my mother called me this morning with prices for china airfare. apparently the time i want to visit china is the most expensive, roundtrip ticket prices over $1000. if i go later, say in the fall, it'll be cheaper, but the problem is the longer i stay in cambridge, the less money i'll have to spend for traveling, so i don't have a choice.

i got a late start, went to bed pretty late, woke up close to noon. just like last friday, my brain had already closed up shop. i fixed a few bugs for clients P and B but for the most part i burned through the day. my left ear's been bothering me for a few weeks. i think it's an ear infection but it doesn't hurt, i just can't hear very well from it. it feels weird and it affects my sense of balance. i have another doctor's appointment next thursday, i'll have him take a look if it doesn't clear up on its own.

it rained pretty hard early this morning but i slept right through it. though the weather was overcasted at first, by the afternoon the sun came back out. i took the opportunity to go out for another run. it was a little bit cold so i didn't feel as energized as i did on tuesday. canada geese congregated along the banks of the river with their goslings. i keep on meaning to come down and take some photos.

i'm starting to collect my travel gear. it's a little bit easier this time around, i have a pretty good idea of what i should bring. one of the most important piece of equipment is how i store all the photos i take. when i went to southeast asia i had a vosonic x's drive super VP6210, one of those portable photo storage devices. it's nothing fancy but it gets the job done. i could've sworn it only had a 40gb drive though, so when i opened up the case to see how easy it'd be to swap it out with a larger drive, i was surprised to see it had an 80gb drive inside. i doublechecked my receipt from last year, and sure enough, i splurged and bought the 80gb model (i ended up using 30gb during my travel) for $360 (you can buy one now for $50 less). i went ahead and updated the firmware: not only does it support raw files now, but it can also play movies (i watched a bootleg of the matador). the only thing i need now is to replace the battery: i must've recharged it one too many times because it can hardly hold a charge at this point and i have to use the device with the power adapter.

in the early evening my mother came by with a delivery of raw chicken wings. i had some for dinner while watching the game. my neighbors franz and jen were throwing a party (franz's birthday) and she invited me yesterday but i decided not to go. instead, i waited later in the evening and went to a different party, hosted by laura. titled "marco polo," it was a sending away party (she's going to southwestern china for a month next weekend) with an unabashed asian theme. laura lives in a converted church in union square (i never knew there were apartments inside) and greeted me at the door wearing a red chipao. inside the place was decorated with paper lanterns and a projector was running a show, mashing itune's screen saver, chinese movies, and different songs (her roommate jeffrey was a former video deejay). chinese snacks included dried prunes (everyone who tried it ended up spitting it out), haw rollups, white rabbit candy, and sunflower seeds. later jeffrey returned from chinatown with appetizers from china pearl. i was of course the first guest there and had some quiet time to chat with laura and her friend claire (also going with laura to china, as well as her parents). i had some other interesting conversations: cindy (laura's childhood friend and fellow tuftonia) and i chatted about being able to speaking taiwanese but not mandarin, dale (lisa's boyfriend) told us harrowing tales of traveling to machu picchu in 1976, and molly and i talked about gardening. i left around midnight, making my way through the front door where all the "too cool for school" kids were out smoking on the front steps. i wiped the rain from my seat and motorcycled back home. my neighbors' party was still going on.