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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Whale Watching

Saturday last week marked a special expedition. While in Boston I went on a Whale Watching excursion from the Boston Aquarium. We were lucky with the weather, after it had been raining for three days straight, it turned out to be a very nice day out.

On our trip we saw Mostaza, a humpback whale born in 2000. He stayed with us for a long time, repeatedly resurfacing close to the boat after his dives, once he even nicely presented his fluke.
From Boston, June
It was a very cool thing to see such a big animal close up and we were all very happy with the outcome of the trip :)

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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Witches, Pirates and History in Salem

The (in)famous Salem Massachusetts is a short drive away from Boston and even accessible by public transport, thus I found myself up there last week on a rainy Friday.

Salem is mostly known for the Salem Witch Trials of 1692 and so it is not surprising to find a good half dozen museums dedicated to this topic in town. I visited four of them and am now a much wiser man ;). Overall it is indeed heavily commercialized and the museums are mostly a collection of dioramas, puppets dressed up to represent different scenes, so mostly rather disappointing. I also visited a pirate museum, which had the same concepts but instead focused on Pirates of the area. The highlight of the day was a guided tour of The House of the Seven Gables, which became famous as a story by Nathaniel Hawthorne.

As is the case in many towns and cities in New England, Salem also featured a large amount of old houses and so I spent a lot of my time there admiring and taking pictures of them. The results can be found in my online gallery.

From Salem, MA

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The End is Near

Today we completed the 16th and last task in our graduate program. Now we can take a couple of days break before the practicum starts next Monday. The practicum is a nine week project with an outside Sponsor and should give us an opportunity to apply all the things we've learned this year.
 
MSIT eBiz Class of '09
But first comes the break :)

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Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Pittsburgh Penguins won the Stanley Cup and I was watching!

  Yep, that's me in a bar after the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Detroit Redwings 2:1 in the 7th game of the Stanley Cup Finals! We only saw the last period, because we were invited to a boring Pittsburgh Pirates Baseball Game, which they incidentally lost against the Detroit Tigers 1:3, but this last period more than made up for the boredom before. The atmosphere in the pub was so charged we were all screaming like mad as the clock ticked away. And it was such a great feeling when it was all over!

On the way home we stopped at Pitt University, where crowds were gathering in the street. This time it was not as crazy as after the Steeler's Super Bowl win. No burning couches or riots, even the cars could still drive on the street, albeit only in one lane, and everyone was just happy, cheering and screaming their lungs out ;).

What a year to be in Pittsburgh. First, Barack Obama gets elected US President, then the Pittsburgh Steelers win the Super Bowl and now the Pittsburgh Penguins won the Stanley Cup! Apparently, these last two events have never coincided before, so this is another historical event which happened while I was here. Maybe it's all my fault? ;)
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Sunday, June 07, 2009

Culture in Boston

During my latest trip to Boston, I spotted a sign advertising "Jerry Springer - The Opera". This seemed such a strange concept and at the same time a personification of American culture, that I just had to see it!

Jerry Springer - The Opera

The stage resembles the setup of the Jerry Springer show and some of the viewers even have their seats on the edge of the stage!

The first half follows the more or less regular script of a Jerry Springer show, with a briefing of the audience followed by the introduction of ridiculous guests, except for the fact that everyone was singing. The first half a blast with the highlight being the "My Jerry Springer Moment" song which features the memorable line "Drip me in Chocolate and throw me to the Lesbians". The first half ends with Jerry being shot at by an enraged former participant.

In the second half Jerry is visited by the devil and required to host a show in hell to resolve the age old conflict between heaven and hell. And that's where the show goes overboard, I was laughing so hard I had trouble staying in my seat :).

If Jerry Springer - The Opera gets a run close to you, don't hesitate and go see it (unless you are easily offended by strong language that is).

In the theater we spotted an advert for another Musical "Pirates! (Or, Gilbert and Sullivan Plunder'd)". Intrigued we went to see it the next day.

Pirates!

Pirates! plays in the heyday of piratery in the Caribbean Seas. It tells the story of Frederik, an apprenticed Pirate who tries to find a pure maiden to beat the Pirate curse. This show was also great fun, with lots of silly songs and sword fighting. Best remembered is the line "We don't have to solve the problem, we only have to appear to be doing something. That's Government!"

Pirates! was also an enjoyable night out and I can highly recommend it to anyone interested to see a different humorous take on Pirates compared to Pirates of the Caribbean.

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