i worked 7 hours today, taking a short break to make myself some toasted ham sandwiches with mustard. i was surprised how quickly the time went by, which at this point i still don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing. i also did some laundry (working from home allows you to do all sorts of domestic errands), the house smelling of clean clothes.
julie, who also works from home, was having one of those days where she couldn't get any work done (the weather had something to do with it), so we decided to get together for some running and then go check out the DNC in boston, see what all the hooplah's about. despite the fact that i ran yesterday (i usually try to alternate my days of running), i changed into my running clothes and met julie in porter square. she was already there, confused by the spinning clock that gave out the wrong time. she'd thought about running around in boston as an alternative, but because i wanted to take photos, it'd mean carrying my camera with me as i ran, so instead we decided to just do a run through cambridge, come back, shower up, then head back out to boston via MBTA. so we took my usual 3 mile loop down to the charles river. julie, who runs regularly, but not on the cement, was complaining about the surface and the fact that doing a simple loop wasn't exciting enough for her (no tree branches to dodge, not enough twists and turns). we ran, resting occasionally, julie fixing her shoe over so often, either the sneaker or the sock was giving her problems. at the water fountain by the boat house, we discovered a lower spigot by the ground, perhaps a water source for dogs (how they'd operate the button with their paws though is something i don't quite understand).
eventually we made it back to my place. julie was going to just go home and clean up, but i said i could give her a ride on the motorcycle, so she waited for me to quickly shower and change into something more appropriate. we got on to the bike - only the third time i've ever taken a passenger - and rode off. i definitely need the package, maybe i should just carry weights to simulate someone sitting in the backseat. accelerations need a little bit more throttle, and making turns feel weird, i have a hard time tightening at the corners with more weight on the bike. julie, who used to ride a moped in a previous life, had never been a passenger on a motorcycle before, so it was all new to her. "just like biking [with a bicycle]," she said, "just faster." i waited for her to shower, admiring her vegetables garden, jalapeno peppers and cherry tomatoes already on the plants, and her basils continue to do exceptionally well (mine died a few weeks after i got them).
we took the subway into boston, getting off at park street. from the elevated platform looking down onto beacon hill as left the charles/mgh station, we could already see a heavy police presence, no less than 6 cops. we walked towards government center, where national guards, uniformed police officers, and special unit police forces (wearing all black) could be seen patrolling the streets. i know they're their for our safety, but having so many of them around actually made me feel less safe, like something serious could actually happen. walking through that area, you definitely got the sense that you were being watched. julie noticed how the police look you in the eye when they go by, and any suspicious activity (say, photo taking) is quickly scrutinized by distant eyes. it's not only the police that's on high alert, i think everyone in general, even the civilians, are more conscious of everything that's going around them.
from city hall we went to faneuil hall, where MSNBC had set up an outdoor media tent to broadcast a live edition of chris matthew's hardball. there was a crowd of people surrounding the tent, there to be faithful gawkers but also to provide a lively backdrop, whenever the camera would pan over them, somebody on the stage would direct everyone to be louder. we saw chris matthew, and he also had some guests, including ron reagan. the celebrity that julie and i were waiting to see however was general wesley clark, who was getting some makeup treatment before coming out and joining the panel. i love WC, some of you might recall that i wanted him to be the democratic nominee instead of kerry back when WC was still in the race. i still got money on that guy, maybe he can make another bid in 2008.
from faneuil hall it was a quick walk to the fleet center, site of the DNC. it was getting close to 8pm, the time julie said would be the end of whatever demonstration was happening in the free speech zone. we saw the metal fence encircling the fleet center, as delegates lined up to get back inside, going through a door flanked by police officers who first checked their ID badges. on the other side of the fence, protesters screamed at the delegates walking through into the stadium. the big organized protest on this day was palestinian liberation, how both the democrats and republicans are like-minded on the issue, deferring the answer to this problem for israel to solve through their style of tough love. i actually agree with the protesters, but some of them were so obnoxious, rabidly yelling at anybody at the other side of the free speech zone fence, that i think the message gets lost, and no progress will be made on the matter. sometimes i think these protesters are like children, they see something they don't like and they throw a tantrum instead of behaving like an adult and resolving the issue through reasonable dialogue.
we found the actual free speech zone itself, surprisingly free of activity (perhaps we got there too late). a few dozen protesters, some with matching outfits, several with blowhorns, a couple of entrepreneurial protesters selling artwork and t-shirts. those who weren't involved in the protests were probably recording the spectacle, the familiar above-head raise of digital cameras or the back and forth sweep of handheld camcorders.
having seen enough, julie and i walked back and went to chinatown. after visiting a few korean/japanese restaurants, we finally decided to have dinner at apollo grill.
after dinner, i went back to julie's place where we watched the end of the DNC coverage (clinton superstar was making a speech) and turned to the daily show, hoping for a new episode, which unfortunately wasn't the case yet again. we went back to the news, where the bulk of the coverage was about the convention, followed by the weather, and the sports. after learning that the red sox won again tonight (against the orioles in baltimore), i left julie's place, riding the motorcycle back to cambridge, one town over.