"Take me to the river"

Nothing like July 4th to give every American an excuse to blast the infamous Springsteen classic, "Born in the USA" from every available sound system. Alas, I heard not a single Bruce anthem on America's birthday, though I was pleased as punch to hear "Gimme Shelter" not only at the party I attended but also in the preview for the movie "Flight" featuring Denzel Washington and Don Cheadle (and John Goodman, too, who was a force of beautiful villainy in an otherwise lackluster season 4 of 'Damages').

I woke up on the 4th exhausted from the previous day when a family friend took me for an extended walking tour of the city. This woman, a dynamic and highly athletic 40-year-old elementary school teacher in an inner-city district, is beyond impressive, not only at giving directions and recommendations for things to do around Boston, but just for being an energetic, no-nonsense person who lives life to the fullest. She doesn't have any children, but oh, would she be an incredible mom! I'm extremely lucky to have her as a friend of the family and to have her put me up for the week before my lease in Cambridge starts. My favorite part of our tour was going to the Liberty Hotel over in Beacon Hill by the Charles/MGH stop on the red line. A former jail converted into a beautiful hotel with stunning bar areas and seating, the Liberty Hotel is on my list for Thursday-Saturday nights to come.

So Captain Pickles (my cavalier alter ego) and Professor Buttercup (Bostonian, IFC '10, often called by friends by the last name), along with one of my sweet coworkers and her boyfriend beat the heat during the afternoon of July 4th by seeing "Moonrise Kingdom". I liked what I saw, but I'll admit that I fell asleep midway for a while. I didn't eat lunch before the 3:15PM showing and came in both very tired and very hungry (It didn't help that the film isn't exactly an action movie). I'm sure I'll see it again at some point--I love Edward Norton, even if his Scoutmaster character is a far cry from my beloved Tyler Durden in the film rendition of "Fight Club".

When the movie was over, it was time to collect party materials for Professor Buttercup's July 4th house party. After picking up an assortment of mixers and small edibles, we were met back at the house by another one of my favorite IFC alums, her friend in Princeton '10, and all the delicious cakes, bruschettas, and tapas they had prepared for the party. I was beginning to regret the falafel wrap I'd gotten on the way back to the house, as delicious as it was, simply because I didn't have nearly enough room for the homemade gems that occupied the living room table. The party featured a motley crew of young professionals and grad students, largely from Princeton, Harvard, and MIT, all of whom were really friendly, but few of whom were down for taking shots with me to celebrate America's 236th birthday. At another party, maybe the "red, white, and blue" game I invented or "true american" (in the style of the show "New Girl" on FOX) might have been a veritable hit. Oh well. Maybe next year...or better yet Bastille Day! (I really can't wait to celebrate my birthday weekend in NYC next week.)

Then it was time for the annual mega-event of the Boston POPS! fireworks. One of the MIT grad students at the party tried to sneak us up to one of the buildings to watch, with a mass of ten or so of us tired, sweating, and really hoping for a refuge at the top of the stairs. Alas, though the security guard seemed amused by our noble endeavor, he didn't let us onto the roof and we ended up gathering by the Charles River with the hoards of other families, students, and food truck vendors to watch the fireworks. They were stunning--I'd say even on par with Princeton reunions, but I wish that I had some more people from my "old" life to share them with. I missed a lot of people in that moment.

We returned to the house, my feet blistering a bit, and everyone stayed around until about 2AM. I couldn't get a cab home because of the fireworks, so I stayed over and slept until the sun came up. Conveniently, my mother called as I was walking back to my hotel, at which point I pretended to have had a tamer night than I actually had. In a funny twist on what at college might have been an adaptation of a walk of shame, I returned to my hotel, showered, slept until noon, and then headed to the office to feebly concentrate on work for a while.

I stayed late at work (after nearly getting locked out of my office) and then headed to meet up with six members of the July 4th festivities for trivia at a bar/restaurant in Porter Square. Our team, "San Diego Shoots Too Soon," didn't do terribly well, but I was proud to have contributed the correct answer to a literature question about Virginia Woolf. Comp lit, represent! And since many of the songs playing were related somehow to the answers of the questions, I was also proud to have noted that one of the songs was "Take me to the River" by the Talking Heads (the answer to that question was Joan Rivers). I think I'll go back next Thursday, if not for the trivia then simply to hear the other trivia team names. A few of the best from yesterday: "Mitt Romney's Magic Undies," "Uncles with Benefits," "Magic Mike's Shower Party," and "Vicarious George."

Today I meet with my professor and the RA who last held my position and then am meeting someone at a dive bar in Downtown Boston. All I really want to do is watch the Federer/Djokovic match right now, but I'm going to hold out on livestreaming it until I finish editing this chapter of my professor's book draft.

Even if it had two days off in the middle, it looks like I survived my first week here!