after unloading his car, we drove down to ball square in somerville, to kelly's diner for brunch. in my life there is not a tradition of brunch, unless you're counting that period of time when i went to dim sum with laurie practically every weekend. i rather sleep on the weekends than wake up and wait in line for breakfast food that i could just as easily make at home. breakfast is probably a lot easier to make anyway, there are definite breakfast foods (pancakes, french toast, eggs, omelette, sausages, bacon, fruits), so it's never left me scratching my head as to what to make. after a brief wait, were got a booth seat. i ordered the linguica with eggs. just down the street was sound bites, which seems like the more hipster place to go, but the line waiting to get a seat for that place was spilling out onto the sidewalk. kelly's had its share of hipsters as well though, young, tattoed, girls with bra-strap revealing tank tops, guys with that shaggy mop-top haircut. our brunch discussion revolved around finances, comparing and contrasting our two different financial situations, very mature. andrew ended up treating for the brunch.
before returning to cambridge, we dropped by dave's place briefly, to see what items of andrew's needed to be moved tomorrow, including a large queen sized bed and a dresser. dave was home, still sweaty from yoga, and went down to the basement with us to check out andrew's stuff. there was a lot of nostalgia, including high school papers and a collection of tapes from the late 80's. andrew ended up giving me a collapsible telescope which i promised to use for my neighborhood watch. i made a joke about "is that a telescope in your pocket or are you happy to see me?" when dave gave us good bye hugs.
back in cambridge, cat v.2 is still doing well. this second time around i worry less, i pretty much just let it be, occasionally checking to make sure it hasn't drowned, or that it still has enough leaf to eat. i'm taking a completely new approach to caterpillar raising this time around. it's amazing how fast they can grow. can they really derive enough nutrients from just milkweed leaves? perhaps they're not built as complex as the human body is. if i ate just milkweed leaves, i don't think i could live very long, not to mention the fact that milkweed juice is toxic. i rinsed out the jar today, and took cat v.2 outside for some photos in the natural sunlight.
some japanese neighbors around the corner were having a stoop sale. i went to take a look, bought a bag of toys for $3, including 2 kewpie dolls (imported from japan), a gorilla robot (doesn't work, need new watch batteries), chattering teeth wind-up toy, plastic hen that lays eggs when you press it, and a blue bathtub duck.
my next door neighbor renee came knocking on my door again, the third consecutive day, once again with computer questions, this time about her e-mail. she seems to be constantly fighting with her son, and i always feel awkward getting stuck in the middle of a domestic dispute while i'm trying to troubleshoot on a system (pc) that i'm not very familiar with. the room was hot too, and i was sweating, wiping my face with the sleeves of my t-shirt as i tried to figure out what was happening. in my mind i kept on thinking, "why did i ever open my big mouth and say she could ask me about computer problems anytime? i should be getting paid for making house calls." i fixed enough of it that she was satisfied, and before i left, she asked if i could speak with her son, who was lounging on the living room couch, about how "mistakes are a part of life, and you learn more through mistakes than you can when you do something right." hi, i'm not only the neighborhood handyman, but i'm also a pc troubleshooting consultant, and in my spare time i'm a self-help guru too. it goes without saying that if i hear my doorbell ringing again tomorrow, i'm not going to answer it.
andrew left to hang out with maura, promising to come back tomorrow morning with the uhaul truck so i can help him move the rest of his stuff. i called up john miller, who along with his wife deanna, were in town, escaping from the new york city blackout. we made plans to meet up at 7pm for barbecue at my place. i drifted in and out of sleep in the living room, watching a red sox victory over the mariners behind pedro's pitching. it was an amazing performance, totally looked like old pedro when he dominated the mound and you expected him to strike out batters after batters.
7pm rolled by with no signs of john or deanna or dan (whom they were supposed to go pick up from allston). apparently they got lost, and didn't show up at my place until close to 9pm.
john and i went next door to get some groceries (and beers) for the barbecue, while dan and deanna camped out in the air-conditioned living room watching bloodsport 4 on cable. when we came back, john and i were in the backyard trying to light the grille. it looked like it was going to rain but that wouldn't be our main problem: the hard part was getting the brickets to light. i thought maybe they were the self-starting brickets, but turned out they were the old-fashion kind that needed lighter fluid. after dousing the charcoal with enough lighter fluid to set a large building on fire, they still wouldn't catch on fire. we decided to roll balls of newspaper and throw them into the grille, john using his bare hands to move the brickets around after feeling a few that felt cold to the touch...that was until he picked one up that was actually hot and burned his finger. we kept on trying an combination of lighter fluid and paper, but the brickets still wouldn't catch on fire. the problem was these brickets are old, perhaps more than a decade old, and have since lost all their natural ability to ignite. after dumping in some natural wood brickets and using a different kind of paper (color print shaw's circular apparently are nearly fire retardant, that's something we learned tonight), the fire started to get going, and we were finally able to barbecue. the rain never did come down, only a few negligible drops. john entertained us with stories of the new york city blackout.
we ate inside, away from the natural elements, away from the bugs. the burgers were prepared in a rustic style known as "black burgers", that mild acrid taste a favorite flavor amongst certain burger connoisseurs. we also had hot dogs, prepared in a similar style, but not as charred, as well as corn on the cob. given how hard it was to light the grille, it's a miracle we're eating any sort of cooked meats at all, although there was the george foreman backup plan.
after dinner we watched strong kids, safe kids, that video i bought from the boston public library sale, teaching parents and kids about sexual molestation. it's a noble cause, hosted by henry "fonzie" winkler, but it's so 80's, peppered with the most favorite cartoon characters at the time (yogi bear, scooby doo, flintstones, pac-man, smurfs), as well as the songs (nothing makes kids learn more efficiently about serious topics than through songs, of course!), it's just really funny. it got a little tedious towards the end though, as the same message was repeated over and over again, "some touches are bad," "if somebody touches you in a bad way, you have to tell," etc.
everyone was pretty beat, but we finished watching the end of how to lose a guy in 10 days. because dan will be flying to brazil at the end of the month to get married in an official ceremony (although legally he's already married), tonight was also supposed to be a bachelor party of sorts. i could think of no more fitting a bachelor party prop than the inflatable sex doll i have in my closet, the one that i bought for manny's bachelor party. it took less than a minute for me to inflate it with my runner's lungs, as we posed with it in inappropriate photos.
the gang left soon after that, to meet again next weekend 250 miles away.