I forgot to go by the bank yesterday, so I had to do it today. Doing banking business on a Saturday was a thing I don't think I ever did in Arizona. I had a checking account with someone decent when I started college, but then they were eaten by a load of giant wankers, and I was slowly trained to expect never to get anything done correctly, ever. When I went out to open an account here, my only real goal was to find a place that was as far as possible from Wells-motherfucking-Fargo while still being legally classified as a bank. I appear to have succeeded; I've seen this place pull off several miracles both major and minor over the past year and a half, including consistent and reasonable weekend hours at all of their branches, hiring a load of people who have never once been rude to me, and the most impressive one of all, giving us two weeks' notice before shutting down over Columbus Day weekend for a systems upgrade, and coming back up as scheduled on Tuesday without having completely FUBARed anything. If you've ever worked in IT, you realize that an upgrade that breaks nothing is just short of the Second Coming, and happens only slightly more often.

I also went grocery shopping, by which I mean I wandered through CVS and bought $20 of semi-random food items. When I have not been properly hungry for days and can't really visualize ever being hungry again, my usual tactic is to buy things on the basis of how much the rats would enjoy eating what I don't finish. I realize this sounds like a recipe for disaster, but it's actually not. On the short list of things they go completely mental over are things like bananas, peanut butter, scrambled eggs, various canned fishes, salad greens, and the occasional beer. It's kind of a studenty menu, and it does sometimes lead me to do daft things like buy a $2 tin of sardines specifically to feed to creatures who are ecstatic when I let them jam their heads into a jar where spaghetti sauce used to live, but it's by no means lethal. The non-leftovers portion of their diet is mostly steel-cut oats, which are also technically food for me, even if I think they taste the same as the cardboard canister they come in.

The Bridge Crew are unusual in that they don't seem keen on chocolate. Most small rodents go gaga for it, especially brownies and cookies. We used to use caffeine/theophylline to decongest snuffly rats, in the form of dark chocolate chips, until one of the greedy little bastards taught himself how to fake asthma. These guys will diligently lick the filling out of Oreos and abandon the cocoa cookies on the table. I did buy a box of berry-flavored candy canes, on the theory that hanging one from the top of their cage will provide entertainment for all involved

I missed the actual tree lighting Thursday, on account of two out of four T lines spontaneously self-destructed before I could even leave the house, but I'll go down there sometime soon and get some pictures. Cambridge and Somerville have also commenced putting lights on absolutely everything, and there are already a few other trees in places like Copley Square. Christmas is SRS BIZNIZ in New England in a way that it never was in the Southwest.

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  1. I feel you about the bank; I lived in the Netherlands for two decades where banks are possibly more monolithic than here... No small banks or community banks exist there any longer and everyone has come to expect the terrible service that comes with giant (inter)nationals. Can you believe they charge you a 8 dollar fee to deposit coins with them?

    Anyway, I found this lovely local bank that has branches in the immediate towns around us, and they're magnificent, just like the bank you're describing. They always honor checks I deposit instantly, even though that is supposed to take 2 days or longer if you don't have a high balance/used the check giver's name and address before. They really bent over backwards to help me with some proof of address issues for the DMV, and actually operate a better internet banking system than most giant banks I've ever seen. <3

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    1. Oh, the rats. I tried feeding our rats beer and hard cider and they didn't really seem to care for it. Maybe ours have taken up a religion that forbids alcohol? :P

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    2. Ours have always varied on what they think of fruit juice, alcoholic or not. We had one pair who made it clear that orange juice was not food unless it had vodka in it. Most of them do not like wine, although these guys will drink my cheap domestic Riesling while making funny faces; I haven't tried alcopops or wine coolers, because they are much too sweet for me and I don't buy them. Moggie, who is much more of a beer person than I am, used to feed the Ratketeers some kind of Belgian Hefeweiße, or however the hell you spell that.

      They have ALL gone gonzo for any kind of fruity rum drink, and many of them will drink straight rum if they get the chance. The most enthusiastic ones are the ones who will also drink taco sauce out of a dish, i.e., the ones who don't care if something tastes like burning.

      Ours have also always enjoyed getting the cinnamon sticks from the bottom of the pot of mulled wine, for what that's worth. They gnaw on cinnamon sticks anyway, but cinnamon + juice + booze seems to be their favorite.

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