tonight i went to katrinka's birthday scavenger hunt in boston followed by dinner at the pizzeria regina in the north end.

early in the day my father drove me to see a $500 used red sofa i saw for sale on craig's list somewhere in arlington along mass avenue. the address i was given, 8390 mass ave, turned out to be wrong. i should've known something was amiss when mapquest couldn't located the address. if i thought about it, i would've realized that mass ave isn't long enough to support addresses in the 8000 range. figuring it was either a misread on my part or a typo on the part of the woman selling me the couch, i went to 83, 90, 390, and 839. in the e-mail instructions i was told to be on the lookout for a brick house, but none of those numbers belong to brick houses. i wish i could call, but i never got a number, and besides, she told me her phone was disconnected so there's no way to reach her. at this point i have very little interest in that couch anymore. $500 for a used couch? for a little bit more i can buy a new one, knowing that no stranger's ass has tainted it. i was going to haggle for $200 (a price reduction down to 40%) since i figured a used red couch would be something virtually impossible to sell, especially since i know the seller is moving soon. who knows. if she contacts me and agrees to my stealing price of $200, i'll take the damn thing.

coming back from the failed expedition, my father and i went to the fresh pond honda dealership to see about buying a replacement for the nissan maxima that died recently. he had his eyes on the 2003 model honda accord. it's no maxima though. no keyless entry pad, no voice alerts, no digital dashboard readouts. that maxima is without a doubt the most technologically sophisticated car i have ever driven or will probably ever drive, like a car from the future, but made in 1987, a decade and a half ago.

we got back to my place, where we weatherstripped the back and front doors with weatherstripping foam tape. it's a little better, but tonight, with a cold wind outside, there are some parts where i can still feel a draft coming in so i'm going to have to add more tape.

going back to work, my father dropped me off on mass ave where i went to joie de vivre (1792 mass ave) to find a birthday present for katrinka. i've never there before but it's totally my store, filled with little kitschy items and knick knacks. i got her an easywriter magnetic reuseable sketch pad (sort of a distant cousin of the etch-a-sketch) along with a cool 3D aquarium scene postcard as a birthday card substitute. unable to resist, i bought a set of farm scramblers for myself, which are these farm animal bodies shaped like eggs with little holes for you to stick in various combinations of custom body parts like hooves, horns, beaks, eyes, claws, tails, etc.

i left my house close to 3pm to downtown crossing in boston to see for the very first time the condo katrinka and her boyfriend brian bought. on the train i sat next to this drunk man passed out in his seat. every so often he'd fall over, his head landing on my shoulder. i'd gently tap him on top of his head, he'd sort of stir, and sit back up again, only to topple over once more. other people on the train were sort of noticing this little greek tragedy in action, but quickly darted their eyes away when i caught them looking. finally i just gave up and let the man use my shoulder as a headrest. my body was tense with anticipation in the event that he might decide to throw up all of a sudden, i was ready to pounce up in the air and dangle myself out of harm's way from the metal bars. a woman sat on the other side of this man, who was reeking of alcohol, and she gave me a look that said, "will you do something about your god damn friend here?" i just frowned at her and looked the other way. when i got to my stop, i gently rest his head onto my seat and got out of the train. sleep well, borracho, sleep well.

in front of katrinka's building, i didn't know how to buzz myself upstairs nor did i have katrinka's phone number, but i was rescued by christine who showed up (there was also a sign on the door that i didn't see). inside, i was fascinated by the red wall they painted their studio condo, slightly envious that they were able to successfully get away with a red wall without having it consume the rest of the place. when everyone arrived (squid country safari coworkers, along with friends of katrinka and brian), we formed into teams centering around whoever had a digital camera. i was the nucleus of a small three person team called "mostly tonies," compromising of me (tony), toni, and her husband ben. alex and april, the organizers of the scavenger hunt, gave each of us a packet containing t tokens, a map of boston, a list of clues to things in the city we were supposed to find and take photos of, and a sealed letter with instructions to not open until 5:30pm.

for the next hour and a half, we ran around the city to locate about 20 items from the list of printed clues we were given.



fao schwarz

copley square

faneuil hall

boylston station

orange line

mother goose's

old south
meeting house

gate lion

5:30pm in chinatown for our final few photos (the liberty book store (porn shop), chinatown gate lion, freemasonry mosaic with beavers, durian) we opened up the letter. we were told to rendezvous at the pizzeria regina in the north end, along with the mission of going to mike's pastry and picking up a order under the name "bobby orr." having just been at haymarket, we had to haul all the way back north of boston within 30 minutes and pick something up to boot. we went, got the delivery, and was 10 minutes late to the rendezvous point with everyone waiting outside for us in the cold.

inside the crowded restaurant we tallied up how many successful photos each team got. "mostly tonies" only got 16, while two teams tied with 19 items, with team "sharpie" taking first place because they were the first to arrive at the rendezvous point (the tie breaker). everyone got prizes for participating though; my team "mostly tonies" came in 3rd place and received a large plastic jar of packaged chocolate biscotti (which in my opinion was the best prize out there). after drinks, after pizza, a tiramisu cake (courtesy of mike's pastry, the thing we picked up) was brought out along with lit candles and the whole restaurant singing "happy birthday" to katrinka.

team "sharpie"
first place

we walked back to katrinka/brian's place (how convenient!), where people stayed for a few hours chatting until it got late enough to warrant leaving. i took the train with ben, toni, and kathleen, they got off at charles, i went back to porter square. quickly over the longfellow bridge i checked the voicemail on my cellphone, and in porter square i ran up and out the station, out of breathe by the time i got to the surface.