Monday, August 07, 2006

Little Shop of Horrors and Other Yellow Stickies

"Feed me Symore"

Or is it Seymore? Anyway: has any-one, any-body, any-person(s), any individual, group, or local institution sought, visited, or purchased flowers from the flower shop in Central Square? The reason I ask is that everybody I've spoken to do not recall that shop ever-ever-ever having a great selection of flowers.

So - here is my real question: Is it really a flowershop?

Wine and Cheese Shop

I'm still waiting.

Coke in Glass Bottles

If you're too young to remember Coke sold in glass bottles, you, my friend, are missing out on one sumptuous piece of Americana.

Coke in those cute little 8 oz glass bottles cost much more than a 20 oz plastic one. Glass bottles as we all know can be a hazard when dropped and broken or puposefully busted against a counter in a bar-fight. So in the interest of public safety Coke many years ago started to package most of its products in plastic bottles. To this I say - bull$#!+.

Coke started using plastic bottles because they were plastic - cheaper to make, much lighter - cheaper to ship, and at the time non-recyclable - so unregulated, cheaper to trash. In the process, they ensured the global icon of liquid candy would taste different for all future generations; which, would be ok if the stuff actually tasted better, but it doesn't. Coke in glass bottles taste better. Much, much better! No plastic taste. No petroleum distillates. No polycarbon-blah-blah-blah leaching into the highly acidic contents. Take a can of Coke, a plastic bottle of Coke, and a glass bottle of Coke - taste. You may actually like the Coke in a non-glass container better, but I guarantee you will taste the difference between the containers. I choose glass, because I feel its flavor is superior, and we all know how much of an elitist I am. I also choose glass because, well, I'm a bit old-fashioned.

It's Like Rambo....

I hear the Italian restaurant on Union St. is not dead, but just in slumber as kinks get worked out. I don't know the details of the delay. Perhaps it's bureaucracy. If so... they'll need that M60.

The Ghost of Masons

The scaffolding on the front of the building is gone! Hurray! The bricks appear to be fixed and in much better condition. Hurray! They left rope and other junk on the roof of the Plumbing business behind our building.... sigh. I think they're coming back to repair the back of the building too. In which case they'll probably use the rope again. I'll find out, because if they're not we may have further "issues."

Munroe Lofts

Has anyone moved into the first floor?

Ok, that's the end of my stickies.

Fifteen Minutes

I am now famous.

On July 31st I was interviewed by The Daily Item of Lynn, our local newspaper, for possibly a series of articles about the new residents of the downtown area. Somehow I ended up being the first. I thank The Item for the privilege of having my voice heard by a larger audience, and feel honored for receiving and am humbled by the comments, feedback, reception, and constructive criticism I've received from my readers and, most importantly, my fellow neighbors.

What follows is the text from the article, but first I have three clarifications. None of which are failings of Jill Casey. It's hard to get all the details in a short interview, but you know how much details mean to me.

First, calling me a native of South Korea is not very accurate. I was born there, in the south of South Korea, but lived there only the first 6 years of my life, and I'm only half Korean. The rest of me is American - German / Norwegian to be specific. I had blonde hair up until about 12 - puberty changes you a great deal. I lived equally long in Georgia through the late seventies and early eighties. Does that make me a southerner? I guess if you add the two together you get the simple term for what I am - a hick.

Second, although I do look over my shoulder at night, it's not out of fear of physical danger. I'm just paranoid by nature, and really-really-really nosey. With the break-in to our storage area still fresh in my mind, I'm also looking for anybody suspicious. Central Square is safe. It looks rough, but it really isn't.

Here is the article. Thank you for reading.

Man's lofty tales tell the story of life in a changing Lynn
By Jill Casey Wednesday, August 2, 2006 LYNN -

As a kid, Mark Miller was an army brat who moved from city to city and coast to coast as his father's assignments changed.

The South Korean native, whose father was in the U. S. military, lived and traveled to many places, likely experiencing and seeing what most people don't in an entire lifetime.

But somehow, of all the places in the world he's been to, Miller wound up owning a loft in Lynn and being a part of a wave of newcomers looking for an alternative to Boston's high prices and congested neighborhoods.

"(Lynn) certainly feels the most industrious out of all the places I've been - and the edgiest," said the 36-year-old in between sips of peach iced tea while sitting in his Central Square loft Monday night. "There is a very strong sense of community here. And especially being new, there's a strong sense of community among (us loft owners)... we tend to gravitate to the same places and have the same tastes."

Miller has taken to his new community quite well over the last year, he says. On weeknights, he'll grab a beer or a glass a wine at new restaurants like the Gulu-Gulu Café or the Oxford Street Grill after a busy day at work. And on the weekends, he's a beachcomber who hunts for hermit crabs while walking Lynn and Nahant beaches.

Miller's experience in the last year hasn't been one long walk on the beach though, he says. The street and property crimes in his new neighborhood are an issue. His building has been broken into once in the past year and Miller said he often looks over his shoulder if he's walking in Central Square after dark.

But for the most part, Miller said he likes living in Lynn and has even started writing about it. When he ran into some issues with his loft being unfinished, he felt helpless and decided to start a blog - a type of Web site diary where entries are made and displayed for others to read.

"Lynn Lofts, the Skinny," became both a forum for his displeasure with the developers of his condo, The Mayo Group, and an online diary about his experiences being a first-time homeowner in Lynn. Now neighbors respond to his postings and often ask him to update it.

"Word just got out and requests for more information came in. Then I found out people from the Mayo Group read it," Miller said. "Honestly, I don't know if it's had any impact."

Some are not so sure it's had zero impact.

Steve Feldmann, owner of the Gulu-Gulu Café and a fellow Central Square resident, thinks it has contributed to the Mayo Group moving forward with some repairs on the building, which also houses Feldmann's café.

"Mark had a bone to pick with the Mayo Group, and in some respects they are fixing up the building," Feldmann said. "People who don't normally have a voice do now, with blogs. I think Mark has been able to accomplish that with his."

If Miller's not updating his neighbors on progress in the building on the blog, he's musing about his long-term vision for the city he now calls home.

Alfresco dining, a farmers market complete with fish mongers tossing around whole salmon like Pike's Place Market in Seattle, and a little wine shop that passes around brie cheese and Pinot Noir samples are just a few ideas that might elevate the city's notorious image to a more desirable location for young professionals, Miller thinks.

"I'm very confident that those types of businesses can do well," he said. "Lowell Gray (owner of the Oxford Street Grill) is one good example of that and so is Gulu Gulu Steve Feldman."

A recent posting on his blog,, illustrates Miller's humor and formula for progress downtown.

"We are an ocean town after all. That's what I love about Lynn. It's location, old architecture, and eclectic collection of people provide tremendous opportunities to build something great, enduring, useful, and different. Add some motivated people, some cash, heavy dose of city-council help, and the mind of someone with vision and good taste - stir, bake at 400-farenheit for 5 years, and insert toothpick to check for doneness... Make sure you use an air-bake pan."