The B-Side

Lower your energy bills, DIY-style 🥶

It's Monday, Boston. Catch up after the holiday weekend with today's edition of The B-Side.

The B-Side
Welcome to The B-Side: The daily dose of news you actually want to hear.

👋 ICYMI: Emily is on vacation soaking up some sun, so I’ll be taking over this week. I’m Katie, The B-Side’s multimedia producer. Lovely to make your inbox acquaintance.

👀 What’s on tap today:

  • Winter (parking) is coming
  • New holiday movies to love
  • Lobsta Mickey has returned

Up first…


A renter’s guide to lower energy bills

Image: Imgflip, Illustration: Katie Cole

Energy prices in Massachusetts are poised to go up this winter. Eversource and National Grid, the state’s two dominant energy suppliers, have both filed rate hikes of over 40% with state regulators in recent months.

But if you live in an apartment, you might not have a ton of control over your heating system (and how frequently it gets serviced). Here are a few DIY ways to lower your energy bills:

  • Stop window drafts by sealing a heavy-duty, clear plastic sheet to the inside of your window frames. I know it’s kind of like plastic-wrapping your windows, but it works. You can buy window film sheets online or at hardware stores. 
  • Installing insulating drapes or shades on drafty windows works, too. But make sure to open them during the day to let the warm sunlight in.
  • For drafty doors, use some aptly named door draft stoppers. Whether fabric or silicone, they will lessen the amount of heat that sneaks from gaps under your door.
  • Make sure to remove any window air conditioning units during the cold months to reduce drafts. If you can’t remove it, just cover the inside and outside of the unit with plastic.
  • Set your ceiling fans to turn clockwise. According to Mass Save, this will push warm air back down into a room.


Quick & Dirty Headlines


Images: David L. Ryan/Globe Staff, Imgflip. Illustration: Katie Cole

🅿️ It’s time to brush up on snow emergency parking rules (sorry). The City of Boston is mailing out winter weather guides to remind residents of the rules for winter. During snow emergencies, residents are required to move their cars off of restricted streets, but there’s discount parking available in participating garages two hours ahead of the parking ban. And in Somerville, parking is only allowed on the even side of the street during snow emergencies. Somerville also bans space savers, so good luck on getting your favorite spot back. 

🍿 In the mood for a new holiday movie? Here are 115 compiled a list of movies released in 2022 to get you in the spirit. The list includes films from Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, Lifetime, Hallmark Channel, and other platforms. If you’re more in the mood for classics, check out this list of the 20 best holiday movies streaming now.


Festive markets to start holiday shopping

Gif: SNL via Giphy. Illustration: Katie Cole

💁‍♀️ Shop women-owned vendors at Boston’s Women Market. FREE admission | Dec. 4, 12 to 5 p.m. | The Charles River Speedway


🍎 Snack and shop at the Boston Public Market crEATor market. FREE admission | Runs every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Dec. 24.

🗝 Find vintage treasures at the Somerville Flea Holiday Market. FREE admission | Dec. 4, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. | Arts at the Armory

🎨 Check off the artist on your list at the Cambridge Holiday Art Market. FREE admission | Dec. 1 to 3 and Dec. 8 to 10, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day. 

❄️ Wander a winter wonderland at the extensive SOWA winter festival market. Admission is $10 at the door | Nov. 30 through Dec. 4 and Dec. 7 through 11. Hours vary | SoWa Power Station


A long-lost Mickey returns

Image: Erin Clark/Globe Staff, Illustration: Katie Cole

After his disappearance almost 20 years ago, “Lobsta Mickey” is back in Boston.

The orange statue, which looks like the beloved cartoon mouse crossed with a boiled crustacean, was brought to life in 2003 as one of 75 Mickey Mouse-inspired sculptures commissioned for the character’s 75th anniversary. Lobsta Mickey was designed by a child, which honestly, explains a lot.

The six-foot tall and 700-pound statue stood at Quincy Market for two years before being auctioned for charity. Boston sneaker store Concepts rescued the iconic mouse from a lawn in New Jersey and brought him back home to their storefront where he will remain for the holiday season.

🦞 Thanks for reading! I actually think Lobsta Mickey is kind of cute and that we should make more cartoon-slash-New-England-sea-creature statues. Maybe an Ipswich Clam Minnie next. 


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