Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Autumn on the Geochron

It's autumn, even though it didn't feel like it in the middle of tropical downpours and 92 degrees in Tampa this weekend. Check out how different the areas of sunlight are compared to the summer solstice. It's only a few days after the equinox but already the Northern Hemisphere is losing light compared to the Southern Hemisphere.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Bostonist Photo of the Day

I really enjoy the Bostonist blog and its take on news and sports in Boston. In particular, the blog's Photo of the Day has some great shots from around the city that provide unique takes on some common subjects. Plus, the photos serve as creative inspiration for budding shutterbugs. The blog recently issued a challenge to take some close-up shots around town, and I was excited that one of my photos of the Red Auerbach statue in Quincy Market was chosen as today's Photo of the Day. Check it out.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

At Long Last-The Fenway Park Kyoto Video

So, I've finally gotten the clip all set from the NHK segment that aired a few months ago on the Fenway Park bar in Kyoto. I'm in there with Tiger and Larry Lucchino. As you can tell, my Japanese is pretty good.

For those whose Japanese is a little rusty, here's the English translation:

(A Temple in Kyoto, wide shot)
This is an old city, Kyoto.

(Fenway Park bar in Kyoto. Customer are watching Dice-K' pitch)
There is a small bar, where RedSox fans get together.
The bar is named "Fenway Park."

(Ohta's introduction)
He is the owner of the bar and a die-hard RedSox fan for 11 years.

(Ohta is wiping a plate)
This is his treasure.
The plate was sent from the president of RedSox last November.

(Ohta's sound bite)
"I got a big package. But, I did not know what was in there.
I could read the plate because it was written in Japanese."

We will approve your bar as a member of the RedSox Nation.

"I was really surprised."

(The Plate)
The story was started out when two RedSox fans accidentally met.

(Boston's exterior shot)

(Chris is watching a RedSox game on TV)
Chris Klein is a freelance writer living in Boston and he is of
course a RedSox fan.
When he went to Kyoto for sightseeing last year,
he was happening to find out Ohta's bar.

(Chris' Sound Bite)
"My wife told me to go to FENWAY PARK.
I did not understand why she said so because we were in Japan.
After I noticed the sign of FENWAY PARK, I did not hesitate to
going there."

(Picture of Chris and Ohta)

"After we realized we were RedSox fans, we call the name of players
each other."

"He was funny that he had said, 'Yankees Sucks!'"

(Chris picked up a newspaper from a folder.)
After Chris came back to US, he wrote about the story on a newspaper.

(An Article on Boston Globe)
The story was noticed by Boston RedSox.

(Around Fenway Park)
The president of the RedSox was really impressed the story.
Therefore, he sent the plate to the bar in Japan.

(Larry Lucchino Sound bite)
"I wanted to cheer the bar far from Boston, where is supporting RedSox.
We have Japanese players.
if they play well, and Boston fans in Japan increase,
that would make a great RedSox without boundaries."

(Ohta's Sound Bite)
"I think there is no bad guy, who is supporting RedSox.
All the Sox fans are friendlly and they all are my friends
whereever you are."

Friday, September 14, 2007

Rose Kennedy Greenway--Phase One

The first parcel of the Rose Kennedy Greenway has finally opened. The Greenway, named in honor of the Kennedy family matriarch, is the parkland that is replacing the scar left from the Central Artery that separated the waterfront from the rest of Boston for decades. With the highway now underground due to the Big Dig, the Greenway is going to play an important role in reconnecting the city to the harbor that has been its lifeblood.
It's been a while in the making, but the section of the Greenway near Chinatown is the first part to officially open. There's not much land to work with in this section so it's a little hard to tell what it bodes for the other stretches of the park. The highlight is a small waterfall that leads to a winding stream flowing over cobblestones. There are ornamental grasses and bamboo groves add a nice touch in recognition of the hertiage of this section of the city. A modern gate echoes the traditional gate to the Chinatown neighborhood. Most of the area is stone, particularly around the gate. Not much grass. The other sections will have more land available presumably to add "green" to the greenway, so it's tough to really evaluate this section without seeing how it fits into the Greenway as a whole.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Bunker HIll Article

Check out the travel section of the American Heritage web site for an article I wrote on the restoration of the Bunker Hill Monument and the opening of the new museum across the street from the obelisk. If you remember the old dioramas depicting battle scenes, you'll want to check out the new audio-visual presentation that goes with it. Plus, the new museum now provides space to display many interesting artifacts you haven't seen before.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

U.S. Open Labor Day weekend

Still recovering from the altitude sickness I sustained this weekend at the U.S. Open in Flushing Meadows. I was there both Sunday and Monday enjoying the fantastic weather. On Sunday, we had grounds passes, so we didn't even set foot in cavernous Arthur Ashe Stadium. We spent most of the day in the cozy confines of the Grandstand watching some of the mens' matches. We also wandered out to the practice courts and saw Federer and Blake among others. The matches in the Grandstand and Louis Armstrong stadium went so long that the day session ended well after the night session.

One of the new things at this year's Open was a perk for American Express cardholders. AmEx members could go to one of two booths and get a TV that showed action from five courts along with the network coverage. (It was free, although a $350 refundable deposit is put on the card.) We got there Sunday at 10:30 and waited between 20 and 25 minutes to get the TV. It was pretty neat to use to follow the action on Ashe and Armstrong from the Grandstand. But I found that it would regularly lose signals and the volume was very faint on my set. All in all, I don't think it was worth the long wait, so we skipped it on Monday, when we had tickets in Ashe stadium, and instead got a free radio from AmEx that broadcast the CBS coverage. Impressively, it synched up with the live action so it was enjoyable to listen in while watching the action from inside Ashe stadium.

Getting to our seats in Ashe was a little grueling, particularly since we lost our Sherpa halfway up. Our seats were in row Z in the promenade. For those who aren't alphabet-philes, Z is the last letter in the alphabet and, correspondingly, the last row in the stadium. Great views of Shea Stadium and the Manhattan skyline. Not so great for tennis. Also not great to watch Tomas Berdych pull out of his match with Andy Roddick after only a set and two games. But we did get to see Andy hit with Jimmy Connors on an outside court after the match as he tried to get some work in. Jimmy managed to keep his sweater vest on the entire time on the 85-degree afternoon. Impressive.

It was also fun listening to the other fans trying to identify the other players practicing on the court from 200 yards away. There was a young mens player out there with long hair and a muscle shirt. The fans around us were all psyched up to see Nadal warming up. "Who's that?" someone would ask. "It's Rafa," another fan would reply. "Wow, get a picture!" Didn't have the heart to tell them that since the guy was hitting with his right hand, chances were kind of slim it was Nadal.

Luckily, the Tommy Haas-James Blake match that followed more than made up for the previous match. Haas won in a fifth-set tiebreaker and the atmosphere was fantastic. If you were watching on TV, you know what I mean. Plus, I'm going to guess you had a closer seat than we did.