my aunt lili took an extended lunch break from her office near central square to come over to my place so i could install some sort of slide show program for her titanium powerbook, so she could see the photos she took from a recent china vacation in the huangshan region. we ended up just using apple's iphoto, a program that i don't use but it seemed to suit what she wanted to do perfectly. later, she treated me to lunch at zoe's across the street, before going back to work.

i had a bit of work myself, coding in conjunction with alex to tweak the pond bug projectors. after it was all over, i went out for a run. temperature was in the 60's and it'd been foggy and slightly drizzling all day, but the relief of hard rain never did arrive during the day, coming only later in the evening. i covered up the motorcycle with a tarp in preparation for the eventual downpour, then took a shower after i got back home from the run. a man had asked me how to get to brookline while i was getting water. he was several towns off, and showed me an exact address like i could just mapquest him detailed directions as to how to get to his destination. "brookline is on the other side of the river," was all i could say, then i ran off. this is the second strange exchange i'd had at the drinking fountain, something about that place that attracts weirdos. after cleaning up, i went out again to the super star market in porter square, to buy some fruits for renata's parents, a canteloupe and some pomegranates. i talked with my next door neighbor sven who was sitting outside on his stoop, smoking a cigarette, drinking a beer, enjoying the cold rain that had started to fall. he was curious about my place and asked if he could have a tour one of these days, since his place is just like mine in terms of the layout. he said that they might be having a party soon, and that i'd be invited. for dinner i ate the rest of my barbecue leftovers from a few days ago.

after 8pm renata arrived at my doorstep. she'd invited me to go see her brother's performance in blood from a turnip, a late-night puppet show in providence, rhode island. afterwards, we'd spend the night at her parents' place nearby, and have the next day to ourselves naturing in the ocean state, "filled with many hidden treasures," as renata likes to say. renata, who hates driving, hated it even more since not only was it driving at night but driving in the rain. on top of that, she had a busy day (just came back from a taco dinner), and seemed be to coming down with something. she drove slowly, cautiously, which seemed to stir the ire of large trucks behind us, which in turn would trigger renata's verbal road rage. at the halfway mark, renata pulled off at an exit and asked if i could drive. unlike her, i have no feelings one way or another about driving. i was just surprised that she trusted me enough to let me drive her car, when in all our past excursions she seemed reluctant to do so (maybe it was from our last trip together, when i drove for a change, that altered her opinion about my driving ability). while she tried to get some sleep, i tried to get us to providence in time for the show, rain be damned. those who've driven with me know that i like it fast, and while renata had been doing the speed limit, i was hitting 80mph at times. periodically renata would stir to consciousness, and ask me how i was doing, and my reply would always be, "i'm doing fine, go back to sleep."

finally we got to providence, but with zero idea as to where the venue was located. we pulled up along the curb and switched positions, renata doing the driving while i became the navigator with my fold-out map of the city. it helped that within the past few months, i've actually been to providence a few times, so at the very least i had some faint street recognition. once i got my bearing as to where we were on the map, i was able to lead us to the right place. we parked and walked to the perishable theatre, rivers of rainwater washing over the glistening cobblestoned walkways. even though renata had on a raincoat, we still shared an umbrella. another show was going on at the time, so all the puppet show patrons had to wait outside. we tried going into a bar to get something hot to drink (as unlikely as that might be), but there was a cover charge. we wandered around the block a bit, looking for a place to get a warm beverage, but that part of town was desolate, and soon it became time for the show. after paying our admission, we waited on the steps for the stage to be ready. here renata and i saw a boy who looked like an exact clone of our mutual acquaintance (and renata's ex), a mr.gene m, just with darker hair. the resemblance was so uncanny that it started to get knd of spooky, bordering on awkward. we were then all ushered into the performance chamber, renata and i finding two empty front row seats waiting for us.

there was a total of four puppet performances. the first one was an re-interpretation of the play "medea", about a woman scorned, who ends up killing not only her own children but her husband's mistress as well. the second one titled "up south, a tragic comedy!" was a musical/puppet show hybrid. i thought it was pretty interesting, the humor monty pythonesque. the third was called "vote for mr.punch" and the whole premise was a setup to deliver the punchline that we needed a real puppet in the white house. the humor was a little heavy-handed and sophomoric (sorry), with the crowd seemingly into it only because there was much bush bashing (in this case, "shrub" bashing).

last but not least, renata's brother marsian performed "the adventures of michael jackson and the animals of neverland ranch", about the purported animal abuse at MJ's private zoo. it's nice to know that at this stage in marsian's artistic career, he no longer has to operate his own puppets and has a lovely assistant who does the puppeteering for him. the humor was subversive, climaxing at a pivotal scene where MJ and a chimp engage in a near circle jerk in front of some children. i was most impressed with the set design, shaped like a large children's book which served as differing backgrounds for the story.

after the show, renata and i drove to her parents' house. ironically, they were actually in boston earlier tonight attending a symphony performance. they were home already though (it was close to midnight), renata's mother still awake to greet us when we arrived. the first thing renata did was to throw a load of dirty laundry into the washing machine. we had some hot tea and some homemade pizzelle cookies, and while renata fell asleep on the couch waiting for her clothes to finish washing, i chatted with her mother. soon afterwards everyone went to bed, renata sleeping in the study, while i had the tv room all to myself (which later i found out was a coveted sleeping spot, one that renata purposely let me have). the forced air heating was on, filling the house in a cozy warmth.