June 08, 2004

Life in the sticks... posted by Jess

Okay, so I know I live in the sticks.

For example, let's examine Exhibit A:


And we can't forget Morla, the Ancient One (aka Exhibit B):


And of course, we all know that an ancient indian burial ground resides about 20 feet from our property line. It's just that kind of town.

But I was REALLY surprised to read this paragraph in a letter I got from the Charlestown Economic Improvement Commission (I get these things because I own my own business from my home):

Once again, we will have the open house at the Senior Center, and we will make it easier to find your way out in the dark.

I had two issues with this statement. First of all, from the sounds of things, I think I am probably quite happy I did not go last year.

But secondly, if we could expect to have a hard time getting out, how do they expect the seniors to do it?

February 20, 2004

1st Anniversary of The Station fire posted by Jess

Today marks the first anniversary of The Station nightclub fire.

When I wrote about it the first time, I included a story to paint a picture of what life in Rhode Island is really like. I did it so others who don't live in our state could get a picture of how a tragic event like this could rip through the entire state.

It's only fitting I do the same a year later. However, this year, I am going to tell you about something that makes our state proud, in it's traditionally unique, quirky sort of way.

This is the Big Blue Bug. He's a representative of New England Pest Control, and you can see him travelling Rt. 95 through Providence, RI. Alternatively, you can see him in the movie Dumb and Dumber. He's also gone on tour, and appeared on the Oprah Winfrey show.


He's 58 feet long, and his name is Nibbles Woodaway, and like any state mascot/icon, he has his own website.

Throughout the year, he goes through several costume changes, including adorning antlers and a lighted red nose for the holidays.

During the summer, he dons a pair of stylin' sunglasses, and enjoys a nice cup of Del's famous frozen lemonade (another RI tradition). Here's the thing about THIS... local zoning laws deem that a corporate logo or trademark can't represent more than one product. Nibble's couldn't have his lemonade, because that would be confusing, as now he is representing both the Pest Control company and Del's.


What do you think they did about it?

Nibbles got his very own zoning variance from our old mayor, Buddy Cianci.

I do love this state. :-)

January 25, 2004

Southern New England Bloggers meetup posted by Jess

Had a blast on Friday night at Dave & Busters in Providence for the first ever meetup of Southern New England Bloggers!

SNE Bloggers was designed as a place to link bloggers in Southeastern MA, RI and CT.

A great time was had by all, about eight of us were there, and none of us left until about midnight. It was a pleasant surprise to see such a diverse group of people that really didn't know each other that well just enjoy each other's company. Because no matter how different we all are, you know we all have at least one thing in common: blogging!

Though there could have been more people that showed up, however, Jason decided the SNE Blogger's logo resolution degraded a bit too much if the sign was any larger. :-D

The dollar bill was added later for means of comparison.

Again, all in all, a wonderful time was had by all.

Jim, Jonathan, Jason and Tom. Not shown, Amy.

January 07, 2004

Rhode Island Stories - Intro posted by Jess

Iíve mentioned before what a great place Rhode Island is, and how our degree of separation from one another isnít the widely standardized six, itís actually one person. What better way to explain our quirks than to tell you real stories about them?

We wonít drive to the next town over for anything unless itís absolutely necessary. When we DO go out anywhere, itís only natural we will run into someone we know. Because of this, our eyes start going back and forth like a Cylon Raider no matter where we are. Itís also because of this closeness, that when asked if you are from around here, the answer is no unless you live on the same street.

For some reason that even I have yet to understand, Rhode Islanders love vanity license plates. Itís very common to see a personís initials on their plates. And the lower license plate number you have, the more important in stature you must be.

In Rhode Island, bartering is still the primary method of doing business. Itís easy, because one can get anything depending on ďwho you know.Ē But even then itís okay if you donít know someone, because the degree of separation is only one person, chances are, someone you know does.

We donít get snow very often, being so near the coast. So when the weatherman states that flurries are coming our way, the entire state feels compelled to rush to the grocery stores to buy bread and milk. Even native Rhode Islanders donít know why they do this. They just do. I believe that the weathermen are in cahoots with the radio station, who broadcasts subliminal messages over the airwaves. The DJís themselves are in cahoots with the bread and milk companies. Itís all a big marketing scam. But itís widely known enough to prompt my mother to tell me that she thinks that ďBread and MilkĒ is a great name for a Rhode Island based band. I have to agree.

I think thatís a good enough start. You get the idea. Weíre a strange bunch. But you know what? Iíve never seen a more close-knit state and couldnít imagine living anywhere else.

September 26, 2003

Our future kids are never watching 'Poltergeist' posted by Jess

I think I mentioned once that about 20 feet from our property line lies an Indian burial ground. We live in Charlestown, RI, which is very near where the Narragansett Indians went after the Great Swamp Massacre.

After we moved into our house, our neighbors told us about the burial ground. They told us there was a little pile of about 10-20 headstones. We knew that there was a large gap of woods in between our house and the next (where there should have been a lot), and we were told it was Indian property, which is why they couldnít build there. I was still so curious about it, though.

Here is a group of headstones in the burial groundÖ you might be inclined to trip over them, they are so small and inconspicuous.


Finally, one day I got my chance to find out everything I wanted to know. A pickup truck parked right along side the cul-de-sac that my house is on and just sat there next to the woods. I almost called the police on him, when he got out of the car and walked over to the woods. I caught a glimpse of the long, grey ponytail and beads and hoped he could tell me more about it.

As it turns out, this man was the Chief Tribal Historian for the Narragansett Indians. The burial ground dates to the 1700ís, and contains members of the Narragansett Indian tribe. He told me that they could tell, because when they found the Indians, they were buried in the fetal position with their head pointed towards the sun, which was tradition for the tribe. The person who sold the lot to the builders did not tell them about the property, and when they started bulldozing, they found they were dozing bones.

When they brought in an archeological crew, they discovered not the 10-20 tombs we thought were there. There is evidence that there are probably around 80 burials in there, spanning all alongside our house on the property line. The headstones have probably long since sunk underground or disappeared over time. According to the Chief Historian, the way of the tribe is to make the headstones as humble and un-attention calling as possible.

He said that soon they would have to do something, as the bones are now dangerously close to the surface of the ground. I asked if I could do anything to help, and he gave me his card and told me to call him if I ever saw anyone over there vandalizing it. I told him how amazing I thought it was, and how I was honored to be living next to such incredible history. His eyes got rather misty and he told me that he was very happy that the grounds had such good neighbors.

Now my only concern is that Reboot doesnít come home and drop a femur on the doorstep one day, and our future kids donít try to have a sťance out there at midnight.

In the meantime, Iíll just go on appreciating it for what it is. History.

May 12, 2003

An Island State of mindÖ posted by Jess

Saturday afternoon Matt and I headed to Block Island, RI, for an overnight trip. Kind of ironicÖ weíre in the state of Rhode Island, visiting the island of Block Island (which is part of the state of Rhode Island). Who knows. (Most people seem to think Rhode Island is in New York anyway, so I supose it doesnít really matter!)

Anyway, it was fantastic. My soon-to-be former company runs a 10k race there every year. While Matt and I did not run, we were there with our new digital camera to take action shots of my coworkers crossing the finish line.

I always forget what a great place Block Island is, and itís so close. The ferry landing is a 10 minute drive, and then the ferry ride is an hour to get to the island. Itís not quite peak tourist season yet, so aside from the locals, we had the island to ourselves.

After the race, it was off to the McGovern's Yellow Kittens Tavern (where we pretty much stayed for the rest of the night). It was so nice to unwind, shoot some pool, and enjoy the night with my coworkers.

I did have some revelations, though, about myself, and why I had to leave my company. Itís amazing what getting away from your usual surroundings will do for clarity, even if itís just for an overnight trip.

Take your house or apartment, for example. Think of your furniture. Now think of a piece of furniture that you donít interact with on a day to day basis, but itís still an integral part of the room. An end table, maybe? Itís been there so long, itís a cozy piece of furniture that brings the room together. In fact, the room wouldnít seem the same if it was gone. It might even look a little empty. But you donít notice it while itís thereÖ it just blends right in to help form the overall togetherness of the room. This was my place in the company. It was just time to stop being an end table.

So that was my moment of truth for the weekend. That, and the fact that even though itís been months seen weíve been out anywhere, I havenít lost my ability to shoot pool. That made me happy. Matt and I are a good team.

At any rate, the next morning, we didnít even attempt to try to make the 8 AM ferry home, the 11 AM did just fine!

Think of and go by one of my favorite entries in Lifeís Little Instruction Book: ďwear out, donít rust out.Ē

February 24, 2003

We love rock n' roll... posted by Jess

My best friend Cindy informed me this morning that three of her close friends from high school are missing or in RI Hospital in critical condition. Not being born and raised here, I am fortunate enough to have many old friends from out of state rather than RI. However, a reporter from the Providence Journal hit the nail on the head:

{ Quote: }
"But the sad reality is, in this quirky, close-knit state of roughly a million people, it's only a matter of time before most find out that they do, indeed, "know someone." Or, they'll know someone who knows someone. Whatever the case, it won't be a stretch for the fire's impact to hit home.

Maybe Atty. Gen. Patrick Lynch put it best during an interview with NBC's Today show:

"They say there are six degrees of separation in this world. In Rhode Island, there's a degree and a half. The pain rips through this community quicker than any other."
The stories are typical for small-town Rhode Island, where street directions are based on landmarks that are long gone, where advice is handed out with lines like, "I know a guy who knows a guy," and where many simply never leave. "
{ End Quote }

complete projo.com article. I think you have to register though.

I am also so thankful Cindy is still here, being a 80ís-90ís metal band punk high schooler and a frequent visitor of The Station. (Sorry Cindy, I couldnít resist. I didnít exactly listen to ďWhamĒ in school either. Thatís why we have so much fun laughing together when ďEvery Rose Has Itís ThornĒ comes on the radio.).

Cindy and I met in the dorms at URI when a mutual friend invited Matt and I (together at the time), along with Cindy and Nate (also together at the time, high school sweethearts!) to play D&D. Having never played before, I learned that Cindy had recently learned how to play also. We all had so much fun getting to know each other.

Cindy and I learned two very fundamental rules over the years:

1. An afternoon of Dungeons & Dragons and Entenmannís chocolate cake goes REALLY well together; and
2. When in battle and all else fails, conjure up a tree and hide behind it.

In all seriousness, Cindy, thanks for being my friend. You rock.

February 21, 2003

Most accidents occur close to homeÖ. posted by Jess

Our little state has suffered a terrible loss today, when a nightclub burned down and at least 60 97 people were killed. Rhode Island is such a small state, that before I moved here, I didnít even think twice about the state. But what a special place, this is going to affect everyone here. Many people I know are scrambling around calling friends they think may have been there.

Let me give you an example. Itís no big secret why one of the favorite sayings of any Rhode Islander is ďonly in Rhode Island can you get in a car accident anywhere in the state and know who you hit.Ē

Matt and I had to borrow a friendís truck to move a futon one day. At a stoplight about 20 miles from our house, a car pulls up beside us, and itís a mutual friend. He rolls down the window and says ďwhat are you doing in Peteís truck?Ē


ďHi guys! Did you get a new car?Ē


ďWhose truck is that?Ē

But, ďwhat are you doing in Peteís truck.Ē Mutual friends, indeed! Iím just trying to paint a picture of the kind of place RI is. My heart goes out to all the families and friends of those that perished in the fire.

February 04, 2003

History repeats.... posted by Jess

As the space shuttle Columbia disintegrated upon re-entry over Texas last Saturday, I am reminded of when my parents moved down to Rhode Island and I was going through all my old stuff. I found my old diary, which just happened to be 1986. I was 10 years old. Flipping through it, I was reading all the January entries (most of them incessantly boring, blah blah blah my brother gets to go to bed later than I do, blah blah) but there was one entry that was surprisingly simple.

"The space shuttle was suposed to launch today with a teacher in it, but it exploded instead. It was a horrible day."

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