i woke up close to 7am to take the one hour drive (43.4 miles) down to plymouth to visit a client. it took me almost 30 minutes just to get from my house to 93. despite the early morning traffic, it was still better than the 93 north bumper to bumper jam i saw, stretching as far as hingham. i don't know how anyone can drive that everyday. if you didn't have to face a commute like that, there'd be more of life to live. everyone stuck in a car should quit their city job immediately and find one closer to where they live or telecommute. you'd think in this modern age of wireless everything and reach-you-anywhere technology that the days of coming into the office are over. driving the new toyota camry was a breeze though. it's v6 engine really picks up, i haven't driven a car like that before, accelerate like nobody's business, good for changing lanes. it has great suspension, like driving on springs, i was afraid of going over potholes, but when i did, i hardly felt it. quiet inside too, the only sound the roll of the highway. in all the other cars i've ever driven, wind noise was a big factor.

anyway, i got to plymouth, where i worked for three solid hours fixing this one particularly deep rooted bug. i was finally able to fix it and wrap everything up, leaving there at 11am. hungry, but ready for adventure, i decided to visit one of two places i'd picked out first, then maybe get some food along the way. so back up route 3 north i went, exiting at 13 into norwell. as of today, i never even been to norwell. i went to the black pond nature preserve, this little middle of nowhere place where i had to park the car on the side of the road. protected by the nature conservancy, this is what they have to say about this place:

suitable for all ages, this short trail and connecting boardwalk will take you through upland forest and cedar swamp to close-up views of the bog's rich and unique vegetation. for a longer hike, this path connects with a trail system on abutting town land.

as plants grow inward from the edges of black pond, they cover the water with a floating, sponge-like mat of sphagnum moss which harbors pitcher plants, sundew, sedges, cranberry, cottongrass, swamp loosetrife and virginia chain fern.

surrounding the bog mat is a wet shrubby zone containing wild blueberry plants and atlantic white cedar. the shrub zone grades into a red maple swamp as one moves away from the pond, and at the perimeter of the swamp is an upland forest dominated by oak, beech and hemlock, with scattered american holly.

sounds pretty cool, huh? well, i just want to let everyone know that black pond natural reserve in norwell is a DEATH TRAP. sure, on the web it's all glamorous, boardwalk trails over bog forests, but i walked half a mile into dense dry forest and got totally lost. i was only able to make it back because i had my GPS with me and had the sense of mind to track myself as i wandered deep into the forest. global positioning system SAVES LIVES! i was so afraid of the embarassment of having to call the police and have them come and rescue me. at least i had a cell phone, even though i was very far away from civilization and not sure if i was within cellphone range. maybe i just walked in the wrong directions, but i saw plaques and signs, and there were even those painted hiking dots on trees (which mysterious disappeared right when i was getting lost). i walked as far into the woods before coming to this long stretch of clearing for power lines. underneath the blazing hot noontime sun, i heard several gunshots. i sort of crounched down just to be safe, afraid that i might've accidently wandered into somebody's hunting ground. it was a totally unsafe thing to do, i didn't even tell anyone where i was going, if something were to happen, dear readers, you would not be reading this entry tonight. three scenarios entered my mind: either i'd be eaten by a bear, sustain some sort of leg injury where i couldn't walk anymore and would have to shout for help until i lost my voice, or be kidnapped/robbed/murdered by forest people (and i don't mean elves). fortunately, none of those scenarios had a chance to manifest while i was alone and lost in the forest. granted, it's not bad for a forest, a lot of fallen trees, a lot of rocks, and a lot of moss. if you're into moss, this is the place to be. other than that though, the place was pretty devoid of wildlife. i still think i must've gone the wrong way, i really want to find that boardwalk they mention in the description. the nature conservancy is notorious for misleading preserve descriptions though. back during winter, renata and i visited the beaver brook valley preserve in boxborough to check out the eskers, but we never found it, and the directions lead up to a dead end in the parking lot of an industrial park. i've had better success with audubon sites (although nature conservancy places are free, while audubon is free only to members, which thankfully i am one).

i was so happy to finally find my way out of the forest. did i mention that GPS SAVES LIVES? anyone who's ever doubted the usefulness of a gps can just ask me to recall my harrowing escape from black pond natural reserve, or as i like to call it, the norwellian death trap. i was also happy to see that the car was still there. i hoped inside, cranked up the music and the air conditioning, and figured out my second destination.

still hungry, but wanting to make up for not seeing anything particularly noteworthy, i went two towns over to marshfield, another place where i've never been before, to the north river audubon preserve. here was actually a little bit of a boardwalk that overlooked the edge of a salt marsh. it was kind of disappointing, there was some trash floating nearby, not the pristine conditions that i usually find in other audubon sites, and there weren't any animals to see. not much of nature other than plants, i saw these unknown white flowers (which i will need help identifying, but i'm not holding my breath), and there were a lot of skunk cabbage. skunk cabbage have this "flower" which is supposed to smell like rotten meat. there was definitely an odor in the air, but it was unpleasant, but of that salt marsh smell than anything from the skunk cabbage. i actually got these flowers confused for pitcher plants, but only when i got home and looked it up did i realize they weren't really pitcher plants. after a quick stroll, i left north river, not before making a stop at kennedy's, this local gardening store, to see if they had anything interesting to sell.

hungrier still, i drove back to boston. i went to the belmont public library first though, to get a museum of fine art pass for thursday night, and i checked out three books: "1421: the year china discovered america" by gavin menzies, "the cabinet of curiosities" by douglas preston and lincoln child (i think a read a good review of it in fangoria), and "buzzwords: a scientist muses on sex, bugs, and rock'n'roll" by may r. berenbaum. then i finally returned to cambridge, 8 hours after leaving my house this morning, i finally get something to eat (leftover kfc).

back at home, i was surprised to see how tan i was. it makes sense though, the past few days, since the weather's been warm, i've been outside for many hours. whether it's to watch the marathon, or running, or biking, i've been maximizing by sun exposure, hence the darker skin. when i saw my parents later during the day to return the car, my father actually thought i'd been out at the beach while i was down in plymouth. he gave me a ride back to my place, along with some dinner they had made at the cafe. once again, i'm saved from having to make my own dinner.

gilmore girls: is sookie losing weight? when did michel become such a sissy? he used to be a real bitch, which is what i loved about him. i think it was right for lane to confront her mother over the phone about her love for dave her bandmate and wanting him to take her to the prom instead of that annoying emasculated korean boy. lorelai + luke forever! i don't know where this luke + lawyer lady storyline is going but i don't like it. and god the dialogue! even the members of the band do this rapid fired witty exchanges, like when they try to pick a name for their band. i like how in the beginning of the show, we see loralei fiddling around with a new digital camera at the diner. too bad it's not a nikon though. and rory? why does she put up with jess? he is a most difficult boyfriend, and where's that hidden love of literature of his? that was one of the attraction of jess over dean, dean was dumb but sweet, jess was smart but naughty. now, jess, is dumb and naughty, dump him i say!

24: one of the lamer episodes. i think the whole storyline of the president's cabinet members and the vice president trying to vote him out of office is kind of ludicrous, and the fact that the president has to defend himself in this lawyeresque scenario, with shady witnesses resurfacing with their lopsided stories. not sure how it's going to pan out, but if i was the president, i'd order my secret death squad to round up everyone for execution. thank god i'm not the president. and that presidential aide, that bald dude with glasses? he deserves to die, not since uriah heap has there been a more unctuous character. i'm happy to see tony and michelle behaving like good guys again and not suspicious conspirators.

to my long lost partner in crime whom i haven't seen since forever, here's to you, march violets' "amanda jones". anyone who is on the same wavelength as me will instantly know where this song is from, it's so obvious, i shouldn't even have to mention it.