bookmark_borderThe blizzard of 2022

In this blog post, I will be taking a break from politics to focus on something less controversial but still interesting: weather!

Today I made a brief expedition outdoors into the “Blizzard of 2022.” As someone on the autism spectrum, I have particular sensitivities to wind, cold, and precipitation, which arguably makes going out into a blizzard potentially one of the dumbest things to do. However, I also enjoy photography and exploring and documenting the world around me. So I decided to venture out into the frozen tundra that is Malden, Massachusetts.

The thing that was most remarkable about today’s blizzard was the almost complete lack of visibility. From inside my house, I could barely see the (admittedly few) vehicles passing by on the street, something that hasn’t been the case during any previous snowstorm. As soon as I stepped outside, the wind almost literally hit me like a ton of bricks. It forced me to walk backwards down my driveway in order to avoid snow violently pelting my face. Fortunately, because of the direction the wind was blowing in, I was able to resume normal walking when I reached the end of the driveway.

Everything around me was white and/or gray, the only pops of color being street signs, traffic lights, a fire hydrant, a flag, and occasional red leaves still clinging to branches. As I made my way down the street, the snow for the most part was higher than the tops of my boots. Because of the vicious wind, the snow was much deeper in some places on the sidewalk than others. I tried, with mixed success, to step in the random places with relatively little snow in order to avoid snow getting into my boots and making my feet disgustingly wet and cold.


I passed through the large intersection where my house is located, and headed down the street past a playground, tennis courts, soccer field, baseball diamond, and cemetery, taking photos as I went. Very quickly, my fingers began to hurt because it was so cold, so I put gloves on.



Along the way, a few plow trucks passed, as well as the occasional car, but for the most part the landscape was eerily deserted.

I proceeded to the pond at the end of the street, surrounded by a park and wooded area. The pond itself was almost invisible in the blowing snow, but I took some photos of the view. I considered turning back at that point, but the sidewalk going around the pond had some relatively snow-free parts, either because someone had shoveled or because the wind had blown the snow away. So I followed it for a bit and took pictures of picnic benches, a trash can, and some trees.





By that point, my fingers were hurting even with the gloves, and a sudden, particularly violent gust of wind came out of nowhere and made me scream in pain, so I knew it was time to head home. Unfortunately, because I was now walking in the opposite direction than I had been before, I once again faced a situation where snow was being violently and ceaselessly whipped directly into my face. Because this is something that I find physically painful due to my sensory sensitivities, I opted to walk backwards along the sidewalk for most of my journey home. In addition to looking extremely strange, this made it difficult to navigate the uneven snow and, alas, resulted in more instances of accidentally stepping into really deep snow and getting my feet soaked.

As my luck would have it, the only person that I saw on my exploration was a guy shoveling his walkway, whom I passed while walking backwards and simultaneously muttering about how annoying it was that the wind was forcing me to walk backwards. Oops. Another interesting thing I noticed while walking home was that my footprints, left just a little while earlier, were almost completely gone! A testament to how much snow was coming down and how wildly it was blowing around.

By the time I got back to my house, my hands were numb, my face hurt, my feet were disgustingly wet and cold, and I was quite irritated at the wind and the fact that it had put me in the position of either walking backwards or being subjected to constant torture for my entire walk home.

Even though one would expect a blizzard to be cold and windy, the Blizzard of 2022 was even colder and windier than I expected. It was striking how deserted the streets and sidewalks were, and how severely visibility was affected. Overall, I guess I’m glad that I went. I am definitely happy to be indoors with a cup of (decaf) coffee, looking out the window at the plows doing their job and the snow glittering quietly on the ground.

bookmark_borderStop the Mandates rally in Boston

Today I attended an event called the “Show Up Strong: Stop the Mandates” rally in Boston, MA. Several hundred people gathered outside the State House to protest against vaccine mandates in general, and the city of Boston’s vaccine mandate for restaurants, gyms, theaters, and sporting events in particular. 

As a band played pro-freedom rock music, protesters lined both sides of Beacon Street, holding signs, waving flags, and chanting “Wu Has No Heart.” I held a sign that read, “My body my Choice / No vaccine mandates.” Starting a few minutes after noon, a variety of speakers addressed the crowd from the steps in front of the State House, including a state representative, a rabbi, the owner of a popular Italian restaurant, the chairman of the Constitution Party, a veteran and gym owner, a police sergeant who lost her job for opting against the vaccine, and an occupational therapist who lost her job for the same reason. The crowd of protesters was racially and politically diverse. Unsurprisingly, Gadsden flags, F— Biden flags, Trump signs, and “Let’s Go Brandon” apparel dotted the crowd, but there were also left-leaning types and signs containing the “A” for anarchy symbol. People of all races danced and chanted about love, truth, health, and freedom. 

Numerous drivers honked their horns and gave the thumbs up from their vehicles as they drove past, including a UPS driver, a school bus driver, a taxi driver, and drivers from various food companies, a flower shop, HVAC companies, and construction companies. A pickup truck with signs saying “Impeach Biden” and “Impeach Warren” drove by several times, honking loudly to express support. Photographers and videographers from various news outlets captured images of the crowd, and a few police officers milled about.

The only aspect of the rally that I did not enjoy was the weather. As someone on the autism spectrum, I am particularly sensitive to cold, wind, and rain, and I considered not attending because the forecast called for exactly those things. A cold rain came and went throughout the afternoon, not enough of a downpour to drench anyone, but enough to make everything and everyone damp and shivering. 

Shortly before 2:00, the protesters took to the streets, marching from the State House to City Hall (where Mayor Michelle Wu had decided to close the building and order staff to work from home) past Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market and on to the North End. Chanting “Let’s Go Brandon,” “Shame on Wu,” and “My Body, My Choice,” we took over the streets of Boston, forcing cars to stop and paying no attention to traffic lights. At the head of the procession were people with bullhorns, as well people holding a large banner that read, “Medical freedom: the new civil rights movement.” Along the way, people going about their business stopped to watch and take videos on their phones. Construction workers in bright yellow vests cheered, and old guys hanging out near the “Connah Store” clapped their hands. People peered down from the windows of apartment buildings, some flashing the thumbs up, some simply gawking in curiosity, and only one giving the middle finger. Along the way, we passed the statue of boxer Tony DeMarco. Noticing that someone had placed a mask on the statue’s face, one of the rally leaders promptly removed the mask and threw it on the ground.

At 2:30, we arrived at the Paul Revere statue in the North End, where we posed for a group photo and sang “America the Beautiful” and “The Star-Spangled Banner.” By the time the march concluded, I was shivering uncontrollably from the cumulative amount of time spent in the cold and rain, and my hands were numb. My sign, as well as numerous other people’s signs, was soaked, and the letters were starting to smudge. However, it would be a no-brainer to say that I was glad I went. All of the horrible things happening in the world have really been getting me down, particularly comments on social media saying that people like me are not welcome in Boston and that we should stay out of “their” city. Participating in this rally and march gave me the sense that I am not alone and that I do have a place in the city of Boston. Marching en masse through the streets, bringing traffic to a halt, and attracting stares from passerby, was truly a powerful and exhilarating experience. For a couple hours, at least, I felt that I had a voice and a community. That in itself is a big victory.

Continue reading “Stop the Mandates rally in Boston”

bookmark_borderKorean & Vietnam War statue unveiling in Malden

On May 31, 2021 (Memorial Day), two new statues were unveiled in my hometown of Malden, Massachusetts. The statues, located in Forest Dale Cemetery, represent the veterans of the Korean War and Vietnam War, specifically the soldiers from Malden who lost their lives in these two wars. The ceremony included a concert by the Quantico Marine Corps Band and speeches by Mayor Gary Christenson, various city officials, and Retired U.S. Navy Captain Earl Kishida, a veteran of the Vietnam War. Descendants and relatives of the soldiers physically removed the red and blue coverings, revealing the bronze statues underneath.

Given all of the horrific happenings in the world, it was cool to see new statues come into existence. Below are some photos from the ceremony:

Korean War Memorial statue
Vietnam War Memorial statue
The Quantico Marine Corps Band put on a concert before the ceremony.
Capt. Earl Kishida spoke at the ceremony.
Descendants of the soldiers removed the tarps covering the statues.
After the ceremony, members of the public were able to admire and photograph the statues.

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bookmark_borderShots from a nearly deserted Boston in the era of COVID-19

Despite the governor’s and president’s advice for everyone to stay home whenever possible, I decided today to venture into Boston. Here are some shots of the nearly (but not completely) deserted city.

A few pedestrians were scattered along Boylston Street.

Customers had to wait in line before being allowed inside Trader Joe’s.

Not many shoppers were around on Newbury Street.

The lagoon was looking sad at Boston Public Garden.

Beacon Street was empty except for this bicyclist.

Another view of Beacon Street.

A deserted Canal Street.

No tourists at Quincy Market for these two musicians to play for.

One of the few Boston institutions operating as usual (albeit somewhat less crowded) – Haymarket!