this morning more "gifts from alex" sat on my back porch, drizzled by the rain on this miserable wet and cold tuesday. i brought in a sealed cardboard box and an electric hot water heater wrapped in a plastic bag. i woke up early to make some important calls: prudential to ask where to send me IRA contribution, citimortgage to see if i could reduce my monthly payments (the hold time was 30 minutes, i hung up, at least yesterday when i called at 2pm the hold time was only 10 minutes), and fleet bank to inquire about the mysterious $6000 that just appeared in my checking account. i wrote out a few checks and had my tax packets ready to be mailed, a few extra out of season christmas stamps on the envelopes just in case.

i dropped my tax returns into a mailbox by south station, figuring the proximity to the main boston postal relay office would guarantee a speedy delivery. i went across the street to use the ATM, making a series of complicated transaction that would require me to visit a fleet office later in the day in order to clear up the mess. but first, i celebrated the completion of my taxes by getting a venti chai latte from starbucks. i knew it'd mess me up for the rest of the day but i didn't care.

with caffeine (1,3,7-trimethylxanthine) in my bloodstream, i was wired for the rest of the day. the coughing continues still, and i've been ingesting enough cough drops that it's been slowly deteriorating the lining of my cheeks.

around 2pm i went to the bank to ask about my account. essentially what i was trying to do was to return the mysterious $6000 back to the bank. never has it been this difficult to give money to a financial institution. they had no idea where the money came from, and the representative that i spoke with, she was on the phone with her superior trying to figure out what was going on. it got to a point where i thought maybe i should've just kept it a secret, a small banking glitch in my favor. i left my phone number and e-mail and she told me they'd contact me in a few days after an investigation. as long as i'm not going to incur any sort of fee or penalty, i really don't care. coming back, i wandered into the secret space where the people taking the chinatown buses having been hiding. a group of chinese restaurant chefs stood across the street, watching the mob of people waiting for the bus in the rain. when the bus arrived, the chefs shouted happily in chinese, "it's here, it's here!" simple people, simple pleasures.

i didn't eat at all today just so i'd have a big appetite for dinner with alex wong after work. we met by the chinatown gate and decided to get food at the taiwan cafe, which was empty when we got there. we ordered way too much food, and from the corner of my eyes i could see the waitresses watching us in amazement as we eventually finished everything. it was kind of a sad occasion, almost like the last dinner before an execution, as alex was moving to tokyo tomorrow morning.


salt & pepper

drunken chicken

smelly tofu

taiwanese pan
fried dumplings

alex wong

after dinner, we walked to downtown crossing in the rain, steam rising from manhole covers, me with my cough which wasn't helped very much by the cold and wet weather. i waited with alex for his orange line train. we shook hands and i wished him good luck with his job situation in japan. when the train came we said good bye one more time and i went downstairs to catch the red line.

i've known alex wong since my freshman year at tufts, 12 years ago, so amongst my small number of friends, i've known him for a long time. i've been critical of him at times on my weblog (e.g. his messy apartment), but he's a good guy. in many ways, i've always thought he and i were very much the same, socially awkward with women, occasionally reclusive, a fondness for computers and photography. he's one of my rare friends who's not married or dating, so he's always available to do something. he was the first person to introduce me to the internet back in college, and the first person i knew who had a digital camera. i look forward to hearing about his adventures in tokyo, and maybe one day i'll visit.

i got home just in time to watch bush's press conference about the war on terrorism and the iraqi theatre. julie and i instant messaged snide comments to each other while we listened to bush blaming the oceans for failing to protect the united states and not admitting or apologizing to any mistakes.