i went to the back bay this morning to attend a client meeting. i was dressed for business (meaning a collared shirt), but i had on my jeans and the shirt was untucked, which meant nobody's the boss of me. i had some minutes to kill, so i slipped into the virgin megastore and did some browsing. i came across a book so awesome in its vintage coolness that i had no choice but to buy it: 2gether 4ever: notes of a junior high school heartthrob, a collection of real junior high school love notes. a lot of them are really funny, but it also says something about relationships, and the things we do as children isn't that far off from what we do as adults (perhaps with just more dire consequences and complexity). i had my meeting, finally met the project manager that i've been corresponding with for over a year but never seen in person. the project is a little thing, about 2 weeks worth of work, but i make enough to pay a single mortgage payment with some change left over. that's what jobs are to me now, i gauge projects by how many mortgage payments i can make.

i left the client's office and casually walked down newbury street, doing some window shopping. RED SOX SIGHTING: i saw kevin youkilis and his girlfriend. they looked like they've been shopping, he was holding all the bags. they got into an SUV and drove away. i thought youkilis would be taller but he seems to be of normal height. so of course i immediately called julie to let her know, figuring she'd appreciate the celebrity sighting update. the only store i went into was sugar heaven, and bought some overpriced candy. i was meeting eliza for lunch and when i finally got to her office building, i left a message on her cellphone (she's in a meeting), and wandered around the area a little bit more.

boston common was a short walk away so i went into the park and sat on a bench. there were more squirrels than pigeons, and when i looked down, there was a precocious squirrel standing in front of me, looking for food. i stuck out my fingers, pretending i had a morsel, figuring the squirrel would know better, but to my surprise, my arboreal friend quickly grabbed onto my fingers with its two front paws. it freaked me out and i immediately pulled my hand away, looking around to make sure nobody saw that humiliating exchange. i touched a squirrel! how many people can say that? i bet most of you go through the entire year without touching a squirrel, but not me. today i fullfilled my squirrel taction quota. eliza called me back on the cellphone and i returned to her building to meet up with her.

we ended up having lunch at thai basil (132 newbury street), an establishment that i've been to on more than one occasion. we put our sample bottles of caffeinated water on the table, accidentally falling into the product placement trap. we got these little fried "treasures" for an appetizer. i went with the tom yum noodle soup, while eliza had what the woman sitting next to us was having, broad thai noodles. later, a different woman sat next to us, and she ended up ordering what i was having, so there was a total chain event in ordering. we also both got thai ice tea, and eliza laughed at me when i poured in almost the entire content of syrup into my drink (i like it sweet). eliza thought her food had a weird taste to it and didn't finish her meal; i thought my tom yum noodle soup was okay, too many scallops (i don't like scallops). our conversation ranged from tales of home ownership, to eliza's unforunate day of mishaps yesterday, to of course the topic du jour, the presidential election.

after a long lunch (eliza would probably get in trouble), we headed back to eliza's office. while she went to get some tea, i went to the nearest T stop and came back to cambridge. kicking the leaves on the sidewalk as i walked home, i had a total blue velvet moment when i saw something that looked like a human ear on the ground. turns out it was a human ear, but one of those soft rubber kind they sell around halloween.

after i called up nstar to schedule (monday morning) a repair person to come take a look at my heat, i pulled several recipe books from the shelf to find soemthing to make for tonight, where the lovely renata was making a visit for dinner and possibly a movie. in the end i decided on a modified clam chowder recipe, a clam "corn" chowder, because it was the soup renata and i wanted to get in rhode island but they didn't have it. i wrote down a list of ingredients and went across the street to do some grocery shopping. when i came back around 4pm, i cleaned up the house a little bit before i started making the chowder.

the thing with clam chowder, or at least from the 2 combined recipes that i was using, is that it first starts off almost like an onion soup. one whole onion chopped up, thrown into a pot with a few strips of cooked bacon, so there's all that bacon fat to cook the onion. next comes a few tablespoons of flour to thicken things up. now here's where i made my mistake. the clam juice is supposed to be added gradually with constant stirring. i just basically dumped all the clam juice in, while totally killed the heat, and nothing was thickening up, so i had to cheat and add some corn starch. once i got that to a boil, i dumped in the chopped potatoes and the corn, letting everything simmer for about 15 minutes (until the potatoes got soft enough to eat). once everything is nearly cooked, that's when the clams go in along with a cup of heavy cream. the chowder that i made was okay, but it was sort of rough around the edges. the potatoes didn't seem tender enough still, and although the chowder had a thick consistency, i think it could be thicker. i thought the taste was sort of lacking as well, too clammy. i like my chowder almost like a milky broth.

while i was busy in the kitchen making dinner, i failed to check my messages, so i didn't realize renata had wrote me an e-mail saying she wasn't feeling well, and would contact me after a nap. later in the evening, she called to say she couldn't come because she still wasn't feeling right. it's all for the best, i wasn't particularly proud of my first attempt at chowder making anyway. i'll have to do some more research to find some better recipes.

swayed by the media onslaught, i found myself watching the season premiere of the OC. i think they did a pretty good job filling people in who haven't been following the show. nevertheless, i don't think i've caught on to the craze. seth cohen is adorkable though.