the morning started with me putting on some pants and going out to the garden to water my plants. i haven't been there in a few days and noticed some tiny wildflower sprouts poking through the dirt. it's really kind of amazing how pretty the community garden can get, with all the different flowers blooming, an eyeful of colors. irises seem to be a favorite displaying all kinds of different shapes and sizes.

i went to the porter square post office to mail off some bills (home insurance and my quarterly tax payments for both state and federal) then paid a quick visit to the wine cask to pick up a bottle of french red wine (2003 bordeaux cotes de francs [chateau lauriol]).

my batteries from sterlingtek.com arrived today, just 2 days after i ordered them sunday night (i bought enough to qualify for free 2nd day fedex delivery). i got 3 more batteries for my canon SLR, 2 batteries for the nikon coolpix, a spare canon recharger, and a battery for my portable photo storage device. i'm now considering whether i should buy an additional hard drive. that thing already has 80gb, but i can seriously see myself taking more than that. during my southeast asia trip of over 3 months i shot 30gb worth of photos. taking into consideration that the average SLR photo is 3x as large, i don't think 80gb will be enough.

after a few hours of work i got ready for tonight's special event, dinner with my upstairs neighbor steve and paul, as well as my next door neighbors franz and jen. although i've lived here for 4 years now, this is the first we've done something like this. i was the first to arrive, walked out my front door and rang the doorbell for upstairs. i chatted with steve and paul before franz and jen arrived up the back porch. we had chicken kabobs along with rice for dinner and brownies for dessert. great conversations, ranging from neighborhood gossip, to documentary films, to traveling, to living in vermont, and local crimewatch. we stayed until 10pm when a contagious yawn went around the dinner party participants signaling it was time to call it a night.

june 1st, 2005

my father told me tonight his friend zhang fongkang died a few days ago from a brain aneurysm. i was the last person in my family to have seen him, meeting in taipei back in june, a few days before i came home to boston. we went out to dinner in a beijing restaurant. he was happy to see me because i reminded him of my father, and reminisced about the good old days. he couldn't get over the fact that i was 31 years old. with his commanding voice he used to be a radio broadcaster, and recently made his living teaching proper chinese enunciation to news reporters. he didn't like the way taiwanese society was heading and i thought he'd be better off moving to china if he didn't hate the communists just as much. over drinks at a shingdian macdonald he professed his love for coffee. i met him briefly one last time the day before i left; he wanted to give me some presents to take home to my parents. zhang fongkang was 57 years old.