Sunday, August 26, 2012


I was walking through the Prudential Center Mall today when this amazing sight caught my eye:

Okay, so it's not much when the picture is this cropped. Let me explain.

Microsoft just opened a brand new retail location in the Pru. Clearly, this is meant to compete with the Mac-next-door (straight across Boylston if you didn't know). Also, and this is beside the point (but I'm going to make it anyway): the new store is very open-concept. So much so that if it was any closer to Wagamama and Pinkberry, you would probably be able to stand in all three locations at the same time. Which, if you think about it, is totally rad.

Back to the story!

The store is very interactive and user-friendly, including (but not limited to) multiple playable Xbox 360 consoles -- one of which was playing the new Amazing Spider-Man game. And get this: it was projected on the wall. 

Spider-Man wall-crawling on a wall. 

Alright, alright. Total nerdbust. But still, kudos to the store's designers for the placement of the games.

Til next time!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Chilling out in the City

Traffic jams, surly drivers, stubborn bicyclists, and barreling joggers. Cigarette butts, litter, goose droppings, and unrecycled recyclables. Constant construction, overheard disagreements, barking dogs, and wailing babies.

And that one darn traffic signal that never-ever (in the Taylor-Swiftiest sense) turns to walk, leaving you stranded on the curb and late to your destination!

Sometimes you just need a break.

When this is the case, Boston has your solution: take a quick visit to the Kelleher Rose Garden in the Fens. Only a five minute walk from Fenway Park, the garden is a world away in volume, activity, and atmosphere. (And, hey, I love Fenway Park!)

This is city life, after all, and at some point you're going to need some city-sponsored decompression. So take a break. Disconnect. Walk around and smell the roses for real this time.

The first, most apparent thing you'll notice here is the variety of roses. There are tons and tons (warning: exaggeration). Who knew? Well, botanists, but...psssh. Take a look:

The landscaping, too, is beautiful. The pathways through the garden are narrow, making it impossible not to take in the aroma. And around every corner there seems to be another bench indented into the hedges, keeping the experience as individual and reflective as can be in the gesellschaft of the city. 

Following the pathway out of the circular area leads you to a true Boston gem. El Desconsol occupies the far end of the garden. The statue is a sad, beautiful piece that is exceptionally human. No trip to the Museum of Fine Arts or the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is complete without taking the three (or so) minute walk to this gift from the city of Barcelona.

And if this isn't your thing, you can always try SERENITY NOW!

Til next time!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Top of the Charts

Been seeing a lot of the Bean on your television lately? I have. Thrillingly, not every movie/film/video game that takes place in a big city has to use NYC anymore. Much of this comes thanks to the TNT network, the channel single-handedly responsible for the following dramatizations of Boston: Falling Skies, Leverage, and Rizzoli & Isles.

Kudos to video game developers for using the city, too. That includes Assassin's Creed III, set in Revolutionary Boston, and (though this is still rumor) Fallout 4 -- in a major tonal shift from Assassins -- set after a nuclear apocalypse.

And while we're on the topic of pop-culture...

You know that catchy tune. You can't escape it -- odds are good you'll hear it four times an hour if you bounce between AMP 103.3, 104.1, 104.5, and KISS 108.

Not even the U.S. swim team could outrace it. Batman himself couldn't defeat it. Cookie Monster can't eat it. Jimmy Fallon loves it.

It's "Call Me, Maybe" by Carly Rae Jepsen.

Like it or not, it's time to recognize this song's staying power. That, and the fact that it is most definitely the song of Summer 2012.

Celebrate with the official Don't Look Down, Beantown top four Call Me, Maybes:

(4) "Batman, Maybe" gets a nod for the hilarious line "There is no bat stache."

(3) "Share It, Maybe" by Cookie Monster takes third because (a) chocolate pudding doesn't phase Cookie Monster, (b) it spoofs not only "Call Me, Maybe," but Jimmy Fallon's performances of it, as well, and (c) Cookie Monster's voice is the exact opposite of Carly Rae Jepsen's, but somehow the song still works.

(2) "Call Me, Maybe" by Jimmy Fallon, The Roots, and Carly Rae Jepsen places next-to-best for its use of toy instruments, the enthusiasm of Jimmy and the Roots, and for the actual inclusion of Carly Rae Jepsen. But mostly for its use of the kazoo, proving to parents everywhere that it has some merit as a musical instrument.

(1) And, lastly, "Call Me, Maybe" by the U.S. Olympic Swim Team takes first place. This may be a controversial decision, especially considering it is the only lip-synced rendition on the list, but you can't argue with the team's enthusiasm. Nor its incredible use of public transportation. (I cannot imagine beginning to belt this song out on a plane or bus -- and then being allowed to finish.) It has also received the most mainstream coverage. Plus, you can't argue with results. There were an awful lot of gold medals that followed this video.

Til next time!