when did i become afraid of the cold? just a few weeks ago i was out running in 30 degrees temperature with shorts on, and now it's 40 degrees outside and i don't want to go out. it's not only cold though, it's also wet, and the sky is overcasted and its foggy. the combination makes it utterly miserable, and i just wanted to stay indoors the whole day. for lunch i had shrimp flavored chips, some brownies, and a glass of milk. i'm banking on tomorrow night's family dinner to pick up on some proper nutrition. in the meantime, i'll just eat crap, not in the mood to really make anything. that's not entirely true though, i made some sweet jasmine ice tea, inspired by something i got at super 88.

i got this month's heating bill (february), $180, the most i've ever paid, which is surprising, since i never paid this much last year even though i was home all time with the heat turned on. it's an aggregate of a colder month of february compared to last year, higher heating prices, and the addition of a roommate who cranks the heat up when i'm not here (as well as he should). i can't wait for winter to be over, just so i can stop taking a hit from the heating bill.

after taking a shower, i did some reading in bed, more of "mountains beyond mountains". it's a very easy read, paul farmer is a fascinating man, and tracy kidder writes with an effortless fluidity and coherency that makes me jealous. the story of this boston based doctor who spends most of his time in haiti curing the sick is inspiring. i never thought this kind of stuff would interest me, but i just can't put it down. the book is so good that i want to read it not just before i go to bed but whenever i can steal some time.

i left my house around 5pm to go to cymara's surprise birthday party for dan. i first went to porter square to refill my high blood pressure medicine prescription, then took the subway one stop to harvard square. not wanting to show up empty handed, i got dan a dvd from tower records, slave of the cannibal god (1978) starring ursula andress and stacy keach, with the tagline, "their cult was death...their lust was for blood!" i deposited my belated freelance gig check (only half, last i heard the client still hasn't approved the beta for final yet, so i won't get paid in full until then, but i only got this half payment after i sent them several e-mails "asking" about a status report on the project), then took the 66 bus to dan's place. the bus was crowded, a lot of young people heading into allston for the nightlife. i just sat in my chair, feeling claustrophobic, chewing furiously on my gum.

when i got to the entrance of the apartment, there was nobody there. originally the plan was a bunch of us would wait outside, and together with cymara we'd go upstairs and surprise dan. i was a little worried that maybe none of this would happen and i was just waiting for nothing.

but after a while cymara showed up carrying bags of presents and food, along with keshrie and her husband kevin (both i met at dan's new year's eve gathering) and their friend punam. cymara was telling me how dan already suspects something is going on and they had gotten into a fight earlier. we all went into the apartment to "surprise" dan, who played along anyway. the celebration was also for keshrie as well, who had a birthday a few days ago (multiple birthdays seem to be very popular these days). besides cake, there was also chinese food (appetizers) and boxes of pizza.

we played some monkey bowling on the gamecube then watched bend it like beckham, which was a real treat seeing it with real indian women reacting nostalgically to indian customs depicted in the film that we would otherwise regard as foreign. dan also showed the screen house foosball video he made back in 1998 (it'd be great if we can get that digitized). once that was over, everyone left. i was the last to leave, and dan and cymara offered to drive me home so i wouldn't have to take the bus. a mini-crisis erupted as cymara couldn't find the car keys. thinking that perhaps she might've left them in the car, we went downstairs to check. the keys weren't exactly in the car, but they were next to the car on the street. to think, if they hadn't decided to take me home, they would've never known about the missing car keys!

and will nader run for the presidency? we'll find out tomorrow morning on meet the press. the republicans hope he does.