i have a disease, i can't stop buying books. this morning i was determined to find a book about chiang mai. originally i was going to order it online but there was a 2-4 weeks wait on amazon.com so i figured i'd just buy it from a bookstore, which was where i originally saw the book in the first place. problem was i didn't remember which bookstore, and i'd visited 5 within the past week. so i head out to harvard square first, revisiting the 3 bookstores there with no luck. i could've just gone home, but i knew not finding the book would haunt me so i got on the subway and went to downtown crossing. i finally found it at barnes & noble, bought it, then quickly came home.

my amazon.com book order was waiting on my doorstep, a southeast asian phrasebook and the rough guide to southeast asia. up to now i've been using the lonely planet guide to southeast asia as my reference. now that i have a chance to compare the two, the lonely planet guide is definitely a lot better. the rough guide, although dense, seems dry, and the layout seems confusing. the rough guide also seems preachy: there's no mention of burma at all (which is surprising for a guide about southeast asia), almost as if they don't want you to go there. unfortunately the lonely planet guide i have is a library book and i'll have to return it soon. i'm ordering a personal copy for myself but it's stuck at amazon.com because i'm bundling it with another item (map book) that currently on hold.

it's my turn to cook tonight and after struggling with a recipe i finally decided to do the 30 minute meal clam chowder, or in my case, clam corn chowder. this will be my second attempt, after a lackluster initial try. i went to the supermarket and got the ingredients. when i told julie what i'd be making tonight, she told me she doesn't do chowder. i don't think i've ever cooked for somebody as picky as she is! we decided to make tacos instead.

when evening came around she walked over to my place (so she wouldn't lose her valuable parking spot) so we could go to the coelacanth (living fossil!) lecture at the harvard museum. i figured the snow would produce a low turnout, but the usual amount of people showed up nevertheless. a harvard fish professor gave the talk, i didn't think it was very good, he brought up points that he didn't connect and his lecture sort of meandered. he had a good sense of humor though, ever so often interjecting the presentation with a funny anecdote. the talk was low on coelacanth facts (at least nothing that i didn't already know) and towards the end i noticed people were already leaving prematurely.

instead of tacos, julie hijacked my dinner plans once again and suggested pho in harvard square instead. i left my camera at home when i was rushing out of the house and couldn't take photos of my meal other than with my cameraphone (the quality is bad enough that i'm not even going to bother posting them). i had the vermicelli dish with pork and shrimp while julie went with some chicken pho. after dinner we walked back, i went home while julie returned to davis square.