i was optimistic it'd stop raining but i guess i was wrong. this of course didn't bode well for the pride parade scheduled for today, already delayed an hour in the hopes of avoiding the bad weather. it's my 4th parade (past parades: 2003, 2004, 2005) and the weather has always been cooperative until today. once more i went with bruce and jack, took the subway to copley square and walked down to the south end to the place where we always go to see the parade. their friend joe arrived later.

i was looking forward to the parade because it was a golden opportunity to give the digital SLR a workout, but the unceasing rain put a damper on the festivities. i think people still had a good time, but everything was a little less sexy, a little more quiet, and definitely no smoke machines. besides, it's hard to take photos when i have an umbrella on one hand and a camera on the other (thank god for autofocus and the smooth zoom ring of the canon lens). that being said, i still managed to take 600 snapshots. twice the camera malfunctioned (the rain perhaps?) and i had to eject the battery - and during the most interesting parts of the parade procession no less.

it was a lot easier to get free things this year - maybe because of the lower attendance due to the bad weather. bruce managed to score a neck brace of baubles and got so much stuff he had to start a junk pile of the things he didn't want. candies tossed from floats would be lost in puddles and there wasn't much of confetti this year because it'd have been too messy with these wet conditions.

like every year, i wish there could be less religion groups, or gay-friendly politicians, or corporations. why can the parade by just about diversity and fun and not have everything be agenda-oriented? can't we celebrate oogling scantily-clad boys and girls? would that be so wrong?

afterwards i walked to chinatown to pay for my plane ticket at a travel agency. i was meeting my father there (who was bringing my mother's credit card so she can get flyer mileage on the purchase) and had to fill out some paper work and surrender my passport in order to get a 3-month china visa. later i got a ride back to the cafe where i stopped briefly to pick up some food and then went back home. my father has been doing more research (on chinese websites) on the stretch of travel between litang and zhongdian (southwestern sichuan) and gave me more details about the place. he also asked if i'd agree to let a chinese astronomy graduate student live at my place while i'm gone. he'd pay of course, but at less than half my monthly mortgage payment. whatever the case may be, at the very least it means i won't need to pay my full mortgage when i'm gone. originally i was going to let my sister stay here but word on the street is she can't afford to pay, not even at my super-discounted family rate (less than half the monthly mortgage payment). the only problem is if this graduate student does decide to live here, he'll arrive in 10 days, which means i'll have to live with him for a month before i go. this isn't something i want, and on the eve of departure, with all the stress that goes along with that, to live with a stranger for that period of time doesn't sound like a good thing. but when i come back in october he'll be gone and it'll definitely help me out a little bit in terms of money. but if my parents think i'm going to sacrifice my privacy and rent out my spare bedroom in the future to other graduate students, they're mistaken.