mark hickey gave me an inadvertent wake-up call this morning when he buzzed my cellphone. i used to lie to people when they asked me, "sorry, i didn't wake you did i?" now i tell them the truth, "well, actually you did, but it's okay." unable to help him with some retirement fund questions, i got out of bed. after opening the blinds in the kitchen to let in more sunlight for the plants, i did my daily routine of checking weblogs and answering e-mails. rob house told me in no uncertain terms that he didn't like the way my tables were flashing these days. i told him it wouldn't happen again. marcella asked if i had cancelled my COBRA coverage, i told her my check was in the mail. and julie wanted to start a morning running regimen, of which i am to be a part of.

for lunch, i opened a can of chicken soup with pearl pasta (as opposed to opening a can of whoop-ass, the usual opening of choice) and heated it over the stove. for my daily dose of fruity goodness, i decided to go with fresh apple slices instead of my usual blend of frozen fruits. bad idea. the apple slices, though seemingly solid, instantly turned to pulp in the blender. the resulting fruit elixir was thick in an unappetizing clumpy sort of way. apple slices are good for raw eating, just not in a blender. nevertheless, it gave me an opportunity to peel a whole apple dangerously in my hand with a small sharp knife, and then later chop it all up.

i called unemployment again today, waited over 20 minutes before i got connected. i wanted to ask them why my original unemployment benefit amount was suddenly reduced to zero, forcing me to take the extension a few weeks ahead of my carefully planned schedule. turns out that massachusetts offers 30 weeks of unemployment insurance, which is more than most states, which only offer 26 weeks. so in order to be eligible for the extension, massachusetts had to reduce it's benefits to 26 weeks as well, so it could be on the same benefit plan as most other states. so really the extension is only 9 extra weeks of benefits, not 13, since i lose 4 weeks. it's slightly confusing, but at least i got some kind of explanation.

i finally put the lawn gnome outside. since i don't have a lawn anymore, it would have to settle for a small urban backyard. at least in the backyard, away from prying eyes, nobody will try to liberate my gnome. i can't wait for my upstairs neighbor steve to discover the surprise waiting for him in our common backyard. i can't wait for spring to arrive, the backyard is dead during the winter. even the birdfeeder seems to be surprisingly devoid of bird traffic. the next time it snows, i have to build a snowman, if nothing else, at least to add some character to the wintery backyard.

i had a chance to see the result of yet another flan i made, setting in the fridge. this time, i didn't spill any flan mixture, nor did i burn the syrup. without a doubt, the most successful flan to date. i put it out on the dining table to grab a photo, then completely forgot about it.

i brought out the cat grass that had been germinating in my closet since this past weekend (it needed a period of darkness for proper germination). i seem to have forgotten when i'm suppose to bring them out, as soon as they first sprout, or not until they're all of a suitable length? growing cat grass indoors is an ephemeral hobby, at best they'll last a few days before they either need a trim (which i think ruins the natural uniformed wholesomeness of freshly sprouted grass) or just grow too long and thin and start drooping.

when evening came, i went out with gary to help him pick up some accessories for his friend's titanium powerbook (turns out she's actually his sister-in-law, hence the altruism), since he knew very little about macs. first we went to microcenter, where he got her a small microsoft optical mouse. at best buy in watertown, he bought a pair of koss earbuds. we returned to my neighborhood, where we had dinner at zoe's. it was crowded with chinese people (it's jarring to hear so much mandarin being spoken), but we got the last table available. we ordered three spicy dishes, perfect for a cold day. gary ended up paying for dinner, his rationalization was because i wasn't unemployed, and said i could treat next time when i've found a job.

spicy beef

spicy chinese
cold cuts

spicy duck feet

we returned to my place, where he showed me his sister-in-law's titanium powerbook. now i've seen titaniums before, but never in the comfort of my own home. i helped him turn on some features, and showed him a few cool tricks you can do on os x. this, coming from a guy (me) who's been quoted as saying how he (me) doesn't like os x! gary stayed for a while watching cable television, that most addictive of modern day opiates. he told me about the conversations he had with some of the muslim security guards working with him, we debated whether rosario dawson is hot or not (i say yes!), and we played a round of "fake or real" on the tube.