Monday, April 25, 2016

A Series of Misfortunate Events

"All the people here in Boston, in New England generally, are very on-grounded, literally and figuratively" - I thought. "They study, work, drink alcohol, have endless conversation about nothing, and that's kind of all their lives. I will climb higher and look on them from the above. Literally and figuratively."
Yesterday was that kind of day when everything that could possibly go wrong, went wrong. Initially, I planned to do a lot and spend a very productive day, as a result I ruined everything and even more. I stayed for an overnight at the library because of, again, the number of things I had to do. I was doing homework for my College English 2 course, which I am taking for a millionth time, and was really nervous about the climb I planned to do on the sunrise and promised to report to my friend so she could know I'm alive. I wrote the responses for discussion board and started the to essays I had to write for the past week, at the same time researching any information in the Internet about urban climbing and chasing cranes. A lot of new things were learnt. As turned out, the term "rooftopping" was first mentioned in the source dated 15 August 2003 (thanks, in Ninjalicious's "Journal: Blackout Exploration". I, indeed, found something I was looking for, particularly what chasing cranes looks like from the first person's eyes (somebody filmed the entire thing on his GoPro and posted to YouTube); and what consequences can I expect if I am caught. A guy I recently met and chatted with on Instagram, Noah Kingston, wrote me an entire article on how dangerous it all is and how I can be put to jail for two years for trespassing, or at least fall to my death. It seemed like everything around told me "Don't do it". Loneliness, with a really rare exception, is an awful thing. In my case right now, nobody says, "In case of what, I am with you." Maybe not physically, at least in mind - that would be much more than I need. For now though, I can easily live a day not saying a word.
I researched a lot, and learned a lot of useful stuff. I was not sure if I would chase the 2° difficulty level object before even being on the 1°, but at least I would explore it. The night was dark and it was calling. As you have, hopefully, already guessed, the 1° difficulty level object was the roof of SquashBusters, Inc. at Northeastern, particularly its edge where the letters reading "BADGER & ROSEN SQUASHBUSTERS CENTER AT NORTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY" are, and the 2° level was a crane on the site of former 1383 Boylston street. There used to be an ugly old yellow one-story building, with a big black banner on it, which read "These are the faces of Fenway. This is where we work. This is where we play. This is where we live.". Below that long banner there were some photos of Fenway area, some good, some not. The building was traingle-shaped if looking from above, and on its front angle, if approaching from Park Dr, there was a porch, and on its side to your left there was an ACE TICKET store (former 184 Brookline avenue). But that store was very small, the purpose of the rest of the building is not known to me, most likely it was kinda-abandoned. I'm glad they demolished it and started building a skyscraper, because, firstly, skyscraper is beautiful, and secondly, the construction site is welcoming. Very welcoming.
The series of misfortunate events started when I was leaving the library; the staff at info dest refused to keep my longboard for a couple hours, telling me something like that it was not their business. Ba dam tss! The plan with express-cranechasing failed. Almost. There was a hope that I could leave my board somewhere on ground level where nobody would find it in case of what. How naive! As I approached Boylston street, I saw the crane. I saw the blindingly white winking lamp, which called "Climb up here and touch me!" I came closer. It was a very attractive site with nobody present (in my visibility) and no surveillance cameras either. I could not miss such chance. It is just way too easy. But not today. As I was riding away from it on my longboard on Peterborough street, the first rays of sun were rising from above the horizon. "Blue hour!" - I thought. I took my smartphone to take a picture of such beauty. I noticed the time was 4:56. With a single swipe I opened the camera application, and only thing I could do was to take a picture, to never see it. I did not notice the cone on the asphalt. Where did the cone only came from? There are no fur trees on Peterborough! Next moment I was in the air, to meet asphalt with my knees and palms. And with a smartphone in one of them. For some time I was just lying on the asphalt in pain. Then the pain turned into very unpleasant feeling in my knees and palms. I picked up a smartphone. Totally damaged. Its screen was cracked totally, with some red, green and blue lines on it, turning on and off. I landed one of my palm on it, so it even bended a little. I picked it up, picked a cone and went to pick a longboard which was already far behind. I went toward the University, crying. It wasn't much of a pain, it was a thousand-dollar smartphone. I did not have money. A thought came to my mind, how the minute ago everything was totally fine an going as planned, but now so many great things are ruined. Really great. I was walking on the Peterborough, then turned right at Seventh Day Adventist Church on Jersey. I was pronouncing my thoughts out loud. "I don't have money." "I don't have a thousand bucks" . I went to the library. The first lights of the new day were starting to brighten the sky, but did not yet touch the streets of a city. As passing through Emerald Necklace of Back Bay Fens, I stopped at the point before the bridge and gazed on the water, on the sky red from the rising Sun, on the Prudential tower behind the bushes, and questioned out loud "Why? Why this happened to me? Where am I going to take $1000 for a new smartphone? What am I going to tell Mom?" Although the worst was behind, the rest of the series of misfortunate events were still ahead. It was a pity such an expensive thing was broken. It was a pity all the photos and videos were most likely lost irretrievably. It was a pity the plan with Squashbusters Center would not be turned to life that morning. It also was a pity I tore my jeans on the knees, but a little less. As passing Museum of Fine Arts Promenade, still crying and afraid if somebody will see, I tried to think logically and forget about the pain in my knees and in palms a little. I was thinking what exactly happened during the last month (20 days actually), which is the time period from my last iPhoto backup. Yes, 20 days since the day I destroyed my laptop by spilling milk on it. Exactly 20 days, since I did it in those early morning hours. I was trying to remember what photos were lost. Interestingly, I only regretted my selfies on a green couch in the library. My best photos were actually backed up on Instagram (every day I post the best photo of the day there), and the rest were pretty grey and nothing outstanding, or as I thought I couldn't remember but there actually were some worthy ones. I also thought that I didn't cry for a while, and that for a guy of my age it's pretty natural (sarcastically, earlier that night I had to read a blog post for my assignment, of a guy who cried and had a hysterics over his website being plagiarized and his poetry stolen, "My Story: My First Plagiarism Battle by Jonathan Bailey (a man who hosts a very good website about the topic, (2005)). When I reached Huntington Avenue and turned my head to see the red flower near the entrance to the museum, I sobbed, remembering the picture I took of it. That picture was on Instagram but the others, which as I thought were lost, weren't. I thought about the fact that I am dependent on photos and videos and that it is very terrible to live without a camera (preferrably a good one), unable to picture or film anything. But is it a bad addiction to always being able to document your life and your memories on a paper or a hard drive?
Back at the library I checked the working hours of Apple Store - the very first place I will have to go to. Opens at eleven. Damn! They usually open at ten, but it was Sunday. I reserved the next available appointment for Monday at noon thirty - nothing closer. If they will refuse to check me upon a walk-in today, I will have to wait until tomorrow. For now the only reasonable thing I could do was to take a nap until then.
I hobbled up to the third floor using the stairs. It was even more painful to bend my knees now then it was after I fell. An assistant who came to me asked if I needed a bandage, I said I was good. I only said that I wanted to know if my phone was reparable or not. After seeing his face, I concluded - it hardly is. I mentioned that the most important thing were the pictures and videos on the phone, and he persuaded me that they are also hardly backed up, because he couldn't see any photos at all on the percentage chart for the information backed up on my Apple account.
After that, the day of useless wandering around started. I went all the way back to the library (fortunately, despite the pain in my knees, I could still ride a skateboard, which fastened the process, but not for a long time). At the library I downloaded the program for memory backup directly from smartphone, made sure the computer did not even recognize the connected device, screw the whole thing, went back to Apple Store to see another assistant, this time female, who told me the same thing - that the phone is most likely unrepearable, but I could give it away and get a brand new one for as low as $350. She recommended me some stores which offered to scan the motherboard and make an attempt to withdrawal the data from it directly (however the store was only open from Monday to Friday), so I went back to the University; on my way through Prudential center I stopped at two kiosks which did the smartphone repair; the guy at the first one said they only replaced screens; and the guy at the second one, who actually helped me and did something, is worth mentioning.
Money withdrawal
This single day, even just ten hours of it, helped me realized how I was really bounded to my smartphone. But is it a bad thing? I thought logically: I do not have an addiction, like the most. Instead, I just used the smartphone a lot because it helped me to do a lot of things (not just watch kittens on YouTube), so now of course I felt somewhat uncomfortable without it. But it was nothing like that narcotic hangover my Mom once had when the mobile carrier put down the Internet for a couple hours for technical reasons.
I completed the day pretty smooth, back at the University Library, which is my second home (actually first) completing the assignments I have to submit online by midnight. I was late with the weekly quiz for Health Issues of Environmental Problems, but I hope they will either take a single point off or won't notice at all. As I figured out, I only lost the photos I took that misfortunate nightish-morningish hours yesterday, of the construction site and of the sky above Peterborough street at Blue Hour - the last photo my old iPhone 6 Plus ever made a second before its death. It is still a minor los of data, but not actually something to even worry about. Today is Monday, 25 of April, and the Sun is on the zenith. Monday is supposed to be the worst day, but I know that mine was just yesterday. There is never another storm right after a storm. My friend probably thinks that either I'm dead or held by police. I promised to send her the rooftop photos yesterday. Well, I'm guessing it's time to let her know things are not that bad, but almost.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Piece of Advice for Urban Explorers

In urban exploration, no matter what kind of, you do trespass, sometimes not even knowing that you trespass. And once in a while you are caught. How bad it is? A wonderful guide for rooftopping in particular I found here: It is a very good and useful instruction in general, (especially section 3 “Getting up to the roof”, perfectly written as something to refer to). As for trespassing, and what charges apply, proceed to section 4, “Getting Caught”. It is, of course, nothing nice. The advices he gives are not particularly for rooftopping, they are basically for any sort of UE. I would add that, first of all, you should dress nicely. To a person who is good dressed, the attitude is very different (read the comment in the middle, from major_t0m). Then, do it on the night from Saturday to Sunday. It is the best time, ever. Some trespassers were, indeed, arrested in Toronto recently, however on practice it is very rare that you deal with law afterwards, it is even very rare that you get caught at all (that’s why those guys made big news; if it was common, they wouldn’t: ). Just keep these things in mind: if you are caught, be polite, explain the situation, they will likely be too lazy to bother with you and you will be excursed from the building. An article was published in The Guardian ( ) which also mentions some arrest. Yes, it happens, but does it make sense to always be afraid? Then we would all just be sitting at home all the time impassable. Life outside of comfort zone is dangerous, but why not just being careful and planning everything in advance? As for the safety issues, well, it’s a different story. You totally misunderstood me. I am not looking for thrill or adrenaline, trust me, I’m getting much more than I need of those during final exams. I am only doing whatever it takes me to get a good panoramic shot from the above. Once I’m on the edge of a roof, I don’t do backflips or balance hoverboards there. There are a lot of tips and guides in the Internet, do some research, they is very helpful; I am usually following two main rules: there should be always something strong to hold and something not slippery to step on. The rest is good unless you suffer from epilepsy.
There is, of course, peaceful urbex, without any kind of trespassing. For example, the one I did a week ago. When I lived in Roxbury 2.5 years ago (read about my experience in the post from 10 September - 3 December 2013), and went to the university on foot (it was rather a rare experience), I used to pass a wasteland paled with a Rabitz. I thought why would someone pale a wasteland with Rabitz, and why no one was allowed there, but was too lazy to explore. Since all my homework assignments are due at midnight from Sunday to Monday, and I have no weeks on the first day of the week, I decided to go do some exploration. I was having a lunch at International Village (I have some major plans for that building itself, anticipate!), and then decided to take a walk before going to the gym (it is a bad idea to go to the gym right after a good brunch, trust me). That wasteland was right diagonally the Tremont street X Ruggles/Whittier street crossing, in front of Boston Police Headquarters, basically two steps away. The wasteland was very large, and very green, with an abandoned building in the middle (back part of which was not paled with Rabitz, it served as a wall itself:
I went all the way around the Rabitz until I reached the building itself. It was interesting! Regardless of the inscription above the door I still misunderstood what the building served for. Was it a hospital? Looks more like a 1930s school.
The garage door itself was activated by the chain-to-gear mechanism. I tried to pull both sides of the chain, but it was locked.
The Rabitz itself had a lot of holes, and overall it was easy to climb over it, but my new clothes did not allow it, and just why? I could see everything from behind it, a boring wasteland and that's all. I could also see that the building was inaccessable without at least a ladder, although basement windows and those plywood sheets on the windows of the first floor were probably worth checking.
There was also a lot of construction debris on and near the wasteland. Was something demolished there?
I was overall satisfied with what I saw, but even more questions arose. This is how the site looks like from Tremont street when you pass it by:
Then I took a walk along Tremont street in inbound direction.

Monday, April 11, 2016

The Morning I Realized I’m a Rooftopper

Five days, four nights without sleep for passing grade. During all my academic life after school, which had been almost three years now, no other session was this hard for me even on my first year. Well, I cannot say that I broke a longest time without sleep record because I napped every about ten hours, but this still made me a living zombie for some time, until I finally got to bed on Tuesday night (surprisingly, by the end of that five-day torture I didn't want to sleep as much as I thought I would. Maybe thanks to the naps?). It proved to be worth that: so far, my academic success is going so good. The previous week, being a vacation (break) for me, was fabulous. And the reason for that was not the length of the vacation itself (just a week, even less in my case, counting Monday and Tuesday as working days (the hardest working days of my entire studentship!) and today as the first day of the Spring term (well, it's actually not - the first lecture is tomorrow, and tomorrow is a busy day too), but the fact that my professors agreed to extend the deadline for me for a couple days, until their own deadline to submit the grades (final decision). It was awesome. From the five subjects I took, three – Astronomy, Chemistry 2, and Laboratory for Chemistry 2, I passed with an excellent grade. My Chemistry Professor, Edward Witten, was kind, understanding and very easy-going. The two rest – Physics 1 and Laboratory for it, were not as encouraging: I failed Physics 1 in purpose to get the best grades possible for the rest of the subjects (I just screw it), and passed the lab with a lower-than average grade thanks to my last minute submissions in addition to what I’ve submitted before (being the four reports required from the five experiments we had). It was an entirely different story how I fought for that grade for Physics Lab (I wrote about what happened with it a couple weeks before).
This boosted my Grade Point Average. I will not be fast enough to reveal it to you, because as it turned out (my pal from Laboratory for Chemistry and Ecology told me) I can just ask my academic advisor to erase some of my really bad grades (most of which I've got due to technical problems with Northeastern's Blackboard system), up to an entire academic semester. There was such - last Summer.
As a compensation for my efforts, something new and wonderful appeared at our dining halls - Nutella. Yes, and it's not a typo - Nutella in unlimited quantities, on a smörgåsbord. So if I am ever reanimated to an emergency room, I want them to know the overdose of what do I have.
THE MORNING which I have mentioned in the title was very late night to early morning-ish hours of 10 April, the day I'm guessing I will remember for my lifetime. Have you ever got that feeling when you were lying on a sofa in Snell library on your side, than on your back, than again on your side, and then suddenly realized that you're a different person now than you were a moment ago, and that your life is totally different now, counting from this particular moment? No? This is awesome because it means that you're a normal person, or not as awesome if you don't want to be one, and if you are/want to be crazy like myself. You know, it's very hard to accept own craziness, but it's a lot of fun I have to say. Walking around all two decades of my life, thinking like "when would I do something like that, I'm not nuts", and suddenly, one sleepy morning hour, answering myself "now". This was yesterday morning which've turned everything upside down. Psychological consequences of life without a PC? (see what I wrote about my Mac previous week) Probably, but definitely good ones. Is it a psychiatric condition which I'm having now? I'm guessing so, and it feels wonderful!
The formula of a reaction which occurs in my body from yesterday and which I have developed today represents the circuits in my brain that occur now, with Craziness reacting with Stupidity resulting in double adrenaline, which can be more easily represented as follows:
Cr + St 2Ad + H2O(l)
Cr - Courage, in a form of a complex of inner-brain electric circuits (or their lack), ;
St - Stupidity, same;
Ad - Adrenaline (Epinephrine), hormone fully represented as C9H13NO3
H2O(l) - water in the form of perspiration (diaphoresis), being similar to the processes such as condensation or distillation.
Given that, we can imagine the reaction above in a more detailed way, being:
Cr + St 2(C9H13NO3) + H2O(l)
It is important to keep in mind that excretion of water, being represented as ↑, is not outgassing, i.e. vaporization, but liquidation instead.
This all seems logical, but the question is, Gentlemen, why and how did it all start?