Saturday, April 4, 2009

Aliens! (Actually, house centipedes)

Now that the spring weather has finally started, the creatures that were asleep all winter have awakened. There were a few ants in the outside hallway that we Raided. But those weren't the problem.

It's those damn house centipedes. I grew up about an hour and a half away from Brookline, and while we had our selection of daddy long legs and little black spiders, I have never seen anything quite as terrifying as a house centipede in my home.

It started a few nights ago. There was some light from the living room reaching the bathroom. And in the doorway -- accentuated by the angle of the light so its shadow made it appear three times larger than it was -- the first house centipede of spring. It looked like a small, slithery alien.

I screamed bloody murder.

It ran out of the bathroom and then onto the expensive area rug that my roommate had unexpectedly won from a contest a few months ago. I didn't want to squish it and incur her wrath, so I tried the next best thing -- I waited until it stopped moving and plopped an empty soup can on top of it (side note: those Campbell's Select Harvest soups are delicious!)

I then sat down at the computer and did some research. I figured out it was a house centipede. These things live 3-7 years, which seems long for a bug, and they hunt their prey at night. These things eat all sorts of baddies, like spiders, roaches, silverfish, cloth-eating moths, termites and ants. I haven't seen any other bugs except for it and the ants, so maybe it's eaten everything? I was okay with this until I saw that if a house centipede bites you, it can feel like a bee sting. And they move SO FAST it's difficult to track them down.

So, not knowing what to do with it under the soup can, I left a note by it saying "DANGER LIVE BITING CENTIPEDE." My roommate came home late from work, and we worked as a team to slide a piece of cardboard underneath the can and throw it outside.

All was fine and well until today, when I looked up at the corner of the ceiling in my bedroom because a dark spot caught my eye.


This one was swept off the ceiling and swept out of my room, and is now resting under another soup can in front of the pantry. I'm convinced it's the same one from a few days ago, and it found its way back into our apartment and waited in my room, figuring out the right time to exact its revenge.

I'm convinced.

More information about "Scutigera coleoptrata (house centipede)" is available here:

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Tanzanian termite mound = worst pickup line ever?

Yesterday on a crowded inbound C-line to downtown, I managed to procure a coveted seat. With no coffee yet, I promptly leaned my head against the wall and closed my eyes, attempting to doze.

It was a quiet train. Morning commutes are always like that. So when someone starts talking, the conversation sounds clear as day.

There was a 20-something girl next to me reading a book. A 20-something guy was standing in front of her -- being a packed train, he was holding onto the bar above her.

I'm still trying to doze when this guy suddenly starts talking to the girl.

"Is it true if you talk to more than one person on the train in the morning, you turn into a Tanzanian termite mound?"

"Uh. Not that I know of," the girl replied, and went back to reading her book.

The guy then walked away to take a seat across the way and all was quiet again. I had to double check myself to make sure I didn't just dream that bizarre moment, but I was definitely awake.

It was either one of the strangest pickup lines ever/failed attempt to start a conversation and make the girl laugh, or the guy was tripping on something at 8:30 in the morning.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

If I ignore you, don't punch me in the arm

Today was just one of those days. I was exhausted, hungry, stressed about multiple projects due and in desperate need of coffee. I had a lot on my mind. So when I sat down on one of the benches in the Boylston stop, I was in no mood for any sort of chitchat. A sort-of creeper/sort-of homeless looking guy sat down next to me. I was looking away, towards the next train approaching (hoping it was a C-line), when I heard sort-of creeper ask someone for a cigarette. I guess he was asking me, cause when I didn't answer, he punched me in the arm to get my attention. When I finally turned my head, glaring at him, he didn't get the hint.

Now full-fledged creeper guy: Do you have a smoke?
Me: No. (turns head away)
Creeper guy: Do you live in Brookline?
Me: *ignores*

WTF? How the heck did he figure that one out? Do I have the Brookline "look"?

I didn't even have the energy to tell him I don't smoke or to lie and say I lived in Switzerland. I just got on the next train, which happened to be a C-line after all.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Beautiful day

Today, the warm, spring-like weather definitely had an effect on the population of Boston in general.

The birds were singing.
Leftover snowbanks were finally melting.
And people were...nicer.

Strangers were making chitchat on the T this afternoon, without it being creepy or weird (is that something that happens only in the Northeast? People thinking it's weird when a stranger says "hello" to you? My friend moved to the South for school, and she needed an adjustment period. She wasn't used to people stopping her on the street to say "howdy.")

Too bad it's back to sleeting and snowing this weekend.

This is going to sound a little nerdy, but I'm always fascinated by the "wind tunnel" effect on the Red Line. When I was going down the T stop stairs in Cambridge this afternoon, I was met with so much resistance by the wind blowing up from the tunnel, and down from the weather, that I would have blown away if I had a parachute attached to my backpack.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Universal Hub / Today on the MBTA

Wow! Seems like I got linked on Universal Hub. <>Verrrry niiice.< / borat >

I read a few of the comments and a few persnickety people pointed out that all us T bloggers seem to do is complain on the Interwebs without ever notifying the MBTA. Well I did submit a complaint using the form on to no avail. I also always fill out those silly little surveys they pass out occasionally at T stops and drop them in the mail. However, usually my feedback on those surveys entails something along the lines of "WHY DID I SEE FOUR TIMES AS MANY B-LINE TRAINS GO BY ME DOWNTOWN TODAY BEFORE A C-LINE SHOWED UP"

Anywho, today's commute home to Brookline was the standard, except for the medical emergency at Arlington. I had just hopped onto the train and was standing by the driver on the second car when his radio blew up. Someone on the train in front of us had passed out, and the driver of that train sounded very concerned. Since I was standing right there I could hear "Command Central" (I'm not sure what the MBTA calls it) come over the radio and tell the other drivers to announce multiple times that there was a medical emergency up ahead and we'd be moving shortly. As the minutes ticked by, I looked down my train. The people who were closest to the front, and could hear the information coming over the driver's radio, were the most patient looking. Hope everything turned out okay.

Earlier in the day, I rode the Red line from Cambridge to downtown. I sat down, quietly sipping my soda and nursing the beginnings of a migraine headache when the guy sitting next to me started screaming something about the government, cops, and the fall of society. I closed my eyes and tried to imagine my "happy place," which at that moment involved anywhere but that particular train, and two aspirin.

Saturday, February 7, 2009


This morning was just another sardine-packed C-line train into Boston, as it always is during rush hour. I'm seriously considering asking my internship if I can come in at 10 instead of 9. Getting on the first C-line train after 9 is like a little slice of heaven. A seat waiting for you right next to the door. Light coming in through the windows. Space to breathe.

After the usual stop and go above-ground, the train headed into the tunnel and stopped at Kenmore. 10 seconds pass. Doors don't open. A business-suit guy next to me yells to the driver, "BACK DOORS!" 20 seconds pass. The train moves about 10 feet farther up the track, and then stops again. I look to the front of the train and see the doors up there aren't opening either. 30 seconds. More people start screaming "DOORS!" The train then starts up again and moves onto Hynes. Lots of grumbling and "Wait, seriously? Did the train just SKIP Kenmore?" ensue. There was no announcement made saying the left doors weren't working. I'm wondering if the T driver even noticed.