barring any sort of unexpected last-minute emergencies, i have decided to leave for southeast asia in 13 days. suddenly it hit me: whoa, i'm going soon. it's one thing to plan a trip, it's another thing to actually take it, like putting all that theory to work. it's scary and exciting all at the same time, and i could probably research everything for another month and still wouldn't be completely satisfied that i've covered all my bases, but sometimes the best thing is to just do it. i never wanted to be one of those people who plan every single detail of a trip, but preparation seems to make anything less daunting. the countdown begins. you will know that i'm gone because suddenly the weblog will not be updated. for 3 months. brace yourself for that eventuality. book appointments with your therapist ahead of time.

today, one delivery after another. my father stopped by with some food (even though i already had some leftover tacos). then the mailman dropped off an order from amazon.com (a southeast asia map book). later he delivered a dvd alex had ordered. and finally the UPS guy came by with another amazon.com package, a pair of insight guides to cambodia/laos and vietnam. i'm done with buying books!

i went out for a run again, thoroughly uninspiring, but it felt good afterwards to get back home and jump into the hot shower. will i be doing any exercise in southeast asia, let alone have hot water to bath? who knows.

in the evening julie invited me to a special screening of short films created by RISD film students that was happening in north cambridge. when she instant messaged me with a reminder, i was already late and it'd take me too long to walk, so instead i hitched a ride on the 77 bus which took me right there in no time. there was a sign-up sheet for alumni, and you could pick up free pens and stickers, along with an assortment of snacks. i grabbed just a drink, didn't feel right pilfering the food table since it seemed reserved for RISD folks. julie and i sat at the far end of the screening room on two folding chairs we carried over. one of the student filmmakers introduced the series and then manned the projector throughout the presentation, switching out the tapes. my favorite short was one shot in this veritae style of college kids goofing off and demonstrating superhuman feats through the creative use of cgi effects. there was another one following the lives of turkish ferryboat sailors crossing the bosporus between istanbul. the last one was the worst one, think napoleon dynamite but without the ironic humor, it was an annoying confusing short that made me want to get a refund on those wasted 20 minutes.

from where we were it was just a short walk to teele square, where we had dinner at the tibetan restaurant. they served us anyway even though the restaurant closes at 9:30 (that's almost exactly when we got there). i had these oversized tibetan dumplings, they were okay, but i guess i wasn't very hungry since i had some rice with sausages before the show.

we walked back to davis square and ducked into the mcintyre & moore used bookstore. there's something about a used bookstore that feels dead and old to me (even though i love visiting the strand in NYC). and now that harvard square has lost so many of its own bookstores, whenever i visit any bookstore, it just makes me sad. i saw an art book i might buy, wrote down the name and author so i could come back home and research it, see if i could buy it for less online. i didn't take julie up on her offer of tea at her place and a ride home, opting instead to just walk it back on my own.

crossing the bridge from somerville into cambridge i saw an animal scurrying about. it took me a few seconds to realize it was a skunk. it wasn't my neighborhood skunk, this one was full-size. it wasn't in any hurry, made some gestures to run away but came right back when it sensed there wasn't any danger. i took out my camera and snapped a few photos but the skunk wouldn't stop moving. when i followed it across the street, it finally did stop, gave me a warning look, then started moving again. i love skunks. they're cute but nobody messes with them. they're like that short kid you know in middle school who has a black-belt in karate and could easily kick any bully's ass.

i'd missed the first showing of BG so had to wait until 1:00 before they rebroadcasted it again. sort of a weak episode this week, about an independent tribunal becoming a witch hunt, but the chief petty officer broke up with boomer and now seriously suspects that she might be in cahoots with the cyclons.