i went to the hospital this morning.

before you jump to any conclusions, before you can ask: was it about the eye twitching? was it the clinical depression? was it the melanoma from this past summer? i just want to let you know that i went to the hospital for a routine followup, to check my blood pressure and to get blood drawn for some tests, nothing more. is it just me or do other people wait a long time before seeing their doctor? like today, i waited an hour before my doctor could see me, and that was early: i've waited as long as 2 hours before. is that normal? i think the problem is i have a senior citizen doctor who has mostly older patients, people with real serious problems, people who take a long time for diagnosis. as for me, i'm in that doctor's office for just a few minutes and i'm out. if he wasn't such a nice guy, if i haven't been seeing him for the past few years, if he wasn't the senior editor of some fancy harvard medical magazine, i'd probably switch doctors.

just as i predicted, when it came to my turn it went quickly. we chatted briefly, i told him since we last met i got laid off for the 3rd time, and he asked if i was continuing my health insurance coverage, which i said yes. he then told me about his own health insurance problems, and i realized that even doctors aren't immune from the health care bureaucracy. he remarked that since i now have a lot of free time on my hands, that i should consider exercising everyday. is this man not satisfied with my 3 days a week of running? i'm not a machine! i basically can't sit still, i have to be constantly moving. he also liked my upbeat attitude regarding my unemployment, and i added that since i work mostly from home these days, there's less chance for me to catch a disease. he took my blood pressure, 110/90, which he said was excellent. i took the opportunity to ask him about the "slight skin discoloration" on my arm. "that's just a slight skin discoloration," he exclaimed, after briefly looking at it with a magnifying glass, "it's nothing." whew! i beat cancer!

after the visit was over, i went across the room to the laboratory where i get my blood drawn. i don't like needles, but i also don't like to show i'm nervous, so i played it cool, the less i said, the less afraid i looked. besides, there was an old lady getting her blood taken sitting across from me, and she hardly flinched when the woman stuck the needle into her thin arm. i had a male nurse take care of me, as he tied the rubber strip around my arm and swab the skin above the target vein. i involuntarily turned away right before he stuck me with the needle. a pinprick of pain, and counting down the seconds before the foreign object would be removed from my body. there was a computer printout of a man dressed in a military uniform, with the caption "tour of duty: kuwait." "is that you?" i asked. "no, that's my brother. sometimes we look alike," he replied. and before i knew it, he had three test tubes of my blood on the table. he taped me up and i left mass general hospital. i waited for the elevator with a pretty girl wearing a midriff-bearing red sweater. we smiled at each other when the 3rd elevator going up passed us by (we were both trying to go back downstairs).

i came home and had the leftover thai noodles for lunch. the guy i asked to clean out my gutters couldn't do it but referred me to somebody else, whom i called and left a message. i did an hour's worth of code investigation for that 2 weeks project i'll be working on. julie went out to buy her new pet goldfish and i tagged along for the ride to the everett strip mall.

first we went to petsmart, where julie got her fish and a plant. the fishcare woman didn't seem very knowledgeable, and warned julie that the goldfish would outgrow the tank (i don't think that's true). i also bought another plant for my own fishtank, some kind of frilly aquatic grass. next, julie wanted to find a large vase to put her fish in. we went to bed, bath, and beyond but they didn't have anything, but we did find a large glass vase at pier 1, which julie promptly bought. unfortunately, at michael's arts and crafts she saw a better vase, and went back to pier 1 to return the vase she just bought so she could get the better one. it's all very complicated. by the time we left to go home, the sun had already set.

back at home, i quickly threw my plant into the aquarium and got on my motorcycle to belmont. this would be my last ride of the season, judging from the extended weather report, looks like our days of 50+ degrees temperature are gone, so it's time to put the bike away in storage. this was the last warmish day so this was my only window of opportunity to get the bike back to belmont. i went to the gas station and filled up the tank (you're supposed to store the bike with a full tank so it doesn't rust inside), then went to my parents' place to stash the motorcycle in the garage. it was a sad ride, like losing my freedom, since without the bike i have no other means of transportation other than walking and the MBTA. but even if i wanted to, there's no way i could ride during the winter, not with subzero temperatures and icy roads. i did a lot of riding this season. if i had to guess, maybe something like 700 miles. prior to this year, i was always reluctant to ride at nights, nor did i like riding in the rain. this year changed all that. i'm also a lot better at finding parking spots (pretty much any small open space without a clear cut "no parking" sign is fair game). skillwise, i have way more confidence now, i can even do that cool move where i spin around the bike real fast pivoting from an outstretched leg (whether that's dangerous or not, who knows, but i can do it). i can't wait to ride next year. as soon as we get back to 50+ degrees temperatures, i'll be rolling the bike out of the garage once again.

i had dinner with my family at my parents' place. the topic du jour was concerning the severity of hotness of the homegrown habanero peppers. they're so hot that everyone in my family is afraid of them now, in the same way that indian villagers fear man-eating tigers lurking in the jungle. my mother wore gloves when she cut one of the peppers (to be used in a dipping sauce), and even then, she only used a quarter of it (that was enough to make my mouth all numb for the rest of the evening). i put my nose close to the cutting board and took a sniff and i started to get frightened. i retrieved some sweaters that were in storage in the basement, then my father gave me a ride back to cambridge.

after the debris had settled, i got some fish photos with my newly-acquired plant. originally when i got the aquarium i wanted an aquatic garden more than i did a fish tank. now, a year later, it seems i finally got my wish!

finally, i watched spring, summer, fall, winter...and spring. the story of a man coincides with the passing of the season, from his early days as a boy living on a secluded floating temple with a monk, to young adulthood where he falls in love for the first time, eventually to when he's an old man. this movie is part storywatching, part cultural tourism. the movie has a very zen-like flow to it, and sometimes i don't understand what's going on (particularly anything to do with religion) but i can still get the jist of the moment. highly recommended.

eventually i went to bed, 4am.

young rascals - "good lovin'"