construction (chinatown, boston)

i wish there were more days in june. more time to do the things i want before i leave, things like finishing my freelance projects, shopping for equipment, running, minor home repairs, and naturing (not in that order of course). once i disembark in july, i won't come back until october. i'm so used to spending my august and september in town, it feels weird to not be here. all day i was coordinating with my mother over the phone: my parents do more traveling than i do and she was calling her network of travel agents to book my flight for me. so the dates are set: july 16th (sunday) leaving for shanghai, october 10th returning from hong kong, a total of almost 3 months. after this megatrip, i think i'll settle for shorter trips in the near future. it's funny, but when i'm in town, all i do is dream about leaving, but when i leave, all i want to do is to be at home (sleeping in my own bed, eating normal food, watching my usual shows on tv). all i know is now (for me) is a good time to go traveling. i just sort of wish i did it when i was younger, but i think a little maturity makes me appreciate things a little bit more. my first and last time in china was a 3 week affair 6 years ago on a chinese government sponsored tour into the desert xinjiang province with a bunch of other young overseas chinese ("ABC" as they're called, "american born chinese"). i was the oldest member of the group (some were as young as 16), and i definitely had a deeper appreciation than most of the other kids there (example: while i was taking photos of uygher merchants in the urumuqi bazaar, those kids were trying to get high from roadside hemp back in the hotel room). but if i could do that trip again, i'd savor the moment even more. there are things i've learned during my later travels, hindsight, that makes future trips more enjoyable and memorable because i'm able to value the experience that much more. it's strange to think that i live a pretty sedentary lifestyle for 9 months out of the year (i'm a freelance programmer working from home, you can't get more sedentary than that) but then for 3 months i'm a completely different person, flying thousands of miles to places that show me something new every waking moment, using skills like bartering and non-verbal communication that i would never use in my everyday life. i just hope these trips will inspire others to go traveling: as much as i enjoy other people reading about my adventures abroad, i also love reading/hearing/seeing the travel stories of others.

after a few hours of work (i felt guilty; it still wasn't the amount i should be working at) i got ready to head into boston. my father dropped by briefly with some information he found on chinese websites about western sichuan. he told me about a possible itinerary and suggested i spend more days there because it's definitely one of the most remote areas of china, with 10,000+ feet elevation towns perched high up in snow-capped mountains. electricity, hot water? maybe. the more i hear about how harsh the environment, the more excited i get. i don't like to rough it, but places like these must mean they don't see a lot of foreigners, so it'll be a more authentic experience.

i rode into boston and parked my bike in chinatown right next to another motorcycle. i was checking the weather all day, trying to figure out if it was going to rain or not (overcasted sky but it stayed dry all day). i got a drink and some candy from CVS before arriving at the boston common theatre. i could see the line for the special screening of omen but the usher wouldn't let me in unless i had an invitation (which i didn't have; sara invited me). so i waited outside, until joel text me from inside, and came out to get me 20 minutes before the movie started. the screening was surprisely crowded, full of rowdy kids whom sara was threatening to get security to throw out.

i've seen the original omen trilogy so i came into the movie already knowing much of the story, which the film faithfully followed (based on a book in the first place). omen for those who don't know is the story about the origin of the antichrist, age 0 to 6. the movie plays out with much seriousness, which inadvertently turns the film into a comedy. by now everyone knows the story of the antichrist, how he can be identified by the "666" marking on his body (unfortunately this tell-tale sign looks like late stage skin cancer in the film). this movie could've been better if they just updated the story and made some self-references. for example, at the first sign of evil, the mother would immediately think her son might be the antichrist (tell me which mother hasn't thought their disobedient child might be the offspring of satan himself?), but soon recants thinking it's a preposterous idea, only later to find out the truth when it's already too late. instead, characters in this movie go through the film never once questioning the mysterious circumstances of the boy's birth and upbringing, which does the disservice of making them appear stupid. come on, the kid's name is damien! that's a giveaway right there! i had some grievances about the casting as well: from what i've seen of the trailer i already knew this remake was going to be lame, so it didn't really matter who they put in the lead - but julia stiles and liev schreiber? could they have found two less attractive parents? at least in the original they had gregory peck, who is one handsome man. mia farrow has a nice supporting role as the evil nanny; during her interview when she talks about all the children she used to raise, i couldn't help to think about her own real-life adopted kids (including soongyi!). as for the young actor playing damien, i just wanted to slap him. he wasn't so much evil and creepy as he was annoying and arrogant. if i recall, in the original omen, damien doesn't seem to know his evil potential even though bad things happen all around him; it's not until omen ii, with damien a teenager, does he discover for himself the mark of the beast (that is one awesome scene of self-discovery). in the new version, damien seems to be perfectly aware of his wicked proclivities, which makes it seem silly when he turns around and gives people the evil eye (i don't care if he is the son of satan! sassy brats deserve spankings). with that being said, the movie isn't without some good moments, especially a few applause-worthy graphic scenes of death and dismemberment.

outside the theatre i heard a woman gasping. i peered into a bar and saw the score of the red sox yankees game: 13-2, red sox losing. i came back home and heated up some leftover pizza for a late dinner.