it's 70 degrees inside my house right now. even the very conservative thermometer in my bedroom says 70 degrees (usually it reads cold). could winter really be over? the heat has been off for the past two days. if i can make it through the week without having to turn up the thermostat, i'm going down to the basement and shutting down the furnace completely. there are many reasons to look forward to warmer weather, but for me, one of the biggest reason is i can finally stop paying the amazingly high heating bills.

this morning i received some bad news: the client wants an on-site debug to kill one or two lingering issues, before we go into a code freeze. i more than anyone want this project to be over. the original deadline was january, but it kept on getting pushed back, and now it's almost may, so there's a sense of desperation. i'm more than happy to oblige, i just want to be done with it, but it does require me to drive down to plymouth early tomorrow morning (7am early), borrowing my parents' brand new toyota camry 2003 (which i'm afraid to drive, i don't want to be the first person to ding it). the good thing about the trip is since i'm going to be down in the plymouth area and with probably some time to spare, i can take the opportunity to check out some nature preserves, with the nice weather continuing into tomorrow. if i was more hedonistic, i could probably go to the beach, do some early season sunbathing, but i rather be taking photos.

after i had some leftover kentucky fried chicken for lunch, i decided to head out for a bike ride on this 79 degrees day. originally i thought about doing the 26 miles roundtrip of the minuteman bike trial, but i've done that before and wanted to try something new. instead, i decided to trace the charles river starting in harvard square, west towards the direction of watertown, along solders field road. anyone who could afford to be out was out. office workers taking a lunch time break, mothers with children, men fishing along the banks, students riding bikes and rollerblading, and sunbathers. not too far down the path i bumped into susan rogers, laurie's mother. she was taking photos for her book project, we talked about photography a little bit, also how we were both in the same area last monday for the boston marathon but just happened to miss one another. she went back to the office where she was supposed to be in a meeting, i continued with my biking.

i got as far as beacon street (route 20), by the united states arsenal, before going onto the other side of the river, along greenough boulevard, to return to where i came from. next time i'm going to try and make it farther, keep following the charles river west to waltham, maybe as far as brandeis, or down to the embassy theatre and catch an independent movie. down along greenough, i saw a flock of cormorants sunning themselves on a sandbar. this stretch of road is fairly empty, not too much to see, maybe the occasionally immigrant fisherman sitting along the bank of the river. immediately on my left up on a hill i could see the arsenal mall, and i was tempted to make a detour and go shopping, but thought better of it.

when i finally returned to the eliot bridge, i didn't feel i had enough of a workout, and since it was still early, i decided to see how far east i can go on the charles, in the direction of boston. so i followed the charles river, on the storrow drive side. here there were more people, i could see whole river banks dotted with people outside enjoying the sun. i stopped to take some photos of a cormorant sunning itself on a floating oil barrier on the river. all went well until i looked off to the side and saw this MONSTER. you ever expect to see an animal of a certain size and then when you see one that's many times larger, it's kind of scary? well, that's what happened. someone this large turtle had climbed on top of one of the floating barriers and was basking in the sun as well. this thing must've been 12" long, and when i first saw it, i figured it was a snapping turtle, because those are the only kind of local turtles i know that can reach that size. but once i got back home and took a look at the photos, i noticed it was missing some key features of snapping turtles. whatever it was, it was wrong, and i was creeped out enough so much i must've taken over 30 photos of the thing, wanting to make sure i had good photographic documentation of this freak of nature.

i continued my journey, underneath the BU bridge (saw some tufts graffiti, my alma mater), as i started to run into a little bit more traffic, a lot of runners, bikers, strollers, and bladers, in varying degrees of "am i hot or not?"-ness i might add. there were also boating students preparing their boats for some sailing. i got as far as the mass ave bridge (AKA mit bridge) before i crossed over to the other side of the river, ready to ride back home. i felt a bit of nostalgia, here was this heartbreak bridge that i ran across many times while working at SRM, it tooks me months to be good enough to finally run across the bridge without stopping, and here i was, riding my bike across it, overlooking the boston skyline off in the distance. that 3 mile jogging route is perhaps one of the most beautiful places to run in all of boston! across the bridge, i took a final look back (good bye john hancock tower! good bye prudential building! good bye mass ave bridge!):

riding back, i started to feel tired, which is a good sign that i got my money's worth in terms of exercise. it's hard to gauge what's a good workout or not on a bike. it's not like running, when i can really feel it all over, feeling like dying. maybe i can bike on the days when i don't run (not sure how my body will like that, it's not really my legs that feel it though, it's my ass, i need a softer bike seat). occasionally a biker (a "motorcyclist") would rumble down memorial drive and i'd get jealous, tracking the vehicle with my laser-like eyes. today would've been a great day to ride the motorcycle. i can't wait for that first ride of the season.

when i got back home, my sister was in my house using the dryer, which my parents don't have at their place in belmont (at least not one that works well). after she was done, she drove me to the cafe, where we picked up our father, then we went home to belmont. after some rice noodle dinner while watching chronicles (a piece on historical beacon street), i drove the camry back to cambridge, found a nice parking space that didn't require parallel parking. i walked down to porter exchange to cash in that check doug wrote me last week for the demolition work (i don't want to be that guy who waits forever before cashing a check). walking back, i bumped into sam (former SRM coworker) and his girlfriend, going back home to their apartment after picking up some food at anna's tacqueria.

rest of the night, i figured out how to drive down to plymouth tomorrow, burned some source files, burned a driving music cd, and researched a few potential nature places i could visit after the debug session.