i had it all planned out: i was going to go do some winter naturing in the reading town forest, had all the trail maps printed, had all my gear ready to go. the one crucial ingredient involved me waking up early in the morning and walk down to the cafe to borrow my parents' car; unfortunately this never happened. my mother called, asking if i was coming, but i could see through the blinds that the weather outside was gloomy and my mother told me it was snowing, so i decided to sleep in instead (reading will have to wait next weekend).

when i finally woke up (1pm), the snow had stopped, a mere dusting (i thought maybe a blizzard had descended). i decided to do something closer to home, which was to visit this castle-like structure on top of a hill somewhere in somerville. i see it all the time, and this past summer i tried to find it on my motorcycle but couldn't exactly figure out which one way street led to it. so today i walked down to union square (about a mile away, following behind some skaters), determined to climb up to the castle. i stopped by the korean supermarket and bought a jar of kimchee from the wall of fermented cabbage before heading up the hill. on foot it's easy to find the secret street: stone street is the one that goes all the way to the top.

the citadel was built in 1775 by the colonial army after the battle of bunker hill. a flag on top waves the banner of the united colonies, which resembles the current american flag except a union jack instead of the field of stars. british prisoners of war from the battle of saratoga were also put here (1777-1778) and somerville's union soldiers camped here during the civil war. the tower and the surrounding region is now located in an area called prospect hill park (you can look for it on a map). although you can't actually go inside the citadel, the view from its base is pretty spectacular, of somerville, cambridge, and the surrounding boston area. i'm surprised i never came here before, it'd be a great place to see sunsets, and possibly the 4th of july fireworks. it would've also been cool to be here on a pre-christmas night, to see the city all lit up with the holiday lights. next year! this is one of my new favorite place now.

i made a stop at star market to get some groceries and bumped into my neighbor jen. returning home, i saw a group of hipsters having a winter barbecue on their stoop. when i got back the panthers-giants game was already over, carolina swept new york, 23-0. i then watched the steelers-bengals game. i was rooting for the bengals only because their quarterback got injured after the 2nd play of the game; i should've been rooting for pittsburg, since a steelers win meant the patriots would face the denver broncos next weekend, a much better matchup than against the indianapolis colts, who are the favorites to win this year's superbowl (even though the broncos are 8-0 at home this season). the steelers ended up winning.

in the evening, my parents came over for dinner with my sister and suhan. they made some meat buns and some hot and sour soup. we tried the new jar of kim chee (verdict: not as strong tasting as the usual kimchee i'd get from chinatown, i'll try a different brand next time). afterwards i helped suhan with his PC, which he brought with him. he bought a new 160gb hard drive but it wasn't working; turns out the problem was with an improperly located dip switch, and after taking it out, everything was okay.

got notification from B&H today that my camera order has shipped (i was afraid they'd be back-ordered as well). there's just one more thing i needed to buy, and i got it from amazon.com: a lexar firewire compactflash reader.