I use a combination of Folders and Fences. For documents, I keep folders for "Taxes" and "Paystubs" and "Recipes" and sort my related files into those folders. When you see a pattern of the same documents, you can probably make a folder.
For pictures, I have folders by year, then folders inside those years labelled with month and then I make a folder that highlights the day and the activity. This may not be the most comfortable way of doing it, but it has worked well enough for me and it keeps things organized.
If I get a chance I like to write names of the people in the picture in the file name, but this is rare and getting rarer. For most files I will end up "pic_##" which is fine by me since I don't intened to forget their names any time soon.
For Music, I use iTunes. It is as simple as that. The program may take some getting used to, but with it's ability to copy your music and store it in it's own special folder you are good to go. It also saves you from being plauged with duplicates. Some people don't like it, but I let iTunes control everything and it's been wonderful.
A Place With Fences
I like to keep things organized with Fences which is a tool by Stardock Co. and have been using this to do just that ever since. It's free and what it does is partitions your desktop screen, you can use it to partion the space however you see fit.
I like to make sections for applications,for Pictures, and files that I use a lot. This makes the whole space prettier and I can quickly get an overview of what I have there. And it is more convinient than a stack to the left of your screen of random gook, but what makes this application a cut above, is that with a double click on the wallpaper, it all vanishes! Just you and your wallpaper. Whenever you need a file, double click on the wallpaper and they come back.
It's amazing, and I love it.
For my photos I make sure that I put dates on everything like home videos, photos, documents when they are created, and I also modify the date if it's something like a resume every time there's an update.
I also make sure that I have access to the Recycle Bin, which is always there to help me clear everything else off, as well as a folder for Skydrive and Google Drive, which are the two cloud services I use.
Between those, I have 40GB of cloud storage space, used to back up work and personal files that I don't want to lose.
O top of that I have set up the Google Drive to push autobackups from my phone's camera, which is indexed in my Pictures Library.
My friends and I usually go to the O2's on 51st for cheap wings and yes, they're 35 cents every day but Friday and Saturday. They don't just offer wings, they have a great menu, with some nice deals. Here is their daily menu deal. Still, I would not recommend O2s on Jasper. It was so much better when it was The Black Sheep. That location is awful now, and they play awful music and now serve passable/bad food. I don't know why they changed.
Still at the other locations an order of two wings and a pint of beer cost $7.50 which is great for budget oriented people. And if you want to have a larger gathering, that is how much drinking will be done, you can order a big tower of beer with at least 9 pints worth of beer in it. I will note that there must be at least three people at the table, otherwise they won't sell it. I will also note that the tower has a pour spout, trust me this is a feature that the cursed BP team pitcher should have.
I also love The Canadian Brewhouse which has a lot of locations here. And they too have awesome wings/drums/jumbo drums (chicken legs).
If you try it I recommend the Johnny Cash sauce. It's just right for pretty spicy and savory flavor. And $7.50 tankards of anything on tap (including Guinness, Shocktop, Hoegaarden, and more).
I fell in love with our city's bike culture. I ride mostly in Boston proper and the opposite side of the city from University of Massachusetts Boston.
I love biking through the city.
Though I stick to Boston Proper:
Among Boston's many neighborhoods, the historic areas of Back Bay, Beacon Hill, Chinatown, Downtown, Fenway-Kenmore, the Financial District, Government Center, the North End, and the South End comprise the area considered "Boston Proper."
It's fun, good exercise, and gets you there a lot faster than any other mode of transit. There are plenty of areas with painted bike lanes, and people's awareness of bikers on the road is getting better.
I see this one all of the time, but it doesn't help to get upset with people who double-parked in bike lanes. They won't stop and the city won't fix it. The reason is simple there's no parking anywhere. Ever. In. This. City.
That said, it is important to cover a few of the basics to biking in Boston.
- Wear a helmet.
- Don't be a reckless jerk on the streets.
- Ride safe.
- Ride smart.
- Use hand signals when you can, and try to use them frequently.
- Pedestrians are scary.
- Sometimes scarier than cars.
- In Boston, they think they own everything, mainly because jaywalking is a joke offense in MA.
- Keep your head up.
- Don't blow through traffic signals, not even when the lights are green without first accessing the whole area first.
- You never know if some college kid is going to come running from the building straight into the crosswalk.
- Pedestrians "believe" that they have the right of way at crosswalks with no light. But it is only true for those which are marked with the MA State Law - Yield to pedestrians in Crosswalks sign.
It seems like most cyclists and drivers for that matter are unaware of how our traffic laws work and create situations where they cause more harm than good. For example they will stop without regard to others motorists on the street.
While this may sound like I am complain, the truth is that I can only think of a handful of crosswalks without them. Regardless of that, it doesn't take away the fact that I see pedestrians cross in the middle of Boylston Street without looking, and sometimes with children in tow.
I am not one for long build up so I will start by saying that I nearly got killed by an MBTA bus once.
I was biking along at night with headlights and helmet light and I saw a bus ahead of me.
Since this was my first time biking, seriously biking that is, I didn't realize just how dumb they were. But over the years I have come to realize that they could/will be dumb at anytime, so I make it a point to keep a close eye them whenever they come up on radar.
For some reason this particular one took a really long time to even start to move. I can't recall correctly, but I was 10-30ft away when he first stopped. That meant that I was halfway through his bus when he decided to drive hard into the center of the street.
By this time there was a car to my left.
This was the pinch point.
If he hadn't seen/heard me banging on the side of his bus and stop merging, either he saw the car or something else, but I probably wouldn't have been able to make it out of there because there was no way in hell I could have stopped that fast.
MBTA bus drivers, as crazy as it may sound, pretty oblivious to bicyclists.
But the pedestrians aren't much better.
I had a whole pack of them stroll out in front of me whn I was going through Harvard Square (the triangular plaza at the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue, Brattle Street, and John F. Kennedy Street, near the center of Cambridge), and that was just the other day.
They were preoccupied with their phones and didn't even waste a glance to see if anyone was coming.
It is the heard mentality, because all it takes is just one person to take the initiative, everyone else behind them will just blindly walk out into road while staring at their smart phone. Which is dumb.
And the buses will just merge over the right with no regard for anyone next to them. They see it as the less evil I guess. If you see this happening just go past or let it pass you. Otherwise you will regret it.
There are some good bike paths though. You can use the bike path along the Charles River. I try to do so whenever possible. But another hazard that we have are the hoards of runners. They love taking in the beautiful views of the city and will claim the paths meant for bikes.
I would say that riding here is like most other cities, you need to be aware of your surroundings.
Of course Boston is same, just use the same common sense you would everywhere else. That is, don't walk down shady alleys at night (or during the day for that matter). Keep to well lit public areas. Don't take candy from strangers, though it may be better to say that you should avoid being obviously drunk.
People think that Southie is sketchy, and it is. Nor is South Boston unattractive. But usually most places in Boston (during the day) are safe enogh. And for a city the size of Boston our crime rate is pretty low.
Not the worst area in Boston any means (just unattractive, mostly), and Boston's very safe for a large city in the US.
I go to Rock Spot (in Old Colony) and it's a bit grimy and industrial but I walk there. I see lots of people going in and out of the gyms over there all the time during the day. Which to me, seems fairly safe.
I love clam chowder, and I used to make it from canned stuff, canned baby clams are ok, but the real difference is the fresh versus canned juice.
Our Boston by the Spoonful
If you need precise measurements, you'll have to use somebody else's recipe.
Go to a real fish market and get big quahogs, or chowder clams.
Make sure to use real clams, and I use the real big clams, because they are chowder clams. And you would just waste other clams. No there isn't a real difference. And you could use other clams, but they're more expensive.
I usually pick up 5 pounds is a good start, 10 pounds was too many unless you've got a crowd to feed.
Next scrub them with a brush. Make sure they are clean because from this point we are going to be keeping the fluids.
Boil about an inch of water or white wine in a pot.
Add your clams to the boiling water and put on the lid, and let them steam until they open. At this point I strain the clams through a colander and save the juice, setting them aside until they are cool enough to handle.
Meanwhile, start rendering about a quarter of your of chopped bacon in a few tablespoons of butter, I like to cook on medium low.
Optional: when your bacon starts to get crispy, add some anchovies, I use about 5-7. You can use salt pork if you want to go traditional.
When your bacon is crispy add a few cloves of minced garlic. Saute that a few minutes, I like it when the garlic starts to get a little brown and pungent, but don't burn it!
Next I will add some really finely chopped onions, celery, and a few sprigs of thyme, and some black and white pepper. Cook it until it's almost soft, then add a few tablespoons of flour. Continue to cook to get the raw flour taste out, you gotta keep scraping it off the bottom of the pan when it sticks, and then add some white wine and a few bay leaves.
Bring it all to a boil. The white wine is optional, but I highly recommend it if you are going for a traditional chowder.
Take your clam meat out of the shells and chop it up.
You will need to work on this step because big clams are tough. Make sure that you chop them small, this will make eatingyour chowder more appealing.
For those of you who are feeling ambitious, rinse your clams in the unfiltered clam juice to get the grit out. I strain the clam juice through a wire mesh coffee filter.
The reason for this to get the sand out of the meat. I use the metal filter because the juice it will clog a paper coffee filter.
New to chowder? Then you will want to taste the clam juice to make sure it is not too salty.
In the event that it is too salty you can dilute it with some water, so when you add the clam juice, it won't mess up your liquids to solid ratio. Whatever you do, do not add milk at this point or it will clot up once you start boiling the potatoes in the next step.
After the wine boils a few minutes I add the clam juice and the potatoes.
Cook the potatoes until they are tender, not super soft, then add some light cream until it looks creamy enough.
I really don't use too much cream because the starch from the potatoes make it very milky in appearances anyways and it will dominate your flavors.
Make sure you taste it at this point, if it is too salty from the clam juice, you might need to add some milk. Add more white or black pepper to taste.
At this point I like to add some smoked salmon. Granted I know that ths doesn't tradiationally belong here, and it is entirely optional and completely nontraditional, but it's quite tasty and I have moved over to this.
This could be a good bacon substitute if you don't like pork.
And last thing I add are the chopped up clams, bring up to a simmer and then shut it off or the clams will get tough.
Take out the bay leaves and thyme stems, scrape the thyme leaves off the stem back into the chowder if you desire.
I love learning new techniques. So if you have some ideas to share I am all ears!
I will warn you, don't come to Boston and expect a lively arty, nightlife scene. Puritan roots are to blame for that. The general attitude that nothing needs to go beyond music and drinks is another aspect that keeps us from reaching our full potential.
The main clubs are located near the Stuart and Tremont intersection near the theater district.
Here you will find Venu, Rumor, Bijou, Cure, Royale, Guilt...to name a few. The Estate is also nearby - just off Boylston st. Honestly, all of these clubs are overpriced in terms of cover and drinks, full of douchebags, and the staff are usually pretty biased toward the cashed up college kids who get tables or who spend big at the bar.
I would recommend Brahmin which has about the best that you can expect for our club scene. It is located in Back Bay.
The location is pretty nice, it is a two-storey building that acts as a bar/club/lounge, serving food during the day. Here is their website to give you a better idea of what you will find.
If you want a night out I would try and arrive around 10pm. The line goes pretty quickly and its free cover and they take some pride in their reputation. Something, most places don't do, which is another thing that they need – pride in their establishment.
Drinks are relatively well priced, they aren't cheap but they aren't astronomical either. And for Boston the atmosphere is second to none.
It is definitely better than a lot of the sketchy clubs that people will suggest and I always have way more fun there.
Another good option is Howl At The Moon. It is fun and they have good live music nearly every night. It really isn't a club though, more a bar scene. One good thing about Howl is that they have Down, it is well, downstairs from Howl and it serves as is a club/lounge.
It's nice because the two are linked via a staircase which allows you to move up and down freely. We generally have a good time there as well.