Tag Archives: music

The Freedom Trail, Various Wildlife Refuges, and Three Pieces of Performance Art

This entry is just a collection of random stuff I have experienced recently. In no particular order:

The Freedom Trail

Bunker Hill MonumentThe Freedom Trail is a self-guided walk that winds through central Boston, passing various sites of historical interest on the way. Boston is very proud of its history, being the site of the American Revolution (boo hiss) and the abolitionist movement (better late than never) and its role in the American civil war (hooray).

About 40% of the sites on the trail are connected to Paul Revere, I was pretty sick of hearing about him by the end.

At the end of The Freedom Trail is the Bunker Hill Monument. Technically (and confusingly) not on Bunker Hill, the monument commemorates The Battle of Bunker Hill (which was also not actually on Bunker Hill). In any case, you can climb to the top of the monument (294 steps!) for a cramped, hot, and majestic view of the city. This picture is looking vaguely west along the Charles River in the background.
Boston from the top of the Bunker Hill Monument

4th of July

The fourth of July is one of the important holidays, and one Boston celebrates with gusto. The public celebration was brought forward one day because of the bad weather forecast for the 4th, so I went down to the Charles River Esplanade to see how things were done. It was basically like Symphony Under the Stars in Auckland but with more security (and armed police wandering around). We were treated to various patriotic songs by the Boston Pops Orchestra and some hits from a Beach Boy. The crowd had a very lucky escape when Joey McIntyre couldn’t make the rescheduled event.

I learnt that nobody really knows the words to the America national anthem, and fewer people actually have the range to sing it. I also learnt that Americans get annoyed if you sing the correct lyrics My Country, Tis of Thee, which more properly begin “God save our gracious Queen.”

The concert was cut short due to the encroaching rain, and we were treated to the best fireworks display I have seen. It must have been visible from most of the city. The best part were the shells that exploded into reasonable attempts at a giant smily faces.

5 minutes after the fireworks ended, the thunder storm took over the skies. Boston gets proper summer storms, the lightning lasted for over an hour and for a while you could almost read by it, so frequent were the flashes.

Sharknado

I don’t really have much to say about this. Sharknado is a (terrible) made-for-TV film that became a minor hit a while ago. This was a special presentation by the guys behind Mystery Science Theatre 3000 which consisted of them playing the film in its entirety, but making jokes over the top. Despite being fairly inept, Sharknado is quite entertaining, and with added jokes makes for a good evening’s entertainment.

My only other observation is that in America, a small coke at the theatre is approximately 1 litres worth.

The Phantom of the Opera

The tragic story of a hideous man who sits backstage playing the keyboard all-the-while lusting over a beautiful actress he will never have. Wherever does Andrew Lloyd Webber get his ideas from? </old joke>

This was a lavish production, with pyrotechnics and all sorts of stage trickery. It turns out I had completely misinterpreted the story, so the ending was a complete surprise to me. The Boston Opera house is pretty amazing just by itself. It is a little like the Civic is Auckland but about twice the size. This photo doesn’t really do it justice.
Boston Opera House (from the cheap seats)

Ipswich River and Great Meadows Lake Wildlife Sanctuaries

Finally some photos from two wildlife sanctuaries I have visited in the last few weeks.

Beaver Dam at Ipswich Wildlife RefugeThis is a beaver dam (the pile of sticks, not the bridge – beavers are neat but not that good at building). I have seen several of these constructions in various parks, but no beavers as yet.

Lillypads at Ipswich River ReserveThis pond was absolutely filled with turtles of various sizes. American ponds seem a lot more alive than back in New Zealand, with frogs, insects and small mammals all vying for space. The lilypads are nice as well.

Epic Rap Battles of History

My current obsession is the Epic Rap Battles of History youtube channel. What could have been a stupid idea is redeemed by clever editing, well produced music, and just a whiff of actual research. They also somehow managed to get some pretty big guest names to play some of the characters.

They also show clear signs of improving with each season. Season 3 is currently being released, but they already have a large back-catelogue of good material.

Here is my favorite so far:

Some others I like:
Hulk Hogan vs Kim Jong-il
Bruce Lee vs Clint Eastwood
Gandhi vs Martin Luther King Jr.
Mozart vs Skrillex
And finally, Rasputin vs Stalin, quite possibly the best summary of Russian history since Boney M.

Proof of Time Travel

I recently saw an article about researchers looking for proof of time travel using the Internet to search out references to events that hadn’t happened yet. Apparently they drew a blank but they obviously weren’t looking very hard.


(youtube)

History records that this is Grand Cortège de Bacchus from the ballet Syliva by Léo Delibes, written in 1876. But it is quite clearly the theme to Knight Rider, circa 1981. I think it is clear that someone, possibly genius composer Stu Phillips himself, traveled back to 19th centry Paris to influence the past.

How much more proof do you need?

Auckland Links

A few Auckland related links to fill in some time:

Dirty Dining Diary
I usually don’t think much of The Herald but this new recurring feature is genius. 29 eating establishments were given D ratings by the council during the last round of inspections and The Herald is reviewing them all during September.

I can personally recommended Day 3 – Saigon in the Food Alley, I deem it well worth the risk.

New Trains
The Auckland Transport Blog continues to whip itself into a giddy frenzy over the new electric trains that will debut next year. And why not? The trains look fantastic and I can’t wait to give them a try when they finally start (literally) rolling out on the Onehunga line.

2am Orchestra
A friend of mine is in a band called 2am Orchestra which has been getting some buzz. This is your chance to get in on the ground floor before they hit it big.

Three Videos for Wasting Time on Monday Morning

I haven’t posted any stupid videos for a while, so here are three for your enjoyment:

Last year the South Korean’s unleashed the insane and madenly catchy Gangnam Style onto an unsuspecting world. This year the Norwegians fire the next salvo in the never-ending world war of ridiculous dance hits. This one answers an important question.

Step back to the 80s for more dance music:

If you think that was showing off, watch this for something completely different. I used to play snooker for my school(!) but I never saw anything like this in any of the snooker dives in the seedy underbelly of Oamaru.

Snooker commentators are a buttoned down bunch, this one probably has more emotion in his voice at the 3 minute mark that he did at his own wedding.