i didn't have any work today so i took the opportunity to go into boston and have lunch with james. since he had a meeting later in the afternoon, we ate around his workplace instead of chinatown (our usual spot). i got off at arlington station and waited outside his building in the cold for him to show up. we went to thai basil (132 newbury street), which had been renovated since the last time i ate there. the place was already filling up with the noonday lunch crowd by the time we got there but managed to get a table without waiting. i ended up getting a bowl of tom yum noodle soup. james told me about his honeymoon that almost wasn't, just hours before they were supposed to leave for mexico, they got into a serious car accident.

after lunch i walked down towards boston common, fishing the camera out of my bag. emerson college students were ice skating on the frozen swan pond. i watched hungry packs of squirrels tentatively following passersby. a woman with a large bag of peanuts was casually tossing them onto the lawn for her furry friends. a dogwalker cut through the common, every dog a purebred, each one probably has more money than me.

i made my way to chinatown, taking photos of architectural oddities with the telephoto. i stopped by the china supermarket (under the parking garage) to pick up some groceries before catching the subway from south station back to cambridge.

my original plan was to get off at harvard square to run some errands, but my stomach was growling in a peculiar way so i figured i had to go home first. i got off at porter square, deposited a google check at the nearby ATM, and at the last block before i reached my house i literally ran home and straight into the bathroom. whatever i ate did not agree with me. with that intestinal drama out of the way, i went back out to harvard square.

i first went to staples to get some cd mailer envelopes. then i went to the post office to send off my passport (special page extension service) and a cd of rome episodes for john. i used the computerized self-service kiosk, which had only 4 people in line, versus the traditional human service desk, which had 2 dozen folks.

my next stop was the swiss watch shop to get my watch battery replaced. there was a man already in the store trying to get the owners to get in touch with a certain manufacturer to get his broken watch replaced. another man behind me in line needed to get his watchband repaired. as for me, my repair took just a few minutes ($10) and they even buffed the watch face which had a few scratches on it (now it's as good as new!).

after buying the latest issue of entertainment weekly from out of town news, i cut across harvard courtyard to go home. i watched last night's rome episode before taking a shower. in the evening i had some chinese dumplings for dinner as well as several raw cloves of garlic (i believe i'm now immune to vampires as well as most humans).