i wasn't going to make any bread today but my mother called this morning to say how delicious the raisin bread was so i told her to give me exactly 3 hours and i could have a fresh loaf ready for pickup. (watch a video of the bread machine in action.) i didn't even want to taste test it, giving the entire loaf to my father when he showed up. that makes 5 bread days in a row; if i go 2 more days i can have a whole week of bread making.

in the evening i went with julie and some of her friends to the new institute of contemporary art (ICA) down by the wharf. thursday nights are free (otherwise it's $12/person). i was reluctant to go at first (i hate group gatherings) but figured i could just bail out early and do my own thing later. i caught up with julie at porter square, along with her hiking friends jim and karen. it felt like january tonight, cold and windy, as we got off the silver line at courthouse station and fast walked to our destination. we made it to the ICA where julie's high school friends were already waiting. the space is impressive, particularly the mediatheque (a fancy computer room stocked with shiny imacs) that sort of juts out into the harbor (unfortunately it was already pretty dark so we couldn't see a thing). as far as things to see, for such a large space, there were surprisingly few exhibits (of the 4 floors, only the top floor had actual exhibits). two more reasons: 1) modern art is often quite selfish, and requires a large spaces to exhibit (unlike, say, a painting) and 2) there was a paid function and a section of the permanent wing was closed for unpaying visitors. you also weren't allowed to take photos inside the museum (although i could've gotten away with it, but didn't bother trying).

in my own opinion, i find contemporary art very conceited, requiring an awful lot of explanation to justify a work that i know instinctively to be crap. it feels very much like "the emperor's new clothes," that if enough people go around saying how great it is, it becomes great, even though it isn't. i like art that requires expertise, that i can look at and not say to myself, "okay, anyone can do that." to be fair, a lot of the stuff at the ICA were interesting, but a few were wtf, like eyeballs projected onto spheres, or a wooden crate with embedded mirrors.

after the museum our original group (minus julie's high school friends) walked to chinatown for dinner. shabuzen was an option but once again the place was packed 4 rows deep, so we decided to get vietnamese instead. i went with a large bowl of pho but found it sort of boring (i really should try something else next time). the big topic of discussion was pets, and karen told us about her new hamster.

returning to porter square, i noticed the abercrombie & fitch billboard had been defaced with paint once more. who's doing this? i can't imagine it'd be women. could it be a group of men angered at the advertising world's unrealistic expectation of the masculine physique and the negative body image it gives to impressionable boys? maybe its animal rights activists against the use of fur trim on winter coats. i wonder how long it's going to take the A&F people to clean up the billboard, or maybe they're going to have station guards to protect the ad so this doesn't happen again a third time.