When I grow up…

This is who I want to be when I grow up.

Not only is this dude super cool and stylish -without looking like he’s trying to look young and hip- he also is his own boss and does his own thing.

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British Beer Company

The British Beer Company or, as it’s known by its clever abbreviation, BBC, is a chain of British themed pubs that are located throughout New England. I first heard of the BBC while driving past its -at the time- soon to be location, at the beginning of the month. I knew instantly that I wanted to check it out, so periodically I checked their website to see when they were opening.

Finding no definite information, on June 14th, I finally decided to send them an email asking when their opening date was. The response told me Tuesday, June 17th. Unfortunately I had other things going on that day, but the next day, after a particularly frustrating day at work, I decided to go.

This video is not about the Danvers location, BUT, I wanted to give you an idea of what they’re like.

I invited my parents to join me, but only my Dad was interested in checking it out. So, after getting showered and changed, we made our way to Route 114 in Danvers. I had been wanting to take my Dad out for a beer for a while now and I wanted to check out this pub, so going out allowed me to kill to pints with one gulp (terribly reworked pun, I know).

Looking at the pub from the outside, it felt more like a theme park attraction than a restaurant. There were theming objects everywhere to really reinforce the idea that this was a BRITISH PUB. The inside was just as “bad,” with wooden booths and Union Jacks in every possible location. However, as much as it may sound like I’m complaining, none of these things really bother(ed) me. I just wanted to make clear that this will not provide an authentic British pub feel, if that is what you are looking for.

My Dad and I grabbed a seat at the bar and sat right in front of four Fuller’s (beer) tap handles. Fuller’s is a legit British beer, and, one I’ve never tried before. The one nearest to me was the London Porter, and since I’ve been going for darker beers lately, that is what I tried. From the first sip it was exactly what I was looking for; full bodied taste with rich creamy chocolatey/coffee notes. My Dad went for the lighter, more middle of the road, but still respectable London Pride. I had a taste and for a “regular” style beer, it too was very good.

Then, because I hadn’t gotten a lunch that day, I decided to get some food. I kept it simple and ordered a burger. I must admit that I was a little underwhelmed. Despite ordering it cooked “medium,” the outside of the burger was burnt. Regardless, I could have dealt with that, but it had very little taste, just meat, nothing special. I was sort of expecting more. That being said, I didn’t let it tarnish my good time. My Dad and I engaged in some good “bar-talk” with one another, as well as with these two guys that were sitting adjacent to us.

The guys were making it their goal to try every beer they have on tap; all 32 (a pretty respectable number). However, they weren’t ordering pints. Instead they were doing it the “smart” way. BBC allows you to order a wooden paddle or “flight” of any four beers in sample sized glass for a set price of $8. This inspired me because after finishing my porter, I was perplexed as to what to get next. I had several choices in mind and the paddle offered the solution.

The four I order were Hobgoblin, Paulaner Hefeweizen, Founder KBS, and Arrogant Bastard. The only one I really liked was the hefeweizen as my pallet like light and fruity belgian stuff or really dark and heavy stuff. I hated the KBS because it is aged in bourbon barrels and you can definitely tell. I am not a fan of hard alcohol so naturally this one was a miss. I had about two sips before giving up. Our waitress was cool though and offered me a substitution beer, but, by that point I was full and ready to leave. I picked up the check and then we were on our way.

It ended up being a very satisfying night. Between the food, the beer, and the conversation, I was very full. I would definitely recommend the British Beer Company to any family for pretty much any ocasion. As long as the somewhat tacky decor wouldn’t be off-putting, I’d say that overall, the atmosphere was fun. However, if you’re too snooty for this sort of thing, I recommend you stay away.

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My New Job

So after five years as a disgruntled cashier I’ve now decided to change paths and try my hand at being a bike messenger. I really don’t know if I’m crusty, scrappy, or assertive enough to do this job, but I’ll soon find out. My thought, on the “glamourous” side of things, is that my office is my bike and my office space is the city (of Boston). However, that may be a little misguided. From what I’ve heard, and according to the video below, things might not be as fun as I think they’ll be.

I really want a legit full time job (like with a desk and a work space) and have been searching for one ever since I graduated college. However, since none of those are biting and I don’t want to be a cashier anymore (but I still need some form of income), I figured I’d give this a try. Additionally, I don’t want to sit around all day, unemployed, waiting for the phone to ring. I know that the days are long, the work is hard, and the pay might not be great, but it’s a change of pace and I won’t know if I like it or not if I don’t at least try it out. This is the world I’ve gotten myself into, hope it doesn’t suck.

—Afterward

I wrote this post before ever having started working and was written based the ideas I had about what I thought it would be like. Now however, I have more insight. As to not sure if I’m “crusty, scrappy, or assertive enough” this is not an issue. I don’t feel I need to fit in to the “hipster” bike messenger scene because at the company I work for, I am probably the most hip person there. Everyone else is, for lack of a better word very different from me in both style and personality.

I don’t really fit in, but it doesn’t really matter because 80% of the job I am on my own. The work is actually super simple and it’s not hard to ride around the city and up and down elevators all day dropping off packages and collecting signatures. My phone makes finding my way from place to place super easy and my dispatcher is really chill. Plus, now that I’ve gotten some of the same buildings, I’ve begun to connect the best way to get from drop to drop and even associate the address with their location on my mental map of Boston.

Every building has its own quirks, but once you learn them, it makes it that much easier. The only real shitty day I had was Thursday and that was only bad because it rained… hard, all day. I was cold, wet, and very uncomfortable. I was miserable all day. However, if I can get some rainproof gear, then I will be all set for the next time it inevitable rains.

The only other negative is that, though it is technically “full time” in the sense that my hours are 9-5 Monday through Friday, I am still not fully satisfied because it is not a “career type job” and because I have yet to find my path. Don’t get me wrong, it’s much better than being a cashier (so far), I just wish I had quit Target sooner and had switch to this because there’s so much less bullshit to deal with.

Lastly, though I typically don’t give a shit about money, I will be interested to see how good or bad my paycheck is. Unfortunately the job is commission based and the pay per job is low and also varies from job to job. Not that I made bank at Target, but at least I knew how much I was making per hour there. Here’s it’s gonna be a different story. So, again, we’ll see.

—Unrelated (but somewhat related) side note

In other news, I promised you in an earlier post that I would have a picture of my Bike Polo mallet once it was complete. Well, without further a due, here it is…

PoloMalletStickered up and ready to go. All in this cost me ~$25 but, I have extra materials for a second mallet. Fixcraft charges $25 for a mallet head alone. So it’s worth it to DIY.

Thanks to Legit Bike Polo dot com for the tutorial, and to my Dad for helping me with final details. All I have to do now is play with it and see how it works.

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Separated GIF

So this all comes back to one time when I was watching Return of the Jedi with my family a couple years ago. We were at the scene right after the speederbike chase where Luke rejoins the group.

SeparatedAtBirth

Upon his return, Han asks him if he’s know’s where Leia is. To which Luke tells him that they “got separated.” However, my sister added a bit more subtext to the scene that I thought was hilarious and have thus finally gotten around to turning into a GIF.

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Dope, but…

Aight, so I feel like a bit of a rip-off because I got the idea for this post from another blog. However, it has to do with biking, and it’s cool, so I’m sharing it. Skylock is a bike lock for the technology era we live in. It uses the wi-fi in your smartphone to unlock itself and can even alert you if there is a threat of theft. There’s a few other cool features too (see vid).

However, there is one slight drawback, the price. The pre-order price for Skylock is set at $159* and the regular MSRP after that is set at $249! Plus, it doesn’t even ship until “…early 2015.” Kind of a long time to wait. Now there is something to be said about cutting edge technology and the fact that they are willing to give a break to early adopters, but still, 250-bucks for a bike lock seems fucking crazy.

*The one piece of silver lining in this ridiculous price tag is that, according to their FAQ page, for every referral you make, Skylock gives you $10. So you can, and I quote, “…potentially get yours for free!”

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More Bike Polo Stuff

1) This past Sunday I played my first Pick Up game of Bike Polo. As expected, I was terrible at it. I fell several times, crashed a few more, and got more in the way than actually contributing to the game. However, none of that would have been possible if it weren’t for the hospitable crew of gents  who helped me. Someone let me borrow their mallet. I had my own bike, but, like I said before, the brake is on the wrong side so I kept running into problems. When they saw I was struggling, someone else let me borrow their bike which had the brake on the proper side.

Though this was better to stop with, it was hard for me to use because I was having trouble reaching the pedals. When they saw that the seat was too high, they called me over mid game to adjust it for me. Everyone was very accommodating and I met a bunch of new guys who were all really cool and easy to get along with. After the game was over, someone else lent me a tool so I could switch my brake over to the proper side for the next game. Unfortunately for me, there was no next game.

Towards the end of the day there were seven of us and when it came time to toss in a mallet to join, I had no mallet to toss in (order to show my interest in playing). I stuck around to watch for a bit and was going to see if there would be one more game, or if everyone was gonna head out to a bar or something, but by that time the mosquitos were out in full force, so I just bounced.

2-a) That however leads me to my second point; getting/making a mallet. One of the first things I did upon arriving was to ask where to procure a mallet. This led to two answers, make one or buy one, the latter of which will be covered in point #3. (I also asked where I could buy a Boston Bike Polo t-shirt but got less of a solid answer).

When I was told how simple it was to make them, I thought [once home] to do something I should have thought of from the start; Google “how to make a bike polo mallet.” The search lead me to this “how to” video from Legit Bike Polo.

2-b) This “Quick n’ Dirty” guide was exactly what I was looking for and so the next day, I began my search. All I needed were some used ski poles, a few nuts and bolts, hockey tape, and ABS pipe. Simple enough, right? This has actually proved to be more difficult than I imagined.

On Monday I went to Dick’s Sporting Goods to see if they had any BP equipment. The woman I spoke to had no idea what I was talking about, but the trip wasn’t a complete loss, I ended up buying some street hockey balls to practice with and some hockey tape (for the mallet grip). I then went to REI which was [also] useless. Lastly, I went to Play It Again Sports but they were closed for the holiday.

So today, I went to Play It Again first thing and was able to grab a pair of used ski poles for $9. I then went to Lowes, two Home Depots, and a local hardware store in search of ABS pipe, only to come back empty handed. Well, that’s not true. I did buy the nuts, bolts and washers I needed, but the key ingredient, the piping needed for the mallet head was/is missing. So, I ended up just ordering some pipe on Amazon.

I worked on as much as I could, hacking the ends off the poles, taping up the grips, and sticker-ing & spray painting them respectively. For now it’s a work in progress until the ABS arrives. I’ll update you when the mallets are finished. I realize I only need one mallet, but a) the poles came in a pair, b) I’m going to have left over pipe anyway, and c) I can either have the second one as a spare, have it to let others borrow, or I can sell it.

3) Lastly, the aforementioned BP retailer, Fix Craft. Fix Craft is a great site that was recommended to me by Nick and has all things Bike Polo. I could have bought a mallet head and shaft (very phallic sounding) from them and put it together on my own. The reason I didn’t is because a) it is more expensive and b) I think it’s more badass to make your own. Plus, since I still don’t know how committed I am, I don’t want to drop a bunch of cash on something that I might be bored with in a week or two, you know?

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Drift Spot 3

The following is a video that was shot back in April. I randomly stumbled upon it and thought it was cool. This is from Drift Spot which takes place that the New Hampshire Motor Speedway or NHMS. I was gonna go to this event but was working all day that day.

I have posted a couple (or at least one) Drift Spot video(s) before which were shot by Pete and edited by me. However, this one was both shot and edited by Pete.

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HWS Tries…

On this episode of Hi Wheel Scene Tries, we’re talking about bicycle polo! So yesterday I decided it would be a cool idea to go meet up with the Boston Bike Polo scene to see what it’s all about.

The backstory is that I’ve known about bike polo, at some capacity, for a few years. Perhaps the first place I heard about it was through some TV commercial that featured it; although I feel like I knew about it on some level even before that. Regardless, randomly a few months ago I thought of it and did a Google search to see if there was any sort of bike polo organization in the Boston area.

This is not the commercial I was talking about but it still serves a good purpose, to tell about Bike Polo. Plus, I’m pretty sure that the dude in the Red Sox hat is this guy Addison who I met last night… weird.

Sure enough, there was, so, I found out when they meet up and put it on my Reminders list on my phone for that Wednesday night. I then preceded to move it back week after week, putting it off for various reasons; work, the weather, or the fact that Wednesday is my karaoke night. However, after several weeks of procrastination, I finally got around to making the trek out to Allston to see what it’s all about.

I showed up a little after 6:30, the time that the “beginners night” was set to start. Upon my arrival, I met Nick (I think that was his name) and Charlotte. They introduced themselves and told me that thus far, I was the only newb who had shown up. I explained my deal; how I’m not really competitive and how I’m just there to meet new people, put another activity on my itinerary, and have a good time. They were totally down and soon we were all riding around the court with balls and mallets.

It is a lot more difficult than it looks. I mean I am pretty terrible at sports anyway and pretty slow to pick things up, but I just could not get the hang of it. Occasionally I would go on a pretty good run with the ball, but then inevitably I would go to shoot and fuck it up. On top of that, in spite of the fact that there were only three of us, there were several near misses and a few not-so-bad collisions. If that was the case with so few of us, I can just imagine how fuct I’d be with a full court of cyclists hustling after the ball.

I found that there were several problems I ran into. 1) I am right handed and only have a rear brake. This means that I can either hold a mallet or hit the brakes, I can’t do both. This is not a good position to be in when you find yourself heading full speed towards a wall. Charlotte did offer to switch the brake over to the left side, but I didn’t want to bother with it as I am still feeling it out. Another problem with being right handed is that whenever the ball was to my left I had to make a circle to try and get another shot at it.

Another issue is that I have shitty aim. I had to keep my eye on the ball the whole time to keep it going, but, upon doing this I would sometimes lose my bearings and run into a wall or almost into one of the other players. I feel like there were more issues, but that’s probably enough for now. I certainly have a lot to learn. I fell a few times and had a couple nice run ins with the wall. If I continue to participate, I see broken wrists and squished testicles in my future.

A little later this girl (whose name I  for get; sorry) showed up; I think she’s Nick’s girlfriend. A little while later this dude Addison showed up. We all sat and chatted and chilled for a bit. After that Nick and his GF peaced out and then me, Addison and Charlotte tooled around for a bit longer before calling it quits for the night at around 8:30.

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to grab any pictures. I mean, I’m sure I could have but there wasn’t much interesting going on. Plus, being the narcissistic fuck that I am, I wanted someone to grab a picture of me. Oh well. Regardless, I really  just went there for fun and to, at the very least, say I tried it out. I don’t give too much of a shit if I ever play on a team, although I do feel like Suicycles would make for a great team name. I can certainly say mission accomplished and I am definitely interested in going back.

—Other things:

On the ride home this bro with a longboard complimented my bike while exiting the train. Also, some dude near me asked me about the bike; how I liked it and how it’s held up. This made me feel pretty good; it’s always nice getting compliments from strangers.

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Aston Martin Dealership Adventure

While driving to Waltham yesterday to visit my friends, I passed by a couple of car dealerships that were interesting to me. So, I decided that since I had today off, I would take a bike ride to the dealerships to take a closer look at what they had.

The first thing that had caught my eye on the way to Waltham was a red Alfa Romeo GTV6. The reason I even know about this car is because it is used in the chase scene in Octopussy. I’ve always wanted to own a Bond car, and, apart from the Citroen 2CV, this is probably the only one that you could realistically afford.

GTV6Alfa Romeo GTV6

I stopped by and took a look at it. The car was not in amazing condition, but it could have been much worse. I asked the guy what it was going for, to which he said $8,000. I sort of shut down after this. I’m sure eight grand is a reasonable price, but I can’t really justify buying a car right now. Plus, like I’ve probably said before, I really don’t need a car right now anyway. I’d basically just be buying it to buy it.

SteveMcQueenThe dealership had this sweet painting of Steve McQueen on the wall.

However, it was cool to just see one in person. The next stop was to the Aston Martin Dealership in the next lot. I hadn’t noticed it on the way to Waltham (yesterday), but I saw it on the way back.

DucatiThis Ducati was tucked away in the back corner of the showroom.

I didn’t realize that AM had a dealership in the area. Apparently, according to the man I spoke to, this is the only one in New England (I think).

ZagatoAston Martin DB7 styled by Zagato.

Being the car guy that I am, I always enjoy some face time with rare and expensive automobiles. In addition to the handful of new Aston Martin’s, the dealership also had an older Aston Martin Zagato as well as Lotus, an old Ferrari, and a beautiful Ducati.

Ferrari1965 Ferrari 275 GTS

In the lot there was a silver Mercedes SLS AMG, a red Bentley Continental GT, and white Mercedes 300SL, one of my favorite cars. I must admit however, that after having been around expensive cars a bunch, the thrill of just standing around and looking at them fades. It is still cool to admire them and realize and appreciate the craftsmanship and how expensive they are. But, apart from looking at them and being able to say you’ve seen one in person, I don’t get as much excitement as I used to. To quote BB King, The Thrill Is Gone.

MelroseToWalthamMy route from Melrose to Waltham.

My bike ride took me on an approximately 23 mile round trip adventure. It is surprising to me that long trips like this are becoming less difficult for me. The cool thing is that my body is clearly becoming more conditioned to such a physical demand. Additionally, the ride accomplished exactly what I wanted it to, I saw the cars in person and it got my mind off a girl that’s been tripping me up. Not you Kat, don’t flatter yourself ; )

Oh, and one last thing. So I’m in the home stretch and I notice a thing on the ground fluttering around in the wind. I pass by it and jam on the brakes, then turn around to see if it was what I thought it was. Sure enough, I was right, it was a dollar. It started blowing towards me and then got caught up in some grass, allowing me to pick it up. I then kept heading in the opposite direction to find a driveway that would allow me to get back on the street without having to drop off the curb, and there, on the side of the street was another dollar. So, I picked that one up too. Finders keepers, right? Makes up for the sunglasses I lost on a different bike ride.

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God Bless The Children Of The Internet*

So the other day, while watching Armageddon on TV, I saw the actor William Fichtner and was trying to tell my Mom who he was and what else she’d know him from. Well, I thought of The Dark Knight and a certain quote that was a “meme” amongst my circle of friends around the time of its release.

Once again, the internet did not let me down. All I did was search “You and your friends are dead” on YouTube and show nuff, there was a 2 second video of the quote. This lead me to a pretty sweet YouTube channel I wanted to tell you about: Movie Quote Central. A cursory glance at this channel informed me that it is filled with funny and iconic movie quotes that can now be at your disposal with the click of a button. I would recommend checking it out.

*quote stolen from my friend Steve

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