I woke up on my own after only about seven hours of sleep, showered, got dressed, had breakfast, bought groceries, and headed out.
I stopped at South Station to buy a 12-ride. (I have two round trips left, but I like restocking before I run out.) I hadn't realized that with the Charlie switchover the commuter rail 12-rides would also be printed on shiny CharlieTickets (since as far as I know, the commuter rail hasn't yet implemented equipment to read the electronic cards -- hence why you still have to buy monthly rail passes rather than recharging a CharlieCard like you can do for Subway/Bus). Do they still punch these? Do they have handheld scanning devices? The only information I can find from MBTA.com is "CharlieCards for commuter rail, commuter boats and inner harbor ferries are planned for 2007. In the meantime, continue to use single and multi-ride tickets or a CharlieTicket T-Pass or cash."
Oh, and as opposed to the old method of stamping the expiration date (six months from the date of purchase) on the back which no one ever checked, this one has it clearly printed right below the 1-12 boxes. I expect what with Singspirations and holidays I'll have it nearly used up by then anyway, but this still bothers me.
Sidenote: When did Charlie on the MBTA become "This blog is open to invited readers only"?
Yesterday I was talking to Eric, and neither of us had ever been to Franklin Park, which is in Dorchester.
He said, "Those poor animals." [Here I thought he was gonna go into an anti-zoo spiel, so I was prepared to just nod.] "All those drive-by shootings." So wrong, and yet so funny.
I took the 45 from Ruggles and watched out the window, as I've never been in Roxbury/Dorchester before.
* There is a bus stop: "Malcolm X Blvd. at King St." Hee.
* Madison Park High School is huge and looks so institutional -- like Cutter-Ziskind, but with smaller windows (and possibly there are two or three schools all next to each other?).
* I saw a sign for "Law Offices of Mark E. Salamone"! Oh, nostalgia. (Those commercials were on all the time when I was younger.)
* I saw so many churches (Baptist, Catholic, mission, etc.), which wasn't surprising when I thought about it, though it then got me thinking about parsing the appeal of organized religion to disadvantaged populations and then (since it's a recent pet issue of mine) the issue of reconciling experience of suffering with belief in a loving God.
* I was struck by how much Spanish language signage there was, as I think of the area as predominantly African-American, which population I think of as English-speaking.
* There was condo development. I boggled.
* There's a shopping plaza labeled "Grove Hill's mecca" which is, y'know, an interesting name choice, especially since I saw a "Muhammad's Mosque of Islam" sign v. nearby.
Looking at GoogleMaps, I'm amused that Milton -- which I think of as v. wealthy -- abuts Dorchester. I'm also just generally amused by the proximity of (West) Roxbury and Dorchester to the quiet white-bread suburb I grew up in, where I grew up feeling like that was this distant "inner-city" Boston thing.
Kind of annoying that http://www.sec.state.ma.us/cis/cispdf/ma_city_town.pdf just gives me BOSTON, flanked by [counterclockwise] Somerville, Cambridge, Brookline, Newton, Needham, Dedham, Canton, Milton, and Quincy. So it's no help in ascertaining where Allston-Brighton, Jamaica Plain, Roxbury, Dorchester, etc. are -- ooh, Wikipedia for the win.
I don't drive, but I've really gotta get a better grasp on the geography of Greater Boston and environs.
I arrived at the zoo before Amy&co. and while I hadn't actually expected the zoo to only allow in folks with a gay discount pass (nor would I in fact want them to do so) I was thrown by the number of male-female couples I saw with children.
I walked around a bit (including the butterfly tent) and then got in line for some food. I got $6 quesadilla and $2 fries and $4 frozen lemonade. I was actually kind of impressed with their restraint in price gouging.
My "Cheese Quesadilla" was a problem, however. The menu said, "Made with three kinds of cheese, mild salsa, sour cream, and fajita seasoning." So I at first thought the white chunks in it were a kind of cheese but grew increasingly certain. Sigh.
By the time Amy and pirateygoodness arrived, there were more folks with HRC stickers, so as we wandered the zoo we were also keeping an eye out for somewhere to obtain "gay street cred" (Amy's phrase).
We got to the other end of the park and saw a big set of tables with banners. There was an actual schedule of events -- who knew? Okay, people who read the link perhaps -- "Activities will include face painting, scavenger hunt, zookeeper encounters and sidewalk chalk drawing." Shut up. It was by this time 2:30, so we'd missed most everything, which was fine. We realized some time later that there was in fact an entrance to the zoo there and perhaps it was in fact the main entrance. (Looking back at the discount ticket I got -- "Join us for a memorable day dedicated to the LGBT community -- our families, friends, and allies." -- it does in fact say "Giraffe Entrance.")
(Oh, and I was wearing my flamey shirt.)
The entrance to the snake area actually said "SlitherInn." No lie. There is photographic evidence.
Highlights of the zoo (as far as I'm concerned) included: peacocks, black swans, and a white tiger. Yeah, I clearly go for the glammy over the fuzzy. We also saw lemurs, a tamarin
We also watched the zebras a lot. There was one pair that we weren't sure if they were fighting or prelude to mating (or, y'know, picking off fleas or something -- "There's a lot of biting."). I joked that if any of us were in SGA fandom we could claim we were doing research.
There was also conversation about what zoo fic in the Firefly-verse would look like.
There was assorted other fannish talk as well as discussion of cultural touchstones from our childhood (Amy, I was right that it was "[something] Acres" and you were right that it was "Orson's Farm" -- "Regular segments featured both Garfield and U.S. Acres, a lesser-known comic strip created by Davis. The latter was retitled Orson's Farm for foreign syndication.").
Apparently Dippin' Dots are a zoo tradition. I had barely even heard of them. We all ended up ordering some (I got Banana Split) and they're not bad, though it's still such a weird concept.
Riding the Red Line home, reading my book, I noticed my dogtag had flipped over, as it is wont to do, so I flipped it back (so the text was facing out), and this older guy across from me said he had been wondering what my dogtag said, so thank you for turning it around. He said he had thought of a lot of possibilities, but none of them were that. I was tempted to ask what he had thought it might say, but just said it was from Boston Pride this year. He said that regardless of where one stands on the issue, something that's "that clever, that in your face [...] it's very clever," and he said it was "very elegant." I thanked him and said I quite liked it, too. In retrospect I should have engaged him about the issue, but I was tired and wasn't used to being engaged about the dogtag in quite that way (though it still made me happy).
At one point at the zoo, in conversation about the steep prices, I mentioned Pride, and Amy suggested we bring a picnic lunch to Pride next time.
So because I actually enjoy Planning Ahead, here's the running list of things to remember for Boston Pride next year:
* better advance planning regarding meeting up (both for parade watching and for post-parade meeting up at Festival -- most likely possibilities are HRC booth since it had a banner, or BayWindows blimp; though I'm inclined to just say Govt. Ctr. T entrance as that's a constant ... assuming it ends at City Hall again, of course)
* picnic lunch
* signs, possibly referencing LJ in some way
Also: I need to figure out when I'm having my birthday party here. I've asked about this before, but poll:
I (the poll-taker) would be available to attend a party on: