a bagel sandwich is: two toasted halves of a round bagel, a square piece of cheese, a round slice of ham (actually salami), and an amorphous roundish blob of an egg (sprinkled with ground pepper), a breakfast (lunch) of shapes.

i ate while watching more war coverage on television. it was the start of the "shock and awe" campaign. say what you will, but american military might is breathtakingly impressive. can we really win a war through technology? a modern day war, where civilian casualties are almost none, but the infrastructure of the regime we're trying topple is completely destroyed with precision guided missiles. i heard a report where iraqi civilians were outside watching americans bomb the hell out of government buildings, completely unafraid that such bombs would fall on them. perhaps we're witnessing more than the assertion of american hegemony, but also seeing a revolution in warfare, 21st century combat. potential snafu: turkish troops moving into northern iraq, much to the chagrin of the US and the anti-turkish kurds living in that region.

today's weather was very much like monday's, warm, with more humidity and overcasting. i decided to try my luck on the minuteman bike trail again, figuring a week's worth of above freezing temperature would fully thaw out the path. i went into the basement to get my bike, taking the opportunity to check up on the emerging snowdrops in the backyard. the first one that i saw emerging from the icy snow a few days ago had a chuck of its flower eaten out, perhaps by a squirrel.

crossing through alewife i bumped into this native american biker whom i saw riding on monday. we started talking while riding, he told me he rides throughout the year except during snowstorms. his rusty weather-battered bike was proof of this. he told me about some other bike trails in the new england area that i should try riding on. once we got into arlington center, i told him he could ride off if he wanted, since he told me it takes him just 30 minutes to bike to bedford. he disappeared off in the distance while i pedalled at my own pace behind him. the path was free of ice and snow until i got beyond arlington heights. because the area is shady, the path was still ice as far as my eyes could see. dejected, i turned back around. going by spy pond i stopped briefly to take some uninspiring photos of mallards, swans, and seagulls, nothing exotic.

coming back, i crossed alewife to russell field where something in the sky caught my eye. turns out it was an american kestrel (male), perched on a treetop above a field overgrown with weeds. i took out my camera and started shooting. it flew to another tree further away and i followed it. that's when a mob of mockingbirds descended upon the same tree, and then started mobbing the kestrel, forcing the small falcon to seek yet another treetop to perch from. although the kestrel is slightly bigger than a mockingbird, it was no match for their aggressiveness. the mob of mockingbirds followed and chased away the kestrel again, where it flew away beyond where i could see it. minutes later, the mob left the tree and continued to give chase in the same direction. poor kestrel! mockingbirds are interesting, but like bluejays, they're annoying because they're aggressive and will chase away other birds. i like kestrels though, their faces remind me of cheetah faces, the same dark "moustaches" beneath their eyes, since they both hunt during the day and the dark bands help reduce glare.

i took a shower when i got home, then opened a few windows to air out the house. although i said i would meet some former coworkers after work in harvard square, i reneged on my promise and instead went out to dinner with renata and amy. when they arrived, amy presented me with a large porcelain bowl and a goldfish drinking glass. in our escalating war to embarrass one another, i showed amy the letters she wrote me from back in 1988. we walked to boca grande just down the street, the first time for the both of them. along the way, amy was telling us about the wisdom of middle school kids when it comes to dating. we all had the colorado chicken burrito, amy also getting this mexican soup with chips, and i got a free sample of tamale. renata told me that boca grande is her new favorite local mexican restaurant. she also explained to us how to talk war with kindergarten students and how to carry a sea turtle. after dinner, we went back to my place, where everyone had sarsaparilla soda and chocolate cadbury eggs while watching while you were out on TLC.