bookmark_borderPhotos from a snowy day

Here are a few photos that I took yesterday, during the first snowfall of this winter.


Stonewall Jackson braved the storm, and received a light coating of snow on his head, chest, and shoulder.

At the park near my house, people went sledding and made numerous snowmen. (It is always a mystery to me why people would choose to spend an extended amount of time outside in the cold, especially when the snow is still falling – I only stayed there for long enough to snap a few pictures of the scene before the wind, and the snow being blown into my face, became so uncomfortable that I had to head home.)


The Christmas tree was still on display, and adorned with a dusting of snow.

Ducks, geese, and swans bobbed peacefully in the half-frozen water, with the trees’ bare branches framing the scene.


Yet another family of snow people waved to me from beside the path.

The snow during the first half of the day, when these photos were taken, was of the wet, heavy, and soggy variety. The overcast sky lent a gray and gloomy feel to the day. But as the snow continued to fall, it became light and dry, flurrying through the sky. At work, people wearing fluorescent yellow vests frantically shoveled the parking lot and cleared the walkways with sidewalk plows. When I got out of work, flakes were still drifting down through the black sky, performing a delicate dance as I waited for my train at the train station. The parking lot, now empty of cars, was filled with large vehicles, plowing and sanding.

As I trudged up my driveway, the snow formed a glittering blanket beneath my feet, so beautiful that I felt bad to spoil it by stepping in it. Behind my house, Stonewall watched over his kingdom of snow, so pristine and white that it was somehow as light as midday, even though it was 10:00 at night. The flashlight, which I customarily bring when I visit him, was completely unnecessary as I walked through the peaceful and eerily bright scene beneath the gray sky.

I will leave you with one final picture: Stonewall this morning. The snow is now marred by footprints (mine!) and has started to melt, but hopefully this gives an idea of what it looked like last night.

bookmark_borderA Christmas gift for Christopher Columbus

It was December 23, and the North End of Boston was filled with Christmas cheer. Lights twinkled on the trees, and the cafes and restaurants were adorned with wreaths and garlands. 

People hustled and bustled through the narrow streets and lined up outside Modern Pastry and Neptune Oyster in search of goodies for their Christmas feasts. Car horns honked impatiently. Tourists chattered excitedly in various languages and stopped to snap pictures. 

The only person seemingly left out of the festivities was Christopher Columbus. A narrow alley off of bustling Salem Street, deserted except for a few parked cars and an abandoned mattress, led to his home in the parking lot of the Knights of Columbus headquarters. As always, he stood solemnly atop his modest pedestal, isolated behind a tall fence. 

Merry Christmas, Chris. How have you been? Everything is so cheerful out there, with the lights, and the decorations, and everyone buying food and presents. And you are here all by yourself. Nobody seems to care about you out there, but I do. You have no decorations, and no presents, and no family, and no one coming to visit you. But I’m here to visit you. I didn’t forget. 

I stood for a few moments with my friend Chris, separated from him by the fence.

And then I noticed that the gate behind him, on the other side of the parking lot, was open. 

And an idea came into my mind.

Perhaps Chris could receive a gift after all. 

I didn’t know for how much longer the gate would be open, so I had to hurry. I turned back onto Salem Street and, turning my head to the left and to the right, began scanning the storefronts for one that might sell suitable gifts for a marble statue. I remembered passing by a CVS earlier, shortly after getting off of the train. So, battling through the crowds, I retraced my steps. Once inside the cramped drug store, I found myself surrounded by an overwhelming assortment of candy, stockings, toys, and holiday decorations. What would Chrisopher Columbus like? I asked myself as shoppers flowed around me, checking out the merchandise, and the automatic doors noisily clanged open and closed. A statue cannot eat, so candy was out. The toys all seemed too juvenile and silly for a great admiral. I noticed a table filled with bouquets of flowers, which were beautiful but very expensive, and likely too big to rest securely atop Chris’s small pedestal. And then I noticed that next to the flowers were some small plants, with beautiful white flowers, that cost only $7. 

The perfect gift for Chris!

I paid for a plant and, praying that the gate hadn’t closed, carried it carefully through the busy streets. 

To my tremendous relief, the gate was open, allowing me to stroll into the parking lot and present the admiral with his gift. A sign sternly warned me that trespassing is forbidden and that violators will be prosecuted, but I ignored it, figuring that no one would mind, because after all, I was there to give the statue a gift, not to harm him. I gently placed the little plant between his marble feet. 

Merry Christmas, my friend. I brought you a gift after all. I hope you like it. 

I took a few photos of him with his gift, patted his foot, and bid him farewell. 

See you later, Chris. It’s been wonderful to see you, as always. Until next time…

bookmark_borderStonewall Jackson’s 1 year anniversary

Today, I am not going to focus on all of the horrible things that horrible people are doing and saying. That is because today marks one year that Stonewall Jackson has been living with me in Malden. In a world filled with beyond infuriating and beyond awful happenings, Stonewall’s existence is one thing that is 100% beautiful, magnificent, magical, and good.

I hope that you enjoy these photos of Stonewall over the past year as much as I enjoyed gathering them.

May 21, 2023
Me and Stonewall, May 29, 2023
Me and Stonewall, May 29, 2023
Me and Stonewall, May 29, 2023
February 23, 2023
February 24, 2023
May 9, 2023
September 24, 2022
October 24, 2022
December 12, 2022

bookmark_borderChristopher Columbus update

Another visit to Christopher Columbus…

I weaved my way through the streets of the North End, both too hot and too cold at the same time. In front of the Old North Church, a gaggle of tourists waited in line for tickets. A street sweeper came rumbling down the street. From somewhere nearby, the hammering and banging of some sort of construction project rang out. I was approaching Chris’s home from a different angle than I had before, so I had to look closely at the street signs and storefronts to figure out which way to go. Dodging cars, delivery trucks, a US Foods employee maneuvering a two-wheeler stacked with boxes, and several people pushing carts of books down the sidewalk, I knew that I was getting close. And it was about time, too. I had stopped at Revere Beach before going to Boston, and passed through the park, now haunted, where his pitiful empty pedestal still stands, surrounded by people walking to and fro and enjoying their day, oblivious to its significance. Plus, both the orange and blue lines were operating under speed restrictions, meaning that for the majority of my journey, the train crawled painfully along at a snail’s pace.

The hot sun was beating down, punctuated by biting cold wind. This, combined with noise of various sorts, people walking every which way, and the mental overload of having to concentrate simultaneously on avoiding bumping into said people and figuring out which direction to go, almost made me regret making the trip. I felt irritated and annoyed, my brain overloaded.

But then I saw Chris.

Watching over the parking lot from his new pedestal, there he was. 

I noticed a couple of changes: he had finally lost the plastic wrap that had been clinging to his torso, and the asphalt expanse around him was divided into parking spaces, complete with pristine new white lines and numbers.

Another change: unlike during my earlier visit, I was not able to be alone with Chris. Just as I got there, an elderly gentleman drove up to the gate, got out of his car to open it, and drove into the parking lot before closing and locking the gate again. Presumably he was one of the residents of the building, which houses both the headquarters of the Knights of Columbus Ausonia Council, as well as apartments for low-income seniors. 

Hello, Chris. I’ve braved a lot of things in order to come see you. The train was ridiculously slow, and people are walking in all different directions, and honking their horns, and blocking my way, and driving down the street just as I’m about to cross it, and hammering and banging, and squealing and laughing, and talking really loud on their cell phones, and just overall driving me crazy. It is hot and cold at the same time, and my feet are starting to hurt. But you make it all worthwhile. 

I felt self-conscious in front of the old man, figuring he would think me a weirdo for standing there staring at a statue. It was his home, after all, and not mine. I didn’t feel free to spend as much time with Chris as I wanted to. So I stood at the fence for a few moments, and then bid him farewell. I left feeling unsettled, my mind swirling with mixed emotions about the fact that the man I love, the marble figure who holds such profound significance, is essentially owned by a bunch of old people.

Bye, Chris. Sorry this is such a short visit. But I’ll be back.

8/1/2023

bookmark_borderRevere Beach sand sculpture photos (8/1/23)

Last weekend was the Revere Beach Sand Sculpting Festival. Due to my work schedule, I wasn’t able to go to the festival, but I decided to head to the beach on my day off to see if the sand sculptures were still there and if so, what condition they were in.

There had been severe rain on Saturday night, and unfortunately it really affected the sculptures. Some were so severely damaged that they were unrecognizable, others were largely intact, and most were somewhere in between these two extremes. Seeing them was both sad and cool at the same time. It was a poignant reminder of the impermanence of life.

Check out the photos below:

bookmark_borderChristopher Columbus in his new home

It had been a difficult week, with many things weighing on my mind that are hard to put into words. When I woke up in the morning, something made me decide to visit Christopher Columbus. Something told me that he would understand, even though he is not technically alive.

So I took the train to Boston. Upon getting out at Haymarket, I noticed that many things were different from the last time I was there. The Government Center garage was almost completely dismantled, with a huge yellow crane towering over the scene. A glass skyscraper emblazoned with the words “State Street” loomed nearby. There was also a new row of buildings, containing a Gordon Ramsay burger restaurant, in the area where fruit vendors set up their stands on Fridays and Saturdays.

All of these changes, combined with the constant stream of foot traffic flowing around me, caused me to start feeling overstimulated. It was hot and sunny, and I felt dizzy and tired.

I also began to get nervous about Chris himself. He had not officially been unveiled in his new location, and the finishing touches were still being put on the space, so I didn’t know what the setup would be. I didn’t know how publicly visible (if at all) he would be, or how the courtyard would be configured around him. I expected that I would have to do a bit of searching in order to find him, and I was concerned that I might attract curious stares or (God forbid) questions from passerby. I figured there was also a possibility he wouldn’t be publicly visible at all, and I would have made the trip into Boston for nothing. 

Despite this, I crossed over the Rose Kennedy Greenway and into the North End. The narrow streets were filled with people going about their business: tourists taking selfies, kids in matching t-shirts who appeared to be on some sort of field trip, businesspeople rushing to work, young people in trendy activewear returning home from their workouts, employees wheeling boxes of various food products into restaurants. While making my way through the bustling streets, I looked to my left in search of the correct side street to turn onto. To my surprise, there he was, his familiar white marble form unmistakable. 

The sight of him took my breath away. 

I was not expecting Chris to be so easy to find. 

In fact, the sighting of my beloved statue was so unexpected that instead of turning onto that side street, I continued with the flow of foot traffic, not wanting to abruptly change direction and cut people off. I decided to first check out the view of Chris from the opposite direction, and then to circle back. So I ended up on a shady, somewhat secluded street, where an old man sat on some porch steps, chatting on his cell phone. He looked up briefly when he saw me, but quickly turned his attention back to his conversation. Down a short alley and behind a black, metal fence was Chris. Only his back was visible from this view. He stood beside a brick building, presumably the new headquarters for the Knights of Columbus Ausonia Council, which also contains apartments for low-income seniors. I snapped a few shots, then headed back to see my friend from the front.

I returned to the main drag, and then turned onto the side street down which I had glimpsed Chris before. In stark contrast to the bustling streets surrounding it, the little lane was deserted, with the exception of several parked construction vehicles and a lone pedestrian who soon disappeared through the door of an apartment building.

In almost eerie silence, and beneath the baking sun, I was alone with Chris. 

His face had the same pensive look that I remembered, his arms still crossed sternly across his chest. He stood atop a simple granite pedestal, anchored to the ground with concrete. The area around him was bare and stark, the vacant asphalt expanse devoid of any flowers or landscaping. There was no noise other than a county song playing faintly in the distance. A piece of clear plastic wrap, still clinging to his torso, stirred briefly in a faint breeze. 

I was struck by the contrast between Chris’s quiet, seemingly deserted new home and the crowded, noisy streets surrounding it. I was also struck by the seeming indifference of those crowds of people: sightseeing, laughing, chatting, strolling, and working, none of them displaying any outward indication that they cared one iota whether Chris existed or not. No acknowledgement that standing tall in their midst was the marble embodiment of the pain that has tormented me for three years, changed my life completely, and on more than one occasion nearly ended it.

Thanks to a black metal fence, adorned with “no trespassing” signs, I could get no more than about 30 feet from Chris. Hopefully that fence, along with several security cameras nearby, will keep him safe. But the fence did not block him from view. I took pictures from various angles and simply stood and looked at him for a while. 

Do you remember me? I thought. I remember you. You haven’t changed at all. This city has changed, though. This city hates you. It hates me too. So we’re the same.

Are you happy here? I wondered. Are you in pain? Are you angry at what happened to you? Are you sad that you’re not in the park anymore? Do you miss it?

It was nearly noon, the sun almost directly overhead and the pavement baking beneath my feet. 

What do you think about this weather? I wondered Do you like the sun beating down like this? I thought about my Stonewall Jackson statue, and how beautifully he shines when the sun warms his bronze surface. I bet you do. Statues like the hotness. Yeah, you do.

It’s been nice to see you, I thought, as if Chris could somehow hear me (and as if it’s perfectly normal to try to telepathically send your thoughts to a statue). Stonewall Jackson sends his regards. I think you’d like him, if you could meet him.

All right, I’ll be back.

I glanced back at him one more time, sending a silent farewell, before making my way down the deserted side street and rejoining the crowds teeming down the main thoroughfare.

Don’t get me wrong: I am still angry at what happened to Chris. It is an injustice, and always will be. I was upset when I first saw photos of Chris, with his head once more attached to him, at his new location. Upset because the images confirmed his eviction from his rightful place, and because others had learned the news before I did (I saw the photos on social media two days after they were posted).

But spending a few moments with Chris lifted my spirits and was good for my soul. I was glad to see him after three years of not being able to do so.

7/18/2023

bookmark_borderPoetry and photos from a snowy day and night

Wind whipping
Snow stinging my face
The sky a dull gray.
Slush soaking my feet
As plows lurch by.
The branches adorned in white
Make a beautiful scene,
Though I can barely look up to see them.

The snow begins again
As night falls.
Flakes waft gently down
And dance in the lights
Against the pitch black sky.
Puddles turned to ice,
My feet now dry.
Down by the pond,
The water is still.
The air, once bitter,
Carries an invigorating chill.
Gliding towards me,
A pair of geese.
They look quizzically
At this strange visitor,
Webbed feet gently paddling
As snowflakes settle on their backs.
Ducks follow close behind.
Eerie yet peaceful,
The world is mine.

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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