i spent the morning trying to resolve a video capturing glitch for client N. the director xtra i'm currently using works but lacks the ability to rotate the captured video image. a different xtra offered a better solution but i couldn't get it to work on my pc and spent a few hours pulling my hair attempting to fix the issue. the only workaround now seems to be building the whole interactive on its side and rotate everything via the video card setting.

the woman who used to have my plot last season called me today. i've been meaning to get in touch with her but it kept slipping my mind. she pretty much told me that i can till that whole area, that there's nothing there that she wants anymore. she also gave me some more info, like the fact that the soil is high in potassium (she did a soil test) and her squashes had a case of the mold. looks like i got the green light - once it stops raining i'm going back out to work on my garden.

in the afternoon i went to my doctor's appointment at the harvard vanguard medical building on cambridge street on the outskirts of harvard square. the walk took just 20 minutes, i was surprised how close it was. i went to get the rash on my neck checked out. for some reason i thought it was scabies, and maybe i've been invaded by parasites. the doctor did a scraping and came back afterwards saying that it doesn't appear to be an infection, so it might be ringworms. ringworms! that's just an old-school term for skin fungi. he prescribed an ointment. if it still doesn't heal, it might be an infection after all, and he'll go ahead and prescribe a steroid creme. before i left, i asked if i could get some lab work done (check things like cholesterol) and made an appointment to see the travel clinic doctor. i filled out some forms to get my medical records transferred from MGH and went downstairs to the lab. the cute latina nurse got 6 small test tubes of blood from me through a butterfly needle. after she was done i asked if she could tell if i was nervous (confession: i hate needles, i couldn't even bare to watch the test tubes filling up). "no, you did alright." she handed me a small plastic cup with a screw-on lid and asked for a urine sample. (cue "wah-wah" sound)

returning home i took my time, enjoying the overcasted weather with only a slight drizzle, not the cold downpours we've been experiencing the past few days. the rain had washed off the petals on some of the more delicate flowering trees, carpets of pink and white lining the sidewalks. i took a photo of an old-timey sign: "we give S&H green stamps". i came home and did some research: vendors (like in this case, an old gas station) used to give out green stamps to their customers (an attempt to foster customer loyalty); once the customers collect enough, they can trade in the stamps for products (featured in special green stamps catalogs), like a new toaster. first started in 1896, these stamps reached their height in the 60's, only to all but disappear in the 70's (although they still exist today online).

my mother dropped by in the late afternoon to watch the monday episode of 24 that i taped. having not eaten the whole day (so i wouldn't taint my cholesterol reading), i bought a slice of sweet potato pie ($3.10) from petsi's before i came home. i ate that as well as the leftover pasta from tuesday night for a late lunch early dinner.

my buy.com books arrived, two china books. after reading a few parts of the lonely planet guide it left me a little depressed. why? a trip to china looks to be expensive. budget hotel rooms are expensive averaging around $20/night. that's still cheap by international standards, but after traveling through southeast asia last spring on $5-10/night hotel rooms and a daily budget of just $20/day, that seems sort of expensive. nevertheless, it's probably cheaper now than it'll be in a few more years, and it's still a good time to go. i checked out the route, looks mostly land transportation starting at hong kong and traveling westernward. right now i'm tentatively thinking sometime in july as a departure day, and i'll be gone a month at least, 2 months at most. these were the photos i saw that initially inspired me to think about southwestern china as my next travel destination (those are from guilin).

bruce showed up on my doorstep sometime in the evening, back in cambridge again (for the rest of the year?). we chatted about his recent trip with jack to nova scotia, like some sort of magical northern island where mooses and bears roam free. he left with a bottle of wine to go play cards.

and the red sox yankees marathon! i'm no fan of matsui but did you see that hand? hate to see that happen. he fell on it completely wrong and you could see it bend at an impossible angle. and then when he was holding onto to his broken wrist, the hand just dangled lifelessly, it was gross. now the red sox record against the yankees this season is 3-1.