i started growing a goatee during college, after several years with long hair. i guess it was just something else to do to differentiate myself from every other generic asian. since that time, i usually shave off everything twice a year. reason? i get sick of the goatee, want to know what it feels like to have a smooth face. however, it's gotten to the point where i can't imagine myself without a goatee, that's the signature look everyone expects of me. as a matter of fact, the last time i shaved off my goatee was almost two years. it's been a long time, and i'm starting to get that feeling again, that need to shave. so after going next door to get some groceries and making a breakfast of scrambled eggs, i went into the bathroom with the electric razor and shaved off my goatee, at least just the bottom. i left the moustache, figured i'd try it out, see how i like it, having never sported just a moustache before. with the glasses, it's not bad looking at all, the moustache giving my face some definition. looking in the mirror, my head looked smaller - the goatee had a way of lengthing my head. i know if i shaved off everything, my face would look fat, i think the moustache acts as an anchor. i spent a few minutes just touching my chin, having not seen it in nearly 2 years, hidden beneath a goatee.

i decided to take my ironic moustache out for a run. i felt a little self-conscious, but running has a way of making me lose my inhibitions as i once more went topless for this session. i felt naked in two ways, from not having my t-shirt (exposing my less than perfect body, although quite tan) and also my missing goatee. fortunately, my newfound moustache gave me this strange sense of confidence and a new vitality, and i ran effortless, as if i was racing downhill, around the charles river. i stopped briefly over the eliot bridge however, the heat was getting to be too much (1pm) and i needed to take a breather, panting loudly, staring at the bikini clad sunbathers camped out on lawn chairs near the edge of the water. after a water break, i hurled myself to the finish line, crossing memorial drive, and grabbing my waiting t-shirt off of a rock. one thing i noticed was without the bottom half of my goatee, my chin definitely felt colder.

after a shower, i decided to take my motorcycle out for a spin on this gorgeous blue sky day. destination: beaver brook reservation in belmont, a little bit of nature. i bumped into rob house on his bicycle a block away. he was enroute to harvard square for a haircut. we chatted by the side of the road, each person on his perspective two wheeled vehicle. i showed him my moustache, we briefly talked about job prospects and the world series of poker. he told me his losing streak might make him pull out of this week's poker night (of which i am not a party to, but i've invited before, just never gone). we exchanged farewells, i put my toothpick back into my mouth (did i mention that? i ride with a toothpick, i figured if it's dangerous to run around with sharp objects, how about cruising down the street at 30mph with a pointed piece of wood sticking out of your mouth?), and went to beaver brook.

i haven't had a lot of luck with beaver brook within the past few visits. the place is sort of dirty, the kind of location kids come during the weekend to drink and makeout. there is a small man-made waterfall, good for dreamy time-lapse photography, but it's something i've done before, so the novelty has already worn off. there wasn't much visible wildlife, except the few ducks and geese. over the ponds, dragonflies jostled for territory and for mating privileges. occasionally a big dragonfly (2") would appear over the water, getting me all excited (camera clicks on), then disappear suddenly (they never stop anyway, they didn't get that big by being easy prey). the place was remarkably free of mosquitoes, i think the dragonflies might have something to do with that. in a few more weeks the place will be prettier though, as all the orange flowers of the jewelweeds start to bloom.

blue dragonlet?



dance fly

dot tailed

dot tailed

i returned to cambridge before rush hour, stopping briefly in belmont to pick up some mail and my baking pan. i was getting ready to go to the supermarket again to pick up some ingredients to make thai stir fry (chicken thighs, baby corn, snow peas, mango, scallions, peppers), when i heard a familiar sound coming from my cellphone, the telltale salt 'n' pepa "push it" ringtone unmistakeable as to who was calling: my old acquaintance, renata! she called to let me know she wanted to return my black and white pullover before she left for her trip, and asked if i had any dinner plans. she talked me out of making stir fry and opting for some boca grande burritos instead, which she'd bring over when she came by. i did a little cursory cleaning before renata arrived, surprised that she wasn't still wearing her hiking boots. right away she noticed my moustache (it's pretty obvious), and couldn't stop staring at my mouth. i paid for my burrito with a $5 money ring i made.

we settled into the familiarity of eating in the living room, renata finishing off most of her burrito, me nibbling about half, too busy asking her questions about her trip. renata also showed me her new watch (with a trés cool bioluminescent backlight, she also kept on smelling it, new watch smell), replacing her old watch which broke (water damage) that time we went to walden pond last month. i was able to help her set the date on that thing, expressing my love for gadgets, which renata didn't seem to believe.

after dinner, renata took a look at the photos i've taken from the past few weeks, even able to match the snapshot with the weblog entry (which i was flattered to see someone has been studying up on my life!). she groaned after seeing some unflattering photos of herself from weeks ago, asking me why i keep them when they're bad (i reminded her that i didn't use those photos, and nobody would ever see them). renata also noticed that on my computer desktop i had a sticky note entitled, "things i like to do before i die", which drew her curiousity like a moth to a flame. i had to take out an embarassing wish before i could let her see my list. "saving someone's life" is on my list; renata told me "delivering somebody's baby" was on hers (that's almost like saving someone's life, right?). i also have "find the man responsible for destroying my village and exacting revenge", which i don't think is on her list. as is customary with renata, any new photos i took tonight, she'd have to okay first, and once more asked me how to erase photos from my camera, and once more i told her i couldn't tell her. she left before 9pm, reminding me to come pick her up from the airport when she came back from her trip. i promised i wouldn't forget. at a loss for more poignant words, i watched as renata disappeared down the street.

i eventually did make it back to the supermarket to get my stir fry ingredients (maybe for tomorrow night's dinner). an evening can't be good unless i'm marinating something, so the chicken i've been defrosting the whole day, i cut open, then marinated it in olive oil, lemon juice, rosemary (i love the smell of rosemary, i didn't used to, but i want to be buried in the stuff now), and a new twist, some bits of scallions.

bernadette peters
"anything you can do, i can do better"
(from annie get your gun)