FEBRUARY 19, 2007
“Don’t Mass. Up New Hampshire!”
sign on a bridge above 1-93 North, somewhere in Northern New Hamphire
After northern New England got hit with a crapload of snow earlier this week, it was my duty to hit the road and get the hell out of the slushy, icy city for awhile. The destination was Cannon Mtn., located directly off I-93 in Franconia Notch, home to some of New Englands nastiest weather, best skiing, and the starting point for several mountain climbs, including the well known Mt. Layafette/Mt. Lincoln route (the 4th and 7th highest peaks in New England, respectively). I don’t remember exactly where the sign was, but it was somewhere in North Central NH, and it really grabbed my attention (mainly because there was nothing else to really pay attention to, except, you know, the road and everything). But it got me thinking: which of the northeastern states is the most hated by other surrounding states? I would put three into this catergory: Mass (home of the MassHoles), New York, and ofcourse, the immortal New Jersey. After about twenty minutes of driving and thinking, I came to this conclusion: In northern New England states (Maine, NH, Vermont), it would have to be Mass., simply because Mass is pretty close in proximity to these areas and is home to all-sorts of vices (pollution, crime, drugs, and ofcourse, lots of people) that potentially travel north. But I would also make the argument that at many New England universities, New Jersey gets more of a bad rap, simply because people from New Jersey flock to schools all over the Northeast (although MassHoles do the same, as do New Yorkers). And in these particular cases, I think the word hate is much too strong: whereas the sign I saw showed utter disdain for Mass., at schools around N.E., its more of a “Lets make New Jersey the butt of all jokes,” thing. As for Southern New England, I really can’t speak for who’s the least admired of the three in the states of Conneticutt and Rhode Island, although I would think it wouldn’t be Mass., since we don’t we really go on vacation down there (why would we go to the Long Island Sound when we’ve got the Cape, and the Islands? Thanks but no thanks, Sea Shore Sate.)
Armenian Fact of the Week:
Okay, for anyone who doesn’t know, I’m half Armenian. For those who don’t know where the country of Armenia is (yes, it is a country), it borders Turkey, Georgia (not the state, dummy), Iran, and Azerbaijan, in the Eastern Europe/Middle Eastern area of the world. Armenia is considered to be a part of Eurasia, although it is technically Asia Minor. It was a part of the former U.S.S.R. before re-gaining its independence in the early ’90s. It was the first country in the world to ratify Christianity as its official religion. During World War I, the Turks murdered over 1 million Armenians in the Armenian Genocide, although it is still denied by Turkish officials today. You can always tell an Armenian by their last name, which either ends in -ian or -yan. For instance, my name is Greg Hovanesian (one ‘s’ removed at Ellis Island), and I have relatives with the last names of Garabedian and Kolchalkian.
So there you have it: a very brief lesson on Armenia. I once had a basketball coach who told me he couldn’t pronounce my last name, so my new name would be “Schnitzel” (I guess he figured schnitzel came from Armenia). Hopefully none of you will put an Armenian in an awkward postition such as this. Without further ado, here’s the fact of the week:
It came to my attention last week, while watching E!, that Kim Kardashian, daughter of the deceased Robert Kardashian, who was one of O.J. Simpson’s lawyers, is going to have her very own sex-tape. Kardashian, who is half Armenian, half Iranian, is a good pal of socialite Paris Hilton, and they can often be seen together shopping or partying. Since Paris already stars in two sex tapes (I think), Kardashian must have felt it was time to show us all what she’s got. Now she is sueing the someone (not sure who) due to its release (the male counterpart is rapper Ray J, who I know nothing about). Vivid Video owns the rights to the video (sold by an “unidentified” culprit) and Kardashian is atleast acting like she is not happy with what has happened. Can’t speak for her, but I’m sure in the end, it will be a good career move.
Future Projects from Greg:
Some of you may want to know what I’m planning for the future of this here blog. Here’s some stuff, a lot of which may never make onto these pages.
“James Bond Extravaganza”: As some of you may know, I grew up watching James Bond movies. I think every Sean Connery Bond flick is on VHS at my parent’s house, with the exception of “You Only Live Twice”, which was tragically cut-off during recording. Anyway, I’ve probably seen these about 70 times each, and I have decent knowledge of most Roger Moore films. Well, it just so happens that Comcast OnDemand is carrying every single Bond movie right now on the Encore package. Sadly, I have a pre-historic package right now that isn’t even digital; I won’t get into why, but lets just say that its very affordable. Anyway, my idea is to watch every Bond movie before mid-March when they’re all gone, and write about them. Honestly, the odds aren’t looking very good. I have to watch them at my parents house, and I’m usually busy doing other stuff when I’m there. I have about 20 movies to watch, and since, you know, I have a life and everything, this project is getting dimmer by the day. But maybe, just maybe, there’s a chance that I can glance through a bunch one day, and just write one paper about all of them (I watched “Live and Let Die” to kick off the idea a couple weeks ago, and aside from some unintentional comedy involving the utterly stiff Roger Moore walking through Harlem as 007, and an unbelievably great boat chase at the end, the movie was absolutely awful. I could have just watched 15 minutes of it.) Anyway, don’t keep your fingers crossed.
I also have other future projects, but won’t say anything for now: I’ll keep you in the dark for now.
The Token “Thing that Greg would find funny, but probably no one else who reads this blog would” Thing of the Week:
Trying to think of a better title for this catergory: at the moment, it doesn’t really slide off the tongue, you know? Anyway, most people who know me pretty well know that I can have a really twisted sense of humor at times. I can’t help it: its just the way I think.
Anyway, most of you have probably seen the new McDonalds ads that are on TV these days: they show a young guy munching on a honey chicken wrap as people do deranged things around him: in one example, a guy is trying to dig out of his office through a wall. The guy with the wrap asks what he’s doing, to which his co-worker says “I’m getting out, man. I saw it in a movie.” (I assume he means “The Shawshank Redemption”). To this, the guy with the wrap turns around with a little smirk on his face, looks at his wrap, and says to no one in particular “Looks like somebody missed snack time.” Okay, first of all, I’ve been really hungry before, and it usually doesn’t lead to dementia. If I was really hungry at say, work, I would first go to a vending machine, and if that didn’t do it, and it was an emgercency, I would sneak out to get a quick bite, maybe even at McDonalds. I can’t remember the last time that I was so hungry that I just couldn’t help myself from doing something super wierd, like digging a hole in the wall. Honestly, wouldn’t all that work just make you hungrier?
But this is all beside the point. My idea for an ad that no else would find funny is the following: the same guy who’s in all the ads is walking down the street, honey chicken wrap in hand. He comes around a corner, and there on the ground are four bodies in body bags. There’s a bunch of cops and paramedics walking around, and cruisers and ambulances. The guy with the wrap, a little worried and a little curious, asks a bystander what happened.
“Some guy lost his mind,” the bystander replies. “Brought his girlfriend out here on the road, took two other people hostage, and killed them all execution style in front of hundreds of people, and then took his own life. It was horrible. People were crying. Honestly, I myself am a little traumatized.”
To which the guy with the wrap turns around with a little smirk on his face, looks down at his wrap and states, “Man, looks like somebody missed snack time.”
Again, you’re probably not laughing right now. You’re probably a little revolted. Hey, its to be expected: like I said, I’ve got a wierd sense of humor. That’s how I roll…
The Weekly “Uh-oh, look out everybody, he’s Pissed!” section of the blog:
As some of you have seen in my “Boogie Down Boston” sections of the blog, at times, I rant. Ahh, it feels so good to rant. Cause there’s so much stuff that can be fixed, especially around Boston, and it drives me mad when problems aren’t fixed for no logical reason. So to rant, is to vent. Its fun. You should try it sometime. If anyone pisses you off, bite your lip, and later on, in your bedroom, rip your friend to pieces in a “Rant Diary.” (No, I do not practice this method of ranting).
Back to the point….
This doesn’t warrant “Boogie Down Boston” recognition, but it deserves “Uh-oh, look out, he’s Pissed!” recognition. Honestly, I’m not even pissed. I’m just a little perplexed. Sit down…I’ll tell you about it.
I belong to a volunteer association know as YAVA (Young Alumni Volunteer Association). Honestly, I’ve signed up for some stuff, but haven’t really voluteered yet. Well, I was able to sign up for a black-tie event to volunteer at: you guessed it, I’m going to be hanging out with “local celebrities” at an after-Oscars party at the State House, where’ll I’ll be, I don’t know, doing something to help out. Anyway, being black-tie and everything, I had to get a tux. Figured I’d go to Men’s Warehouse, since they’re cheap and they already had my measurements from the summer (a wedding I attended). Anyway, for those of you who know the Boston area, there are two locations: the CambridgeSide Galleria, and the one in Medford, near Kappy’s.
Lets step back a second: I didn’t want to drive because there was snow and ice everywhere, and I didn’t want to lose my parking spot in Allston, where it can be spotty at times. It was sunny and about 30 degrees: a perfect time, I decided, to take the T up to Wellington on the Orange Line, where the Medford store is located. One reason I was excited (yup, I was excited) was that for the first time in my life, I would get to see the Wellington T stop from the inside (driven past it many times, but never actually set foot in the place). Might seem stupid, but as a long time T-taker, I was curious. Well, about an hour and a half after leaving my apartment, there I was, at the Wellington T stop. And I have to say: it sucked.
Getting off the train, it was like any old stop: escalators taking you back up to ground level, some dude selling candy, weirdos walking around. But then I got outside, and realized, I was trapped on the wrong side of tracks (nothing to do with crime; just literally, on the wrong side of the tracks). There were a lot of buses, and people waiting for buses, and looking over my shoulder, I could see everything that I needed to get to, blocked by fences, train tracks, third rails, and vacant lots. I must have missed something: there must have been a way around this crap. I went back in to invesigate: nope, no luck.
Heading back out, I saw some guy waiting for a bus.
“Hey, how do I get to the other side of the tracks?” I asked.
“Ohh, you gotta go underneath that overpass, then take a right, climb the hill, and cross the bridge.”
Umm…okay. Let’s just say, it sounds easier than it was. First, I had to walk for awhile (the overpass was a little ways away). When I got down there, I realized that it was super, super sketchy to go under the overpass, considering there was a huge sign that read “No Pedestrians Beyond This Point.” Well, I figured the guy had to know what he was talking about: I mean, he was a local (although he actually probably wasn’t, since he was waiting for a bus to leave the T stop). So, I gave it a whirl: and once underneath, I realized, the sign was right, the guy was wrong. Lets just say, it was a bad idea, and I exited from where I came (Mom and Dad, please don’t flip out). Safely out of the tunnel, I started walking towards, you guessed it, a hill, with mud and snow. Ohh by the way, did I mention, everything was solid ice, and there were cars and buses driving around at like 50 mph. Hey Gang: You can’t afford to miss the Wellington T stop experience, located on the Orange Line in Medford!!!
Anyway, I found a little trail where I could climb the hill, got a good grip on the concrete wall, and scaled its ass (it helped that I’m from the city of Somerville, where you need to know how to climb chain link fences by the age of seven.) Once on top of the wall, I started to climb up the trail I had found: a swath of mud cut through the snow and ice, with only a few random bottles of mystery liquids in the way. Super cool! After making it to the guardrail, I flipped myself over, and there I was, on the utterly snow and ice covered sidewalk along side Route 16! Clinging to the fence, I was able to make it to safe ground, where it only took about seven minutes to cross the most complicated interesection in the world (if you think it sucks driving around here, imagine walking). But, eventually, I got to the Men’s Warehouse. After about twenty minutes, I was set, with a sweet single button tux set for pick-up on Friday. The only problem: getting back to the T in one piece. Ofcourse it all worked out: I even grabbed a roast beef sandwhich on the way back. But the important lesson here: the Wellington T stop is probably the worst, most pedestrian unfriendly train stop in the country (I would say worse, but I’m sure there’s some worse ones in, say, Calcutta).
Speaking of Roast Beef: That’s another future project I want to tackle: compare all the famous roast beef places in Boston (Kelly’s, Mike’s and Nick’s [ I know, Nick’s isn’t famous.]) I might have to throw Arby’s in as a control (I took one of my friends who was from Vermont to Mike’s one time, and he said “I don’t know, I think it tastes just like Arby’s” which at the time I took for blasphemy, but, having never been to an Arby’s, I can’t really say). My goal, if I do do this: Don’t get fat.
The weekly “Hi Mom!” segment:
Well, I just actually said hi to Mom today. But yesterday, when I came home for a little, I was ripped for the first time ever about my blog:
“Oh, and hey, I don’t want to read about you not walking somewhere because you only have sneakers! You have three pairs of boots here!”
So Mom, since you’re probably reading this, I am taking the boots with the laces to my apartment, and I am sorry for not listening to you earlier as I should have and not taking to the boots to my place in November, just in case.
Some Valentine’s Day leftovers: I wanted to blog about Valentine’s Day, but couldn’t get into the mood, no pun intended. But I did hear some cool facts on the radio which I’d like to re-hash:
A lot of people probably already know this, but the little heart candies, which some claim taste like chalk (although I enjoy them), are made by Necco, right outside of Boston in the city of Revere. That means Revere is known for things not involving hairspray, make-up, strip-clubs, and roast beef (again with the roast beef).
I also learned that the first Valentine’s Day card, as well as the first birth control device, were created in Worchester. Which means Worchester is known for other things besides knife-fights, sleaze-bags, and being cold.
Hopefully no one from Revere or Worchester read this. If you did, I’m sorry: I couldn’t help myself.
Well, I’m spent. That is officially my blog of the week. This may have to be the new format: sorry, but I have a lot of trouble writing on weeknights. Today and last Sunday, I feel/felt like a million bucks. Stuff I do post during the week will probably be shorter, save for special occasions. As for tonight, I may just make another post. So keep you’re eyes open you crazy bastards (you’re not crazy, and you’re not bastards, I’m just saying….)
Until Next Time,