My Boston Trip

January 4, 2012

I fell in love with Boston not long after I arrived.  On the day of less than 24 hours that I had in Kirksville between my European trip and the Boston trip, I researched the T, which is Boston’s subway system.  With that little research, I felt like a native Bostonian as soon as I stepped off my flight.  I purchased a 7 day pass for $15 knowing I would ride it well over the 7 times required to pay for itself. 

ye olde Union Oyster House circa 1715

From Logan Airport, I took the Blue Line to the Prudential stop, which was directly in front of my hotel: The Colonnade.  I unpacked and got myself comfortable before deciding on dinner at Ye Old Union Oyster House (circa 1715).  I ordered the special, which was fresh Atlantic Salmon that was stuffed with shrimp, scallop, and crabmeat served with sugar snap peas, roasted tomato and new potatoes.  I enjoyed dinner with 2 Harpoon IPAs.

I made my way back to the Hynes Convention Center to attend Bradley Efron’s talk “A 250-year argument: Belief, Behavior, and the Bootstrap.”  I met some colleagues of mine, and tried to talk them into going to a pub that was on my long list of places to visit, but it was unsuccessful.  We went to a place called The Corner Tavern where I had a few more Harpoon IPAs before calling it an early night.  I was so tired from all the traveling I had been doing that I fell asleep on the phone while talking to Erin.  That didn’t win any brownie points.  I remembered to send a postcard the next day as an apology.

January 5, 2012

The next morning, after breakfast, I attended two extremely short talks at 8:30 and 8:45.  The first, called “Looking for a few good means,” was about Stolarsky means and was enlightening enough that I printed off a paper by them that is sitting in my office for further inspection and study.  The second talk was horrible.  From 9-9:50 I attended “The Sounds of Geometry” which was well done, but not followable for me.  The next talk wasn’t until 11:15.  Play time!

I put on some running clothes and ran along the Charles River Basin to the Charles River Dam and back.  It was a short run, but I got to see the Library, the Charles Bank Park, and some beautiful sights of Boston.  Even more, I got to sweat a little, which felt great. I got back in time for a quick rinse before “Teaching Statistics through the Years: What Works? What doesn’t? What’s next?”  It was terribly unenlightening.  The next talk after that one I planned on attending but it was cancelled.  Oh, bummer.  What to do, what to do?

Outside Cheers in Boston

It was lunch time and I had until 1pm, so I hopped on the T and went to Cheers, which I found out later, has nothing to do with Boston. I didn’t care.  I ordered a Frazier’s Fishwich and 20 oz. of Fisherman’s Beer.  Without rushing, I enjoyed lunch and a little scenery of the Boston Common, and made it back to Hynes and in my seat by 1pm.  No problem  From 1pm to a little before 3pm, there were several talks about games with Sudoku being the main theme.  They were all interesting!  Finally!  After these I attended the Retiring Presidential Address entitled “Our Challenges” which took me up to 4pm.  There were no more talks I would be attending for the rest of the day.  Yippee!

Our concierge told me how to maneuver the T to get to the Cambridge Brewing Company (CBC).  I ordered a sample of their four main beers: Regatta Golden, Cambridge Amber, Tall Tale Pale Ale, and the Charles River Porter.  These were all very solid beers!  The CBC was a great experience because I got into a long conversation with a woman named Liz.  Through our long discussion, I found out she had hiked the 5-mile Multnomah Falls – Wahkeenah Falls loop in Oregon that Erin and I had, and that she had a wife who was a lawyer just like her (gotta love Massachusettes!) 

While talking with her, I ordered another sample of 4, this time the Valley Girl IPA, Big Man IPA, Audacity of Hops, and Bannatyne’s Scotch Ale.  These were fantastic beers and I vowed that I would bring Erin here someday, as she would adore such a place.  They had a Feta & Artichoke Heart Pizza that was delicious.  Before Liz left CBC, she gave me a few of her other recommendations noticing that I was a beer lover.  I chose Lord Hobo as my next stop, since it was right down the road.

At Lord Hobo I ordered a pint of Jack’s Abby Hoponious Union.  Before it was poured I visited the rest room to take a leak and fart, but my fart turned out to be a splatter and I soiled myself just as the lone stall became available.  I ran inside the stall and did the best clean up job a guy could do in that situation.  I then came back to the bar and had my drink.  The bartenders here wanted to send me to a few places called Deep Ellum and Sunset Grill.  Since I had just shit myself, I opted to pay my tab and go back to the hotel.  I was hungover the next morning.

January 6, 2012

  I attended a talk concerning the Cantor Set at 8am and then an invited address from 9-9:50am called Sum of Squares: Polynomials in OptimizationAfter the talk, my schedule was clear until 3:15 so I went on a journey that would be somewhat random.  I walked the entire Freedom Trail on which I took pictures of the 16 Freedom Trail specific sights and a few pictures of the 7 other sights that you pass by as well. Below you can find some pictures I captured along the Trail.

Old State House and Sight of the Boston Massacre
Paul Revere House (Downtown Boston’s Oldest Building)
Memorial at Bunker Hill
Sam Adams Trolley

The Freedom Trail ends in Charleston at Bunker Hill.  I found a T stop at Bunker Hill Community College and hopped on to go back over to Boston.  While on the train, I debated what to do next, which is why the trip was somewhat random.  I didn’t know what I would be doing next.  I settled on the Sam Adams Brewery.  When I arrived at the Sam Adams Brewery I noticed a trolly that said Brewery Tours.  Without asking any questions (which is usually my style) I hopped on the bus.  Soon, the bus filled up and the bus driver was loaded with amazing energy.  Listening to him and the people around me, I figured out that this was the end of the tour and this was the final bus ride to the famous Doyle’s Bar and Grill (appeared in films “Mystic River” and “Gone Baby Gone”).  Oh well.  I was really hungry anyway and don’t think I could have lasted through a tour.  Taking the drivers suggestion, I ordered a burger and had some Sam Adams on tap.  That was a good enough tour for me. 

After my lunch at trip to Doyle’s, I went back to the hotel to journal, write post cards, and relax a little.  At 3:15, I attended a talk through the Association of Symbolic Logic that I didn’t understand at all.  At 4:20 I completely wasted my time going to a talk about Probability Density Functions from Real World Applications.  She simply put a bunch of examples from Exam P from the Society of Actuaries on her slides.  Yawn.

Back at the hotel, I used the free Wi-Fi and my laptop to map out an adventure for the evening.  What an adventure it was!  Jacob Wirth Co. was the place I chose for dinner.  Established in 1868, it had a great German feel to it (and I could tell, because I just got back from Germany).  I ordered the special, which was crabmeat stuffed trout served with carrots, asparagus, and rice pilaf.  That was enjoyed with an Ommegang BPA and a Jacob Wirth Kölsch/Lager style beer.

The next stop of my bar hopping tour was quite the journey.  I had to travel to Brookline and walk about a mile until I finally found Deep Ellum which was a very tiny but awesome establishment.  The food looked really good so I took a mental note which has obviously turned into a written note.  My first order was a Pretty Things Jack D’or farmhouse ale that was served in a wine glass.  As I drank my Jack D’or I struck up a conversation with the two gentleman to my right at the bar whom both approved of my bar hopping plans of the evening.  They also suggested that I visit during the Boston Marathon, so we discussed that while I had a Flagraiser IPA, a product from Slumbrew.

Just down the street I happened across the wonderful establishment of the Sunset Grill & Bar.  The selection at Sunset blew my mind. Interestingly enough, this was my only beef with the place.  It was so overwhelming.  They had separate huge menus for both beer and food.  I remember ordering a Flying Dog Raging Bitch and a Clown Shoes Tramp Stamp and enjoying them both. You could probably guess that by now, I was feeling really, really great.

The plan had The Publick House as my next stop.  However, my body wasn’t really screaming for more beer at this point.  I had consumed six somewhat strong beers over the course of my evening, so I opted not to go to The Publick House and save it for another trip.  On the T, I got to talking to another passenger who let me know that The Lower Depths was very close to my hotel, which was a place that my friends from the Deep Ellum had recommended.  I got an extra spark and thought, “What the hay?”  To the Lower Depths I descended, where I sat at the bar and ordered a BBC Coffeehouse Porter from the nitrogen tap.  As I enjoyed this delicious, creamy beverage I admired the mural painted on the wall.  I admired it so much in fact, I had a fellow patron take a snapshot of me along side it before I retired to my hotel for the evening.

January 7, 2012

On Saturday morning I met some former Indiana graduate student colleagues of mine, Nathan Carter, who works at Bently College in Massachusettes, and Chris Wilson from Butler University in Indianapolis.  They were both much more along with their life than me, having 3 and 2 kids respectively.  Chris is expecting his third.  I went to two talks that morning, none of which I could follow in the least, which was very unfortunate.  I really had hoped to attend a lot more talks that I could follow.  Before the noon hour hit, I went back to the hotel to print off my boarding passes and get ready for my flight home via Raleigh, North Carolina.  Funny thing, I ran into another Truman professor (not in math) and a Truman student at that airport. ‘Tis a small world.

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