Category Archives: Boston

The Boston Marathon, Social Media, and the News

(cross-posted on Civic and PBS)

I met my baby niece yesterday, Sunday morning. She was born late Saturday night. I went to some news sites to grab some screenshots of the things that happened the day she was born, and stopped myself. There were some really bad things happening in the world, Saturday, and every day. Instead, I wrote down that the Red Sox beat the Rays, 2-1.

Today is Marathon Monday, Patriot’s Day, one of those wonderful Massachusets-only-and-why-do-they-get-an-extra-day-off days. My niece is home from the hospital, thank God. I had saved today, like most Bostonians, as a light at the end of the dark winter tunnel. The day I knew there’d be college cookouts and the largest crowd that assembles, anywhere, to watch distance runners go by. People work their asses off to qualify for Boston’s tough time limits. Others get into the race by raising large amounts of money for worthy charities. Runners of all speeds and shapes stream by wearing Team in Training and Dana Farber’s colors, in addition to an endless array of less formal causes, sick cousins and memoriams to those who have left us. The Red Sox are granted an exception by Major League Baseball to hold a home day game every year on this day, so that as the game finishes, another 40,000-strong may walk a couple of blocks and join the throngs already cheering on the waves of runners.

Today, we walked over to right near the finish line and cheered people in their last few blocks. We were impressed by how fresh everyone looked, how the crisp, sunny day had buoyed their spirits and helped them make running a marathon look easy. We tried to decide whether we should head to a bar at the finish line or out to Fenway. At the last minute we decided to hop on Hubway bikes, make use of the closed streets, and go over to watch the crowd pour out of Fenway.

After failing to navigate the Lansdowne Street crowds with bikes, we walked over to Kenmore Square, the 1-mile-left mark. We stood next to a jovial group of undergrad girls, who shouted out personal cheers based on whatever the runners had written on their shirts. We told the runners how good they looked, and to finish strong. And then the girl next to me said something about a bombing. “Where’d you see this? On the internet, or real news?”, I asked. We all whip out our smartphones and find the Globe and others reporting multiple explosions. No. Not here, too.

Continue reading The Boston Marathon, Social Media, and the News

Gloomy Fans Report the First Red Sox Win of the Year

(Or, A peak into the psyche of one of the most negative fan bases in the country)

This week’s Participatory News assignment is to report on breaking news via citizen media. Since I couldn’t be in Toronto for tonight’s Red Sox game, I decided to see if I could follow along via Twitter.┬áThis report was written entirely from the #redsox and #jays hashtags on Twitter, with occasional glances at theScore’s liveblog. I covered the event from the perspective of fans watching the game live and on TV, rather than relying on direct coverage like, TV, or radio. Almost, if not all, of the information here was attained by following social media. I censored most of the bad stuff, but the tweets below contain some sports fan humor. Continue reading Gloomy Fans Report the First Red Sox Win of the Year

Playing with the Boston Seal and Massachusetts Flag

As far as city seals go, Boston’s is pretty behind the times. Founded in 1630, the city’s forefathers didn’t design with vector graphics in mind. I went looking for cool Massachusetts graphic tees recently, and finding little to nothing, decided to play with our seal and state flag a bit. Here’s what I made on a red-eye from Buenos Aires to Washington, DC.

Boston's city seal, updated with a more recent landmark to the skyline: the Citgo sign
Boston's city seal, updated with a more recent landmark to the skyline: the neon Citgo sign
The Massachusetts flag with more Homer Simpson
The Massachusetts flag gets the Homer Simpson treatment

Boston is Titletown
I admit my in-flight flag-drawing skills are pretty weak here, but at least the skyline was updated to reflect the town’s titletown status.

Neon Indian
The Massachusetts state flag features an American Indian. My brother likes the band Neon Indian, so I gave the flag the RGB channels treatment. The band’s website is just as seizure-inducing.

Revenge of the Massachusett
The Massachusett people for which the colony was named were wiped out by European plagues. Here, the Massachusett take revenge, Godzilla-style.

Oh yeah, I have a blog..

Three things I’ve been up to lately:

1. Watching every minute of the playoffs (and yet somehow missing Manny’s walk-off). In the meantime, I’ve come across a pretty solid directory of Red Sox- and Patriots-friendly bars in DC:

Red Sox bars (most pretty Pats-friendly too, especially Irish Times)

Pour House, 319 Pennsylvania Avenue SE Washington DC

Kelly’s Irish Times, 14 F St. NW, Washington, DC (Union Station Metro) (and Kelly is single on MySpace)

The Rhino Bar and Pumphouse, 3295 M St. NW (Georgetown hates the Metro)

Patriots bars:

Murphy’s Irish Pub, 713 King St Alexandria (King St. Metro) (if you want your Brady jersey to smell like smoke)

2. Seeing Into the Wild and Tick..Tick…Boom!, a movie and a play, both of which make you want to go live on a lake somewhere.

(original soundtrack by Eddie Vedder…I like this video better than the trailer)

3. Hosting a monthly NetSquared DC Meetup in Adams Morgan. We bring together “social changemakers and technological forerunners” to meet and crowdsource a featured nonprofit’s online strategy. We affectionately call this “Pimp My Nonprofit”.


who knew there were Photoshop tutorials on copying the “Pimp My Ride” logo?

…and generally exploring DC to my heart’s content. Except this weekend I’ll be home in Boston with Meghan for the Head of the Charles Regatta, which I’ve somehow never been to, and, as long as Beckett continues carrying the Sox, some hometown ALCS action.


the glorified rowboats that lure countless undergrads to Boston

Weekend Update

Shut up, crickets.

This weekend Red Sox take on the Yankees, as does this ever-mutating meme:



Uploading pics from my phone to here may be working now / soon!

Last weekend I went home to Boston for a solid 4 days full of great times and great food (how often these go together) – Pics

Justin got major knee surgery and graduated from Northeastern Law in the same week.

Went to WBOS EarthFest and saw Guster and John Butler Trio:

Also fun:

Passive Aggressive Notes from roommates, neighbors, coworkers and strangers

The Day Fun Died

A special guest post by Matthew T. Richissin, commemorating the loss of yet another youth recreation destination in the Boston metropolitan area. I went to Fun Land once, and it rained. That’s just the kind of place Fun Land was. All I can say is GOD SAVE CANOBIE LAKE.

My name is Matthew T. Richissin, I am a 23 year old college student. Though I’m not a religious man, I do believe in heaven; as it is a place that I have already frequented. defines “heaven” as “An eternal state of communion with God; everlasting bliss” and that is just what Fun Land was. Eternal Bliss.

For those who are unfamiliar with Fun Land, let me summarize it for you. Fun Land would be the amusement park you would’ve created at the age of 7 if you had a limited budget and had to build it in Tewksbury, MA. Go Karts that could accommodate a person of any age (provided said person was under 90 pounds), batting cages with pitching machines that weren’t afraid to brush you off the plate, and a mini golf course with obstacles featuring all of your favorite childhood plush toys, such as the Ninja Turtle hole.

Inside, an arcade with all your favorite videogames: NBA Jam, Aerosmith: Revolution and Cruisin’ USA (note: If you were hoping it had San Fransisco Rush, do yourself a favor and throw yourself off the highest building you can find). This was all surrounded by a chain fence topped off with barbed wire. The owners made their point clear, “If you don’t want to have fun, stay the fuck out.”

This is why the news of May 7th came as such a shock to me, as it is a day that will always be known as “The Day Fun Died.” In my opinion, when it is all said and done, the closing of Fun Land will be known as the single greatest national tragedy of the new millennium. I, nor any other great writer, could possibly describe all of the emotions I felt upon hearing the news. I can, however, provide you with images of what I believe this world will look without Fun Land:

I leave you now with the powerful words of the female vocalist Avril Lavigne (you can also watch a video of this fine gent singing it)

So Far Away, Wish You Were Here
Before its too late this could all disappear
Before the doors close and it comes to an end
With you by my side I’ll fight and defend.
I’ll fight and defend
Keep Holding On, cuz I’ll make it through, make it through.
Just Stay Strong, cuz u know I’m here for you, here for you.
There’s nothing you can say.
There’s nothing you can do.
There’s no other way when it comes to the truth
Keep Holding on.