after a seemingly neverending holiday long weekend (although everyday is sort of like a weekend when you work from home and am slightly unemployed), i was ready to get back to work, what little bit of code i had left to do. after 2 hours of SRM programming, there was nothing more on my plate. i had some maple syrup oatmeal then went outside to shovel the sidewalk. in a random act of kindness i shoveled my neighbor's renee's sidewalk as well, since neither she nor her tenants seemed to be home. next i trekked through the snow and went over to dan's place to empty his mailbox and to feed his fish. there would be no happy ending for at least one of his fish, found floating on the surface of the tank. it looked like it'd been dead for a few days, it's fins already nibbled away by the other fish. i scooped it out and gave it a proper water funeral in the toilet. i dropped in a brand new 7 day feeder (shaped like a pirate's chest, yarr!) then left his apartment.

the final leg of my errand run brought me to harvard square, cutting across the divinity school short cut. tourists were still very actively roaming the campus (despite the cold weather), and the fresh snowfall only seemed to egg them on even more as camera shutters clicked everywhere you looked. i cashed a check at the bank before going to the coop to look for manny's present. i seem to be all about the safety reference books these days, and i got him the american red cross first aid & safety handbook. it doesn't have the photos like the d&k first aid manual, but the drawings are just as funny: e.g. learn how to deliver a baby, how to form a human chain for an ice rescue, and 2 informative pages on genital injuries.

around 3:30 renata and her friend trayce were outside my house honking the car horn. renata had invited me to go see a movie with them at kendall square, and then have dinner afterwards. the two of them were wearing matching knitted caps they had just bought at the gap, and seemed playfully perky because of it. i observed with an almost anthropological fascination as renata interacted with her good friend, an almost infectious giddiness i have rarely seen before. at the theatre we met peter (coming from his new apartment near inman square) and jane, another one of renata's friends. trayce knew peter through her girlfriend kay, so no introductions were necessary for those two. this is what teachers (renata, trayce, and jane, all educators) during the winter break, they indulge in all the movies they've missed during the regular school year, and at bargain matinee prices. speaking of education, almodovar's bad education was the movie du jour.

bad education has been getting some good critical reviews, and some have even said this is almodovar's best film to date; i however did not like the movie. if you enjoy the tease of full frontal male nudity and the sight of gael garcía bernal's taut naked ass (aged 26 years), then this might be your poison. the story of an abused altar boy who grows up to blackmail the priest who molested him while at the same time writing about it in a story for his childhood love (now a successful actor) who suspects that maybe this mysterious stranger might not be the same boy whom he grew up with, that story didn't have enough appeal for me. the movie essentially is an erotic thriller with some twists and turns, no more than the selection you'd find nightly on cinemax, perhaps with better production value, and existing in the almodoverse of hot gay men and drag queens and with just enough drama to make you want to snap your fingers and talk back to the screen. actually, a lot of drama, and maybe that's why i couldn't get into it - i demand something more with my movies than just people expressing their feelings. two other movies were playing at kendall tonight: life aquatic and flying daggers. i think i would've had a better time seeing one of those two.

after the movie was over, we drove in two cars to jose's mexican restaurant on sherman street next to the train tracks. the decor was still mexican christmas, and if it weren't for the fact that it was kind of cold inside, you could almost imagine we were actually south of the border somewhere. my drink order got mixed up and i ended up having both a hot chocolate and a chocolate coffee mocha. i had the pozole chicken stew, which was good but i should've ordered a small. a bit salty, i wasn't able to finish it all. renata was doing some social engineering, trying to get her different friends to interact by bringing to light our common interests and background. jane and trayce both lived in washington. trayce and i have both been to costa rica. peter and i both know logan's run. although i didn't mind the conversation, i wondered to myself if i was playing nice because of renata, when normally i'm quite the misanthropist at these mixers.

while jane took trayce back to renata's apartment to retrieve a dvd player and dvd (i didn't ask), renata drove peter and me back home. renata told me her new chinese name, "ling feng," which means "forest pheonix." renata and i then had a spirited argument on whether or not that was a good chinese name for her ("yeah, if you're a member of some ninja death squad"), with peter providing the laugh track from the backseat. when i got back, i watched mean girls on dvd before whittling the rest of my evening away.