the snow was beautiful...until i started shoveling it. then it got real ugly real quick. wet sticky snow, and more falling every minute. the temperature was also a deterrent against snow appreciation, cold enough that hands start hurting without gloves. i woke up at 12:30 then got dressed to go outside and shovel the walks. i went to the basement looking for the shovel but it was nowhere to be found, apparently my upstairs neighbor must've taken it. i did find a small metal shovel (more for yard work than snow work), and slowly started shoveling, starting from the backyard. when i came around the house, i saw the snow shovel lying by the side of the wall. apparently my upstairs neighbor beat me to the punch, having shoveled the sidewalk already. i went out front and shoveled again, clearing the 1" worth of new accumulation.

i had some fried rice for lunch (leftover from the last time my father brought food) while watching some sports documentaries about NBA basketball rivalry and george steinbrenner. i also saw parts of a movie called kandahar, about an afghanistani woman going back to her country to look for her sister. at first i thought it was a documentary because it's shot very single camera amateur style, a woman doctor was talking with a group of afghan men all with amputated limbs trying to score some prosthetic legs and arms. i left my recharger at work and my cell phone ran out of juice, so nobody could get in touch with me. when the sun went down, i left the house and headed into boston. the 10 minute walk from my house to the station was an endurance test. not only was it cold, but horizontal winds forced snow drifts right into my face as i walked against the direction of the wind. when i finally got to porter square, i was covered in snow, my glasses fogged up, beads of ice on my eyebrows and goatee.

i took the quarter full train to south station, heading to the office to retrieve my charger. walking down the empty street with my umbrella, i suddenly heard a loud "plop" to my right. a large clump of snow had fallen off the roof of one of the buildings. i walked a little bit more. plop! another one to my left. must be the wind, must be careful. plop! right on top of my umbrella, and i knew it wasn't just coincidence and looked up peering from rooftop to rooftop, trying to find the snowball sniper. i walked a bit further and saw someone moving on the roof. "hey you!" i screamed. the head ducked behind the rooftop edge. i walked a little bit more, out of range, and looked back to see at least two people up on a building. "hey you guys!" i screamed again. up the street was some police officers, and i thought about reporting it, but looked like they were taking care of a traffic accident, and i didn't want to bother them.

commuter train

porter square
(christmas tree)

red line

shoveling south
station sidewalks

newspaper boxes

snowy fire escape

i hung out at the office until dan showed up at 6pm. i surfed the web a bit, even made a paper snowflake. when dan arrived, i gave him a tour of the office then we went to chinatown to get some dinner before the movie. we went to pho hoa, which used to be to chau, my favorite vietnamese restaurant in chinatown. not quite sure why i go to pho hoa though, it's under new management, and the menu's changed, i guess out of force of habit. the place was virtual empty, just one couple sitting at a table when we got there, then later a bevy of girls. dan and i got almost the same thing, i went with grilled chicken vermicelli while i had the shrimp vermicelli, and we both got pearl ice tea. the grilled chicken was delicious as always (it's my new favorite thing here, it used to be the tom yum noodle soup, but that was with to chau), but the tapioca balls in the pearl ice tea was overcooked. while waiting for the bill to come, i was able to impress dan with my origami skill, making a ring with a picture of a rooster drawn on it.

after dinner we walked to the boston common theatre. the streets were empty, and we were able to walk on the snow-encrusted roads for part of the time. the short trip from restaurant to movie theatre was another test of endurance. i just wanted to curl up in a doorway and wait for the wind to die down, which wouldn't be before i froze to death. the theatre was surprisingly busy; i thought maybe it'd be nearly empty or even closed due to the blizzard outside. dan got our online bought tickets, stubs for twin towers next weekend coming out of the machine as well. tonight it'd be lord of the rings: fellowship of the ring though, the extended version, all 3+ hours of it. i'd seen it before, but in order to prepare myself for the return of the king in two more weeks, i was seeing the trilogy in the theatres again.

the thing i experience in the theatres that i can't get at home is the sound. yes, the image is bigger, but i'm not a size bigot, my television at home is large enough for my needs. what's impressive is the audio, which i can't replicate at home, the bass so powerful i can feel it throbbing in my spine. watching LOTR again, i'm reminded of how much there's an analogy to our current war on terrorism. the fellowship, compromised of different middle earth folks including hobbits, humans, elf, dwarf, and even wizard, represents melting pot america. the ring and all its evil associations are terrorism, the unseeing force that pervades everyday society, threatening to destroy the fabric of what we cherish the most. despite their dissimilarities, the members of the followship come together and put away their differences in order to combat this rising evil. i personally think this theme is very prevalent in the first movie, but not so much in the second.

after the movie, dan caught the green line home via bolyston station, while i walked up to red line park street, braving another faceful of icy snow. the blizzard has a way of muffling sound, the city was quiet, except for the occasional loud squeal of girls playing in the white stuff. i caught the last (or second to last) train out of boston and got off at harvard station hoping to find photo ops. the squeals continued, this time from college kids, perhaps some of them never having seen as much snow as they have this weekend.

harvard square

trying to hail a taxi

walking back to my house along oxford street, i was amazed to see how many cars just buried in snow. made me thankful that i don't own a car and i don't have to go through the experience of digging the car out after a snowstorm (though technically not true, when i lived at home, i dug my parents' car out of the snow in the driveway many a times). with the snow still falling and the wind still blowing, it was still hard to appreciate the beauty of the snowfall. by the time i made it home, i was already encased in snow, happy to be out of the elements, wishing it'd stop soon.