

I had no intention of flirting with the speaker, and I doubt I will see the person again. So why was his sexual orientation of such great interest to me and why does this happen? These situations never play out when I meet a woman. I never assume a sexual orientation or seek clues to validate my assumption. Although I’ve never asked any of my heterosexual male friends, I’m fairly confident that this is not something that crosses their mind. Make no mistake, they might fantasize about an attractive woman being a lesbian (I still don’t understand that fantasy), but I don’t believe they obsess over the ambiguity of an individual’s sexual identity.

I think part of the reason this happens is because on a very base / fundamental level, it is really hard for me to believe (ironically this only applies to people I’m attracted to) that they would not be gay. I always find myself wondering “How could they not be attracted to a man?” This is an odd epiphany, considering for years the gay community has asked the world to take note that sexual identity is not a choice and here I am confessing on some level, I would like these attractive men only (of course – how shallow is that) to reconsider – so to speak. Wishful thinking or not, I doubt these distractions of mine will subside – there is no easy way for me to intellectualize my sex drive.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Trick or Treat

Boston is expected to be fairly mild today with temperatures in the low 60s, so I plan on skipping the gym after work to walk around the South End to see all the kids in the neighborhood (of which there are many) decked out in their costumes. When the weather cooperates (and it has plenty in the recent past), Halloween in Boston can be a real treat.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Some of my favorite European destinations

In an effort to jazz up my blog, I have added this new tool (see the images below) to provide some movement and to add more photographs. I've taken a look at the html to try and figure out how to remove those annoying stars, but I have been unsuccessful so for the time being they remain.

Sadly, this list of scrolling pictures does not include photographs from past visits to great European cities like Edinburgh, Prague, Milan and Athens but for now these will do. I promise I will do my best to reconcile the problem by taking many pictures on return visits to those cities.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Urge to Travel

This month's OUTTRAVELER arrived in my house and the cover photo has me obsessing over my pending vacation to Brazil. I was even more surprised to see that the picture was taken by my cousin, Matt Albiani. My cousin is a successful fashion photographer who I periodically see credited in publications I read. The older we have become the less we see each other but it is still satisfying to see a family member achieve a level of success. Matt has always had an excellent artistic eye. I'm pleased he has been able to leverage that talent into a career he is passionate about.

I have to admit the entire issue is quite appealing. I consider myself a bit of a travel junkie, and I love to read about visiting exotic locations. Although Matt did not take the pictures for my favorite article "A Year of Gay Island Hopping", I think his cover picture is the most inviting in the entire issue.

Martha's Vineyard made OUTTRAVELER's top 12 list and despite it's proximity to my hometown, Boston, MA, I have never been there. Ironically I have traveled across the globe to relax on some of Phuket, Thailand's most beautiful beaches, and I have trekked to the remote island of Fernando de Noronha, Brasil in the South Atlantic Ocean. Both destinations were also featured in the article as one of 12 island destinations not to miss.

As average temperatures in Boston dip into the 50s and the days quickly shorten, I'll have to keep pictures like the one my cousin took on this month's OUTTRAVELER close at hand to keep me warm and not too depressed about the on set of winter...

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Gone Baby Gone

In my post, Celebrities, I mentioned how there has been a rash of movies being filmed in my hometown lately. A score of hollywood A-listers can be watched filming in some of Boston's swankier neighborhoods (BackBay, SouthEnd, Beacon Hill, etc...), but I neglected to mention what I hope will be a wonderful film that is already generating buzz called, Gone Baby Gone.

This week, Ben Affleck's new film, Gone Baby Gone, opened in Boston. Ben who has been out of the spotlight for a while is back in a new role as director. This being his directorial debut, I'm more than a little curious to see it. The story is based on the novel of the same name by local author Dennis Lehane. This is the same best selling author who wrote Mystic River -- notice a trend?

While I have yet to see the film, initial reviews for Ben, his brother Casey who stars in the film and the rest of the cast seem to be mostly positive. This film, like last year's detective flick, The Departed, was filmed in some of this city's grittier neighborhoods Southie and Dorchester. If you happen to see the film, please shoot me an e-mail and let me know your thoughts.

About Gone Baby Gone (As provided by Dennis Lehane's website):
The tough neighborhood of Dorchester, MA is no place for the innocent or the weak. A territory defined by hard heads and even harder luck, its streets are littered with the detritus of broken families, hearts, dreams. Now, one of its youngest is missing. Private investigators Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro don't want the case. But after pleas from the child's aunt, they open an investigation that will ultimately risk everything—their relationship, their sanity, and even their lives—to find a little girl-lost.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Fondling Footballers

A friend recently sent a collection of 'stimulating' images of footballers - soccer players. It was noted by a friend that I'm lacking some visuals so I thought I would add a couple of my personal favorites from the e-mail I received over the weekend. I hope you like my selection as much as I do.

I'm a bit of a sucker for images of sexy athletes. My real weakness seems to be for soccer, hockey and baseball players and (of course) swimmers and divers. Feel welcome to continue to send me similar 'jock-shots'. I can't guarantee that I will post them, but I will certainly appreciate having them passed along.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Dear Abby Supports Gay Marriage

In the brief video clip from the Associated Press you can hear the author say that "we need to have empathy for the feelings of other people and be less judgemental." I think that pretty much sums up my feeelings on the matter as well.

Since I'm still a novice at navigating this site, I'm not sure how to add video clips to my entries... If you would like to see the clip which is 80-seconds long, link to Dear Abby Supports Gay Marriage.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Celebrities in Boston

In my humble opinion, Boston is more of a large town rather than a big city. However, because it played such a prominent role in American history, politics and culture (especially in the 20th century), the city's image to those who have never visited is larger than life. Needless to say, Boston does not appear on many celebs radar screens unless they are born here and have family still in the area (e.g. Jay Leno, Matt Damon, Ben and Casey Affleck, Bridgette Moynihan, etc...) As a matter of fact in all my time living in Boston I've seen far more musicians than actors.

However, lately Boston has had more than its share of celebrity sightings. Indeed, by L.A. or NYC standards, our sightings would be considered 'cute' or 'quaint', but as compared to the recent past, there seeems to be a rash of A-list celebrities walking about town and filming here.

In the last month Kate Hudson, Alec Baldwin, Jason Biggs, and Dane Cook were in town filming scenes from their upcoming film, "Bachelor 2".

Jada Pinkett-Smith, Annette Bening, Debra Messing Candice Bergen and Meg Ryan have all been spotted ordering their double chai lattes at local Starbucks and popping into one of the many boutiques that line Newbury Street (Boston's version of Rodeo Ave) while filming "The Women".

And two personal favorites, Steve Martin and Andy Garcia have been all over the BackBay filming "Pink Panther 2".

The reason for the increased filming is two-fold, a recent tax credit given to film makers that makes it quite affordable as compared to other locations and the weak American Dollar which makes filming in Europe and other parts of the world even more cost-prohibitive. Hence filming movies like Pink Panther 2 - which is suppose to take place in Paris.

The local paper, The Boston Globe, provides a nice collection of photos from many of the celebrities listed above. To view these you can link to Celebrities in Boston.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Can you guess?

The images I have selected at the top of my blog are from some of my favorite places and some of my favorite vacations.

The taller vertical pictures in the middle are all pictures of me while away on vacation. The first shows me sitting on the ruins of Caesar's Palace in Rome, the second is a snapshot in Schipol Airport in Amsterdam impatiently awaiting a flight, the third is at the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas, and the final picture is of me just outside the Design Center in Buenos Aires. All exceptional cities and places I would recommend to travelers.

Try to guess the location of the smaller horizontal photos. Here is a hint...the photographs on top represent cities and places in the Northern hemisphere and the bottom row of horizontal pictures are from cities and places in the Southern hemisphere. Some of these pictures should be easy to figure out - others might prove to be more difficult to place.

About Me

As my profile indicates, I'm a 30-something, gay male who lives in Boston, MA. I love to try new restaurants and cuisines, travel and spend time with friends and family.

I plan to record personal experiences while they remain fresh in my mind, rant about politics on occasion and obsess about all things that catch my somewhat fleeting attention. I'm not out to report news (if I do it will be with my own personal bias) or save the world. I just figured I'm too old to set up a FaceBook or MySpace account, and thought this was more my style.

I'm a happy and relatively well-adjusted guy who has a great partner, family and friends. I'm always interested in meeting other people and sharing a bit about myself.