crept out of bed this morning to go running. the first time i opened my eyes to look through the cracks of my bedroom's venetian blinds revealed clear blue skies, the promise of a painfully nice day. but by the time i actually got out of bed a few hours later, the sky was overcasted, a cheerfully dreary day awaited.

feeling particularly unhealthy, i figured i needed a dose of that sweet old run magic to get back into fitness' good graces. i went out running after a few minutes of stretching in front of the house. it wasn't completely overcasted, and last night's cold weather was nowhere to be seen as even the 70's temperature made me yearn for cooler temperature. i ran in the shade, avoiding the sun whenever possible. belmont is a ghost town at time of the day, other than the occasional car on the road, the only other people i see are mothers with strollers and postal workers. today i ran 3 miles without stopping even though after ascending the watson road hill i almost did call it quits. got home panting and sweating, drank a bottle of cold water, grabbed some clean clothes, and jumped into the shower. afterwards i surfed the web while watching television (the price is right) in nothing more than my skivvies. these quiet times, alone, filled with that post-run euphoria, they're just heavenly.

i cooked up some buffalo wings in the toaster oven, chatted with a few people over aim, contacted a few people off of the craig's list about items i'd like to buy, read my book in bed, and then took an 1 hour nap in the sun. my life is a vacation.

by late afternoon i made my way to my condo in cambridge with my father. it's become routine now, both of us inspecting last night's contractor work. they did some minor sanding in the living room, but most of the work was done in the master bedroom, replacing one of the walls with fresh sheetrocks and covering up the old ceiling. instead of stripping the previous ceiling, for the master bedroom they nailed up some rows of 2x4's and just put a new sheetrock ceiling on top of that. this means i actually lost 2" in the master bedroom, the new height from floor to ceiling being 102". it's nothing noticeable though. i restocked the fridge with more beverage, a 24 pack of ginger ale. after 5pm the crew arrived. i love how zuka doesn't believe in wearing a shirt, walking around the house topless, his skin nearly black from years of natural suntanning.

dear MR.YANG: you have been selected to participate in a job search program called re-employment services. this program has been highly effective in helping unemployed individuals find jobs...YOUR PARTICIPATION IN THIS PROGRAM AND ITS INTRODUCTORY SEMINAR IS REQUIRED AS A CONDIITON OF YOUR ELIGIBILITY FOR WEEKLY UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS.

thus began a letter i got from the division of employment and training aka the unemployment office. what this means is i have to report to a career center to attend a seminar, and i have to complete a "career map activity plan" and keep an activity log to confirm that i'm actually looking for a job while under unemployment instead of being on vacation WHICH WAS EXACTLY WHAT I PLANNED ON DOING. after 6 weeks i have to report the career center again, to have my progress reevaluated, to see if i am still eligible for benefits. ugh! all i really wanted was to collect my unemployment money for a few months, take it easy, and then afterwards start looking for a job. but now i will have no choice, i've been selected in this special program that will force me to look for work. i guess it's a good thing, because god knows i'm one lazy bastard, and if the government didn't force me to find a job, who knows when i'd get my act together. ah, at least i had a brief taste of that good unemployment life, the carefree lifestyle, living off of one unemployment benefit paycheck after another. it's time to make the donuts again.

i left cambridge and headed down to faneuil hall for the post layoff srm reunion at the dockside. inside i found rebecca surrounded by two alexes, one her husband, the other alex mcguire. not only was it a reunion, but both rebecca and alex mcguire have the same birthday this thursday. alex had a book on the table, something by thomas paine. i took the opportunity to put my own book on the table, guns, germs, and steel. we were joined shortly by matthew, who found the place after we gave him further instructions via cell phone. the last people to arrive were carrie and amanda. eliza called to let us know she couldn't make it, and paula, who was on the list of attendees, never showed up. rebecca filled us in on the details of her wedding (with accompanying photos) while carrie and amanda filled everyone else in on the events that led up to our layoffs. i had two cokes and a buffalo chicken sandwich ($11). alex left first, followed by matthew, then rebecca and her alex. the rest of us sat around to finish our food (the girls split a plate of nachos) before we left as well, not yet 10pm.

i made it back to belmont in one piece, reading guns, germs, and steel along the way. i must admit, it's hard to put down once you start reading it. everything seems to make sense now, a real eye opener. the material is dense at times, and occasionally i reread a paragraph to properly understand some new revolutionary concept, but the language is simple and straight-forward, none of that technojargon you might find in other science/history books. essentially jared diamond is saying that the environment shapes the path of humanity. depending on where a group of people are living, they will either develop certain technologies that will enable them to form a large coherent civilization, or, they'll end up doing the opposite and remain in a primitive state, easily taken advantage of by other more advanced humans. still, the book is not civilization-centric, and doesn't try to say that civilization is better than primitive life, it just tries to explain how certain things have a natural way of happening, and it all boils down to how environment shapes us as human beings.

and in a little experiment, while hearing a plane roaring overhead in belmont, i aimed joel in somerville (about 4 miles away) and asked him if he was hearing a plane as well. guess what? yes! the pervasiveness of sound pollution! the roar of a plane flying overhead is one of my least favorite sounds. i wonder how wide the noise radiance is? maybe as wide as the plane is high?