morning errands: pay parking ticket, cash all my checks, buy wine for renata's parents, copy mortgage refinance document and mail out, and write steve (upstairs neighbor) a check for the water bill and a letter:

hey steve,

here's my portion of the water bill. i actually got a copy of the receipt about a month ago, already wrote out the check, but never got around to give it to you.

as far as job goes, i'm still doing some freelance programming, and for some reason, i've sort of become the neighborhood handyman. i've done a lot of painting work for our opposite door neighbor jeff, some demolition work for doug, and some stone path paving for dennis. my unemployment benefits *finally* ended a few weeks ago!

a few things: i've taken in a roommate to help pay for a part of my mortgage (which i'm current refinancing). i think you might've met him, andrew morse, he's an old friend of mine that i've known from 5th grade in belmont actually. he works as a corporate auditor for price-waterhouse, and he'll only be here for the summer. starting in the fall however, i have *another* roommate, mike lee, who i know from a western china a few years ago. mike's doing his final year at harvard law, he'll be staying until the end of next spring probably.

some maintenance questions: what ever happened to your friend who does the gutter work and who'll recoat our front steps? if you like, i can get a gutter guy to clean out our place. i think sparrows have built nests in there now, i figured it'd be a good time to get a gutter guy. as for the front steps, any thoughts?

that's all! could i also have your phone number? it's funny, i've been here for over a year now, and i never did get your number!

- tony yang

i had actually written everything out on the computer before transcribing it by hand onto paper. i didn't want to just print it out because it'd seem too impersonal, and so far all the notes my neighbor and i have passed to each other have been handwritten. for breakfast i had some curry rice noodles from my parents.

in the afternoon julie came over for a charles river bike ride, but not before my sister and her friend damon dropped by briefly to take all my painting equipment and supplies for a project. when julie finally showed up, i brought her down to the basement to check out that mysterious junk bike that found its way in front of my house a while back, to see if she could strip it for parts. i think it was her first time being in the basement, and she was surprised to see the screen house sign and the screen house foosball table. she was insistent that i find some way to hang it up upstairs.

so we went around the charles river, from my place to harvard square, down storrow drive, all the way to the charles/mgh station, across the longfellow, back down memorial drive, returning to harvard square. julie pressed the crosswalk button everytime we had to cross the street. it seemed to have little effect as we waited just as long as if we didn't hit the button. if i'm not mistaken, this is my first time being back on my own running route when i used to work at srm, i felt a strong sense of nostalgia. that 3 mile circuit is by far the most scenic place to run in boston, and i'm very happy i took full advantage of it when i could. we stopped briefly at a snack bar so julie could refuel with some cracker jacks (which would later come back to haunt her). riding across the longfellow, it was nice to see that the ugly splotches of paint on the "salt shakers" (think jackson pollock) have finally been removed, to be replaced with more traditional spray can graffiti.

when we got to the part of memorial drive where you turn to get onto the BU bridge, we encountered a gaggle of snow geese down by the shore. we stood maybe 25 yards away from them before they all started quacking. soon they all started marching towards us on the slight incline, in that back and forth shuffle ducks and geeses are known for. what we originally thought was an angry attack response over our intrusion turns out to be curiosity and food seeking on the part of the geese. julie sprinkled some crackle jacks on the ground, but they wanted nothing to do with that. after surrounding us for about a minute, they turned around and marched right back to the shoreline, beneath the shade of some trees.

we got back to my place, where julie briefly came in to use the bathroom while i quickly changed into my motorcycle riding clothes and packed some dress clothes in a bag along with shoes and the bottle of wine. julie escorted me to my motorcycle, having never actually seen me riding it before. i sped off to the other side of cambridge, where i was late getting to renata's place, her friend kay already waiting there. we were heading down to providence for dinner at renata's parents' place, the special occasion being that it's their 38th wedding anniversary. figuring the moment was significant enough, i got all dolled up (at renata's place), perhaps a little over-dressed for the occasion, but once again, if you understand how i love to be the center of attention, it's not very surprising. before we left the house, renata showed us digital photos she took of her mural projects. in the car, i sat in the backseat with a large vase of flowers between my legs. i sat like that for over an hour, as we hit some rush hour traffic going down south. before we went to renata's parents' house, we stopped off at the providence airport to pick up their friend tracy, arriving in town for the weekend from washington dc.

renata's mother greeted us when we arrived. soon afterwards, her father came home from work, followed by her brother marsian. also invited was a coworker of renata's father, an argentinian man, along with his girlfriend, and his parents, in town visiting as well. the parents spoken some broken english, so tracy was called in to translate since she speaks spanish. renata's mother fascinated me with her tales of home renovation, things i wouldn't have been interested in before i got my own place, like painting the exterior of the house, getting a new fridge, replacing the trash disposal, replacing the windows, and what can and can't be grown in the less than sunny backyard.

we had dinner in the living room, everyone parked around the perimeter in various loveseats and sofas and accent chairs, some eating from tv dinner tables, or from the coffee table, or the always available lap table. we had pasta salad along with a normal salad, chicken cutlets and a mixture of squid and various other seafood bits. for dessert, a fruit salad along with a fruited creme pie.

the whole night i probably spoke with marsian the most. i could identify with him, he and i were like outcasts, with nothing to contribute to the overall conversation, periphery people who's partipication wasn't a key component of this evening's success. there's something about a large crowd that brings out the anti-socialness in me. i don't mind listening to conversations, but once i grow tired of all the talking, i do little to disguise it and you can usually find me somewhere far away from the chatter. that somewhere led me to the little living room adjoining the kitchen, where i read the latest issues of new yorker. i discovered that marsian and i have a special bond, the bond of mac users! it's one of those topics that i can probably talk about for hours and hours. he showed me his latest digital project, a series of pill photos, and politely told me that each one is $10 if i wanted to purchase any, all the money going into buying more printing paper and possibly an eyebrow job. later he showed his work to renata's friends as well.

renata's father asked if i could help him set up his new digital camera, a nikon 3100, the same one they gave to renata as a birthday present. the camera was ready just in time for the argentinian guests' departure, everyone gathered around the 1.5" lcd screen of the camera to check out some good bye snapshots. it's fun to watch people discover the digital photography epiphany, as renata's father raved about how "amazing" the camera was.

soon it was time for us to go (mark had already slipped out of the house by then, back to his apartment, without saying good bye to most of the guests). renata switched seats with me so that i sat in the front, with kay driving. the whole trip back, kay and i talked about motorcycles, she herself rides as well. once again, another topic that i could talk about for hours. i think despite my lack of participation in the evening's overall conversation, i had a lot of meaningful one-on-one chats with various people. little did i know, i had a very important job as the driver's side passenger, because kay revealed she has a tendency to fall asleep at the wheel, so i was supposed to make sure that didn't happen.

when we got to renata's place, i changed into my riding uniform, then motorcycled my way back home in the cold dark night.

beck - deadweight